Doctrines of

Doctrines of Tridentine Catholicism

Fundamental Texts : the VULGATA (standard Latin translation of the bible; the Council of Trent, however realized the necessity of a reedition, which was published in 1592 (Vulgata Clementina)); the CHURCH FATHERS, the decisions of GENERAL CHURCH COUNCILS; other fundamental sources includedpapal statements, officially recognized revelations and church tradition.
In response to the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church added new texts - the TRIDENTINE (ROMAN) CATECHISM (1566), which contained nothing new, but arranged the quintessence of the Council's decisions in a manner suitable for the instruction of laymen, and in emphasizing the CREDO (Nicene Creed).

Basic Concept : the laymen were not regarded capable of interpreting scripture on their own and depended upon the clergy for this purpose. The Church regarded herself "GOD'S INSTRUMENT ON EARTH" and regarded herself entitled to supervise the religious beliefs of the individual, and, if it was regarded necessary, take action (the INQUISITION was charged with combatting HERESY).

Catholic Concepts : (1) Man through his actions accumulates sins, which will be a burden when his soul is to be judged. The Catholic church provided a number of ways to reduce the burden, which included the ABSOLUTION following a confession, pilgrimages, crusades, the intercession of Saints.
(2) Saints, if called upon, could intercede, cause miracles to happen, if the individual believed strongly. The Council of Trent reacted on Protestant criticism hand had the Calendar of Saints revised, a task taken on by the BOLLANDISTS; hundreds of pre-reformatoric saints were dropped from the list. Every Saint was assigned a day; every group in society (be it a profession, a nation etc.) had a specific saint suppposedly protecting them. His/her RELICS were regarded to have healing properties.
(3) Miracles and revelations had to be investigated by the church authorities; the Vaticano occasionally still grants official recognition to such events. Then the recognition often justifies the establishment of a new pilgrimage, for instance LOURDES (1873) and FATIMA (1942).
(4) Taking the vows of a priest or monk is an irreversible act, requiring the candidate to take an oath swearing chastity (CELIBACY). In reaction to legitimate Protestant criticism that it was widely ignored among the priesthood, the Council of Trent responded by an enforcement of discipline.
(5) The Council of Trent at no time questioned the institution of MONASTICISM. It reacted on legitimate Protestant criticism regarding widespread abuses in monasteries by enforcing discipline.
(6) The Catholic Church rejected Protestant rejection of images. As the Catholic church did not regard elementary education necessary for everybody, she continued to use images to illustrate biblical stories (church wall paintings and sculptures). BAROQUE churches are richly decorated; as Lutheran and Calvinist communities favoured white church walls without sculptures, Baroque is a basically Catholic art style.

Articles Roman Catechism, Miracle, Miracles, Gift of, Saints, Canonization of, Saints, Communion of, Vulgate, Revision of from Catholic Encyclopedia (edition 1907-1913)
DOCUMENTS The Roman Catechism, from Nazareth Resource Library
Credo (Latin Text), from Church Forum, a Spanish language site; English language text from

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 12th 2003, last revised on November 15th 2004

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