2.40 What was the Counter-Reformation?
Luther was absolutely right about one thing: some clergymen in the Church were misbehaving terribly. This situation definitely needed to change. A Catholic Reformation, or Counter-Reformation, was started. The Church refocused on the essence of the faith. Bishops were no longer appointed only because of their noble birth, but on the basis of their knowledge and holiness.
The Council of Trent played an important role during this period. There was, above all, a renewed focus on the personal relationship with Jesus and education in the faith. Many saints played an important role in the Counter-Reformation, including Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Avila.
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This is what the Popes say
[Saint Francis of Sales] was an apostle, preacher, writer, man of action and of prayer dedicated to implanting the ideals of the Council of Trent; he was involved in controversial issues dialogue with the Protestants, experiencing increasingly, over and above the necessary theological confrontation, the effectiveness of personal relationship and of charity; he was charged with diplomatic missions in Europe and with social duties of mediation and reconciliation. [Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 2 Mar. 2011]