Article

Catholicism

Allyson M. Poska

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0078
Catholicism

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  • History of the Americas
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The Roman Catholic Church was the single largest institution of the early modern Atlantic world. Its reach extended from the Low Countries to West Africa on one side of the Atlantic and from Tierra del Fuego to the Hudson Bay on the other. Its parishes delineated the landscape, and its rituals marked the life cycles of millions of people. The early modern period was a time of extensive change for the church. Responding to both internal and external criticisms, the church engaged in a process of institutional reform and clarification of the basic tenets of the faith. As a part of the Catholic Reformation, bishops worked to bring uniformity of belief and practice to their parishioners, and inquisitors struggled to root out heresy. Religious orders, both old and new, revived the faith of European populations and evangelized to the Native peoples of Africa and the Americas. In fact the establishment of the church in the Americas brought new challenges for both clerics and their racially and culturally diverse parishioners. Whether in compliance with or in opposition to it, Catholicism engaged nearly all the peoples of the Atlantic world.

Article.  6532 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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