The Counter-Reformation: Ignatius and the Jesuits | Fr. Charles P. Connor | An Excerpt from Defenders of the Faith in Word and Deed
Defenders of the faith have been raised up in every era of the Church to proclaim fidelity to the truth by their words and deeds. Some have fought heresy and overcome confusion like Athanasius against the Arians and Ignatius Loyola in response to the Protestant reformers. Others have shed their blood for the faith, like the early Christian martyrs of Rome, or Thomas More, John Fisher and Edmund Campion in Reformation England.
Still others have endured a “dry” martyrdom like St. Philip Howard, Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty and Jesuit Walter Ciszek. Intellectuals have been no less conspicuous in their zealous defense of the faith, like Bonaventure, Albert, Thomas Aquinas, or Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The stories of all these,and more, are told here in Fr. Charles Connor's Defenders of the Faith in Word and Deed. Here is the story of the Society of Jesus.
On October 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther, long fearful for his own salvation, seemed to unleash tremendous personal hostility when he nailed his famous Ninety-five Theses to the door of the cathedral in Wittenburg, Germany. This single action has traditionally been viewed as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Before it ended, several new theologies were formulated by at least two generations of reformers, causing Christianity to fall into centuries of division.
The term sola fide ("faith alone") is often associated with Luther. It was a belief that provided him a great deal of inner tranquility. Once, while meditating on Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans, Luther came to the verse that states that "man is justified by faith apart from works of the law."  Luther took this to mean that a person does not have the capability to work out his own salvation because of his sinful human nature. Instead, God gives his free gift of grace, which stimulates faith and leads to salvation. Luther rejected, it appears, the admonition of the Apostle James that faith without good works is dead,  preferring to concentrate only on that which gave him inner peace.