|THE COUNCIL OF TRENT
Session XXV - which is the ninth and last under the Supreme Pontiff, Pius IV, begun on the third and closed on the fourth day of December, 1563
Decree Concerning Purgatory
|Decree Concerning Purgatory
Since the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, following the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught in sacred councils and very recently in this ecumenical council that there is a purgatory, and that the souls there detained are aided by the suffrages of the faithful and chiefly by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar, the holy council commands the bishops that they strive diligently to the end that the sound doctrine of purgatory, transmitted by the Fathers and sacred councils, be believed and maintained by the faithful of Christ, and be everywhere taught and preached. The more difficult and subtle questions, however, and those that do not make for edification and from which there is for the most part no increase in piety, are to be excluded from popular instructions to uneducated people. Likewise, things that are uncertain or that have the appearance of falsehood they shall not permit to be made known publicly and discussed. But those things that tend to a certain kind of curiosity or superstition, or that savor of filthy lucre, they shall prohibit as scandals and stumbling-blocks to the faithful. The bishops shall see to it that the suffrages of the living, that is, the sacrifice of the mass, prayers, alms and other works of piety which they have been accustomed to perform for the faithful departed, be piously and devoutly discharged in accordance with the laws of the Church, and that whatever is due on their behalf from testamentary bequests or other ways, be discharged by the priests and ministers of the Church and others who are bound to render this service not in a perfunctory manner, but diligently and accurately.
The holy council commands all bishops and others who hold the office of teaching and have charge of the <cura animarum>, that in accordance with the usage of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, received from the primitive times of the Christian religion, and with the unanimous teaching of the holy Fathers and the decrees of sacred councils, they above all instruct the faithful diligently in matters relating to intercession and invocation of the saints, the veneration of relics, and the legitimate use of images, teaching them that the saints who reign together with Christ offer up their prayers to God for men, that it is good and beneficial suppliantly to invoke them and to have recourse to their prayers, assistance and support in order to obtain favors from God through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who alone is our redeemer and savior; and that they think impiously who deny that the saints who enjoy eternal happiness in heaven are to be invoked, or who assert that they do not pray for men, or that our invocation of them to pray for each of us individually is idolatry, or that it is opposed to the word of God and inconsistent with the honor of the one mediator of God and men, Jesus Christ, or that it is foolish to pray vocally or mentally to those who reign in heaven. Also, that the holy bodies of the holy martyrs and of others living with Christ, which were the living members of Christ and the temple the Holy Ghost, to be awakened by Him to eternal life and to be glorified, are to be venerated by the faithful, through which many benefits are bestowed by God on men, so that those who maintain that veneration and honor are not due to the relics of the saints, or that these and other memorials are honored by the faithful without profit, and that the places dedicated to the memory of the saints for the purpose of obtaining their aid are visited in vain, are to be utterly condemned, as the Church has already long since condemned and now again condemns them. Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the other saints are to be placed and retained especially in the churches, and that due honor and veneration is to be given them; not, however, that any divinity or virtue is believed to be in them by reason of which they are to be venerated, or that something is to be asked of them, or that trust is to be placed in images, as was done of old by the Gentiles who placed their hope in idols; but because the honor which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which they represent, so that by means of the images which we kiss and before which we uncover the head and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ and venerate the saints whose likeness they bear. That is what was defined by the decrees of the councils, especially of the Second Council of Nicaea, against the opponents of images.
Moreover, let the bishops diligently teach that by means of the stories of the mysteries of our redemption portrayed in paintings and other representations the people are instructed and confirmed in the articles of faith, which ought to be borne in mind and constantly reflected upon; also that great profit is derived from all holy images, not only because the people are thereby reminded of the benefits and gifts bestowed on them by Christ, but also because through the saints the miracles of God and salutary examples are set before the eyes of the faithful, so that they may give God thanks for those things, may fashion their own life and conduct in imitation of the saints and be moved to adore and love God and cultivate piety. But if anyone should teach or maintain anything contrary to these decrees, let him be anathema. If any abuses shall have found their way into these holy and salutary observances, the holy council desires earnestly that they be completely removed, so that no representation of false doctrines and such as might be the occasion of grave error to the uneducated be exhibited. And if at times it happens, when this is beneficial to the illiterate, that the stories and narratives of the Holy Scriptures are portrayed and exhibited, the people should be instructed that not for that reason is the divinity represented in picture as if it can be seen with bodily eyes or expressed in colors or figures. Furthermore, in the invocation of the saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images, all superstition shall be removed, all filthy quest for gain eliminated, and all lasciviousness avoided, so that images shall not be painted and adorned with a seductive charm, or the celebration of saints and the visitation of relics be perverted by the people into boisterous festivities and drunkenness, as if the festivals in honor of the saints are to be celebrated with revelry and with no sense of decency. Finally, such zeal and care should be exhibited by the bishops with regard to these things that nothing may appear that is disorderly or unbecoming and confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing disrespectful, since holiness becometh the house of God. That these things may be the more faithfully observed, the holy council decrees that no one is permitted to erect or cause to be erected in any place or church, howsoever exempt, any unusual image unless it has been approved by the bishop; also that no new miracles be accepted and no relics recognized unless they have been investigated and approved by the same bishop, who, as soon as he has obtained any knowledge of such matters, shall, after consulting theologians and other pious men, act thereon as he shall judge consonant with truth and piety. But if any doubtful or grave abuse is to be eradicated, or if indeed any graver question concerning these matters should arise, the bishop, before he settles the controversy, shall await the decision of the metropolitan and of the bishops of the province in a provincial synod; so, however, that nothing new or anything that has not hitherto been in use in the Church, shall be decided upon without having first consulted the most holy Roman pontiff.
The same holy council, continuing the work of reform, has thought fit that the following matters be decided.
Since the holy council is not ignorant of how great a splendor and usefulness accrues to the Church of God from monasteries piously regulated and properly administered, it has, to the end that the old and regular discipline may be the more easily and promptly restored where it has collapsed, and may be the more firmly maintained where it has been preserved, thought it necessary to command, as by this decree it does command, that all regulars, men as well as women, adjust and regulate their life in accordance with the requirements of the rule which they have professed, and especially that they observe faithfully whatever pertains to the perfection of their profession, as the vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity, and any other vows and precepts peculiar to any rule and order and belonging to the essence thereof, as well as the preservation of the common life, food and clothing. Superiors shall use all care and diligence, in general and provincial chapters as well as in their visitations, which they shall not neglect to make at the proper times, that these things are not departed from, for it is evident that they cannot make any relaxations in those things that pertain to the substance of the regular life. For if those things that constitute the basis and foundation of all regular discipline are not strictly observed, the whole edifice must necessarily fall.
To no regular, therefore, whether man or woman, shall it be lawful to possess or to hold as his own or even in the name of the convent any movable or immovable property, of whatever nature it may be or In whatever manner acquired; but the same shall be handed over immediately to the superior and be incorporated in the convent. Neither shall it in the future be lawful for superiors to grant immovable property to any regular, not even the usufruct or use, or the administration thereof or as <commendam>. But the administration of the property of monasteries or convents shall belong to the officials thereof only, who are removable at the will of their superiors. Superiors shall so permit the use of movable goods that the furniture is consistent with the state of poverty which they have professed; there shall be nothing superfluous, neither shall anything that is necessary be denied them. But should anyone be discovered or convicted of possessing something in any other manner, he shall be deprived for two years of his active and passive voice and shall also be punished in accordance with the prescriptions of his rule and order.
The holy council grants that all monasteries and houses, of men as well as of women, and of mendicants, even those that were forbidden by their constitutions or that had not received permission to this effect by Apostolic privilege, with the exception of the houses of the brethren of St. Francis, the Capuchins, and those called Minor Observants, may in the future possess immovable property. But if any of the aforesaid places, to which it has been granted by Apostolic authority to possess such property, have been deprived thereof, it decrees that the same shall be wholly restored to them. But in the aforesaid monasteries and houses, of men as well as of women, whether they do or do not possess immovable properties, only such a number of persons shall be determined upon and retained in the future as can be suitably maintained either from the revenues of the monasteries or from the customary alms; neither shall such places be erected in the future unless the permission of the bishop in whose diocese they are to be established has first been obtained.
The holy council forbids that any regular under the pretext of preaching or lecturing or of any pious work, place himself at the service of any prelate, prince, university, community, or of any other person or place whatsoever without the permission of his superior, any privilege or authority obtained from others regarding these matters shall avail him nothing. Should he act in contravention of this he shall at the discretion of his superior be punished as disobedient. Neither shall it be lawful for regulars to leave their convents, even under pretext of going to their superiors, unless they have been sent or summoned by them. Anyone discovered without having obtained the aforesaid command in writing, shall be punished by the local ordinaries as a deserter of his institute. Those who for reasons of study are sent to universities, shall reside in convents only, otherwise the ordinaries shall take action against them.
The holy council, renewing the constitution of Boniface VIII, which begins, "Periculoso," commands all bishops that by the judgment of God to which It appeals and under threat of eternal malediction, they make it their special care that in all monasteries subject to them by their own authority and in others by the authority of the Apostolic See, the enclosure of nuns be restored wherever it has been violated and that it be preserved where it has not been violated; restraining with ecclesiastical censures and other penalties, every appeal being set aside, the disobedient and gain-sayers, even summoning for this purpose, if need be, the aid of the secular arm. The holy council exhorts all Christian princes to furnish this aid, and binds thereto under penalty of excommunication to be incurred ipso facto all civil magistrates. No nun shall after her profession be permitted to go out of the monastery, even for a brief period under any pretext whatever, except for a lawful reason to be approved by the bishop; any indults and privileges whatsoever notwithstanding. Neither shall anyone, of whatever birth or condition, sex or age, be permitted, under penalty of excommunication to be incurred ipso facto, to enter the enclosure of a monastery without the written permission of the bishop or the superior. But the bishop or superior ought to grant permission in necessary cases only, and no other person shall in any way be able to grant it, even by virtue of any authority or indult already granted or that may be granted in the future. And since monasteries of nuns situated outside the walls of a city or town are often without any protection exposed to the rapacity and other crimes of evil men, the bishops and other superiors shall make it their duty to remove, if they deem it expedient, the nuns from those places to new or old monasteries within cities or more populous towns, summoning, if need be, the aid of the secular arm. Those who hinder or disobey them, they shall compel to submission by ecclesiastical censures.
That all things may be done properly and without fraud in the election of superiors, temporary abbots and other officials and generals, as also abbesses and other superioresses, the holy council above all things strictly commands that all the aforesaid must be chosen by secret ballot, so that the names of individual voters may never become known. Neither shall it be lawful in the future to appoint provincials, abbots, priors, or any other titled persons whatsoever with a view of determining the election to be made, nor to add the votes and approvals of those absent. But if anyone should be elected contrary to the prescription of this decree, such an election shall be invalid, and he who has permitted himself to be chosen provincial, abbot, or prior in the aforesaid manner, shall from that time on be disqualified to hold any offices whatsoever in the order; any faculties that have been granted in these matters shall be considered as <eo ipso> nullified, and should any others be granted in the future, they shall be regarded as surreptitious.
No one shall be elected abbess or prioress, or by whatever other name the one appointed or the superioress may be known, who is less than forty years of age and who has not lived commendably during the eight years after having made her profession. If no one is found in a monastery possessing these qualifications, then one may be chosen from another of the same order. But if the superior who presides over the election should judge even this inconvenient, with the consent of the bishop or other superior one of those in the same monastery who is beyond her thirtieth year and has lived commendably at least five years since her profession may be chosen. No one, however, shall be appointed over two monasteries. If anyone is in any way in possession of two or more, she shall, retaining one, be compelled to resign the remainder within six months, and in case she has not resigned within that period, all shall be <ipso jure> vacant. He who presides at the election, whether it be the bishop or other superior, shall not enter the enclosure of the monastery, but shall hear or receive the vote of each at the little window of the grating. In other matters the constitutions of each order or monastery shall be observed.
All monasteries which are not subject to general chapters or to bishops, and which have not regular visitors who belong to the order, but have been accustomed to be governed under the immediate protection and direction of the Apostolic See, shall be bound within a year from the dissolution of the present council and thereafter every three years, to assemble in congregations in accordance with the form of the constitution of Innocent III published in the general council, which begins, "In singulis"; and they shall there authorize certain regulars who shall deliberate and decide on the manner and order of establishing the aforesaid congregations and also the rules to be therein observed. But if they should prove negligent in these matters, then the metropolitan in whose province the aforesaid monasteries are located, as the delegate of the Apostolic See, shall convoke them for the above named purpose. If, however, there is not a sufficient number of such monasteries within the confines of one province to establish a congregation, the monasteries of two or three provinces may form one congregation. When these congregations have been established, their general chapters and the superiors and visitors elected by them shall have the same authority over the monasteries of their congregation and over the regulars residing therein as other superiors and visitors have in other orders, and they shall be bound to visit the monasteries of their congregation frequently, to apply themselves to their reform, and to observe whatever has been decreed in the sacred canons and in this holy council. But if at the request of the metropolitan they fail to take steps to carry the aforesaid matters into effect, then they shall be subject to the bishops, as the delegates of the Apostolic See, in whose dioceses the aforesaid places are situated.
Monasteries of nuns which are immediately subject to the Apostolic See, also those known by the name of Chapters of St. Peter or of St. John or by any other name, shall be supervised by the bishops as delegates of that See, anything to the contrary notwithstanding. Those, however, that are supervised by persons delegated in general chapters or by other regulars, shall be left under their charge and protection.
Bishops and other superiors of monasteries of nuns shall take special care that the nuns, as they are admonished in their constitutions, confess their sins and receive the most holy Eucharist at least once a month, so that they may fortify themselves by that salutary safeguard valiantly to overcome all the assaults of the devil. In addition to the ordinary confessor, the bishop and other superiors shall provide twice or three times a year an extraordinary one, whose duty it shall be to hear the confessions of all. The holy council forbids, however, that the holy body of Christ be reserved within the choir or the enclosure of the monastery and not in the public church; any indult or privilege notwithstanding.
In monasteries or houses of men or women to which is annexed the <cura animarum> of secular persons other than those who belong to the household of those monasteries or places, those persons, whether regulars or seculars, who exercise that <cura> shall in all things that pertain to that <cura> and to the administration of the sacraments be subject immediately to the jurisdiction, visitation, and correction of the bishop in whose diocese they are located. Neither may anyone, not even such as are removable at any moment, be appointed thereto except with his consent and after having been previously examined by him or by his vicar; the monastery of Cluny with its territories being excepted, and excepted also are those monasteries or places in which the abbots, generals, or heads of orders ordinarily have their principal residence, and other monasteries or houses in which abbots or other superiors of regulars exercise episcopal and temporal jurisdiction over the parish priests and parishioners; saving the right, however, of those bishops who exercise a greater jurisdiction over the places or persons named above.
Not only the censures and interdicts that have emanated from the Apostolic See but also those promulgated by the ordinaries, shall on the bishop's command be published and observed by the regulars in their churches. The feast days also which the bishop shall command to be observed in his diocese, shall be observed by all those exempt, also by the regulars.
All disputes concerning precedence which very often and not without gray' scandal arise among ecclesiastics, both secular and regular, at public processions as well as the burial of the dead, as also in the matter of carrying the canopy and other things of this kind, the bishop shall settle to the exclusion of every appeal; anything to the contrary notwithstanding. All exempt persons, secular as well as regular clerics, also monks, summoned to public processions, shall be obliged to attend; those only being excepted who live permanently in strict enclosure.
A regular not subject to the bishop and living within the enclosure of a monastery, who has outside of that enclosure committed so notorious an offense as to be a scandal to the people, shall at the instance of the bishop be severely punished by his superior within the time specified by the bishop, and the superior shall report to the bishop concerning this punishment. Otherwise he shall be deprived of his office by his superior and the delinquent may be punished by the bishop.
In no religious order whatever, whether of men or of women, shall profession be made before the completion of the sixteenth year, and no one shall be admitted to profession who has been under probation less than a year after the reception of the habit. Any profession made sooner is null and imposes no obligation to the observance of any rule either of a religious body or an order, neither does it entail any other effects whatsoever.
Moreover, no renunciation or obligation previously made, even upon oath or in favor of any pious cause whatsoever, shall be valid, unless it be made with the permission of the bishop or his vicar within two months immediately preceding profession, and it shall not be understood otherwise to have effect unless the profession followed; but if made in any other manner, even with the express renunciation of this favor, also upon oath, it shall be invalid and of no effect. When novices have completed their novitiate, the superiors shall admit to profession those novices found qualified; the others they shall dismiss from the monastery. Hereby, however, the holy council does not intend to innovate or prohibit something that will hinder the order of clerics of the Society of Jesus from serving the Lord and His Church in accordance with their pious institute approved by the holy Apostolic See. Before the profession of a novice, whether male or female, nothing shall under any pretext whatever be given to the monastery from the property of the same, either by parents, relatives or guardians, except for food and clothing during the time of probation, lest the novice should be unable to leave for the reason that the monastery possesses the whole or greater part of his substance, and he would be unable easily to recover it in case he should leave. The holy council, therefore, commands under penalty of anathema both givers and receivers that this be in no wise done, and that to those who leave before profession everything that was theirs be restored. All of which, that it may be done properly, the bishop shall, if need be, enforce with ecclesiastical censures.
The holy council, having in view the freedom of the profession of virgins who are to be dedicated to God, ordains and decrees that if a girl more than twelve years of age wishes to take the habit of regulars, she shall not take that habit, neither shall she nor any other at a later period make profession, until the bishop, or, if he be absent or hindered, his vicar, or someone delegated by them at their expense, has carefully examined the wish of the virgin, whether she has been forced or enticed, or knows what she is doing;  and if her will is found to be pious and free and she has the qualifications required by the rule of that monastery and order, and also if the monastery is a suitable one for her, she shall be permitted freely to make profession. And that the bishop may not be Ignorant of the time of the profession, the superioress of the monastery shall be bound to give him notice thereof a month beforehand; but if she fails to make the matter known to him, she shall be suspended from office for as long a period as the bishop shall deem proper.
The holy council anathematizes each and all persons, of whatever character or rank they may be, whether clerics or laics, seculars or regulars, and with whatever dignity invested, who shall, except in the cases permitted by law, in any way force any virgin or widow, or any other woman whatsoever, to enter a monastery against her will, or to take the habit of any religious order or to make profession; those also who give advice, aid or encouragement, as well as those who, knowing that she does not enter the monastery or receive the habit, or make profession voluntarily, shall in any way take part in that act by their presence, consent or authority. Similarly does it anathematize those who shall in any way and without a just cause impede the holy wish of virgins or other women to take the veil or pronounce the vows. Each and all of those things which must be done before profession or at the profession itself shall be observed not only in monasteries subject to the bishop but also in all others. From the above, however, are excepted the women who are called penitents or converts, whose own constitutions shall be observed.
Any regular who shall pretend that he entered a religious order through compulsion and fear, or shall allege that he was professed before the proper age or something similar, and wishes for some reason to lay aside the habit, or departs with the habit without the permission of his superior, shall not be listened to unless it be within five years only from the day of his profession, and not even then unless he has submitted to his superior and to the ordinary the reasons for his pretensions. But if before doing this he has of his own accord laid aside the habit, he shall under no circumstances be admitted to assign any reason whatever, but shall be compelled to return to his monastery and be punished as an apostate, and in the meantime he shall not have the benefit of any privilege of his order. Moreover, no regular shall in virtue of any authority whatsoever be transferred to an order less rigorous, neither shall permission be granted to any regular to wear the habit of his order secretly.
Abbots who are heads of orders and other superiors of the aforesaid orders who are not subject to bishops but have a lawful jurisdiction over other inferior monasteries or priories, shall, each in his own locality and order, visit <ex officio> those monasteries and priories that are subject to them, also if held <in commendam.> Since these are subject to the heads of their orders, the holy council declares that they are not to be included in what has been decided elsewhere concerning the visitation of monasteries held <in commendam>, and all superiors of the monasteries of the aforesaid orders shall be bound to receive the above named visitors and to execute their commands. Those monasteries also which are the heads of orders shall be visited in accordance with the constitutions of the holy Apostolic See and of each order. And so long as such provisional collations continue, there shall be appointed by the general chapters or by the visitors of the orders cloistral priors, or subpriors in the priories that have a convent, who shall correct and exercise spiritual authority In all other things the privileges and faculties of the above named orders, which concern their persons, places and rights, shall remain firm and undisturbed.
Since most monasteries, also abbeys, priories, and provostries, have suffered no little loss both in spiritual and temporal things through the maladministration of those to whom they have been entrusted, the holy council desires to restore them entirely to a discipline becoming the monastic life. But the present state of the times is so adverse and so full of difficulties that a remedy cannot be applied to all at once, or a common one everywhere, as it desired. Nevertheless, that it may not omit anything that may in time provide advantageously for the aforesaid, it trusts in the first place that the most holy Roman pontiff will according to his piety and prudence make it his care, so far as he sees the times will permit, that regulars expressly professed in the same order and capable of guiding and governing the flock be placed over those monasteries which are now held <in commendam> and which have their own convents. Those which in the future become vacant shall be conferred only on regulars of approved virtue and holiness. With regard to those monasteries which are the head and chief ones of the orders, whether their filiations be called abbeys or priories, they who now hold them <in commendam> shall be bound, if a regular has not been appointed as successor thereto, to make within six months a solemn profession of the vows peculiar to those orders or to resign; otherwise the aforesaid places held <in commendam> shall be considered <ipso jure> vacant. But that in each and all of the aforesaid matters no fraud may be perpetrated, the holy council decrees that in the appointments to the monasteries mentioned the character of each person be expressly stated, and any appointment made otherwise shall be considered surreptitious and shall not be protected by any subsequent possession, even though this covers a period of three years.
The holy council commands that each and all of the matters contained in the foregoing decrees be observed in all convents and monasteries, colleges and houses of all monks and regulars whatsoever, as also of all religious virgins and widows, even though they live under the guidance of military orders, also that (of St. John) of Jerusalem, and by whatever name they may be designated, under whatever rule or constitutions and under whatever protection or administration they may be, or in whatever subjection to, union with, or dependence on any order whatsoever, whether of mendicants or non-mendicants, or of other regular monks or canons whatsoever; any privileges of each and all of those above mentioned in whatever form of words expressed, even those known as mare magnum and those obtained at their foundation, also constitutions and rules, even though subscribed to under oath, and also customs and prescriptions, even though immemorial, notwithstanding. But if there are regulars, men as well as women, who live under a stricter rule or statutes, except with regard to the permission to possess immovable property in common, the holy council does not intend to hinder them in their rule and observance. And since the holy council desires that each and all of the aforesaid matters be put into effect as soon as possible, it commands all bishops that in the monasteries subject to them and in all others specifically committed to them in the foregoing decrees, and all abbots, generals and other superiors of the aforesaid orders, that they put into execution the foregoing matters immediately. And if there be anything that is not put into execution, the provincial synods shall supplement and correct the negligence of the bishops. The negligence of the regulars, their provincial and general chapters, and in default of the general chapters, the provincial synods shall attend to by delegating certain persons of the same order The holy council also exhorts and in virtue of holy obedience commends all kings, princes, governments and magistrates to deign to lend, as often as requested, their help and influence in support of the aforesaid bishops, abbots, generals, and other superiors in the execution of the reform indicated above, so that they may without hindrance properly put into effect the foregoing matters to the praise of Almighty God.
It is to be desired that those who assume the episcopal office know what are their duties, and understand that they have been called not for their own convenience, not for riches or luxury, but to labors and cares for the glory of God. For it is not to be doubted that the rest of the faithful will be more easily roused to religion and innocence, if they see those who are placed over them concentrate their thoughts not on the things of this world but on the salvation of souls and on their heavenly country. Since the holy council considers these things to be of the greatest importance in the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline, it admonishes all bishops that they reflect often on these things and also by the actions and behavior of their life, which is a sort of perpetual sermon, give evidence that their deportment is consistent with their Office; but above all that they so regulate their whole conduct that others may derive therefrom examples of moderation, modesty, continency, and of that holy humility which recommends us so to God. Wherefore, after the example of our Fathers in the Council of Carthage, it commands not only that bishops be content with modest furniture and a frugal table, but also that they take heed that in the rest of their manner of living and in their whole house, nothing appears that is at variance with this holy ordinance, or that does not manifest simplicity, zeal for God and a contempt for van ties. But above all does it forbid them to attempt to enrich their relations or domestics from the revenues of the Church, since the canons of the Apostles also forbid that ecclesiastical goods, which belong to God, be given to relations; but if they are poor, let them distribute to them as poor, but they shall not alienate or waste these goods for their sake. Indeed, the holy council admonishes them to the utmost of its ability that they lay aside completely all this human affection of the flesh toward brothers, nephews, and relations, which is the nursery of many evils in the Church. And what has been said of bishops is to be observed not only by all who hold ecclesiastical benefices, whether secular or regular, according to the nature of the rank of each, but it decrees that it applies also to the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, for since the administration of the universal Church is supported by their advice to the most holy Roman pontiff, it can appear wicked if they do not shine in the splendor of the virtues and in discipline of life, which should justly draw upon them the eyes of all.
The distress of the times and the malice of increasing heresies make it necessary that nothing be left undone which may appear to be for the edification of the faithful and for the defense of the Catholic faith. Wherefore, the holy council commands patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, and all others who by right or custom ought to be present at the provincial synod, that in the very first provincial synod to be held after the close of the present council, they receive publicly each and all of the matters which have been defined and decreed by this holy council; also that they promise and profess true obedience to the supreme Roman pontiff and at the same time publicly express their hatred of and anathematize all the heresies that have been condemned by the sacred canons and general councils and especially by this council. The same shall in the future be observed by all who are promoted to patriarchal, primatial, archiepiscopal and episcopal sees, in the first provincial synod at which they are present. But if anyone of all the aforesaid should refuse, which God forbid, the comprovincial bishops shall be bound under penalty of divine indignation to give notice thereof immediately to the supreme Roman pontiff, and shall in the meantime abstain from communion with that person. All others who now hold or hereafter will hold ecclesiastical benefices, whose duty it is to assemble in diocesan synod, shall do and observe in the first synod to be held the same as was prescribed above, otherwise they shall be punished in accordance with the prescriptions of the sacred canons. Furthermore, all those to whom pertains the care, visitation, and reform of universities and of [houses of] general studies, shall diligently see to it that the canons and decrees of this holy council are integrally received by the universities and that the masters, doctors, and others in those universities teach and interpret the things that are of Catholic faith in conformity therewith, and at the beginning of each year bind themselves by solemn oath to the observance of this ordinance; and if there be any other matters in the aforesaid universities that need correction and reform, they shall for the advancement of religion and ecclesiastical discipline be reformed and put in order by those to whom it pertains. Those universities, however, that are immediately subject to the protection and visitation of the supreme Roman pontiff, His Holiness will provide for in the matters of visitation and reform through his delegates in the manner aforesaid and as shall seem to him most beneficial.
Although the sword of excommunication is the nerve of ecclesiastical discipline and very salutary for holding the people in their duty, it is, however, to be used with moderation and great discretion, since experience teaches that if wielded rashly or for trifling reasons, it is more despised than feared and is productive of destruction rather than of salvation. Wherefore, those excommunications which after previous admonitions are customarily imposed for the purpose of eliciting a so-called disclosure, or by reason of properties squandered or alienated, shall be issued by absolutely no one but the bishop, and even then not except by reason of an unusual circumstance and after a diligent and very complete examination by the bishop of the cause which moves his mind thereto. Neither shall he allow himself to be moved to their imposition by the authority of any secular person, even though a magistrate, but the entire matter shall be left to his own judgment and conscience, whether, after considering the circumstances, place, person or time, he shall himself deem it advisable to impose them. With regard to judicial causes, all ecclesiastical judges, of whatever dignity they may be, are commanded that both during the proceedings and in rendering decisions, they abstain from ecclesiastical censures or interdict whenever the action can in each stage of the process be completed by themselves through their own authority; but in civil causes belonging in any way to the ecclesiastical forum, they may, if they deem it advisable, proceed against all persons, also laics, and terminate suits by pecuniary fines, which shall as soon as they have been collected be without further ado assigned to the pious places of the locality, or by distress of property, or by restraint of the persons, to be effected by their own or other agents, or even by the deprivation of benefices and other legal means. But if the action against the guilty party cannot be completed in this way and there be contumacy toward the judge, he may then in addition to other penalties chastise them also with the sword of anathema, if he should deem it expedient. In criminal causes also where a suit can be completed as was stated above, censures are to be abstained from. But if that effect cannot be easily obtained, it shall be lawful for the judge to make use of this spiritual sword against delinquents, provided the nature of the offense, preceded by at least two admonitions, even by an edict, requires it. But it shall not be lawful for any civil magistrate to prohibit an ecclesiastical judge from excommunicating anyone, or to command him to revoke an excommunication that has been imposed, under the pretext that the contents of the present decree have not been observed, since the investigation of this matter does not pertain to seculars but to ecclesiastics. But every excommunicated person who after the legitimate admonitions does not repent, shall not only be excluded from the sacraments and from intercourse and from friendship with the faithful, but if, bound with censure, he shall with obdurate heart remain therein for a year, he may also be proceeded against as suspected of heresy.
It often happens in some churches that by reason of various bequests from deceased persons either so great a number of masses to be celebrated is left with them that it is not possible to take care of them on the particular days specified by the testators, or that the alms given for their celebration is so small that it is not easy to find one who is willing to accept this obligation; the result being that the pious intentions of the testators are defeated and occasion is given of burdening the consciences of those to whom the aforesaid obligations pertain. The holy council, desirous that these bequests for pious purposes be satisfied in the fullest and most useful manner possible, empowers bishops in the diocesan synod and likewise abbots and generals of orders in their general chapters, to decide with regard to the aforesaid churches, which they shall find to stand in need of regulation in this matter, whatever in their consciences they shall after a diligent examination of the circumstances judge to be most beneficial for the honor and service of God and the good of the churches; So, however, that a commemoration be always made of the departed who for the welfare of their souls have left those bequests for pious purposes.
Reason requires that from those things which have been well established nothing be withdrawn by contrary ordinances. When, therefore, in virtue of the erection or foundation of any benefices whatsoever or other constitutions, certain qualifications are required or certain obligations are attached to them, then in the collation of the benefices or in any other arrangement whatsoever nothing shell be taken from them. The same is to be observed in the matter of prebends for theologians, masters, doctors, priests, deacons, and subdeacons whenever they have been so established, so that in any provision nothing shall be altered with regard to their qualifications and orders, and any provision made otherwise shall be considered surreptitious.
The holy council ordains that in all cathedral and collegiate churches the decree published under Paul III, of happy memory, which begins, "Capitula cathedralium," be observed, not only when the bishop makes his visitation but also as often as he proceeds ex officio or at the request of one against anyone of those included in said decree; so, however, that when he institutes proceedings outside of visitation all the following particulars shall be observed, namely, that the chapter at the beginning of each year choose two of its members, with whose counsel and consent the bishop or his vicar shall be bound to proceed both in shaping the process and in all other transactions connected therewith to the end of the action inclusively, in the presence, however, of the bishop's notary and in his residence or in the customary court of justice. These two, however, shall have only one vote, and one of them may cast his with the bishop. But if in any transaction or interlocutory or definitive sentence both should disagree with the bishop, then they shall within six days choose in union with the bishop a third party; and should they disagree also in the choice of that third party, the selection shall devolve on the nearest bishop and the point on which they disagreed shall be decided in favor of the opinion with which the third party agrees. Otherwise the proceedings and what followed therefrom shall be null and without effect in law. In criminal cases, however, arising from incontinency, of which mention has been made in the decree dealing with <concubinarii>, and in the more outrageous crimes that demand deposition and degradation, where it is feared that judgment may be evaded by flight and the detention of the person is therefore necessary, the bishop may in the beginning proceed alone to a summary investigation and the necessary detention, observing, however, the above order in the rest. But in all cases consideration is to be given to this, that the delinquents be confined in a suitable place in keeping with the nature of the crime and the character of the persons. Moreover, everywhere there shall be given to the bishops the honor which is in keeping with their dignity; to them belongs the first seat in the choir, in the chapter, in processions, and in other public functions, and the place which they themselves may select, and theirs shall be the chief authority in everything that is to be done. If they propose something to the canons for deliberation and the matter is not one that is of benefit to them or theirs, the bishops themselves shall convoke the chapter, examine the votes, and decide according to them. But in the absence of the bishop this shall be done entirely by those of the chapter to whom it by law or custom pertains, and the vicar of the bishop is not to be admitted to this. In all other things the jurisdiction and power of the chapter, if it perchance has any, and the administration of properties shall be left absolutely unimpaired and intact. All those, however, who do not possess dignities and do not belong to the chapter, shall in ecclesiastical causes be subject to the bishop, notwithstanding, with regard to what has been said above, privileges, even those accruing from a foundation, or customs, even though immemorial, or judgments, oaths, pacts, which bind only the authors thereof; the privileges, however, which have been granted to universities of general studies or to the persons attached thereto, shall in all things remain intact. But each and all of these things shall not have effect in those churches in which the bishops or their vicars, in virtue of constitutions, privileges, customs, pacts, or any other right, possess a power, authority, and jurisdiction greater than that included in the present decree; these the holy council does not intend to impair.
Since whatever in the matter of ecclesiastical benefices has the appearance of hereditary succession is odious to the sacred constitutions and contrary to the decrees of the Fathers, no access or regress to any ecclesiastical benefice of whatever kind shall in future, even with consent, be granted to anyone, and those thus far granted shall not be suspended, extended, or transferred. And this decree shall apply to all ecclesiastical benefices whatsoever and to all persons, even though distinguished with the dignity of the cardinalate. In the case of coadjutors with future succession also the same shall hereafter be observed, so that they shall not be permitted to anyone in any ecclesiastical benefices whatsoever. But if at any time urgent necessity or the manifest interest of a cathedral church or of a monastery should demand that a coadjutor be given to a prelate, he shall not be given with the right of future succession until the reason therefore has first been diligently investigated by the most holy Roman pontiff, and until it is certain that he possesses all the qualifications which by law and by the decrees of this holy council are required in bishops and prelates; otherwise the concessions made in these matters shall be considered surreptitious.
The holy council admonishes all who hold ecclesiastical benefices, whether secular or regular, to accustom themselves, so far as their revenues will permit, to exercise with promptness and kindness the office of hospitality so often commended by the holy Fathers; being mindful that those who love hospitality receive Christ in their guests. Those who hold <in commendam>, by way of administration or under any other title whatsoever, or also have united to their own churches institutions commonly called hospitals, or other pious places established especially for the benefit of pilgrims, of the infirm, the aged or the poor, or if parish churches perchance united to hospitals or converted into hospitals have been handed over to their patrons to be administered by them, it strictly commands that they discharge the office and duty imposed on them and actually exercise the hospitality that they owe from the revenues set aside for that purpose, in accordance with the constitution of the Council of Vienne, renewed elsewhere by this same council under Paul III, of happy memory, which begins, "Quia contingit." But if these hospitals were established to receive a certain class of pilgrims, infirm persons or others, and in the place in which they are located there are no such persons or very few to be found, it commands further that their revenues be diverted to some other pious purpose that is more closely related to their foundation and the more useful in respect of place and time, as shall appear most expedient to the ordinary, aided by two of the chapter experienced in the administration of property and to be chosen by himself; unless it has perchance been specified otherwise, even with regard to this event, in their foundation or institution, in which case the bishop shall see to it that what has been prescribed be observed, or if that is not possible he shall, as above, regulate the matter in a beneficial manner. If, therefore, any or all of the aforesaid, of whatever rank, order and dignity, even if they be laics, who have the administration of hospitals not however subject to regulars where regular observance is in force, shall, after having been admonished by the ordinary, actually neglect to discharge the duty of hospitality in the fulness to which they are bound, they may be compelled thereto not only by ecclesiastical censures and other legal means, but may also be deprived forever of the administration and care of the hospital and others shall be put in their place by those to whom this pertains. The aforesaid persons, moreover, shall be bound in conscience to the restitution of the revenues which they have received in violation of the institution of these hospitals, which shall not be pardoned by any remission or agreement; neither shall the administration or government of such places be in the future entrusted to one and the same person for a longer period than three years, unless it be otherwise provided for in their foundation; notwithstanding, with regard to all of the aforesaid, any union, exemption and custom, even though immemorial, to the contrary, or any privileges or indults whatsoever.
Just as it is not equitable to take away the legitimate rights of patronage and to infringe upon the pious intentions of the faithful in their institution, so also is it not to be permitted that under this pretext ecclesiastical benefices be reduced to a state of servitude, as is impudently done by many. That, therefore, in all things a proper procedure may be observed, the holy council decrees that the title of the right of patronage is based on a foundation or on an endowment and is to be proved from an authentic document and by other proofs required by law; or also by repeated presentations during a period of time so remote that it goes beyond the memory of man, or by other methods, as the law may direct. But in the case of those persons, communities or universities in which that right is for the most part usually presumed to have been acquired by usurpation, a more complete and more precise proof shall be required to establish the true title; and even the proof derived from immemorial time shall avail them nothing unless, in addition to the other things necessary for it, it shall be proved from authentic documents that presentations have been made without interruption during a period of no less than fifty years, all of which have been carried into effect. All other rights of patronage relating to benefices, secular as well as regular, or parochial, or in regard to dignities, or any other benefices whatsoever in a cathedral or collegiate church, as also faculties and the privileges granted in virtue of patronage or with any other right whatsoever to nominate, elect, and present to the same when vacant, shall be understood as completely abrogated and nullified <in totum,> together with the quasi-possession that followed therefrom, and benefices of this kind shall be conferred as being free by their collators and such appointments shall have full effect; excepted are the rights of patronage that belong to cathedral churches and those that belong to the emperor, or to kings, or to those possessing supreme jurisdiction, and to other high and pre-eminent princes who have the rights of sovereignty within their own dominions, and those which have been granted in favor of general studies. Moreover, it shall be lawful for the bishop to reject those presented by the patrons if they are incompetent. But if the appointment belongs to inferiors, they [the presentees] shall nevertheless be examined by the bishop, in accordance with what has elsewhere been decreed by this holy council; otherwise the appointment made by inferiors shall be null and void. The patrons of benefices, however, of whatever order and dignity, also if they are communities, universities, colleges of clerics or laics, shall by no means or for any reason or under any pretext interfere with the receiving of the fruits, revenues and dues of any benefices whatsoever, even if they are by virtue of foundation or endowment truly under their right of patronage, but they shall leave them to be distributed freely by the rector or the incumbent, any custom whatsoever notwithstanding. Neither shall they contrary to the prescriptions of the canons presume to transfer to others the said right of patronage under the title of sale or under any other title. If they act otherwise, they shall be subject to the penalties of excommunication and interdict and shall be <ipso jure> deprived of that right of patronage. Furthermore, the accessions made by way of union of free benefices with churches that are subject to the right of patronage, even of laics, whether they are parochial churches or benefices of any other kind whatsoever, even simple benefices, or dignities, or hospitals, in such wise that the aforesaid free benefices are made to be of the same nature as those to which they are united and placed under the right of patronage, if they have not yet been carried into full effect, or shall in the future be made at the instance of any person, by whatever authority they shall have been granted, even the Apostolic, they shall, together with the unions themselves, be considered as having been obtained surreptitiously, notwithstanding any form of words therein or any derogation which might be considered as equivalent to being expressed; neither shall they be any more carried into execution, but the benefices so united shall, when vacant, be freely conferred as heretofore. Those, however, which have been made within the last forty years and have obtained their full effect and complete incorporation, shall nevertheless be inquired into and examined by the ordinaries as delegates of the Apostolic See, and those which are found to have been obtained surreptitiously or deceitfully shall together with the unions be declared null and the benefices shall be separated and conferred on others. In like manner also all rights of patronage over churches and all other benefices, also over dignities formerly free, which were acquired within the last forty years, or that may in the future be acquired, whether through an increase in the endowment or in consequence of new construction or through some similar reason, even though with the authority of the Apostolic See, shall be carefully examined by the ordinaries as delegates aforesaid, who shall not in these matters be hindered by the authority or privileges of anyone; and those which they shall find to have been not legitimately established for a very manifest necessity of the church, benefice or dignity, they shall revoke <in totum>, and, without detriment to the incumbents thereof and after restoration to the patrons of whatever they may have given therefor, they shall restore benefices of this kind to their former state of liberty; any privileges, constitutions, and customs, even though immemorial, notwithstanding.
Since by reason of the malicious suggestions of petitioners and sometimes by reason of the distance of places an adequate knowledge of the persons to whom causes are committed cannot be obtained, and hence local causes are at times referred to judges who are not altogether competent, the holy council decrees that in all provincial and diocesan synods some persons who possess the qualifications required by the constitution of Boniface VIII, which begins, "Statutum," and who are otherwise suited thereto be designated, so that to them also, besides the local ordinaries, may hereafter be committed ecclesiastical and spiritual causes and such as belong to the ecclesiastical forum which have to be referred to their districts. And if one of those designated should happen to die in the meantime, then the local ordinary shall with the advice of the chapter appoint another in his place till the next provincial or diocesan synod, so that each diocese may have at least four or even more approved and qualified persons, as specified above, to whom causes of this kind may be committed by any legate or nuncio and also by the Apostolic See. Moreover, after the designation has been made, which the bishops shall transmit at once to the supreme Roman pontiff, all assignments of other judges made to others than these shall be regarded as surreptitious. The holy council furthermore admonishes the ordinaries and all other judges to strive to terminate causes in as brief a time as possible, and to meet in every way, either by prescribing a definite time or by some other available method, the artifices of the litigants, whether it be in delaying the admission of the suit or in any other part of the trial.
It usually brings great ruin on churches when their property is, to the disadvantage of those who succeed, leased to others on the present payment of a sum of money. Wherefore, all such leases, if made for payments in advance, shall be in no way considered valid to the disadvantage of those who succeed, any indult or privilege whatsoever notwithstanding; neither shall such leases be confirmed in the Roman Curia or elsewhere. It shall furthermore not be lawful to lease ecclesiastical jurisdiction or the authority to nominate or delegate vicars in matters spiritual, or for the lessees to exercise them <per se aut alios>, and any concessions made otherwise, even by the Apostolic See, shall be considered surreptitious. The holy council declares invalid, even if confirmed by Apostolic authority, leases of ecclesiastical goods made within thirty years, for a long time, or as they are designated in some localities, for twenty-nine or for twice twenty-nine years, which the provincial synod or its delegates shall judge to have been contracted to the detriment of the church and contrary to the prescriptions of the canons.
Those are not to be tolerated who strive by various devices to withhold the tithes due to the churches, or who rashly take possession of and apply to their own use tithes to be paid by others, since the payment of tithes is due to God, and those who refuse to pay them or hinder those who pay them usurp the property of others. Therefore, the holy council commands all, of whatever rank or condition, on whom rests the obligation to pay tithes, that they in the future pay in full, to the cathedral or to whatever other churches or persons to whom they are legitimately due, the tithes to which they are bound by law. Those who withhold them or hinder their payment shall be excommunicated, and they shall not be absolved from this crime until full restitution has been made. It further exhorts each and all in Christian charity and the duty they owe their pastors, that they do not regard it a burden to assist liberally, out of the things given them by God, the bishops and priests who preside over the poorer churches, for the honor of God and the maintenance of the dignity of their pastors who watch over them.
The holy council decrees that in whatever places it has for forty years been the custom to pay to the cathedral or parochial church a fourth of the funeral dues, as they are called, but has subsequently by virtue of any privilege whatever been granted to other monasteries, hospitals, or any pious places whatsoever, the same shall in the future, with unimpaired right and in the same proportion as was formerly the custom, be paid to the cathedral or parochial church; all concessions, favors, privileges, even those called <mare magnum,> or any others notwithstanding.
How shameful and how unworthy it is of the name of clerics who have dedicated themselves to the service of God to live in the filth of impurity and unclean cohabitation, the thing itself sufficiently testifies by the common scandal of all the faithful and the supreme disgrace on the clerical order. Wherefore, that the ministers of the Church may be brought back to that continency and purity of life which is proper to them, and that for this reason the people may learn to reverence them the more, the more honorable they see them in their conduct, the holy council forbids all clerics whatsoever to presume to keep concubines or other women concerning whom suspicion can be had in their house or elsewhere, or to presume to have any association with them; otherwise they shall be punished with the penalties imposed by the sacred canons or the statutes of the churches. But if after being admonished by their superiors they do not keep away from them, they shall be ipso facto deprived of the third part of the fruits, revenues and dues of all their benefices and of their salaries, which shall be applied to the treasury of the church or to another pious place according to the judgment of the bishop. If, however, they should persist in the same crime with the same or another woman and not obey even the second admonition, then they shall not only forfeit <eo ipso> all the fruits and revenues of their benefices and their salaries, which shall be applied to the aforesaid places, but they shall also be suspended from the administration of the benefices for as long a period as the ordinary, also as the delegate of the Apostolic See, shall deem advisable; and if those so suspended shall still not put them away or shall still associate with them, then they shall be forever deprived of their ecclesiastical benefices, portions, offices and salaries of whatever kind, and shall be declared disqualified and unworthy to hold any honors, dignities, benefices and offices whatsoever in the future, until after a manifest amendment of life it appears good to their superiors on justifiable grounds to grant them a dispensation. But if, after having once put them away, they should presume to renew the interrupted intercourse or to take to themselves other scandalous women of this kind, they shall, in addition to the aforesaid penalties, be chastised with the sword of excommunication. Nor shall any appeal or exemption hinder or suspend the aforesaid execution, and the investigation of all the aforesaid shall pertain not to the archdeacons, or to the deans or other inferiors, but to the bishops themselves, who may proceed summarily and solely in accordance with the truth of the fact ascertained. Clerics who have no ecclesiastical benefices or salaries shall be punished in accordance with the character of their crime and contumacy and their persistence therein by the bishop himself with imprisonment, suspension from order, disqualification to hold benefices, or in other ways conformable to the sacred canons. Bishops also, if, which God forbid, they do not abstain from crime of this nature and, after being admonished by the provincial synod, do not amend, are ipso facto suspended; and if they persist therein, they shall be reported by that synod to the most holy Roman pontiff, who shall punish them according to the nature of the crime, even with deprivation if necessary.
That the memory of the incontinency of the fathers may be banished as far as possible from places consecrated to God, where purity and holiness are most especially becoming, it shall not be lawful for sons of clerics, not born in lawful wedlock, to hold in those churches in which their fathers have or had some ecclesiastical benefice, any benefice whatsoever, even though a different one, or to minister in any way in those churches, or to have salaries from the revenues of the benefices which their fathers hold or formerly have held. But if a father and son shall be found at the present time to hold benefices in the same church, the son shall be compelled to resign his benefice, or within three months to exchange it for another in another church, otherwise he shall be <ipso jure> deprived of it and any dispensation in this matter shall be considered surreptitious. Furthermore, any reciprocal resignations made in the future by fathers who are clerics in favor of their sons that one may obtain the benefices of the other, shall in every respect be considered as an evasion of this decree and of the prescriptions of the canons; nor shall the collations that followed by virtue of resignations of this kind, or of any others whatsoever made fraudulently, be of any avail to sons of clerics.
The holy council decrees that secular ecclesiastical benefices, by whatever name they may be designated, which by virtue of their original institution or in any other manner whatever have the <cura animarum>, shall not in the future be converted into a simple benefice, even though a suitable portion be assigned to a perpetual vicar; notwithstanding any favors whatsoever which have not obtained their plenary effect. With regard to those, however, in which contrary to their institution or foundation the <cura animarum>! has been transferred to a perpetual vicar, even though they are found to have been in this state from time immemorial, if a suitable portion of the fruits has not been assigned to the vicar of the church, by whatever name he may be designated, it shall be assigned as soon as possible and within a year at least from the end of the present council, as the ordinary shall see fit, in accordance with the form of the decree made under Paul III, of happy memory. But if this cannot be conveniently done, or if within that term it has not been done, then as soon as the benefice or vicariate shall have become vacant either by the retirement or death of the vicar or rector, or in any other way, the benefice shall again receive the <cura animarum> and be restored to its former state, and the name of vicariate shall be discontinued.
The holy council cannot but be deeply distressed when it hears that some bishops, forgetful of their state, dishonor the episcopal dignity by conducting themselves, both in and out of the church, with an unbecoming servility toward the ministers of kings, princes and barons, and as inferior ministers of the altar not only most unworthily give them precedence but even serve them in person. Wherefore, the holy council, detesting these and similar things, renews all the sacred canons, general councils and other Apostolic ordinances that relate to the decorum and esteem of the episcopal dignity, and commands that in the future bishops abstain from such things, and that both in and out of the church, having before their eyes their rank and order, they bear in mind everywhere that they are fathers and pastors; the rest, princes as well as all others, it commands that they pay them paternal honor and due reverence.
Just as the public good requires that the fetters of the law be at times relaxed in order that cases and necessities which arise may be met more fully for the common good, so to dispense too frequently from the law and to yield to petitioners by reason of precedent rather than through a certain discrimination of persons and things is nothing else than to open the way for each one to transgress the laws. Wherefore, be it known to all that the most sacred canons are to be accurately observed by all and, so far as this is possible, without distinction. But if an urgent and just reason and at times a greater good should require that one or another be dispensed, this is to be granted after the matter has been investigated and after the most mature deliberation and gratis by those to whom that dispensation pertains, and any dispensation granted otherwise shall be regarded as surreptitious.
The abominable practice of dueling, introduced by the contrivance of the devil, that by the cruel death of the body he may bring about also the destruction of the soul, should be utterly eradicated from the Christian world. Emperor, kings, dukes, princes, marquises, counts, and temporal rulers by whatever other name known, who shall within their territories grant a place for dueling between Christians, shall be <eo ipso> excommunicated and shall be understood to be deprived of the jurisdiction and dominion obtained from the Church over any city, castle or locality in which or at which they have permitted the duel to take place, and if they are fiefs they shall forthwith revert to their direct rulers. Those who entered the combat as well as those who are called their seconds shall incur the penalty of excommunication, the confiscation of all their property, and perpetual infamy, and are in conformity with the sacred canons to be punished as homicides, and if they are killed in the combat they shall be forever deprived of Christian burial. Those also who give advice in the matter of a duel, whether in questions of right or of fact, or in any other way whatever persuade anyone thereto, as also those who are present, shall be bound by the fetters of excommunication and everlasting malediction; any privilege whatsoever or evil custom, even though immemorial, no notwithstanding.
The holy council, desirous that ecclesiastical discipline be not only restored among the Christian people, but also forever preserved unimpaired against all obstacles, besides those things which it has ordained concerning ecclesiastical persons, has deemed it proper that secular princes also be admonished of their duty; being confident that as Catholics whom God has willed to be protectors of the holy faith and the Church, they will not only allow that the Church be restored her right but also will lead back all their subjects to due reverence toward the clergy, parish priests and the higher orders, and will not permit their officials or inferior magistrates through any spirit of covetousness or imprudence to violate the immunity of the Church and of ecclesiastical persons, which has been established by the authority of God and the ordinances of the canons, but that they, together with the princes themselves, render due obedience to the sacred constitutions of the supreme pontiffs and councils. It ordains therefore and commands that the sacred canons and all the general councils, as also other Apostolic ordinances published in the interest of ecclesiastical persons, the liberty of the Church, and against the violators thereof, all of which it renews by the present decree, be accurately observed by all. And hence it admonishes the emperor, kings, states, princes, and each and all, of whatever state or dignity they may be, that the more bountifully they are adorned with temporal goods and with power over others, the more religiously should they respect those things that are of ecclesiastical right as ordinances of God and as covered by His protection; and that they suffer them not to be infringed by any barons, members of their families, governors, or other temporal lords or magistrates, and above all by the ministers of the princes, but that they punish severely those who obstruct her liberty, immunity and jurisdiction. To these they themselves should be an example in the matter of piety, religion and protection of the churches, in imitation of their predecessors, those most excellent and religious princes, who not only defended the Church against injuries by others but by their authority and munificence promoted her interests in a special manner. Wherefore, let each one discharge his duty sedulously in this matter so that divine worship may be celebrated devoutly and the prelates and other clerics may remain quietly and without hindrances in their residences and in the discharge of their duties for the benefit and edification of the people.
Lastly, the holy council declares that each and all of the things which under whatever clauses and words have been established in this holy council in the matter of reform of morals and ecclesiastical discipline, under the supreme pontiffs Paul III and Julius III, of happy memory, as well as under the most blessed Pius IV, have been so decreed that in these matters the authority of the Apostolic See is and is understood to be intact.
Since all the things that were to be considered in the present session cannot by reason of the lateness of the hour be conveniently dispatched, the things that remain are deferred till tomorrow by continuing this same session, as was resolved by the Fathers in a general congregation.
Since the power of granting indulgences was conferred by Christ on the Church, and she has even in the earliest times made use of that power divinely given to her, the holy council teaches and commands that the use of indulgences, most salutary to the Christian people and approved by the authority of the holy councils, is to be retained in the Church, and it condemns with anathema those who assert that they are useless or deny that there is in the Church the power of granting them. In granting them, however, it desires that in accordance with the ancient and approved custom in the Church moderation be observed, lest by too great facility ecclesiastical discipline be weakened. But desiring that the abuses which have become connected with them, and by reason of which this excellent name of indulgences is blasphemed by the heretics, be amended and corrected it ordains in a general way by the present decree that all evil traffic in them, which has been a most prolific source of abuses among the Christian people, be absolutely abolished. Other abuses, however, of this kind which have sprung from superstition, ignorance, irreverence, or from whatever other source, since by reason of the manifold corruptions in places and provinces where they are committed, they cannot conveniently be prohibited individually, it commands all bishops diligently to make note of, each in his own church, and report them in the next provincial synod, so that after having been examined by the other bishops also they may forthwith be referred to the supreme Roman pontiff, by whose authority and prudence that may be ordained which is expedient for the universal Church; that thus the gift of holy indulgences may be dispensed to all the faithful piously, holily and without corruption.
The holy council exhorts furthermore, and by the most holy Advent of our Lord and Savior conjures all pastors, that like good soldiers they sedulously commend to all the faithful all those things which the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, has decreed; also those things which have been established in this council and in the other ecumenical councils, and to make every effort that they comply with all these things, particularly those which tend to mortify the flesh, as the choice of foods and fasts, also those that serve to increase piety, as the devout and religious celebration of festival days often admonishing the people to obey those placed over them, since those who hear them will hear God as a rewarder, while those who despise them will feel God as an avenger.
The holy council in the second session, celebrated under our most holy Lord, Pius IV, commissioned some Fathers to consider what ought to be done concerning various censures and books either suspected or pernicious and to report to this holy council. Hearing now that they have put the finishing hand to this work, which, however, by reason of the variety and multitude of books the holy council cannot distinctly and easily estimate, it commands that whatever has been done by them be given over to the most holy Roman pontiff, that it may by his judgment and authority be completed and made public. The same it commands shall be done with regard to the catechism by the Fathers to whom it was assigned, and likewise with regard to the missal and breviary.
The holy council declares that by the place assigned to ambassadors, ecclesiastics as well as seculars, whether in the sessions, processions, or in any other acts whatsoever, no prejudice has been created with regard to any of them, but that all their rights and prerogatives, as well as those of the emperor, their kings, states, and princes are unimpaired and intact and continue in the same state in which they were before the present council.
So great have been the misfortunes of these times and such the inveterate malice of the heretics, that in the statement of our faith there has been nothing so clearly and so certainly defined, which they at the instigation of the enemy of the human race have not defiled with some kind of error. For which reason the holy council has taken very special care to condemn and anathematize the chief errors of the heretics of our time and to transmit and teach the true and Catholic doctrine, as it has condemned, anathematized, and decreed. And since so many bishops, summoned from the various provinces of the Christian world, cannot for so long a time without great loss to the flock committed to them and without universal danger be absent from their churches, and since there is no hope that the heretics who have been so often invited, even provided with a safe-conduct which they desired, and have been so long expected, will come here later, and it is therefore necessary finally to bring this holy council to an end, it remains now that it admonish in the Lord all princes, which it hereby does, so to direct their activity as not to permit the things that it has established to be corrupted or mutilated by the heretics, but that they be devoutly received and faithfully observed by them and by all others. But if with regard to their acceptance any difficulty should arise, or something should turn up which requires explanation or definition, which does not appear probable, the holy council trusts that besides the other remedies established in this council, the most blessed Roman pontiff will see to it that for the glory of God and the tranquillity of the Church, the necessities of the provinces be provided for either by summoning, especially from those provinces where the difficulty has arisen, the persons whom he shall judge competent to discuss the matter, or by the celebration of a general council if he should deem it necessary, or in any other way as shall seem to him more suitable.
Since at different times under Paul III as well as under Julius III, of happy memory, many things relative to dogma and the reform of morals have been decreed and defined in this council, the holy council wishes that they be now recited and read. <They were read>.
Most illustrious Lords and most reverend Fathers, does it please you that to the praise of Almighty God an end be put to this holy ecumenical council and that the confirmation of each and all of the things which have been decreed and defined therein under the Roman pontiffs, Paul III and Julius III, of happy memory, as well as under our most holy Lord, Pius IV, be sought in the name of this holy council by the presidents and the legates of the Apostolic See from the most blessed Roman pontiff?
They replied: It pleases us.
Hereupon the most illustrious and most reverend Cardinal Morone, the first legate and president, blessing the holy council, said: After having given thanks to God, most reverend Fathers, go in peace.
They replied: Amen.
The Cardinal of Lorraine: To the most blessed Pius, Pope and our Lord, pontiff of the holy universal Church, many years and eternal memory.
Reply of the Fathers: O Lord God, do Thou preserve very long, for many years, the most holy Father to thy Church.
The Cardinal: To the souls of the most blessed sovereign pontiffs, Paul III and Julius III, by whose authority this holy, general council was begun, peace from the Lord, and eternal glory, and happiness in the light of the saints.
Reply: Be their memory in benediction.
The Cardinal: May the memory of the Emperor Charles V and of the most serene kings, who have promoted and protected this universal council, be in benediction.
Reply: Amen, Amen.
The Cardinal: To the most serene Emperor Ferdinand, ever august, orthodox, and peaceful, and to all our kings, states, and princes, many years.
Reply: Preserve, O Lord, the pious and Christian Emperor; O, heavenly Emperor, protect earthly kings, the preservers of the right faith.
The Cardinal: To the legates of the Apostolic See, and the presidents of this council, many years and many thanks.
Reply: Many thanks; the Lord reward them.
The Cardinal: To the most reverend cardinals and most illustrious ambassadors.
Reply: Many thanks; many years.
The Cardinal: To the most holy bishops, life and a happy return to their churches.
Reply: To the heralds of truth perpetual memory; to the orthodox senate many years.
The Cardinal: The holy, ecumenical Council of Trent; let us confess its faith; let us always observe its decrees.
Reply: Let us always confess, always observe.
The Cardinal: We all believe thus, we all think the same, agreeing therein and embracing them, we all subscribe. This is the faith of blessed Peter and of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the orthodox.
Reply: Thus we believe; thus we think; thus we subscribe.
The Cardinal: Adhering to these decrees, may we be made worthy of the mercies and grace of the first and great supreme priest, Jesus Christ God; our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and all the saints interceding.
Reply: So be it, so be it. Amen, Amen.
The Cardinal: Anathema to all heretics.
Reply: Anathema, anathema.
After this the legates presiding commanded all the Fathers under penalty of excommunications, that they before leaving the city of Trent subscribe with their own hand the decrees of the council, or approve them by some public instrument; all then subscribed, and they were in number two hundred and fifty-five, namely, four legates, two cardinals, three patriarchs, twenty-five archbishops, one hundred and sixty-eight bishops, seven abbots, thirty-nine procurators of absentees with lawful commission, seven generals of orders.
It agrees with the original; in faith whereof we have subscribed:
I, Angelus Massarellus, Bishop of Telese, secretary of the holy Council of Trent.
I, Marcus Antonius Peregrinus, of Como, notary of the same council.
I, Cynthius Pamphilius, cleric of the diocese of Camerino, notary of the same council.
1 Cf. Sess. VI, can. 30 and Sess. XXII, chap. 2 and can. 3.
2 Cf. CC.4, 5, D.XXV; Eugene IV in the Council of Florence (Denzinger, Enchridion, no. 693).
3 See I Tim. 1:4; II Tim. 2:23; Tit. 3:9.
4 Cf. <infra>, chap. 4 de ref.
5 Cf. Sess XXII, chap. 3.
6 See I Tim. 2:5.
7 See I Cor. 3:16; 6:19; II Cor. 6:16.
8 Cf. II Council of Nicaea (787), can. 7.
9 Ps 134:15.
10 Sess. III, IV, VI.
11 Cf. c.ult., X, De reliq. et ven. sanct., III, 45.
12 C.2, D.III de cons.
13 Ps. 92:5.
14 Cf. c. I, X, De reliq. et ven. sanct., III, 45.
15 Cf. c.ult., X, h.t., De reliq.
16 Cf. c. I (# Quum igitur in primis), in Clem., De verb. sig., V, II.
17 Cf. cc. II, 13, C.XII, q. I; cc. 2, 6, X, De statu monach., III, 35.
18 Cf. c. 3 (# Porro), VI, De verb. sig., V, 12; C. l, h.t. in Clem., V, II.
19 Cf. c.9, X, De vit. et hon. cler., III. I; c. I, X, De instit., III, 7; c. un. (# I), VI, De stat. regul., III, 16.
20 Cf. c. 35, C.XVI, q. l; c.7, X, De off. jud. ord., I, 31; cc. 3, 4, X, Ne cler. vel monach III. 50; C.1 (# 5), in Clem., De stat. monach., III, 10.
21 C. un., VI, De stat. regul., III, 16.
22 Cf. c. un., VI, De stat. regular., III, 16.
23 C.8, X, De vit. et hon. cler., III, I.
24 Cf. C.43, VI, De elect., I, 6.
25 Cf. c.7, X, De stat. monach., III, 35.
26 Cf. tot. tit. X, De stat. monach., III, 35, De stat. regul. in VI, III, 16, De stat. monach. in Clem., III, 10.
27 C. T (# 2), in Clem., De stat. monach., III, 10.
28 Cf. C. II, C. XVIII. q. 2
29 C. I, in Clem., De sent. excomm., V, 10.
30 C.13, D.XII.
31 Cf. c. ult., X, De stat. monach., III, 35.
32 Cf. C. l, C.XVII, q. 2; C. 16, X, De regular., III, 31; c. 2, h.t. in VI, III, 14.
33 Cf. c.8, X, h.t., III, 31; c. I, h.t., in VI, III, 14.
34 C. 12, X, De regular., III, 31.
35 C 10, C.XX, q.l; C.I, X, De regular., III, 31.
36 Cf. cc. 18, 19, X, De conv. conjug., III, 32.
37 C.2, C.XX, q.2; C.16, C.XXXII, q.2.
38 C.8, C.XX, q.I; C.12, X, De regular., III, 31.
39 Cf. Sess. XIV, chap. II de ref.
40 Cf. Sess. XXI, chap. 8 de ref
41 Cf. Sess. XIV, chap. 10 de ref.
42 Cf. Ps. 101:18: Ecclus. 3:20; 35:21; Matt. 18:3f.
43 C.7, D.XLI.
44 C. 23, C.XII, q.I; c. 19, C.XII, q.2.
45 Cf. Apost. can. 39.
46 Cf. Sess. XXIV, chap. 2 de ref.
47 Cf. Sess. V, chap. I de ref.
48 Cf. cc.8, 41, 42, C.XI, q.3; c.48, X, De sent. excomm., V, 39.
49 Cf. cc. 18, 19, 25, 26, C.XI, q.3; cc.8, 9, 15, 18, 29-31, 38, 39, X, De sent. excomm,.
50 Cf. Sess. XXII, chap. 6 de ref.
51 Cf. Sess. VI, chap. 4 de ref.; Sess. XIV, chap. 4 de ref.
52 Cf. Sess. XXIV, chap. 8 de ref. Matr. and chap. 14 <infra>.
53 C.10, D.XCV.
54 Cf. cc. 4, 5, X, De his, quae fiunt a prael., III. 10.
55 Cf. cc.5, 7, C.VIII, q. I; cc.7, 10, 11l, 13, X, De fil. presb., I, 17; cc.6, 15, X, De jur. patr., III, 38.
56 Cf. Sess. XXI, chap. 6 de ref.; cc. I, 14, C.VII, q. I.
57 Cf. Sess. VII, chaps.I, 3 de ref. and XXII, chap. 2 de ref.
58 Cf. c.2, D.XLII; c. un. D.LXXXV; c. 2, D.LXXXIX; c.30, C.XII, q.2.
59 Matt. 25:35.
60 Cf. Sess. VII, chap. 15 de ref.; c.2 in Clem., De relig. dom., III, II.
61 Cf. Sess. XIV, chap. 12 de ref.; c.25, X, De jur. patr., III, 38.
62 Cf. Sess. XXIV, chap. 19 de ref.
63 Cf. Sess. XIV, chap. 13 de ref. and XXIV, chap. 18 de ref.
64 Cf. c. un., X, Ut eccles. benef. sine demin. confer., III, 12.
65 Cc.6. 16. X. De jur. patr., III, 38.
66 Cf. Sess. VII, chap. 6 de ref.
67 C.II, VI, De rescript., 1, 3.
68 Cf. cc.5, 10, X, De dolo et cont., II, 14; c.2, X, De sent. et re jud., II, 27; Sess. XXIV, chap. 20 de ref.
69 C.6, C.X, q. 2.
70 Cc. I, 2, X, ne prael. vices sues, V, 4.
71 Cf. c. un., De reb. eccl. non al. in Extrav. comm., III, 4.
72 EX. 22:29; Lev. 27:30 f.; Num. 18:21 ff.; Tob. 1:6; Mal. 3:10; c.66, C.XVI, q.I; cc.6, 7, C.XVI, q.7; cc.14, 23, 26, X, De decimis, III, 30.
73 Cf. c. 5, C.XVI, q.7; cc.5, 22, 25, 32, X, De decimis, III, 30; c. I, in Clem., h.t., III, 8.
74 Cf. c.8, X, De sepult., III, 28; c.2, h.t. in VI, III, 12; C.2, h.t. in Clem., III, 7.
75 Cf. tot. tit X, De cohab. cler. et mul., III, 2.
76 Cf. cc.4, 6, h.t.
77 Cf. cc.2, 3, h.t.
78 C.I, D.XXXIV; cc.13, 16, D.LXXXI.
79 Cf. tot. tit. X, De fil. presb., I, 17.
80 Cf. Sess. VII, chap. 7 de ref.
81 Cf. C.22, C.II, q.5; tot. tit. X, De torneam., V, 13, De cler. pugn. in duello, V, 14, et De homicid., V, 12.
82 Cf. C.20, C.XXIII, q 5.
83 Cf. Sess. VII de ref. at the beginning.
84 Matt. 16: 19; John 20:23.
85 C.2, in Clem., De poenit. er remiss., V, 9.
86 Cf. Sess. XXI, chap. 9 de ref.
87 Luke 10:16; Heb. 13:17; c.9, D.XCIII.
88 Cf. Sess. XVIII at the beginning.
89 Cf. Sess. XXIV, chap. 7 de ref.
90 Cf. Sess. II at the end.
91 Cf. Sess. XIII, XV, XVIII.
92 Cf. Sess. V-VII, XIII, XIV.
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