CHAPTER IV. THE COUNTER-REFORMATION
At the same time danger threatened the council from another quarter. The Emperor, Ferdinand I. had put forward a very comprehensive scheme of reform. Some portions of this were considered by the legates to be prejudicial to the rights of the Holy See, and were therefore rejected by them after consultation with the Pope. Ferdinand annoyed by their action asserted that there was no liberty at the council, that it was being controlled entirely from Rome, and that the assembly at Trent had become merely a machine for confirming what had been decreed already on the other side of the Alps. At his request several of his supporters left Trent and joined him at Innsbruck, where a kind of opposition assembly was begun. Cardinal Morone, realising fully the seriousness of the situation, betook himself to Innsbruck (April 1563) for a personal interview with the Emperor. The meeting had the result of clearing away many of the misunderstandings that had arisen, and of bringing about a compromise. At the same time the Pope wrote a letter pointing out that it was only reasonable that the Head of the Church, not being present at the council, should be consulted by his legates in all important matters that might arise.
Meanwhile the council was still engaged in discussing the authority of the bishops. On the ground that the Fathers should define at one and the same time both the rights of the bishops and the rights of the Holy See Cardinal Guise, who represented the Gallican school of thought, brought forward certain proposals highly derogatory to the prerogatives of the Pope. In face of this counter-move the legates were firm but conciliatory. They pointed out that the whole question of the jurisdiction of the Holy See had been decided already by the Council of Florence and that the decrees of Florence could not be watered down at Trent. On this question the Italian bishops found themselves supported by the vast majority of the Spanish, Austro- German and Portuguese representatives; but in deference to the request of the Pope, who wished that nothing should be defined unless with the unanimous consent of the Fathers, and to the feelings of the French, whose secession from the council was anticipated, it was agreed to issue no decree on the subject. As the supreme authority of the Pope had been recognised implicitly by the council no definition was required.
As a result of the negotiations inside and outside the council it was possible to hold the 23rd public session on the 15th July 1563. In this it was defined that the priesthood of the New Law was instituted by Christ, that there were seven orders in the Church about two of which, the priesthood ('de sacerdotibus) and the diaconate ( 'de diaconis) express mention is made in the Scriptures, that the bishops who have succeeded to the place of the Apostles pertain especially to the hierarchy and are superior to priests, that neither the consent of the people nor of the civil power is necessary for the valid reception of orders, and that bishops who are appointed by the authority of the Roman Pontiff are true bishops. The question whether the duty of episcopal residence is de jure divino, about which such a protracted and heated controversy had been waged, was settled amicably by deciding that the bishops as pastors are bound by divine command to know their flocks, and that they cannot do this unless they reside in their dioceses. At this session there were present four cardinals, three patriarchs, twenty-five archbishops and one hundred and ninety- three bishops.
Many of the bishops were anxious to return to their dioceses, and nearly all of them hoped for a speedy conclusion of the council. The Pope, the Emperor, and the King of France were in agreement, though for different reasons, in endeavouring to dissolve the assembly as soon as possible. The sacrament of Matrimony was next proposed for discussion. The French party wished that marriages contracted without the consent of the parents as well as clandestine marriages should be declared invalid, but the council refused to make the validity of marriage dependent upon parental consent. In deference to the wishes of Venice, which stood in close relation to the Greeks, it was agreed to define merely that the Church does not err when she states in accordance with the apostolic and evangelic teaching that the bond of marriage is not broken by adultery. In the 24th public session (11th Nov. 1563) the decrees on Matrimony were proclaimed.