Catholic reform
in Death, life, and religious change in Scottish towns, c.1350–1560
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This chapter examines changes in the religious culture of Scottish towns between 1350 and 1560 that were not early Protestant or crypto-Protestant or even proto-Protestant, but rather Catholic. Sections on new devotional and educational approaches, the Council of Trent, public worship, and social discipline together portray a religious culture that was dynamic and responsive to international trends. In placing this religious culture of Scottish towns in the context of wider European currents, it becomes clear that urban Scots were participating in a deep social movement into early modernism. Since reforming momentum in Scotland began in an early modern Catholic environment and before the official Protestant Reformation, it may be necessary to reconsider an important question of causation in Scottish history: what the role of the Protestant Reformation was in bringing about social change. Specific social changes often thought to be the result of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland actually started before the Protestant Reformation, and therefore the Protestant Reformation cannot have been their trigger. Instead, it may be the case that the social changes described in this chapter and arising in a Catholic context actually helped ease the adoption of Protestantism in Scottish towns.

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