Success of the Council of Trent in the years 1545-1563 in Tackling the Problems Confronting the Catholic Church
The council met over a period of eighteen years, in this time there
were three distinct periods in which there were a total of 25
sessions. There were several problems with the Catholic Church which
needed to be sorted out, this including doctrine and discipline. The
council met to sort out this problem which had persisted over a number
of years. There were several popes in these three periods.
The council took so long to confront the problems within the church
for two reasons. One of which is that in the first period, Paul III
was Pope and he wanted to move the council to Bologna, as there was an
outbreak of Cholera in Trent which supposedly put the people at risk.
This from Paul’s point of view would increase his power and influence
on what was going on. However Charles realised what Paul was doing and
told his subjects to stay in Trent, this therefore effectively bought
the council to a halt. Secondly in 1555 Carafa was Pope and he was
hostile to the idea of a General Council, he thought that the Pope had
enough authority to reform the church himself. Therefore until 1559
when Puis IV was Pope nothing happened at Trent. However it did manage
to confront many of the problems facing the Catholic Church by the end
of the council in 1563.
One of the major doctrinal issues facing the church was where the
true word of God is found. The traditional Catholic view was that it
was in the Bible and the word was passed down through the church, for
example by priests in services. The protestant view was that it was
found in the Bible and scriptures. They believed that the Bible should
be readable to everyone, that is to say that it should be available in
English. At Trent the Catholics argued there view successfully, they
said that God’s messages were communicated in other ways then the
Bible. However Protestants felt that any word not in the Bible could
be that of the devils. The Catholics also didn’t want the Bible to be
in any other language, but they were unsuccessful in banning this. The
official language of the Bible is Vulgate; however the translating had
been done very poorly. Catholic doctrine is based on the Vulgate
version of the Bible, because this was the earliest translation.
Another doctrinal issue is that of how salvation is to be attained.
The catholic view was that it could be attained in a number of ways.
Including pilgrimages, charitable deeds, indulgences and repenting
from sin. The Protestants believed in Justification by faith, God
would know if you had done wrong. At Trent they accepted the catholic
view of sin and rejected the Protestant view. If the protestant view
had been accepted then there would have been a direct threat on the