Professio Fidei, Tridentinae

Professio Fidei, Tridentinae is the form of the Roman Catholic profession of faith in which it took shape at the Council of Trent and in which it was afterwards published by pope Pius IV, so that it is sometimes called the Creed of Pius IV (q.v.). The general Christian confession of faith had been renewed in the third session of the Council of Trent on Feb. 3, 1546 (decretum de symbolofidei), but there was need of something for general use in the Church at large, so that all its members might become obligated to the Church and its teachings, not only for their own faithfulness, but for their arrayal against heretics. Hence Pius IV in 1556 ordered to be prepared a Formulae Christiuane et Catholicce Fidei, and on Sept. 4,1560, presented it for consideration to the cardinal college. In 1564 it was finally promulgated, and persons on becoming members of the Church of Rome are expected to recite the creed. This profession of faith runs as follows:

"I most steadfastly admit and embrace apostolical and ecclesiastical traditions; and all other observances and constitutions of the same Church.

"I also admit the holy Scriptures, according to that sense which our holy mother the Church has held and does hold, to which it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures: neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the fathers.

"I also profess that there are truly and properly seven sacraments of the new law, instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, and necessary for the salvation of mankind, though not all for every one-to wit: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance,* extreme unction, holy orders,† and matrimony: and that they confer grace; and that of these, baptism, confirmation, and order cannot be reiterated without sacrilege. I also receive and admit. the received and approved ceremonies of the Catholic Church, used in the solemn administration of the aforesaid sacraments.

"I embrace and receive all and every one of the things which have been defined and declared in the holy Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification.

"I profess, likewise, that in the mass there is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there is truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ: land that there is made a change of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole sublstlance of the wine into the blood, which change the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation. I also confess that under either kind alone Christ is received whole and entire, and a true sacrament.

"I firmly hold that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful.

" Likewise, that the saints reigning with Christ are to be honored and invocated, and that they offer up prayers to God for us; and that their relics are to be had in veneration.

"I most firmly assert that the images of Christ, of the mother of God, and also of other saints, ought to be had and retained, and that due honor and veneration are to be given them.

"I also affirm that the power of indulgences was left by Christ in the Church, and that the use of them is most wholesome to Christian people.

"I acknowledge the holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church for the mother and mistress of all churches; and I promise true obedience to the bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter, prince of the apostles, and vicar of Jesus Christ." Then follow clauses condemnatory of all contrary doctrines, and expressive of adhesion to all the definitions of the Council of Trent.

It is obvious that the Confessio Fidei Tridentinae was framed in accordance to the decrees of that council, and has chiefly in view the opinions of those who followed the Reformation. See Mihler, Symbolics; Kollner, Die Symbolik der romischen Kirche, p. 141 sq.; Schaff, Creeds of Christendom (see Index in vol. iii); Fisher, Hist. of the Reformation, p. 402.

* Under penance is included confession, as the Catholic sacrament of penance consists of three parts — contrition or sorrow, confession, and satisfaction.

† The clerical orders of the Catholic Church are divided into two classes, sacred and minor orders. The first consists of subdeacons, deacons, and priests, who are bound to celibacy, and the daily recitation of the Breviary, or collection of psalms and prayers, occupying a considerable time. The minor orders are four in number, and ale preceded by the tonsure, an ecclesiastical ceremony in which the hair is shorn, initiatory to the ecclesiastical state.

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