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The Council issued condemnations of what it defined to be heresies committed by proponents of Protestantism , and also issued key statements and clarifications of the Church's doctrine and teachings, including scripture , the Biblical canon , sacred tradition , original sin , justification , salvation , the sacraments , the Mass , and the veneration of saints.
The consequences of the Council were also significant with regard to the Church's liturgy and practices. During its deliberations, the Council made the Vulgate the official example of the Biblical canon and commissioned the creation of a standard version, although this was not achieved until the s. These, in turn, led to the codification of the Tridentine Mass , which remained the Church's primary form of the Mass for the next four hundred years.
More than three hundred years passed until the next ecumenical council, the First Vatican Council , was convened in On 15 March , the Fifth Council of the Lateran closed its activities with a number of reform proposals on the selection of bishops, taxation, censorship and preaching but not on the major problems that confronted the Church in Germany and other parts of Europe.
Luther's position on ecumenical councils shifted over time,  but in he appealed to the German princes to oppose the papal Church, if necessary with a council in Germany,  open and free of the Papacy.
After the Pope condemned in Exsurge Domine fifty-two of Luther's theses as heresy , German opinion considered a council the best method to reconcile existing differences. German Catholics, diminished in number, hoped for a council to clarify matters. It took a generation for the council to materialise, partly because of papal reluctance, given that a Lutheran demand was the exclusion of the papacy from the Council, and partly because of ongoing political rivalries between France and Germany and the Turkish dangers in the Mediterranean.
Saint Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were used for horses. Charles V strongly favoured a council, but needed the support of King Francis I of France, who attacked him militarily. Francis I generally opposed a general council due to partial support of the Protestant cause within France. In he agreed to the Nuremberg Religious Peace granting religious liberty to the Protestants, and in he further complicated matters when suggesting a general council to include both Catholic and Protestant rulers of Europe that would devise a compromise between the two theological systems.
This proposal met the opposition of the Pope for it gave recognition to Protestants and also elevated the secular Princes of Europe above the clergy on church matters. Faced with a Turkish attack, Charles held the support of the Protestant German rulers, all of whom delayed the opening of the Council of Trent.
In German diets joined in the appeal, with Charles V seconding and pressing for a council as a means of reunifying the Church and settling the Reformation controversies. Pope Clement VII — was vehemently against the idea of a council, agreeing with Francis I of France , after Pope Pius II , in his bull Execrabilis and his reply to the University of Cologne , set aside the theory of the supremacy of general councils laid down by the Council of Constance.
Pope Paul III — , seeing that the Protestant Reformation was no longer confined to a few preachers, but had won over various princes, particularly in Germany, to its ideas, desired a council. Yet when he proposed the idea to his cardinals , it was almost unanimously opposed. Nonetheless, he sent nuncios throughout Europe to propose the idea. The Smalcald Articles were designed to sharply define where the Lutherans could and could not compromise.
It failed to convene after another war broke out between France and Charles V, resulting in a non-attendance of French prelates. Protestants refused to attend as well. Financial difficulties in Mantua led the Pope in the autumn of to move the council to Vicenza , where participation was poor. The Council was postponed indefinitely on 21 May Mediating and conciliatory formulations were developed on certain topics. In particular, a two-part doctrine of justification was formulated that would later be rejected at Trent.
However, the council was delayed until and, as it happened, convened right before Luther's death. Unable, however, to resist the urging of Charles V, the pope, after proposing Mantua as the place of meeting, convened the council at Trent at that time ruled by a prince-bishop under the Holy Roman Empire ,  on 13 December ; the Pope's decision to transfer it to Bologna in March on the pretext of avoiding a plague  failed to take effect and the Council was indefinitely prorogued on 17 September None of the three popes reigning over the duration of the council ever attended, which had been a condition of Charles V.
Papal legates were appointed to represent the Papacy. It closed with a series of ritual acclamations honouring the reigning Pope, the Popes who had convoked the Council, the emperor and the kings who had supported it, the papal legates, the cardinals, the ambassadors present, and the bishops, followed by acclamations of acceptance of the faith of the Council and its decrees, and of anathema for all heretics.
The history of the council is thus divided into three distinct periods: —, — and — During the second period, the Protestants present asked for renewed discussion on points already defined and for bishops to be released from their oaths of allegiance to the Pope.
When the last period began, all intentions of conciliating the Protestants was gone and the Jesuits had become a strong force. The number of attending members in the three periods varied considerably. The decrees were signed in by members, the highest attendance of the whole council,  including four papal legates, two cardinals, three patriarchs, twenty-five archbishops, and bishops, two-thirds of whom were Italians. The Italian and Spanish prelates were vastly preponderant in power and numbers.
At the passage of the most important decrees, not more than sixty prelates were present. The French monarchy boycotted the entire council until the last minute when a delegation led by Charles de Guise, Cardinal of Lorraine finally arrived in November The first outbreak of the French Wars of Religion had occurred earlier in the year and the French Church, facing a significant and powerful Protestant minority in France, experienced iconoclasm violence regarding the use of sacred images.
Such concerns were not primary in the Italian and Spanish Churches. Particular churches. Philosophy, theology, and fundamental theory of canon law. Juridic and physical persons. Associations of the faithful. Institute of consecrated life. Society of apostolic life. The main objectives of the council were twofold, although there were other issues that were also discussed:. The doctrinal decisions of the council are set forth in decrees decreta , which are divided into chapters capita , which contain the positive statement of the conciliar dogmas , and into short canons canones , which condemn the dissenting Protestant views with the concluding anathema sit "let him be anathema".
The doctrinal acts are as follows: after reaffirming the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed third session , the decree was passed fourth session confirming that the deuterocanonical books were on a par with the other books of the canon against Luther's placement of these books in the Apocrypha of his edition and coordinating church tradition with the Scriptures as a rule of faith. The Vulgate translation was affirmed to be authoritative for the text of Scripture. Justification sixth session was declared to be offered upon the basis of human cooperation with divine grace  as opposed to the Protestant doctrine of passive reception of grace.
Understanding the Protestant " faith alone " doctrine to be one of simple human confidence in divine mercy, the Council rejected the " vain confidence " of the Protestants, stating that no one can know who has received the grace of God. Furthermore, the Council affirmed—against some Protestants—that the grace of God can be forfeited through mortal sin. The greatest weight in the Council's decrees is given to the sacraments. The seven sacraments were reaffirmed and the Eucharist pronounced to be a true propitiatory sacrifice as well as a sacrament, in which the bread and wine were consecrated into the Eucharist thirteenth and twenty-second sessions.
The term transubstantiation was used by the Council, but the specific Aristotelian explanation given by Scholasticism was not cited as dogmatic. Instead, the decree states that Christ is "really, truly, substantially present" in the consecrated forms. The sacrifice of the Mass was to be offered for dead and living alike and in giving to the apostles the command "do this in remembrance of me," Christ conferred upon them a sacerdotal power.
The practice of withholding the cup from the laity was confirmed twenty-first session as one which the Church Fathers had commanded for good and sufficient reasons; yet in certain cases the Pope was made the supreme arbiter as to whether the rule should be strictly maintained.
Ordination twenty-third session was defined to imprint an indelible character on the soul. The priesthood of the New Testament takes the place of the Levitical priesthood. To the performance of its functions, the consent of the people is not necessary. In the decrees on marriage twenty-fourth session the excellence of the celibate state was reaffirmed, concubinage condemned and the validity of marriage made dependent upon the wedding taking place before a priest and two witnesses, although the lack of a requirement for parental consent ended a debate that had proceeded from the 12th century.
In the case of a divorce , the right of the innocent party to marry again was denied so long as the other party was alive,  even if the other party had committed adultery. However the council "refused … to assert the necessity or usefulness of clerical celibacy ".
In the twenty-fifth and last session,  the doctrines of purgatory , the invocation of saints and the veneration of relics were reaffirmed, as was also the efficacy of indulgences as dispensed by the Church according to the power given her, but with some cautionary recommendations,  and a ban on the sale of indulgences.
Short and rather inexplicit passages concerning religious images, were to have great impact on the development of Catholic Church art.
Much more than the Second Council of Nicaea the Council fathers of Trent stressed the pedagogical purpose of Christian images.
The council appointed, in eighteenth session , a commission to prepare a list of forbidden books Index Librorum Prohibitorum , but it later left the matter to the Pope. The preparation of a catechism and the revision of the Breviary and Missal were also left to the pope. On adjourning, the Council asked the supreme pontiff to ratify all its decrees and definitions. This petition was complied with by Pope Pius IV , on 26 January , in the papal bull , Benedictus Deus , which enjoins strict obedience upon all Catholics and forbids, under pain of excommunication , all unauthorised interpretation, reserving this to the Pope alone and threatens the disobedient with "the indignation of Almighty God and of his blessed apostles, Peter and Paul.
The Index librorum prohibitorum was announced in and the following books were issued with the papal imprimatur : the Profession of the Tridentine Faith and the Tridentine Catechism , the Breviary , the Missal and the Vulgate and then The decrees of the council were acknowledged in Italy, Portugal, Poland and by the Catholic princes of Germany at the Diet of Augsburg in Philip II of Spain accepted them for Spain, the Netherlands and Sicily inasmuch as they did not infringe the royal prerogative.
In France they were officially recognised by the king only in their doctrinal parts. Although the disciplinary or moral reformatory decrees were never published by the throne, they received official recognition at provincial synods and were enforced by the bishops. Pius IV sent the decrees to Mary, Queen of Scots , with a letter dated 13 June , requesting her to publish them in Scotland, but she dared not do it in the face of John Knox and the Reformation.
These decrees were later supplemented by the First Vatican Council of The canons and decrees of the council have been published very often and in many languages.
The first issue was by Paulus Manutius Rome, Other editions are in vol. Collectio Lacensis 7 vols. Sebastianus Merkle 4 vols. Note also Carl Mirbt , Quellen , 2d ed, pp. The original acts and debates of the council, as prepared by its general secretary, Bishop Angelo Massarelli , in six large folio volumes, are deposited in the Vatican Library and remained there unpublished for more than years and were brought to light, though only in part, by Augustin Theiner , priest of the oratory d.
Most of the official documents and private reports, however, which bear upon the council, were made known in the 16th century and since. The most complete collection of them is that of J. Le Plat, Monumentorum ad historicam Concilii Tridentini collectio 7 vols. Out of 87 books written between and attacking the Council of Trent, 41 were written by Pier Paolo Vergerio , a former papal nuncio turned Protestant Reformer.
Volume II examined the sacraments,  including baptism, confirmation, the sacrament of the eucharist,  communion under both kinds, the mass, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, and matrimony. Volume III examined virginity, celibacy, purgatory, and the invocation of saints. However, the Defensio did not circulate as extensively as the Examen , nor were any full translations ever published. A French translation of the Examen by Eduard Preuss was published in German translations were published in , , and In English, a complete translation by Fred Kramer drawing from the original Latin and the German was published beginning in
Council of Trent
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