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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Council of Trent (1545–63) dedicated most of its dogmatic decrees to the sacraments and spoke on all seven. The council did so throughout in order to defend the existing ecclesial praxis and the theology underlying it against the challenges posed by the Reformers, but not with a consistently Counter-Reformation intent. This is also true for the Catechismus Romanus (1566), which was commissioned by the council. Although the council did not pass judgment on inner-Catholic differences of opinion, instead leaving these to theological discussion, on the whole, a rather Thomistic perspective prevailed. Post-Tridentine Catholic polemical theology, which focused more on rejection of the Reformation positions and differences between the respective sacramental theologies and sacramental practices, led, just like the Reformation efforts in the opposite direction, to a hardening of positions. This disappeared only in recent times in the wake of ecumenical dialogue—to which historical research on Trent has contributed.

Keywords: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, Transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the Mass, Communion from the chalice, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, marriage

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