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Council of Trent

Trent, Council of, series of 3 conferences held in Trent, Italy, by leaders of the Roman Catholic church in the mid-16th century. Convened by Pope Paul III in 1545 to counteract the Protestant Reformation in Europe, the council did much to define Catholic doctrine and bring about a Counter-Reformation. The first council, which lasted until 1547, established the Catholic church's sole right to interpret the Scriptures and took issue with the Protestant interpretations of sin and salvation. The second council (1551–52) defined the nature of the sacraments and reaffirmed the validity of the rituals practiced in Holy Communion. The third council (1562–63) defended the controversial granting of pardons (indulgences) for the commission of certain sins, approved prayers to the saints, and established seminaries for training the priesthood. The council's actions became part of the Catholic doctrine by papal confirmation in 1564.

See also: Counter-Reformation.

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