Writing Assignment – Reformations – (L15)

How was the English Reformation different from the German Reformation?

The main difference between the German and the English Reformations were the goal, or the drive. During the spark of the German Reformation, Luther’s goal was to take the deeply corrupted Catholic church and not restore it, but change it; he withdrew from the church in fact and began teaching his own interpretation of gospel and how he thought the churches should be run and handled. However, we see that with the English Reformation, it wasn’t as intentional. Long story short, King Henry VIII was a womanizer in his day, and throughout his reign he went from wife to wife seeking male-bearing loins. In the tangle of all his constant attempts to re-marry, he removed Papal authority in England. This (unintentionally) was a huge step in a progressive direction for Protestants, not that King Henry VIII cared much about anything outside of his love life anyways. Following this, 10 year old Edward VI takes the throne; (under regency) Protestants come to the fore and take the main stage (religiously speaking for England).

What do we learn about St. Francis Xavier’s missionary work in the letter you read for lesson 13?

St. Francis Xavier’s letter from India, to the Society of Jesus at Rome, (1543) reveals a lot about his missionary work; though mostly it expresses his true dedication to God. He went through the struggles of tracking down translators and day after day working to make words of his language touch those of this foreign land. He seems to think of himself as slightly better than those with whom he cannot yet communicate; although not blatantly, he talks like he believes those not following his same religious path are below him, or ignorant. “…when I came to the points of faith in detail and asked them what they thought of them, and what more they believed now than when they were Infidels, they only replied that they were Christians, but that as they are ignorant of Portuguese, they know nothing of the precepts and mysteries of our holy religion.” Going on, we find that these people are basically in the palm of his hand; doing exactly what he says, believing his strange traditions very easily. “…often in a single day I have baptized whole villages…These children, I trust heartily, by the grace of God, will be much better than their fathers.” If one were to worship in a way he didn’t agree with, he would get his children followers (manipulated minds, too young to make decisions for themselves) and sick them on these people and their things. Statues were smashed, people were harassed and abused; all by the encouragement of children, from a man who left his home country to tell strangers how to live their lives. But, I suppose he made up for this in his mind with all the ‘sick people he helped heal’ through the lords prayer; the feel of this letter overall is that his intentions are sincere, but I don’t know how much good he really was doing for those people.

St. Francis Xavier’s letter from India, to the Society of Jesus at Rome, 1543:
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1543xavier1.asp

What kind of impression are you left with by the Spiritual Exercises?

I am not a very religious person, but I consider myself very spiritually in touch. That being said, I did not enjoy reading this whatsoever. I personally think that anyone who needs a being, that they have never seen, met, or connected with, to have complete control of their life, should get a reality check. Right off the bat, people are told to obey at all costs. And for some reason, people do so – usually under the impression that their afterlife depends on it. “First Rule. The first: All judgment laid aside, we ought to have our mind ready and prompt to obey, in all, the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our holy Mother the Church Hierarchical.” Going on, people are told to spend their whole life praising this same being (and other high figures). I do take into consideration and admire the small chunk of this passage that praises knowledge and learning, because truth and knowledge alike are freedom, but, these teachings do not refer to or mention truth. Some of the ‘rules’ were just downright off putting though. “Eighteenth Rule. Although serving God our Lord much out of pure love is to be esteemed above all; we ought to praise much the fear of His Divine Majesty, because not only filial fear is a thing pious and most holy, but even servile fear — when the man reaches nothing else better or more useful — helps much to get out of mortal sin. And when he is out, he easily comes to filial fear, which is all acceptable and grateful to God our Lord: as being at one with the Divine Love.”

St. Ignatius Loyola: Spiritual Exercises
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/loyola-spirex.asp

Why is Ignatius concerned about careless discussion of faith and good works?

The heart of Ignatius’ expression of his concern about careless discussion of faith and good works is run through in the Tenth Rule. “We ought to be more prompt to find good and praise as well the Constitutions and recommendations as the ways of our Superiors. Because, although some are not or have not been such, to speak against them, whether preaching in public or discoursing before the common people, would rather give rise to fault-finding and scandal than profit; and so the people would be incensed against their Superiors, whether temporal or spiritual. So that, as it does harm to speak evil to the common people of Superiors in their absence, so it can make profit to speak of the evil ways to the persons themselves who can remedy them.” In short, he is saying that when people go about trashing the church, it shifts the focus from the “profits” to “fault-finding, and scandal.” Assuming that he isn’t referring to income, Ignatius wants people to focus on what the church is supposed to be at it’s core and go about their lives based on this. He is also informing people that when there is a problem, things will most likely be solved much easier if you go straight to the source. If you think there is a problem in the church, go to the source of that problem and discuss it with them to have it bettered, rather than just talking badly of the church and basically allowing the whole corporation to fall apart.

St. Ignatius Loyola: Spiritual Exercises
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/loyola-spirex.asp

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