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Trent, Council of

(2,867 words)

Author(s): Kirchner, Hubert
The Council of Trent (1545–63, with two breaks of several years each; Councils of the Church 4) was the official answer of the Roman Catholic Church to the Reformation and its questions to theology, its preaching, and its ecclesiology. By means of definitions, judgments, and reforming decrees, and in spite of interruptions and internal worries, the council brought about a limited but effective renewal of the church (Catholic Reform and Counterreformation) and created presuppositions for self-assurance and resolution that initiated a new stage in its history. 1. Prior History In 1518…


(1,702 words)

Author(s): Kirchner, Hubert
1. Term As a model of church unity and unification, union has a long history. Various forms of union have taken place, so that a single definition is hardly possible. 1.1. From the Middle Ages different unions have been contracted between the Roman Catholic Church and parts of the Orthodox Church that have integrated Orthodox Church structures into the worldwide Roman Catholic Church (note the union bull of Clement VIII in 1595, Magnus Dominus et laudabilis: “we receive, unify, attach, annex, and incorporate”; see N. Thon, 394). The Orthodox Church retained the liturgi…

Syllabus of Errors

(695 words)

Author(s): Kirchner, Hubert
The term “Syllabus of Errors” traditionally refers to the 80 statements that were published with the encyclical Quanta cura by Pius IX (1846–78) on December 8, 1864 (DH 2901–80). They form a climax in the controversies of the Roman Catholic Church with the intellectual movements of the age, which were a particular concern of the pope in drawing up his Syllabus. It represents, as Cardinal I. Antonelli wrote in an accompanying letter to the bishops, a “Syllabus” of “the most conspicuous errors and false doctrines of this es…


(582 words)

Author(s): Kirchner, Hubert
In the 18th century the term “Ultramontanism” (Lat. “beyond the mountains,” here meaning the Alps) came into polemical use to describe a European Roman Catholicism that was oriented to the pope. The movement developed historically in reaction to national church movements such as Gallicanism, and theologically in opposition to the theses of Justinus Febronius (pseud. of J. N. von Hontheim [1701–90]) that would exalt the rights of bishops at the expense of the papacy (Episcopacy 1). Those who supported papal infallibility and papalism were Ultramonta…

Creed of Pius IV

(295 words)

Author(s): Kirchner, Hubert
Following up on a decision of Trent (Session 24, “Decree on Reform,” cans. 2 and 12), Pius IV in his bull Injunctum nobis (November 13, 1564) required all bishops and holders of pastoral benefices, before taking office, to make a profession of their Catholic faith (Confession of Faith) according to an obligatory formula, often called the Professio fidei Tridentina. This formula contained the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed plus the main doctrinal articles of the Roman Catholic Church on Scripture and tradition, the sacraments, justification, the sacrifi…

Pope, Papacy

(8,276 words)

Author(s): Schilling, Johannes | Kirchner, Hubert | Heinemann, Heribert | Leuze, Reinhard
1. Historical Aspects 1.1. General 1.1.1. To present a history of the popes, church historians must pay particular attention to the distinction between specific historical situations and a presumed logical development (Philosophy of History). Are we to understand the papacy as a divine institution and its history as the entelechy of this nature? Or are we to deal with it as a historical phenomenon with a place in history that we cannot differentiate in principle from that of any other? Even if we ado…