Each should tend his own garden

Judith Pollmann

in Catholic Identity and the Revolt of the Netherlands, 1520‐1635

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199609918
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729690 | DOI:

Series: The Past & Present Book Series

Each should tend his own garden

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter examines the clergy's earliest responses to the emergence of heresy. Initially, Netherlandish clerics tried to contain the Reformation by presenting it as an internal problem, in which lay people should not become involved. Although some tried to combat it by demonizing the heretics, the main tenor of their advice was that the rise of heresy should be considered as a punishment for the sins of a decadent society. Accordingly, clerics did not try to mobilize Catholics to fight the heretics collectively, but rather appealed to them as individual believers, encouraging them to fight the sin in their own lives. In doing so, the clergy both isolated itself and exasperated the laity, which complained that they did not know how to respond to heretics.

Keywords: Catholic polemics; explanations for heresy; miracles; divine wrath; sin; penitence; Anna Bijns; lay-clerical relations

Chapter.  12185 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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