Pope Paul III Sets Up Council of Trent

Pope Paul III Sets Up Council of Trent

The Council of Trent in Santa Maria Maggiore church
Source: Wikipedia

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Pope Paul III calls the Council of Trent to deal with the Reformation and renewal of the Roman Catholic Church. It will meet off and on in Trento, Italy between 1545 and 1563 and is considered the 19th ecumenical council among Catholics.

Because of the issues addressed and context of the meetings, the Council of Trent will become one of the most important in church history, leading to the creation of the modern Catholic Church.

The council will arrive at a number of important decrees dealing the nature of Christian doctrines. One, in reaction to Protestant insistence on use of the Bible alone as a source of revelation and authority (sola scriptura), asserts that Christian revelation can be found in both "written books" and in "unwritten traditions." Others include referring to the Mass as the Eucharist again, prohibiting any ordinations in exchange for money, validating justification by faith supported by good works, asserting that the Latin Vulgate with the Apocrypha constituted the official scriptures, and reaffirming that transubstantiation literally occurs during the Mass (as opposed to only being symbolic).

Another important development is the creation of an Index of Prohibited Books — a list of condemned authors and their works. This reaction to offensive Protestant writings will have repercussions for centuries as various ideas which the Catholic Church dislikes are declared "Prohibited" and Catholics are not permitted to own or read them.

Devout Catholics had wanted a church council called earlier; had it been called early in the 16th century, when moderates still dominated, it may have been possible to reunite the Protestants with the Catholic Church — or, at the very least, the division may have ended up more amicable.

As it is, by the time this council is called, the Church has come to be dominated by conservatives who react harshly to the Protestants and are in no mood to compromise on any level.

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