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Continuatio Sessionis Continuation of the Session,
die IV. Decembris. on the fourth day of December.
DECRETUM DE INDULGENTIIS. DECREE CONCERNING INDULGENCES.
Cum potestas conferendi indulgentias a Christo Ecclesiæ concessa sit, atque hujusmodi potestate divinitus sibi tradita antiquissimis etiam temporibus illa usa fuerit, sacrosancta synodus indulgentiarum usum, Christiano populo maxime salutarem et sacrorum conciliorum auctoritate probatum, in Ecclesia retinendum esse docet et præcipit, eosque anathemate damnat, qui aut inutiles esse asserunt, vel eas concedendi in Ecclesia potestatem esse negant. In his tamen concedendis moderationem juxta veterem et probatam in Ecclesia consuetudinem adhiberi cupit, ne nimia facilitate ecclesiastica disciplina enervetur. Whereas the power of conferring Indulgences was granted by Christ to the Church, and she has, even in the most ancient times, used the said power delivered unto her of God, the sacred holy Synod teaches and enjoins that the use of Indulgences, for the Christian people most salutary, and approved of by the authority of sacred Councils, is to be retained in the Church; and it condemns with anathema those who either assert that they are useless, or who deny that there is in the Church the power of granting them. In granting them, however, it desires that, in accordance with the ancient and approved custom in the Church, moderation be observed; lest, by excessive facility, ecclesiastical discipline be enervated. And being desirous that the abuses which have crept therein, and by occasion of which this honorable name of Indulgences is blasphemed by heretics, be amended and corrected, it
Abusus vero, qui in his irrepserunt, et quorum occasione insigne hoc indulgentiarum nomen ab hæreticis blasphematur, emendatos et correctos
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cupiens, præsenti decreto generaliter statuit, pravos quæstus omnes pro his consequendis, unde plurima in Christiano populo abusuum causa fluxit, omnino abolendos esse. ordains generally by this decree, that all evil gains for the obtaining thereof,—whence, a most prolific cause of abuses amongst the Christian people has been derived,—be wholly abolished. But as regards the other abuses which have proceeded from superstition, ignorance, irreverence, or from whatsoever other source, since, by reason of the manifold corruptions in the places and provinces where the said abuses are committed, they can not conveniently be specially prohibited, it commands all bishops diligently to collect, each in his own Church, all abuses of this nature, and to report them in the first provincial Synod; that, after having been reviewed by the opinions of the other bishops also, they may forthwith be referred to the Sovereign Roman Pontiff, by whose authority and prudence that which may be expedient for the universal Church will be ordained; that thus the gift of holy Indulgences may be dispensed to all the faithful, piously, holily, and incorruptly.
Ceteros vero, qui ex superstitione, ignorantia, irreverentia, aut aliunde quomodocumque provenerunt, cum ob multiplices locorum et provinciarum, apud quas hi committuntur, corruptelas commode nequeant specialiter prohiberi; mandat omnibus episcopis, ut diligenter quisque hujusmodi abusus Ecclesiæ suæ colligat, eosque in prima synodo provinciali referat; ut, aliorum quoque episcoporum sententia cognita, statim ad summum Romanum pontificem deferantur, cujus auctoritate et prudentia, quod universali Ecclesiæ expediet, statuatur; ut ita sanctarum indulgentiarum munus pie, sancte et incorrupte omnibus fidelibus dispensetur.
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