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You will be so grateful to read The Catechism of the Council of Trent. It's plain language and interesting stories make you proud to be Catholic. You'll exclaim, "That's the answer!", "I always wondered about that.", or "I get it!"
Historically it was more commonly called the Roman Catholic Catechism. Did you know that the Baltimore Catechism is based on the CCT?
Years and years ago, it seemed that it was a big hard book to read. No way. You'll find that it's not any more difficult to read than any other high school catechism and it is so very interesting! You can use it for 11th and 12th grade religion class.
We've used it for several of our children for their high school catechism book and you can too. You'll marvel each time you read it with your next child at the many new things you'll realize or that will apply to some new aspect of your daily life.
This is a very complete book of the Roman Catholic beliefs, that keeps your attention. What's further is that it was written in part by two saints: Pope Saint Pius V and Saint Charles Borromeo.
The introductory pages are one of the best histories of a book that you will ever read. The prefatory article really helps you understand why it took so long to publish the Roman catechism in the first place. It explains a long list of who was involved in the Council and its catechism. The effort to publish a good English translation was another super interesting story that teaches the importance of choosing the right words in a catechism.
The Council of Trent's (1545-1563) "main object was the definitive determination of the doctrines of the Church in answer to the heresies of the Protestants; a further object was the execution of a thorough reform of the inner life of the Church by removing the numerous abuses that had developed in it." (Trent, Council of; Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912)
The Council met at a small town in the Austrian Tyrol, named Tridentum which translates in English as Trent. It produced a large number of canons and decrees and condemned the errors of the Protestant Reformation. "Of the twenty Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church, the Council of Trent is universally regarded as the greatest-in the scope of its discussion, in the number of its pronouncements, and in the extent of its influence."
The Council made pronouncements on justification, the seven sacraments, the Catholic Eucharist, the nature of the Latin Mass (See the Incredible Catholic Mass), Transubstantiation, the sacraments of Catholic Penance, Extreme Unction, Marriage and Holy Orders, and numerous other topics of doctrine and discipline.
Among these were the confirmation of the Nicene Creed, the authenticity of the Latin Vulgate Bible and the canonicity of all and only the books contained therein, definition of the doctrine of Original Sin, affirmation of the doctrine of Purgatory and the invocation of the saints and veneration of them and their relics, and the nature and application of indulgences. The Council also called for the revision of the Breviary, publishing of a formal catechism (The Catechism of the Council of Trent), and the standardization of the Roman Missal, all of which were accomplished by St. Pius V.
Pope St. Pius V reigned at the end of this Council of the Catholic Church and was the one who standardized the Traditional Latin Mass which is one reason that many call it the Tridentine Mass or Mass of St. Pius V. "One of the first acts of the new Pontiff was to appoint a number of expert theological revisors to examine every statement in the Catechism from the viewpoint of doctrine." (Intro to The Catechism of the CCT, xxv)
Here is what Tan Books says: "General Description: In a brief pontificate of six years, Pope St. Pius V (1566-1572) vigorously promulgated the decrees of the Council (1545-1563), issued the Roman Missal, the revised Breviary, and the Catechism called by the same name (all of which has served the Church for more than 400 years), plus excommunicated Elizabeth I of England, established the Index of Forbidden Books, chose 314 bishops, wrote hundreds of bulls, and gathered an allied Christian force which destroyed the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, bringing to an end their dominance of the Mediterranean Sea. In this brief, popular biography Professor Anderson scrutinizes the character, virtues and achievements of a saint who has to have been one of the greatest Popes of all time." What a wonder!!!
The Catechism of the Council of Trent (CCT) has been the concise standard for adult Catholic Religious Education. It took two centuries to finalize a standard edition in a worthy English translation which was not available until the end of the 1800's! See Tan Books' version to see the history of the English translation of the CCT. It is an excellent example of the difficulties in publishing an excellent book!
"St. Charles Borromeo was appointed to succeed ... as president of the Catechism committee ... To complete the work the new president enlisted the services of several more theologians ... St. Charles called to its service the greatest masters of the Latin tongue of that age." (Intro to The Catechism of the CCT, xxiv)
It is a consolation to see saints as the main contributors in charge of the Council of Trent and its Catechism. You will appreciate its concise presentation, easy readability, the interesting stories, and the many connections made to Bible stories and the Traditions of the Catholic Church!
The CCT is the most well known fruit of the Council and is available today from many companies and is even printed online by several.
Your favorite edition will be the old Tan Books version by John A. McHugh, OP and Charles J. Callan. The only difference from other publications of the same version that you'll find is the beautiful pictorial plate of "The Chair In Which St. Peter Sat As Bishop Of Rome". The other versions seem the same all the way through this edition except for this picture.
This way the faithful are more likely to learn what they should learn to be able to keep, practice and defend the Faith. The introductory pages say that this Sermon Program "embraces a complete course in Christian doctrine. The subjects are drawn from the Gospels and Epistles of the Sundays and Feasts, and are treated in the pages of this Catechism as referred to." (Page xxxix) Each year would then cover the whole course in Christian doctrine. Imagine that! The world would be a better place today if more priests would actually use this book.
You'll be edified by the explanations in The Catechism of Trent especially since it used the Douay-Rheims Bible for its quotes, expansions of ideas, and stories of the saints WITHOUT prevarication or dissipation of the basic Catholic beliefs.
The Council had its own documents and findings, and these are found in the book called The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent.
You will find it available from the many Catholic companies that carry Tan Books.
The Catechism itself was "ordered by the Council", so it's the go to source for reading about the actual council.
A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture combines the Bible and the catechism. I wish all books were this good.
If you like these books, you might also like these pages:
Use these printables in your Roman Catholic catechism class, Faith formation, or Sunday school lesson. ~Mary Fifer
If you use the Baltimore Catechism, you'll love SaintAnnesHelper.com!