THE EIGHTEENTH SESSION
Being the second under the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IV., celebrated on the twenty-sixth day of February, MDLXII.
DECREE ON THE CHOICE OF BOOKS; AND FOR INVITING ALL MEN ON THE PUBLIC FAITH TO THE COUNCIL
The sacred and holy, oecumenical and general Synod of Trent,--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein,--not confiding in human strength, but relying on the succour and assistance of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised that he would give to His Church a mouth and wisdom, hath especially in view to restore at length to its native purity and splendour, the doctrine of the Catholic faith, which is in many places defiled and obscured by the conflicting opinions of many who differ from each other; to bring back, to a better method of life, manners, which have divaricated from ancient usage; and to turn the heart of the fathers unto tke children, and the heart of the children unto the fathers. Whereas, then, first of all, it has noticed that the number of suspected and pernicious books, wherein an impure doctrine is Contained, and is disseminated far and wide, has in these days increased beyond measure, which indeed has been the cause that many censures have been, out of a godly zeal, published in divers provinces, and especially in the fair city of Rome,--and yet that no salutary remedy has availed against so great and pernicious a disorder; It hath thought good, that Fathers specially chosen for this inquiry, should carefully consider what ought to be done in the matter of censures and of books, and also in due time report thereon to this holy Synod; to the end that It may more easily separate the various and strange doctrines, as cockle from the wheat of Christian truth, and may more conveniently deliberate and determine, in regard thereof, that which shall seem best adapted to remove scruples from the minds of very many, and to do away with various causes of complaint. And the Synod wishes all this to come to the knowledge of all persons whatsoever, as by this present decree It doth make them cognizant thereof; in order that if any person may think himself in any way concerned, either in this matter of books and censures, or in the other things which It has declared beforehand are to be treated of in this General Council, he may not doubt but that he will be kindly listened to by the Holy Synod. And forasmuch as this said holy Synod heartily desires, and earnestly beseeches God for the things that are for the peace of the Church, that we all, acknowledging our common mother on earth, who cannot forget the sons of her womb, with one mouth may glorify Cod, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; It invites and exhorts, by the bowels of the mercy of our same God and Lord, all who hold not communion with us, unto concord and reconciliation, and to come unto this holy Synod; to embrace charity, which is the bond of perfection, and to show forth the peace of Christ rejoicing in thoir hearts, whereunto they are called, lit one body. Wherefore, in hearing this voice, not of man, but of the Holy Ghost, let them not harden their hearts, but, walking not after their own sense, nor pleasing themselves, let them be moved and converted by this so charitable and salutary an admonition of their own mother; for, as the holy Synod invites, so will It embrace them with all proofs of love. Moreover, this same holy Synod has decreed, that the public faith may be granted in a general congregation, and that It shall have the same force, and shall be of the same authority and weight as if it had been given and decreed in public Session.
INDICTION OF THE NEXT SESSION
The same sacred and holy Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein, resolves and decrees, that the next ensuing Session be held and celebrated on the Thursday after the most sacred festival of the Ascension of our Lord, which will be on the fourteenth day of the month of May.
SAFE-CONDUCT GRANTED TO THE GERMAN NATION
In a General Congregation, on the fourth day of March, MDLXII.
The sacred and holy, ocecumenical and general Synod of Trent,--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein,--certifies to all men, that, by the tenour of these presents, It grants and wholly concedes the public faith, and the fullest and most true security, which they entitle a safe-conduct, to all and singular the priests, electors, princes, dukes, marquisses, counts, barons, nobles, soldiers, commonalty, and to all other persons whatsoever, of what state, condition, or quality soever they may be, of the province and nation of Germany, and to the cities and other places thereof, and to all the ecclesiastical and secular persons, especially those of the Confession of Augsburg, who shall come, or shall be sent with them to this General Council of Trent, and to those that shall set forth, or have already repaired hither, by whatsoever name they are entitled, or may be designated,--to Come freely to this city of Trent, and there to remain, abide, sojourn, and to propose, speak, and treat of, examine and discuss any matters whatsoever together with the said Synod, and freely to present and set forth all whatsoever they may think fit, and any articles whatever, either in writing or by word of mouth, and to explain, establish, and prove them by the sacred Scriptures, and by the words, passages, and reasons of the blessed Fathers, and to answer even, if it be needful, to the objections of the General Council, and to dispute, or to confer in charity, without any hindrance with those who have been selected by the Council, all opprobrious, railing, and contumelious language being utterly discarded; and, in particular, that the controverted matters shall be treated of, in the aforesaid Council of Trent, according to sacred Scripture, and the traditions of the apostles, approved Councils, the consent of the Catholic Church, and the authorities of the holy Fathers; with this further addition, that they shall not be punished under pretence of religion, or of offences already committed, or that may be committed, in regard thereof; as also, that the divine offices shall not, on account of their presence, be in any way interrupted, either upon the road, or in any place during their progress, their stay, or their return, or in the city of Trent itself ; and that, upon these matters being concluded, or before they are concluded, if they, or any of them, shall wish, and whensover such is their or his pleasure, or the command and leave of their superiors, to return to their own homes, they shall forthwith be able at their good pleasure, to return freely and securely, without any let, obstacle, or delay, without injury done to their property, or to the honour also and persons of their attendants respectively,--notifying, however, this their purpose of withdrawing, to those who shall be deputed hereunto by the said Synod, that so, without deceit or fraud, proper measures may be taken for their safety. The holy Synod also wills that all clauses whatsoever, which may be necessary and useful for a full, effectual, and sufficient security in coming, sojourning, and returning, be included and comprised, and be accounted as comprised, in this public faith and safe-conduct. It also expressly declares, with a view to their greater security, and the blessing of peace and reconciliation, that if, which God forbid, any one, or divers amongst them, should, either on the road when coming to Trent, or whilst sojourning at, or returning from that same city, perpetrate or commit any heinous act, whereby the benefit of this public faith and assurance might be annulled and quashed, that It wills and grants, that the persons discovered in any such crime shall be forthwith punished by their own countrymen, and not by others, with a proportionate chastisement and a sufficient reparation, which the Synod on its part may justly approve of and commend,--the form, conditions, and terms of their safe-conduct remaining wholly untouched thereby. It also reciprocally wills, that if, which God forbid, any one, or divers, of this Synod, should, either on the road, or whilst sojourning at, or returning therefrom, perpetrate or commit any heinous act, whereby the benefit of this public faith and assurance may be violated, or in any way set aside, the persons discovered in any such Crime shall be forthwith punished by the Synod itself, and not by others, with a proportionate chastisement and a sufficient reparation, which the Germans of the Confession of Augsburg, who may be present here at the time, may on their part justly approve of and commend,--the present form, Conditions, and terms of the safe-conduct remaining wholly untouched thereby. The said Synod also wills, that all and each of the ambassadors shall be allowed to go out of the City of Trent to take the air, as often as it shall be convenient or necessary, and to return thither; as also freely to send or despatch their messenger or messengers to any plaCes whatsoever, according as their affairs may require, and to receive the said messengers or messenger, despatches or despatch, as often as they shall think fit; so as however one or more be associated therewith by the deputies of the Council, to provide for the safety of the said couriers: and this safe-conduct and these securities shall stand good and endure, both from and during the time that they shall have been received under the Care of the said Synod, and the pro tection of its agents ; and further, after they have had a sufficient audience, and twenty days having expired after they have themselves asked, or after the Council, upon that audience had, shall have given them notice, to return, It will, all deceit and fraud being entirely excluded, reconduct them, with God's help, from Trent to that place of safety which each may select for himself. All which things It promises, and in good faith pledges Itself, shall be inviolably observed towards all and each of the faithful of Christ, towards all ecclesiastical and secular princes, and towards all other ecclesiastical and secular persons, of whatsoever state and condition they may be, or by whatsoever name designated.
Furthermore, It promises in sincere and good faith, without fraud or deceit, that the said Synod will, neither openly nor covertly, seek for any opportunity, nor make use of, nor suffer any one else to make use of, any authority, power, right, or statute, privilege of laws or canons, or of any Councils whatsoever, especially those of Constance and Sienna, under what form soever expressed; to the prejudice in any way of this public faith, and most full security, and of the public and free hearing, by this said Synod granted to the above-named;--derogating from the aforesaid in this regard and for this occasion. And if the holy Synod, or any member thereof, or of their followers, of whatsoever condition, state, or pre-eminence, shall violate--which may the Almighty for fend-the form and terms of the security and safe-conduct as above set down, in any point or clause whatever, and a sufficient reparation shall not have forthwith followed, and one that may with reason be approved of and praised by the (interested) parties themselves; they may and shall hold the said Synod to have incurred all those penalties, which, by law human and divine, or by custom, the violators of such safe-conducts can possibly incur,--without there being any excuse, or Contrary allegation in this regard.
EXTENSION THEREOF TO OTHER NATIONS
The same sacred and holy Synod, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legates a latere of the Apostolic See presiding therein, grants the public faith, or a safe-conduct, under the same form, and in the same terms, wherein it is granted to the Germans, to all and each of those others, who hold not communion with us in matters of faith, of whatsoever kingdoms, nations, provinces, Cities, and places they may be, wherein the contrary, to that which the holy Roman Church holds, is publicly and with impunity preached, taught, or believed.