450 years ago today: Council of Trent closed!

Today is the 450th anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent.

Let’s think about this for a moment.

First, the day the Second Vatican Council opened Pope John XXIII gave an address to the world and to the Council Fathers which is now called Gaudet Mater Ecclesia.

In that address he said:

“The salient point of this council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.

“For this a council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the acts of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith or the truths which are contained in our time-honored teaching is one thing, the manner in which these truths are set forth – in the same meaning and understanding – is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration, with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.”

Here is the full reference for those of you who have a spirit of discontinuity:

Blessed Pope John XXIII, Allocution “Gaudet Mater Ecclesia” on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council , 11 October 1962, in Acta Apostolicae Sedis  54 (1962) 792

Also, recently Pope Francis sent His Eminence Walter Card. Brandmüller as his representative for the observance of the anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent.

In the official letter Francis sent to Card. Brandmüller the Pope wrote:

Harking closely to the same Spirit, Holy Church in this age renews and meditates on the most abundant doctrine of the Council of Trent. In fact, the “hermeneutic of renewal”[interpretatio renovationis] which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI explained in 2005 before the Roman Curia, refers in no way less to the Council of Trent than to the Vatican Council. To be sure, this mode of interpretation places under a brighter light a beautiful characteristic of the Church which is taught by the Lord Himself: “She is a ‘subject’ which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God” (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia offering them his Christmas greetings – 22 December 2005).

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. HighMass says:

    Yes then along came Vatican II….and after the council bugnini’s Novus Ordo….and the rest of the mess from the last 45-50 yrs……

    How we wish the Mass in the O. F. was still the norm…..che picatto!

  2. Magpie says:

    So clear and so beautiful. Where did it all go wrong? (Well, we do know where and why…)

  3. samwise says:

    I interpreted this post to mean the opposite of what the above comments conclude. If seen through the eyes of John XXIII, VCII was inevitable. What Fr. Z posted sounds a lot like BXVI’s “hermeneutic of continuity”, insofar as the council was preparing the Church for things like: the internet, legislation that violated natural law, globalization, etc.
    The NO of Paul VI does not discredit the council.

    And the Australian priest if still excommunicated…lol

  4. disco says:

    We really need that new syllabus of errors.

  5. Priam1184 says:

    @disco Can I just ask how well the first syllabus of errors did? The world has descended from darkness to darkness since Bl. Pius IX published the Syllabus Errorum in 1864. I think that what we, all of us, need to do is to change the way we pray, worship, and live and the rest will take care of itself. Unfortunately that does not happen overnight, but it does happen.

  6. Priam1184 says:

    The Church needs to get back to being the Church Militant, not the Church defensive of the post-Trent centuries, or the Church confused of the post Vatican II era, but the Church Militant. If we as a Church make the decision to go on the offense against the enemy of mankind and his minions in the world then they will flee from us. It works every time it is tried.

  7. OrthodoxChick says:

    Blessed Pope John XXIII: “But from the renewed, serene and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church…”

    Pope Francis: “Peace which is not tranquility”

    Annibale Bugnini: “We are concerned with ‘restoring’ (the liturgy)…(making it) a new city in which the man of our age can live and feel at ease.”

    Remember when you were a kid in grade school and your teacher would hand out a “ditto” worksheet? What was usually one of the questions on those worksheets?

    Circle the one that doesn’t belong…

  8. McCall1981 says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, but I don’t think it seems likely that Pope Francis will take us in that direction.

  9. HighMass says:

    One has to wonder what way the Council would have gone if B. John XXIII had live longer or was younger to see the Church through that difficult time……

    Rumor had it B.J.XXIII ousted Bugnini, so again the shape of the new Mass could have been totally different…..

    Then Paul VI gets elected and Bugnini is in the spot light or head of the band again……

    Guess the beef alot of us have is the N.O. and how it was stripped….v.s. the Mass in the E.F. again which this old boy prefers…..

  10. Either Christ is in charge of His Church or He isn’t. Doesn’t the First Vatican Council teach that the policies of the Popes are part of God’s positive will?

    Also, just a tiny point:

    In fact, the “hermeneutic of renewal”[interpretatio renovationis] which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI explained in 2005 before the Roman Curia, refers in no way less to the Council of Trent than to the Vatican Council.

    Did Pope Francis really use the royal first person plural?

  11. Supertradmum says:

    Miss Anita, Pope Francis did use the royal “we”….cool. The Council of Trent was awesome….so many saints involved as well.

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