The Catholic Reformation

The response of the Catholic Church to the Protestant Reformation is often described as two interrelated movements. One, a Counter-Reformation that attempted to win territory and people back to loyalty to Rome and prevent further spread of Protestant ideas, and the other a reform of abuses and problems within the Catholic Church that had been recognized as problems by many long before the Protestant Reformation. Thus the Catholic Reformation was both a continuation of medieval reform movements and a new crusade. Women were actively involved in both movements, but their actions were generally judged more acceptable when they were part of a reform drive; even more than the medieval crusades, the fight against Protestants was to be a masculine affair.

The masculine nature of the Counter-Reformation was intimately related to one of the key aspects of church reform - an enforcement of cloistering for women. Reforms of the church beginning with the Gregorian in the eleventh

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