intrigues, delays and then the opening dugs
Fr. J. S
Crehan; S .J .
A HISTORY OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT, vol. 1, by H. Jedin (Nelsons, 70s.). THE story of the Council of trent is Like the Aeneid of Vergil in that so many difficulties have to be encountered before the place of destiny has been reached. Aeneas has been with us for some six books before he gets down in earnest to his Italian tnission. and the whole of this first volume of Mgr. tedin's story is taken up with the plans and intrigues and delays that went • before; it is only in his last chapter that he gives us art account of the opening of the Council on December 13, 154a, Yet the hook a, immensely valuable for the light it throes rico only on the Lei gi,,ersalions iii kings and envoys, but also for showing how the creative mind of God uses human error so as to cause Divine Truth to appear snore brightly. During all these delays the purpose of the Council was gradually being made plainer. At first. when the bishop of Vienna suggested that a library ahould he gathered of heretical works. the text of the Bible edited more carefully. some 50 copies of the Proceedings of earlier councils made available, manuscripts purchesed and a committee, of theologians set up. he was greeted with dismay. hut in the end it was found that all these things had to be done. 'the first idea was that no more would he needed than to reissue in a solemiw form the piecemeal and local condemnations of Luther that were already on record. and then go home.
IT will be gratifying to English
historians to read here how great a value is set by the author, who is one of the greatest experts on his period, upon the writings of St. John Fisher. whom he regards as surpassing es-en the Louvain group of theologians in Byllllllllllll 11.1111”/W1.1
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his influence on the future Council, vihich did not meet till 10 years after his martyrdom. One of thrise rare controversialists Vi ht: do not merels, fight but persuade. because they. look for the vein of gold even in an opponent," is the verdict of Mgr. ledin on Fisher. I le has also succeeded in " placing " that labs onthine character, Bishop Tunstall, emong the Erasmians, where he. certainly belongs. The English corner of the parallelogram of forces Which then dominated the European scene is not neglected in this histors. and the fear of the Pope that I.rancis I of France might " go off in the English fashion," if provoked, is shown not to have been unfounded. The Emperor's suspicions of Cardinal Pole, which are noted over the matter of the assembling of the Council, were destined to have much more serious eonsequences for England later on, vvhen the Emperor delayed his return to this country in Mary s time,
rrHE logistics of the Council -Iare dealt with, how many loads of hay and oats for the horses were brought into Trent, the choice of place is examined tone of the alternatives having been Cambrai, to which town Henry VIII might have been tempted to send envoys), and in short this is the complete history of the eeclesiastical policies of some ao years preceding the Couneil. all brought op to dale and more fully dealt %kith than they are in Pastor, whose account is no+, beginning to) show the signs of age. It is a story that should he read by anyone who has to do with the painfully slow busiaess of striving to promote the reunion of the churches. for he will find mans. inducements to patience in this book. He will also find clearly exposed hoe the central problem for the Council was not so much that of justification. stiff less indulgences or Purgatory, hut the problem of the theological idea of the Clairol,. 'the wansattion hs Dom E. Graf reads very smoothly and has no hint or the longer periodic sentences that are more habitual in German.