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The Reformation
Question from Daniel Koutroulakis on 7/2/2006:

Hi Matthew, I know about the Protestant Reformation and how Martin Luther broke communion with the Church, but, I also heard of a Catholic reformation. Can you tell me what the Catholic reformation was about? Did it have anything to do with a period of reforming Catholic doctrine?? Or was this the revival period in England where the Catholic church became active again.

Answer by Matthew Bunson on 7/19/2006:

This is a very large topic. Might I encourage you to read the following article for its excellent coverage: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04437a.htm.

I would recommend the following books – for a variety of perspectives on the period of the Reformation. The obvious starting point is Dr. Carroll’s The Cleaving of Christendom. Beyond this is: The Reformation (Penguin History of the Church) by Owen Chadwick, A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland by William Cobbett, How the Reformation Happened by Hilaire Belloc, and The Facts About Luther by Msgr. Patrick F. O'Hare.

If you are looking for reliable texts on the history of the Church, I would recommend: H. Jedin and J. Dolan’s Handbook of Church History, 2 vols., and their History of the Church; L. Rogier’s The Christian Centuries, 2 Vols. (also his Nouvelle histoire de l'Eglise); The Pelican History of the Church, published by Penguin; and the appropriate volumes of the Cambridge Modern History.

I would also suggest the following titles: the history of Christianity by Kenneth Scott Latourette; the Oxford History of the Christian Church; Dr. Alan Schreck’s Compact History of the Catholic Church and Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs; Triumph, by H.W. Crocker III; and Church History by Fr. John Laux. If you are looking for an encyclopedia on the subject, I would offer my own revised, updated edition of the Encyclopedia of Catholic History by Our Sunday Visitor; also there is the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.

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