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The Roman Catechism or Catechism of the Council of Trent , published was commissioned during the Catholic Counter-Reformation by the Council of Trent , to expound doctrine and to improve the theological understanding of the clergy.
It differs from other summaries of Christian doctrine for the instruction of the people in two points: it is primarily intended for priests having care of souls ad parochos , and it enjoyed an authority within the Catholic Church equalled by no other catechism until the Catechism of the Catholic Church The need of a popular authoritative manual arose from a lack of systematic knowledge among pre-Reformation clergy and the concomitant neglect of religious instruction among the faithful.
During the Protestant Reformation , the popular tracts and catechisms of Martin Luther , John Calvin and other Reformers were sold in areas controlled by Protestant monarchs, who determined the faith in their region see: Cuius regio, eius religio.
Catholic Catechisms, published by individuals existed as well. This catechism was directed to clergy. It included large parts of the Canisius catechisms including his addition to the Hail Mary : Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners. The Fathers of the council said they wished "to apply a salutary remedy to this great and pernicious evil, and thinking that the definition of the principal Catholic doctrines was not enough for the purpose, resolved also to publish a formulary and method for teaching the rudiments of the faith, to be used by all legitimate pastors and teachers" Cat.
This resolution was taken in the eighteenth session 26 February on the suggestion of Charles Borromeo ; who was then giving full scope to his zeal for the reformation of the clergy. Pius IV entrusted the composition of the Catechism to four distinguished theologians: . Three cardinals were appointed to supervise the work.
Charles Borromeo superintended the redaction of the original Italian text, which was finished in Cardinal William Sirletus then gave it the final touches, and the famous Humanists, Julius Pogianus and Paulus Manutius , translated it into classical Latin. Translations into the vernacular of every nation were ordered by the Council Sess.
The Council intended the projected Catechism to be the Church's official manual of popular instruction. The seventh canon, "De Reformatione", of Sess. XXIV, runs: "That the faithful may approach the Sacraments with greater reverence and devotion, the Holy Synod charges all the bishops about to administer them to explain their operation and use in a way adapted to the understanding of the people; to see, moreover, that their parish priests observe the same rule piously and prudently, making use for their explanations, where necessary and convenient, of the vernacular tongue; and conforming to the form to be prescribed by the Holy Synod in its instructions catechesis for the several Sacraments: the bishops shall have these instructions carefully translated into the vulgar tongue and explained by all parish priests to their flocks.
In the mind of the Church the Catechism, though primarily written for the parish priests, was also intended to give a fixed and stable scheme of instruction to the faithful, especially with regard to the means of grace, so much neglected at the time.
To attain this object the work closely follows the dogmatic definitions of the Council. It is divided in four parts: . It deals with the papal primacy , a point which was not defined at Trent; on the other hand, it is silent on the doctrine of indulgences , which is set forth in the "Decretum de indulgentiis", Sess. The bishops urged in every way the use of the new Catechism; they enjoined its frequent reading, so that all its contents would be committed to memory; they exhorted the priests to discuss parts of it at their meetings, and insisted upon its being used for instructing the people.
To some editions of the Roman Catechism was prefixed a "Praxis Catechismi", i. The Catechism has not of course the authority of conciliary definitions or other primary symbols of faith; for, although decreed by the Council, it was only published a year after the Fathers had dispersed, and it consequently lacks a formal conciliary approbation.
During the heated controversies de auxiliis gratiae between the Thomists and Molinists , the Jesuits refused to accept the authority of the Catechism as decisive. Yet it possesses high authority as an exposition of Catholic doctrine. It was composed by order of a council, issued and approved by the Pope; its use has been prescribed by numerous synods throughout the whole Church; Pope Leo XIII , in a letter to the French bishops of 8 September , recommended the study of the Roman Catechism to all seminarians, and Pope Pius X signified his desire that preachers should expound it to the faithful.
Kerver", ; "Venetiis, apud Aldum", ; and Ingolstadt, Sartorius. In appeared at Antwerp the "Cat. This editor, A. Le Fevre, died in He probably made this division of the Roman Catechism into questions and answers in George Eder , in , arranged the Catechism for the use of schools. He distributed the main doctrines into sections and subsections and added perspicuous tables of contents. This work bears the title: "Methodus Catechismi Catholici". An American edition appeared in the same year.
Buckley London, , which is more elegant than Donovan's and claims to be more correct, but is spoiled by the doctrinal notes of the Anglican translator. The first German translation, by Paul Hoffaeus , is dated Dillingen, An anonymous translation appeared in ; but it is so unfaithful and even ludicrously absurd, that it might be regarded rather as a burlesque, than a translation, of the decrees. The quote from Waterworth is referring to another book printed anonymously in , which is a translation of the Decrees and Cannons of the Council of Trent.
This book is not attributed to Bromley by Dodd, or by Gillow himself. The DNB does make this attribution, but only on conjecture saying:.
The DNB lists as references several sources, but fails to list one that substantiates this supposition. This confusion in Gillow, and statement by Waterworth is all the more unjustified, since the biographical notice in Dodd states that Bromley is a good scholar in the classics, suggesting the translation of the Catechism was not one that would warrant such a derogatory comment.
In any event I have compared the translations in very many places, particularly in areas of very important matter such as the treatment of the Eucharist. The Bromley edition is heavily annotated with Scriptural and Early Church Father references in the margins. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. His Bromley biography includes a quote from J. Religious texts.
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