Decree Concerning Justification & Decree Concerning Reform

Author: Trent


Session VI - Celebrated on the thirteenth day of January, 1547 under Pope Paul III

Decree Concerning Justification
Canons Concerning Justification
Decree Concerning Reform
Announcement Of The Next Session

Decree Concerning Justification


Since there is being disseminated at this time, not without the loss of many souls and grievous detriment to the unity of the Church, a certain erroneous doctrine concerning justification, the holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the most reverend John Maria, Bishop of Praeneste de Monte, and Marcellus, priest of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, cardinals of the holy Roman Church and legates Apostolic a latere, presiding in the name of our most holy Father and Lord in Christ, Paul III, by the providence of God, Pope, intends, for the praise and glory of Almighty God, for the tranquillity of the Church and the salvation of souls, to expound to all the faithful of Christ the true and salutary doctrine of justification, which the Sun of justice,[1] Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith[2] taught, which the Apostles transmitted and which the Catholic Church under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost has always retained; strictly forbidding that anyone henceforth presume to believe, preach or teach otherwise than is defined and declared in the present decree.


The holy council declares first, that for a correct and clear understanding of the doctrine of justification, it is necessary that each one recognize and confess that since all men had lost innocence in the prevarication of Adam,[3] having become unclean,[4] and, as the Apostle says, by nature children of wrath,[5] as has been set forth in the decree on original sin,[6] they were so far the servants of sin[7] and under the power of the devil and of death, that not only the Gentiles by the force of nature, but not even the Jews by the very letter of the law of Moses, were able to be liberated or to rise therefrom, though free will, weakened as it was in its powers and downward bent,[8] was by no means extinguished in them.


Whence it came to pass that the heavenly Father, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,[9] when the blessed fullness of time was come,[10] sent to men Jesus Christ, His own Son, who had both before the law and during the time of the law been announced and promised to many of the holy fathers,[11] that he might redeem the Jews who were under the law,[12] and that the Gentiles who followed not after justice[13] might attain to justice, and that all men might receive the adoption of sons.

Him has God proposed as a propitiator through faith in his blood[14] for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.[15]


But though He died for all,[16] yet all do not receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated; because as truly as men would not be born unjust, if they were not born through propagation of the seed of Adam, since by that propagation they contract through him, when they are conceived, injustice as their own, so if they were not born again in Christ, they would never be justified, since in that new birth there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace by which they are made just.

For this benefit the Apostle exhorts us always to give thanks to the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, and hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption and remission of sins.[17]


In which words is given a brief description of the justification of the sinner, as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

This translation however cannot, since promulgation of the Gospel, be effected except through the laver of regeneration or its desire, as it is written:

Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.[18]


It is furthermore declared that in adults the beginning of that justification must proceed from the predisposing grace of God through Jesus Christ, that is, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits on their part, they are called; that they who by sin had been cut off from God, may be disposed through His quickening and helping grace to convert themselves to their own justification by freely assenting to and cooperating with that grace; so that, while God touches the heart of man through the illumination of the Holy Ghost, man himself neither does absolutely nothing while receiving that inspiration, since he can also reject it, nor yet is he able by his own free will and without the grace of God to move himself to justice in His sight.

Hence, when it is said in the sacred writings:
Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you,[19] we are reminded of our liberty; and when we reply:
Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted,[20] we confess that we need the grace of God.


Now, they [the adults] are disposed to that justice when, aroused and aided by divine grace, receiving faith by hearing,[21] they are moved freely toward God, believing to be true what has been divinely revealed and promised, especially that the sinner is justified by God by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;[22] and when, understanding themselves to be sinners, they, by turning themselves from the fear of divine justice, by which they are salutarily aroused, to consider the mercy of God, are raised to hope, trusting that God will be propitious to them for Christ's sake; and they begin to love Him as the fountain of all justice, and on that account are moved against sin by a certain hatred and detestation, that is, by that repentance that must be performed before baptism;[23] finally, when they resolve to receive baptism, to begin a new life and to keep the commandments of God.

Of this disposition it is written:
He that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him;[24] and, Be of good faith, son, thy sins are forgiven thee;[25] and, The fear of the Lord driveth out sin;[26] and, Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost;[27] and, Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you;[28] finally, Prepare your hearts unto the Lord.[29]


This disposition or preparation is followed by justification itself, which is not only a remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts whereby an unjust man becomes just and from being an enemy becomes a friend, that he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting.[30]

The causes of this justification are:
the final cause is the glory of God and of Christ and life everlasting; the efficient cause is the merciful God who washes and sanctifies[31] gratuitously, signing and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance,[32] the meritorious cause is His most beloved only begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies,[33] for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us,[34] merited for us justification by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross and made satisfaction for us to God the Father, the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith,[35] without which no man was ever justified finally, the single formal cause is the justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but that by which He makes us just, that, namely, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind,[36] and not only are we reputed but we are truly called and are just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to everyone as He wills,[37] and according to each one's disposition and cooperation.

For though no one can be just except he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet this takes place in that justification of the sinner, when by the merit of the most holy passion, the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Ghost in the hearts[38] of those who are justified and inheres in them; whence man through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives in that justification, together with the remission of sins, all these infused at the same time, namely, faith, hope and charity.

For faith, unless hope and charity be added to it, neither unites man perfectly with Christ nor makes him a living member of His body.[39]

For which reason it is most truly said that faith without works is dead[40] and of no profit, and in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by charity.[41]

This faith, conformably to Apostolic tradition, catechumens ask of the Church before the sacrament of baptism, when they ask for the faith that gives eternal life, which without hope and charity faith cannot give.

Whence also they hear immediately the word of Christ:
If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.[42]

Wherefore, when receiving true and Christian justice, they are commanded, immediately on being born again, to preserve it pure and spotless, as the first robe[43] given them through Christ Jesus in place of that which Adam by his disobedience lost for himself and for us, so that they may bear it before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ and may have life eternal.


But when the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely,[44] these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God[45] and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.

For, if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the Apostle says, grace is no more grace.[46]


But though it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted nor ever have been remitted except gratuitously by divine mercy for Christ's sake, yet it must not be said that sins are forgiven or have been forgiven to anyone who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins,[47] resting on that alone, though among heretics and schismatics this vain and ungodly confidence may be and in our troubled times indeed is found and preached with untiring fury against the Catholic Church.

Moreover, it must not be maintained, that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubt whatever, convince themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and justified except he that believes with certainty that he is absolved and justified,[48] and that absolution and justification are effected by this faith alone, as if he who does not believe this, doubts the promises of God and the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ.

For as no pious person ought to doubt the mercy of God, the merit of Christ and the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, so each one, when he considers himself and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension concerning his own grace, since no one can know with the certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.


Having, therefore, been thus justified and made the friends and domestics of God,[49] advancing from virtue to virtue,[50] they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day,[51] that is, mortifying the members[52] of their flesh, and presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification,[53] they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith cooperating with good works, increase in that justice received through the grace of Christ and are further justified, as it is written:
He that is just, let him be justified still;[54] and, Be not afraid to be justified even to death;[55] and again, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only?[56]

This increase of justice holy Church asks for when she prays:
"Give unto us, O Lord, an increase of faith, hope and charity."[57]


But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one should use that rash statement, once forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified.

For God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes thee to do what thou canst and to pray for what thou canst not, and aids thee that thou mayest be able.[58]

His commandments are not heavy,[59] and his yoke is sweet and burden light.[60]

For they who are the sons of God love Christ, but they who love Him, keep His commandments, as He Himself testifies;[61] which, indeed, with the divine help they can do.

For though during this mortal life, men, however holy and just, fall at times into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial, they do not on that account cease to be just, for that petition of the just, forgive us our trespasses,[62] is both humble and true; for which reason the just ought to feel themselves the more obliged to walk in the way of justice, for being now freed from sin and made servants of God,[63] they are able, living soberly, justly and godly,[64] to proceed onward through Jesus Christ, by whom they have access unto this grace.[65]

For God does not forsake those who have been once justified by His grace, unless He be first forsaken by them.

Wherefore, no one ought to flatter himself with faith alone, thinking that by faith alone he is made an heir and will obtain the inheritance, even though he suffer not with christ, that he may be also glorified with him.[66]

For even Christ Himself, as the Apostle says, whereas he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered, and being consummated, he became to all who obey him the cause of eternal salvation.[67]

For which reason the same Apostle admonishes those justified, saying:
Know you not that they who run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize?
So run that you may obtain.

I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty; I so fight, not as one beating the air, but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection; lest perhaps when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.[68]

So also the prince of the Apostles, Peter:
Labor the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election.

For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time.[69]

From which it is clear that they are opposed to the orthodox teaching of religion who maintain that the just man sins, venially at least, in every good work;[70] or, what is more intolerable, that he merits eternal punishment; and they also who assert that the just sin in all works, if, in order to arouse their sloth and to encourage themselves to run the race, they, in addition to this, that above all God may be glorified, have in view also the eternal reward,[71] since it is written:
I have inclined my heart to do thy justifications on account of the reward;[72] and of Moses the Apostle says; that he looked unto the reward.[73]


No one, moreover, so long as he lives this mortal life, ought in regard to the sacred mystery of divine predestination, so far presume as to state with absolute certainty that he is among the number of the predestined,[74] as if it were true that the one justified either cannot sin any more, or, if he does sin, that he ought to promise himself an assured repentance.

For except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God has chosen to Himself.


Similarly with regard to the gift of perseverance, of which it is written:

He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved,[75] which cannot be obtained from anyone except from Him who is able to make him stand who stands,[76] that he may stand perseveringly, and to raise him who falls, let no one promise himself herein something as certain with an absolute certainty, though all ought to place and repose the firmest hope in God's help.

For God, unless men themselves fail in His grace, as he has begun a good work, so will he perfect it, working to will and to accomplish.[77]

Nevertheless, let those who think themselves to stand, take heed lest they fall,[78] and with fear and trembling work out their salvation,[79] in labors, in watchings, in almsdeeds, in prayer, in fastings and chastity.

For knowing that they are born again unto the hope of glory,[80] and not as yet unto glory, they ought to fear for the combat that yet remains with the flesh, with the world and with the devil, in which they cannot be victorious unless they be with the grace of God obedient to the Apostle who says:

We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you shall die, but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.[81]


Those who through sin have forfeited and received grace of justification, can again be justified when, moved by God, they exert themselves to obtain through the sacrament of penance the recovery, by the merits of Christ, of the grace lost.[82]

For this manner of justification is restoration for those fallen, which the holy Fathers have aptly called a second plank after the shipwreck of grace lost.[83]

For on behalf of those who fall into sins after baptism, Christ Jesus instituted the sacrament of penance when He said:

Receive ye the Holy Ghost, whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.[84]

Hence, it must be taught that the repentance of a Christian after his fall is very different from that at his baptism, and that it includes not only a determination to avoid sins and a hatred of them, or a contrite and humble heart,[85] but also the sacramental confession of those sins, at least in desire, to be made in its season, and sacerdotal absolution, as well as satisfaction by fasts, alms, prayers and other devout exercises of the spiritual life, not indeed for the eternal punishment, which is, together with the guilt, remitted either by the sacrament or by the desire of the sacrament, but for the temporal punishment which, as the sacred writings teach, is not always wholly remitted, as is done in baptism, to those who, ungrateful to the grace of God which they have received, have grieved the Holy Ghost[86] and have not feared to violate the temple of God.[87]

Of which repentance it is written:
Be mindful whence thou art fallen; do penance, and do the first works;[88] and again, The sorrow that is according to God worketh penance, steadfast unto salvation;[89] and again, Do penance, and bring forth fruits worthy of penance.[90]


Against the subtle wits of some also, who by pleasing speeches and good words seduce the hearts of the innocent,[91] it must be maintained that the grace of justification once received is lost not only by infidelity, whereby also faith itself is lost, but also by every other mortal sin, though in this case faith is not lost; thus defending the teaching of the divine law which excludes from the kingdom of God not only unbelievers, but also the faithful [who are] fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liars with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners,[92] and all others who commit deadly sins, from which with the help of divine grace they can refrain, and on account of which they are cut off from the grace of Christ.


Therefore, to men justified in this manner, whether they have preserved uninterruptedly the grace received or recovered it when lost, are to be pointed out the words of the Apostle: Abound in every good work, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.[93]

For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work, and the love which you have shown in his name;[94] and, Do not lose your confidence, which hath a great reward.[95]

Hence, to those who work well unto the end[96] and trust in God, eternal life is to be offered, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Christ Jesus, and as a reward promised by God himself, to be faithfully given to their good works and merits.[97]

For this is the crown of justice which after his fight and course the Apostle declared was laid up for him, to be rendered to him by the just judge, and not only to him, but also to all that love his coming.[98]

For since Christ Jesus Himself, as the head into the members and the vine into the branches,[99] continually infuses strength into those justified, which strength always precedes, accompanies and follows their good works, and without which they could not in any manner be pleasing and meritorious before God, we must believe that nothing further is wanting to those justified to prevent them from being considered to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life and to have truly merited eternal life, to be obtained in its [due] time, provided they depart [this life] in grace,[100] since Christ our Savior says:

If anyone shall drink of the water that I will give him, he shall not thirst forever; but it shall become in him a fountain of water springing up into life everlasting.[101]

Thus, neither is our own justice established as our own from ourselves,[102] nor is the justice of God ignored or repudiated, for that justice which is called ours, because we are justified by its inherence in us, that same is [the justice] of God, because it is infused into us by God through the merit of Christ.

Nor must this be omitted, that although in the sacred writings so much is attributed to good works, that even he that shall give a drink of cold water to one of his least ones, Christ promises, shall not lose his reward;[103] and the Apostle testifies that, That which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;[104] nevertheless, far be it that a Christian should either trust or glory in himself and not in the Lord,[105] whose bounty toward all men is so great that He wishes the things that are His gifts to be their merits.

And since in many things we all offend,[106] each one ought to have before his eyes not only the mercy and goodness but also the severity and judgment [of God]; neither ought anyone to judge himself, even though he be not conscious to himself of anything;[107] because the whole life of man is to be examined and judged not by the judgment of man but of God, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise from God,[108] who, as it is written, will render to every man according to his works.[109]

After this Catholic doctrine on justification, which whosoever does not faithfully and firmly accept cannot be justified, it seemed good to the holy council to add to these canons, that all may know not only what they must hold and follow, but also what to avoid and shun.

Canons Concerning Justification

Canon 1.
If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law,[110] without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.

Canon 2.
If anyone says that divine grace through Christ Jesus is given for this only, that man may be able more easily to live justly and to merit eternal life, as if by free will without grace he is able to do both, though with hardship and difficulty, let him be anathema.

Canon 3.
If anyone says that without the predisposing inspiration of the Holy Ghost[111] and without His help, man can believe, hope, love or be repentant as he ought,[112] so that the grace of justification may be bestowed upon him, let him be anathema.

Canon 4.
If anyone says that man's free will moved and aroused by God, by assenting to God's call and action, in no way cooperates toward disposing and preparing itself to obtain the grace of justification, that it cannot refuse its assent if it wishes, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive, let him be anathema.

Canon 5.
If anyone says that after the sin of Adam man's free will was lost and destroyed, or that it is a thing only in name, indeed a name without a reality, a fiction introduced into the Church by Satan, let him be anathema.

Canon 6.
If anyone says that it is not in man's power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil as well as those that are good God produces, not permissively only but also propria et per se, so that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of St. Paul, let him be anathema.

Canon 7.
If anyone says that all works done before justification, in whatever manner they may be done, are truly sins, or merit the hatred of God; that the more earnestly one strives to dispose himself for grace, the more grievously he sins, let him be anathema.

Canon 8.
If anyone says that the fear of hell,[113] whereby, by grieving for sins, we flee to the mercy of God or abstain from sinning, is a sin or makes sinners worse, let him be anathema.

Canon 9.
If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone,[114] meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.

Canon 10.
If anyone says that men are justified without the justice of Christ,[115] whereby Her merited for us, or by that justice are formally just, let him be anathema.

Canon 11.
If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost,[116] and remains in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.

Canon 12.
If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy,[117] which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema.

Canon 13.
If anyone says that in order to obtain the remission of sins it is necessary for every man to believe with certainty and without any hesitation arising from his own weakness and indisposition that his sins are forgiven him, let him be anathema.

Canon 14.
If anyone says that man is absolved from his sins and justified because he firmly believes that he is absolved and justified,[118] or that no one is truly justified except him who believes himself justified, and that by this faith alone absolution and justification are effected, let him be anathema.

Canon 15.
If anyone says that a man who is born again and justified is bound ex fide to believe that he is certainly in the number of the predestined,[119] let him be anathema.

Canon 16.
If anyone says that he will for certain, with an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance even to the end, unless he shall have learned this by a special revelation,[120] let him be anathema.

Canon 17.
If anyone says that the grace of justification is shared by those only who are predestined to life, but that all others who are called are called indeed but receive not grace, as if they are by divine power predestined to evil, let him be anathema.

Canon 18.
If anyone says that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace,[121] impossible to observe, let him be anathema.

Canon 19.
If anyone says that nothing besides faith is commanded in the Gospel, that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor forbidden, but free; or that the ten commandments in no way pertain to Christians, let him be anathema.

Canon 20.
If anyone says that a man who is justified and however perfect is not bound to observe the commandments of God and the Church, but only to believe,[122] as if the Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life without the condition of observing the commandments, let him be anathema.

Canon 21.
If anyone says that Christ Jesus was given by God to men as a redeemer in whom to trust, and not also as a legislator whom to obey, let him be anathema.

Canon 22.
If anyone says that the one justified either can without the special help of God persevere in the justice received,[123] or that with that help he cannot, let him be anathema.

Canon 23.
If anyone says that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace,[124] and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or on the contrary, that he can during his whole life avoid all sins, even those that are venial, except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin, let him be anathema.

Canon 24.
If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works,[125] but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema.

Canon 25.
If anyone says that in every good work the just man sins at least venially,[126] or, what is more intolerable, mortally, and hence merits eternal punishment, and that he is not damned for this reason only, because God does not impute these works into damnation, let him be anathema.

Canon 26.
If anyone says that the just ought not for the good works done in God[127] to expect and hope for an eternal reward from God through His mercy and the merit of Jesus Christ, if by doing well and by keeping the divine commandments they persevere to the end,[128] let him be anathema.

Canon 27.
If anyone says that there is no mortal sin except that of unbelief,[129] or that grace once received is not lost through any other sin however grievous and enormous except by that of unbelief, let him be anathema.

Canon 28.
If anyone says that with the loss of grace through sin faith is also lost with it, or that the faith which remains is not a true faith, though it is not a living one, or that he who has faith without charity is not a Christian, let him be anathema.

Canon 29.
If anyone says that he who has fallen after baptism cannot by the grace of God rise again,[130] or that he can indeed recover again the lost justice but by faith alone without the sacrament of penance, contrary to what the holy Roman and Universal Church, instructed by Christ the Lord and His Apostles, has hitherto professed, observed and taught, let him be anathema.

Canon 30.
If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world[131] or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened,[132] let him be anathema.

Canon 31.
If anyone says that the one justified sins when he performs good works with a view to an eternal reward,[133] let him be anathema.

Canon 32.
If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit an increase of grace, eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself and also an increase of glory, let him be anathema.

Canon 33.
If anyone says that the Catholic doctrine of justification as set forth by the holy council in the present decree, derogates in some respect from the glory of God or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, and does not rather illustrate the truth of our faith and no less the glory of God and of Christ Jesus, let him be anathema.

Decree Concerning Reform


The same holy council, the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding, wishing to restore a very much collapsed ecclesiastical discipline and to reform the depraved morals of the clergy and the Christian people, has deemed it proper to begin with those who preside over the major churches, for unblemished character in those who govern is the salvation of those governed.[134]

Trusting therefore that by the mercy of our Lord and God and the prudent vigilance of the vicar of that God on earth, it will surely come about that for the government of the churches, a burden formidable even to the shoulders of angels, those who are most worthy, whose previous life in its every stage, from their youth to their riper years, laudably spent in the services of ecclesiastical discipline, bears testimony in their favor, will be chosen in accordance with the venerable ordinances of the holy Fathers,[135] it admonishes all who under whatever name or title are set over patriarchal, primatial, metropolitan and cathedral churches, and hereby wishes that they be considered admonished, that taking heed to themselves and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed them to rule the Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood,[136] that they be vigilant, as the Apostle commands, labor in all things and fulfil their ministry.[137]

Let them know, however, that they cannot fulfil this if like hirelings they desert the flocks committed to them[138] and do not attend to the guardianship of their sheep, whose blood will be required at their hands by the supreme judge;[139] since it is most certain that the shepherd's excuse will not be accepted if the wolf devours the sheep and he knows it not.

And since there are some at this time, which is greatly to be deplored, who, forgetful even of their own salvation and preferring earthly things to the things of heaven and things human to things divine, wander about at divers courts or keep themselves occupied with the care of temporal affairs, their fold forsaken and their watchfulness over the sheep committed to them neglected, it has seemed good to the holy council to renew, as by virtue of the present decree it does renew, the old canons promulgated against non-residents,[140] which on account of the disorders of the times and of men have well-nigh fallen into desuetude; and furthermore, for a more faithful residence of the same and for the reform of morals in the Church, to ordain and decree in the manner following.

If anyone, by whatever dignity, rank and pre-eminence distinguished, shall, by remaining outside of his diocese for a continuous period of six months[141] without lawful impediment or just and reasonable causes,[142] be absent from a patriarchal, primatial, metropolitan or cathedral church, under whatever title, cause, name or right committed to him, he shall incur ipsu jure the forfeiture of a fourth part of one year's revenues, to be applied by the ecclesiastical superior to the church treasury and to the poor of the locality.

If he continues to absent himself for another six months, he shall eo ipso forfeit another fourth part of the revenues, to be applied in like manner.[143]

If the contumacy proceed yet farther, that he may be subject to a severer penalty of the sacred canons, the metropolitan shall be bound to denounce the absent suffragan bishops, and the oldest resident suffragan bishop shall be bound under penalty, to be incurred ipso facto, of being forbidden entrance to the church,[144] to denounce the absent metropolitan to the Roman pontiff by letter or messenger within three months, that he, by the authority of his supreme see, may take action against the non-resident prelates, as the degree of contumacy of each may demand, and provide the churches with more useful pastors, as he shall know in the Lord to be salutary and expedient.


Those inferior to bishops, who by title or in commendam hold any ecclesiastical benefices that by law or custom require personal residence, shall be appropriate measures be compelled by their ordinaries to reside therein, according as it seems expedient to them for the good government of the churches and the increase of divine worship, taking into account the character of places and persons, and to no one shall privileges or perpetual indults in favor of non-residence or the reception of revenues during absence be of avail;[145] temporary permissions and dispensations, however, granted solely on true and reasonable grounds and to be legally proved before the ordinary, shall remain in force; in which cases, nevertheless, it is the duty of the bishops, as delegated in this matter by the Apostolic See, to see to it that the cura animarum is in no way neglected by the appointment of competent vicars and the assignment of a suitable portion of the revenues;[146] no privilege or exemption whatever shall be of avail to anyone in this matter.


The prelates of the churches shall apply themselves prudently and diligently to correct the excesses of their subjects, and no secular cleric under pretext of a personal privilege, or a regular living outside his monastery under pretext of a privilege of his order, shall, if he transgresses, be considered exempt from being visited, punished and corrected in accordance with the canonical enactments by the ordinary of the locality as delegated in this matter by the Apostolic See.[147]


Chapters of cathedral and of other major churches and the members thereof shall not by any exemptions, customs, judicial verdicts, oaths, agreements, which bind only the originators thereof and not also their successors, shield themselves so that they cannot even with Apostolic authority be visited, corrected and amended in accordance with the canonical statutes as often as shall be necessary by their own bishops and other major prelates, by themselves alone or with those whom they shall deem fit to accompany them.[148]


No bishop is allowed under pretext of any privilege to exercise pontifical functions in the diocese of another, except with the expressed permission of the ordinary of the place, and for those persons only who are subject to the same ordinary.[149]

If the contrary is done, the bishop is ipso jure suspended from the exercise of pontifical functions and those so ordained from the exercise of their orders.

Announcement Of The Next Session

Does it please you that the next following session be celebrated on Thursday after the first Sunday of the approaching Lent, which will be the third day of March?

They answered: It pleases us.


1. Mal. 4:2.

2. Heb. 12:2.

3. Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22.

4. Is. 64:6.

5. Eph. 2:3.

6. Cf. Sess. V at the beginning.

7. Rom. 6:17, 20.

8. Cf. II Synod of Orange (529), c.25. Hardouin, II, 1101.

9. See II Cor. 1:3.

10. Gal. 4:4.

11. Gen. 49:10, 18.

12. Gal. 4:5.

13. Rom. 9:30.

14. Ibid., 3:25; Dist. I De poenit., passim.

15. See 1 John 2:2.

16. See II Cor. 5:15.

17. Col. 1:12-14.

18. John 3:5.

19. Zach. 1:3.

20. Lam. 5:21.

21. Rom. 10:17.

22. Ibid., 3:24.

23. Cf. Sess. XIV, chap. 4.

24. Heb. 11:6.

25. Matt. 9:2; Mark 2:5.

26. Ecclus. 1:27.

27. Acts 2:38; cc.13, 97, D.IV de cons.

28. Matt. 28:19f.

29. See 1 Kings 7:3.

30. Tit. 3:7.

31. See 1 Cor. 6:11.

32. Eph. 1:13f.

33. Rom. 5:10.

34. Eph. 2:4.

35. C.76, D.IV de cons.

36. Eph. 4:23.

37. See I Cor. 12:11.

38. Rom 5:5.

39. Cf. infra, chap. 10.

40. James 2:17, 20.

41. Gal 5:6, 6:15.

42. Matt. 19:17.

43. Luke 15:22; c.31, D.II de poenit.

44. Rom. 3:24; 5:1.

45. Heb. 11:6.

46. Rom. 11:6.

47. Cf. infra, can. 12 and 13.

48. Infra, can. 14.

49. Eph. 2:19.

50. Ps. 83:8.

51. See 2 Cor. 4:16.

52. Col. 3:5.

53. Rom. 6:13, 19.

54. Apoc. 22:11.

55. Ecclus. 18:22.

56. James 2:24.

57. Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost.

58. St. Augustine, De natura et gratia, c.43 (50), PL, XLIV, 271.

59. See 1 John 5:3.

60. Matt. 11:30.

61. John 14:23.

62. Matt. 6:12.

63. Rom. 6:18, 22.

64. Tit. 2:12.

65. Rom. 5:1f.

66. Ibid., 8:17.

67. Heb. 5:8f.

68. See 1 Cor. 9:24, 26f.

69. See 2 Pet. 1:10.

70. Cf. infra, can. 25.

71. Cf. infra, can. 31.

72. Ps. 118:112.

73. Heb. 11:26.

74. Cf. C.17, C.XXIV, q.3.

75. Matt. 10:22; 24:13.

76. Rom. 14:4.

77. Phil. 1:6, 2:13.

78. See 1 Cor. 10:12.

79. Phil. 2:12.

80. See 1 Pet. 1:3.

81. Rom. 8:12f.

82. Cf. infra, can. 23 and 29.

83. C.72, D.I de poenit.

84. John 20:22f.

85. Ps. 50:19.

86. Eph. 4:30.

87. See 1 Cor. 3:17.

88. Apoc. 2:5.

89. See II Cor. 7:10.

90. Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Luke 3:8.

91. Rom. 16:18.

92. See I Cor. 6:9f.; 1 Tim. 1:9f.

93. See I Cor. 15:58.

94. Heb. 6:10.

95. Heb. 10:35.

96. Matt. 10:22.

97. Rom. 6:22.

98. See II Tim. 4:8.

99. John 15:1f.

100. Apoc. 14:13.

101. John 4:13f.

102. Rom. 10:3; II Cor. 3:5.

103. Matt. 10:42; Mark 9:40.

104. See II Cor. 4:17.

105. See I Cor. 1:31; II Cor. 10:17.

106. James 3:2.

107. See I Cor. 4:3f.

108. Ibid., 4:5.

109. Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6; Apoc. 22:12.

110. Cf. supra, chaps. 1, 3.

111. Ibid., chap. 5.

112. Rom. 5:5.

113. Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:5.

114. Supra, chaps. 7, 8.

115. Gal. 2:16; supra, chap. 7.

116. Rom. 5:5.

117. Supra, chap. 9.

118. Supra, chap. 9.

119. Supra, chap. 12.

120. Ibid., chap. 13.

121. Ibid., chap. 11.

122. Cf. chap. cit.

123. Supra, chap. 13.

124. Ibid., chap. 14.

125. Ibid., chap. 10.

126. Ibid., chap. 11 at the end.

127. Ibid., chap. 16.

128. Matt. 24:13.

129. Supra, chap. 15.

130. Ibid., chap. 14.

131. Cf. Sess. XIV, chap. 8.

132. Cf. Sess. XXV at the beginning.

133. Supra, chap. 11 at the end.

134. C.5, D.LXI.

135. C.4, D.LIX; cc.2, 6, 8, D.LXI.

136. Acts 20:28.

137. See II Tim. 4:5.

138. John 10:12.

139. Ezech. 33:6.

140. C.20, C.VII, q.1 ff.; tit. X, De cler. non resid., III, 4 et in VI, III, 3.

141. C.11, X, De cler. non resid., III, 4.

142. Cf. Sess. XXIII, chap. 1 de ref.

143. Cf. Sess. and chap. cit.

144. Cf. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils, p.353, no. 60.

145. C.15, VI, De rescript., I, 3.

146. C.34, VI, De elect., I, 6.

147. Cf. Sess. XIV, chap. 4 de ref.

148. Cf. Sess. XXIV, chap. 3 de ref. and Sess. XXV, chap. 6 de ref.

149. Cf. Sess. XIV, chaps. 2, 3 de ref. and Sess. XXIII, chap. 8 de ref.