Era of Reform Council of Trent
(1545 - 1563)
Era of Reform

Council enacting Roman Catholic reform.

The Council of Trent reinforced
papal authority

The Council of Trent met intermittently in several sessions over the course of eighteen years. With respect to doctrine, the Council of Trent decisively rejected Protestant proposals and reiterated Roman Catholic doctrine in unequivocal terms. In matters of practice, on the other hand, the Council of Trent took strongly reformatory measures. The cornerstone of the tridentine reforms was the renewal of the episcopacy. Bishops were required to be resident in their dioceses and numerous abuses of the episcopacy were curbed. Bishops were given new responsibilities for life and faith in their jurisdictions and also accorded new authority over the religious orders operating in their jurisdictions. At the same time, episcopal accountability to Rome was reinforced. The decrees of the Council of Trent and its spirit continue to animate the modern Roman Catholic Church and help account for its extraordinary capacity to adapt itself to the modern world.

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