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Catholic Dictionary




First major publishers among the Reformers to reinterpret Christianity historically along Protestant lines. Their History of the Church of Christ, published in Basle (1559-74), covered the Church's life from Christ to 1440. Its main author was Matthias Flacius (1520-75), and its dominant theme was that for fourteen centuries the Church founded by Christ was suppressed and dominated by the papal antichrist, until finally liberated by Martin Luther (1483-1546). Among the earliest refutations were those of St. Peter Canisius (1521-97) and Cardinal Baronius (1538-1607), who exposed the historical inaccuracies and the liberties taken with ecclesiastical documents. (Etym. Latin centurio, a commander of a hundred.).