Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The implementation of the Counter-Reformation in Catalan-speaking lands (1563-1700) : A successful process?

Ignasi Fernández Terricabras


The process of the Counter-Reformation, embarked on after the Council of Trent (1545-1563), was successful in some
parts of Europe, whilst in others it did not manage to change the existing religious practices or morals. In the Catalanspeaking
lands, we cannot yet reach a definitive answer on the success or failure of the Counter-Reformation. We do
know that there was an intense reforming campaign undertaken by the king, the Church authorities and a major swath of
the regular clergy, heightened by fear that proximity to France and Occitan immigrants would foster the penetration of
Calvinism. Vast resources were poured into the propagation of the Catholic dogmas and the reform of the clergy, as defined
during and after the Council of Trent. However, other factors hindered this process, including banditry and the presence
of Muslim converts to Christianity. A hypothesis can be put forth that in heavily urban areas, the Counter-Reformation
was ultimately imposed in the middle term, but that it encountered more difficulties in the mountainous and
more rural and isolated areas despite the efforts of the reformers.

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