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Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Council Of Trent

In 1545 the Holy Roman emperor Charles V persuaded Pope Paul III to call the Council of Trent with four cardinals, four archbishops and twenty-one bishops present. The Catholic emperor was concerned about the activities of the Protestant reformers and he wished to inaugurate a Catholic Counter-Reformation to counter activities of the Reformation. Pope Paul III convened the council at Trento (at that time a free city of the Holy Roman Empire under a prince-bishop), on December 13, 1545.

After meeting intermittently for eighteen years The Council of Trent finally finished in 1563 with over 200 bishops are present at the final sessions.

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 January 26, 1564, in the papal bull, Benedictus Deus, which enjoined strict obedience upon all Roman Catholics. Pope Pius appointed a commission of cardinals to assist him in interpreting and enforcing the decrees.

At Trent a number of abuses were remedied and the Catholics accepted as deuterocanonical several works that Protestants labelled as Apocrypha and considered outside the canon. Tradition was declared coequal to Scripture as a source of spiritual knowledge and the Catholic Church recognized the seven sacraments as official. The council formally declared that in the Eucharist, bread and wine was really changed into the body and blood of Christ in a manner that could be expressed by the word “transubstantiation”. The religious education of priests was improved and the education of children encouraged with the help of the Jesuit order who were asked to set up a school in every town in which they had influence.

At the Council of Trent the Catholic Church absolved Jews of responsibility for Jesus’ death.

Pius IV's Counter-Reformation eliminated all instrumentation except the organ, as well as all secular elements, harmony and folk melodies.

The Catholic Church emerged revitalized from the Council of Trent, the certainty of their identity was strengthened and the Jesuits established flourishing schools all over Europe where young people were taught how to be good Catholics.

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