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30 Events That Shaped the Church

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I've been reading a book with this title, published this year by Baker Books.  One of those events author Alton Gansky mentions is the Council of Trent.  Some of the things he mentions about this church council are interesting:


1.  The council naturally enough was called to straighten out the church so it could fight the Protestant Reformation.  Cleaning up little items like priests and bishops having illegal families (most common) was part of its job. Many of the Catholic clergy didn't even live or serve in places from which they were getting salaries. And indulgence selling was out of hand.


2.  The council lasted 18 years with a pretty poor attendance record - 255 out 700 officials who could have attended did so (and this was a high point). At one point, there was a ten-year suspension in the council's activities.  They met in (for its time) a very small Italian city barely able to cope with the influx of visitors.


3.  According to the author, the Council of Trent made it clear that Catholics and Protestants were not coming back together anytime soon due to the doctrinal differences. Protestants, for example, had two sacraments, the Catholics seven.


4.  None of the three popes active during the council's existence visited the council, but they guided it from afar by means of messengers.


5.  The rules put forth by the council guided the Catholic Church for 417 years (until Vatican II).

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