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Discussions on the doctrine of the Sacraments, and on baptism and confirmation-Debates on pluralities-Memorial presented by the Spanish bishops-SEVENTH SESSION-Decree on the sacraments, and on baptism and confirmation—also on reform, chiefly pluralities-Infectious fever at Trent-Resolution taken to transfer the Council to Bologna-EIGHTH SESSION-The Spanish bishops refuse to leave Trent-Observations on the transfer-Indignation of the Emperor-Proceedings at Bologna-NINTH and TENTH SESSIONS-Diet of Augsburg-Submission of the Protestants procured-The Pope refuses to restore the Council to Trent The Emperor protests against it-The interim-Suspension of the Council-Death of the Pope.

AT the first general congregation held after the sixth session, it was resolved that the subject of the sacraments should be next considered, and in connexion with it the question of episcopal residence, chiefly with a view to the reformation of those abuses by which it was hindered. These subjects were committed to two separate congregations: doctrine was discussed by the divines, discipline by the doctors of the canon law: over the former Santa Croce presided, and De Monte over the latter.

The fathers were pretty generally agreed respecting the number of the sacraments. It was held that they were neither more nor fewer than seven, viz. baptism, confirmation, the eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony. In support of this number, nothing better could be adduced than tradition and fanciful analogies;76 for though it was endeavoured to be proved that all the seven sacraments were instituted by

76 It was argued, for instance, that seven is a perfect number; since there are seven days in the week, seven excellent virtues, seven deadly sins, seven planets, &c. Sarpi, l. ii. s. 85. Such cogent reasoning was irresistible!

the authority of Jesus Christ, it is perfectly obvious that the record of the institution is not to be found in the New Testament.

There was also an entire unanimity in the condemnation of the reformers, for denying that the sacraments confer grace. But they were not united in their expositions of the manner in which this effect is produced. The divines generally maintained that grace is acquired in two ways—it may flow from the good disposition of the recipient-this is grace ex opere operantis: or it may be produced by a supposed virtue in the sacrament itself, as baptism bestows grace on infants and idiots, and extreme unction on the unconscious sick and dying— this is grace ex opere operato. Here the Dominicans and Franciscans differed widely in their explanations. The former asserted that the sacraments possess in themselves an efficacious power, producing in the soul a disposition to receive grace, and that they contain grace as the effect is contained in the cause. The latter denied this efficacious power, and held that the virtue of the sacraments consists solely in the promise of God to confer grace when they are administered, and consequently that grace does not flow from any actual energy in the sacrament itself, but from the promise of God, who has connected both together. Long and angry disputations resulted: each party charged the other with heresy, and the legates were compelled to seek the interference of the Pope, to curb the violence of the monks, and restrain their ungovernable fury.

Baptism, confirmation, and orders, are supposed by the Romish church to produce a peculiar and indelible effect on the party, called the impression of a character. The divines at Trent were divided on this subject: whether to call it a spiritual power, a habit, a disposition, a relation, or a quality, they could not agree; nor were they unanimous respecting its seat, some placing it in the essence of the soul, some in the mind, others in the will, and a fourth class in the hands and tongue. Jerome Oleaster thought that the sacraments impart a twofold spiritual quality, the one termed a "character," and the other an "ornament;" the first being indelible, the second, not; that the sacraments which confer the first are never to be repeated, but that the rest are to be

resorted to again when the effect is lost, in order to its recovery.


Much was said respecting the intention of the minister from whom a sacrament is received. It was generally thought that the validity of the sacrament depends on that intention being rightly directed, in default of which the ceremony is null, and all its presumed benefits lost. Ambrose Catharin laboured hard to procure some modification of this scntiment. He dwelt on the pernicious consequences that must ensue if the decree were so constructed. A priest might be an infidel or a hypocrite: in such a corrupt age, it was to be feared there were many of that description. These individuals would mean nothing less in the administration of the sacraments than what the church intended, and would commonly administer them with secret derision and contempt. But if the inward intention of the priest were essential, how sad must be the condition of those who had received baptism, absolution, extreme unction, &c. from an ungodly administrator, and who must be deemed to be in an unchristianised state! He therefore thought it should be sufficient if the forms prescribed by the church were duly observed, whatever might be the intention of the priest; but the majority were of a different mind.78

As it was soon found impracticable to comprise the whole of the sacraments in one decree, it was decided that only baptism and confirmation should be then discussed. There was scarcely any division of sentiment on these topics. 79 When the debates had finished, canons were prepared, backed with anathemas, as in the preceding session, and so dexterously formed, by the use of general and vague expressions, as to include the

77 Sarpi, ut sup. s. 86.

78 Sarpi, ut sup. Pallav. 1. ix. c. 6. s. 4.

79 Cardinal Cajetan, writing on baptism, had supposed that infants dying in the birth might be saved if a benediction in the name of the Trinity was pronounced upon them, baptism in such cases being plainly impossible. It was not thought necessary to condemn this notion. Nevertheless, the passage containing was afterwards ordered to be expunged by Pope Pius V. The infallible Pope detected heresy where the infallible council had not discerned it! Pallav. ut sup. c. 8. s. 1—3.

several varieties of Roman Catholic opinion, and condemn none but Protestants. All parties were satisfied with the manner in which this part of the decree was executed; but when a similar attempt was made in preparing explanatory chapters, as on justification, there was so much difficulty in combining opposite sentiments, that the project was abandoned, and canons only were published.

While the divines were employed in their theological discussions, the canonists were equally busy in preparing the decree of reformation. But it was impossible to meet the views and wishes of all the prelates, especially the Spaniards, who had determined to make a bold stand against the usurpations of the Pope, and to put a stop, if possible, to the aggrandizement of the regulars. In addition to their just complaints on this head, the scandalous intrigues and rapacious exactions of the court of Rome gave great and general offence. Almost any thing could be accomplished by money and influence; and the decrees and canons of ancient councils were unceremoniously set aside, when some needy favourite or busy tool of the papacy was to be enriched.

These evils were attacked with much vigour. The prelates revived the discussion of the divine right of residence, which, if it were once determined and declared, would destroy most of the alleged abuses. But here they were treading on forbidden ground. They had touched the Pope's prerogative; and De Monte told them, with an angry and haughty air, that they must not presume to meddle with this subject: such was the will of the Pontiff, and he must be obeyed. Besides, too severe a reformation would not suit the times; they must consider what was possible, as well as what was proper.


8 1

It was agreed that their attention should be principally confined to the abuses arising out of pluralities. The disease was universally acknowledged; every one was ready to prescribe for it, and each thought his own remedy the best. While some wished all pluralities to be declared unlawful, others thought it sufficient to

80 Sarpi, s. 84. Pallav. 1. ix. c. 1. s. 10.

81 Thirty or forty benefices were sometimes enjoyed by one person!

quash such dispensations, commendams, and unions for life, as had been evidently granted on considerations of private emolument alone. The bishop of Albenga deprecated the enactment of an ex post facto law, and recommended that they should only legislate for the future. Those who held the divine right of residence, maintained the unlawfulness of pluralities in the same sense: their opponents regarded it as a question of ecclesiastical right only. The bishop of Astorga hoped, that however they might differ on some points, they would at least agree in prohibiting commendams and unions for life, which he stigmatised as the fruits of avarice and ambition, and said that it would be shameful to preserve abuses so pernicious. But the Italian bishops, the Pope's devoted servants, would not consent to any thing beyond a very partial and moderate reform. 8 2

Perceiving that their wishes were either resisted or evaded, the Spanish prelates held a private meeting at the close of one of the congregations, and determined to present in writing a full and formal statement of all their demands. When the legates received the document, 9 s they were greatly disconcerted. In a letter to the Pope, inclosing the paper, they told his holiness that the bishops were becoming bolder every day; that they spoke of the cardinals with little respect, and even dared to insinuate that he himself intended only to amuse the world with vain hopes, instead of accomplishing a thorough reform; and that it would soon be very difficult to restrain them, especially as they had begun to hold secret meetings. After consulting with the cardinals, the Pope replied, expressing entire satisfaction with the conduct of his representatives, and leaving it to them to decide according to circumstances, as they judged best for the interests of the holy see. Santa Croce would have made some concessions, but De Monte maintained the contrary opinion with so much warmth, that his

82 Sarpi, s. 88.

83 The Spanish bishops demanded the unequivocal declaration of the divine right of residence, and that the same should be enforced on all ecclesiastics, from cardinals to the lowest ranks-the utter abolition of pluralities and the revocation of all dispensations and unions for life.

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