|THE COUNCIL OF TRENT|
|Session VII - Celebrated on the third day of March 1547, under
Pope Paul III
|Decree Concerning The SacramentsForeword
For the completion of the salutary doctrine on justification, which was promulgated with the unanimous consent of the Fathers in the last session, it has seemed proper to deal with the most holy sacraments of the Church, through which all true justice either begins, or being begun is increased, or being lost is restored.
Wherefore, in order to destroy the errors and extirpate the heresies that in our stormy times are directed against the most holy sacraments, some of which are a revival of heresies long ago condemned by our Fathers, while others are of recent origin, all of which are exceedingly detrimental to the purity of the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, the holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding, adhering to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, to the Apostolic traditions, and to the unanimous teaching of other councils and of the Fathers, has thought it proper to establish and enact these present canons; hoping, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to publish later those that are wanting for the completion of the work begun.
Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, let him be anathema.Canon 3. If anyone says that in the Roman Church, which is the mother and mistress of all churches, there is not the true doctrine concerning the sacrament of baptism, let him be anathema. Canon 4. If anyone says that the baptism which is given by heretics in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with the intention of doing what the Church does, is not true baptism, let him be anathema. Canon 5. If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema. Canon 6. If anyone says that one baptized cannot, even if he wishes, lose grace, however much he may sin, unless he is unwilling to believe, let him be anathema. Canon 7. If anyone says that those baptized are by baptism made debtors only to faith alone, but not to the observance of the whole law of Christ, let him be anathema. Canon 8. If anyone says that those baptized are free from all the precepts of holy Church, whether written or unwritten, so that they are not bound to observe them unless they should wish to submit to them of their own accord, let him be anathema. Canon 9. If anyone says that the remembrance of the baptism received is to be so impressed on men that they may understand that all the vows made after baptism are void in virtue of the promise already made in that baptism, as if by those vows they detracted from the faith which they professed and from the baptism itself, let him be anathema. Canon 10. If anyone says that by the sole remembrance and the faith of the baptism received, all sins committed after baptism are either remitted or made venial, let him be anathema. Canon 11. If anyone says that baptism, truly and rightly administered, must be repeated in the one converted to repentance after having denied the faith of Christ among the infidels, let him be anathema. Canon 12. If anyone says that no one is to be baptized except at that age at which Christ was baptized, or when on the point of death, let him be anathema. Canon 13. If anyone says that children, because they have not the act of believing, are not after having received baptism to be numbered among the faithful, and that for this reason are to be rebaptized when they have reached the years of discretion; or that it is better that the baptism of such be omitted than that, while not believing by their own act, they should be baptized in the faith of the Church alone, let him be anathema. Canon 14. If anyone says that those who have been thus baptized when children are, when they have grown up, to be questioned whether they will ratify what their sponsors promised in their name when they were baptized, and in case they answer in the negative, are to be left to their own will; neither are they to be compelled in the meantime to a Christian life by any penalty other than exclusion from the reception of the Eucharist and the other sacraments, until they repent, let him be anathema.
The same holy council, the same legates presiding therein, intending to continue, to the praise of God and the increase of the Christian religion, the work begun concerning residence and reform, has thought it well to decree as follows, saving always and in all things the authority of the Apostolic See.
No one shall be chosen to govern cathedral churches unless he is born of lawful wedlock, is of mature age, is known for his integrity of morals, and possesses the required knowledge, in accordance with the constitution of Alexander III, which begins, "Cum in cunctis," promulgated in the Lateran Council.
No one, by whatever dignity, rank or pre-eminence distinguished, shall presume, in contravention to the sacred canons, to accept and to hold at the same time several metropolitan or cathedral churches, either by title or in commendam or under any other name, since he must be considered exceedingly fortunate who succeeds in ruling one church well, fruitfully and with due interest in the salvation of the souls committed to him.
But those who now hold several churches contrary to the tenor of the present decree, shall be bound, retaining the one which they prefer, to resign the rest within six months if they are subject to free disposal by the Apostolic See, in other cases within a year; otherwise those churches, with the sole exception of the one last obtained, shall be eo ipso considered vacant.
Inferior ecclesiastical benefices, especially those to which is attached the cura animarum, shall be conferred on worthy and competent persons and on such as can reside in the place and exercise personally the care of souls, in accordance with the constitution of Alexander III in the Lateran Council, which begins, "Quia nonnulli," and that of Gregory X, published in the General Council of Lyons, which begins, "Licet canon."
A collation or provision made otherwise is absolutely null, and let the collating bishop know that he will incur the penalties of the constitution of the general council, which begins, "Grave nimis."
Whoever shall in the future presume to accept and to hold at the same time several charges or otherwise incompatible ecclesiastical benefices, whether by way of union for life or by way of perpetual commendam or under any other name or title whatsoever, in contravention of the provision of the sacred canons and especially of the constitution of Innocent III, which begins, "De multa," shall be ipso jure deprived of those benefices in accordance with the provisions of that constitution and also by virtue of the present canon.
Local ordinaries shall strictly compel all who hold several charges or otherwise incompatible ecclesiastical benefices to exhibit their dispensations, and adopt other procedures in accordance with the constitution of Gregory X, published in the General Council of Lyons, beginning with "Ordinarii," which this holy council believes ought to be renewed and does renew; adding, moreover, that the ordinaries are by all means to provide, even by deputing competent vicars and assigning a suitable portion of the revenues, that the cura animarum be in no way neglected and that those benefices be by no means defrauded of the services due them; appeals, privileges and exemptions whatsoever, even with the appointment of special judges and their inhibitions, being of no avail to anyone in the aforesaid matter.
Perpetual unions, made within forty years, may be investigated by the ordinaries as delegates of the Apostolic See, and such as have been obtained through deceit or deception shall be declared null.
Those however must be presumed to have been obtained surreptitiously which, having been granted within the aforesaid period, have not yet been carried into effect in whole or in part; those also which shall henceforth be made at the instance of any person, unless it is certain that they have been made for lawful and otherwise reasonable causes, which must be verified before the local ordinary, those persons being summoned whose interests are concerned; hence, unless the Apostolic See shall have declared otherwise, they shall be absolutely devoid of force.
Ecclesiastical benefices having the cura animarum, which are found to have been always united or annexed to cathedral, collegiate or other churches, or to monasteries, benefices, colleges or to pious places of whatever sort, shall be visited every year by the local ordinaries, who shall zealously see to it that the cura animarum is exercised in a praiseworthy manner by competent vicars, also perpetual, unless the ordinaries shall deem it expedient for the good government of the churches to provide otherwise, who shall be appointed to the same by the ordinaries with a portion consisting of a third part of the revenues, or of a greater or less proportion, at the discretion of the ordinaries, also assigned for the specific purpose; appeals, privileges and exemptions, also with the appointment of special judges and their inhibitions, being of no avail to anyone in the aforesaid matter.
The local ordinaries shall be bound to visit every year with Apostolic authority all churches in whatsoever manner exempt, and to provide by suitable legal remedies that those that need repair be repaired, and that they be not in any way defrauded of the cura animarum if such be annexed to them or of other services due them; appeals, privileges, customs, even though immemorial, appointment of judges and their inhibitions, being absolutely excluded.
Those promoted to major churches shall receive the rite of consecration within the time prescribed by law, and any delays granted extending beyond a period of six months, shall be of no avail to anyone.
It shall not be lawful for chapters of churches, when a see is vacant, to grant, either by a provision of the common law or by virtue of a privilege or custom, permission to be ordained or dimissory letters or "reverends," as some call them, within a year from the day of the vacancy, to anyone who is not pressed for time by reason of an ecclesiastical benefice obtained or about to be obtained.
Otherwise, the contravening chapter shall be subject to ecclesiastical interdict, and those so ordained, if they are in minor orders, shall enjoy no clerical privilege, especially in criminal causes, while those in major orders shall be ipso jure suspended from the exercise thereof during the pleasure of the next prelate.
Authority for promotion by anyone shall be of no avail except to those who have a legitimate reason why they cannot be ordained by their own bishops, which must be expressed in writing; and then they shall not be ordained except by the bishop who resides in his own diocese, or by one who exercises the pontifical functions for him, and after a careful examination.
Permission granted for not being promoted shall be good for one year only, except in the cases provided by law.
Those presented, elected or nominated by any ecclesiastical persons whatsoever, even by nuncios of the Apostolic See, shall not be appointed to, confirmed in or admitted to any ecclesiastical benefice, even under the pretext of some privilege or immemorial custom, unless they shall have been first examined and found competent by the local ordinaries.
And no one shall by recourse to an appeal be able to escape from being bound to undergo that examination.
Those, however, are excepted who are presented, elected or nominated by universities or by colleges for general studies.
In the causes of exempt persons the constitution of Innocent IV, beginning with "Volentes," published in the General Council of Lyons, shall be observed, which this holy council has thought ought to be renewed and does renew; adding moreover, that in civil causes relative to wages and to persons in distress, secular clerics and regulars living outside their monasteries, howsoever exempt, even though they have a special judge deputed by the Apostolic See, and in other causes if they have no such judge, may be brought before the local ordinaries as delegated in this matter by that See and be constrained and compelled by law to pay what they owe; no privileges, exemptions, appointment of conservators and their inhibitions, being of any avail whatever against the aforesaid.
Ordinaries shall take care that all hospitals are faithfully and diligently managed by their administrators, by whatsoever name known and in whatsoever manner exempt, observing the form of the constitution of the Council of Vienne, which begins, "Quia contingit," which this holy council has thought ought to be renewed and does renew together with the restrictions therein contained.
This holy council has also ordained and decreed that the next session be held and celebrated on Thursday, the fifth day after the coming Sunday in Albis, which will be the twenty-first of April of the present year, 1547.
Paul, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to our venerable brother John Maria, Bishop of Praeneste, and our beloved sons, Marcellus, priest of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, and Reginald of St. Mary in Cosmedin, deacon, cardinals, our legates a latere and of the Apostolic See, health and apostolic benediction.
We, by the providence of God, presiding over the government of the universal Church, though with merits unequal thereto, consider it a part of our office that when something of more than ordinary importance must be decided concerning the Christian commonwealth, it be done not only at an opportune time but also in a place at once convenient and suitable.
Wherefore, when we lately, with the advice and consent of our venerable brethren, the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, on hearing that peace had been made between our most dear sons in Christ, Charles, ever august Emperor of the Romans, and Francis, the most Christian King of the French, raised and removed the suspension of the celebration of the holy, ecumenical and general council, which we had on another occasion, for reasons then stated, convoked with the same advice and consent in the city of Trent, and which was, for certain other reasons at that time also stated, suspended upon the same advice and consent to another more opportune and suitable time to be made known by us, being ourselves unable, because at that time lawfully hindered, to proceed personally to the aforesaid city and to be present at the council, we, by the same advice, appointed and deputed you as legates a latere on our behalf and on that of the Apostolic See in that council, and we sent you to that city as angels of peace, as is set forth more fully in our various letters dealing with this matter.
Wishing now to provide opportunely that so holy a work as the celebration of this council may not through the inconvenience of the place or in any other manner be hindered or unduly delayed, we, by our own action and certain knowledge, with the plenitude of Apostolic authority and with the same advice and consent, grant to you all together or to two of you, in case the other should be detained by a lawful impediment or perchance be absent therefrom, by the tenor of these presents with Apostolic authority, full and unrestricted power and authority to transfer and change, whenever you shall deem it expedient, the aforesaid council from the city of Trent to any other more convenient, suitable and safer city which you shall judge appropriate; also to prohibit, even by ecclesiastical censures and penalties, the prelates and other members of that council to proceed therein to any further measures in the said city of Trent; further, to continue, hold and celebrate the same council in the other city to which it shall have been transferred and changed, and to summon to it the prelates and other members of the Council of Trent, even under penalty of perjury and other penalties named in the letters of the convocation of that council; also to preside and proceed in the council thus translated and changed in the name and by the authority aforesaid, and to perform, regulate, ordain and execute the other things mentioned above and the things necessary and suitable to it, in accordance with the contents and tenor of previous letters addressed to you on another occasion; declaring that we will hold as ratified and pleasing whatsoever shall be done, regulated and ordained by you in the aforesaid matters, and will, with God's help, see to it that it be inviolately observed; Apostolic constitutions and ordinances and other things whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding.
Therefore, let no one infringe this letter of our authorization or with foolhardy boldness go contrary to it.
But if anyone shall presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the indignation of Almighty God and of the blessed Peter and Paul, His Apostles.
Given at Rome at St. Peter's in the year of the Lord's incarnation 1547, on the twenty-fifth of February, in the eleventh year of our pontificate.
Fab. Bishop of Spol.
1. Eugene IV in decr. ad Armenos (Denzinger, no. 695); Pius IV in the bull Injunctam nobis (idem, no. 996).
2. Cf. Sess. VI, chap. 7 and can. 9.
3. Eugene IV in the decr. cited.
5. Cf. Sess. XIV, Penance, chap. 6, and Extr. Unct., chap. 3.
6. Eugene IV in the decr. cited.
7. Cf. c.98, C.I, q.1; cc. 39, 149, D.IV de cons.
8. Cf. c. 135, D.IV de cons.
9. Cf. c.5, X, De bapt., III, 42.
10. John 3:5.
11. C.9, X, De haeret., V, 7.
12. Cc. 97, 98, C.I, q. 1.
13. John 3:5.
14. Cf. c.139, D.IV de cons.
15. Cf. Sess. XXIII, chap. 4.
16. Cf. Sess. XXII, chap. 2 de ref.
17. C.7, X, De elect., I, 6.
18. C.2, D.LXX; c.3, C.X, q.3; cc. 1, 2, C.XXI, q.1; cc.5, 13, 28, X, De praeb., III, 5; c.32, VI, De praeb., III, 4.
19. C.3, X, De cler. non resid., III, 4.
20. C.14, VI, De elect., I, 16.
21. C.29, X, De praeb., III, 5.
22. Cf. Sess. XXIV, chap. 17 de ref.
23. C.28, X, De praeb., III, 5.
24. C.3, VI, De off. ord., I, 16.
25. Cf. Sess. XIV, chap. 9 de ref.; Sess. XXIV, chap. 13 de ref; Sess. XXV, chap. 9 de ref.
26. Cf. Sess. XIV, chap. 9 de ref.
27. Cf. supra, chap. 5 and Sess. XXV, chap. 16 de ref.
28. Cc.10-12, C.X, q.1; Sess. XXI, chap. 8 de ref. and Sess XXIV, chap. 9 de ref.
29. C.2, D.LXXV; c.1, D.C.
30. C.3, VI, De temp ord., I, 9; cf. Sess. XXIII, chap. 10 de ref.
31. Cf. Sess. VI, chap. 5 de ref. and Sess. XIV, chap. 2 de ref.
32. Cc. 14, 34, VI, De elect., I, 6.
33. Cf. Sess. XXV, chap. 9 de ref.
34. Cf. Sess. XXIV, chap. 18 de ref.
35. C.1, VI, De privil., V, 7.
36. Cf. Sess. XXV, chap. 8 de ref.
37. C.2, De relig. dom. in Clem., III, 11.
Provided Courtesy of: