The Council of Trent - 1545-1563 A.D.

Part 3 of 3

[Page 152]


Being the sixth under the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IV., celebrated on the seventeenth day of September, MDLXII.


The sacred and holy, ecumenical and general Synod of Trent--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legates of the Apostolic Sec presiding therein--to the end that the ancient, complete, and in every part perfect faith and doctrine touching the great mystery of the Eucharist may be retained in the holy Catholic Church; and may, all errors and heresies being repelled, be preserved in its own purity; (the Synod) instructed by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, teaches, declares; and decrees what follows, to be preached to the faithful, on the subject of the Eucharist, considered as being a true and singular sacrifice.

[Page 153] CHAPTER I.
On the institution of the most holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Forasmuch as, under the former Testament, according to the testimony of the Apostle Paul, there was no perfection, because of the weakness of the Levitical priesthood; there was need, God, the Father of mercies, so ordaining, that another priest should rise, according to the order of Melchisedech, our Lord Jesus Christ, who might consummate, and lead to what is perfect, as many as were to be sanctified. He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once on the altar of the cross unto God the Father, by means of his death, there to operate an eternal redemption; nevertheless, because that His priesthood was not to be extinguished by His death, in the last supper, on the night in which He was betrayed,--that He might leave, to His own beloved Spouse the Church, a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the cross, might be represented, and the memory thereof remain even unto the end of the world, and its salutary virtue be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit,--declaring Himself constituted a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech, He offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine; and, under the symbols of those same things, He delivered (His own body and blood) to be received by His apostles, whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, Do this in commemoration of me, He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood, to offer (them); even as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught. For, having celebrated the ancient Passover, which the multitude of the children of Israel immolated in memory of their going out of [Page 154] Egypt, He instituted the new Passover, (to wit) Himself to be immolated, under visible signs, by the Church through (the ministry of) priests, in memory of His own passage from this world unto the Father, when by the effusion of His own blood He redeemed us, and delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into his kingdom. And this is indeed that clean oblation, which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness, or malice of those that offer (it); which the Lord foretold by Malachias was to be offered in every place, clean to his name, which was to be great amongst the Gentiles; and which the apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, has not obscurely indicated, when he says, that they who are defiled by the participation of the table of devils, cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord; by the table, meaning in both places the altar. This, in fine, is that oblation which was prefigured by various types of sacrifices, during the period of nature, and of the law; in as much as it comprises all the good things signified by those sacrifices, as being the consummation and perfection of them all.

That the Sacrifice of the Mass is propitiatory both for the living and the dead.

And forasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner, who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross; the holy Synod teaches, that this sacrifice is truly propritiatory and that by means thereof this is effected, that we obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid, if we draw nigh unto God, contrite and penitent, with a sincere heart and upright faith, with fear and reverence. For the Lord, appeased by the oblation thereof, and granting the [Page 155] grace and gift of penitence, forgives even heinous crimes and sins. For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. The fruits indeed of which oblation, of that bloody one to wit, are received most plentifully through this unbloody one; so far is this (latter) from derogating in any way from that (former oblation). Wherefore, not only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities of the faithful who are living, but also for those who are departed in Christ, and who are not as yet fully purified, is it rightly offered, agreebly to a tradition of the apostles.

On Masses in honour of the Saints.

And although the Church has been accustomed at times to celebrate, certain masses in honour and memory of the saints; not therefore, however, doth she teach that sacrifice is offered unto them, but unto God alone, who crowned them; whence neither is the priest wont to say, "I offer sacrifice to thee, Peter, or Paul;" but, giving thanks to God for their victories, he implores their patronage, that they may vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate upon earth.

On the Canon of the Mass.

And whereas it beseemeth, that holy things be administered in a holy manner, and of all holy things this sacrifice is the most holy; to the end that it might be worthily and reverently [Page 156] offered and received, the Catholic Church instituted, many years ago, the sacred Canon, so pure from every error, that nothing is contained therein which does not in the highest degree savour of a certain holiness and piety, and raise up unto God the minds of those that offer. For it is composed, out of the very words of the Lord, the traditions of the apostles, and the pious institutions also of holy pontiffs.

On the solemn ceremonies of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

And whereas such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot easily be raised to the meditation of divine things; therefore has holy Mother Church instituted certain rites, to wit that certain things be pronounced in the mass in a low, and others in a louder, tone. She has likewise employed ceremonies, such as mystic benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind, derived from an apostolical discipline and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be recommended, and the minds of the faithful be excited, by those visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of those most sublime things which are hidden in this sacrifice.

On Mass wherein the priest alone communicates.

The sacred and holy Synod would fain indeed that, at each mass, the faithful who are present should communicate, not only in spiritual desire, but also by the sacramental participation of the Eucharist, that thereby a more abundant fruit might be derived to them from this most holy sacrifice: but not therefore, if this be not always done, does It condemn, as private and unlawful, but approves of and therefore commends, [Page 157] those masses in which the priest alone communicates sacramentally; since those masses also ought to be considered as truly common; partly because the people communicate spiritually thereat; partly also because they are celebrated by a public minister of the Church, not for himself only, but for all the faithful, who belong to the body of Christ.

On the water that is to be mixed with the wine to be offered in the chalice.

The holy Synod notices, in the next place, that it has been enjoined by the Church on priests, to mix water with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice; as well because it is believed that Christ the Lord did this, as also because from His side there came out blood and water; the memory of which mystery is renewed by this commixture; and, whereas in the apocalypse of blessed John, the peoples are called waters, the union of that faithful people with Christ their head is hereby represented.

On not celebrating the Mass every where in the vulgar tongue; the mysteries of the Mass to be explained to the people.

Although the mass contains great instruction for the faithful people, nevertheless, it has not seemed expedient to the Fathers, that it should be every where celebrated in the vulgar tongue. Wherefore, the ancient usage of each church, and the rite approved of by the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, being in each place retained; [Page 158] and, that the sheep of Christ may not suffer hunger, nor the little ones ask for bread, and there be none to break it unto them, the holy Synod charges pastors, and all who have the cure of souls, that they frequently, during the celebration of mass, expound either by themselves, or others, some portion of those things which are read at mass, and that, amongst the rest, they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice, especially on the Lord's days and festivals.

Preliminary Remark on the following Canons.

And because that many errors are at this time disseminated and many things are taught and maintained by divers persons, in opposition to this ancient faith, which is based on the sacred Gospel, the traditions of the Apostles, and the doctrine of the holy Fathers; the sacred and holy Synod, after many and grave deliberations maturely had touching these matters, has resolved, with the unanimous consent of all the Fathers, to condemn, and to eliminate from holy Church, by means of the canons subjoined, whatsoever is opposed to this most pure faith and sacred doctrine.


CANON I.--If any one saith, that in the mass a true and proper sacriflce is not offered to God; or, that to be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat; let him be anathema.

CANON II.--If any one saith, that by those words, Do this for the commemoration of me (Luke xxii. 19), Christ did not institute the apostles priests; or, did not ordain that they, and other priests should offer His own body and blood; let him be anathema.

CANON III.--If any one saith, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and of thanksgiving; or, that it is a [Page 159] bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice; or, that it profits him only who receives; and that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other necessities; let him be anathema.

CANON IV.--If any one saith, that, by the sacrifice of the mass, a blasphemy is cast upon the most holy sacrifice of Christ consummated on the cross; or, that it is thereby derogated from; let him be anathema.

CANON V.--If any one saith, that it is an imposture to celebrate masses in honour of the saints, and for obtaining their intercession with God, as the Church intends; let him be anathema.

CANON VI.--If any one saith, that the canon of the mass contains errors, and is therefore to be abrogated; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.--If any one saith, that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church makes use of in the celebration of masses, are incentives to impiety, rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.--If any one saith, that masses, wherein the priest alone communicates sacramentally, are unlawful, and are, therefore, to be abrogated; let him be anathema.

CANON IX.--If any one saith, that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned; or, that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue only; or, that water ought not to be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice, for that it is contrary to the institution of Christ; let him be anathema.


What great care is to be taken, that the sacred and holy sacrifice of the mass be celebrated with all religious service and [Page 160] veneration, each one may easily imagine, who considers, that, in holy writ, he is called accursed, who doth the work of God negligently; and if we must needs confess, that no other work can be performed by the faithful so holy and divine as this tremendous mystery itself, wherein that life-giving victim, by which we were reconciled to the Father, is daily immolated on the altar by priests, it is also sufficiently clear, that all industry and diligence is to be applied to this end, that it be performed with the greatest possible inward cleanness and purity of heart, and outward show of devotion and piety. Whereas, therefore, either through the wickedness of the times, or through the carelessness and Corruption of men, many things seem already to have crept in, which are alien from the dignity of so great a sacrifice; to the end that the honour and cult due thereunto may, for the glory of God and the edification of the faithful people, be restored; the holy Synod decrees, that the ordinary bishops of places shall take diligent care, and be bound to prohibit and abolish all those things which either covetousness, which is a serving of idols, or irreverence, which can hardly be separated from impiety; or superstition, which is a false imitation of true piety, may have introduced. And that many things may be comprised in a few words: first, as relates to covetousness:--they shall wholly prohibit all manner of conditions and bargains for recompenses, and whatsoever is given for the celebration of new masses; as also those importunate and illiberal demands, rather than requests, for alms, and other things of the like sort, which are but little removed from a simonical taint, or at all events, from filthy lucre.

In the next place, that irreverence may be avoided, each, in his own diocese, shall forbid that any wandering or unknown priest be allowed to celebrate mass. Furthermore, they shall not allow any one who is publicly and notoriously stained with crime, either to minister at the holy altar, or to assist at the sacred services; nor shall they suffer the holy sacrifice to be celebrated, either by any Seculars or Regulars whatsoever, in [Page 161] private houses; or, at all, out of the church, and those oratories which are dedicated solely to divine worship, and which are to be designated and visited by the said Ordinaries; and not then, unless those who are present shall have first shown, by their decently composed outward appearance, that they are there not in body only, but also in mind and devout affection of heart. They shall also banish from churches all those kinds of music, in which, whether by the organ, or in the singing, there is mixed up any thing lascivious or impure; as also all secular actions; vain and therefore profane conversations, all walking about, noise, and clamour, that so the house of God may be seen to be, and may be called, truly a house of prayer.

Lastly, that no room may be left for superstition; they shall by ordinance, and under given penalties, provide, that priests do not celebrate at other than due hours; nor employ other rites, or other ceremonies and prayers, in the celebration of masses, besides those which have been approved of by the Church, and have been received by a frequent and praiseworthy usage. They shall wholly banish from the Church the observance of a fixed number of certain masses and of candles, as being the invention of superstitious worship, rather than of true religion; and they shall instruct the people, what is, and whence especially is derived, the fruit so precious and heavenly of this most holy sacrifice. They shall also admonish their people to repair frequently to their own parish churches, at least on the Lord's days and the greater festivals. All, therefore, that has been briefly enumerated, is in such wise propounded to all Ordinaries of places, as that, by the power given them by this sacred and holy Synod, and even as delegates of the Apostolic See, they may prohibit, ordain, reform, and establish, not only the things aforesaid, but also whatsoever else shall seem to them to have relation hereunto; and may compel the faithful people inviolably to observe them, by ecclesiastical censures and other penalties, which at their pleasure they may appoint; any privileges, exemptions, appeals, and customs whatsoever, to the contrary notwithstanding.


The same sacred and holy, ecumenical and general Synod of Trent,--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein,--to the end that the business of reformation may be proceeded with, has thought good that the following things be ordained in the present Session.

The Canons relative to the life, and propriety of conduct of Clerics are renewed.

There is nothing that continually instructs others unto piety, and the service of God, more than the life and example of those who have dedicated themselves to the divine ministry. For as they are seen to be raised to a higher position, above the things of this world, others fix their eyes upon them as upon a mirror, and derive from them what they are to imitate. Wherefore clerics called to have the Lord for their portion, ought by all means so to regulate their whole life and conversation, as that in their dress, comportment, gait, discourse, and all things else, nothing appear but what is grave, regulated, and replete with religiousness; avoiding even slight faults, which in them would be most grievous; that so their actions may impress all with veneration. Whereas, therefore, the more useful and decorous these things are for the Church of God, the more carefully also are they to be attended to; the holy Synod ordains, that those things which have been heretofore copiously and wholesomely enacted by sovereign pontiffs and sacred councils,--relative to the life, propriety of conduct, dress, and learning of clerics, and also touching the luxuriousness, feastings, dances, gambling, sports, and all sorts of crime whatever, as also the secular employments, to be by them shunned,--the same shall be henceforth observed, under the same penalties, or greater, to be imposed at the discretion of the Ordinary; nor shall any appeal [Page 163] suspend the execution hereof, as relating to the correction of manners. But if anything of the above shall be found to have fallen into desuetude, they shall make it their care that it be brought again into use as soon as possible, and be accurately observed by all; any customs to the contrary notwithstanding; lest they themselves may have, God being the avenger, to pay the penalty deserved by their neglect of the correction of those subject to them.

Who are to be promoted to Cathedral Churches.

Whosoever is, hereafter, to be promoted to a cathedral church shall not only be fully qualified by birth, age, morals, and life, and, in other respects, as required by the sacred canons, but shall also have been previously constituted in sacred Order, for the space of at least six months. And information on these points, if the individual be only recently, or not at all, known at the court (of Rome), shall be derived from the Legates of the Apostolic See, or from the Nuncios of the provinces, or from his Ordinary, and in his default, from the nearest Ordinaries. And, besides the things above-named, he shall possess such learning as to be able to discharge the obligations of the office that is about to be conferred upon him; and he shall, therefore, have been previously promoted by merit, in some university for studies, to be a master, or doctor, or licentiate, in sacred theology, or in canon law; or shall be declared, by the public testimony of some academy, fit to teach others. And, if he be a Regular, he shall have a similar attestation from the superiors of his own order. And all the above-named persons, from whom the information, or testimony, aforesaid is to be derived shall be bound to report on these matters faithfully and gratuitously; otherwise let them know, that their conciences will be grievously burthened, and that God, and their own superiors, will punish them.

[Page 164] CHAPTER III.
Daily distributions, out of the third part of all fruits soever, are to be established; on whom the portion of absentees devolves; certa in cases excepted.

Bishops, even as the delegates of the Apostolic See, shall have power to divide the third part of any manner of fruits and proceeds of all dignities, personates, and offices existing in cathedral or collegiate churches, into distributions, to be assigned as they shall judge fit; in such wise to wit, that, if those who ought to receive them should fail, on any appointed day, personally to discharge the duty that devolves upon them, according to the form that shall be prescribed by the said bishops, they shall forfeit that day's distribution, and shall acquire no manner of property therein, but it shall be applied to the fabric of the church, as far as it may need it, or to some other pious place, at the discretion of the Ordinary. But if their contumacy increase, they shall proceed against them according to the constitution of the sacred canons. But if any of the aforesaid dignitaries has, neither by right, nor custom, any jurisdiction, administration, or office, devolving upon him in the cathedral or collegiate churches; but, out of the city, in the same diocese, there is a cure of souls to be attended to, which he who holds that dignity is willing to take upon himself; in this case, during the time that he shall reside and minister in the church with that cure, he shall be considered as though he were present and assisted at the divine offices in those cathedral or collegiate churches. These things are to be understood as appointed for those churches only, wherein there is no custom, or statute, whereby the said dignitaries, who do not serve, lose something, which amounts to the third part of the said fruits and proceeds: any customs, even though immemorial, exemptions, and constitutions, even though confirmed by oath or by any authority whatsoever, to the contrary notwithstanding.

[Page 165] CHAPTER IV.
Those not initiated into a sacred Order, shall not have a voice in the chapter of any Cathedral or Collegiate Church. The qualifications and duties of those who hold Benefices therein.

Whosoever being employed in the divine offices in a cathedral, or collegiate, Secular or Regular, church, is not constituted in the order of subdeaconship at least, shall not have a voice in the chapter of those churches, even though this may have been voluntarily conceded to him by the others. As to those who possess, or shall hereafter possess, in the said churches, any dignities, personates, offices, prebends, portions, and any other manner of benefices whatever, to which various obligations are annexed, such as, that some shall say, or sing, mass, others the Gospel, others the Epistle, they shall be bound, all just impediment ceasing, to receive the requisite orders within a year, whatsoever may be their privilege, exemption, prerogative, or nobility of birth; otherwise they shall incur the penalties enacted by the constitution of the Council of Vienne, which begins, Ut ii qui, which by this present decree is renewed: and the bishops shall compel them to exercise in person the aforesaid orders on the appointed days, and to discharge all the other duties required of them in the divine service, under the said penalties, and others even more grievous, which may be imposed at their discretion. Nor, for the future, shall any such office be assigned to any but those who shall be well known fully to have already the age and the other qualifications; otherwise such provision shall be null.

Dispensations expedited out of the (Roman) court shall be committed to the Bishop, and be by him examined.

Dispensations, by whatsoever authority they are to be granted, if they are to be consigned out of the Roman court, shall be [Page 166] consigned to the Ordinaries of those who shall have obtained them. And as to those dispensations which shall be granted as graces, they shall not have effect, until the said Ordinaries, as delegates of the Apostolic See, shall have first ascertained summarily only and extra-judicially, that the terms of the petition do not labour under the vice of surreption or obreption.

Last intentions to be altered with caution.

In alterations of last wills,--which alterations ought not to be made except for a just and necessary cause,--the bishops, as delegates of the Apostolic See, shall, before the alterations aforesaid are carried into execution, ascertain, that nothing has been stated in the prayer of the petition, which suppresses what is true, or suggests what is false.

The chapter "Romana," in the sixth (of the Decretals), is renewed.

Apostolic legates and nuncios, patriarchs, primates, and metropolitans, in appeals interposed before them, shall, in all causes whatsoever, as well in admitting the appeals, as in granting inhibitions after an appeal, be bound to observe the form and tenour of the sacred constitutions, and especially of the constitution of Innocent IV., beginning Romana; any custom, even though immemorial, or usage, or privilege, to the contrary notwithstanding; otherwise the inhibitions and proceedings, and all the consequences thereof, shall be ipso jure null.

[Page 167] CHAPTER VIII.
Bishops shall execute the pious dispositions of all persons; shall visit all manner of pious places, if not under the immediate protection of Kings.

The bishops, even as the delegates of the Apostolic See, shall, in the cases by law permitted, be the executors of all pious dispositions, whether made by last will, or between the living: they shall have a right to visit all manner of hospitals, colleges, and confraternities of laymen, even those which are called schools, or which go by any other name; but not, however, those places which are under the immediate protection of kings, except with their permission; also the eleemosynary institutions, called monts-de-piete, or of charity, and all pious places by whatsoever name designated, even though the aforesaid institutions be under the care of laymen, and though the said pious places be protected by a privilege of exemption; and, by virtue of their office, they shall take cognizance of, and see to the performance,--in accordance with the ordinances of the sacred canons,--of all things that have been instituted for God's worship, for the salvation of souls, or for the support of the poor; any custom, even though immemorial, or privilege, or statute whatsoever, to the contrary, notwithstanding.

Administrators of any pious places whatsoever shall give in their accounts to the Ordinary, unless it be otherwise provided by the foundation.

The administrators, whether ecclesiastical, or lay, of the fabric of any church whatsoever, even though it be a cathedral, as also of any hospital, confraternity, charitable institution called [Page 168] mont-de-piete, and of any pious places whatsoever, shall be bound to give in, once a year, an account of their administration to the Ordinary: all customs and privileges to the contrary being set aside; unless it should happen that, in the institution and regulations of any church or fabric, it has been otherwise expressly provided. But if from custom, or privilege, or some regulation of the place, their account has to be rendered to others deputed thereunto, in that case the Ordinary shall also be employed jointly with them; and all acquittances given otherwise shall be of no avail to the said administrators.

Notaries shall be subject to the examination and judgment of the Bishops.

Whereas the unskilfulness of notaries causes very many injuries, and gives occasion to many lawsuits, the bishop, even as the delegate of the Apostolic See, may, by actual examination search into the competency of all notaries, even though created by apostolic, imperial, or royal authority; and, if such notaries be found incompetent, or on any occasion guilty of a delinquency in the discharge of their office, he may forbid them, altogether or for a time, to exercise that office, in ecclesiastical and spiritual affairs, lawsuits, and causes; nor shall any appeal on their parts suspend the prohibition of the Ordinary.

Usurpers of the property of any Church, or pious places, are punished.

If any cleric, or layman, by whatsoever dignity pre-eminent, be he even emperor or king, should be so possessed by covetousness, that root of all evils, as to presume to convert to his own use, and to usurp,--by himself or by others, by force, or [Page 169] fear, or even by means of any supposititious persons, whether lay, or clerical, or by any artifice, or under any colourable pretext whatsoever,--the jurisdictions, property, rents, and rights, even those held in fee or under lease, the fruits, emoluments, or any sources of revenue whatsoever, belonging to any church, or to any benefice, whether Secular or Regular, monts-de-piete, or to any other pious places, which ought to be employed for the necessities of the ministers (thereof), and of the poor; or (shall presume) to hinder them (in any of the ways aforesaid) from being received by those unto whom they of right belong; he shall lie under an anathema until he shall have wholly restored to the Church, and to the administrator or beneficiary thereof, the jurisdictions, property, effects, rights, fruits, and revenues which he has seized upon, or in whatsoever way they have come to him, even by way of gift from a supposititious person and until he shall, furthermore, have obtained absolution from the Roman Pontiff. And if he be the patron of the said church, he shall, besides the penalties aforesaid, be thereupon deprived of the right of patronage. And the cleric who shall be the author of, or consenting to, any execrable fraud and usurpation of this kind, shall be subjected to the same penalties; as also he shall be deprived of all benefices whatsoever, and be rendered incapable of any others whatsoever; and ever after entire satisfaction and absolution, he shall be suspended from the exercise of his orders, at the discretion of his Ordinary.


Moreover, whereas the same sacred and holy Synod, in the preceding Session, reserved unto another time, for an opportunity that might present itself, two articles to be examined and defined, which (articles) had been proposed on another occasion, but had not then been as yet discussed, to wit, whether the reasons by which the holy Catholic Church was led to communicate, under the one species of bread, laymen and also priests [Page 170] when not celebrating, are in such wise to be adhered to, as that on no account is the use of the chalice to be allowed to any one soever; and, whether, in that case, for reasons beseeming and consonant with Christian charity, it appears that the use of the chalice is to be granted to any nation, or kingdom, it is to be conceded under certain conditions; and what are those conditions; It has now,--in Its desire that the salvation of those, on whose behalf the request is made, may be provided for in the best manner,--decreed, that the whole business be referred to our most holy lord, as by this present decree It doth refer it; who, of his singular prudence, will do that which he shall judge useful for the Christian commonweal, and salutary for those who ask for the use of the chalice.


Moreover, this sacred and holy Synod of Trent appoints, for the day of the next Session, the Thursday after the octave of All Saints, which will be the twelfth day of the month of November; and thereon It will decree concerning the sacrament of Order, and the sacrament of Matrimony, &c.

The Session was prorogued until the fifteenth day of July, MDLXIII.

[Page 170]


Being the seventh under the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IV., celebrated on the fifteenth day of July, MDLXIII.


On the institution of the Priesthood of the New Law.

Sacrifice and priesthood are, by the ordinance of God, in such wise conjoined, as that both have existed in every law. [Page 171] Whereas, therefore, in the New Testament, the Catholic Church has received, from the institution of Christ, the holy visible sacrifice of the Eucharist; it must needs also be confessed, that there is, in that Church, a new, visible, and external priesthood, into which the old has been translated. And the sacred Scriptures show, and the tradition of the Catholic Church has always taught, that this priesthood was instituted by the same Lord our Saviour, and that to the apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, was the power delivered of consecrating, offering, and administering His Body and Blood, as also of forgiving and of retaining sins.

On the Seven Orders.

And whereas the ministry of so holy a priesthood is a divine thing; to the end that it might be exercised in a more worthy manner, and with greater veneration, it was suitable that, in the most well-ordered settlement of the church, there should be several and diverse orders of ministers, to minister to the priesthood, by virtue of their office; orders so distributed as that those already marked with the clerical tonsure should ascend through the lesser to the greater orders. For the sacred Scriptures make open mention not only of priests, but also of deacons; and teach, in words the most weighty, what things are especially to be attended to in the Ordination thereof; and, from the very beginning of the church, the names of the following orders, and the ministrations proper to each one of them, are known to have been in use; to wit those of subdeacon, acolyth, exorcist, lector, and door-keeper; though these were not of equal rank: for the subdeavonship is classed amongst the greater orders by the Fathers and sacred Councils, wherein also we very often read of the other inferior orders.

[Page 172] CHAPTER III.
That Order is truly and properly a Sacrament.

Whereas, by the testimony of Scripture, by Apostolic tradition, and the unanimous consent of the Fathers, it is clear that grace is conferred by sacred ordination, which is performed by words and outward signs, no one ought to doubt that Order is truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of holy Church. For the apostle says; I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God, which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love of sobriety.

On the Ecclesiastical hierarchy, and on Ordination.

But, forasmuch as in the sacrament of Order, as also in Baptism and Confirmation, a character is imprinted, which can neither be effaced nor taken away; the holy Synod with reason condemns the opinion of those, who assert that the priests of the New Testament have only a temporary power; and that those who have once been rightly ordained, can again become laymen, if they do not exercise the ministry of the word of God. And if any one affirm, that all Christians indiscrimately are priests of the New Testament, or that they are all mutually endowed with an equal spiritual power, he clearly does nothing but confound the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is as an army set in array; as if, contrary to the doctrine of blessed Paul, all were apostles, all prophets, all evangelists, all pastors, all doctors. Wherefore, the holy Synod declares that, besides [Page 173] the other ecclesiastical degrees, bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles, principally belong to this hierarchial order; that they are placed, as the same apostle says, by the Holy Ghost, to rule the Church of God; that they are superior to priests; administer the sacrament of Confirmation; ordain the ministers of the Church; and that they can perform very many other things; over which functions others of an inferior order have no power. Furthermore, the sacred and holy Synod teaches, that, in the ordination of bishops, priests, and of the other orders, neither the consent, nor vocation, nor authority, whether of the people, or of any civil power or magistrate whatsoever, is required in such wise as that, without this, the ordination is invalid: yea rather doth It decree, that all those who, being only called and instituted by the people, or by the civil power and magistrate, ascend to the exercise of these ministrations, and those who of their own rashness assume them to themselves, are not ministers of the church, but are to be looked upon as thieves and robbers, who have not entered by the door. These are the things which it hath seemed good to the sacred Synod to teach the faithful in Christ, in general terms, touching the sacrament of Order. But It hath resolved to condemn whatsoever things are contrary thereunto, in express and specific canons, in the manner following; in order that all men, with the help of Christ, using the rule of faith, may, in the midst of the darkness of so many errors, more easily be able to recognise and to hold Catholic truth.


CANON I.--If any one saith, that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood; or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord, and of forgiving and retaining sins; but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel, or, that those who do not preach are not priests at all; let him be anathema.

[Page 174] CANON II.--If any one saith, that, besides the priesthood, there are not in the Catholic Church other orders, both greater and minor, by which, as by certain steps, advance is made unto the priesthood; let him be anathema.

CANON III.--If any one saith, that order, or sacred ordination, is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord; or, that it is a kind of human figment devised by men unskilled in ecclesiastical matters; or, that it is only a kind of rite for choosing ministers of the word of God and of the sacraments; let him be anathema.

CANON IV.--If any one saith, that, by sacred ordination, the Holy Ghost is not given; and that vainly therefore do the bishops say, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; or, that a character is not imprinted by that ordination; or, that he who has once been a priest, can again become a layman; let him be anathema.

CANON V.--If any one saith, that the sacred unction which the Church uses in holy ordination, is not only not required, but is to be despised and is pernicious, as likewise are the other ceremonies of Order; let him be anathema.

CANON VI.--If any one saith, that, in the Catholic Church there is not a hierarchy by divine ordination instituted, consisting of bishops, priests, and ministers; let him be anathema.

CANON VII.--If any one saith, that bishops are not superior to priests; or, that they have not the power of confirming and ordaining; or, that the power which they possess is common to them and to priests; or, that orders, conferred by them, without the consent, or vocation of the people, or of the secular power, are invalid; or, that those who have neither been rightly ordained, nor sent, by ecclesiastical and canonical power, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.--If any one saith, that the bishops, who are assumed by authority of the Roman Pontiff, are not legitimate and true bishops, but are a human figment; let him be anathema.


The same sacred and holy Synod of Trent, prosecuting the matter of reformation, resolves and decrees that the things following be at present ordained.

The negligence of Pastors of Churches in residing is variously punished: provision is made for the cure of souls.

Whereas it is by divine precept enjoined on all, to whom the cure of souls is committed, to know their own sheep; to offer sacrifice for them; and, by the preaching of the divine word, by the administration of the sacraments, and by the example of all good works, to feed them; to have a fatherly care of the poor and of other distressed persons, and to apply themselves to all other pastoral duties; all which (offices) cannot be rendered and fulfilled by those who neither watch over nor are with their own flock, but abandon it after the manner of hirelings; the sacred and holy Synod admonishes and exhorts such, that mindful of the divine precepts, and made a pattern of the flock, they feed and rule in judgment and in truth. And for fear lest those things which have been already elsewhere holily and usefully ordained, concerning residence, under Paul III., of happy memory, may be wrested to a meaning alien from the mind of the sacred and holy Synod, as if by virtue of that decree it were lawful to be absent during five continuous months; the sacred and holy Synod, adhering to those decrees, declares, that all persons who are--under whatsoever name and title, even though they be cardinals of the holy Roman Church--set over any patriarchal, primatial, metropolitan, and cathe-[Page 176]dral churches whatsoever, are obliged to personal residence in their own church, or diocese, where they shall be bound to discharge the office enjoined them; and may not be absent thence, save for the causes and in the manner subjoined. For whereas Christian charity, urgent necessity, due obedience, and the evident utility of the Church, or of the commonwealth, require and demand that some at times be absent, this same sacred and holy Synod ordains, that these causes of lawful absence are to be approved of in writing by the most blessed Roman Pontiff, or by the metropolitan, or, in his absence, by the oldest resident suffragan bishop, whose duty it shall also be to approve of the absence of the metropolitan; except when such absence happens in consequence of some employment and office in the state attached to the bishoprics; the causes of which absence being notorious, and at times sudden, it will not be necessary even to notify them to the metropolitan; to whom it shall however belong, conjointly with the provincial Council, to judge of the permissions granted by himself, or by his suffragan, and to see that no one abuse that right, and that transgressors are punished with the penalties adjudged by the canons. Meanwhile let those about to depart remember to provide in such sort for their sheep, as that, as far as possible, they may not suffer any injury through their absence. But, forasmuch as those who are only absent for a short period, are, in the sense of the ancient canons, not supposed to be absent, for that they are about to return immediately; the sacred and holy Synod wills, that that term of absence, whether continuous or interrupted, ought not by any means to exceed two, or at most three, months; except for the causes above named; and that regard be had that it be done from a just cause, and without any detriment to the flock: which, whether it be the case, the Synod leaves to the conscience of those who withdraw themselves which It hopes will be religious and timorous; seeing that their hearts are open before God, whose work they are bound, at their periol, not to do deceitfully. In the meantime It [Page 177] admonishes and exhorts them in the Lord, that unless their episcopal duties call them to some other part of their own diocese, they on no account be absent from their own cathedral church during the period of the Advent of the Lord, and of Lent, on the days of the Nativity, of the Lord's Resurrection, of Pentecost, and of Corpus Christi, on which days especially the sheep ought to be refreshed, and to rejoice in the Lord at the presence of the Shepherd.

But if any one, which it is hoped will never happen, shall be absent, contrary to the regulation of this decree, the sacred and holy Synod ordains, that, in addition to the other penalties imposed upon and renewed against non-residents, under Paul III., and the guilt of mortal sin which such an one incurs, he acquires no property in any fruits, in proportion to the time of his absence, and that he cannot, even though no other declaration but this follow, retain them as his with a safe conscience; but is bound, or, in his default, his ecclesiastical superior for him, to apply them to the fabric of the churches, or to the poor of the place; every kind of agreement, or composition as it is called, in regard of ill-gotten fruits, being prohibited, whereby the aforesaid fruits even might be wholly, or in part, restored to him; any privileges whatsoever, granted to any college or fabric, to the contrary notwithstanding.

The same also, both as regards the guilt, the loss of fruits, and the penalties, does the sacred and holy Synod wholly declare and decree, in regard of inferior pastors, and all others whomsoever who hold any ecclesiastical benefice having cure of souls; in such wise, however, as that, whensoever it shall happen that they are absent, for a cause that has been first made known to, and been approved of by, the bishop, they shall leave, with a due allowance of stipend, a suitable vicar, to be approved of by the Ordinary. And they shall not obtain permission to be absent,--which is to be granted in writing and gratuitously,--for a larger period than two months, except for some weighty cause; and if, after having been cited, even though not per-[Page 178]sonally, by an edict, they shall be contumacious, the Synod wills, that it be in the power of the Ordinaries to constrain them by ecclesiastical censures, and by the sequestration and substraction of fruits, and by other legal remedies, even as far as deprivation; and that the execution hereof shall not be able to be suspended by any manner of privilege soever, license, claim as a domestic, exemption,--though even upon the ground of any manner of benefice,--by any compact, or statute,--even though confirmed by oath or by what authority soever,--by any custom, even though immemorial, which herein is to be looked upon rather as a corruption, or by any appeal, or inhibition, even in the Roman Court, or by virtue of the constitution of Eugenius. Finally, the holy Synod commands, that both the decree under Paul III., and this present, shall be published in the provincial and episcopal councils; for It desires that things so nearly concerning the office of pastors, and the salvation of souls, be frequently impressed on the minds and ears of all men, that so, with God's help, they may never hereafter be abolished through the injury of time, the forgetfulness of men, or by desuetude.

Those set over Churches shall receive the rite of consecration within three months; where the consecration is to take place.

Those who,--under whatsoever name or title, even though they be cardinals of the holy Roman Church,--have been set over cathedral, or superior, churches, if they shall not, within three months, have received the rite of consecration, shall be bound to restore the fruits which they have received; if they shall have neglected to do this within three other months afterwards, they shall be ipso jure deprived of their churches. And their consecration, if performed out of the Court of Rome, shall be celebrated in the church to which they have been promoted, or in the province, if it can be conveniently done.

[Page 179] CHAPTER III.
Bishops, except in case of illness, shall confer Order in person.

Bishops shall themselves confer orders; but, should they be prevented by illness, they shall not send their subjects to another bishop for ordination, unless they have been already approved of and examined.

Who are to be initiated by the first tonsure.

None shall be initiated by the first tonsure, who have not received the sacrament of Confirmation; and who have not been taught the rudiments of the faith; and who do not know how to read and write; and in whose regard there is not a probable conjecture, that they have chosen this manner of life, that they may render unto God a faithful service, and not that they may fraudulently withdraw themselves from Secular jurisdiction.

Wherewith those who are to be ordained are to be furnished.

Those who are to be promoted to minor orders shall have a good testimonial from their parish priest; and from the master of the school in which they are educated. As to those who are to be raised to any one of the greater orders, they shall, a month before ordination, repair to the bishop, who shall commission the parish priest, or such other person as may be deemed more expedient, to state publicly in the church the names and the desire of those who wish to be promoted; and to diligently inform himself, from persons worthy of credit, of the birth, age, morals, and life [Page 180] of those who are to be ordained, and shall transmit to the bishop himself, as soon as possible, letters testimonial containing the actual inquiry that has been made.

The age of fourteen years is required for an ecclesiastical benfice; who is to enjoy the privilege of the (ecclesiastical) court.

No one, after being initiated by the first tonsure, or even after being constituted in minor orders, shall be able to hold a benefice before his fourteenth year. Further, he shall not enjoy the privilege of the (ecclesiastical) court, unless he have an ecclesiastical benefice; or, wearing the ecclesiastical dress and tonsure, he serves in some church by the bishop's order, or lives with the bishop's permission in an ecclesiastical seminary, or in some school, or university, on the way as it were to receive the greater orders. As regards married clerks, the constitution of Boniface VIII., which begins, clerici qui cum unicis, shall be observed; provided the said clerks, being deputed by the bishop to the service or ministry of some church, serve and minister therein, and wear the clerical dress and tonsure: no privilege, or custom, even immemorial, availing any one herein.

Those to be ordained are to be examined by persons versed in divine and human laws.

The holy Synod, adhering to the traces of the ancient canons, ordains, that when a bishop has arranged to hold an ordination, all who may wish to be received into the sacred ministry shall be summoned to the city, for the Thursday before the said ordination, or for such other day as the bishop shall think fit. [Page 181] And the bishop, calling to his assistance priests and other prudent persons, well skilled in the divine law, and of experience in the constitutions of the church, shall diligently investigate and examine the parentage, person, age, education, morals, learning, and faith of those who are to be ordained.

How, and by whom, each ought to be ordained.

Ordinations of sacred orders shall be celebrated publicly, at the time appointed by law, and in the cathedral churches, in the presence of the canons of that church, who are to be invited for that purpose; but, if they are celebrated in some other place of the diocese, in the presence of the clergy of the place; the principal church being always, as far as possible, made use of. But each one shall be ordained by his own bishop. And if any one ask to be promoted by another bishop, this shall by no means be allowed him, even under the pretext of any general or special rescript or privilege whatsoever, even at the appointed times; unless his probity and morals be recommended by the testimony of his own Ordinary; otherwise, he who ordains him shall be suspended from conferring orders during a year, and he who has been ordained shall be suspended from exercising the orders which he has received, for as long a period as shall seem expedient to his own Ordinary.

A bishop ordaining one of his own household, shall at once and really confer upon him a benefice.

A bishop may not ordain one of his household, who is not his subject, unless he has lived with him for the space of [Page 182] three years; and he shall really, and without fraud of any kind, at once confer on him a benefice; any custom, even though immemorial, to the contrary notwithstanding.

Prelates inferior to bishops shall not give the tonsure, or minor orders, save to Regulars their own subjects; neither shall they, nor any Chapters whatsoever, grant dimissory letters; a more grievous penalty is enacted against those who offend against this decree.

It shall not henceforth be lawful for abbots, or for any other persons whatsoever, howsoever exempted, being within the limits of any diocese, even though they be said to be of no diocese, or to be exempted, to confer the tonsure, or minor orders on any one who is not a Regular subject to them; nor shall the said abbots, and other exempted persons, or any colleges, or Chapters whatsoever, even those of cathedral churches, grant letters dimissory to any Secular clerics to be ordained by others. But the ordination of all these persons shall appertain to the bishops within the limits of whose diocese they are, all things considered in the decrees of this holy Synod being observed; any privilege, prescriptions, or customs, even though immemorial, notwithstanding. And the Synod ordains, that the penalty imposed on those, who, contrary to the decree of this holy Synod under Paul III., obtain, during the vacancy of the episcopal See, letters dimissory from the Chapter, be also extended to those who shall obtain the said letters, not from the Chapter, but from any other persons whatsoever, who, during the vacancy of the See, succeed to the jurisdiction of the bishop, in lieu of the Chapter. And they who give dimissory letters, contrary to the form of this decree, shall be ipso jure suspended during a year from their office and benefice.

[Page 183] CHAPTER XI.
The interstices, and certain other regulations, to be observed in receiving minor orders.

The minor orders shall not be given but to such as understand the Latin language at least, observing the appointed interstices of time, unless the bishop shall think it more expedient to act otherwise; that so they may be the more accurately taught how great is the obligation of this their state of life; and may exercise themselves in each office, agreeably to the appointment of the bishop; and this in the church to which they shall be assigned, unless they happen to be absent on account of their studies; and may thus ascend step by step: that so with their increasing age they may grow in worthiness of life and in learning; of which they will give proof especially by the example of their good conduct, by their assiduous service in the church, their greater reverence towards priests and the superior orders, and by a more frequent communion than heretofore of the Body of Christ. And whereas from these orders is the entrance unto higher orders and to the most sacred mysteries, no one shall be admitted thereunto, whom the promise of knowledge does not point out as worthy of the greater orders. And such shall not be promoted to sacred orders till a year after the reception of the last degree of minor orders; unless necessity, or the utility of the church, in the bishop's judgment, shall require otherwise.

Age required for the major orders; the deserving only to be admitted.

No one shall for the future be promoted to the order of subdeaconship before the twenty-second year of age; to that [Page 184] of deaconship before his twenty-third year; to that of priesthood before his twenty-fifth year. Nevertheless, bishops are to know, that not all who have attained to that age must needs be admitted to the aforesaid orders, but those only who are worthy, and whose commendable life is an old age. Regulars likewise shall not be ordained under the above age, nor without a diligent examination by the bishop; all privileges whatsoever in this regard being completely set aside.

On the conditions required in the Ordination of a Subdeacon and Deacon: on no one shall two sacred Orders be conferred on the same day.

Such as have a good testimonial, and have been already tried in minor orders, and are instructed in letters, and in those things which belong to the exercise of their orders, shall be ordained subdeacons and deacons. They shall have a hope, with God's help, to be able to live continently; they shall serve in the churches to which they may be assigned; and are to know that it is very highly becoming that, after ministering at the altar, they should receive the sacred communion, at least on the Lord's days and solemnities. Those who have been promoted to the sacred order of the subdeaconship shall not, until they have remained therein during at least a year, be permitted to ascend to a higher degree, unless the bishop shall judge otherwise. Two sacred orders shall not be conferred on the same day, even upon Regulars; any privileges and indults whatsoever, to whomsoever granted, to the contrary notwithstanding.

Who are to be raised to the Priesthood: their office.

Those who have conducted themselves piously and faithfully in their precedent functions, and are promoted to the order of [Page 185] priesthood, shall have a good testimonial, and be persons who not only have served in their office of deacon during at least an entire year,--unless for the utility and the necessity of the Church, the bishop should judge otherwise,--but who have also been approved to be, by a careful previous examination, capable of teaching the people those things which it is necessary for all to know unto salvation, as also fit to administer the sacraments; and so conspicuous for piety and chasteness of morals, as that a shining example of good works and a lesson how to live may be expected from them. The bishop shall take care that they celebrate mass at least on the Lord's Days, and on solemn festivals; but, if they have the cure of souls, so often as to satisfy their obligation. The bishop may, for a lawful cause, grant a dispensation to those who have been promoted per saltum, provided they have not exercised the ministry (of that order).

No one shall hear confessions, unless he be approved of by the Ordinary.

Although priests receive in their ordination the power of absolving from sins; nevertheless, the holy Synod ordains, that no one, even though he be a Regular, is able to hear the confessions of Seculars, not even of priests, and that he is not to be reputed fit thereunto, unless he either holds a parochial benefice, or is, by the bishops, after an examination if they shall think it necessary, or in some other manner, judged capable; and has obtained their approval, which shall be granted gratuitously; any privileges, and custom whatsoever, though immemorial, to the contrary notwithstanding.

[Page 186] CHAPTER XVI.
Those who are ordained shall be assigned to a particular church.

Whereas no one ought to be ordained, who, in the judgment of his own bishop, is not useful or necessary for his churches, the holy Synod, adhering to the traces of the sixth canon of the council of Chalcedon, ordains, that no one shall for the future be ordained without being attached to that church, or pious place, for the need, or utility of which he is promoted; there to discharge his duties, and not wander about without any certain abode. And if he shall quit that place without consulting the bishop, he shall be interdicted from the exercise of his sacred (orders). Furthermore, no cleric, who is a stranger, shall, without letters commendatory from his own Ordinary, be admitted by any bishop to celebrate the divine mysteries, and to administer the sacraments.

In what manner the exercise of the minor orders is to be restored.

That the functions of holy orders, from the deacon to the janitor,-which functions have been laudably received in the Church from the times of the apostles, and which have been for some time interrupted in very many places,-may be again brought into use in accordance with the sacred canons; and that they may not be traduced by heretics as useless; the holy Synod, burning with the desire of restoring the pristine usage, ordains that, for the future, such functions shall not be exercised but by those who are actually in the said orders; and It exhorts in the Lord all and each of the prelates of the churches, and commands them, that it be their care to restore the said [Page 187] functions, as far as it can be conveniently done, in the cathedral, collegiate, and parochial churches of their dioceses, where the number of the people and the revenues of the church can support it; and, to those who exercise those functions, they shall assign salaries out of some part of the revenues of any simple benefices, or those of the fabric of the church,-if the funds allow of it,-or out of the revenues of both together, of which stipends they may, if negligent, be mulcted in a part, or be wholly deprived thereof, according to the judgment of the Ordinary. And if there should not be unmarried clerics at hand to exercise the functions of the four minor orders, their place may be supplied by married clerics of approved life; provided they have not been twice married, be competent to discharge the said duties, and wear the tonsure and the clerical dress in church.

Method of establishing Seminaries for Clerics, and of educating the same therein.

Wereas the age of youth, unless it be rightly trained, is prone to follow after the pleasures of the world; and unless it be formed, from its tender years, unto piety and religion, before habits of vice have taken possession of the whole man, it never will perfectly, and without the greatest, and well-nigh special, help of Almighty God, persevere in ecclesiastical discipline; the holy Synod ordains, that all cathedral, metropolitan, and other churches greater than these, shall be bound, each according to its means and the extent of the diocese, to maintain, to educate religiously, and to train in ecclesiastical discipline, a certain number of youths of their city and diocese, or, if that number cannot be met with there, of that province, in a college to be chosen by the bishop for this purpose near the said churches, or in some other suitable place. Into this college shall be received such as are at least twelve years old, born in [Page 188] lawful wedlock, and who know how to read and write competently, and whose character and inclination afford a hope that they will always serve in the ecclesiastical ministry. And It wishes that the children of the poor be principally selected; though It does not however exclude those of the more wealthy, provided they be maintained at their own expense, and manifest a desire of serving God and the Church. The bishop, having divided these youths into as many classes as he shall think fit, according to their number, age, and progress in ecclesiastical discipline, shall, when it seems to him expedient, assign some of them to the ministry of the churches, the others he shall keep in the college to be instructed; and shall supply the place of those who have been withdrawn, by others; that so this college may be a perpetual seminary of ministers of God. And that the youths may be the more advantageously trained in the aforesaid ecclesiastical discipline, they shall always at once wear the tonsure and the clerical dress; they shall learn grammar, singing, ecclesiastical computation, and the other liberal arts; they shall be instructed in sacred Scripture; ecclesiastical works; the homilies of the saints; the manner of administering the sacraments, especially those things which shall seem adapted to enable them to hear confessions; and the forms of the rites and ceremonies. The bishop shall take care that they be present every day at the sacrifice of the mass, and that they confess their sins at least once a month; and receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ as the judgment of their confessor shall direct; and on festivals serve in the cathedral and other churches of the place.

All which, and other things advantageous and needful for this object, all bishops shall ordain-with the advice of two of the senior and most experienced canons chosen by himself-as the Holy Spirit shall suggest; and shall make it their care, by frequent visitations, that the same be always observed. The froward, and incorrigible, and the disseminators of evil morals, they shall punish sharply, even by expulsion if necessary; and, removing all hindrances, they shall carefully foster whatsoever appears to tend to preserve and advance so pious and holy an institution. And forasmuch as some certain revenues will be [Page 189] necessary, for raising the building of the college, for paying their salaries to the teachers and servants, for the maintenance of the youths, and for other expenses; besides those funds which are, in some churches and places, set apart for training or maintaining youths, and which are to be hereby looked upon as applied to this seminary under the said charge of the bishop; the bishops as aforesaid, with the advice of two of the Chapter,--of whom one shall be chosen by the bishop, and the other by the Chapter itself, and also of two of the clergy of the city, the election of one of whom shall in like manner be with the bishop, and of the other with the clergy,--shall take a certain part or portion, out of the entire fruits of the episcopal revenue, and of the chapter, and of all dignities whatsoever, personates, offices, prebends, portions, abbies, and priories, of whatsoever order, even though Regular, or of whatsoever quality, or condition they may be, and of hospitals which are conferred under title or administration, pursuant to the constitution of the Council of Vienne, which begins Quia contingit; and of all benefices whatsoever, even those belonging to Regulars, even those which are under any right of patronage, even those that are exempted, that are of no diocese, or are annexed to other churches, monasteries, hospitals, or to any other pious places, even such as are exempted; as also of the revenues devoted to the fabrics of churches, and of other places, and likewise of all other ecclesiastical revenues and proceeds whatsoever, even those of other colleges;-in which, however, there are not actually seminaries of scholars, or of teachers, for promoting the common good of the Church; for the Synod wills that those places be exempted, except in regard of such revenues as may remain over and above the suitable support of the said seminaries;--or of bodies, or confraternities, which in some places are called schools, likewise of all monasteries, with the exception of the Mendicants; also of the tithes in any way belonging to laymen, out of which ecclesiastical subsidies are wont to be paid; and those belonging to the soldiers of any [Page 190] military body, or order, the brethren of Saint John of Jerusalem alone excepted; and they shall apply to, and incorporate with, the said college this portion so deducted, as also a certain number of simple benefices, of whatsoever quality and dignity they may be, or even prestimonies, or prestimonial portions as they are called, even before they fall vacant, without prejudice however to the divine service, or to those who hold them. And this shall have effect, even though the benefices be reserved or appropriated to other uses; nor shall this union and application of the said benefices be suspended, or in any way hindered, by any resignation thereof, but shall still in any case have effect, notwithstanding any way whatever in which they may be vacated, even be it in the Roman court, and notwithstanding any constitution whatsoever to the contrary.

The bishop of the place shall, by ecclesiastical censures, and other legal means, even by calling in for this purpose, if he think fit, the help of the Secular arm, compel the possessors of benefices, dignities, personates, and of all and singular the above-named (revenues), to pay this portion not merely on their own account, but also on account of whatsoever pensions they may happen to have to pay to others, out of the said revenues,-keeping back however a sum equivalent to that which they have to pay on account of those pensions: notwithstanding as regards all and singular the above-mentioned premises, any privileges, exemptions-even such as might require a special derogation-any custom, even immemorial, or any appeal, and allegation, which might hinder the execution hereof. But in case it should happen that, by means of the said unions being carried into effect, or from some other cause, the said seminary should be found to be wholly or in part endowed, then shall the portion, deducted as above from all benefices and incorporated by the bishop, be remitted, either wholly or in part, as the actual circumstances shall require. But if the prelates of cathedrals, and of the other greater churches, should be negligent in erecting the said seminary, and in preserving the same, and refuse to pay their share; it will be the duty of the archbishop sharply to reprove the bishop, and to compel him to comply with all the matters aforesaid, and of the provincial Synod to reprove and [Page 191] to compel in like manner the archbishop, and sedulously to provide that this holy and pious work be as soon as possible proceeded with, wherever it is possible. The bishop shall annually receive the accounts of the revenues of the said seminary, in the presence of two deputies from the Chapter, and of the same number deputed from the clergy of the city.

Furthermore, in order that the teaching in schools of this nature may be provided for at less expense, the holy Synod ordains, that bishops, archbishops, primates, and other Ordinaries of places, shall constrain and compel, even by the substraction of their fruits, those who possess any dignities as professors of theology, and all others to whom is attached the office of lecturing, or of teaching, to teach those who are to be educated in the said schools, personally, if they be competent, otherwise by competent substitutes to be chosen by themselves, and to be approved of by the Ordinary. And if, in the judgment of the bishop, those chosen are not fit, they shall noniminate another who is fit, without any appeal being allowed; but should they neglect to do this, the bishop himself shall depute one. And the aforesaid masters shall teach those things which the bishop shall judge expedient. And, henceforth, those offices, or dignities, which are called professorships of theology, shall not be conferred on any but doctors, or masters, or licentiates in divinity, or canon law, or on other competent persons, and such as can personally discharge that office; and any provision made otherwise shall be null and void: all privileges and customs whatsoever, even though immemorial, notwithstanding.

But if the churches in any province labour under so great poverty, as that a college cannot be established in certain (churches) thereof; the provincial Synod, or the metropolitan, aided by the two oldest suffragans, shall take care to establish one or more colleges, as shall be judged expedient, in the metro-[Page 192]politan, or in some other more convenient church of the province, out of the revenues of two or more churches, in which singly a college cannot conveniently be established, and there shall the youths of those churches be educated.

But in churches which have extensive dioceses, the bishop may have one or more seminaries in the diocese, as to him shall seem expedient; which seminaries shall however be entirely dependent in all things on the one erected and established in the (episcopal) city.

Finally, if, either upon occasion of the said unions, or the taxation, or assignment, and incorporation of the above-named portions, or from some other cause, there should happen to arise any difficulty, by reason of which the institution, or maintenance of the said seminary may be hindered or disturbed, the bishop with the deputies as above, or the provincial Synod according to the custom of the country, shall have power, regard being had to the character of the churches and benefices, to regulate and order all and singular the matters which shall seem necessary and expedient for the happy advancement of the said seminary, even so as to modify or enlarge, if need be, the contents hereof.


Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod of Trent indicts the next ensuing Session for the sixteenth day of the month of September; in which it will treat of the sacrament of Matrimony, and of such other matters, if there be any, relative to the doctrine of faith as can be expedited, as also on provisions for bishoprics, dignities, and other ecclesiastical benefices, and divers articles of Reformation.

The Session was prorogued to the eleventh day of November, MDLXIII.

[Page 193]


Being the eighth under the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IV., celebrated on the eleventh day of November, MDLXIII.


The first parent of the human race, under the influence of the divine Spirit, pronounced the bond of matrimony perpetual and indissoluble, when he said; This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. But, that by this bond two only are united and joined together, our Lord taught more plainly, when rehearsing those last words as having been uttered by God, He said, therefore now they are not two, but one flesh; and straightway confirmed the firmness of that tie, proclaimed so long before by Adam, by these words; What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. But, the grace which might perfect that natural love, and confirm that indissoluble union, and sanctify the married, Christ Himself, the institutor and perfecter of the venerable sacraments, merited for us by His passion; as the Apostle Paul intimates, saying: Husbands love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered himself up for it; adding shortly after, This is a great sacrament, but I speak in Christ and in the Church. Whereas therefore matrimony, in the evangelical law, excels in grace, through Christ, the ancient marriages; with reason have our holy Fathers, the Councils, and the tradition of the universal Church, always taught, that it is to be numbered amongst the sacraments of the new law; against which, impious men of this age raging, have not only had false notions touching this venerable sacrament, but, introducing according to their wont, [Page 194] under the pretext of the Gospel, a carnal liberty, they have by word and writing asserted, not without great injury to the faithful of Christ, many things alien from the sentiment of the Catholic Church, and from the usage approved of since the times of the apostles; the holy and universal Synod wishing to meet the rashness of these men, has thought it proper, lest their pernicious contagion may draw more after it, that the more remarkable heresies and errors of the above-named schismatics be exterminated, by decreeing against the said heretics and their errors the following anathemas.


CANON I.-If any one saith, that matrimony is not truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the evangelic law, (a sacrament) instituted by Christ the Lord; but that it has been invented by men in the Church; and that it does not confer grace; let him be anathema.

CANON II.-If any one saith, that it is lawful for Christians to have several wives at the same time, and that this is not prohibited by any divine law; let him be anathema.

CANON III.-If any one saith, that those degrees only of consanguinity and affinity, which are set down in Leviticus, can hinder matrimony from being contracted, and dissolve it when contracted; and that the Church cannot dispense in some of those degrees, or establish that others may hinder and dissolve it ; let him be anathema.

CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the Church could not establish impediments dissolving marriage; or that she has erred in establishing them; let him be anathema.

CANON V.-If any one saith, that on account of heresy, or irksome cohabitation, or the affected absence of one of the parties, the bond of matrimony may be dissolved; let him be anathema.

[Page 195] CANON VI.-If any one saith, that matrimony contracted, but not consummated, is not dissolved by the solemn profession of religion by one of the married parties; let him be anathema.

CANON VlI.-If any one saith, that the Church has erred, in that she hath taught, and doth teach, in accordance with the evangelical and apostolical doctrine, that the bond of matrimony cannot be dissolved on account of the adultery of one of the married parties; and that both, or even the innocent one who gave not occasion to the adultery, cannot contract another marriage, during the life-time of the other; and, that he is guilty of adultery, who, having put away the adulteress, shall take another wife, as also she, who, having put away the adulterer, shall take another husband; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that the Church errs, in that she declares that, for many causes, a separation may take place between husband and wife, in regard of bed, or in regard of cohabitation, for a determinate or for an indeterminate period; let him be anathema.

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that clerics constituted in sacred orders, or Regulars, who have solemnly professed chastity, are able to contract marriage, and that being contracted it is valid, notwithstanding the ecclesiastical law, or vow; and that the contrary is no thing else than to condemn marriage; and, that all who do not feel that they have the gift of chastity, even though they have made a vow thereof, may contract marriage; let him be anathema: seeing that God refuses not that gift to those who ask for it rightly, neither does He suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able.

CANON X.-If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema.

CANON XI.-If any one saith, that the prohibition of the solemnization of marriages at certain times of the year, is a tyrannical superstition, derived from the superstition of the [Page 196] heathen; or, condemn the benedictions and other ceremonies which the Church makes use of therein; let him be anathema.

CANON XII.-If any one saith, that matrimonial causes do not belong to ecclesiastical judges; let him be anathema.


The form prescribed in the Council of Lateran for solemnly contracting marriage is renewed.--Bishops may dispense with the bans.--Whosoever contracts marriage, otherwise than in the presence of the Parish Priest and of two or three witnesses, contracts it invalidly.

Although it is not to be doubted, that clandestine marriages, made with the free consent of the contracting parties, are valid and true marriages, so long as the Church has not rendered them invalid; and consequently, that those persons are justly to be condemned, as the holy Synod doth condemn them with anathema, who deny that such marriages are true and valid; as also those who falsely affirm that marriages contracted by the children of a family, without the consent of their parents, are invalid, and that parents can make such marriages either valid or invalid; nevertheless, the holy Church of God has, for reasons most just, at all times detested and prohibited such marriages. But whereas the holy Synod perceives that those prohibitions, by reason of man's disobedience, are no longer of avail; and whereas it takes into account the grievous sins which arise from the said clandestine marriages, and especially the sins of those parties who live on in a state of damnation, when, having left their former wife, with whom they had contracted marriage secretly, they publicly marry another, and with her live in per-[Page 197]petual adultery; an evil which the Church, which judges not of what is hidden, cannot rectify, unless some more efficacious remedy be applied; wherefore, treading in the steps of the sacred Council of Lateran celebrated under Innocent III., it ordains that, for the future, before a marriage is contracted, the proper parish priest of the contracting parties shall three times announce publicly in the Church, during the solemnization of mass, on three continuous festival days, between whom marriage is to be celebrated; after which publication of banns, if there be no lawful impediment opposed, the marriage shall be proceeded with in the face of the church; where the parish priest, after having interrogated the man and the woman, and heard their mutual consent, shall either say, "I join you together in matrimony, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" or, he shall use other words, according to the received rite of each province. But if upon occasion, there should be a probable suspicion that the marriage may be maliciously hindered, if so many publications of banns precede it; in this case either one publication only shall be made; or at least the marriage shall be celebrated in the presence of the parish priest, and of two or three witnesses: Then, before the consummation thereof, the banns shall be published in the church; that so, if there be any secret impediments, they may be the more easily discovered: unless the Ordinary shall himself judge it expedient, that the publications aforesaid be dispensed with, which the holy Synod leaves to his prudence and judgment. Those who shall attempt to contract marriage otherwise than in the presence of the parish priest, or of some other priest by permission of the said parish priest, or of the Ordinary, and in the presence of two or three witnesses; the holy Synod renders such wholly incapable of thus contracting and declares such contracts invalid and null, as by the present decree It invalidates and annuls them. Moreover It enjoins, that the parish priest, or any other priest, who shall have been [Page 198] present at any such contract with a less number of witnesses (than as aforesaid); as also the witnesses who have been present thereat without the parish priest, or some other priest; and also the contracting parties themselves; shall be severely punished, at the discretion of the Ordinary. Furthermore, the same holy Synod exhorts the bridegroom and bride not to live together in the same house until they have received the sacerdotal benediction, which is to be given in the church; and It ordains that the benediction shall be given by their own parish priest, and that permission to give the aforesaid benediction cannot be granted by any other than the parish priest himself, or the Ordinary; any custom, even though immemorial, which ought rather to be called a corruption, or any privilege to the contrary, notwithstanding. And if any parish priest, or any other priest, whether Regular or Secular, shall presume to unite in marriage the betrothed of another parish, or to bless them when married, without the permission of their parish priest, he shall-even though he may plead that he is allowed to do this by a privilege, or an immemorial custom,-remain ipso jure suspended, until absolved by the Ordinary of that parish priest who ought to have been present at the marriage, or from whom the benediction ought to have been received.

The parish priest shall have a book, which he shall keep carefully by him, in which he shall register the names of the persons married, and of the witnesses, and the day on which, and the place where, the marriage was contracted.

Finally, the holy Synod exhorts those who marry, that before they contract marriage, or, at all events, three days before the consummation thereof, they carefully confess their sins, and approach devoutly to the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist.

If any provinces have herein in use any praise-worthy customs and ceremonies, besides the aforesaid, the holy Synod earnestly desires that they be by all means retained.

And that these so wholesome injunctions may not be unknown [Page 199] to any, It enjoins on all Ordinaries, that they, as soon as possible, make it their care that this decree be published and explained to the people in every parish church of their respective dioceses; and that this be done as often as may be during the first year; and afterwards as often as they shall judge it expedient. It ordains, moreover, that this decree shall begin to be in force in each parish, at the expiration of thirty days, to be counted from the day of its first publication made in the said parish.

Between whom Spiritual Relationship is contracted.

Experience teaches, that, by reason of the multitude of prohibitions, marriages are ofttimes unwittingly contracted in prohibited cases, in which marriages either the parties continue to live on, not without great sin, or they are dissolved, not without great scandal. Wherefore, the holy Synod, wishing to provide against this inconvenience, and beginning with the impediment arising from spiritual relationship, ordains, that, in accordance with the appointments of the sacred canons, one person only, whether male or female, or at most one male and one female, shall receive in baptism the individual baptized; between whom and the baptized, and the father and mother thereof; as also between the person baptizing and the baptized, and the father and mother of the baptized; and these only; shall spiritual relationship be contracted.

The parish priest, before he proceeds to confer baptism, shall carefully inquire of those whom it may concern, what person or persons they have chosen to receive from the sacred font the individual baptized, and he shall allow him or them only to receive the baptized; shall register their names in the book, and teach them what relationship they have contracted, that they may not have any excuse on the score of ignorance. [Page 200] And if any others, besides those designated, should touch the baptized, they shall not in any way contract a spiritual relationship; any constitutions that tend to the contrary notwithstanding. If through the fault or negligence of the parish priest any thing be done contrary hereto, he shall be punished, at the discretion of the Ordinary. That relationship, in like manner, which is contracted by confirmation shall not pass beyond him who confirms the person confirmed, his father and mother, and him who places his hand on him; all impediments arising from this kind of spiritual relationship between other persons being utterly set aside.

The impediment of public honesty is confined within certain limits.

The holy Synod entirely removes the impediment of justice arising from public honesty, whensoever espousals shall be, for whatsoever cause, not valid; but, when they are valid, the impediment shall not extend beyond the first degree; forasmuch as any such prohibition can no longer be observed, without injury, in more remote degrees.

Affinity arising from fornication is confined to the second degree.

Moreover, the holy Synod, moved by the same and other most weighty reasons, limits, to those only who are connected in the first and second degree, the impediment contracted by affinity arising from fornication, and which dissolves the marriage that may have been afterwards contracted. It ordains [Page 201] that, as regards degrees more remote, this kind of affinity does not dissolve the marriage that may have been afterwards contracted.

No one is to marry within the prohibited degrees: in what manner dispensation is to be granted therein.

If any one shall presume knowingly to contract marriage within the prohibited degrees, he shall be separated, and be without hope of obtaining a dispensation; and this shall much the rather have effect in regard of him who shall have dared not only to contract such a marriage, but also to consummate it. But if he have done this in ignorance, but yet has neglected the solemnities required in contracting matrimony, he shall be subjected to the same penalties. For he who has rashly despised the wholesome precepts of the Church, is not worthy to experience without difficulty her bounty. But if, having observed those solemnities, some secret impediment be afterwards discovered, of which it was not unlikely that he should be ignorant, he may in this case more easily obtain a dispensation, and that gratuitously. As regards marriages to be contracted, either no dispensation at all shall be granted, or rarely, and then for a cause, and gratuitously. A dispensation shall never be granted in the second degree, except between great princes, and for a public cause.

Punishments inflicted on Abductors.

The holy Synod ordains, that no marriage can subsist between the abducer and her who is abducted, so long as she shall remain in the power of the abducer. But if she that has been [Page 202] abducted, being separated from the abducer, and being in a safe and free place, shall consent to have him for her husband, the abducer may have her for his wife; but nevertheless the abduced himself and all who lent him advice, aid, and countenance, shall be ipso jure excommunicated, for ever infamous, and incapable of all dignities; and if they be clerics they shall forfeit their rank. The abducer shall furthermore be bound, whether he marry the person abducted, or marry her not, to settle on her a handsome dowry at the discretion of the judge.

Vagrants are to be married with caution.

There are many persons who are vagrants, having no settled homes; and, being of a profligate character, they, after abandoning their first wife, marry another, and very often several in different places, during the life-time of the first. The holy Synod, being desirous to obviate this disorder, gives this fatherly admonition to all whom it may concern, not easily to admit this class of vagrants to marriage; and It also exhorts the civil magistrates to punish such persons severely. But It commands parish priests not to be present at the marriages of such persons, unless they have first made a careful inquiry, and, having reported the circumstance to the Ordinary, they shall have obtained permission from him for so doing.

Concubinage is severely punished.

It is a grievous sin for unmarried men to have concubines; but it is a most grievous sin, and one committed in special contempt of this great sacrament, for married men also to live in this state of damnation, and to have the audacity at times to [Page 203] maintain and keep them at their own homes even with their own wives. Wherefore, the holy Synod, that it may by suitable remedies provide against this exceeding evil, ordains that these concubinaries, whether unmarried or married, of whatsoever state, dignity, and condition they may be, if, after having been three times admonished on this subject by the Ordinary, even ex officio, they shall not have put away their concubines, and have separated themselves from all connexion with them, they shall be smitten with excommunication; from which they shall not be absolved until they have really obeyed the admonition given them. But if, regardless of this censure, they shall continue in concubinage during a year, they shall be proceeded against with severity by the Ordinary, according to the character of the crime. Women, whether married or single, who publicly live with adulterers or with concubinaries, if, after having been three times admonished, they shall not obey, shall be rigorously punished, according to the measure of their guilt, by the Ordinaries of the places, ex officio, even though not called upon to do so by any one; and they shall be cast forth from the city or diocese, if the Ordinaries shall think fit, calling in the aid of the Secular arm, if need be; the other penalties inflicted on adulterers and concubinaries remaining in their full force.

Temporal lords, or magistrates, shall not attempt anything contrary to the liberty of marriage.

Earthly affections and desires do for the most part so blind the eyes of the understanding of temporal lords and magistrates, as that, by threats and ill-usage, they compel both men and women, who live under their jurisdiction,-especially such as are rich, or who have expectations of a great inheritance,-to contract marriage against their inclination with those whom the said lords or magistrates may prescribe unto them. Wherefore, seeing that it is a thing especially execrable to violate the liberty of matrimony, and that wrong comes from those from whom right is looked for, the holy Synod enjoins on all, of [Page 204] whatsoever grade, dignity, and condition they may be, under pain of anathema to be ipso facto incurred, that they put no constraint, in any way whatever, either directly or indirectly, on those subject to them, or any others whomsoever, so as to hinder them from freely contracting marriage.

The solemnities of marriage are prohibited at certain times.

The holy Synod enjoins, that the ancient prohibitions of solemn nuptials be carefully observed by all, from the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ until the day of the Epiphany, and from Ash-Wednesday until the octave of Easter inclusively; but at other times It allows marriage to be solemnly celebrated; and the bishops shall take care that they be conducted with becoming modesty and propriety: for marriage is a holy thing, and is to be treated in a holy manner.


The same sacred and holy Synod, prosecuting the subject of Reformation, ordains that the things following be established in the present Session.

The manner of proceeding to the creation of Bishops and Cardinals.

If, as regards all manner of degrees in the Church, a provident and enlightened care is to be taken, that in the house of the Lord there be nothing disorderly, nothing unseemly; much more ought we to strive that no error be committed in the election of him who is constituted above all those degrees. [Page 205] For the state and order of the whole household of the Lord will totter, if what is required in the body be not found in the head. For which cause, although the holy Synod has elsewhere usefully ordained certain things touching those who are to be promoted to cathedral and superior churches, yet doth it account this office to be of such a nature, as that were it to be pondered upon in proportion to its greatness, there would never seem to have been caution enough taken. Wherefore It ordains, that, as soon as a church shall become vacant, processions, and prayers shall be made in public and private; and such shall be enjoined, by the Chapter, throughout the city and diocese; that thereby both clergy and people may be enabled to obtain from God a good pastor.

And as regards all and each of those who have, in any way, any right from the Apostolic See, or who otherwise have a part, in the promotion of those to be set over the churches; the holy Synod,-without making any change herein, from a consideration of the circumstances of the present time,-exhorts and admonishes them, that they above all things bear in mind that they cannot do anything more conducive to the glory of God, and the salvation of the people, than to study to promote good pastors, and such as are capable of governing a church; and that they sin mortally, becoming partakers in others' sins, unless they carefully endeavour that those be promoted whom they themselves judge the most worthy of, and useful to, the church, not guided by entreaties, or human affection, or the solicitations of pretenders, but by what the merits of the individuals require at their hands; and seeing that they be persons whom they know to have been born in lawful wedlock, and who, by their life, learning, and in all other qualifications, are such as are required by the sacred canons, and by the decrees of this Synod of Trent.

And forasmuch as, by reason of the diversity of nations, peoples, and customs, a uniform system cannot be followed everywhere, in receiving the grave and competent testimony of [Page 206] good and learned men on the subject of the aforesaid qualifications, the holy Synod ordains, that, in a provincial Synod, to be held by the metropolitan, there shall be prescribed for each place and province a proper form of examination, scrutiny, or information, such as shall seem to be most useful and suitable for the said places, which form is to be submitted to the approval of the most holy Roman Pontiff; yet so, however, that, after that this examination, or scrutiny, as regards the persons to be promoted, shall have been completed, it shall, after being reduced into the form of a public document, be necessarily transmitted, as soon as possible, with all the attestations and with the profession of faith made by the individual to be promoted, to the most holy Roman Pontiff, in order that the said Sovereign Pontiff, having a full knowledge of the whole matter and of the persons, may, for the advantage of the Lord's flock, in a most useful manner provide those churches therewith, if they shall have been found, by the examination or scrutiny, suitable persons. And all the scrutinies, informations, attestations, and proofs of whatsoever kind, and by whomsoever made, even though in the Roman court, touching the qualifications of the person to be promoted, shall be carefully examined by a cardinal-who shall report thereon to the consistory-aided therein by three other cardinals; and the said report shall be authenticated by the signature of the cardinal who drew up the report, and of the three other cardinals; and therein each of the four cardinals shall make affirmation that, after giving exact attention thereto, he has found the persons to be promoted, endowed with the qualifications required by law, and by this holy Synod, and that, at the peril of his eternal salvation, he doth certainly think them fit to be placed over the churches: in such wise that, after the report has been made in one consistory, the sentence shall be deferred until another consistory, in order that the said inquiry may be more maturely looked into in the mean time,-unless the most blessed Pontiff shall judge it expedient to act otherwise.

[Page 207] And the Synod ordains, that all and singular the particulars which have been elsewhere ordained, in the same Synod, touching the life, age, learning, and the other qualifications of those who are to be appointed bishops, the same are also to be required in the creation of cardinals-even though they be deacons -of the holy Roman Church; whom the most holy Roman Pontiff shall, as far as it can be conveniently done, select out of all the nations of Christendom, as he shall find persons suitable.

Finally, the same holy Synod, moved by the so many most grievous afflictions of the Church, cannot avoid recording, that nothing is more necessary for the Church of God than that the most blessed Roman Pontiff apply especially here that solicitude, which, by the duty of his office, he owes to the Universal Church,-that he take unto himself, to wit as cardinals, persons the most select only, and that he appoint over each church, above all things, good and fit pastors; and this the more, for that our Lord Jesus Christ will require at his hands the blood of those sheep of Christ which shall perish through the evil government of pastors who are negligent, and forgetful of their office.

A Provincial Synod to be celebrated every third year, a Diocesan Synod every year: who are to convoke, and who to be present thereat.

Provincial councils, wheresoever they have been omitted, shall be renewed, for the regulating of morals, the correcting of excesses, the composing of controversies, and for the other purposes allowed of by the sacred canons. Therefore, the metropolitans in person, or if they be lawfully hindered, the oldest suffragan bishop shall not fail to assemble a Synod, each in his own province, within a year at latest from the termination of the present council, and afterwards, at least every third year, [Page 208] either after the octave of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, or at some other more convenient time, according to the custom of the province; at which council all the bishops and others, who, by right or custom, ought to be present thereat, shall be absolutely bound to assemble, those excepted who would have to cross the sea at their imminent peril. The bishops of the province shall not, for the future, be compelled, under the pretext of any custom whatsoever, to repair against their will to the metropolitan church. Those bishops likewise who are not subject to any archbishop, shall once for all make choice of some neighbouring metropolitan, at whose provincial Synod they shall be bound to be present with the other bishops, and shall observe, and cause to be observed, whatsoever shall be therein ordained. In all other respects, their exemption and privileges shall remain whole and entire.

Diocesan Synods also shall be celebrated every year; to which all those even who are exempted, but who would otherwise, that exemption ceasing, have to attend, and who are not subject to general Chapters, shall be bound to come; understanding however that, on account of parochial, or other Secular churches, even though annexed, those who have charge thereof must needs, whosoever they may be, be present at the said Synod. But if any, whether metropolitans, or bishops, or the others above-named, shall be negligent in these matters, they shall incur the penalties enacted by the sacred canons.

In what manner Prelates are to make their visitation.

Patriarchs, primates, metropolitans, and bishops shall not fail to visit their respective dioceses, either personally, or, if they be lawfully hindered, by their Vicar-general, or visitor; if they shall not be able on account of its extent, to make the visitation of the whole annually, they shall visit at least the greater part thereof, so that the whole shall be completed in two years, [Page 209] either by themselves, or by their visitors. Metropolitans, however, even after having made a complete visitation of their own proper diocese, shall not visit the cathedral churches, or the dioceses of the bishops of their province, except for a cause taken cognizance and approved of in the provincial Council.

But archdeacons, deans, and other inferiors, who have been hitherto accustomed lawfully to exercise (the power of) visitation in certain churches, shall henceforth visit those same places, but by themselves only, with the consent of the bishop, and assisted by a notary. The visitors also who may be deputed by a Chapter, where the Chapter has the right of visitation, shall be first approved of by the bishop; but the bishop, or, if he be hindered, his visitor, shall not thereby be prevented from visiting those same churches apart from those deputies; and the said archdeacons, and other inferiors, shall be bound to give the bishop an account, within a month, of the visitation that has been made, and to show him the depositions of witnesses, and the proceedings in their entire form; any custom, even though immemorial, and any exemptions and privileges whatsoever notwithstanding.

But the principle object of all these visitations shall be to lead to sound and orthodox doctrine, by banishing heresies; to maintain good morals, and to correct such as are evil; to animate the people, by exhortations and admonitions, to religion, peacefulness, and innocence; and to establish such other things as to the prudence of the visitors shall seem for the profit of the faithful, according as time, place and opportunity shall allow. And to the end that all this may have a more easy and prosperous issue, all and each of the aforesaid, to whom the right of visitation belongs, are admonished to treat all persons with fatherly love and Christian zeal; and with this view being content with a modest train of servants and horses, they shall endeavour to complete the said visitation as speedily as possible, though with due carefulness. And during it they shall be careful not to be troublesome or burthensome to any one by any useless expenses; and neither they, nor any of theirs, shall, by way of agency fee for the visitation, or, on account of wills made for pious uses--except that which is of right due to them out of [Page 210] pious bequests--or under any other name whatsoever, receive anything, be it money, or present, of whatsoever kind, or in whatsoever way offered; any custom, even though immemorial, to the contrary notwithstanding; with the exception, however, of food, which shall be furnished frugally and in moderation to them and theirs, only during the time necessary for the visitation, and no longer. It shall, however, be at the option of those who are visited, to pay, if they prefer it, in money, according to a fixed assessment, what they have been accustomed heretofore to disburse, or to furnish the food as aforesaid; saving also the right of ancient conventions entered into with monasteries, or other pious places, or churches not parochial, which right shall remain inviolate. But, in those places or provinces, where it is the custom that neither food, money, nor anything else be received by the visitors, but that all be done gratuitously, the same shall be retained there.

But if any one, which God forbid, shall presume to receive anything more than is prescribed in any of the cases above-named; besides the restitution of double the amount which is to be made within a month, he shall also be subjected, without any hope of pardon, to the other penalties contained in the constitution of the general Councils of Lyons, which begins, Exigit; as also to the other penalties (which shall be enacted) in the provincial Synod, at the discretion of that Synod.

As regards patrons, they shall not presume in any way to interfere in those things which regard the administration of the sacraments; neither shall they meddle with the visitation of the ornaments of the church, or its revenues arising from landed property, or from buildings, excepting so far as they are competent to do this by the institution, or foundation; but the bishops themselves shall attend to these things, and shall take care that the revenues of those buildings be expended upon purposes necessary and useful for the church, as to them shall seem most expedient.

[Page 211] CHAPTER IV.
By whom, and when, the office of preaching is to be discharged: the Parish Church to be frequented in order to hear the word of God. No one shall preach in opposition to the will of the Bishop.

The holy Synod, desirous that the office of preaching, which peculiarly belongs to bishops, may be exercised as frequently as possible, for the welfare of the faithful, and accommodating more aptly to the use of the present times, the canons elsewhere set forth on this subject, under Paul III., of happy memory, ordains, that the bishops shall themselves in person, each in his own church, announce the sacred Scriptures and the devine law, or if lawfully hindered, it shall be done by those whom they shall appoint to the office of preaching; and in the other churches by the parish priests, or, if they be hindered, by others to be deputed by the bishop, whether it be in the city, or in any other part whatsoever of the diocese wherein they shall judge such preaching expedient, at the charge of those who are bound, or who are accustomed, to defray it, and this at least on all Lord's Days and solemn festivals; but, during the season of the fasts, of Lent and of the Advent of the Lord, daily, or at least on three days in the week, if the said bishop shall deem it needful; and, at other times, as often as they shall judge that it can be opportunely done. And the bishop shall diligently admonish the people, that each one is bound to be present at his own parish church, where it can be conveniently done, to hear the word of God. But no one, whether Secular or Regular, shall presume to preach, even in churches of his own order, in opposition to the will of the bishop.

The said bishops shall also take care, that, at least on the Lord's Days and other festivals, the children in every parish be carefully taught the rudiments of the faith, and obedience towards [Page 212] God and their parents, by those whose duty it is, and who shall be constrained thereunto by their bishops, if need be, even by ecclesiastical censures; any privileges and customs notwithstanding. In other respects, those things decreed, under the said Paul III., concerning the office of preaching, shall have their full force.

In criminal causes against Bishops, the greater causes shall be taken cognizance of by the Sovereign Pontiff only, the less by the Provincial Council.

The more grave criminal causes against bishops, even of heresy-which may God forfend-which merit deposition or deprivation, shall be taken cognizance of and decided by the Sovereign Roman Pontiff himself only. But if the cause shall be of such a nature that it must necessarily be committed out of the Roman Court, it shall not be committed to any others soever, but metropolitans, or bishops, to be chosen by the most blessed Pope. And this commission shall both be special, and shall be signed by the most holy Pontiff's own hand; nor shall he ever grant more to those commissioners than this,-that they take information only of the fact, and draw up the process, which they shall immediately transmit to the Roman Pontiff; the definitive sentence being reserved to the said most holy Pontiff.

The other things hereupon elsewhere decreed, under Julius III., of happy memory, as also the constitution published in a general Council under Innocent III., which begins, Qualiter et quando, which constitution the holy Synod renews in this present decree, shall be observed by all.

But the less criminal causes of bishops shall be taken cognizance of and decided in the provincial Council only, or by persons deputed thereunto by the provincial Council.

[Page 213] CHAPTER VI.
When and how the Bishop may absolve from crime, and dispense in cases of irregularity and suspension.

It shall be lawful for the bishop to dispense in all manner of irregularities and suspensions, arising from a crime that is secret,-except that proceeding from wilful homicide, and those crimes which have been already carried before a legal tribunal; -and (it shall be lawful for them), in their own diocese, either by themselves, or by a vicar to be deputed especially for that purpose, to absolve gratuitously, as far as the tribunal of the conscience is concerned, after imposing a salutary penance, all delinquents whatsoever their subjects, in all cases whatsoever that are secret, even though reserved to the Apostolic See. The same also, as regards the crime of heresy, shall be permitted them in the said court of conscience, but to them only, and not to their vicars.

The virtue of the Sacraments shall, before being administered to the people, be explained by Bishops and Parish Priests; during the solemnization of mass, the sacred oracles shall be explained.

In order that the faithful people may approach to the reception of the sacraments with greater reverence and devotion of mind, the holy Synod enjoins on all bishops, that, not only when they are themselves about to administer them to the people, they shall first explain, in a manner suited to the capacity of those who receive them, the efficacy and use of those sacraments, but shall endeavour that the same be done piously and prudently [Page 214] by every parish priest; and this even in the vernacular tongue, if need be, and it can be conveniently done; and in accordance with the form which will be prescribed for each of the sacraments, by the holy Synod, in a catechism which the bishops shall take care to have faithfully translated into the vulgar tongue, and to have expounded to the people by all parish priests; as also that, during the solemnization of mass, or the celebration of the divine offices, they explain, in the said vulgar tongue, on all festivals, or solemnities, the sacred oracles, and the maxims of salvation; and that, setting aside all unprofitable questions, they endeavour to impress them on the hearts of all, and to instruct them in the law of the Lord.

On public sinners, a public penance shall be imposed, unless the Bishop shall determine otherwise: a Penitentiary to be instituted in Cathedral Churches.

The apostle admonishes that those who sin publicly are to be reproved openly. When, therefore, any one has, publicly and in the sight of many, committed a crime, whereby there is no doubt that others have been offended and scandalized; there must needs be publicly imposed upon him a penance suitable to the measure of his guilt; that so those whom he has allured to evil manners by his example, he may bring back to an upright life by the testimony of his amendment. The bishop, however, may, when he judges it more expedient, commute this kind of public penance into one that is secret. Likewise, in all cathedral churches, where it can be conveniently done, the bishop shall appoint a penitentiary, annexing thereto the prebend that shall next become vacant, which penitentiary shall be a master, or doctor, or licentiate in theology, or in canon law, and forty years of age, or otherwise one who shall be found more suitable [Page 215] considering the character of the place; and, whilst hearing confessions in the church, he shall be meanwhile reputed as present in choir.

By whom Secular Churches, not of any diocese, are to be visited.

Those things which have elsewhere been established by this same Council, under Paul III., of happy memory, and lately under our most blessed lord Pius IV., touching the diligence to be used by the Ordinaries in visiting benefices, even though exempted, the same shall also be observed in regard of those Secular churches which are said to be in no one's diocese; to wit they shall be visited by the bishop-as the delegate of the Apostolic See-whose cathedral church is the nearest, if he be able to do so; otherwise, by him whom the prelate of the said place has once for all selected in the provincial Council;-any privileges and customs whatsoever, even though immemorial, to the contrary notwithstanding.

Where visitation and correction of morals are concerned, no suspension of decrees is allowed.

Bishops, that they may be the better able to keep the people whom they rule in duty and obedience, shall, in all those things which regard visitation and correction of manners, have the right and power, even as delegates of the Apostolic See, of ordaining, regulating, correcting, and executing, in accordance with the enactments of the canons, those things which, in their prudence, shall seem to them necessary for the amendment of their subjects, and for the good of their respective dioceses. Nor herein, when visitation and correction of manners are concerned, shall any exemption, or any inhibition, or appeal, or complaint, even though interposed to the Apostolic See, in any way hinder, or suspend the execution of those things which shall have been by them enjoined, decreed, or adjudged.

[Page 216] CHAPTER XI.
Honorary titles, or particular privileges, shall not derogate in any way from the right of bishops.

Forasmuch as the privileges and exemptions which, under various titles, are granted to very many persons, are clearly seen to raise, in these days, confusion in the jurisdiction of bishops, and to give occasion to those exempted to lead a more relaxed life; the holy Synod ordains, that if at any time it be thought proper, for just, weighty, and well nigh compulsory causes, that certain persons be distinguished by the honorary titles of Protonotary, Acolyte, Count Palatine, Royal Chaplain, or other such titles of distinction, whether in the Roman court or elsewhere; as also that others be admitted into monasteries as Oblates, or as attached thereunto in some other way, or under the name of servants to military orders, monasteries, hospitals, colleges, or under any other title whatsoever; nothing is to be understood as being, by these privileges, taken away from the Ordinaries, so as to prevent those persons, unto whom those privileges have already been granted, or to whom they may be hereafter conceded, from being fully subject in all things to the said Ordinaries, as delegates of the Apostolic See, and this as regards Royal Chaplains, in accordance with the constitution of Innocent III., which begins Cum capella: those persons, however, being excepted, who are engaged in actual service in the aforesaid places, or in military orders, and who reside within their enclosures and houses, and live under obedience to them; as also those who have made their profession lawfully and according to the rules of the said military orders, whereof the Ordinary must be certified: notwithstanding any privileges what soever, even those of the order of Saint John of Jerusalem, and of other military orders. But, as regards those privileges which by virtue of the constitution of Eugenius, those are accustomed to enjoy who reside in the Roman Court, or who are in the household of cardinals, such privileges shall in no wise be understood to apply to those who hold ecclesiastical benefices, in so [Page 217] far as those benefices are concerned; but such shall continue subject to the jurisdiction of the Ordinary; any inhibitions to the contrary notwithstanding.

What manner of persons those ought to be who are to be promoted to the dignities and canonries of Cathedral Churches: and what those so promoted are bound to perform.

Whereas dignities, especially in cathedral churches, were established to preserve and increase ecclesiastical discipline, with the view that those who should obtain them, might be pre-eminent in piety, be an example to others, and aid the bishop by their exertions and services; it is but right, that those who are called unto those dignities, should be such as to be able to answer the purposes of their office. Wherefore, no one shall henceforth be promoted to any dignities whatsoever, to which the cure of souls is attached, who has not attained at least to the twenty-fifth year of his age, and, having been exercised for some time in the clerical order, is recommended by the learning necessary for the discharge of his office, and by integrity of morals, conformably to the constitution of Alexander III., promulgated in the Council of Lateran, which begins, Cum in cunctis.

In like manner archdeacons, who are called the eyes of the bishop, shall, in all churches, where it is possible, be masters in theology, or doctors or licentiates in canon law. But, to the other dignities or personates, to which no cure of souls is attached, clerics shall be promoted, who are in other respects qualified, and who are not less than twenty-two years of age. Those also who are promoted to any benefices whatsoever having cure of souls, shall, within two months at the latest from the day of obtaining possession, be bound to make a public profession of their orthodox faith in the presence of the bishop [Page 218] himself, or, if he be hindered, before his Vicar-general, or official; and shall promise and swear, that they will continue in obedience to the Roman Church. But those who are promoted to canonries and dignities in cathedral churches, shall be bound to do this not only before the bishop, or his official, but also in the Chapter; otherwise all those promoted as aforesaid shall not render the fruits theirs; nor shall possession avail them anything. No one shall henceforth be received to a dignity, canonry, or portion, but one who has either already been admitted to that sacred order which that dignity, prebend, or portion requires, or is of such an age as to be capable of being admitted to that order, within the time prescribed by law and by this holy Synod. As regards all cathedral churches, all canonries and portions shall be attached to the order of the priesthood, deaconship, or subdeaconship; and the bishop, with the advice of the Chapter, shall designate and apportion, as he shall judge expedient, to which thereof each of those respective sacred orders is for the future to be annexed; in such wise, however, that one half at least shall be priests, and the rest deacons, or subdeacons: but where the more praiseworthy custom requires, that the greater part, or that all be priests, it shall be by all means retained. Moreover, the holy Synod exhorts that, in provinces where it can conveniently be done, all the dignities, and one half at least of the canonries, in cathedral and eminent collegiate churches, be conferred only on masters, or doctors, or even on licentiates in theology, or canon law. Furthermore, it shall not be lawful, by virtue of any manner of statute or custom whatsoever, for those who possess, in the said cathedral or collegiate churches, any dignities, canonries, prebends, or portions, to be absent from those churches, above three months in each year-saving, however, the constitutions of those churches which require a longer term of service-otherwise every offender shall, for the first year, be deprived of onehalf of the fruits which he has made his own by reason even of his prebend and residence. But, if he be again guilty of the same negligence, he shall be deprived of all the fruits which he may have acquired during that same year: and, the contumacy increasing, they shall be proceeded against according to the con-[Page 219] stitutions of the sacred canons. As regards the distributions; those who have been present at the stated hours shall receive them; all others shall, all collusion and remission set aside, forfeit them, pursuant to the decree of Boniface VIII., which begins, Consuetudinem, which the holy Synod brings again into use; any statutes, or customs, whatsoever, to the contrary notwithstanding. And all shall be obliged to perform the divine offices in person, and not by substitutes; as also to attend on and serve the bishop when celebrating (mass), or performing any other pontifical functions; and reverently, distinctly, and devoutly to praise the name of God, in hymns and canticles, in the choir appointed for psalmody.

They shall, moreover, at all times wear a becoming dress, both in and out of church; shall abstain from unlawful hunting, hawking, dancing, taverns, and gaines; and be distinguished for such integrity of manners, as that they may with justice be called the senate of the Church. As to other matters, regarding the suitable manner of conducting the divine offices, the proper way of singing or chanting therein, the specific regulations for assembling in choir and for remaining there, as also such things as may be necessary in regard of all those who minister in the church, and any other things of the like kind; the provincial Synod shall prescribe a fixed form on each Head, having regard to the utility and habits of each province. But, in the mean time, the bishop, assisted by not less than two canons, one of whom shall be chosen by the bishop, and the other by the Chapter, shall have power to provide herein as may be judged expedient.

In what manner provision is to be made for the more slightly endowed Cathedral and Parish Churches: Parishes are to be distinguished by certain boundaries.

Forasmuch as very many cathedral churches have so slight a revenue, and are so small, that they by no means correspond with the episcopal dignity, nor suffice for the necessities of the churches; the provincial Council, having summoned those whose [Page 220] interests are concerned, shall examine and weigh with care, what churches it may be expedient, on account of their small extent, and their poverty, to unite to others in the neighbourhood, or to augment with fresh revenues; and shall send the documents prepared in regard thereof to the Sovereign Roman Pontiff; who, being thereby made acquainted with the matter, shall, of his own prudence, as he may judge expedient, either unite together the slightly provided churches, or improve them by some augmentation derived from the fruits. But in the meantime, until the things aforesaid are carried into effect, the Sovereign Pontiff may provide, out of certain benefices, for those bishops who, on account of the poverty of their dioceses, stand in need of being aided by certain fruits; provided however those benefices be not cures, nor dignities, canonries, prebends, nor monasteries wherein regular observance is in force, or which are subject to general Chapters, or to certain visitors.

In parish churches also, the fruits of which are in like manner so slight that they are not sufficient to meet the necessary charges, the bishop,-if unable to provide for the exigency by a union of benefices, not however those belonging to Regulars,-shall make it his care, that, by the assignment of first fruits, or tithes, or by the contributions and collections of the parishioners, or in some other way that shall seem to him more suitable, as much be amassed as may decently suffice for the necessities of the rector and of the parish.

But in whatsoever unions may have to be made, whether for the causes aforesaid, or for others, parish churches shall not be united to any monasteries whatever, or abbeys, or dignities, or prebends of a cathedral or collegiate church, or to any other simple benefices, hospitals, or military orders; and those so united shall be again taken cognizance of by the Ordinaries, pursuant to the decree already made in this same Synod, under Paul III., of happy memory, which shall also be equally observed in regard of those unions that have been made from that time forth to the present; notwithstanding whatsoever form of words may have been used therein, which shall be accounted as being sufficiently expressed here.

Furthermore, all those cathedral churches, the revenue of which, [Page 221] in real annual value, does not exceed the sum of one thousand ducats, and those parish churches where it does not exceed the sum of one hundred ducats, shall not for the future be burthened with any manner of pensions, or reservations of fruits. Also, in those cities and places where the parish churches have not any certain boundaries, neither have the rectors thereof their own proper people to govern, but administer the sacraments to all indiscriminately who desire them, the holy Synod enjoins on bishops, that for the greater security of the salvation of the souls committed to their charge, having divided the people into fixed and proper parishes, they shall assign to each parish its own perpetual and peculiar parish priest who may know his own parishioners, and from whom alone they may licitly receive the sacraments; or the bishops shall make such other provision as may be more beneficial, according as the character of the place may require. They shall also take care, that the same be done, as soon as possible, in those cities and places where there are no parish churches: any privileges aind customs, even though immemorial, to the contrary notwithstanding.

In promotions to benefices, or in admissions into possession of the same, any deductions from the fruits, not applied to pious uses, are prohibited.

In many churches, as well cathedral as collegiate and parochial, it is understood to be the practice, derived either from the constitutions thereof, or from an evil custom, that upon any election, presentation, institution, confirmation, collation, or other provision, or upon admission to the possession of any cathedral church, benefice, canonries, or prebends, or to a participation in the revenues, or the daily distributions, there are introduced certain conditions, or deductions from the fruits, certain payments, promises, unlawful compensations, as also the profits which are in some churches called Turnorum lucra; and [Page 222] whereas the holy Synod detests these practices, It enjoins on bishops, that they suffer not anything of the kind to be done, unless the proceeds be converted to pious uses, nor permit any of those modes of entering (on benefices) which carry with them a suspicion of a simoniacal taint, or of sordid avarice; and they shall themselves carefully take cognizance of their constitutions, or customs in the above regards; and, those only being retained which they shall approve of as laudable, the rest they shall reject and abolish as corrupt and scandalous. And It decrees that those, who act in any way contrary to the things comprised in this present decree, incur the penalties set forth against simoniacs by the sacred canons, and divers constitutions of the Sovereign Pontiffs, all of which this Synod renews; any statutes, constitutions, customs, even though immemorial, even though confirmed by apostolic authority, to the contrary notwithstanding; the bishop, as the delegate of the Apostolic See, having power to take cognizance of any surreption, obreption, or defect of intention, in regard thereof.

Method of increasing the slight prebends of Cathedral, and of eminent Collegiate Churches.

In cathedral, and eminent collegiate, churches, where the prebends are numerous, and so small, that, even with the daily distributions, they are not sufficient for the decent maintenance of the rank of the canons, according to the character of the place, and of the persons, it shall be lawful for the bishop, with the consent of the Chapter, either to unite thereunto certain simple benefices, not however such as belong to Regulars, or, if a provision cannot be made in this way, they may reduce those prebends to a less number, by suppressing some of them,-with the consent of the patron, if the right of patronage belong to laymen,-the fruits and proceeds of which shall be applied towards the daily distributions of the remaining prebends; yet so, however, that such a number shall be left as may conveniently serve for the celebration of divine worship, [Page 223] and be suitable to the dignity of the church; any constitutions and privileges whatsoever, or any reservation whether general or special, or any application whatever, to the contrary notwithstanding: nor shall the aforesaid unions or suppressions be set aside or hindered by any manner of provision whatsoever, not even by virtue of any resignation, or by any other derogations, or suspensions whatever.

What duty devolves on the Chapter during the vacancy of a See.

When a See is vacant, the Chapter, in those places where the duty of receiving the fruits devolves upon it, shall appoint one or more faithful and diligent stewards to take care of the property and revenues of the church, of which they shall afterwards give an account to him whom it may regard. It shall also be absolutely bound, within eight days after the decease of the bishop, to appoint an official, or vicar, or to confirm the one who fills that office; who shall at least be a doctor, or a licentiate, of canon law, or otherwise as competent a person as can be procured: if anything be done contrary hereto, the appointment aforesaid shall devolve on the metropolitan. And if the church be itself the metropolitan, or exempted, and the Chapter shall be, as has been said above, negligent, then shall the oldest of the suffragan bishops in that metropolitan church, and the nearest bishop in regard of that church that is exempted, have power to appoint a competent steward and vicar. And the bishop, who is promoted to the said vacant church, shall demand, from the said steward, vicar, and all other officers and administrators, who, during the vacancy of the See, were, by the Chapter, or others, appointed in his room,-even though they should belong to the Chapter itself,-an account of those things which concern him, of their functions, jurisdiction, administration, or of any other their charge whatsoever; and shall have [Page 224] power to punish those who have been guilty of any delinquency in their office or administration, even though the officers aforesaid, having given in their accounts, may have obtained a quittance or discharge from the Chapter, or those deputed thereby. The Chapter shall also be bound to render an account to the said bishop of any papers belonging to the church, if any such have come into the possession thereof.

In what case it is lawful to confer more than one benefice upon one individual; and for him to retain the same.

Whereas ecclesiastical order is perverted when one cleric fills the offices of several, the sacred canons have holily provided that no one ought to be enrolled in two churches. But, seeing that many, through the passion of ungodly covetousness deceiving themselves, not God, are not ashamed to elude, by various artifices, what has been so excellently ordained, and to hold several benefices at the same time; the holy Synod, desiring to restore the discipline required for the government of the church, doth by this present decree,-which It orders to be observed in regard of all persons whatsoever, by whatsoever title distinguished, even though it be by the dignity of the Cardinalate,-ordain, that, for the future, one ecclesiastical benefice only shall be conferred on one and the same person. If indeed that benefice be not sufficient to afford a decent livelihood to the person on whom it is conferred, it shall then be lawful to bestow on him some other simple benefice that may be sufficient; provided that both do not require personal residence. And the above shall apply not only to cathedral churches, but also to all other benefices whatsoever, whether Secular or Regular, even to those held in commendam, of whatsoever title and quality they may be. But they who at present hold several parochial churches, or one cathedral and one parochial church, shall be absolutely obliged,-all dispensations and unions for life whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding,-retaining one parochial church only, or the cathedral church alone, to resign the other parochial [Page 225] churches within the space of six months; otherwise as well the parish churches, as also all the benefices which they hold, shall be accounted ipso jure void, and as void shall be freely conferred on other competent persons; nor shall they who previously held them be able to retain the fruits thereof, with a safe conscience, after the said time. But the holy Synod desires that a provision be made in some suitable manner, as may seem fit to the Sovereign Pontiff, for the necessities of those who resign.

Upon a Parish Church becoming vacant, a Vicar is to be deputed thereunto by the Bishop, until it be provided with a Parish Priest: in what manner and by whom those nominated to Parochial Churches ought to be examined.

It is most highly expedient for the salvation of souls, that they be governed by worthy and competent parish priests. To the end that this may with greater care and effect be accomplished, the holy Synod ordains, that when a vacancy occurs in a parish church, whether by death, or by resignation, even in the Roman Court, or in any other manner whatsoever, though it may be alleged that the charge thereof devolves on the church (itself), or on the bishop, and though it may be served by one or more priests,-and this not excepting even those churches called patrimonial, or receptive, wherein the bishop has been accustomed to assign the cure of souls to one or more (priests), all of whom, as this Synod ordains, must be subjected to the examination herein prescribed later,-even though, moreover, the said parish church may be reserved, or appropriated, whether generally or specially, by virtue even of an indult, or privilege granted in favour of cardinals of the holy Roman Church, or of certain abbots, or chapters; it shall be the duty of the bishop, at once, upon obtaining information of the vacancy of the church, [Page 226] to appoint, if need be, a competent vicar to the same--with a suitable assignment, at his own discretion, of a portion of the fruits thereof--to support the duties of the said church, until it shall be provided with a rector. Moreover, the bishop, and he who has the right of patronage, shall, within ten days, or such other term as the bishop shall prescribe, nominate, in the presence of those who shall be deputed as examiners, certain clerics as capable of governing the said church. It shall nevertheless be free for others also, who may know any that are fit for the office, to give in their names, that a diligent scrutiny may be afterwards made as to the age, morals, and sufficiency of each. And even,--if the bishop, or the provincial Synod shall, considering the custom of the country, judge this more expedient,--those who may wish to be examined may be summoned by a public notice. When the time appointed has transpired, all those whose names have been entered shall be examined by the bishop, or, if he be hindered, by his Vicar-general, and by the other examiners, who shall not be fewer than three; to whose votes, if they should be equal, or given to distinct individuals, the bishop, or his vicar, may add theirs, in favour of whomsoever they shall think most fit.

And as regards the examiners, six at least shall be annually proposed by the bishop, or by his vicar, in the diocesan Synod; who shall be such as shall satisfy, and shall be approved of by, the said Synod. And upon any vacancy occurring in any church, the bishop shall select three out of that number to make the examination with him; and afterwards, upon another vacancy following, he shall select, out of the six aforesaid, the same, or three others, whom he may prefer. But the said examiners shall be masters, or doctors, or licentiates in theology, or in canon law, or such other clerics, whether Regulars,-even of the order of mendicants,-or Seculars, as shall seem best adapted thereunto; and they shall all swear on the holy Gospels of God, that they will, setting aside every human affection, faithfully perform their duty. And they shall beware of receiving anything whatever, either before or after, on account of this examination; otherwise, both the receivers and the givers will incur the guilt of simony, from which they shall not be capable of [Page 227] being absolved, until after they have resigned the benefices which they were possessed of in any manner whatsoever, even before this act; and they shall be rendered incapable of any others for the time to come. And in regard of all these matters, they shall be bound to render an account, not only to God, but also, if need be, to the provincial Synod, which shall have power to punish them severely, at Its discretion, if it be ascertained that they have done anything contrary to their duty.

Then, after the examination is completed, a report shall be made of all those who shall have been judged, by the said examiners, fit by age, morals, learning, prudence, and other suitable qualifications, to govern the vacant church; and out of these the bishop shall select him whom he shall judge the most fit of all; and to him, and to none other, shall the church be collated by him unto whom it belongs to collate thereunto. But, if the church be under ecclesiastical patronage, and the institution thereunto belongs to the bishop, and to none else, whomsoever the patron shall judge the most worthy from amongst those who have been approved of by the examiners, him he shall be bound to present to the bishop, that he may receive institution from him: but when the institution is to proceed from any other than the bishop, then the bishop alone shall select the worthiest from amongst the worthy, and him the patron shall present to him unto whom the institution belongs.

But if it be under lay patronage, the individual who shall be presented by the patron, must be examined, as above, by those deputed thereunto, and not be admitted, unless he be found fit. And, in all the above-mentioned cases, to none other but to one of those who have been examined as aforesaid, and have been approved of by the examiners, according to the rule prescribed above, shall the church be committed, nor shall any devolution, or appeal, interposed even before the Apostolic See, or the legates, vice-legates, or nuncios of that see, or before any bishops, or metropolitans, primates, or patriarchs, hinder or suspend the report of the aforesaid examiners from being carried into execution: for the rest, the vicar whom the bishop has, at his own discretion, already deputed for the time being to the vacant church, or whom he may afterwards happen to depute [Page 228] thereunto, shall not be removed from the charge and administration of the said church, until it be provided for, either by the appointment of the vicar himself, or of some other person, who has been approved of and elected as above: and all provisions and institutions made otherwise than according to the above-named form, shall be accounted surreptitious: any exemptions, indults, privileges, preventions, appropriations, new provisions, indults granted to any university whatsoever, even for a certain sum, and any other impediments whatsoever, in opposition to this decree, notwithstanding.

If, however, the said parish churches should possess so slight a revenue, as not to allow of the trouble of all this examination; or should no one seek to undergo this examination; or if, by reason of the open factions, or dissensions, which are met with in some places, more grievous quarrels and tumults may easily be excited thereby; the Ordinary may, omitting this formality, have recourse to a private examination, if, in his conscience, with the advice of the (examiners) deputed, he shall judge this expedient; observing however the other things as prescribed above. It shall also be lawful for the provincial Synod, if It shall judge that there are any particulars which ought to be added to, or retrenched from, the above regulations concerning the form of examination, to provide accordingly.

Mandates 'de providendo,' Expectatives, and other things of the like kind are abrogated.

The holy Synod ordains, that mandates for contingent promotions, and those graces which are called expectant, shall not any more be granted to any one, not even to colleges, universities, senates, or to any individuals whatsoever, even [Page 220] though under the name of an indult, or up to a certain sum, or under any other colourable title; nor shall it be lawful for any one to make use of such as have been heretofore granted. So, neither shall any mental reservations, nor any other graces whatsoever in regard of future vacancies in benefices, nor indults which apply to churches belonging to others, or to monasteries, be granted to any, not even cardinals of the holy Roman Church; and those hitherto granted shall be looked upon as abrogated.

The manner of conducting causes, appertaining to the Ecclesiastical court, is prescribed.

All causes belonging in any way whatever to the ecclesiastical court, even though they may relate to benefices, shall be taken cognizance of, in the first instance, before the Ordinaries of the places only; and shall be completely terminated within two years at the latest from the time that the suit was instituted: otherwise, at the expiration of that period, it shall be free for the parties, or for either of them, to have recourse to superior, but otherwise competent, judges, who shall take up the cause as it shall then stand, and shall take care that it be terminated with all possible despatch; nor, before that period, shall the causes be committed to any others (than the Ordinaries), nor be transferred therefrom; nor shall any appeals interposed by those parties be received by any superior judges whatsoever; nor shall any commission, or inhibition be issued by them, except upon a definitive sentence, or one that has the force thereof, and the grievance arising from which cannot be redressed by an appeal from that definitive sentence. From the above are to be excepted those causes, which, pursuant to the appointments of the canons, are to be tried before the Apostolic See, or those which the Sovereign Roman Pontiff shall, for an urgent and [Page 221] reasonable cause, judge fit to appoint, or to avocate, for his own hearing, by a special rescript under the signature of his Holiness signed with his own hand.

Furthermore, matrimonial and criminal causes shall not be left to the judgment of deans, archdeacons, and other inferiors, even when on their course of visitation, but shall be reserved for the examination and jurisdiction of the bishop only; even though there should be, at this present moment, a suit pending, in whatsoever stage of the proceedings it may be, between any bishop, and the dean, or archdeacon, touching the cognizance of this class of causes: and if, in any said matrimonial cause, one of the parties shall truly prove his property in the presence of the bishop, he shall not be compelled to plead out of the province, either in the second or third stage of the suit, unless the other party will provide for his maintenance, and also bear the expenses of the suit.

Legates also, even though de latere, nuncios, ecclesiastical governors, or others, shall not only not presume, by virtue of any powers whatsoever, to impede bishops in the causes aforesaid, or in any wise to take from them, or to disturb their jurisdiction, but they shall not even proceed against clerics, or other ecclesiastical persons, until the bishop has been first applied to, and has shown himself negligent; otherwise their proceedings and ordinances shall be of no force, and they shall be bound to make satisfaction to the parties for the damages which they have sustained.

Furthermore, should any individual appeal in those cases allowed of by law, or lodge a complaint touching any grievance, or have recourse, as aforesaid, to a judge, on account of two years having elapsed, he shall be bound to transfer, at his own expense, to the judge of appeal, all the acts of the proceedings that have taken place before the bishop, having given, however, notice thereof previously to the said bishop; that so, if it seem fit to him to communicate any information on the suit, he may acquaint the judge of appeal therewith. But if the appellee [Page 231] shall appear, then shall he also be bound to bear his proportion of the costs of transferring those acts, provided that he wishes to make use thereof; unless it be the custom of the place to act otherwise, to wit, that the entire costs have to be borne by the appellant.

Moreover, the notary shall be bound to furnish the appellant, upon payment of the suitable fee, with a copy of the proceedings as soon as may be, and within a month at the furthest. And should that notary be guilty of any fraud in delaying the giving such copy, he shall be suspended from the exercise of his office, at the discretion of the Ordinary, and be condemned to pay double the costs of the suit, which shall be divided between the appellant and the poor of the place. But if the judge also should himself be cognizant of, and an accomplice in, this delay, or if he shall in any other way raise obstacles against the entire proceedings being delivered over to the appellant within the term aforesaid, he shall be subjected to the same penalty of paying double the costs, as above; notwithstanding, as regards all the aforesaid matters, any privileges, indults, covenants, which only bind the authors thereof, and any other customs whatsoever to the contrary.

It is declared, that, by certain words used previously, the usual manner of treating business in General Councils is not changed.

The holy Synod,-being desirous that no occasion of doubting may, at any future period, arise out of the decrees which It has published,-in explanation of the words contained in a decree published in the first Session under our most blessed lord, Pius IV., to wit, "which, the legates and presidents proposing, shall to the said holy Synod appear suitable and proper for assuaging the calamities of these times, terminating the controversies concerning religion, restraining deceitful tongues, correcting the abuses of depraved manners, and procuring for the church a true and Christian peace," declares that it was not Its [Page 232] intention, that, by the foregoing words, the usual manner of treating matters in general Councils should be in any respect changed; or that anything new, besides that which has been heretofore established by the sacred canons, or by the form of general Councils, should be added to, or taken from, any one.


Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod ordains and decrees, that the next ensuing Session be held on the Thursday after the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which will be the ninth day of December next, with the power also of abridging that term. In which Session there will be treated of the sixth chapter which is now deferred till then, and the remaining chapters on Reformation which have been already set forth, and other matters which relate thereunto. And if it shall seem advisable, and the time will allow thereof, certain dogmas may also be treated of, as in their proper season they shall be proposed in the congregations.

The term fixed for the Session was abridged.

[Page 232]


Begun on the third, and terminated on the fourth, day of December, MDLXIII., being the ninth and last under the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IV.


Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, from the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught, in sacred councils, and very recently in this oecumenical Synod, that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, [Page 233] but principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar; the holy Synod enjoins on bishops that they diligently endeavour that the sound doctrine concerning Purgatory, transmitted by the holy Fathers and sacred councils, be believed, maintained, taught, and every where proclaimed by the faithful of Christ. But let the more difficult and subtle questions, and which tend not to edification, and from which for the most part there is no increase of piety, be excluded from popular discourses before the uneducated multitude. In like manner, such things as are uncertain, or which labour under an appearance of error, let them not allow to be made public and treated of. While those things which tend to a certain kind of curiosity or superstition, or which savour of filthy lucre, let them prohibit as scandals and stumbling-blocks of the faithful. But let the bishops take care, that the suffrages of the faithful who are living, to wit the sacrifices of masses, prayers, alms, and other works of piety, which have been wont to be performed by the faithful for the other faithful departed, be piously and devoutly performed, in accordance with the institutes of the church; and that whatsoever is due on their behalf, from the endowments of testators, or in other way, be discharged, not in a perfunctory manner, but diligently and accurately, by the priests and ministers of the church, and others who are bound to render this (service).


The holy Synod enjoins on all bishops, and others who sustain the office and charge of teaching, that, agreeably to the usage of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, received from the primitive times of the Christian religion, and agreeably to the consent of the holy Fathers, and to the decrees of sacred Councils, they especially instruct the faithful diligently concerning the intercession and invocation of saints; the honour (paid) to [Page 234] relics; and the legitimate use of images: teaching them, that the saints, who reign together with Christ, offer up their own prayers to God for men; that it is good and useful suppliantly to invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, (and) help for obtaining benefits from God, through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is our alone Redeemer and Saviour; but that they think impiously, who deny that the saints, who enjoy eternal happiness in heaven, are to be invocated; or who assert either that they do not pray for men; or, that the invocation of them to pray for each of us even in particular, is idolatry; or, that it is repugnant to the word of God; and is opposed to the honour of the one mediator of God and men, Christ Jesus; or, that it is foolish to supplicate, vocally, or mentally, those who reign in heaven. Also, that the holy bodies of holy martyrs, and of others now living with Christ,-which bodies were the living members of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Ghost, and which are by Him to be raised unto eternal life, and to be glorified,--are to be venerated by the faithful; through which (bodies) many benefits are bestowed by God on men; so that they who affirm that veneration and honour are not due to the relics of saints; or, that these, and other sacred monuments, are uselessly honoured by the faithful; and that the places dedicated to the memories of the saints are in vain visited with the view of obtaining their aid; are wholly to be condemned, as the Church has already long since condemned, and now also condemns them.

Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the other saints, are to be had and retained particularly in temples, and that due honour and veneration are to be given them; not that any divinity, or virtue, is believed to be in them, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that anything is to be asked of them; or, that trust is to be reposed in images, as was of old done by the Gentiles who placed [Page 235] their hope in idols; but because the honour which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which those images represent; in such wise that by the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover the head, and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ; and we venerate the saints, whose similitude they bear: as, by the decrees of Councils, and especially of the second Synod of Nicaea, has been defined against the opponents of images.

And the bishops shall carefully teach this,-that, by means of the histories of the mysteries of our Redemption, portrayed by paintings or other representations, the people is instructed, and confirmed in (the habit of) remembering, and continually revolving in mind the articles of faith; as also that great profit is derived from all sacred images, not only because the people are thereby admonished of the benefits and gifts bestowed upon them by Christ, but also because the miracles which God has performed by means of the saints, and their salutary examples, are set before the eyes of the faithful; that so they may give God thanks for those things; may order their own lives and manners in imitation of the saints; and may be excited to adore and love God, and to cultivate piety. But if any one shall teach, or entertain sentiments, contrary to these decrees; let him be anathema.

And if any abuses have crept in amongst these holy and salutary observances, the holy Synod ardently desires that they be utterly abolished; in such wise that no images, (suggestive) of false doctrine, and furnishing occasion of dangerous error to the uneducated, be set up. And if at times, when expedient for the unlettered people; it happen that the facts and narratives of sacred Scripture are portrayed and represented; the people shall be taught, that not thereby is the Divinity represented, as though it could be seen by the eyes of the body, or be portrayed by colours or figures.

Moreover, in the invocation of saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images, every superstition shall be removed, all filthy lucre be abolished; finally, all lasciviousness be [Page 236] avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust; nor the celebration of the saints, and the visitation of relics be by any perverted into revellings and drunkenness; as if festivals are celebrated to the honour of the saints by luxury and wantonness.

In fine, let so great care and diligence be used herein by bishops, as that there be nothing seen that is disorderly, or that is unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing indecorous, seeing that holiness becometh the house of God.

And that these things may be the more faithfully observed, the holy Synod ordains, that no one be allowed to place, or cause to be placed, any unusual image, in any place, or church, howsoever exempted, except that image have been approved of by the bishop: also, that no new miracles are to be acknowledged, or new relics recognised, unless the said bishop has taken cognizance and approved thereof; who, as soon as he has obtained some certain information in regard to these matters, shall, after having taken the advice of theologians, and of other pious men, act therein as he shall judge to be consonant with truth and piety. But if any doubtful, or difficult abuse has to be extirpated; or, in fine, if any more grave question shall arise touching these matters, the bishop, before deciding the controversy, shall await the sentence of the metropolitan and of the bishops of the province, in a provincial Council; yet so, that nothing new, or that previously has not been usual in the Church, shall be resolved on, without having first consulted the most holy Roman Pontiff.


The same sacred and holy Synod, prosecuting the subject of reformation, has thought fit that the things following be ordained.

[Page 237] CHAPTER I.
All ReguIars shall order their lives in accordance with what is prescribed by the rule which they have professed; Superiors shall sedulously provide that this be done.

Forasmuch as the holy Synod is not ignorant how much splendour and utility accrue to the Church of God, from monasteries piously instituted and rightly administered; It has,--to the end that the ancient and regular discipline may be the more easily and promptly restored, where it has fallen away, and may be the more firmly maintained, where it has been preserved,--thought it necessary to enjoin, as by this decree It doth enjoin, that all Regulars, as well men, as women, shall order and regulate their lives in accordance with the requirements of the rule which they have professed; and above all that they shall faithfully observe whatsoever belongs to the perfection of their profession, such as the vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity, as also all other vows and precepts that may be peculiar to any rule or order, respectively appertaining to the essential character of each, and which regard the observance of a common mode of living, food, and dress. And all care and diligence shall be used by the Superiors, both in the general and in the provincial Chapters, and in their visitations, which they shall not omit to make in their proper seasons, that these things be not departed from; it being certain, that those things which belong to the substance of a regular life cannot be by them relaxed. For if those things which are the basis and the foundation of all regular discipline be not strictly preserved, the whole edifice must needs fall.

Property is wholly prohibited to Regulars.

For no Regular, therefore, whether man, or woman, shall it be lawful to possess, or hold as his own, or even in the name of [Page 238] the convent, any property moveable or immoveable, of what nature soever it may be, or in what way soever acquired; but the same shall be immediately delivered up to the Superior, and be incorporated with the convent. Nor shall it henceforth be lawful for Superiors to allow any real property to any Regular, not even by way of having the interest, or the use, the administration thereof, or in commendam. But the administration of the property of monasteries, or of convents, shall belong to the officers thereof only, removable at the will of their Superiors.

The Superiors shall allow the use of moveables, in such manner as that the furniture of their body shall be suitable to the state of poverty which they have professed; and there shall be nothing therein superfluous, but at the same time nothing shall be refused which is necessary for them. But should any one be discovered, or be proved, to possess anything in any other manner, he shall be deprived during two years of his active and passive voice, and also be punished in accordance with the constitutions of his own rule and order.

All Monasteries save those herein excepted, shall be able to possess real property: the number of persons therein to be determined by the amount of Income, or of Alms. No Monasteries, to be erected without the Bishop's leave.

The holy Synod permits that henceforth real property may be possessed by all monasteries and houses, both of men and women, and of mendicants, even by those who were forbidden by their constitutions to possess it, or who had not received permission to that effect by apostolic privilege,-with the exception, however, of the houses of the brethren of St. Francis (called) Capuchins, and those called Minor Observants: and if any of the aforesaid places, to which it has been granted by apostolic [Page 239] authority to possess such property, have been stripped thereof, It ordains that the same shall be wholly restored unto them. But, in the aforesaid monasteries amid houses, as well of men as of women, whether they possess, or do not possess, real property, such a number of inmates only shall be fixed upon and be for the future retained, as can be conveniently supported, either out of the proper revenues of those monasteries, or out of the customary alms; nor shall any such places be henceforth erected, without the permission of the bishop, in whose diocese they are to be erected, being first obtained.

A Regular shall not, without the permission of his Superior, either place himself at the service of another, or retire from his Monastery: when sent to a University for study he shall reside in a Monastery.

The holy Synod forbids, that any Regular, under the pretext of preaching, or lecturing, or of any other pious work, place himself at the service of any prelate, prince, university, community, or of any other person, or place, whatsoever, without permission from his own Superior; nor shall any privilege or faculty, obtained from others in regard hereof avail him anything. But should any one act contrary hereto, he shall be punished as disobedient, at the discretion of his Superior. Nor shall it be lawful for Regulars to withdraw from their own convents, even under the pretext of repairing to their own Superiors; unless they have been sent, or summoned, by them. And whoever shall be found to be without the order aforesaid in writing, shall be punished as a deserter from his Institute by the Ordinaries of the places. As to those who are sent to the universities for the sake of their studies, they shall dwell in convents only; otherwise they shall be proceeded against by the Ordinaries.

[Page 240] CHAPTER V.
Provision is made for the enclosure and safety of Nuns.

The holy Synod, renewing the constitution of Boniface VIII., which begins Periculoso, enjoins on all bishops, by the judgment of God to which It appeals, and under pain of eternal malediction, that, by their ordinary authority, in all monasteries subject to them, and in others, by the authority of the Apostolic See, they make it their especial care, that the enclosure of nuns be carefully restored, wheresoever it has been violated, and that it be preserved, wheresoever it has not been violated; repressing, by ecclesiastical censures and other penalties, without regarding any appeal whatsoever, the disobedient and gainsayers, and calling in for this end, if need be, the aid of the Secular arm. The holy Synod exhorts Christian princes to furnish this aid, and enjoins, under pain of excommunication, to be ipso facto incurred, that it be rendered by all civil magistrates. But for no nun, after her profession, shall it be lawful to go out of her convent, even for a brief period, under any pretext whatever, except for some lawful cause, which is to be approved of by the bishop; any indults and privileges whatsoever notwithstanding.

And it shall not be lawful for any one, of whatsoever birth, or condition, sex, or age, to enter within the enclosure of a nunnery, without the permission of the bishop, or of the Superior, obtained in writing, under the pain of excommunication to be ipso facto incurred. But the bishop, or the Superior ought to grant this permission in necessary cases only; nor shall any other person be able by any means to grant it, even by virtue of any faculty, or indult, already granted, or that may hereafter be granted. And forasmuch as those convents of nuns which are established outside the walls of a city or town, are exposed, often without any protection, to the robberies and other crimes of wicked men, the bishops and other Superiors shall, if they think it expedient, make it their care that the nuns be removed from those places to new or old convents within cities or popu-[Page 241]lous towns, calling in even, if need be, the aid of the Secular arm. As to those who hinder them or disobey, they shall by ecclesiastical censures compel them to submit.

Manner of choosing Regular Superiors.

In order that everything may be conducted uprightly and without fraud, in the election of all manner of superiors, temporary abbots, and other officers, and generals, and abbesses, and other superioresses, the holy Synod above all things strictly enjoins, that all the aforesaid ought to be chosen by secret voting, in such wise as that the names of the respective voters shall never be made known. Neither shall it, for the future, be lawful to appoint provincials, abbots, priors, or any other titularies whatsoever, for the purposes of an election that is to take place; nor to supply the place of the voices and suffrages of those who are absent. But should any one be elected contrary to the appointment of this decree, such election shall be invalid; and he who shall have allowed himself, for this object, to be created provincial, abbot, or prior, shall be from that time forth incapable of holding any offices whatsoever in that order; and any faculties that have been granted in this matter shall be looked upon as hereby abrogated; and should any others be granted for the time to come, they shall be regarded as surreptitious.

In what way, and what manner of, persons are to be chosen as Abbesses, or Superioresses by whatsoever other name; no one shall be appointed over two Nunneries.

No one shall be elected as abbess, or prioress,--or by whatsoever other name she who is appointed and placed over the [Page 242] rest, may be called,--who is less than forty years of age, and who has not passed eight of those years in a praiseworthy manner, after having made her profession. But should no one be found in the same convent with these qualifications, one may be elected out of another convent of the same order. But if the superior who presides over the election shall deem even this an inconvenience; with the consent of the bishop, or other superior, there may be one chosen from amongst those, in the same convent, who are beyond their thirtieth year, and who have, since their profession, passed at least five of those years in an upright manner. But no individual shall be set over two convents; and if any one is, in any way, in possession of two or more, she shall, retaining one, be compelled to resign the rest, within six months: but after that period, if she have not resigned, they shall be all ipso jure vacant. And he who presides at the election, whether it be the bishop, or other superior, shall not enter the enclosure of the monastery, but shall listen to, or receive the votes of each, at the little window in the gates. In other particulars, the constitution of each order, or convent, shall be observed.

In what manner the regulation of Monasteries, which have not ordinary Regular visitors, is to be proceeded with.

All monasteries which are not subject to general Chapters, or to bishops, and which have not their own ordinary Regular visitors, 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 end of the present Council, and thenceforth every third year, to form themselves into congregations, according to the form of the constitution of Innocent III., beginning In singulis, published in a general Council; [Page 243] and shall there depute certain Regulars to deliberate and ordain as to the mode and order of establishing the congregations aforesaid, and touching the statutes to be therein observed. But should they be negligent in these matters, it shall be lawful for the metropolitan, in whose province the aforesaid monasteries are situated, to convoke them for the above named purposes, as the delegate of the Apostolic See. But if there be not a sufficient number of monasteries, within the limits of one province, for the establishing of such congregation, the monasteries of two or three provinces may form one congregation. And when the said congregations have been established, the general Chapters thereof, and the presidents and visitors elected thereby, shall have the same authority over the monasteries of their own congregation, and over the Regulars dwelling therein, as other presidents and visitors have in other orders; and they shall be bound to visit frequently the monasteries of their own congregation, and to apply themselves to the reformation thereof; and to observe whatsoever things have been decreed in the sacred canons, and in this sacred Council. Also, if, at the instance of the metropolitan, they shall not take measures to execute the above, they shall be subjected to the bishops, in whose dioceses the places aforesaid are situated, as the delegates of the Apostolic See.

Convents of Nuns immediately subject to the Apostolic See shall be governed by the Bishops; but others, by those deputed in the General Chapters, or by other Regulars.

Those convents of nuns which are immediately subject to the Apostolic See, even those which are called by the name of Chapters of St. Peter, or of St. John, or by whatsoever other name they may be designated, shall be governed by the bishops, as the delegates of the Apostolic See; anything to the contrary notwithstanding. But those which are governed, by persons deputed in general Chapters, or by other Regulars, shall be left under their care and conduct.

[Page 244] CHAPTER X.
Nuns shall confess and communicate once a month; an extraordinary Confessor shall be assigned them by the Bishop. The Eucharist shall not be reserved within the enclosure of the Convent.

Bishops and other Superiors of convents of nuns, shall take particular care that the nuns be admonished, in their constitutions, to confess their sins, and to receive the most holy Eucharist, at least once a month, that so they may fortify themselves, by that salutary safeguard, resolutely to overcome all the assaults of the devil. But besides the ordinary confessor, the bishop and other superiors shall, twice or thrice a year, offer them an extraordinary one, whose duty it shall be to hear the confessions of all the nuns. But that the most holy body of Christ be kept within the choir, or the enclosure of the convent, and not in the public church, the holy Synod forbids it; any privilege or indult whatsoever notwithstanding.

In Monasteries, which are charged with the cure of the souls of laymen, they who exercise that cure shall be subject to the Bishop, and be by him previously examined, with certain exceptions.

In monasteries, or houses whether of men, or of women, which are charged with the cure of souls of other Secular persons besides those who belong to the household of those monasteries, or places; the individuals, whether Regulars or Seculars, who exercise that cure, shall be immediately subject, in what-[Page 245]soever pertains to the said cure and the administration of the sacraments, to the jurisdiction, visitation, and correction of the bishop in whose diocese those places are situated; nor shall any, not even such as are removable at pleasure, be deputed thereunto, save with the consent of the said bishop, and after having been previously examined by him, or by his vicar; the monastery of Cluny with its limits being excepted; and excepting also monasteries, or places, in which abbots, generals, or the heads of orders, have their usual principal residence; as also the other monasteries, or houses, in which the abbots, or other Superiors or Regulars, exercise episcopal and temporary jurisdiction over the parish priests and their parishioners; saving, however, the right of those bishops who exercise a greater jurisdiction over the places, or persons above-named.

Episcopal censures, and festivals appointed in the diocese, shall be observed even by Regulars.

Censures and interdicts,-not only those emanating from the Apostolic See, but also those promulgated by the Ordinaries,-shall, upon the bishop's mandate, be published and observed by Regulars in their churches. The festival days also which the said bishop shall order to be observed in his own diocese, shall be kept by all exempted persons, even though Regulars.

The Bishop shall settle disputes about precedency. Exempted persons, not living in the more strict enclosures, are obliged to attend at public Processions.

All disputes about precedence, which very often, with very great scandal, arise between ecclesiastics, both Secular and Regular, as well at public processions, as at those which take [Page 246] place in burying the dead, or carrying the canopy, and on other such occasions, the bishop shall settle, without regarding any appeal; anything to the contrary notwithstanding. And all exempted persons whatsoever, as well Secular as Regular clerics, and even monks, on being summoned to public processions, shall be obliged to attend; those only being excepted who always live in more strict enclosure.

By whom punishment is to be inflicted on a Regular who sins publicly.

A Regular who, not being subject to the bishop, and residing within the enclosure of a monastery, has out of that enclosure, transgressed so notoriously as to be a scandal to the people, shall, at the instance of the bishop, be severely punished by his own Superior, within such time as the bishop shall appoint; and the Superior shall certify to the bishop that the punishment has been inflicted: otherwise he shall be himself deprived of his office by his own Superior, and the delinquent may be punished by the bishop.

Profession shall not be made except after a year 's probation, and at the age of sixteen years completed.

In no religious order whatever, shall the profession, whether of men or women, be made before the age of sixteen years is completed; nor shall any one be admitted to profession, who has been less than a year under probation from the time of taking the habit. And any profession made sooner than this shall be null; and shall not superinduce any obligation to the observance of any rule, or of any religious body, or order; or entail any other effects whatsoever.

[Page 247] CHAPTER XVI.
Any renunciation made, or obligation entered into, previous to the two months' nearest Profession, shall be null. The probation ended, the Novices shall either be professed, or dismissed. In the Religious order of Clerks of the Society of Jesus nothing is innovated. No part of the property of a Novice shall be given to a Monastery before Profession.

Further, no renunciation made, or obligation entered into, sooner than this, even though upon oath, or in favour of any pious object whatsoever, shall be valid, unless it be made with permission of the bishop, or of his vicar, within the two months immediately preceding profession; and it shall not otherwise be understood as obtaining effect, unless the profession have followed thereupon: but if made in any other manner, even though with the express renunciation, even upon oath, of this privilege, it shall be invalid and of no effect. When the period of the noviciate is ended, the Superiors shall admit those novices, whom they have found qualified, to profession; or they shall dismiss them from the monastery.

By these things, however, the Synod does not intend to make any innovation, or prohibition, so as to hinder the Religious Order of Clerks of the Society of Jesus from being able to serve God and His church, in accordance with their pious institute, approved of by the holy Apostolic See.

Also, before the profession of a novice, whether male, or female, nothing shall be given to the monastery out of the property of the same, either by parents, relatives, or guardians under any pretext whatever, except for food and clothing, for [Page 248] the time that they are under probation; lest the said novice may be unable to leave on this account,--that the monastery is in possession of the whole, or of the greater part of his substance; and he may not easily be able to recover it, if he should leave. Yea rather the holy Synod enjoins, under the pain of anathema on the givers and receivers, that this be nowise done; and that, to those who leave before their profession, every thing that was theirs be restored to them. And the bishop shall, if need be, enforce by ecclesiastical censures that this be performed in a proper manner.

If a girl, who is more than twelve years of age, wish to take the Regular Habit, she shall be questioned by the Ordinary, and again before Profession.

The holy Synod, having in view the freedom of the profession on the part of virgins who are to be dedicated to God, ordains and decrees, that if a girl, being more than twelve years of age, desire to take the religious habit, she shall not take that habit, neither shall she, nor any other, at a later period, make her profession, until the bishop,--or, if he be absent, or hindered, his vicar, or some one deputed thereunto by them, and at their expense,--has carefully examined into the inclination of the virgin, whether she has been compelled or enticed thereunto, or knows what she is doing; and if her will be found to be pious and free, and she have the qualifications required by the rule of that convent and order; and if also the convent be a suitable one; it shall be free for her to make her profession. And that the bishop may not be in ignorance as to the time of profession, the Superioress of the convent shall be bound to give him notice thereof a month beforehand ; but if she do not acquaint him therewith, she shall be suspended from her office, for as long a period as the bishop shall think fit.

No one shall, except in the cases by law expressed, compel a woman to enter a Monastery; or prevent her, if she desire to enter. The constitutions of the Penitents, or Convertites, shall all be preserved.

The holy Synod places under anathema all and singular those persons, of what quality or condition soever they may be, whether clerics or laymen, Seculars or Regulars, or with whatsoever dignity invested, who shall, in any way whatever, force any virgin, or widow, or any other woman whatsoever,--except in the cases provided for by law,--to enter a convent against her will, or to take the habit of any religious order, or to make her profession; as also all those who lend their counsel, aid, or countenance thereunto ; and those also who, knowing that she does not enter into the convent voluntarily, or voluntarily take the habit, or make her profession, shall, in any way, interfere in that act, by their presence, or consent, or authority.

It also subjects to a like anathema those who shall, in any way, without a just cause, hinder the holy wish of virgins, or other women, to take the veil, or make their vows. And all and singular those things which ought to be done before profession, or at the profession itself, shall be observed not only in convents subject to the bishop, but also in all others whatsoever. From the above, however, are excepted those women who are called penitents, or convertites; in whose regard their constitutions shall be observed.

How to proceed in cases of pretended invalidity of profession.

No Regular soever, who shall pretend that he entered into a religious order through compulsion and fear ; or shall even allege [Page 250] that he made his profession before the proper age; or the like; and would fain lay aside his habit, be the cause what it may; or would even withdraw with his habit without the permission of his superior; shall be listened to, unless it be within five years only from the day of his profession, and not then either, unless he has produced before his own superior, and the Ordinary, the reasons which he alleges. But if, before doing this, he has of his own accord laid aside his habit; he shall in no wise be admitted to allege any cause whatever; but shall be compelled to return to his monastery, and be punished as an apostate; and meanwhile he shall not have the benefit of any privilege of his order.

Also, no Regular shall, by virtue of any manner of faculty, be transferred to an order less rigid; nor shall permission be granted to any Regular to wear in secret the habit of his order.

Superiors of orders not subject to bishops shall visit and correct inferior Monasteries, even though held in commendam.

Abbots, who are heads of orders, and the 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 place and order, visit officially the said monasteries and priories that are subject to them, even though held in commendam: which, for as much as they are subject to the heads of their own orders, the holy Synod declares that they are not to be included in what has been elsewhere decreed relative to the visitation of monasteries held in commendam ; and those who preside over monasteries of the orders aforesaid shall be bound to receive the above-named visitors, and to execute their orders.

Also, those monasteries themselves which are the heads of orders, shall be visited conformably to the constitutions of the holy Apostolic See, and of each several order. And so long as the said commendatary monasteries shall continue, there shall be appointed, by the general Chapters, or by the visitors of the [Page 251] said orders, priors claustral, or sub-prior in those priories that are conventual, who shall exercise spiritual authority, and correction. In all other things the privileges and faculties of the above-named orders, as regards the persons, places, and rights thereof, shall remain firm and inviolate.

Over Monasteries, Religious of that same order shall be appointed.

Whereas very many monasteries, even abbeys, priories, and provostries, have suffered no slight injury, both in spirituals and temporals, through the mal-administration of those to whom they have been entrusted, the holy Synod would fain by every means restore them to a discipline suitable to a monastic life. But the present state of the times is so fraught with hindrances and difficulties that a remedy can neither be applied at once to all, nor common to all places, as It could desire; nevertheless, that It may not omit anything which may in time be used in wholesomely providing against the evils aforesaid, It trusts in the first place, that the most holy Roman Pontiff will, of his piety and prudence, make it his care,-as far as he sees that the times will permit,--that over those monasteries which are at present held in commendam, and which are conventual, there be appointed Regulars, expressly professed of the same order, and capable of guiding and of governing the flock. And as to such as shall become vacant hereafter, they shall be conferred solely on Regulars of distinguished virtue and holiness. But as regards those monasteries which are the heads and chiefs of orders, be the filiations thereof called abbeys or priories, those who hold them at present in commendam shall be bound,-unless provision be made for a Regular successor thereunto,--[Page 252] either to make, within six months, a solemn profession of the religious life which is peculiar to the said orders, or to resign; otherwise the places aforesaid held in commendam shall be accounted ipso jure vacant. But, lest any fraud may be used as regards all and singular the aforesaid matters, the holy Synod ordains, that in the appointments to the said monasteries, the quality of each individual be specifically expressed; and any appointment made otherwise shall be accounted surreptitious, and shall not be rendered valid by any subsequent possession, even though extending over three years.

The Decrees touching the Reformation of Regulars shall be carried into execution at once by all.

The holy Synod enjoins, that all and singular the matters contained in the foregoing decrees be observed in all convents and monasteries, colleges, and houses of all monks and religious whatsoever, as also of all religious virgins and widows soever, even though living under the conduct of the military orders, of the order even (of St. John) of Jerusalem, and by what name soever they may be designated, under whatsoever rule or constitutions they may be, or under the care or government of, or in subjection to, union with, or dependence on, any order whatsoever, whether of mendicants, or not mendicants, or of other Regular monks, or canons of whatsoever kind : any privileges whatsoever of all and each of the above-named, under whatsoever form of words expressed, even those called mare magnum, even those obtained at their foundation, as also any constitutions and rules whatsoever, even though sworn to, and any customs, or prescriptions whatsoever, even though immemorial, to the contrary notwithstanding. But, if there be any Regulars, whether men or women, who are living under stricter rule or statutes, the holy Synod does not intend to withdraw them from their institute and observance, except as to the power of possessing real property in common. And forasmuch as the holy [Page 253] Synod desires that all and singular the things aforesaid be put in execution as soon as possible, It enjoins on all bishops that, in the monasteries which are subject to them, as also in all the rest specially committed to them in the preceding decrees; and on all abbots, and generals, and other Superiors of the above-named orders ; that they forthwith put in execution the matters aforesaid, and if there be anything which is not carried into execution, the provincial Councils shall remedy, and punish the negligence of the bishops ; and that of Regulars, their provincial and general Chapters ; and, in default of general Chapters, the provincial Councils shall, by deputing certain persons belonging to the same order, provide herein.

The holy Synod also exhorts all kings, princes, republics, and magistrates, and by virtue of holy obedience commands them, to vouchsafe to interpose, as often as requested, their help and authority in support of the aforesaid bishops, abbots, generals, and other superiors in the execution of the things comprised above, that so they may, without any hindrance, rightly execute the preceding matters to the praise of Almighty God.


Cardinals and all Prelates of the churches shall be content with modest furniture and a frugal table: they shall not enrich their relatives or domestics out of the property of the Church.

It is to be wished, that those who undertake the office of a bishop should understand what their portion is; and comprehend that they are called, not to their own convenience, not to riches or luxury, but to labours and cares for the glory of God. For it is not to be doubted, that the rest of the faithful [Page 254] also will be more easily excited to religion and innocence, if they shall see those who are set over them, not fixing their thoughts on the things of this world, but on the salvation of souls, and on their heavenly country. Wherefore the holy Synod, being minded that these things are of the greatest importance towards restoring ecclesiastical discipline, admonishes all bishops, that, often meditating thereon, they show themselves conformable to their office, by their actual deeds, and the actions of their lives; which is a kind of perpetual sermon; but above all that they so order their whole conversation, as that others may thence be able to derive examples of frugality, modesty, continency, and of that holy humility which so much recom mends us to God.

Wherefore, after the example of our fathers in the Council of Carthage, It not only orders that bishops be content with modest furniture, and a frugal table and diet, but that they also give heed that in the rest of their manner of living, and in their whole house, there be nothing seen that is alien from this holy institution, and which does not manifest simplicity, zeal towards God, and a contempt of vanities. Also, It wholly forbids them to strive to enrich their own kindred or domestics out of the revenues of the church: seeing that even the canons of the Apostles forbid them to give to their kindred the property of the church, which belongs to God; but if their kindred be poor, let them distribute to them thereof as poor, but not misapply, or waste, it for their sakes : yea, the holy Synod, with the utmost earnestness, admonishes them completely to lay aside all this human and carnal affection towards brothers, nephews and kindred, which is the seed-plot of many evils in the church. And what has been said of bishops, the same is not only to be observed by all who hold ecclesiastical benefices, whether Secular or Regular, each according to the nature of his rank, but the Synod decrees that it also regards the cardinals of the holy Roman Church ; for whereas, upon their advice to the most holy Roman Pontiff, the administration of the universal Church depends, it would seem to be a shame, if they did not at the same time shine so pre-eminent in virtue and in the discipline of their lives, as deservedly to draw upon themselves the eyes of all men.

[Page 255] CHAPTER II.
By whom individually the Decrees of the Council are to be solemnly received; and by whom a profession of faith is to be made.

The calamitousness of the times, and the malignity of the increasing heresies demand, that nothing be left undone which may seem in any wise capable of tending to the edification of the people, and to the defence of the Catholic faith. Wherefore the holy Synod enjoins on patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, and all others, who, of right or custom, ought to be present at the provincial Council, that, in the very first provincial Synod that shall be held after the close of this Council, they publicly receive all and singular the things that have been defined and ordained by this holy Synod; as also that they promise and profess true obedience to the Sovereign Roman Pontiff; and at the same time publicly express their detestation of and anathematize all the heresies that have been condemned by the sacred canons and general councils, and especially by this same Synod. And henceforth, all those who shall be promoted to be patriarchs, primates, archbishops, and bishops, shall strictly observe the same in the first provincial Synod at which they shall be present. And should any one of all the aforesaid refuse, which God forbid, the bishops of the same province shall be bound, under pain of the divine indignation, at once to give notice thereof to the Sovereign Roman Pontiff, and shall meanwhile abstain from communion with that person. And all others, who now hold, or shall hereafter hold, ecclesiastical benefices, and whose duty it is to be present at the diocesan Synod, shall do and observe the same, as above set down, on the very first occasion that the synod shall be held, otherwise they shall be punished according to the form of the sacred canons. Moreover, all those to whom belong the charge, visitation, and reformation of universities and of (places of) general studies, shall diligently take care that the canons and decrees of this holy Synod be, by the said universities, wholly [Page 256] received; and that the masters, doctors, and others, in the said universities, interpret and teach those things which are of Catholic faith, in conformity therewith; and that at the beginning of each year they bind themselves by solemn oath to this procedure. And also if there be any other things that need correction and reformation in the universities aforesaid, they shall be reformed and regulated by those whom it regards, for the advancement of religion and of ecclesiastical discipline. But as regards those universities which are immediately under the protection of the Sovereign Pontiff, and are subject to his visitation, his Blessedness will take care that they be, by his delegates, wholesomely visited and reformed in the manner aforesaid, and as shall seem to him most advantageous.

The sword of excommunication is not to be rashly used: when an execution can be made on property or person, censures are to be abstained from: the civil magistrates shall not interfere herein.

Although the sword of excommunication is the very sinews of ecclesiastical discipline, and very salutary for keeping the people in their duty, yet it is to be used with sobriety and great circumspection; seeing that experience teaches, that if it be rashly or for slight causes wielded, it is more despised than feared, and produces ruin rather than safety. Wherefore, those excommunications, which, after certain admonitions, are wont to be issued with the view as it is termed, of causing a revelation, or on account of things that have been lost or stolen, shall be issued by no one whomsoever, but the bishop; and not then, otherwise than on account of some circumstance of no common kind which moves the mind of the bishop thereunto, after the cause has been by him diligently and very maturely weighed ; nor shall he be induced to grant the said excommunications by the authority of any Secular person whatever, even though a magistrate; but the whole shall be left to his own judgment and [Page 257] conscience, when, considering the circumstances, the place, the person, or the time, he shall himself judge that such are to be resolved on.

As regards judicial causes, it is enjoined on all ecclesiastical judges, of whatsoever dignity they may be, that, both during the proceedings, and in giving judgment, they abstain from ecclesiastical censures, or interdict, as often as an execution on the person or property can, in each stage of the process, be effected by them of their own proper authority ; but in civil causes, which in any way belong to the ecclesiastical court, it shall be lawful for them, if they judge it expedient, to proceed against all persons whatsoever, even laymen, and to terminate suits, by means of pecuniary fines, which, by the very fact of being levied, shall be assigned to the pious places there existing; or by distress upon the goods, or arrest of the person, to be made either by their own, or other officers; or even by deprivation of benefices, and other remedies at law. But if the execution cannot be made in this way, either upon the person, or goods, of the guilty, and there be contumacy towards the judge, he may then, in addition to the other penalties, smite them also with the sword of anathema, if he think fit.

In like manner in criminal causes, wherein an execution can as above be effected upon the person or goods, the judge shall abstain from censures ; but, if that execution cannot easily be made, it shall be lawful for the judge to employ the said spiritual sword against delinquents ; provided however the character of the offence so require, and after two monitions at least, and this by public notice. And it shall not be lawful for any civil magistrate, to prohibit an ecclesiastical judge from excommunicating any individual; or to command that he revoke an excomnunication that has been issued; under pretext that the things contained in the present decree have not been observed; whereas the cognizance hereof does not appertain to Seculars, but to ecclesiastics. And every excommunicated person, who, after the lawful monitions, does not repent, shall not only not be received to the sacraments, and to communion, and [Page 258] intercourse with the faithful, but, if, being bound with censures, he shall, with obdurate heart, remain for a year in the defilement thereof, he may even be proceeded against as suspected of heresy.

Where the number of Masses to be celebrated is excessive, Bishops, Abbots, and Generals, shall make such regulation as shall seem to them expedient.

It frequently happens, in divers churches, either that so great a number of masses is required to be celebrated on account of various legacies from persons deceased, that it is not possible to comply therewith on the particular days prescribed by the testators; or, that the alms left for the celebration thereof is so slight that it is not easy to find any one willing to undertake the duty; whereby the pious intentions of the testators are frustrated, and occasion is given for burthening the consciences of those who are concerned in the aforesaid obligations. The holy Synod, being desirous that these legacies for pious uses be satisfied in the most complete and useful manner possible, empowers bishops in diocesan Synod, and likewise abbots and generals of orders in their general Chapters, to ordain, in regard hereof, whatsoever in their consciences they shall, upon a diligent examination of the circumstances, judge to be most expedient for God's honour and worship, and the good of the churches, in those churches aforesaid which they shall find stand in need of some regulation in this matter, in such wise however that a commemoration be always made of the departed who, for the welfare of their souls, have left the said legacies for pious uses.

[Page 259] CHAPTER V.
The conditions and obligations imposed on Benefices shall be observed.

Reason requires, that, in regulations which have been well established, no alteration be made by any ordinances to the contrary. Whenever, therefore, by virtue of the erection or foundation of any benefices, or in consequence of other regulations, certain qualifications are required, or certain obligations are attached thereunto, they shall not be derogated from in the collation, or in any other arrangement whatsoever in regard of the said benefices. The same also shall be observed as to prebends assigned to teachers of theology, masters, doctors, priests, deacons, or subdeacons, whenever such prebends have been established in this manner, in such sort that, in no provision whatever shall anything be altered in regard of the said qualifications and orders ; and any provision made otherwise shall be accounted surreptitious.

In what manner the Bishop ought to act in regard of the visitation of exempted Chapters.

The holy Synod ordains that the decree, made under Paul III., of happy memory, beginning Capitula Cathedralium, shall be observed in all cathedral and collegiate churches, not only when the bishop makes his visitation, but also as often as he proceeds ex officio, or at the petition of another, against any one of those who are comprised in the said decree; yet so, however, that whenever he institutes proceedings out of visitation, all the particulars subjoined shall have place: to wit, that the Chapter shall, at the beginning of each year, select two individuals belong-[Page 260]ing to the Chapter, with whose counsel and consent the bishop, or his vicar, shall be bound to proceed, both in instituting the process, and in all the other acts thereof until the end of the cause inclusively,-in the presence, nevertheless, of the notary of the said bishop, and in the bishop's house, or his ordinary court of justice. The two deputies shall, however, have but one vote ; but either of them may give his vote in unison with that of the bishop. But if, as regards any proceeding, or as regards any interlocutory or definitive sentence, they shall both differ from the bishop, they shall in this case choose, in conjunction with the bishop, a third person, within the term of six days: and should they also not agree in the election of that third person, the choice shall devolve on the nearest bishop ; and the point whereon they differed shall be decided, in accordance with the opinion which that third person sides with; otherwise, the proceedings, and what follows thereupon, shall be null, and of no effect in law. Nevertheless, in crimes arising from incontinency, whereof mention has been made in the decree concerning concubinaries, as also in the more heinous crimes which require deposition or degradation; where flight is apprehended, and where, that judgment may not be eluded, it is necessary to secure the person, the bishop may at first proceed singly to a summary information, and to the necessary detention of the person; observing, however, in the rest of the proceedings, the order named above. But in all cases regard is to be paid to this, that the delinquents be kept in custody in a suitable place, according to the quality of the crime and of the persons. Moreover, there shall everywhere be rendered to bishops that honour which comports with their dignity; and in choir, in the chapter, in processions, and other public functions, they shall have the first seat, and the place which they shall themselves make choice of, and theirs shall be the chief authority in everything that is to be done.

If the bishops shall propose anything to the canons to be deliberated on, and the matter treated of be not one which [Page 261] regards any benefit to them or theirs, they shall themselves convoke the Chapter, take the votes, and decide according to them. But, in the absence of the bishop, this shall be wholly done by those of the Chapter, to whom of right or custom it appertains, nor shall the bishop's vicar be allowed to do it. But in all other things, the jurisdiction and power of the Chapter, if any there be belonging thereunto, as also the administration of their property, shall be left wholly unimpaired and untouched. As regards those who do not possess any dignities, and are not of the Chapter, they shall all be subject to the bishop in causes ecclesiastical; notwithstanding, as regards the things aforesaid, any privileges accruing even from any foundation; as also any customs, even though immemorial; any sentences, oaths, concordates, which bind the authors thereof only; saving, however, in all things those privileges which have been granted to universities for general studies, or to the persons who belong thereunto. But all and singular these things shall not have effect in those churches wherein the bishops, or their vicars, by virtue of constitutions, privileges, customs, concordates, or by any other right whatsoever, have a power, authority, and jurisdiction greater than that which is included in the present decree; from which (powers) the holy Synod does not intend to derogate.

The Access and Regress in regard of Benefices are done away with ; in what manner, to whom, and for what cause, a Coadjutor is to be granted.

Whereas, as regards ecclesiastical benefices, whatsoever carries with it the appearance of hereditary succession is a thing odious to the sacred constitutions, and contrary to the decrees of the Fathers; no Access or Regress, in regard of any ecclesiastical benefice of whatsoever quality, shall, even though by con-[Page 262]sent, be henceforth granted to any individual; nor shall those already granted be suspended, extended, or transferred. And this decree shall have effect in regard of all ecclesiastical benefices whatsoever, and even in cathedral churches, and as regards all manner of persons soever, even though distinguished with the honour of the cardinalate.

In like manner, as regards coadjutorships with future succession, the same shall henceforth be observed; (to wit) that they shall not be permitted to any one in regard of any ecclesiastical benefices whatsoever. But if at any time the urgent necessity, or the evident advantage of a cathedral church, or of a monastery, demands that a coajutor be granted to a prelate, such coadjutor with (the right of) future succession shall not otherwise be granted but after the said cause has been first diligently taken cognizance of by the most holy Roman Pontiff; and it is certain, that all those qualifications which, by law, and by the decrees of this holy Synod, are required in bishops and prelates, are reunited in his person; otherwise, the concessions made herein, shall be accounted surreptitious.

What is to be observed in regard to Hospitals. By whom, and in what manner, the negligence of administrators is to be punished.

The holy Synod admonishes all who hold any ecclesiastical benefices, whether Secular or Regular, to accustom themselves, as far as their revenues will allow, to exercise with alacrity and kindliness the office of hospitality, so frequently commended by the holy Fathers; being mindful that those who cherish hospitality receive Christ in (the person of) their guests. But as regards those who hold in commendam, or by way of administration, or under any other title whatsoever, or have even united to their own churches, the places commonly called hospitals, or other pious places instituted especially for the use of pilgrims, of the infirm, the aged or the poor; or, if the parish churches should happen to be united to hospitals, or have been turned [Page 263] into hospitals, and have been granted to the patrons thereof to be by them administered, the Synod strictly commands, that they execute the charge and duty imposed upon them, and that they actually exercise that hospitality, which is due at their hands, out of the fruits devoted to that purpose, pursuant to the constitution of the Council of Vienne, renewed elsewhere by this same holy Synod under Paul III., of happy memory, and which begins, Quia contingit. But if these hospitals were instituted to receive a certain class of pilgrims, or of infirm persons, or of others; and in the place where the said hospitals are situated, there are no such persons, or very few, to be found, It doth further command, that the fruits thereof be converted to some other pious use, the nearest that may be to their original destination, and the most useful for that time and place, as shall seem to be the most expedient to the Ordinary, aided by two of the Chapter, experienced in matters of business, to be chosen by him; unless it be that the contrary happen to be expressed, to meet even this case, in the foundation, or institution thereof; in which event, the bishop shall take care that what is ordained be observed, or, if that be not possible, he shall, as above, regulate the matter in a useful manner.

Wherefore, if all and singular the persons aforesaid, of whatsoever order, and religious body, and dignity they may be, be they even laymen, who have the administration of hospitals,--provided, however, they be not subject to Regulars where regular observance is in force,--shall, after having been admonished be the Ordinary, have ceased really to discharge the duty of hospitality, complying with all the necessary conditions to which they are bound, they may be compelled thereunto not only by ecclesiastical censures, and other remedies at law, but may also even be deprived for ever of the administration and care of the hospital itself; and others shall be substituted in their place, by those to whom this may belong. And the persons aforesaid shall, this notwithstanding, be bound in conscience to make restitution of the fruits which they have received contrary to the institution of the said hospitals; which restitution shall not be pardoned them by any remission or composition: nor shall the administration or government of such places be henceforth en-[Page 264]trusted to one and the same person longer than for three years, unless it be otherwise provided in the foundation thereof; notwithstanding, as regards all the above-named particulars, any union, exemption, and custom, even from time immemorial, to the contrary, or any privileges, or indults of whatever kind.

In what manner a right of patronage is to be proved, and to whom granted: what is not lawful for patrons. Unions of free benefices, to churches under right of patronage, prohibited. Rights of patronage, not legitimately obtained, are to be revoked.

Even as it is not just to take away the legitimate rights of patronage, and to violate the pious intentions of the faithful in the institution thereof, so also neither is it to be suffered, that, under this pretext, ecclesiastical benefices be reduced to a state of servitude, as by many is impudently done. In order, therefore, that what reason requires may be observed in all things, the holy Synod ordains, that the title to the right of patronage shall be (derived) from a foundation, or an endowment ; which (title) shall be shown from an authentic document, and the other (proofs) required by law; or, also, by repeated presentations during a period of time so remote that it exceeds the memory of man; or, otherwise, according as the law directs. But as regards those persons, or communities, or universities, which that right is for the most part presumed to have been obtained by usurpation rather than otherwise, a more full and exact proof shall be required to establish a true title; nor shall the proof derived from time immemorial be otherwise of avail in their regard, unless-besides other things necessary for that proof--presentations, even continuous, during the space of not less than fifty years, at the least, all of which presentations have been carried into effect, shall be proved from authentic writings. All other rights of patronage, in regard to benefices, as well Secular as Regular, or parochial, or in regard of dignities, or any other benefices whatsoever, in a cathedral or col-[Page 265]legiate church; as also all faculties and privileges, whether granted so as to have the force of patronage, or, by virtue of any other right whatsoever, to nominate, elect, present to the said benefices when they become vacant, excepting the rights of patronage belong to cathedral churches, and excepting such other (rights of patronage) as belong to the emperor, to kings. or to those who possess kingdoms, and to other high and supreme princes who have the rights of sovereignty within their own dominions, as also those (rights of patronage) which have been bestowed in favour of (places of) general studies, shall be understood to wholly abrogated and made void, together with the quasi-possession which has followed thereupon. And benefices of this kind shall be conferred, as being free, by those who collate thereunto; and such appointment shall have full effect.

Furthermore, it shall be lawful for the bishop to reject the persons whom the patrons have presented, if they be not fit. But if the institution belong to inferior (ecclesiastics), they (the presentees) shall nevertheless be examined by the bishop, pursuant to what has been elsewhere ordained by this holy Synod; otherwise the institution made by those inferiors shall be null and void.

But the patrons of benefices, of whatsoever order and dignity they may be, be they (the patrons) even communities, universities, or any colleges whatsoever whether of clerics or laymen, shall not in any way, nor for any manner of cause or occasion, meddle with the receiving of the fruits, rents, or revenues of any benefices whatsoever, even though those benefices be truly, by foundation or endowment, under their right of patronage; but shall leave them to the free disposal of the rector, or of the beneficiary, any custom whatever to the contrary notwithstanding. Nor shall they presume to transfer to others, contrary to the decrees of the canons, the said right of patronage, by sale, or under any other title whatsoever: if they act otherwise, they shall be subjected to the penalties of excommunication and interdict, and shall be ipso jure deprived of the aforesaid right itself of patronage. Moreover, those accessions made [Page 266] by way of union of free benefices with churches that are subject to the right of patronage, even of laymen, whether those churches be parochial, or benefices of any other kind whatsoever, even such as are simple, or are dignities, or hospitals, in such wise that the free benefices aforesaid are made to be of the same nature as those unto which they are united, and are placed under the (same) right of patronage; such (accessions), if they have not as yet been carried into full effect, as also such as shall henceforth be made, at the instance of any person whatsoever, by whatsoever authority, be it even apostolic, shall, together with the said unions themselves, be regarded as having been obtained surreptitiously; notwithstanding any form of words therein employed, or any derogation which may be held as equivalent to being expressed; nor shall such unions be any more carried into execution, but the benefices themselves so united shall, when vacant, be freely conferred as previously.

As regards those augmentations, which, having been made within the last forty years, have obtained their effect and a complete incorporation; such shall nevertheless be reviewed and examined by the Ordinaries, as the delegates of the Apostolic See; and those which shall be found to have been obtained by surreption, or obreption, shall, together with the unions, be declared invalid, and the benefices themselves shall be separated, and be conferred upon other persons.

In like manner also whatsoever rights of patronage,-over churches, and any other benefices of whatsoever kind, even dignities which were previously free,-which have been acquired within the last forty years, or that may henceforth be acquired, whether through an increase of the endowment, or in consequence of erecting the building afresh, or from some other like cause, even though with the authority of the Apostolic See, shall be carefully taken cognizance of by the said Ordinaries, as delegates as aforesaid; and they shall not be hindered by the faculties, or privileges of any individual in regard thereof; but they shall wholly revoke such rights of patronage as they [Page 267] shall find not to have been legitimately established on account of some most evident necessity of the church, or benefice, or dignity; and they shall restore benefices of this kind to their former state of liberty; without injury however to the incumbents thereof, and after having restored to the patrons whatsoever they may have given on this score; any privileges, constitutions, and customs, even though immemorial, notwithstanding.

Judges, unto whom causes may be committed by the Apostolie See, are to be nominated by the Synod: all judges shall terminate causes speedily.

Forasmuch as on account of the malicious suggestions of suitors, and at times also by reason of the distance of places, a knowledge of the persons to whom causes are committed cannot be perfectly obtained; and hence causes are sometimes referred to judges on the spot who are not altogether fit; the holy Synod ordains, that, in each provincial, or diocesan, Synod, there shall be designated certain persons who have the qualifications required by the constitution of Boniface VIII., which begins, Statutum, and who are otherwise suited thereunto; that, to them also, besides the Ordinaries of the places, may henceforth be committed those ecclesiastical and spiritual causes, belonging to the ecclesiastical court, which may have to be delegated to their districts. And if one of these so designated shall happen to die in the interim, the Ordinary of the place, with the advice of the Chapter, shall substitute another in his stead, until the next provincial or diocesan Synod; in such sort that each diocese shall have at least four, or even more, persons approved of and qualified as above, to whom causes of this nature may be committed by any legate, or nuncio, and even by the Apostolic See: otherwise, after the said designation has been made, which the bishops shall forthwith transmit to the Sovereign Roman Pontiff, any delegations whatsoever of other [Page 268] judges, made to any others but the above, shall be regarded as surreptitious.

The holy Synod furthermore admonishes both the Ordinaries and all other judges whatsoever to endeavour to terminate causes in as brief a period as possible; and to meet in every way, either by prescribing a given term, or by some other available method, the artifices of lawyers, whether in delaying the trial of the suit, or any other part of the judicial process.

Certain leases of Ecclesiastical Property or rights are prohibited; certain other such leases are annulled.

It ordinarily brings great ruin upon churches, when the property thereof is, to the prejudice of those who succeed, leased out to others upon the present payment of a sum of money. Wherefore, all leases of this kind, if made for payments in advance, shall be in no wise considered valid to the prejudice of those who succeed; any indult or privelege whatsoever notwithstanding; nor shall such leases be confirmed in the Roman court, or elsewhere. Neither shall it be lawful, to farm out ecclesiastical jurisdictions, or the faculties of nominating, or of deputing vicars in spirituals ; nor for the lessees to exercise the above in person or by others; and any grants to the contrary, even though made by the Apostolic See, shall be esteemed surreptitious. As to leases of ecclesiastiscal things, even though confirmed by apostolical authority, the holy Synod declares those to be invalid, which, having been made within the last thirty years, for a long term, or as they are designated in some districts, for twenty-nine, or for twice twenty-nine years, shall be judged by the provincial Synod, or by the deputies thereof, to have been contracted to the injury of the church, and contrary to the ordinances of the canons.

[Page 269] CHAPTER XII.
Tithes to be paid in full: those withholding, or hindering, the payment thereof are to be excommunicated: the Rectors of Poor Churches are to be piously relieved.

Those are not to be borne who, by various artifices, endeavour to withhold the tithes accruing to the churches ; nor those who rashly take possession of, and apply to their own use, the tithes which have to be paid by others; whereas the payment of tithes is due to God; and they who refuse to pay them, or hinder those who give them, usurp the property of another. Wherefore, the holy Synod enjoins on all, of whatsoever rank and condition they be, to whom it belongs to pay tithes, that they henceforth pay in full the tithes, to which they are bound in law, to the cathedral church, or to whatsoever other churches, or persons, they are lawfully due. And they who either withhold them, or hinder them (from being paid), shall be excommunicated; nor be absolved from this crime, until after full restitution has been made. It further exhorts all and each, that, of their Christian charity, and the duty which they owe to their own pastors, they grudge not, out of the good things that are given them by God, to assist bountifully those bishops and parish priests who preside over the poorer churches; to the praise of God, and to maintain the dignity of their own pastors who watch for them.

The fourth of Funeral (dues) shall be paid to the Cathedral or Parish Churches.

The holy Synod ordains, that in whatsoever places, forty years ago, a fourth, as it is called, of funerals, was accustomed [Page 270] to be paid to the cathedral, or parish, church, but has subsequently, by virtue of whatsoever privilege, been granted to other monasteries, hospitals, or to any other kind of pious places; the same shall henceforth, with all its rights, and in the same proportion as was formerly usual, be paid to the cathedral or parish church; all grants, graces, privileges, even those called mare magnum, or any others whatsoever, to the contrary notwithstanding.

The manner of proceeding against Clerics who keep concubines is prescribed.

How shameful a thing, and how unworthy it is of the name of clerics who have devoted themselves to the service of God, to live in the filth of impurity, and unclean bondage, the thing itself doth testify, in the common scandal of all the faithful, and the extreme disgrace entailed on the clerical order. To the end, therefore, that the ministers of the Church may be recalled to that continency and integrity of life which becomes them; and that the people may hence learn to reverence them the more, that they know them to be more pure of life: the holy Synod forbids all clerics whatsoever to dare to keep concubines, or any other woman of whom any suspicion can exist, either in their own houses, or elsewhere, or to presume to have any intercourse with them : otherwise they shall be punished with the penalties imposed by the sacred canons, or by the statutes of the (several) churches, But if, after being admonished by their superiors, they shall not abstain from these women, they shall be ipso facto deprived of the third part of the fruits, rents, and proceeds of all their benefices whatsoever, and pensions; which third part shall be applied to the fabric of the church, or to some other pious place, at the discretion of the bishop. If, however, persisting in the same crime, with the same or some [Page 271] other woman, they shall not even yet have obeyed upon a second admonition, not only shall they thereupon forfeit all the fruits and proceeds of their benefices and pensions, which shall be applied to the places aforesaid, but they shall also be suspended from the administration of the benefices themselves, for as long a period as shall seem fit to the Ordinary, even as the delegate of the Apostolic See. And if, having been thus suspended, they nevertheless shall not put away those women, or, even if they shall have intercourse with them, then shall they be for ever deprived of their ecclesiastical benefices, portions, offices, and pensions of whatsoever kind, and be rendered thenceforth incapable and unworthy of any manner of honours, dignities, benefices and offices, until, after a manifest amendment of life, it shall seem good to their superiors, for a cause, to grant them a dispensation. But if, after having once put them away, they shall have dared to renew the interrupted connexion, or to take to themselves other scandalous women of this sort, they shall, in addition to the penalties aforesaid, be smitten with the sword of excommunication. Nor shall any appeal, or exemption, hinder or suspend the execution of the aforesaid; and the cognizance of all the matters above-named shall not belong to archdeacons, or deans, or other inferiors, but to the bishops themselves, who may proceed without the noise and the formalities of justice, and by the sole investigation of the truth of the fact.

As regards clerics who have not ecclesiastical benefices or pensions, they shall, according to the quality of their crime and contumacy, and their persistance therein, be punished, by the bishop himself, with imprisonment, suspension from their order, inability to obtain benefices, or in other ways, conformably with the sacred canons.

Bishops also, if, which God forbid, they abstain not from crime of this nature, and, upon being admonished by the provincial Synod, they do not amend, shall be ipso facto suspended; and, if they persist therein, they shall be reported by the said Synod to the most holy Roman Pontiff, who shall punish them according to the nature of their guilt, even with deprivation if need be.

[Page 272] CHAPTER XV.
The illegitimate Sons of Clerics are excluded from certain Benefices and Pensions.

That the memory of paternal incontinency may be banished as far as possible from places consecrated to God, where purity and holiness are most especially beseeming; it shall not be lawful for the sons of clerics, not born in lawful wedlock, to hold, in those churches wherein their fathers have, or had, an ecclesiastical benefice, any benefice whatsoever, even though a different one; nor to minister in any way in the said churches; nor to have pensions out of the revenues of benefices which their fathers hold, or have aforetime held. And if a father and son shall be found, at this present time, to hold benefices in the same church; the son shall be compelled to resign his benefice, or to exchange it for another out of that church, within the space of three months, otherwise he shall be ipso jure deprived thereof; and any dispensation in regard of the aforesaid shall be accounted surreptitious. Moreover, any reciprocal resignations which shall from this time forth be made by fathers who are clerics in favour of their sons, that one may obtain the benefice of the other, shall be wholly regarded as made in fraudulent evasion of this decree, and of the ordinances of the canons; nor shall the collations that may have followed, by virtue of resignations of this kind, or of any other whatsoever made fraudulently, be of avail to the said sons of clerics.

Benefices with cure shall not be converted into simple Benefices: a suitable portion of the fruits shall be assigned to the Vicar who exercises the cure of souls.

The holy Synod ordains, that those Secular ecclesiastical benefices, by whatsoever name they may be called, which, by [Page 273] their original institution, or in any other way whatever, have the cure of souls, shall not henceforth be converted into a simple benefice, even though a suitable portion be assigned to a perpetual vicar; notwithstanding any graces whatsoever which have not obtained their full effect. But, as regards those benefices wherein, contrary to the institution or foundation thereof, the cure of souls has been transferred to a perpetual vicar, even though they be found to have been in this state from time immemorial, if a suitable portion of the fruits have not been assigned to the vicar of the church, by what name soever he may be designated, the same shall be assigned as soon as possible, and within a year at the furthest from the end of the present Council, at the discretion of the Ordinary; pursuant to the form of the decree made under Paul III., of happy memory. But if this cannot conveniently be done, or if it be not done, within the said term, as soon as the benefice shall be vacant, either by the resignation or death of the vicar, or rector, or in whatsoever way either of the above shall vacate it, it shall receive again the cure of souls; the name of vicarage cease; and it shall be restored to its ancient state.

Bishops shall maintain their dignity; nor conduct themseIves with unworthy servility towards the Ministers of Kings, towards Lords, or Barons.

The holy Synod cannot but sorely grieve at hearing that certain bishops, forgetful of their own estate, do in no slight manner disgrace the pontifical dignity; comporting themselves with an unseemly kind of servility, both in church and out of it, before the ministers of kings, nobles, and barons; and, as if they were inferior ministers of the altar, not only most unworthily give them place; but even serve them in person. Wherefore, the holy Synod, detesting this and the like behaviour, doth, by renewing all the sacred canons, the General Councils, and [Page 274] other apostolical ordinances, which relate to the decorum and authority of the episcopal dignity, enjoin, that henceforth bishops abstain from the like; charging them that, both in church and out of it, having before their eyes their own rank and order, they every where bear in mind that they are fathers and pastors; charging also others, as well princes, as all persons whatsoever, to pay them paternal honour and due reverence.

The Canons shall be exactly observed: if, at any time, a dispensation is to be granted in regard thereof, it shall be done with the most mature deliberation.

As it is expedient for the public good, to relax at times the restraint of law, thereby more completely to meet, for the common advantage, the cases and necessities which arise; even so, to dispense too often with the law, and to yield to petitioners on account of precedent, rather than upon any certain discrimination in regard of persons and circumstances, is nothing else but to open a way for each one to transgress the laws. Wherefore, be it known to all men, that the most sacred canons are to be exactly observed by all, and, as far as this is possible, without distinction. But if any urgent and just reason, and at times a greater good, shall require that some be dispensed with; this shall be granted, after the cause has been taken cognizance of, and after the most mature deliberation, and gratuitously, by all those soever to whom that dispensation appertains; and any dispensation granted otherwise shall be esteemed surreptitious.

Duelling is prohibited under the most severe penalties.

The detestable custom of duelling, introduced by the contrivance of the devil, that by the bloody death of the body, he [Page 275] may accomplish the ruin of the soul, shall be utterly exterminated from the Christian world. Any emperor, kings, dukes, princes, marquises, counts, and temporal lords by whatsoever other name entitled, who shall grant a place within their territories for single combat between Christians, shall be thereupon excommunicated, and shall be understood to be deprived of jurisdiction and dominion over any city, castle, or place, in or at which they have permitted the duel to take place, which they hold of the church ; and if those places be held as a fief they shall forthwith escheat to their direct lords.

As to the persons who have fought, and those who are called their seconds (sponsors), they shall incur the penalty of excommunication, and the confiscation of all their property, and of perpetual infamy, and are to be punished as homicides, according to the sacred canons; and if they have perished in the conflict itself, they shall be for ever deprived of ecclesiastical sepulture. Those also who have given counsel in the ease of a duel, whether for the question of right, or fact, or have in any other way whatever persuaded any one thereunto, as also the spectators thereof, shall be subjected to the bond of excommunication, and of a perpetual malediction ; any privilege soever, or evil custom, though immemorial, notwithstanding.

The Immunities, Liberty, and other Rights of the Church are recommended to Secular Princes.

The holy Synod being desirous that ecclesiastical discipline may not only be restored amongst the Christian people, but that it also may be for ever preserved sound and safe from all manner of adverse attempts; besides those things which It has ordained touching ecclesiastical persons, has thought fit, that Secular princes also be admonished of their duty; trusting that they,--as Catholics, whom God hath willed to be the protectors [Page 276] of holy faith and church,--will not only grant that to the church her own right be restored, but will also recall all their own subjects to due reverence towards the clergy, parish priests, and the superior orders; nor permit that their officers, or inferior magistrates, through any spirit of covetousness, or any heedlessness, violate that immunity of the church and of ecclesiastical persons, which, by the ordinance of God, and by the appointments of the canons has been established; but (see) that they render, conjointly with the princes themselves, due observance to the sacred constitutions of Sovereign Pontiffs and of Councils.

It ordains, therefore, and enjoins, that the sacred canons, and all the General Councils, as also all other apostolic ordinances, published in favour of ecclesiastical persons, of the liberty of the Church, and against the violators thereof,--all which It also renews by this present decree,--be exactly observed by all men. And for this cause It admonishes the emperor, kings, republics, princes, and all and each of whatsoever state and dignity they be, that, the more bountifully they are adorned with temporal goods, and with power over others, the more religiously should they respect whatsoever is of ecclesiastical right, as belonging especially to God, and as being under the cover of His protection; and that they suffer not such to be injured by any barons, nobles, governors, or other temporal lords, and above all by their own immediate officers; but punish those severely, who obstruct her liberty, immunity, and jurisdiction; being themselves an example to them in regard of piety, religion, and the protection of the churches, in imitation of those most excellent and religious princes their predecessors, who not only defended from all injury from others, but, by their authority and munificence, in a special manner advanced the interests of their own church. Wherefore let each one herein discharge his duty carefully ; that so the divine worship may be devoutly celebrated, and prelates and other clerics remain, quietly and without hindrances, in their own residences and in the discharge of their duties, to the profit and edification of the people.

[Page 277] CHAPTER XXI.
In all things the authority of the Aposto1ic See shall remain untouched.

Lastly, the holy Synod declares, that all and singular the things which, under whatsoever clauses and words, have been ordained in this sacred Council, in the matter of reformation of morals, and ecclesiastical discipline, as well under the Sovereign Pontiffs, Paul III., and Julius III., of happy memory, as under the most blessed Pius IV., have been so decreed, as that the authority of the Apostolic See both is, and is understood to be, untouched thereby


Whereas all those things which had to be treated of in the present Session cannot, because of the lateness of the hour, be conveniently despatched; therefore, according as was resolved on by the Fathers in general congregation, the things which remain are deferred till tomorrow, in continuation of this same Session.


On the fourth day of December.


Whereas the power of conferring Indulgences was granted by Christ to the Church; and she has, even in the most ancient times, used the said power, delivered unto her of God; the sacred holy Synod teaches, and enjoins, that the use of Indulgences, for the Christian people most salutary, and approved of [Page 278] by the authority of sacred Councils, is to be retained in the Church; and It condemns with anathema those who either assert, that they are useless; or who 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 excessive facility, ecclesastical discipline be enervated. And being desirous that the abuses which have crept therein, and by occasion of which this honourable name of Indulgences is blasphemed by heretics, be amended and corrected, It ordains generally by this decree, that all evil gains for the obtaining thereof,--whence a most prolific cause of abuses amongst the Christian people has been derived,--be wholly abolished. But as regards the other abuses which have proceeded from superstition, ignorance, irreverence, or from what soever other source, since, by reason of the manifold corruptions in the places and provinces where the said abuses are committed, they cannot conveniently be specially prohibited; It commands all bishops, diligently to collect, each in his own church, all abuses of this nature, and to report them in the first provincial Synod; that, after having been reviewed by the opinions of the other bishops also, they may forthwith be referred to the Sovereign Roman Pontiff, by whose authority and prudence that which may be expedient for the universal Church will be ordained; that this the gift of holy Indulgences may be dispensed to all the faithful, piously, holily, and incorruptly.


The holy Synod furthermore exhorts, and, by the most holy advent of our Lord and Saviour, conjures all pastors, that, like good soldiers, they sedulously recommend to all the faithful all those things which the holy Roman Church, the mother and [Page 279] mistress of all churches, has ordained, as also those things which, as well in this Council, as in the other oecumenical Councils, have been ordained, and to use all diligence that they be observant of all thereof, and especially of those which tend to mortify the flesh, such as the choice of meats, and fasts ; as also those which serve to promote piety, such as the devout and religious celebration of festival days; often admonishing the people to obey those set over them (Heb. xiii. 17), whom they who hear, shall hear God as a rewarder, whereas they who contemn them, shall feel God himself as an avenger.


The sacred and holy Synod, in the second Session celebrated under our most holy lord, Pius IV., commissioned certain chosen Fathers to consider what ought to be done touching various censures, and books either suspected or pernicious, and to report thereon to the said holy Synod; hearing now that the finishing hand has been put to that labour by those Fathers, which, however, by reason of the variety and multitude of books cannot be distinctly and conveniently judged of by the holy Synod; It enjoins that whatsoever has been by them done shall be laid before the most holy Roman Pontiff, that it may be by his judgment and authority terminated and made public. And it commands that the same be done in regard of the Catechism, by the Fathers to whom that work was consigned, and as regards the missal and breviary.


The holy Synod declares, that, by the place assigned to ambassadors, as well Ecclesiastics as Seculars, whether in Session, procession, or in any other acts whatsoever, no prejudice has been created in regard of any amongst them; but that all their [Page 280] own rights and prerogatives, and those of their own emperor, kings, republics, and princes are uninjured and untouched, and continue in the same state as they were before the present Council.


So great has been the calamitousness of these times, and such the inveterate malice of the heretics, that there has been nothing ever so clear in our statement of faith, nothing so surely settled, which they, at the instigation of the enemy of the human race, have not defiled by some sort of error. For which cause the holy Synod hath made it Its especial care to condemn and anathematize the principal errors of the heretics of our time, and to deliver and teach the true and Catholic doctrine; even as It has condemned, and anathematized, and decreed.

And whereas so many bishops, summoned from the various provinces of the Christian world, cannot be absent for so long a time without great loss to the flock entrusted to them, and without universal danger ; and whereas no hope remains that the heretics, after being so often invited, even with the public faith which they desired, and after being so long expected, will come hither later; and it is therefore necessary to put an end at length to the sacred Council: it now remains for It to admonish in the Lord all princes, as It hereby does, so to afford their assistance as not to permit the things which it has decreed to be corrupted or violated by heretics; but that they be by them and all others devoutly received, and faithfully observed. And should any difficulty arise in regard of receiving those decrees, or should anything be met with, which it does not believe, requiring explanation or definition, the holy Synod trusts that, besides the other remedies appointed in this Council, the most blessed Roman Pontiff will make it his care that, for the glory of God and the tranquillity of the Church, the necessities of the provinces be provided for, either by summoning particularly out of the provinces where the difficulties shall have arisen, those [Page 281] persons whom he shall deem it expedient (to employ) in treating of the said matters; or even by the celebration of a general Council, if he judge it necessary; or in such other way as shall seem to him most suitable.


Forasmuch as, at divers times, as well under Paul III., as under Julius III., of happy memory, many things have, in this sacred Council, been ordained and defined touching dogmas and reformation of manners; the holy Synod wills that they be now recited and read.

They were recited.


Most illustrious lords and most reverend Fathers, doth it please you, that, to the praise of Almighty God, an end be put to this sacred oecumenical Synod? and that the confirmation of all and singular the things which have therein been decreed and defined, as well under the Roman Pontiffs, Paul III., and Julius III., of happy memory, as under our most holy lord Pius IV., be requested, in the name of this holy Synod, by the presidents, and the Legates of the Apostolic See, from the most blessed Roman Pontiff?

They answered: It pleaseth us.

Afterwards, the most illustrious and most reverend Cardinal Morone, the first Legate and President, blessing the holy Synod said: After having given thanks to God, most reverend Fathers, go in peace.

They answered: Amen.


The Cardinal of Lorraine. To the most blessed Pius, Pope, and our lord, pontiff of the holy and universal Church, many years and eternal memory.

Answer of the Fathers. O Lord God, do Thou very long preserve the most holy Father to thy church: for many years.

The Cardinal. To the souls of the most blessed Soveriegn Pontiffs, Paul III., and Julius III., by whose authority this sacred general Council was begun, peace from the Lord, and eternal glory, and happiness in the light of the saints.

Answer. Be their memory in benediction.

The Cardinal. Of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, and of the most serene kings, who have promoted and protected this universal Council, be the memory in benediction.

Answer. Amen, Amen.

The Cardinal. To the most serene Emperor Ferdinand, ever august, orthodox, and pacific, and to all our kings, republics, and princes, many years.

Answer. Preserve, O Lord, the pious and Christian emperor: Oh, Heavenly Emperor, protect earthly kings, the preservers of the right faith.

The Cardinal. To the Legates of the Apostolic Roman See, and presidents of this Synod, many thanks and many years.

Answer. Many thanks: the Lord reward them.

The Cardinal. To the most reverend cardinals, and most illustrious ambassadors.

Answer. Many thanks; many years.

The Cardinal. To the most holy bishops, life, and a happy return to their own churches.

Answer. To the heralds of truth perpetual memory; to the orthodox senate many years.

The Cardinal. The sacred and holy oecumenical Synod of Trent: let us confess the faith thereof; let us ever keep the decrees thereof.

Answer. Ever let us confess, ever keep.

[Page 283] The Cardinal. We all thus believe; we all think the very same ; we all, consenting and embracing (them), 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.

Answer. Thus we believe; thus we think; thus we subscribe.

The Cardinal. To these decrees adhering 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, also interceding, and all the saints.

Answer. So be it: so be it. Amen, Amen.

Cardinal. Anathema to all heretics.

Answer Anathema, anathema.

After this, it was enjoined on all the Fathers, by the Legates and presidents, under pain of excommunication, that, before departing from the city of Trent, they should subscribe with their own hand the decrees of the Council, or approve thereof by some public instrument; all of whom subsequently subscribed, and they were in number CCLV; to wit, four legates, two cardinals, three patriarchs, twenty-five archbishops, one hundred and sixty-eight bishops, seven abbots, thirty-nine proctors of absent (prelates) with lawful commission, seven generals.

Praise be to God.

It agrees with the original: in faith whereof we have subscribed:

I, Angelus MASSARELLI, bishop of Telesia, secretary of the sacred Council of Trent.
I, Marcus Antonius PEREGRINUS, of Como, notary of the said Council.
I, Cynthius PAMPHILUS, clerk of the diocese of Camerino, notary of the said Council.


We, Alexander di Farnese, cardinal-deacon of Saint Lawrence in Damaso, vice-chancellor of the holy Roman Church, [Page 284] do certify and attest, that, on this day, being Wednesday, the twenty-sixth of January, MDLXIV, in the fifth year of the pontificate of our most holy lord Pius IV., by the providence of God, Pope, the most reverend my lords, the cardinals Morone and Simonetta, lately returned from the sacred Council of Trent, whereat they had presided as Legates of the Apostolic See, did, in a secret consistory, held at St. Peter's, petition our said most holy lord as follows:

Most blessed Father; in a decree, concerning the closing of the oecumenical Council of Trent, published the day before the nones of December last, it was ordained, that, through the presidents and Legates of your Holiness, and of the holy Apostolic See, confirmation should be requested from your Holiness, in the name of the said Council, of all and singular the things which were therein decreed and defined, as well under Paul III., and Julius III., of happy memory, as under your Holiness. Wherefore, we, John, Cardinal Morone, and Louis, Cardinal Simonetta, who were then Legates and presidents, wishing to execute what was appointed in that decree, do humbly petition in the name of the said oecumenical Council of Trent, that your Holiness would vouchsafe to confirm all and singular the things which have therein been decreed and defined, as well under Paul III., and Julius III., of happy memory, as under your Holiness.

Upon hearing which, his Holiness, having looked at and read the tenour of the said decree, and having takein the advice of the most reverend lords, the cardinals, replied in these words : Acceding to the petition made to us, by the Legates aforesaid, in the name of the oecumenical Council of Trent, touching the confirmation thereof, We, with apostolic authority, and with the advice and assent of our venerable brethren the cardinals, having previously had a mature deliberation with them, do confirm all and singular the things which have been decreed and defined in the said Council, as well under Paul III., and Julius III., of happy memory, as during the time of our pontificate; and we [Page 285] command that the same be received and inviolably observed by all the faithful of Christ; In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
So it is.

A. Cardinal FARNESE,


Pius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for the perpetual memory hereof.

Blessed be the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who hath vouchsafed to look down upon His holy Church, agitated and tossed by so many storms and tempests, and, whilst it was day by day more sorely distressed, hath at length brought relief thereunto by a suitable and wished-for remedy. To extirpate very many and most pernicious heresies, to correct manners, and to restore ecclesiastical discipline, to procure time peace and concord of the Christiain people, an oecumenical and general Council had been, a long time previously, indicted by our predecessor, Paul III., of pious memory, and had been begun by holding several Sessions. Having been, by his successor, recalled to the same city, the Council, after several Sessions had been celebrated, could not, on account of various impediments and difficulties which supervened, be even then brought to a conclusion: it was, therefore, for a long time interrupted, not without the greatest grief on the part of all persons of piety, whilst the Church daily more and more implored that remedy. But we, upon having entered upon the government of the Apostolic See, undertook to accomplish so necessary and salutary a work, even as our pastoral solicitude admonished us; [Page 286] trusting in the Divine Mercy, and aided by the pious zeal of our most beloved son in Christ, Ferdinand, Emperor elect of the Romans, and by that of other Christian kings, republics, and princes, we have at length attained to that which we have not ceased to labour after by daily and nightly watchfulness, and which we have assiduously besought of the Father of lights. For whereas a most numerous assembly of bishops and of other distinguished prelates, and one worthy of an oecumenical Council, had, upon being convoked by our letters, and impelled also by their own piety, been gathered together from all sides out of the nations of Christendom, at the said city; together with whom were very many other persons of piety, pre-eminent for skill in sacred letters, and knowledge of divine and human law; the Legates of the Apostolic See presiding in the said Synod; ourselves so favourable to the liberty of the Council, as even to have, by letters written to our Legates, voluntarily left the said Council free to determine concerning matters properly reserved to the Apostolic See; such things as remained to be treated of, defined, and ordained, touching the sacraments and other matters, which seemed to be necessary for confuting heresies, removing abuses, and amending morals, were by the sacred and holy Synod with the most perfect liberty and diligence, treated of, and accurately and most deliberately defined, explained, and ordained, which being completed, the Council was brought to a close with so great unanimity on the part of all who assisted thereat, that it was plain that such agreement was the Lord's doing, and it was very wonderful in our eyes, and those of all. For which so singular a bounty, We at once appointed solemn processions in this good city, which were assisted at with great piety by the clergy and people; and We made it our care that the thanksgivings so justly due should be paid to the divine majesty; forasmuch as the issue of that Council has brought with it a great and well nigh assured hope that greater fruits will day by day be derived unto the Church from the decrees and constitutions thereof.

[Page 287] And whereas the said holy Synod, in its reverence towards the Apostolic See, and following also in the traces of the ancient Councils, has, in a decree made thereon in public Session, requested of us the confirmation of all Its decrees, passed in our time and that of our predecessors; We, being made acquainted with the request of the said Synod, first by the letters of our Legates, then, upon their return, by what they diligently reported in the name of the Synod; after mature deliberation had thereon with our venerable brethren the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, and, above all, having invoked the assistance of the Holy Spirit; after that we had ascertained that all those decrees were Catholic, and useful and salutary to the Christian people, We, to the praise of Almighty God, with the advice and assent of our brethren aforesaid, have this day, in our secret consistory, confirmed by Apostolic authority all and singular those decrees, and have ordained that the same be received and observed by all the faithful of Christ; as also, for the clearer information of all men, We do, by the tenour of this letter, confirm them, and ordain that they be received and observed.

And, in virtue of holy obedience, and under the penalties by the sacred canons appointed, and others more grievous, even those of deprivaiton, to be inflicted at our discretion, We do also command all and each of our venerable brethren, the patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and all other prelates whatsoever of the churches, of what estate, grade, order and dignity soever, they may be, even though distinguished with the honour of the cardinalate, diligently to observe the said decrees and statutes in their own churches, cities, and dioceses, both in their courts of justice and elsewhere, and to cause the same to be inviolably observed, each by his own subjects, in so far as they are in any way concerned therein; silencing gainsayers, and the refractory, by means of judicial sentences, and by the censures also and ecclesiastical penalties contained in the said decrees; calling in also, if need be, the help of the secular arm. And, by the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, We admonish and conjure our said most beloved son the emperor elect, and the Christian kings, republics, and princes, with that piety with which they assisted, by their ambassadors, at the Council, with [Page 288] the same piety and equal zeal, for the sake of God's honour, and the salvation of their people, in reverence also towards the Apostolic See, and the sacred Synod, to support, when needful, with their assistance and countenance, the prelates in executing and observing the decrees of the said Council ; and not to permit opinions adverse to the sound and salutary doctrine of the Council to be received by the people who are under their sway, but utterly to interdict such.

Furthermore, in order to avoid the perversion and confusion which might arise, if each one were allowed, as he might think fit, to publish his own commentaries and interpretations on the decrees of the Council ; We, by apostolic authority, forbid all men, as well ecclesiastics, of whatsoever order, condition, and rank they may be, as also laymen, with whatsoever honor and power invested ; prelates, to wit, under pain of being interdicted from entering the church, and all others whomsoever they be, under pain of excommunication incurred by the fact, to presume, without our authority to publish, in any form, any commentaries, glosses, annotations, scholia, or any kind of interpretation whatsoever of the decrees of the said Council ; or to settle anything in regard thereof, under any plea whatsoever, even under pretext of greater corroboration of the decrees, or the more perfect execution thereof, or under any other colour whatsoever. But if anything therein shall seem to any one to have been expressed and ordained in an obscure manner, and it shall appear to stand in need on that account of an interpretation or decision, let him Go up to the place which the Lord hath chosen; to wit, to the Apostolic See, the mistress of all the faithful, whose authority the holy Synod also has so reverently acknowledged. For, if any difficulties and controversies shall arise in regard of the said decrees, We reserve them to be by Us cleared up and decided, even as the holy Synod has Itself in like manner decreed ; being prepared, as that Synod has justly expressed Its confidence in regard to Us, to provide for the necessities of all the provinces, in such manner as shall [Page 289] seem to Us most suitable; declaring that whatsoever may be attempted to the contrary in this matter, whether wittingly or unwittingly, by any one, by what authority soever, is, notwithstanding, null and void. And that these things may come to the knowledge of all men, and that no one may use the excuse of ignorance; We will and ordain, that, in the Vatican Basilica of the prince of the apostles, and in the Lateran church, at the time when the people is wont to assemble there to be present at the solemnization of masses, this letter be publicly read in a loud voice by certain officers of our court; and that, after having been read, it be affixed to the doors of those churches, and also to the gates of the Apostolic Chancery, and to the usual place in the Campo di Fiore; and be there left for some time, to be read by and to come to the knowledge of all men. And when removed thence, copies being, according to custom, left in those same places, it shall be committed to the press in our good city, that so it may be more conveniently made known throughout the provinces and kingdoms of the Christian name. And we ordain and decree, that, without any doubt, faith be given to copies thereof written or subscribed by the hand of a public notary, and guaranteed by the seal and signature of some person constituted in ecclesiastical dignity. Let no one, therefore, infringe this our letter of confirmation, monition, inhibition, reservation, will, mandate, and decree, or with rash daring go contrary thereunto. But if any one shall presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of His blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul. Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, in the year of the Lord's Incarnation One thousand five hundred and sixty-four, on the seventh of the calends of February, in the fifth year of our pontificate.

Translation taken from Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner


Source: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum10.htm

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