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« "Father" Roman Polanski would be crucified! | Main | Luigi Garlaschelli “shrouds” his motives… »

Tuesday, October 06, 2009



What a lovely retort.

The Council of Trent was actually instigated by the Emperor Charles V for the express purpose of reforming the Roman church. Charles’ hoped that by reforming Rome he would be able to heal the schism between Rome and the Protestants and bring peace to his empire.

Proof of Charles’ influence, and not that of the popes, is the fact that the council was held at Trent. Paul III wanted it held in the Papal States (in Bologna) but Charles over ruled him in order to attract the Protestants and prepare the schism. To attribute Trent to the person or office of the bishop of Rome is a mistake. Paul III created a ruse to try to move the council to Bologna but failed (further indication of the Emperor’s power – and not the pope’s) and Paul IV tried to cancel it. So I think we can safely say that your remark, that “the Council of Trent was Rome” is wrong; Trent was hardly even “papal”.

In fact one Catholic historian notes that, “The most fruitful area (of Trent)…was that of (the Emperor) Charles. Real reforms were mandated, mainly at the episcopal level, requiring bishops to reside in their sees, to oversee proper liturgical practices, to institute seminaries for the thorough training of priests, and to provide for basic catechetical instruction and sound preaching.” The sale of indulgences was also more tightly regulated.

The need for reform of the Roman church is well described by this lovely anecdote:

“The ‘host’ bishop of Trent, Christoforo Madruzzo, was a symbol of the unreformed Church…He had been given two parishes and a canonry in his teens, later three more canonries and a deanery, had been made bishop at twenty-six and a cardinal at thirty. At the first banquet (of the Council of Trent) he gave to the council fathers, he served seventy-four different dishes and a famous Valtellina wine a hundred years old, while his private orchestra played. There were a good many ladies present. Madruzzo danced with them, and induced other clerics to do so; and, so few of the bishops having turned up, the ladies pushed their way into the chancel of the cathedral at the opening ceremony.” “The History of Christianity” by Paul Johnson. Simon & Schuster, 1976. p. 299.

Trent also fixed the abuses, from a Roman persepctive, of allowing the Bible and the mass in the vernacular (both had to be in Latin). Another Catholic historian: “Almost despite the papacy, the church ended up reforming itself, to spite the reformers.”

Trent, therefore, did reform the Roman Catholic Church and fix “myriad abuses” by it. That was its purpose and its result – and despite interference from several popes.

Do I get to say, “RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT”?



I am happy to see you dedicated a post in response to the comments! I will certainly attempt to plow my way through the decrees you summarize, but if Cannon XXXIII is representative, I'm afraid it is gibberish to me. I understood nothing of what that excerpt of the cannon said.

The decrees of the seventh session excerpted in the post appear to be explaining things by virtue of authority. I gain no insight from those excerpts, as I was already aware that the Church thought Luther was wrong. Perhaps again I need to plow through the archaic full text.


Nope, I was wrong. The decrees aren't as bad as that excerpt.

This is fine reading, and I thank you for pointing me towards it!


The calling of the Council of Trent was somewhat more complicated than the anti-papist summary you expressed. Francis I of France was one of the principle obstacles throughout. It was only after the end of his war with Charles V, (Peace of Crespy, 1544) that he finally cooperated.
Clement VII wanted a Council from the beginning, but on secure Catholic ground for the obvious reason. From the beginning in Germany, the Protestant mob had been violent. By contrast, when Trent was finally agreed to, Protestants were guaranteed safe passage to attend.
Francis I frustrated the Council throughout the reign of Clement VII. Paul III was eager for the Council from the beginning. Charles V went to Rome and they came to an agreement to hold it at Mantua. But again it was frustrated by Francis. His excuse now was that the French bishops could not attend because of his fresh hostilities with Charles.

At one point (in 1541) the Paul III and Charles V agreed to meet at Vicenza but couldn't get agreement from Venice. All the while, Rome was not sitting on its hands. Commissions had already been drawn up at Rome for reform of ecclesiastical life and were working diligently on that. So it is not accurate at all to protray Charles as the author of those reforms. His principle goal throughout was peace in Christendom, a noble and commendable goal no doubt, and practical at a time when the threat of the Turks was very real.

In 1543 the Pope was at Balogna and later that year he met with Charles at Busseto. Charles' issue with Paul III was that he wouldn't take sides in the war between Charles and Francis. Understandable, perhaps, because it had been Francis all along who had been obstructing the Council, but it was not lack of zeal for the Council on the part of Paul III that was at issue and had strained relations between Charles and Paul III.

Nor was Paul III "overruled" by Charles. The truth of the matter was that a national council in Germany only would not be worth a bucket of warm spit and Charles knew it. A general council was necessary and that required the cooperation of all the Catholic nations as well as the Pope. It goes to show that those who claim some evil power of the Pope over the Catholic kings of Europe are fantasizing just as some who would take the opposite tack that it was Charles V of Germany that whipped the Church into shape are engaged in wishful thinking.

When the legates decided to move to Balogna they did not consult with Paul III, whose relations with Charles were already strained. Charles, like so many emperors of the past, had wanted the Council to run his way, and the instead of placing dogma over discipline or vice versa, they had decided to debate them simultaneously. Perhaps the legates had moved to Balogna on flimsy grounds, but it wasn't a ruse on the part of Paul III.

Julius III got the entire Council going again and it is interesting that when safe conduct to the Council in November 1551, the representatives of the Protestant Princes began throwing demands around. Same old same old rebellious attitude, like Luther himself. As if this were not a Council of the Catholic Church.

Maurice of Saxony was the cause of the cessation of the Council this time. When Paul IV was elected he was in no rush to re-convene. For those who wish to see the Council strictly in terms of ecclesiastical reform, Paul IV was actually busy carrying out reforms. He didn't try to cancel the Council.

Pius IV wanted to re-convene and was met with a host of opposition but finally was able to get cooperation. Even while the sessions of 1562 were underway there were attempts to undermine it, notably even from Emperor Ferdinand. Still trying to exercise some sort of Caesero-Papism it would seem.

The result is quite remarkable, despite its duration and difficulties. Cohesive, coherent and consistent it does not deny the dogmatic truths from the Apostles, and at the same time organizes internal reforms of practice, long needed, and which were the ostensible cause of Luther's rebellion. It only goes to show that Luther was in the end more about Luther than Church reform. Once having stated his heretical ideas with a vitriolic flourish, he could never humble himself to return, even when the Church at last began the reforms that he said were his main concern.


“Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, --wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold;”

Why did God come down to confuse the language of men at Babel?
The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other (Genesis 11:6-7)."

Could it be so that people were not like minded? Is it not good to have opposing views? How else do you know if you are right or wrong? Faith is tested when questions are asked. Faith is strengthened when God gives you the answers. The Spirit is given to believers to lead and to guide them. "When one is uncertain, he can ask God, and He will make it clear."


Looking to the issue of man made corruption to justify Luther's heresy is missing the point. Corrupt priests do not legitimize Luther's attack on the Church founded by Christ. He did more than simply try to introduce a few reforms. He promoted open rebellion against the Body of Christ itself, the Church. His denial of the Real Presence is evidence enough for me on that account.

Trent did a lot to show that the corruptions of man can not destroy what Christ had created.


Jordan, Luther's followers ran with ideas that were not all his, just as Calvinists ran with things that Calvin never intended. Its the human condition to do this, the Church that Christ created has had over its history the same thing happen. Men are corrupt its the nature of who we are. I applaud Luther for standing up for his convictions. At the heart of the Church, it is to be our desire to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love our neighbour as ourselves. When we love others we will share the Gospel with them.

God requires His people to be merciful. To justify our lack of mercy, we call people heretics. As if this gives us a reason to not be merciful. Forgetting that everything we accuse others of doing we ourselves are guilty of the same things (Romans 3).

mike l

It seems to me that Luther had it right! Luther did not attack Christ or in any way attack God. he simply shone a light on the abuses of the roman cathoic church hierarchy ( not the true church of christ which are the people of God). The Hierarchy of the chuch felt it was "OK" to raise money, and thereby its power through selling absolution. It also felt it was important to retain its land by requiring priests to remain unmarried and celibate even though most of the apostles were married and most priest and bishops were married with childen since the inception of the church. They also felt that it was "OK" to torture and murder people who did not agree with the strict doctrins of the church hierarchy or who expressed any decent. I reference the heresy trials and the Spanish Inquisition. A far cry from Jesus who taught peace, to turn the other cheek, and who died rather than harm others! Jesus taught awareness of Gods presence in our lifes in every moment not just while in church or when recieving the sacrements. The church hierarchy showed that its only real concern was the contrlol it could weild. It seems that they are still that way today


Spanish Inquisition was conducted by the secular government of Spain and not the Church... God's family is the Holy Catholic Church, the New Covenant. I would refer you to Scott Hahn's book, "A Father Who Keeps His Promises". The Catholics are the People of God today, the New Jews, The New Israel... All Division comes from Lucifer. Lucifer wanted his own Kingdom and rebelled against God, so too do men wish their own modernistic man made heretical churchs and rebel against God's Family, His One True Faith, His Holy Church...


Pride is Lucifer's greatest tool. Luther was full of it...

mike l

Will, dont be cofused between adoration of God, and faith in the catholic church. Jesus taught Love of God and awareness of God's presence in our lifes in every moment. He also peached about Gods love for us. I fear that the roman catholic church has lost this focus and replaced it with contoling how we beleive, how we pray, what we read, and how we conduct ourseleves. the church needs promote meditation, prayer, and awreness of our individual relationhip with God, The Creator of all things and who is omnipresent.

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