How important was the part played by the Catholic rulers of Europe in the struggle against Protestant in the years to 1600?
It is not unreasonable to state that the Catholic rulers of Europe played an important part in the struggle against Protestantism as rulers like Philip II of Spain can be seen to be fighting against Protestantism very strongly, with events taking place such as the Spanish Armada in 1588. However, whether the most important part in the struggle against Protestantism was played by Catholic rulers is still to be determined as orders such as the Jesuits also contributed.
On the one hand, it can be argued that Philip II played a pivotal role in combating Protestantism due to his strong belief in Catholicism. He saw himself as the ‘protector’ of Protestantism and went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that he did this well. This can be seen in his ...view middle of the document...
To add to this, Henry of Navarre of France played a vital role in securing France as a Catholic state. This illustrates that it was not just one ruler that was playing an important role. He famously said, “Paris is worth a mass” and essentially converted from Protestantism to Catholicism for the sake of Paris. From this, Catholic rulers looked to be very important in the struggle against Protestantism.
On the other hand, The Jesuits, an organisation lead by Ignatius Loyola, were also influential in combating Protestantism, simply due to their widespread support and following. As they had received large backing from Paul III initially, they were in a good position to promote Catholicism throughout Europe. St Bartholomews Day was also an influential event when evaluating whether Catholic rulers played the most important role in the fight against Protestantism. 30,000 people died in Paris, alone which shows the severity of the Catholic’s tolerance towards Hugenots at the time. However, it was more the events that followed that really shaped the decision as to whether Catholic rulers were the most important in righting Protestantism. The edict of Nantes in 1598 allowed the toleration of Hugenots which is important to consider when evaluating whether Catholic rulers where the most important in the fight against Protestantism.
In conclusion, Catholic rulers were very important in the struggle against Protestantism simply due to the amount of money that they were able to invest in combatting Protestantism. However, whether they were the most important and influential part that was played in Europe at the time is debatable, as many orders such as the Jesuits and further events such as the Edict of Nantes in 1598 also played a pivotal role when evaluating whether Catholic rulers were the main part played in the struggle against Protestantism. In this way, Catholic rulers such as Philip II were highly influential and important in the fight against Protestantism as they were able to use the most amount of money and power to combat Protestantism.