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Sessio Vigesimaquinta, Twenty-fifth Session,
cœpta die III. absoluta die IV. Decembris 1563. begun on the third, and terminated on the fourth of December, 1563
DECRETUM DE PURGATORIO. DECREE CONCERNING PURGATORY.
Cum Catholica Ecclesia, Spiritu Sancto edocta ex sacris litteris et antiqua patrum traditione, in sacris conciliis et novissime in hoc œcumenica synodo docuerit, purgatorium esse, animasque ibi detentas, fidelium suffragiis, potissimum vero acceptabili altaris sacrificio, juvari; præcipit sancta synodus episcopis, ut sanam de purgatorio doctrinam a sanctis patribus et sacris conciliis traditam, a Christi fidelibus credi, teneri, doceri et ubique prædicari diligenter studeant. Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, from the Sacred Writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught, in sacred Councils, and very recently in this œcumenical Synod, that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar,—the holy Synod enjoins on bishops that they diligently endeavor that the sound doctrine concerning Purgatory, transmitted by the holy Fathers and sacred Councils, be believed, maintained, taught, and every where proclaimed by the faithful of Christ.
Apud rudem vero plebem difficiliores ac subtiliores quæstiones, quaæque ædificationem non faciunt, But let the more difficult and subtle questions, and which tend not to edification, and from which for the
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et ex quibus plerumque nulla fit pietatis accessio, a popularibus concionibus secludantur. Incerta item, vel quæ specie falsi laborant, evulgari ac tractari non permittant. Ea vero, quæ ad curiositatem quamdam aut superstitionem spectant, vel turpe lucrum sapiunt, tamquam scandala et fidelium offendicula prohibeant. most part there is no increase of piety, be excluded from popular discourses before the uneducated multitude. In like manner, such things as are uncertain, or which labor under an appearance of error, let them not allow to be made public and treated of. While those things which tend to a certain kind of curiosity or superstition, or which savor of filthy lucre, let them prohibit as scandals and stumbling-blocks of the faithful. But let the bishops take care that the suffrages of the faithful who are living, to wit, the sacrifices of masses, prayers, alms, and other works of piety, which have been wont to be performed by the faithful for the other faithful departed, be piously and devoutly performed, in accordance with the institutes of the Church; and that whatsoever is due on their behalf, from the endowments of testators, or in other way, be discharged, not in a perfunctory manner, but diligently and accurately, by the priests and ministers of the Church, and others who are bound to render this [service].
Curent autem episcopi, ut fidelium vivorum suffragia, missarum scilicet sacrificia, orationes, eleemosynæ, aliaque pietatis opera, quæ a fidelibus pro aliis fidelibus defunctis fieri consueverunt, secundum Ecclesiæ instituta pie et devote fiant; et quæ pro illis ex testatorum fundationibus vel alia ratione debentur, non perfunctorie, sed a sacerdotibus et Ecclesia ministris et aliis, qui hoc præstare tenentur, diligenter et accurate persolvantur.
DE INVOCATIONE, VENERATIONE, ET RELIQUIIS SANCTORUM, ET SACRIS IMAGINIBUS. ON THE INVOCATION, VENERATION, AND RELICS OF SAINTS, AND ON SACRED IMAGES.
Mandat sancta synodus omnibus episcopis et ceteris docendi The holy Synod enjoins on all bishops, and others who sustain the
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munus curamque sustinentibus, ut juxta Catholicæ et Apostolicæ Ecclesiæ usum a primævis Christianæ religionis temporibus receptum sanctorumque patrum consensionem et sacrorum conciliorum decreta in primis de sanctorum intercessione, invocatione, reliquiarum honore et legitimo imaginum usu, fideles diligenter instruant, docentes eos, sanctos una cum Christo regnantes orationes suas pro hominibus Deo offerre; bonum, atque utile esse, suppliciter eos invocare; et ob beneficia impenetranda a Deo per filium ejus Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum, qui solus noster redemptor et salvator est, ad eorum orationes, opem, auxiliumque confugere; illos vero, qui negant, sanctos æterna felicitate in cœlo fruentes invocandos esse; aut qui asserunt, vel illos pro hominibus non orare, vel eorum, ut pro nobis etiam singulis orent, invocationem esse idololatriam, vel pugnare cum verbo Dei, adversarique honori unius mediatoris Dei et hominum Iesu Christi, vel stultum esse, in cœlo regnantibus voce vel mente supplicare, impie sentire. office and charge of teaching, that, agreeably to the usage of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, received from the primitive times of the Christian religion, and agreeably to the consent of the holy Fathers, and to the decrees of sacred Councils, they especially instruct the faithful diligently concerning the intercession and invocation of saints; the honor [paid] to relics; and the legitimate use of images: teaching them, that the saints, who reign together with Christ, offer up their own prayers to God for men; that it is good and useful suppliantly to invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, [and] help for obtaining benefits from God, through his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is our alone Redeemer and Saviour; but that they think impiously who deny that the saints, who enjoy eternal happiness in heaven, are to be invocated; or who assert either that they do not pray for men; or that the invocation of them to pray for each of us even in particular is idolatry; or that it is repugnant to the Word of God, and is opposed to the honor of the one mediator of God and men, Christ Jesus;263263     1 Tim. ii. 5. or that it is foolish to supplicate, vocally or mentally, those who reign in heaven.
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Sanctorum quoque martyrum et aliorum cum Christo viventium sancta corpora, quæ viva membra fuerunt Christi et templum Spiritus Sancti, ab ipso ad æternam vitam suscitanda et glorificanda, a fidelibus veneranda esse, per quæ multa beneficia a Deo hominibus præstantur; ita ut affirmantes, sanctorum reliquiis venerationem atque honorem non deberi; vel eas aliaque sacra monumenta a fidelibus inutiliter honorari, atque eorum opis impetrandæ causa sanctorum memorias frustra frequentari; omnino damnandos esse, prout jam pridem eos damnavit, et nunc etiam damnat Ecclesia. Also, that the holy bodies of holy martyrs, and of others now living with Christ,—which bodies were the living members of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Ghost,264264     1 Cor. iii. 6. and which are by him to be raised unto eternal life, and to be glorified,—are to be venerated by the faithful; through which [bodies] many benefits are bestowed by God on men; so that they who affirm that veneration and honor are not due to the relics of saints; or that these, and other sacred monuments, are uselessly honored by the faithful; and that the places dedicated to the memories of the saints are in vain visited with the view of obtaining their aid, are wholly to be condemned, as the Church has already long since condemned, and now also condemns them.
Imagines porro Christi, Deiparæ Virginis et aliorum sanctorum in templis præsertim habendas et retinendas, eisque debitum honorem et venerationem impertiendam; non quod credatur in esse aliqua in iis divinitas vel virtus, propter quam sint colendæ, vel quod ab eis sit aliquid petendum, vel quod fiducia in imaginibus sit figenda veluti olim fiebat a gentibus, quæ in idolis spem suam Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the other saints, are to be had and retained particularly in temples, and that due honor and veneration are to be given them; not that any divinity, or virtue, is believed to be in them, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that any thing is to be asked of them; or that trust is to be reposed in images, as was of old done by the Gentiles, who placed their hope
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collocabant; sed quoniam honos, qui eis exhibetur, refertur ad prototypa, quæ illæ repræsentant, ita ut per imagines, quas osculamur et coram quibus caput aperimus et procumbimus, Christum adoremus, et sanctos, quorum illæ similitudinem gerunt, veneremur: id quod conciliorum præsertim vero secundæ Nicænæ Synodi decretis contra imaginum oppugnatores est sancitum. in idols; but because the honor which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which those images represent; in such wise that by the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover the head, and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ, and we venerate the saints, whose similitude they bear: as, by the decrees of Councils, and especially of the second Synod of Nicæa, has been defined against the opponents of images.
Illud vero diligenter doceant episcopi, per historias mysteriorum nostræ redemptionis picturis vel aliis similitudinibus expressas erudiri et confirmari populum in articulis fidei commemorandis et assidue recolendis; tum vero ex omnibus sacris imaginibus magnum fructum percipi, non solum quia admonetur populus beneficiorum et munerum, quæ a Christo sibi collata sunt, sed etiam quia Dei per sanctos miracula et salutaria exempla oculis fidelium subjiciuntur, ut pro iis Deo gratias agant, ad sanctorumque imitationem vitam moresque suos componant, excitenturque ad adorandum ac diligendum Deum et ad pietatem colendam. Si quis autem his decretis contraria docuerit And the bishops shall carefully teach this,—that, by means of the histories of the mysteries of our Redemption, portrayed by paintings or other representations, the people is instructed, and confirmed in [the habit of] remembering, and continually revolving in mind the articles of faith; as also that great profit is derived from all sacred images, not only because the people are thereby admonished of the benefits and gifts bestowed upon them by Christ, but also because the miracles which God has performed by means of the saints, and their salutary examples, are set before the eyes of the faithful; that so they may give God thanks for those things; may order their own lives and manners in imitation of the saints; and may be excited to adore and love God, and to cultivate piety. But if any one
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aut senserit: anathema sit. shall teach or entertain sentiments contrary to these decrees: let him be anathema.
In has autem sanctas et salutares observationes si qui abusus irrepserint, eos prorsus aboleri sancta synodus vehementer cupit; ita ut nullæ falsi dogmatis imagines et rudibus periculosi erroris occasionem præbentes, statuantur. Quod si aliquando historias et narrationes sacræ scripturæ, cum id indoctæ plebi expediet, exprimi et figurari contigerit, doceatur populus, non propterea divinitatem figurari, quasi corporeis oculis conspici vel coloribus, aut figuris exprimi possit. And if any abuses have crept in amongst these holy and salutary observances, the holy Synod ardently desires that they be utterly abolished; in such wise that no images [suggestive] of false doctrine, and furnishing occasion of dangerous error to the uneducated, be set up. And if at times, when expedient for the unlettered people, it happen that the facts and narratives of sacred Scripture are portrayed and represented, the people shall be taught, that not thereby is the Divinity represented, as though it could be seen by the eyes of the body, or be portrayed by colors or figures.
Omnis porro superstitio in sanctorum invocatione, reliquiarum veneratione et imaginum sacro usu tollatur, omnis turpis quæstus eliminetur, omnis denique lascivia vitetur; ita ut procaci venustate imagines non pingantur nec ornentur, et sanctorum celebratione ac reliquiarum visitatione homines ad commessationes atque ebrietates non abutantur, quasi festi dies in honorem sanctorum per luxum ac lasciviam agantur. Moreover, in the invocation of saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images, every superstition shall be removed, all filthy lucre be abolished; finally, all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust; nor the celebration of the saints and the visitation of relics be by any perverted into revelings and drunkenness; as if festivals were celebrated to the honor of the saints by luxury and wantonness.
Postremo, tanta circa hæc digentia In fine, let so great care and diligence
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et cura ab episcopis adhibeatur, ut nihil inordinatum aut præpostere et tumultuarie accomodatum, nihil profanum nihilque inhonestum appareat, cum domum Dei deceat sanctitudo. be used herein by bishops, as that there be nothing seen that is disorderly, or that is unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing indecorous, seeing that holiness becometh the house of God.265265     Psa. xcii. 5.
Hæc ut fidelius observentur, statuit sancta synodus, nemini licere ullo in loco vel ecclesia, etiam quomodolibet exempta, ullam insolitam ponere vel ponendam curare imaginem, nisi ab episcopo approbata fuerit; nulla etiam admittenda esse nova miracula, nec novas reliquias recipiendas, nisi eodem recognoscente et approbante episcopo, qui, simul atque de iis aliquid compertum habuerit, adhibitis in consilium theologis et aliis piis viris, ea faciat, quæ veritati et pietati consentanea judicaverit. And that these things may be the more faithfully observed, the holy Synod ordains, that no one be allowed to place, or cause to be placed, any unusual image, in any place or church, howsoever exempted, except that image has been approved of by the bishop; also, that no new miracles are to be acknowledged, or new relics recognized, unless the said bishop has taken cognizance and approved thereof; who, as soon as he has obtained some certain information in regard of these matters, shall, after having taken the advice of theologians, and of other pious men, act therein as he shall judge to be consonant with truth and piety. But if any doubtful or difficult abuse has to be extirpated; or, in fine, if any more grave question shall arise touching these matters, the bishop, before deciding the controversy, shall await the sentence of the metropolitan and of the bishops of the province, in a provincial Council; yet so that nothing new, or that previously has
Quod si aliquis dubius, aut difficilis abusus sit exstirpandus, vel omnino aliqua de iis rebus gravior quæstio incidat, episcopus, antequam controversiam dirimat, metropolitani et comprovincialium episcoporum in concilio provinciali sententiam exspectet, ita tamen, ut nihil inconsulto
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sanctissimo Romano pontifice novum aut in Ecclesia hactenus inusitatum decernatur. not been usual in the Church, shall be resolved on without having first consulted the most holy Roman Pontiff.

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