The Fifteenth Session

Menu

[Page 121]

Being the fifth under thc Sovereign Pontiff, Julius III., celebrated on the twenty-fifth day of January, MDLlI.

DECREE FOR PROROGUING THE SESSION

Whereas, in pursuance of the decrees made in the last Sessions, this holy and universal Synod has, during these days, most accurately and diligently treated of the things which relate to the most holy sacrifice of the mass, and to the sacrament of order, with the view that, in the Session held on this day, It might publish, as the Holy Ghost should have suggested, decrees on these subjects, and on the four articles concerning the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, which had been finally deferred to this Session ; and whereas it was thought that, in the interim, there would have presented themselves at this sacred and holy Council those who call themselves Protestants, for whose sake It had deferred the publication of the said articles, and to whom It had given the public faith, or a safe-conduct, that they might come freely and without any hesitation; nevertheless, seeing that they have not as yet come, and the holy Synod has been petitioned in their name, that the publication which was to have been made on this day, be deferred to the following Session, an assured hope being held out that they will certainly be present long before that Session, upon receiving in the meanwhile a safe-conduct in a more ample form :-The same holy Synod, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legate and Nuncios presiding, desiring nothing more ardently than to remove, from amongst the noble nation of Germany, all dissensions and schisms touchingreligion,and to provide for its tranquillity, peace and repose; being ready, should they come, both to receive [Page 122] them kindly, and to listen to them favourably, and trusting that they will come, not with the design of obstinately opposing the Catholic Faith, but of learning the truth, and that they will at last, as becomes those zealous for evangelical truth, acquiesce in the decrees and discipline of holy Mother Church; (this Synod) has deferred the next Session,–therein to publish and promulgate the matters aforesaid,–till the festival of St. Joseph, which will be on the nineteenth day of the month of March; in order that they may have sufficient time and leisure, not only to come, but also to propose, before that day arrives, whatsoever they may wish. And,- that It may take from them all cause for further delay, It freely gives and grants them the public faith,-or a safe-conduct, of the tenour and form hereafter set down. But it ordains and decrees, that, in the meantime, It will treat of the sacrament of matrimony,- and will give its decisions thereon, in addition to the publication of the above-named decrees, in the same Session, and will prosecute the subject of Reformation.

SAFE-CONDUCT GIVEN TO THE PROTESTANTS

The sacred and holy, ocecumenical and general Synod of Trent,-lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legate and Nuncios of the Apostolic See presiding therein,–adhering to the safe-conduct given in the last Session but one, and enlarging it in the manner following,- certifies to all men,- that by the ten our 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, marquises, 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 other 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 [Page 123] 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 what-ever, either in writing, or by word of mouth, and to explain, establish, and prove them by the sacred Scriptures, aiid 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 may have been selected by the Council, all opprobrious, railing, and contumelious laiiguage 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 whensoever 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, [Page 124] 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 cease, 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 mayjustlyapprove of and commend-the form, conditions, and terms of the 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 of ten 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 security 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 protection 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 [Page 125] 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 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 stiffer 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 niost 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 forbid–the forms 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.