DOCTRINE & CANONS
Being the seventh under the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IV., celebrated on the fifteenth day of July, MDLXIII.
On the institution of the Priesthood of the New Law.
Sacrifice and priesthood are, by the ordinance of God, in such wise conjoined, as that both have existed in every law. Whereas, therefore, in the New Testament, the Catholic Church has received, from the institution of Christ, the holy visible sacrifice of the Eucharist; it must needs also be confessed, that there is, in that Church, a new, visible, and external priesthood, into which the old has been translated. And the sacred Scriptures show, and the tradition of the Catholic Church has always taught, that this priesthood was instituted by the same Lord our Saviour, and that to the apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, was the power delivered of consecrating, offering, and administering His Body and Blood, as also of forgiving and of retaining sins.
On the Seven Orders.
And whereas the ministry of so holy a priesthood is a divine thing; to the end that it might be exercised in a more worthy manner, and with greater veneration, it was suitable that, in the most well-ordered settlement of the church, there should be several and diverse orders of ministers, to minister to the priesthood, by virtue of their office; orders so distributed as that those already marked with the clerical tonsure should ascend through the lesser to the greater orders. For the sacred Scriptures make open mention not only of priests, but also of deacons; and teach, in words the most weighty, what things are especially to be attended to in the Ordination thereof; and, from the very beginning of the church, the names of the following orders, and the ministrations proper to each one of them, are known to have been in use; to wit those of subdeacon, acolyth, exorcist, lector, and door-keeper; though these were not of equal rank: for the subdeavonship is classed amongst the greater orders by the Fathers and sacred Councils, wherein also we very often read of the other inferior orders.
That Order is truly and properly a Sacrament.
Whereas, by the testimony of Scripture, by Apostolic tradition, and the unanimous consent 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 of sobriety.
On the Ecclesiastical hierarchy, and on Ordination.
But, forasmuch as in the sacrament of Order, as also in Baptism and Confirmation, a character is imprinted, which can neither be effaced nor taken away; the holy Synod with reason condemns the opinion of those, who assert 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 any one affirm, that all Christians indiscrimately are priests of the New Testament, or that they are all mutually endowed with an equal spiritual power, he clearly does nothing but confound the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is as an army set in array; as if, contrary to the doctrine of blessed Paul, all were apostles, all prophets, all evangelists, all pastors, all doctors.
Wherefore, the holy Synod declares that, besides the other ecclesiastical degrees, bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles, principally belong to this hierarchial order; that they are placed, as the same apostle says, by the Holy Ghost, to rule the Church of God; that they are superior to priests; administer the sacrament of Confirmation; ordain the ministers of the Church; and that they can perform very many other things; over which functions others of an inferior order have no power. Furthermore, the sacred and holy Synod teaches, that, in the ordination of bishops, priests, and of the other orders, neither the consent, nor vocation, nor authority, whether of the people, or of any civil power or magistrate whatsoever, is required in such wise as that, without this, the ordination is invalid: yea rather doth It decree, that all those who, being only called and instituted by the people, or by the civil power and magistrate, ascend to the exercise of these ministrations, and those who of their own rashness assume them to themselves, are not ministers of the church, but are to be looked upon as thieves and robbers, who have not entered by the door.
These are the things which it hath seemed good to the sacred Synod to teach the faithful in Christ, in general terms, touching the sacrament of Order. But It hath resolved to condemn whatsoever things are contrary thereunto, in express and specific canons, in the manner following; in order that all men, with the help of Christ, using the rule of faith, may, in the midst of the darkness of so many errors, more easily be able to recognise and to hold Catholic truth.
ON THE SACRAMENT OF ORDER.
CANON I.--If any one saith, that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood; or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord, and of forgiving and retaining sins; but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel, or, that those who do not preach are not priests at all; let him be anathema.
DECREE ON REFORMATION
The form prescribed in the Council of Lateran for solemnly contracting marriage is renewed.-Bishops may dispense with the bans.-Whosoever contracts marriage, otherwise than in the presence of the Parish Priest and of two or three witnesses, contracts it invalidly.
Although it is not to be doubted, that clandestine marriages, made with the free consent of the contracting parties, are valid and true marriages, so long as the Church has not rendered them invalid; and consequently, that those persons are justly to be condemned, as the holy Synod doth condemn them with anathema, who deny that such marriages are true and valid; as also those who falsely affirm that marriages contracted by the children of a family, without the consent of their parents, are invalid, and that parents can make such marriages either valid or invalid; nevertheless, the holy Church of God has, for reasons most just, at all times detested and prohibited such marriages. But whereas the holy Synod perceives that those prohibitions, by reason of man's disobedience, are no longer of avail; and whereas it takes into account the grievous sins which arise from the said clandestine marriages, and especially the sins of those parties who live on in a state of damnation, when, having left their former wife, with whom they had contracted marriage secretly, they publicly marry another, and with her live in perpetual adultery; an evil which the Church, which judges not of what is hidden, cannot rectify, unless some more efficacious remedy be applied; wherefore, treading in the steps of the sacred Council of Lateran celebrated under Innocent III., it ordains that, for the future, before a marriage is contracted, the proper parish priest of the contracting parties shall three times announce publicly in the Church, during the solemnization of mass, on three continuous festival days, between whom marriage is to be celebrated; after which publication of banns, if there be no lawful impediment opposed, the marriage shall be proceeded with in the face of the church; where the parish priest, after having interrogated the man and the woman, and heard their mutual consent, shall either say, "I join you together in matrimony, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" or, he shall use other words, according to the received rite of each province.
But if upon occasion, there should be a probable suspicion that the marriage may be maliciously hindered, if so many publications of banns precede it; in this case either one publication only shall be made; or at least the marriage shall be celebrated in the presence of the parish priest, and of two or three witnesses: Then, before the consummation thereof, the banns shall be published in the church; that so, if there be any secret impediments, they may be the more easily discovered: unless the Ordinary shall himself judge it expedient, that the publications aforesaid be dispensed with, which the holy Synod leaves to his prudence and judgment. Those who shall attempt to contract marriage otherwise than in the presence of the parish priest, or of some other priest by permission of the said parish priest, or of the Ordinary, and in the presence of two or three witnesses; the holy Synod renders such wholly incapable of thus contracting and declares such contracts invalid and null, as by the present decree It invalidates and annuls them. Moreover It enjoins, that the parish priest, or any other priest, who shall have been present at any such contract with a less number of witnesses (than as aforesaid); as also the witnesses who have been present thereat without the parish priest, or some other priest; and also the contracting parties themselves; shall be severely punished, at the discretion of the Ordinary.
Furthermore, the same holy Synod exhorts the bridegroom and bride not to live together in the same house until they have received the sacerdotal benediction, which is to be given in the church; and It ordains that the benediction shall be given by their own parish priest, and that permission to give the aforesaid benediction cannot be granted by any other than the parish priest himself, or the Ordinary; any custom, even though immemorial, which ought rather to be called a corruption, or any privilege to the contrary, notwithstanding. And if any parish priest, or any other priest, whether Regular or Secular, shall presume to unite in marriage the betrothed of another parish, or to bless them when married, without the permission of their parish priest, he shall-even though he may plead that he is allowed to do this by a privilege, or an immemorial custom,-remain ipso jure suspended, until absolved by the Ordinary of that parish priest who ought to have been present at the marriage, or from whom the benediction ought to have been received.
The parish priest shall have a book, which he shall keep carefully by him, in which he shall register the names of the persons married, and of the witnesses, and the day on which, and the place where, the marriage was contracted.
Finally, the holy Synod exhorts those who marry, that before they contract marriage, or, at all events, three days before the consummation thereof, they carefully confess their sins, and approach devoutly to the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist.
If any provinces have herein in use any praise-worthy customs and ceremonies, besides the aforesaid, the holy Synod earnestly desires that they be by all means retained.
And that these so wholesome injunctions may not be unknown to any, It enjoins on all Ordinaries, that they, as soon as possible, make it their care that this decree be published and explained to the people in every parish church of their respective dioceses; and that this be done as often as may be during the first year; and afterwards as often as they shall judge it expedient. It ordains, moreover, that this decree shall begin to be in force in each parish, at the expiration of thirty days, to be counted from the day of its first publication made in the said parish.
Between whom Spiritual Relationship is contracted.
Experience teaches, that, by reason of the multitude of prohibitions, marriages are ofttimes unwittingly contracted in prohibited cases, in which marriages either the parties continue to live on, not without great sin, or they are dissolved, not without great scandal. Wherefore, the holy Synod, wishing to provide against this inconvenience, and beginning with the impediment arising from spiritual relationship, ordains, that, in accordance with the appointments of the sacred canons, one person only, whether male or female, or at most one male and one female, shall receive in baptism the individual baptized; between whom and the baptized, and the father and mother thereof; as also between the person baptizing and the baptized, and the father and mother of the baptized; and these only; shall spiritual relationship be contracted.
The parish priest, before he proceeds to confer baptism, shall carefully inquire of those whom it may concern, what person or persons they have chosen to receive from the sacred font the individual baptized, and he shall allow him or them only to receive the baptized; shall register their names in the book, and teach them what relationship they have contracted, that they may not have any excuse on the score of ignorance. And if any others, besides those designated, should touch the baptized, they shall not in any way contract a spiritual relationship; any constitutions that tend to the contrary notwithstanding. If through the fault or negligence of the parish priest any thing be done contrary hereto, he shall be punished, at the discretion of the Ordinary. That relationship, in like manner, which is contracted by confirmation shall not pass beyond him who confirms the person confirmed, his father and mother, and him who places his hand on him; all impediments arising from this kind of spiritual relationship between other persons being utterly set aside.
The impediment of public honesty is confined within certain limits.
The holy Synod entirely removes the impediment of justice arising from public honesty, whensoever espousals shall be, for whatsoever cause, not valid; but, when they are valid, the impediment shall not extend beyond the first degree; forasmuch as any such prohibition can no longer be observed, without injury, in more remote degrees.
Affinity arising from fornication is confined to the second degree.
Moreover, the holy Synod, moved by the same and other most weighty reasons, limits, to those only who are connected in the first and second degree, the impediment contracted by affinity arising from fornication, and which dissolves the marriage that may have been afterwards contracted. It ordains that, as regards degrees more remote, this kind of affinity does not dissolve the marriage that may have been afterwards contracted.
No one is to marry within the prohibited degrees: in what manner dispensation is to be granted therein.
If any one shall presume knowingly to contract marriage within the prohibited degrees, he shall be separated, and be without hope of obtaining a dispensation; and this shall much the rather have effect in regard of him who shall have dared not only to contract such a marriage, but also to consummate it. But if he have done this in ignorance, but yet has neglected the solemnities required in contracting matrimony, he shall be subjected to the same penalties. For he who has rashly despised the wholesome precepts of the Church, is not worthy to experience without difficulty her bounty. But if, having observed those solemnities, some secret impediment be afterwards discovered, of which it was not unlikely that he should be ignorant, he may in this case more easily obtain a dispensation, and that gratuitously. As regards marriages to be contracted, either no dispensation at all shall be granted, or rarely, and then for a cause, and gratuitously. A dispensation shall never be granted in the second degree, except between great princes, and for a public cause.
Punishments inflicted on Abductors.
The holy Synod ordains, that no marriage can subsist between the abducer and her who is abducted, so long as she shall remain in the power of the abducer. But if she that has been abducted, being separated from the abducer, and being in a safe and free place, shall consent to have him for her husband, the abducer may have her for his wife; but nevertheless the abduced himself and all who lent him advice, aid, and countenance, shall be ipso jure excommunicated, for ever infamous, and incapable of all dignities; and if they be clerics they shall forfeit their rank. The abducer shall furthermore be bound, whether he marry the person abducted, or marry her not, to settle on her a handsome dowry at the discretion of the judge.
Vagrants are to be married with caution.
There are many persons who are vagrants, having no settled homes; and, being of a profligate character, they, after abandoning their first wife, marry another, and very often several in different places, during the life-time of the first. The holy Synod, being desirous to obviate this disorder, gives this fatherly admonition to all whom it may concern, not easily to admit this class of vagrants to marriage; and It also exhorts the civil magistrates to punish such persons severely. But It commands parish priests not to be present at the marriages of such persons, unless they have first made a careful inquiry, and, having reported the circumstance to the Ordinary, they shall have obtained permission from him for so doing.
Concubinage is severely punished.
It is a grievous sin for unmarried men to have concubines; but it is a most grievous sin, and one committed in special contempt of this great sacrament, for married men also to live in this state of damnation, and to have the audacity at times to maintain and keep them at their own homes even with their own wives. Wherefore, the holy Synod, that it may by suitable remedies provide against this exceeding evil, ordains that these concubinaries, whether unmarried or married, of whatsoever state, dignity, and condition they may be, if, after having been three times admonished on this subject by the Ordinary, even ex officio, they shall not have put away their concubines, and have separated themselves from all connexion with them, they shall be smitten with excommunication; from which they shall not be absolved until they have really obeyed the admonition given them. But if, regardless of this censure, they shall continue in concubinage during a year, they shall be proceeded against with severity by the Ordinary, according to the character of the crime. Women, whether married or single, who publicly live with adulterers or with concubinaries, if, after having been three times admonished, they shall not obey, shall be rigorously punished, according to the measure of their guilt, by the Ordinaries of the places, ex officio, even though not called upon to do so by any one; and they shall be cast forth from the city or diocese, if the Ordinaries shall think fit, calling in the aid of the Secular arm, if need be; the other penalties inflicted on adulterers and concubinaries remaining in their full force.
Temporal lords, or magistrates, shall not attempt anything contrary to the liberty of marriage.
Earthly affections and desires do for the most part so blind the eyes of the understanding of temporal lords and magistrates, as that, by threats and ill-usage, they compel both men and women, who live under their jurisdiction,-especially such as are rich, or who have expectations of a great inheritance,-to contract marriage against their inclination with those whom the said lords or magistrates may prescribe unto them. Wherefore, seeing that it is a thing especially execrable to violate the liberty of matrimony, and that wrong comes from those from whom right is looked for, the holy Synod enjoins on all, of whatsoever grade, dignity, and condition they may be, under pain of anathema to be ipso facto incurred, that they put no constraint, in any way whatever, either directly or indirectly, on those subject to them, or any others whomsoever, so as to hinder them from freely contracting marriage.
The solemnities of marriage are prohibited at certain times.
The holy Synod enjoins, that the ancient prohibitions of solemn nuptials be carefully observed by all, from the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ until the day of the Epiphany, and from Ash-Wednesday until the octave of Easter inclusively; but at other times It allows marriage to be solemnly celebrated; and the bishops shall take care that they be conducted with becoming modesty and propriety: for marriage is a holy thing, and is to be treated in a holy manner.
Method of establishing Seminaries for Clerics, and of educating the same therein.
Wereas the age of youth, unless it be rightly trained, is prone to follow after the pleasures of the world; and unless it be formed, from its tender years, unto piety and religion, before habits of vice have taken possession of the whole man, it never will perfectly, and without the greatest, and well-nigh special, help of Almighty God, persevere in ecclesiastical discipline; the holy Synod ordains, that all cathedral, metropolitan, and other churches greater than these, shall be bound, each according to its means and the extent of the diocese, to maintain, to educate religiously, and to train in ecclesiastical discipline, a certain number of youths of their city and diocese, or, if that number cannot be met with there, of that province, in a college to be chosen by the bishop for this purpose near the said churches, or in some other suitable place. Into this college shall be received such as are at least twelve years old, born in lawful wedlock, and who know how to read and write competently, and whose character and inclination afford a hope that they will always serve in the ecclesiastical ministry.
And It wishes that the children of the poor be principally selected; though It does not however exclude those of the more wealthy, provided they be maintained at their own expense, and manifest a desire of serving God and the Church. The bishop, having divided these youths into as many classes as he shall think fit, according to their number, age, and progress in ecclesiastical discipline, shall, when it seems to him expedient, assign some of them to the ministry of the churches, the others he shall keep in the college to be instructed; and shall supply the place of those who have been withdrawn, by others; that so this college may be a perpetual seminary of ministers of God. And that the youths may be the more advantageously trained in the aforesaid ecclesiastical discipline, they shall always at once wear the tonsure and the clerical dress; they shall learn grammar, singing, ecclesiastical computation, and the other liberal arts; they shall be instructed in sacred Scripture; ecclesiastical works; the homilies of the saints; the manner of administering the sacraments, especially those things which shall seem adapted to enable them to hear confessions; and the forms of the rites and ceremonies. The bishop shall take care that they be present every day at the sacrifice of the mass, and that they confess their sins at least once a month; and receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ as the judgment of their confessor shall direct; and on festivals serve in the cathedral and other churches of the place.
All which, and other things advantageous and needful for this object, all bishops shall ordain-with the advice of two of the senior and most experienced canons chosen by himself-as the Holy Spirit shall suggest; and shall make it their care, by frequent visitations, that the same be always observed. The froward, and incorrigible, and the disseminators of evil morals, they shall punish sharply, even by expulsion if necessary; and, removing all hindrances, they shall carefully foster whatsoever appears to tend to preserve and advance so pious and holy an institution.
And forasmuch as some certain revenues will be necessary, for raising the building of the college, for paying their salaries to the teachers and servants, for the maintenance of the youths, and for other expenses; besides those funds which are, in some churches and places, set apart for training or maintaining youths, and which are to be hereby looked upon as applied to this seminary under the said charge of the bishop; the bishops as aforesaid, with the advice of two of the Chapter,-of whom one shall be chosen by the bishop, and the other by the Chapter itself, and also of two of the clergy of the city, the election of one of whom shall in like manner be with the bishop, and of the other with the clergy,-shall take a certain part or portion, out of the entire fruits of the episcopal revenue, and of the chapter, and of all dignities whatsoever, personates, offices, prebends, portions, abbies, and priories, of whatsoever order, even though Regular, or of whatsoever quality, or condition they may be, and of hospitals which are conferred under title or administration, pursuant to the constitution of the Council of Vienne, which begins Quia contingit; and of all benefices whatsoever, even those belonging to Regulars, even those which are under any right of patronage, even those that are exempted, that are of no diocese, or are annexed to other churches, monasteries, hospitals, or to any other pious places, even such as are exempted; as also of the revenues devoted to the fabrics of churches, and of other places, and likewise of all other ecclesiastical revenues and proceeds whatsoever, even those of other colleges;-in which, however, there are not actually seminaries of scholars, or of teachers, for promoting the common good of the Church; for the Synod wills that those places be exempted, except in regard of such revenues as may remain over and above the suitable support of the said seminaries;-or of bodies, or confraternities, which in some places are called schools, likewise of all monasteries, with the exception of the Mendicants; also of the tithes in any way belonging to laymen, out of which ecclesiastical subsidies are wont to be paid; and those belonging to the soldiers of any military body, or order, the brethren of Saint John of Jerusalem alone excepted; and they shall apply to, and incorporate with, the said college this portion so deducted, as also a certain number of simple benefices, of whatsoever quality and dignity they may be, or even prestimonies, or prestimonial portions as they are called, even before they fall vacant, without prejudice however to the divine service, or to those who hold them. And this shall have effect, even though the benefices be reserved or appropriated to other uses; nor shall this union and application of the said benefices be suspended, or in any way hindered, by any resignation thereof, but shall still in any case have effect, notwithstanding any way whatever in which they may be vacated, even be it in the Roman court, and notwithstanding any constitution whatsoever to the contrary.
The bishop of the place shall, by ecclesiastical censures, and other legal means, even by calling in for this purpose, if he think fit, the help of the Secular arm, compel the possessors of benefices, dignities, personates, and of all and singular the above-named (revenues), to pay this portion not merely on their own account, but also on account of whatsoever pensions they may happen to have to pay to others, out of the said revenues,-keeping back however a sum equivalent to that which they have to pay on account of those pensions: notwithstanding as regards all and singular the above-mentioned premises, any privileges, exemptions-even such as might require a special derogation-any custom, even immemorial, or any appeal, and allegation, which might hinder the execution hereof.
But in case it should happen that, by means of the said unions being carried into effect, or from some other cause, the said seminary should be found to be wholly or in part endowed, then shall the portion, deducted as above from all benefices and incorporated by the bishop, be remitted, either wholly or in part, as the actual circumstances shall require. But if the prelates of cathedrals, and of the other greater churches, should be negligent in erecting the said seminary, and in preserving the same, and refuse to pay their share; it will be the duty of the archbishop sharply to reprove the bishop, and to compel him to comply with all the matters aforesaid, and of the provincial Synod to reprove and to compel in like manner the archbishop, and sedulously to provide that this holy and pious work be as soon as possible proceeded with, wherever it is possible. The bishop shall annually receive the accounts of the revenues of the said seminary, in the presence of two deputies from the Chapter, and of the same number deputed from the clergy of the city.
Furthermore, in order that the teaching in schools of this nature may be provided for at less expense, the holy Synod ordains, that bishops, archbishops, primates, and other Ordinaries of places, shall constrain and compel, even by the substraction of their fruits, those who possess any dignities as professors of theology, and all others to whom is attached the office of lecturing, or of teaching, to teach those who are to be educated in the said schools, personally, if they be competent, otherwise by competent substitutes to be chosen by themselves, and to be approved of by the Ordinary. And if, in the judgment of the bishop, those chosen are not fit, they shall noniminate another who is fit, without any appeal being allowed; but should they neglect to do this, the bishop himself shall depute one. And the aforesaid masters shall teach those things which the bishop shall judge expedient. And, henceforth, those offices, or dignities, which are called professorships of theology, shall not be conferred on any but doctors, or masters, or licentiates in divinity, or canon law, or on other competent persons, and such as can personally discharge that office; and any provision made otherwise shall be null and void: all privileges and customs whatsoever, even though immemorial, notwithstanding.
But if the churches in any province labour under so great poverty, as that a college cannot be established in certain (churches) thereof; the provincial Synod, or the metropolitan, aided by the two oldest suffragans, shall take care to establish one or more colleges, as shall be judged expedient, in the metropolitan, or in some other more convenient church of the province, out of the revenues of two or more churches, in which singly a college cannot conveniently be established, and there shall the youths of those churches be educated.
But in churches which have extensive dioceses, the bishop may have one or more seminaries in the diocese, as to him shall seem expedient; which seminaries shall however be entirely dependent in all things on the one erected and established in the (episcopal) city.
Finally, if, either upon occasion of the said unions, or the taxation, or assignment, and incorporation of the above-named portions, or from some other cause, there should happen to arise any difficulty, by reason of which the institution, or maintenance of the said seminary may be hindered or disturbed, the bishop with the deputies as above, or the provincial Synod according to the custom of the country, shall have power, regard being had to the character of the churches and benefices, to regulate and order all and singular the matters which shall seem necessary and expedient for the happy advancement of the said seminary, even so as to modify or enlarge, if need be, the contents hereof.
INDICTION OF THE NEXT SESSION.
Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod of Trent indicts the next ensuing Session for the sixteenth day of the month of September; in which it will treat of the sacrament of Matrimony, and of such other matters, if there be any, relative to the doctrine of faith as can be expedited, as also on provisions for bishoprics, dignities, and other ecclesiastical benefices, and divers articles of Reformation.
The Session was prorogued to the eleventh day of November, MDLXIII.