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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 same Legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein,--not confiding in human strength, but relying on the succour and assistance of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised that he would give to His Church a mouth and wisdom, hath especially in view to restore at length to its native purity and splendour, the doctrine of the Catholic faith, which is in many places defiled and obscured by the conflicting opinions of many who differ from each other; to bring back, to a better method of life, manners, which have divaricated from ancient usage; and to turn the heart of the fathers unto tke children, and the heart of the children unto the fathers. Whereas, then, first of all, it has noticed that the number of suspected and pernicious books, wherein an impure doctrine is Contained, and is disseminated far and wide, has in these days increased beyond measure, which indeed has been the cause that many censures have been, out of a godly zeal, published in divers provinces, and especially in the fair city of Rome,--and yet that no salutary remedy has availed against so great and pernicious a disorder; It hath thought good, that Fathers specially chosen for this inquiry, should carefully consider what ought to be done in the matter of censures and of books, and also in due time report thereon to this holy Synod; to the end that It may more easily separate the various and strange doctrines, as cockle from the wheat of Christian truth, and may more conveniently deliberate and determine, in regard thereof, that which shall seem best adapted to remove scruples from the minds of very many, and to do away with various causes of complaint.
And the Synod wishes all this to come to the knowledge of all persons whatsoever, as by this present decree It doth make them cognizant thereof; in order that if any person may think himself in any way concerned, either in this matter of books and censures, or in the other things which It has declared beforehand are to be treated of in this General Council, he may not doubt but that he will be kindly listened to by the Holy Synod. And forasmuch as this said holy Synod heartily desires, and earnestly beseeches God for the things that are for the peace of the Church, that we all, acknowledging our common mother on earth, who cannot forget the sons of her womb, with one mouth may glorify Cod, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; It invites and exhorts, by the bowels of the mercy of our same God and Lord, all who hold not communion with us, unto concord and reconciliation, and to come unto this holy Synod; to embrace charity, which is the bond of perfection, and to show forth the peace of Christ rejoicing in thoir hearts, whereunto they are called, lit one body. Wherefore, in hearing this voice, not of man, but of the Holy Ghost, let them not harden their hearts, but, walking not after their own sense, nor pleasing themselves, let them be moved and converted by this so charitable and salutary an admonition of their own mother; for, as the holy Synod invites, so will It embrace them with all proofs of love. Moreover, this same holy Synod has decreed, that the public faith may be granted in a general congregation, and that It shall have the same force, and shall be of the same authority and weight as if it had been given and decreed in public Session.
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