The Council of Trent
Opened 13 Dec 1545 to many at the time this was something that they imagined would occur.
1415 Council of constance (last papal council ... for the next 100 years the papacy was working to restore
their power) The papacy does not want to call another council.
There is enormous pressure from the catholic monarchs in europe to call a council. Charles V HRE is
facing some problems. France on one hand and the Turks on the other and he cannot alienate the german
princes because he needs their armies.
There is also pressure from the french and spanish kings.
Location of Trent.
-> Charles wants the council called in the confines of the german empires. Pope Paul III wants it to be in
Italy where he can be in control. Trent is a comprise location. It is within the territory controlled by the
Habsburgs but still in italy.
Why does Paul III consent to this council?
Who shows up? It is a small group that show up to the first stage. (there are three stages of the Council
meets over 18 years) Three papal legates. What is a legate? --> People who are ambassadors, given
temporary authority. The pope does not actually attend. One Cardinal, 4 archbishops, 21 bishops and 5
generals of various monastic orders. 34 delegates show up. Two were from spain, one from england, one
from france and one was german. 5 were international. The other 29 were Italian.
In previous Councils votes were done by nation. Paul changes this to have the delegates vote by head.
Paul believes he can control this council because there are 29 italians.
All of the original delegates of this council will be dead at the end of the council.
–Great threats externally. Protestantism was growing dramatically. They face great division
–There were also inward divisions. Many of the clergy had begun studying the bible. There were
many people who supported to a degree the things that Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin were saying
-What will catholicism will be against protestantism. What does it mean to be catholic?
-They want to stop protestantism and win back some of the territory.
-There is a desire to bind the church together.
–Balance between enacting actual reform without giving credit to protestant ideas.
They want to unite the catholic church and to do that they need to enact reform. But they had to walk the
line between reform and heresy.
Charles wants institutional reform. Like simony, and celibacy, and absentee bishops.
Paul is seeking doctrinal reform. The Dogma of the church. He does not want institutional reform. There
is a risk to the power of the papacy in institutional reform.
Delegates split into two groups
1) for doctrinal reform