Front Page Titles (by Subject) 68.: On the Counter Reformation - Judgments on History and Historians
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68.: On the Counter Reformation - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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On the Counter Reformation
Its originators and further propagators had the best consciences in the world, such as one can have only when one puts an end to an enormous wrong, an unparalleled spoliation. Moreover, they were at least as confident of their Christianity as were their adversaries. Their task was not by any means merely a cancellation, but primarily the prevention of further collapse. They entered in the middle of such a process and pitted themselves against it. What must have substantially sustained the leaders among them was the vision before their inner eye of a church that was renewed, purified, and oriented toward religious forces. In personal dedication they were fully equal to their opponents. The only thing lacking was for the papacy to come substantially under their guidance, indeed, into their hands.
German and Swiss Protestantism had from the outset indulged in those things that one can permit oneself in the certainty of being the stronger forever. Now it was to be revealed that this was by no means such an absolute thing.
That reform within the church which Luther had made impossible after 1520 now actually came about, but under the auspices of the papacy itself. The transformation of the world that had emanated from Germany necessitated an inner restoration of the church which then received the help, albeit selfish, of powerful states. Meanwhile there broke out world wars in which the two religions became the mainspring and the battle cry. And now the old church could in many countries be saved completely again and develop its new style.