Catholic Reformation
(5,174 words)

1. Terminology

The response of the Catholic Church (usually called the “Old Church” in the Reformation period) to the Reformation began gradually. Historians have coined various terms for it. Today there is still no term that covers both the efforts at reform within the Church during the 16th century and the attempt to win back the Church’s lost socio-political terrain. The competing terms include Catholic Reformation,  Counter-Reformation, Catholic confessionalization, and recatholization.


Cite this page
Decot, Rolf, Walther, Gerrit and Kanz, Roland, “Catholic Reformation”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 25 February 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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