The Catechism of the Council of Trent 1923 [Audiobook]
The Catechism of the Council of Trent

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Catechism of the Council of Trent: All those who had part in the work of the Catechism were instructed to avoid in his composition the particular opinions of individuals and schools, and to express the doctrine of the universal Church, keeping especially in mind the decrees of the Council of Trent. On November 2, 1563 the Council of Trent enjoined on all bishops to see that the Catechism should be faithfully expounded to the people by all parish priests. January 17, 1566 Pope Saint Pius V succeeded Pope Pius IV. One of the first acts of the new Pontiff was to point a number of expert theological revisors to examine every statement in the Catechism from the viewpoint of doctrine.

This Catechism is unlike any other summary of Christian doctrine, it enjoys a unique authority among manuals. It was issued by the express command of the Ecumenical Council of Trent. It subsequently received the unqualified approval of many Sovereign Pontiffs. In his Bull of June 14, 1761, Pope Clement XIII said that the Catechism contains a clear explanation of all that is necessary for salvation and useful for the faithful, that it was composed with great care and industry and has been highly praised by all, that by it in former times the faith was strengthened, and that no other catechism can be compared with it. He concluded than, that the Roman Pontiffs offered this work to pastors as a norm of Catholic teaching and discipline so that there might be uniformity and harmony in the instructions of all.

Pope Leo XIII wrote that, “This work is remarkable at once for the richness and exactness of its doctrine, and for the eloquence of its style; it is a precious summary of all theology, both dogmatic and moral. He who understand it well, will have always at his service those aids by which a priest is enabled to preach with fruit, to acquit himself worthily of the important ministry of the confessional and of the direction of souls, and will be in a position to refute the objections of unbelievers.” Pope Saint Pius X declared that pastors should give catechetical instructions, and for this purpose they should use the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

In addition to Popes and Councils, many Cardinals, Bishops, and other very distinguished and learned ecclesiastics, distinguished for their learning and sanctity, vied with one another in eulogizing the Catechism of Trent. Among other things they have said that not since the days of the Apostles has there been produced in a single volume so complete and practical a summary of Christian doctrine as this Catechism, and that, after the Sacred Scriptures, there is no work that can be read with greater safety and profit.

Cardinal Valerius, the friend of St. Charles Borromeo, wrote of the Catechism: “This work contains all that is needful for the instruction of the faithful; and it is written with such order, clearness, and majesty that through it we seem to hear holy Mother the Church herself, taught by the Holy Ghost, speaking to us. ... It was composed by order of the Fathers of Trent under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and was published by the authority of the Vicar of Christ.” Salmanticenses, the great Carmelite commentators on St. Thomas, paid the following high tribute to the Catechism: “The authority of this Catechism has always been of the greatest in the Church, because it was composed by the command of the Council of Trent, because its authors were men of highest learning, and because it was approved only after the severest scrutiny by Popes Pius V and Gregory the XIII, and has been recommended in nearly all the Council that have been held since the Council of Trent.”

The preceptor of St. Francis de Sales said: “The Catechism of the Council of Trent was inspired by the Holy Ghost.” Dr. John Hagan, Rector of the Irish College in Rome, writes thus: “The Roman Catechism is a work of exceptional authority. At the very least it has the same authority as a dogmatic encyclical, it is an authoritative exposition of Catholic doctrine given forth, and guaranteed to be orthodox by the Catholic Church and her supreme head on earth. The compilation of it was the work of various individuals; but the result of their combined labors was accepted by the Church as a precious abridgment of dogmatic and moral theology. All official documents have occasionally been issued by Popes to explain certain points of Catholic teaching to individuals, or to local Christian communities; whereas the Roman Catechism comprises practically the whole body of Christian doctrine, and is addressed to the whole Church. Its teaching is not infallible; but it holds a place between approved catechisms and what is de fide.” 

Translated into English with notes by Fr. John A. McHugh and Fr. Charles J. Callan. Imprimatur 1923.

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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