What was the importance of the Council of Trent

Essay by cheskiesCollege, UndergraduateA, May 2008

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It is understandable that five hundred years worth of corruption could not be removed in the immediate short term after the Council of Trent, but the Council did indeed try to end such problems and it certainly reaffirmed the Catholic faith. It may have taken many years before the effects of Trent had success on a ground roots level as they were implemented, but nevertheless Trent was very important in bringing about the emergence of a stronger Papacy in spiritual terms as well as ensuring that Protestantism could no longer attack the church with the curtailing of church abuses and putting much of the Church’s own house in order. As Euan Cameron put it, ‘Trent saw the Catholic Church drop some of the excesses of the medieval period, affirm the role of the Catholic church and attack the exaggerated parodies of Protestant teaching.’The first significant factor about the Council of Trent is that is actually met.

It was of the utmost importance to religious development as it actually took place. Even Luther wanted a general Council called to be the arbiters in the dispute regarding his criticisms of the Church- when it finally did he claimed that ‘the remedy comes too late.’ Similarly Contorinni had wanted a General Council in the 1520’s as did Charles V, but Popes had often viewed councils with suspicion as they could be used to check their power. Previously the outcomes of councils in the early fifteenth century had been less than desirable for the authority of the Pope. Such a council of this significance was the Council of Constance in 1414-1418 which had claimed that supreme authority in the Church lay with the General Councils and not the Pope. Equally, a Council could lead to reform and to many Popes this was undesirable...