In a letter released by the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis has recalled the ‘hermeneutic of reform’ of the Council of Trent, which came to a close 450 years ago.
Writing in Latin, the Pope said: “Heeding indeed the same Spirit, Holy Church of this age even now revives and reflects upon the most glorious Tridentine doctrine.”
“As a matter of fact,” he continued, “the ‘hermeneutic of reform,’ which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI set forth in the year 2005 in the presence of the Roman Curia, relates not less to the Tridentine than to the Vatican Council.”
Pope Francis quoted Pope Benedict’s 2005 address, saying: “In fact, this manner of interpreting places under a brighter light one evident property of the Church that the Lord Himself bestows on her: ‘she is clearly one ‘subject’ which, with the hastening ages, grows and is increased; nevertheless, she always remains the same. And so she is the one subject of the sojourning People of God.’”
In the letter, dated November 19, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Walter Brandmüller as his special envoy to the December celebration the 450th anniversary of the conclusion of the Council of Trent (1545-63). Also known as the Tridentine Council, the ecumenical council was the nineteenth of the Church’s 21 ecumenical councils. 84 year old Cardinal Brandmüller is the president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.
“It is appropriate that the Church recall with a more prompt and attentive zeal the very fruitful doctrine that came to pass from that Council held in the Tyrolean region,” Pope Francis said. “Indeed, not without reason has the Church already for a long time directed such concern to that Council’s decrees and counsels that ought to be commemorated and observed, since, when very grave matters and questions appeared at that time, the Council Fathers applied all diligence, that the Catholic faith might appear distinctly and be better perceived.”
“Indeed, with the Holy Spirit inspiring and prompting, it concerned them chiefly that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine not only be guarded but also shine forth more clearly, that the salvific work of the Lord be spread through the whole world and that the Gospel be extended to all the earth.” (A.S.)
Text of Letter to the 450th anniversary celebrations in Trent.