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Council of Trent

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The sacred and holy, oecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the most reverend lords, Sebastian, Archbishop of Siponto, and Aloysius, Bishop of Verona, Apostolic Nuncios, presiding therein, as well in their own names as in that of the most reverend and illustrious lord, the Legate Marcellsu Crescenzio, Cardinal of the holy Roman Church, of the title of Saint Marcellus, who is absent by reason of a most grievous illness,--doubts not that it is well known to all Christians, that this ocecumenical Council of Trent was first convoked and assembled by Paul, of happy memory, and was afterwards, at the instance of the most august Emperor, Charles V., restored by our most holy lord, Julius III., for this cause especially, that It might bring back to its pristine state, religion which was miserably divided into diverse opinions in many parts of the world, and especially in Germany; and might amend the abuses and the most corrupt manners of Christians ; and whereas very many Fathers, without any regard to their personal labours and dangers, had for this end cheerfully assembled together from different countries, and the business was proceeded with earnestly and happily, in the midst of a great concurse of the faithful, and there was no slight hope that those Germans who had excited these novelties would come to the Council, and that so disposed as to acquiesce unanimously in the truthful reasons of the Church; when a kind of light, in fine, seemed to have dawned upon things; and the Christian commonwealth, before so cast-down and afflicted, began to lift up its head; of a sudden such tumults and wars were enkindled

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by the craft of the enemy of mankind, that the Synod was at much inconvenience compelled as it were to pause, and to interrupt its course, and all hope was taken away of further progress at that time; and so far was the holy Synod from remedying the evils and troubles existing amongst Christians, that, contrary to its intention, It irritated rather than calmed the minds of many. Whereas, therefore, the said holy Synod perceived that all places, and especially Germany, were in a flame with arms and discord; that almost all the German bishops, and in particular the Electoral Princes, had withdrawn from the Council, in order to provide for their own churches ; It resolved, not to struggle against so pressing a necessity, but to be silent till better times ; that so the Fathers, who could not now act, might return to their own churches to take care of their own sheep, and no longer wear away their time in unemployment, useless in both regards. And accordingly, for that the state of the times has so required, It decrees that the progress of this ocecumenial Synod of Trent shall be suspended during two years, as It doth suspend it by this present decree; with this condition however, that if things be settled sooner, and the former tranquillity restored, which It hopes will happen be fore long through the blessing of the all good and all powerful God, the progress of the Council shall be considered (as resumed, and) to have its full force, power and authority. But if, which may God forefend, the lawful impediments aforesaid shall not have been removed at the expiration of the two years, the said suspension shall, as soon as those impediments shall have ceased, be thereupon accounted removed, and the Council shall be, and be understood to be, restored to its full force and authority, without another fresh convocation thereof, the consent and authority of his Iloliness, and of the holy Aposotlic See, having been given to this decree. Meanwhile, however, this holy Synod exhorts all Christian princes, and all prelates, to observe, and respectively to cause to be observed, as far as they are concerned, in their own kingdoms, dominions, and churches, all and singular the things which have been hitherto ordained and decreed by this sacred oecumenical Council.

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