Evangelization and Popular Piety in Europe

  • Robert Bireley
Part of the European History in Perspective book series (EUROHIP)


The Catholic Reform as well as the Protestant Reformation took as a primary goal to evangelize, or christianize, ordinary people. This always implied adaptation to their situation. Evangelization meant raising the level of religious knowledge and practice, and it was closely related to confessionalism. Ultimately, both Catholic Reform and Reformation sought to deepen religious belief, but belief is still more difficult to measure than knowledge or practice, and in the last instance is known only to God. Yet knowledge and practice probably do usually reflect belief. Evaluated from the perspective of christianization, the Catholic Reform was undoubtedly successful by the early decades of the eighteenth century, especially if one also considers its educational efforts, to be taken up in the following chapter.


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Copyright information

© Robert Bireley, SJ 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Bireley
    • 1
  1. 1.Loyola University ChicagoUSA

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