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Council of Trent

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Julius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for the future memory hereof.

Whereas, in order to remove the dissensions touching our religion, which for a long time have prevailed in Germany to the disturbance and scandal of the whole Christian world, it seems good, opportune, and expedient,-as also our most dearly beloved son in Christ, Charles the Emperor of the Romans, ever august, has caused to be signified to us by his letters and ambassadors,-to bring back to the city of Trent, the sacred, oecumenical, (and) general Council indicted by our predecessor, Pope Paul III., of happy memory, and begun, regulated, and continued, by Us, who then enjoyed the honour of the Cardinalate, and conjointly with two other Cardinals of the holy Roman Church, presided in the name of our said predecessor, in the said Council, wherein several public and solemn Sessions were held, and several decrees promulgated as well on the subject of faith as of Reformation, and also many things relating to both subjects examined and discussed;-We,-unto whom, as Sovereign Pontiff for the time, it appertains to indict and direct general Councils,-that we may, unto the praise and glory of Almighty God, procure the peace of the Church and the increase of the Christian faith and of the orthodox religion, and may, as far as in us lies, consult with fatherly care for the tranquillity of Germany,-a province indeed which, in times past, was never second to any in Christendom, in cultivating true religion, and the doctrine of the sacred Councils and holy Fathers, and in exhibiting due obedience and reverence to the chief Pontiffs, the vicars on earth of Christ our Redeemer; hoping that, by the grace and bounty of God, all Christian kings and princes will approve of, favour and aid our just and pious wishes herein: We, by the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, exhort, require, and admonish our venerable brethren the patri-

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archs, archbishops, bishops, and our beloved sons the abbots, and all and each of the others, who of right, or custom, or privilege, ought to be present at General Councils, and whom our said predecessor, in his letters of indiction and any others soever made and published on this subject, willed to be present at the Council, to convene and assemble, where there is no lawful impediment, in the same city of Trent, and to apply themselves without any delay whatever to the continuation and prosecution of the said Council, on the next ensuing calends of May, which day we appoint, determine on, and assign, after mature deliberation, and of our own certain knowledge, and the plenitude of apostolic authority, and with the advice and consent of our venerable brethren the Cardinals of the said holy Roman Church, for resuming and prosecuting the said Council in the state wherein it now is. For We shall make it our special care, that, at the same time, in the said city, there be always present our Legates, through whom,-if we shall be unable, on account of our age, state of health, and the necessities of the Apostolic See, to be personally present,-we shall, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, preside over the said Council; any translation and suspension of the said Council, and any other things whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding, and especially those things which it was the will of our predecessor should not create any obstacle, as expressed in his letters aforesaid, which, with all and each of the clauses and decrees therein contained, we will and decree to continue in force, and we do, as far as there is need thereof, hereby renew them; declaring moreover null and void whatsoever may be attempted, wittingly or ignorantly, by whatsoever person, or by whatsoever authority, against these presents. Let no one, therefore, infringe this our letter of exhortation, requisition, monition, statute, declaration, renewal, will, 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.

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Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year MDXLVIII of our Lord's Incarnation, on the eighteenth of the calends of December, in the first year of our Pontificate.




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