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Ignatius Loyola and Martin Luther: The History and Basis of a Comparison

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Chapter Summary

In 1521, Magellan's fleet completed its circumnavigation of the globe and limped into home port. In 1521, Conquistador Cortés toppled Tenochtitlan. To add to these world historic events, in Rome Pope Leo X made good on his threat to excommunicate an annoying north German monk, Martin Luther, for heresy. And, finally in a battle at Pamplona pitting the great dynastic rivals of the age, Habsburg and Valois, a Basque nobleman fell, then rose to lead a spiritual revival that exploited Magellan's travels and Cortés's conquests to confront Luther's newly-shaped Protestantism. Historians of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations have often placed Ignatius and Luther in opposition because one of the grand narratives of the early modern period involves a militant Society of Jesus pushing back the Protestant Reformation's ever-expanding frontiers. In the case of Ignatius, his character not only informed the Society of Jesus, but the entire Catholic Church.

Keywords: Catholic Church; Ignatius Loyola; Martin Luther; Protestantism; Society of Jesus



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