Carmelite Chronicles
The German Provinces During the Reformation

September 17, 2012 |

While the Order in the Latinate countries was making a belated effort at betterment, in more northerly Europe it was not accorded this grace. The wave of Protestantism rolled over the provinces of Saxony, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Denmark. Lower and Upper Germany sustained severe losses. The eastern portions of the latter also suffered from the incursions of the Turks. Poland, too, at this time was diminished.

Martin Luther

The image of religious life had already been considerably tarnished in the skirmishes of the humanists, led by Erasmus, with the scholastics. Luther also found many sympathizers among the humanists in his attacks on Rome. His “Opinion on Monastic Orders” (1521), the logical consequence of his doctrine on good works and justification, theologically eliminated the justification for the religious state in Christian life. Many religious, already weak in their vocation, needed no further incentive to propel them out the monastery door. Few candidates were to be found to take their places. Municipal magistrates took over the depopulated or deserted premises. Lessening of alms from the diminishing Catholic population threatened the continued existence of the surviving houses, unable to meet their financial obligations.

From The Mirror of Carmel by Joachim Smet, O. Carm.

Fr. Joachim Smet O.Carm.
Fr. Joachim Smet, O.Carm. (1915-2011) was one of the leading historians of the Carmelite Order. In addition to being a founding member and President of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome and editor of Carmelus, a journal of Carmelite Studies, Fr. Joachim was a gifted writer. he is well-known for his four-volume work The Carmelites and his Life of Saint Peter Thomas. Among his other works: Familiar Matter of Today-Poems (2007), The Mirror of Carmel: A Brief History of the Carmelite Order, (2011), various publications on Carmelite Nuns, Carmelite Liturgy, Carmelite Libraries of Spain and Portugal and the Carmelites of Medieval England.
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