Twenty-Third Session of the Council of Trent

Author: Trent


Session XXIII - which is the seventh under the Supreme Pontiff, Pius IV, celebrated on the fifteenth day of July, 1563


Doctrine Concerning The Condemnation Of Current Errors
Canons On The Sacrament Of Order
Decree Concerning Reform
Announcement Of The Next Session

The True And Catholic Doctrine Concerning The Sacrament Of Order, Defined And Published By The Holy Council Of Trent In The Seventh Session In Condemnation Of Current Errors

Chapter I
The Institution Of The Priesthood Of The New Law

Sacrifice and priesthood are by the ordinance of God so united that both have existed in every law. Since therefore in the New Testament the Catholic Church has received from the institution of Christ the holy, visible sacrifice of the Eucharist, it must also be confessed that there is in that Church a new, visible and external priesthood, into which the old has been translated.[1] That this was instituted by the same Lord our Savior, and that to the Apostles and their successors in the priesthood was given the power of consecrating, offering and administering His body and blood, as also of forgiving and retaining sins, is shown by the Sacred Scriptures and has always been taught by the tradition of the Catholic Church.

Chapter II
The Seven Orders

But since the ministry of so holy a priesthood is something divine, that it might be exercised in a more worthy manner and with greater veneration, it was consistent that in the most well-ordered arrangement of the Church there should be several distinct orders of ministers, who by virtue of their office should minister to the priesthood, so distributed that those already having the clerical tonsure should ascend through the minor to the major orders.[2] For the Sacred Scriptures mention unmistakably not only the priests but also the deacons,[3] and teach in the most definite words what is especially to be observed in their ordination; and from the very beginning of the Church the names of the following orders and the duties proper to each one are known to have been in use, namely, those of the sub-deacon, acolyte, exorcist, rector and porter, though these were not of equal rank; for the sub-diaconate is classed among the major orders by the Fathers and holy councils,[4] in which we also read very often of other inferior orders.[5]

Chapter III
The Order Of The Priesthood Is Truly A Sacrament

Since from the testimony of Scripture, Apostolic tradition and the unanimous agreement 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 and of sobriety.>[6]

Chapter IV
The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy And Ordination

But since in the sacrament of order, as also in baptism and confirmation, a character is imprinted which can neither be effaced nor taken away,[7] the holy council justly condemns the opinion of those who say 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 anyone should assert that all Christians without distinction are priests of the New Testament, or that they are all inter se endowed with an equal spiritual power, he seems to do nothing else than derange the ecclesiastical hierarchy,[8] which is <an army set in array;>[9] as if, contrary to the teaching of St. Paul, all are apostles, all prophets, all evangelists, all pastors, all doctors.[10] Wherefore, the holy council declares that, besides the other ecclesiastical grades, the bishops, who have succeeded the Apostles, principally belong to this hierarchical order, and have been placed, as the same Apostle says, by the Holy Ghost to rule the Church of God;[11] that they are superior to priests, administer the sacrament of confirmation,[12] ordain ministers of the Church, and can perform many other functions over which those of an inferior order have no power.

The council teaches furthermore, that in the ordination of bishops, priests and the other orders, the consent, call or authority, whether of the people or of any civil power or magistrate is not required in such wise that without this the ordination is invalid[13] rather does it decree that all those who, called and instituted only by the people or by the civil power or magistrate, ascend to the exercise of these offices, and those who by their rashness assume them, are not ministers of the Church, but are to be regarded as thieves and robbers, who have not entered by the door.[14] These are the things which in general it has seemed good to the holy council to teach to the faithful of Christ regarding the sacrament of order. The contrary, however, it has resolved to condemn in definite and appropriate canons in the following manner, in order that all, making use with the help of Christ of the rule of faith, may in the midst of the darkness of so many errors recognize more easily the Catholic truth and adhere to it.

Canons On The Sacrament Of Order

Canon 1. If anyone says that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood,[15] or that there is no power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord and of forgiving and retaining sins,[16] but only the office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel; or that those who do not preach are not priests at all, let him be anathema.

Canon 2. If anyone says that besides the priesthood there are not in the Catholic Church other orders, both major and minor,[17] by which, as by certain steps, advance is made to the priesthood,[18] let him be anathema.

Canon 3. If anyone says that order or sacred ordination is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord,[19] or that it is some human contrivance devised by men unskilled in ecclesiastical matters, or that it is only a certain rite for choosing ministers of the word of God and of the sacraments, let him be anathema.

Canon 4. If anyone says that by sacred ordination the Holy Ghost is not imparted and that therefore the bishops say in vain: Receive ye the Holy Ghost, or that by it a character is not imprinted, or that he who has once been a priest can again become a layman, let him be anathema.

Canon 5. If anyone says that the holy unction which the Church uses in ordination is not only not required but is detestable and pernicious, as also are the other ceremonies of order, let him be anathema.

Canon 6. If anyone says that in the Catholic Church there is not instituted a hierarchy by divine ordinance, which consists of bishops, priests and ministers, let him be anathema.

Canon 7. If anyone says that bishops are not superior to priests, or that they have not the power to confirm and ordain, or that the power which they have is common to them and to priests, or that orders conferred by them without the consent or call of the people or of the secular power are invalid, or that those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments, let him be anathema.

Canon 8. If anyone says that the bishops who are chosen by the authority of the Roman pontiff are not true and legitimate bishops, but merely human deception, let him be anathema.

Decree Concerning Reform

The same holy Council of Trent, continuing the matter of reform, resolves and ordains that the things following be at present decreed.

Chapter I
The Negligence Of Pastors Of Churches In The Matter Of Residence Is In Various Ways Restrained. The <Cura Animarum> Is Provided For

Since by divine precept it is enjoined on all to whom is entrusted the <cura animarum> to know their sheep,[20] to offer sacrifice for them, and to feed them by the preaching of the divine word, the administration of the sacraments, and the example of all good works, to exercise a fatherly care in behalf of the poor and other distressed persons and to apply themselves to all other pastoral duties, all of which cannot be rendered and fulfilled by those who do not watch over and are not with their flock, but desert it after the manner of hirelings,[21] the holy council admonishes and exhorts them that, mindful of the divine precepts and <made a pattern of the flock,>[22] they in judgment and in truth be shepherds and leaders. And lest those things that concern residence which have already been piously and with profit decreed under Paul III,[23] of happy memory, be understood in a sense foreign to the mind of the holy council, as if in virtue of that decree it were lawful to be absent during five continuous months, the holy council, adhering to that decree, declares that all who, under whatever name or title, even though they be cardinals of the holy Roman Church, preside over patriarchal, primatial, metropolitan and cathedral churches, are bound to personal residence in their church or diocese, where they are obligated to discharge the office committed to them and from which they may not absent themselves except for the reasons and in the manner subjoined. Since Christian charity, urgent necessity, due obedience, and manifest advantage to the Church or the commonwealth require and demand that some at times be absent, the same holy council decrees that these reasons for lawful absence must be approved 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 the absence of the metropolitan; except when the absence is necessitated by some function or office of the state attached to the episcopal dignity, in which cases the absence being a matter of public knowledge and at times unexpected, it will not be necessary to make known to the metropolitan the reasons therefor. To him, however, in conjunction with the provincial council, it shall pertain to decide concerning the permissions granted by himself or by his suffragans and to see that no one abuses that right and that transgressors are punished in accordance with canonical prescriptions. Moreover, those who are about to depart should remember so to provide for their sheep that as far as possible they may not suffer any injury through their absence.[24] But since those who are absent only for a brief period appear in the sense of the ancient canons not to be absent, because they are soon to return, the holy council wishes that that period of absence in a single year, whether continuous or interrupted, ought, except for the reasons mentioned above, in no case to exceed two or at most three months, and that consideration be taken that it be made from a just cause and without any detriment to the flock. Whether this be the case, the council leaves to the conscience of those who depart, which it hopes will be religious and delicate, for hearts are open to God,[25] whose work they are bound at their peril not to do deceitfully.[26] Meanwhile it admonishes and exhorts them in the Lord, that unless their episcopal duties call them elsewhere in their diocese, they are on no account to absent themselves from their cathedral church during the periods of the Advent of the Lord, Quadragesima, the Nativity, Easter, Pentecost and Corpus Christi, on which days especially the sheep ought to be refreshed and to rejoice in the Lord at the presence of the shepherd.[27]

But if anyone, which it is hoped will never happen, shall have been absent in violation of the provision of this decree, the holy council ordains that in addition to the other penalties imposed upon and renewed against non-residents under Paul III,[28] and the guilt of mortal sin which he incurs, he can acquire no proprietorship of any fruits in proportion to the time of his absence, and cannot, even though no other declaration follows the present one, retain them with a safe conscience, but is bound, even in his default, through his ecclesiastical superior, to apply them to the treasury of the churches or to the poor of the locality; every agreement or arrangement to which appeal is made for ill-gotten fruits, whereby the aforesaid fruits might be restored to him in whole or in part, being forbidden; any privileges whatsoever granted to any college or treasury to the contrary notwithstanding.

Absolutely the same, as regards the guilt, the loss of fruits, and the penalties, does the holy council declare and decree with reference to inferior pastors and to all others who hold any ecclesiastical benefice having the <cura animarum>;[29] so however, that should it happen that they are absent for a reason that has first been made known to and approved by the bishop, they shall leave a due allowance of the stipend to a competent vicar to be approved by the ordinary. The permission to go away, which is to be granted in writing and gratuitously, they shall not obtain for a period longer than two months except for a grave reason. In case they shall be summoned, even though not personally, by an edict, and should be contumacious, the ordinaries shall be at liberty to constrain them by ecclesiastical censures, by the sequestration and withdrawal of fruits and other legal means, even deprivation; and no privilege whatsoever, no concession, domestic position, exemption, not even by reason of some benefice, no contract or statute, even though confirmed by oath or by any authority whatsoever, no custom, even though immemorial, which is to be regarded rather as a corruption, no appeal or inhibition, even in the Roman Curia or by virtue of the constitution of Eugene,[30] shall be able to suspend the execution hereof.

Finally, the holy council commands that both the decree under Paul III[31] and this present one be published in the provincial and episcopal councils; for it desires that things which so intimately concern the office of pastors and the salvation of souls, be frequently impressed on the ears and mind of all, so that with the help of God they may not hereafter fall into decay either through the corrosive action of time, the forgetfulness of men or by desuetude.

Chapter II
Those Placed Over Churches Shall Receive Consecration Within Three Months; Where The Consecration Is To Take Place

If those who, under whatever name or title, even though they be cardinals of the holy Roman Church, have been placed over cathedral or superior churches, shall not within three months have received consecration,[32] they shall be bound to restore the fruits received; if for three more months they shall have neglected to do this, they shall be <ipso jure> deprived of their churches. Their consecration, if performed outside the Roman Curia, shall take place in the church to which they have been promoted, or in the province if it can be conveniently done.

Chapter III
Bishops, Except In Case Of Illness, Shall Confer Orders In Person

Bishops shall confer orders themselves; but should they be prevented by illness, they shall not send their subjects to another bishop to be ordained unless they have first been examined and approved.[33]

Chapter IV
Who May Receive The First Tonsure

No one shall be admitted to the first tonsure who has not received the sacrament of confirmation; who has not been taught the rudiments of the faith; who does not know how to read and write,[34] and concerning whom there is not a probable conjecture that he has chosen this manner of life that he may render to God a faithful service and not to escape fraudulently from civil justice.

Chapter V
Wherewith Those To Be Ordained Are To Be Provided

Those who are to be promoted to minor orders shall have a good testimonial from their pastor and from the master of the school in which they are educated. Those, however, who are to be raised to any one of the major orders, shall a month before the ordination repair to the bishop, who shall commission the pastor or another person whom he may deem more suitable, to make known publicly in the church the names and desire of those who wish to be promoted, to inform himself diligently from trustworthy sources regarding the birth, age, morals and life of those to be ordained,[35] and to transmit to the bishop as soon as possible testimonial letters containing the results of the inquiry.[36]

Chapter VI
The Age Of Fourteen Years Is Required For An Ecclesiastical Benefice; Who Is To Enjoy The <Privilegium Fori>

No one who has received the first tonsure or is constituted in minor orders shall be able to hold a benefice before his fourteenth year.[37] Furthermore, he shall not enjoy the <privilegium fori> unless he has an ecclesiastical benefice, or, wearing the clerical garb and tonsure, serves in some church by order of the bishop, or is in an ecclesiastical seminary or with the permission of the bishop in some school or university on the way, as it were, to the reception of major orders.[38] As regards married clerics, the constitution of Boniface VIII, which begins, "Cleric), qui cum unicis,"[39] shall be observed, provided these clerics, being assigned by the bishop to the service or ministry of some church, serve or minister in that church and wear the clerical garb and tonsure; privilege or custom, even immemorial, shall avail no one in this matter.

Chapter VII
Those To Be Ordained Are To Be Examined By Men Skilled In Divine And Human Law

The holy council, following the footsteps of the ancient canons, decrees that when the bishop has arranged to hold an ordination, all who wish to dedicate themselves to the sacred ministry shall be summoned to the city for the Wednesday before the ordination, or any other day which the bishop may deem convenient.[40] And calling to his assistance priests and other prudent men skilled in the divine law and experienced in the laws of the Church, the bishop shall carefully investigate and examine the parentage, person, age, education, morals, learning and faith of those who are to be ordained.[41]

Chapter VIII
How And By Whom Each One Ought To Be Ordained

The conferring of sacred orders shall be celebrated publicly, at the times specified by law,[42] and in the cathedral church in the presence of the canons of the church, who are to be summoned for that purpose; but if celebrated in another place of the diocese, in the presence of the local clergy, the church holding the highest rank should always, so far as possible, be chosen. Each one shall be ordained by his own bishop.[43] But if anyone should ask to be promoted by another, this shall under no condition, even under the pretext of any general or special rescript or privilege, even at the times specified, be permitted him unless his probity and morals be recommended by the testimony of his ordinary.[44] Otherwise the one ordaining shall be suspended for a year from conferring orders, and the one ordained shall be suspended from exercising the orders received for as long a period as his ordinary shall see fit.

Chapter XI
A Bishop Ordaining One Of His Own Household Shall At Once And In Reality Confer On Him A Benefice

A bishop may not ordain one of his house who is not his subject, unless he has lived with him for a period of three years and to the exclusion of fraud confers on him at once a benefice;[45] any custom, even though immemorial, to the contrary notwithstanding.

Chapter X
Prelates Inferior To Bishops Shall Not Confer The Tonsure Or Minor Orders Except On Religious Subject To Them; Neither They Nor Any Chapter Whatsoever Shall Grant Dimissory Letters; A Severer Penalty Is Prescribed Against Those Who Transgress The Decree

It shall not be lawful in the future for abbots and any other persons, however exempt, residing within the limits of a diocese, even in case they are said to be of no diocese or exempt, to confer the tonsure or minor orders on anyone who is not a religious subject to them; nor shall abbots themselves and other exempt persons, or any colleges or chapters, even those of cathedral churches, grant dimissory letters to any secular clerics that they may be ordained by others. But the ordination of all these persons, when everything contained in the decrees of this holy council has been observed,[46] shall pertain to the bishops within the limits of whose diocese they are; any privileges, prescriptions or customs, even though immemorial, notwithstanding. It commands also that the penalty imposed on those who, contrary to the decree of this holy council under Paul III,[47] procure dimissory letters from the chapter during the vacancy of the episcopal see, be extended to those who shall obtain the said letters not from the chapter but from any other persons who during the vacancy of the see succeed to the jurisdiction of the bishop in lieu of the chapter. Those who issue dimissory letters contrary to the form of this decree, shall be <ipso jure> suspended from their office and benefices for one year.

Chapter XI
The Interstices And Certain Other Regulations To Be Observed In The Reception Of Minor Orders

The minor orders shall be conferred on those who understand at least the Latin language, observing the prescribed interstices,[48] unless the bishop should deem it more expedient to act otherwise, that they may be taught more accurately how great is the burden of this vocation and may in accordance with the direction of the bishop exercise themselves in each office,[49] and this in the church to which they will be assigned (unless they happen to be absent <causa studiorum); and thus they shall ascend step by step, that with increasing age they may grow In worthiness of life and in learning, which especially the example of their good conduct, their assiduous service in the Church, their greater reverence toward priests and the superior orders, and a more frequent communion than heretofore of the body of Christ will prove. And since from here there is entrance to the higher orders and to the most sacred mysteries, no one shall be admitted to them whom the promise of knowledge does not show to be worthy of the major orders.[50] These, however, shall not be promoted to sacred orders till a year after the reception of the last of the minor orders, unless necessity or the need of the Church shall in the judgment of the bishop require otherwise.

Chapter XII
The Age Required For Major Orders; Only Those Worthy Are To Be Admitted

No one shall in the future be promoted to the sub-diaconate before the twenty-second, to the diaconate before the twenty-third, and to the priesthood before the twenty-fifth year of his age.[51] However, the bishops should know that not all who have attained that age are to be admitted to these orders, but those only who are worthy and whose upright life is as old age. Regulars likewise shall not be ordained below that age or without a careful examination by the bishop; all privileges whatsoever 1n this respect being completely set aside.

Chapter XIII
Who May Be Ordained Sub-deacon And Deacon; Their Obligations; On No One Shall Two Sacred Orders Be Conferred The Same Day

Those shall be ordained sub-deacons and deacons who have a good testimonial,[52] have already been approved in minor orders, and are instructed in letters and in those things that pertain to the exercise of the orders. They should hope, with the help of God, to be able to live continently,[53] should serve the churches to which they will be assigned, understand that it is very highly becoming, since they serve at the altar, to receive holy communion at least on the Lord's days and on solemn festival days. Those who have been promoted to the sacred order of sub-deacon shall not till they have completed at least one year therein be permitted to ascend to a higher order,[54] unless the bishop shall judge otherwise. Two sacred orders shall not be conferred on the same day, even to regulars,[55] any privileges and indults whatsoever to whomsoever granted to the contrary notwithstanding.

Chapter XIV
Who Are To Be Promoted To The Priesthood; The Office Of Those So Promoted

Those who have conducted themselves piously and faithfully in their performance of earlier functions and are accepted for the order of priesthood, shall have a good testimonial[56] and be persons who not only have served in the office of deacon for one entire year, unless by reason of the advantage and need of the Church the bishop should judge otherwise, but who also by a previous careful examination have been found competent to teach the people those things which are necessary for all to know unto salvation, and competent also to administer the sacraments, and so conspicuous for piety and purity of morals that a shining example of good works and a guidance for good living may be expected from them. The bishop shall see to it that they celebrate mass at least on the Lord's days and on solemn festivals, but if they have the <cura animarum>, as often as their duty requires. To those who have been promoted <per saltum>,[57] the bishop may for a legitimate reason grant a dispensation, provided they have not exercised the ministry.

Chapter XV
No One Shall Hear Confessions Unless Approved By The Ordinary

Although priests receive by ordination the power of absolving from sins, nevertheless the holy council decrees that no one, even though a regular, can hear the confessions of seculars, even priests, and that he is not to be regarded as qualified thereto, unless he either holds a parochial benefice or is by the bishops, after an examination, if they should deem it necessary, or in some other manner, judged competent and has obtained their approval,[58] which shall be given gratuitously; any privileges and custom whatsoever, even immemorial, notwithstanding.

Chapter XVI
Vagrants And Persons Useless To The Churches Shall Be Excluded From Orders

Since no one ought to be ordained who in the judgment of his bishop is not useful or necessary to his churches, the holy council, following the footsteps of the sixth canon of the Council of Chalcedon,[59] decrees that no one shall in the future be ordained who is not assigned to that church or pious place for the need or utility of which he is promoted, where he may discharge his duties and not wander about without any fixed abode.[60] But if he shall desert that place without consulting the bishop, he shall be forbidden the exercise of the sacred orders. Furthermore, no cleric who is a stranger shall, without commendatory letters from his ordinary, be admitted by any bishop to celebrate the divine mysteries and to administer the sacraments.[61]

Chapter XVII
In What Manner The Exercise Of The Minor Orders Is To Be Restored

That the functions of holy orders from the deacon to the porter, which have been laudably received in the Church from the times of the Apostles, and which have been for some time discontinued in many localities, may again be restored to use in accordance with the canons,[62] and may not be derided by the heretics as useless, the holy council, burning with the desire to restore the ancient usage, decrees that in the future such functions shall not be exercised except by those constituted in these orders, and it exhorts in the Lord each and all prelates of the churches and commands them that they make it their care to restore these functions, so far as it can be conveniently done, in cathedral, collegiate and parochial churches of their diocese, if the number of people and the revenues of the church are able to bear it. To those exercising these functions they shall assign salaries from a part of the revenues of some simple benefices or of the church treasury if the revenues are adequate, or from the revenues of both, and of these salaries they may, if they prove negligent, be deprived in whole or in part by the judgment of the bishop. In case there should not be at hand unmarried clerics to exercise the functions of the four minor orders, their place may be supplied by married clerics of approved life, provided they have not married a second time,[63] are competent to discharge the duties, and wear the tonsure and the clerical garb in church.

Chapter XVIII
Directions For Establishing Seminaries For Clerics, Especially The Younger Ones; In Their Erection Many Things Are To Be Observed; The Education Of Those To Be Promoted To Cathedral And Major Churches

Since the age of youth, unless rightly trained, is inclined to follow after the pleasure of the world,[64] and unless educated from its tender years in piety and religion before the habits of vice take possession of the whole man, will never perfectly and without the greatest and well-nigh extraordinary help of Almighty God persevere in ecclesiastical discipline, the holy council decrees that all cathedral and metropolitan churches and churches greater than these shall be bound, each according to its means and the extent of its diocese, to provide for, to educate in religion, and to train in ecclesiastical discipline, a certain number of boys of their city and diocese, or, if they are not found there, of their province, in a college located near the said churches or in some other suitable place to be chosen by the bishop.[65] Into this college shall be received such as are at least twelve years of age, are born of lawful wedlock, who know how to read and write competently, and whose character and inclination justify the hope that they will dedicate themselves forever to the ecclesiastical ministry. It wishes, however, that in the selection the sons of the poor be given preference, though it does not exclude those of the wealthy class, provided they be maintained at their own expense and manifest a zeal to serve God and the Church. These youths the bishop shall divide into as many classes as he may deem proper, according to their number, age, and progress in ecclesiastical discipline, and shall, when it appears to him opportune, assign some of them to the ministry of the churches, the others he shall keep in the college to be instructed, and he shall replace by others those who have been withdrawn, so that the college may be a perpetual seminary of ministers of God. And that they may be the better trained in the aforesaid ecclesiastical discipline, they shall forthwith and always wear the tonsure and the clerical garb; they shall study grammar, singing, ecclesiastical computation, and other useful arts; shall be instructed in Sacred Scripture, ecclesiastical books, the homilies of the saints, the manner of administering the sacraments, especially those things that seem adapted to the hearing of confessions, and the rites and ceremonies. The bishop shall see to it that they are present every day at the sacrifice of the mass, confess their sins at least once a month, receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ in accordance with the directions of their confessor, and on festival days serve in the cathedral and other churches of the locality. All these and other things beneficial and needful for this purpose each bishop shall prescribe with the advice of two of the senior and more reputable canons chosen by himself as the Holy Ghost shall suggest, and they shall make it their duty by frequent visitation to see to it that they are always observed. The disobedient and incorrigible, and the disseminators of depraved morals they shall punish severely, even with expulsion if necessary; and removing all obstacles, they shall foster carefully whatever appears to contribute to the advancement and preservation of so pious and holy an institution. And since for the construction of the college, for paying salaries to instructors and servants, for the maintenance of the youths and for other expenses, certain revenues will be necessary, the bishops shall, apart from those funds which are in some churches and localities set aside for the instruction and maintenance of youths, and which are <eo ipso> to be considered as applied to this seminary under the care of the bishop, with the advice of two of the chapter, of whom one shall be chosen by the bishop, the other by the chapter, and also of two of the clergy of the city, the choice of one of whom shall in like manner be with the bishop, the other with the clergy, deduct a certain part or portion from the entire revenues of the bishop and of the chapter, and of all dignities with and without jurisdiction, offices, prebends, portions, abbeys and priories of whatever order, even though regular, whatever their character and rank; also of hospitals which, according to the constitution of the Council of Vienne, which begins, "Quia contingit,"[66] are conferred as title or with a view of administration; also of all benefices, even those of regulars, though they enjoy the right of patronage, even if exempt, or belong to no diocese, or are annexed to other churches, monasteries, hospitals, or to any other pious places even though exempt; also of the treasuries of the churches and of other places, and of all other ecclesiastical revenues or incomes, even those of other colleges (in which, however, the seminaries of students and instructors promoting the common good of the Church are not actually included, for the council wishes these to be exempt, except with reference to such revenues as exceed the expense of the suitable maintenance of these seminaries), or associations or confraternities, which in some localities are called schools; and of all monasteries, except those of the mendicants, also of all tithes belonging in any way to laics, from which ecclesiastical maintenance is customarily paid, and of those also which belong to knights, of whatever military body or order they may be, the brethren of St. John of Jerusalem alone excepted; and the part or portion so deducted, as also some simple benefices, of whatever nature or rank, and prestimonies, or prestimonial portions as they are called, even before they become vacant, without prejudice, however, to the divine service or to those who hold them, they shall apply to and incorporate in this college. This shall have effect whether the benefices be reserved or assigned; and the unions and assignments of these benefices can be neither suspended through resignation nor in any way hindered, but they shall have their effect, any vacancy, even in the Curia, notwithstanding, or any constitution whatsoever. For the payment of this portion the local bishop shall by ecclesiastical censures and other legal means, even with the aid of the secular arm, should he deem it necessary, compel the possessors of benefices, dignities with and without jurisdiction, and each and all of the above-mentioned, whether the revenues are for themselves or for the salaries which they perchance pay to others out of the said revenues, retaining, however, a portion equivalent to that which they have to pay on account of these salaries; any privileges, exemptions, even such as might require a special declaration of annulment, custom, even though immemorial, any appeal and allegation which might hinder the execution of any or all of the above, notwithstanding. But if it should happen that as a result of these unions or otherwise, the seminary should be found to be endowed in whole or in part, then the portion deducted from each benefice, as stated above, and incorporated by the bishop, shall be discontinued in whole or in part as circumstances may require. And if the prelates of cathedrals and other major churches should prove negligent in the erection of the seminary and its maintenance and should decline to pay their portion, it shall be the duty of the archbishop to rebuke the bishop sharply and compel him to comply with all the aforesaid matters, and of the provincial synod to rebuke sharply and compel in like manner the archbishop and superiors, and diligently to see to it that this holy and pious work be, wherever possible, expedited without delay. The bishop shall receive annually the accounts of the revenues of the seminary in the presence of two delegated by the chapter and of as many delegated by the clergy of the city.

Furthermore, in order that the establishment of schools of this kind may be procured at less expense, the holy council decrees that bishops, archbishops, primates and other local ordinaries urge and compel, even by the reduction of their revenues, those who hold the position of instructor and others to whose position is attached the function of reading or teaching, to teach those to be educated in those schools personally, if they are competent, otherwise by competent substitutes, to be chosen by themselves and to be approved by the ordinaries.[67] But if these in the judgment of the bishop are not qualified, they shall choose another who is competent, no appeal being permitted; and should they neglect to do this, then the bishop himself shall appoint one. The aforesaid instructors shall teach what the bishop shall judge expedient. In the future, however, those offices or dignities, which are called professorships, shall not be conferred except on doctors or masters or licentiates of Sacred Scripture or canon law and on other competent persons who can personally discharge that office; any appointment made otherwise shall be null and void, all privileges and customs whatsoever, even though immemorial, notwithstanding.

But if in any province the churches labor under such poverty that in some a college cannot be established, then the provincial synod or the metropolitan with two of the oldest suffragans shall provide for the establishment of one or more colleges, as he may deem advisable, at the metropolitan or at some other more convenient church of the province, from the revenues of two or more churches in each of which a college cannot be conveniently established, where the youths of those churches might be educated. In churches having extensive dioceses, however, the bishop may have one or more in the diocese, as he may deem expedient; which, however, shall in all things be dependent on the one erected and established in the [metropolitan] city.

Finally, if either with regard to the unions or the appraisement or assignment or incorporation of portions, or for any other reason, any difficulty should happen to arise by reason of which the establishment or the maintenance of the seminary might be hindered or disturbed, the bishop with those designated above or the provincial synod, shall have the authority, according to the custom of the country and the character of the churches and benefices, to decide and regulate all matters which shall appear necessary and expedient for the happy advancement of the seminary, even to modify or augment, if need be, the contents hereof.

Announcement Of The Next Session

Moreover, the same holy Council of Trent announces the next session for the sixteenth day of the month of September, in which it will treat of the sacrament of matrimony and of other matters pertaining to the doctrine of faith, if there be any which can be disposed of; further, it will deal with the collation of bishoprics, dignities and other ecclesiastical benefices and with various articles of reform.

The session was prorogued to the eleventh day of November, 1563.


1 Heb. 7:12.

2 Cf. <infra>, can. 2 and chap. 17 de ref.

3 Act 6:5; 21:8. I Tim. 3:8, 12.

4 Cc.11-13, D.XXXII; c.4 D.LX; c.9, X, De aet. et qual. et ord. praef., I, 14.

5 Cf. Synods of Elvira (ca. 305), c.33; Antioch (341), c.10; cc.14, 16, D.XXXII, Denzinger,

<Enchiridion>, nos. 45, 153-58.

6 See II Tim. 1:6f.

7 Cf. Sess VII. Sacraments, can. 9 and <infra>, can. 4.

8 Cf. <infra>, can. 6.

9 Cant. 6:3, 9.

10 See I Cor. 12:28ff.; Eph. 4:11.

11 Acts 20:28.

12 Cf. Sess. VII, Confirmation, can. 3.

13 Cf. Synod of Laodicea, can. 13.

14 John 10:1.

15 Cf. <supra>, chap. I.

16 Matt. 16:19; Luke 22:19 f.; cc. 5, 6, C.XXIV, q. I.

17 Cf. <supra>, chap. 2.

18 Cc.2, 3, D.LXXVII; and <infra>, chap. 13 de ref.

19 Cf. <supra>, chap. 3.

20 John 10:1-16; 21:15-17; Acts 20:28.

21 John 10:12 f.

22 See I Pet. 5:3.

23 Cf. Sess. VI, chaps. I, 2 de ref.

24 Cf. c. 34, VI, De elect., I, 6; Sess. VI, chap. 2 de ref. at the end

25 Ps. 7:10; Acts 1:24.

26 Jer. 48:10.

27 C. 29, C.VII. q. I.

28 Cf. Sess. VI, chap. I de ref.

29 Sess. VI, chap. 2 de ref.

30 Cf. c.3, Extrav. comm., De privil., V, 7.

31 Cf. Sess. VI, chap. I de ref.

32 C 2, D.LXXV; c. I, D.C.; Sess. VII, chap. 9 de ref.

33 Cf. <infra>, chaps. 8, 10; III Synod of Carthage (397), c. 22.

34 Cf. c.4, VI, De temp. ord., I, 9.

35 Cf. c.5, D.XXIV.

36 Cf. <infra>, chap. 7.

37 C. 3, X, De aet. et qual. et ord. praef., I,14.

38 C.7, X, de cler. conjug., III, 3.

39 C. un h.t. in VI, III, 2.

40 C.5, D.XXIV.

41 Cf. <supra>, chap. 5 de ref.

42 Cf. c.7, D.LXXV, cc.1-3, X, De temp. ord., I, II.

43 Cc.1-4, D.LXXI; c.2, D.LXXII; cc.6, 7, 9, 10, C.IX, q.2; cc. I, 2, VI, De temp. ord., I, 9.

44 Cf. Sess. XIV, chaps. 2, 3 de ref.

45 C. 2, X, De praeb., III. 5.

46 Cf. <supra>, chaps. 5, 6 and <infra>, chaps. 11, 12 de ref.

47 Cf. Sess. VII, chap. 10 de ref.

48 Cf. <infra,> chap. 13.

49 Ibid., chap. 17 and c.3, D.LIX.

50 Cc. l, 2, 4, D.LIX.

51 C. 3, De aet. et qual. et ord. praef. in Clem., I, 6.

52 See I Tim. 3:7, C.3, D.LXXVII.

53 Cf. c. I, D. XXVIII.

54 Cf. <supra>, chap. II de ref.

55 Cc.13, 15, X, De temp. ord., I, II.

56 Cf. I Tim. 3:7; c.3, D.LXXVII.

57 C. um. D.LII.

58 Cf. c. 2, VI, De poenit., V, 10; c.2, De sepult. in Clem., III, 7.

59 C. I, D. LXX; c. ult., ibid. 60 Ibid., c.2.

61 Cc.6, 7, 9, D.LXXI et al.

62 c. l, D.XXI; Denzinger, nos. 154-58.

63 Cf. tot. tit., X, De big. non ord., 1, 21.

64 Gen. 8: 21- cf. c. 5, D.XXVIII, c. l, C.XII, q. I.

65 Cf. Sess. V, chap. I de ref.

66 C.2, De relig. dom. in Clem., III, II.

67 Cf. Sess. V, chap. I de ref.

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