Archbishop of Reggio's Sermon
to the Council of Trent on the Power of the Church:
By Our Authority The Sabbath Was Changed To Sunday!


    This Society of Jesus proposed to subordinate the Holy Scriptures and in their place substitute the interpretations of the Bible by the ecclesiastical writers of the first centuries whom they called the “fathers.” All the errors and vagaries of the allegorizers who confused and darkened the first three centuries were selected. The first great papal council which assembled after the Reformation, the Council of Trent (A. D. 1545-1563), was dominated by the Jesuits. This assembly laid down the law, and no papal authority has dared since to dispute it.
    In assembling this church council, Emperor Charles V gave the order that only the abuses in the church, not doctrine, should be considered. He was distracted to behold his realm divided between two contending churches, and it mattered little to him which creed prevailed. He only wished some general assembly to remedy conditions. The emperor desired Lutherans and Catholics to sit together in a general council, and he fondly believed Europe again would be united.
    The influence of the Jesuits was immediately seen when the pope ignored the imperial command to notify the Reformers. Weeks passed, and finally the council organized itself and accepted the following as its first four decrees: (1) The Vulgate was the true Bible and not the Received Text which the Reformers followed and which had been the Bible of the Greek Church, the Church of the east, and the true churches of the West through the centuries; (2) tradition was of equal authority with the Sacred Scriptures; (3) the five disputed books found in the Catholic Bible, but rejected by Protestant scholars, were declared canonical; (4) the priests only, and not the laity, were capable of rightly interpreting the Scriptures.7
    When the emperor learned that the Protestants had not been called to the council, he was enraged. Uttering severe threats, he demanded that his original plan be executed. Though the pope reluctantly and with long delay obeyed, the decrees already passed irrevocably compromised the situation. The Lutherans refused to accept the insulting notifications. In the meantime the pope had died and his successor advocated Jesuit policies. The deliberations proceeded as they had begun. Decree after decree was proclaimed; doctrine after doctrine was settled. Repeatedly the emperor was misled until he expressed his anger strongly to the Roman pontiff over the deceitful maneuvering.
    How were the church prelates to defend these doctrines which had no scriptural authority?
    Hours, weeks, and months; yes, many sessions went by with this anxious question in their hearts. Then, one morning, January 18, 1562, the archbishop of Rheggio hurried from his room and appeared before his confreres to proclaim that he had the answer. Protestants, he urgently reasoned, never could defend Sunday sacredness,8 If they continued to offer as their authority “the Bible and the Bible only,” it was clear that they had no Bible command for the first day of the week. According to Pallavicini, papal champion of the council, the archbishop said, “It is then evident that the church has power to change the commandments,” because by its power alone and not by the preaching of Jesus it had transferred the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.9 Tradition, they concluded, was not antiquity, but continuous inspiration. None could continue to fight the acceptance of tradition when the only authority for Sunday sacredness in the church was tradition. This discovery nerved the council to go forward with its work.
    All the doctrines against which the Reformers had protested were thus again formulated and strengthened by Rome. All the rites and practices which the Church in the Wilderness had straggled to escape were incorporated more strongly than ever into papal tradition by the twenty-five sessions of the council between 1545 and 1563.
    Henceforth, the Papacy was to have only one mission in the world, namely, to command nations and men everywhere to submit to the Council of Trent. The new slogan now invented, which must go reverberating throughout the earth, was, “The Council of Trent, the Council of Trent, the Council of Trent.”

7 Froude, The Council of Trent, pp. 174, 175; Muir, The Arrested Reformation, pages 152, 153; also M'Clintock and Strong, Cyclopedia, art. "The Council of Trent."
8 Holtzman, Kanon und Tradition, page 263. (see 1444 below)
9 Pallavicini, Histoire du Concile de Trent, vol. 2, cols. 1031, 1032.

Source: Truth Triumphant, the Church in the Wilderness, by Benjamin George Wilkinson, Pacific Press, 1944, reprints 1994, Teach Services, Inc., ISBN 0-945383-85-1, pgs. 317-318, and 2004, Hartland Publications, ISBN 0-923309-32-2, pgs. 308-310.

1443. Sabbath, Change of, Cited as Proof That Tradition Is Above Scripture

Source: Gaspare [Ricciulli] de Fosso (Archbishop of Reggio), Address in the 17th session of the Council of Trent, Jan. 18*, 1562, in Mansi SC, Vol. 33, cols. 529, 530. Latin.  [ Gian Domenico Mansi, "Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio"]

[col. 529] Such is the condition of the heretics of this age that on nothing do they rely more than that, under the pretense of the word of God, they overthrow the authority of the church; as though the church, His body, could be opposed to the word of Christ, or the head to the body. On the contrary, the authority of the church, then, is illustrated most clearly by the Scriptures; for while on the one hand she recommends them, declares them to be divine, [col. 530] offers them to us to be read, in doubtful matters explains them faithfully, and condemns whatever is contrary to them; on the other hand, the legal precepts in the Scriptures taught by the Lord have ceased by virtue of the same authority. The Sabbath, the most glorious day in the law, has been changed into the Lord’s day. Circumcision, enjoined upon Abraham and his seed under such threatening that he who had not been circumcised would be destroyed from among his people, has been so abrogated that the apostle asserts: "If ye be circumcised, ye have fallen from grace, and Christ shall profit you nothing." These and other similar matters have not ceased by virtue of Christ’s teaching (for He says He has come to fulfill the law, not to destroy it), but they have been changed by the authority of the church. Indeed, if she should be removed (since there must be heresies), who would set forth truth, and confound the obstinacy of heretics? All things will be confused, and soon heresies condemned by her authority will spring up again. [See No. 1444.]

Sed tempus est, ut ad illius auctoritatem (unde digressi sumus) revertamur : & in ea insistendum est; talis enim est hujus ævi hæreticorum conditio, ut in nullam rem magis incumbant, quam ut sub prætextu verbi Dei ecclesiæ auctoritatem evertant : ac si verbo Christi corpus ejus ecclesia, vel corpori caput posset adversari; quinimo auctoritas ecclesiæ tunc a scripturis maxime illustratur, dum eas commendat, divinas esse [530] declarat, nobis legendas exhibet, in dubiis fideliter exponit, & eis contraria condemnat, dum legalia in scripturis præcepta a domino eadem auctoritate cessarunt. Dies sabbati in lege celeberrimus transiit in Dominicam : circumcisio Abrahæ & semini ejus ea sub comminatione ordinata, ut cujus præputii caro circumcisa non fuerit, deleretur de populo suo : sic sublata est, ut apostolus obtestetur, si circumcidamini, excidistis a gratia, & Christus nihil vobis prodest. Hæc, & his similia non Christi prædicatione cessarunt (ait enim se venisse implere legem, non solvere) sed auctoritate ecclesiæ mutata sunt : etenim si ea tolleretur (cum oporteat hæreses esse ) quis ostendet veritatem, & hæreticorum confundet pertinaciam ? erunt confusa omnia, redeuntibus mox hæresibus illius auctoritate damnatis.

* As noted in the decree issued the first day of the 17th session of the Council of Trent, January 18 was the Catholic festival of the chair of St Peter at Rome (Cathedrae Romanae S. Petri). Pope Paul IV had in 1558, in the midst of the Reformation, and the Council of Trent convened to deal with it, established this feast day to celebrate the power and authority of the Bishop of Rome and the Holy See; particularly his magisterial authority in proclaiming doctrine ex cathedra, (from the chair of Peter), which is to say with infallibility. In 1962 Pope John XXIII moved the feast to February 22, combining it and the feast of the chair of Peter at Antioch, though some traditionalist Catholics continue to observe separate feasts. At the Vatican, on the feast of the chair of St. Peter, now Feb. 22, and the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul on June 29, the enthroned bronze statue of Peter near the altar of St. Peter's basilica is customarily dressed in vestments and a papal triple tiara placed on its head in celebration of the authority of the papacy.

The full Latin text of de Fosso's sermon, given at St. Vigilio Cathedral on Sunday, Jan. 18, 1562, to the Council of Trent, is also found online in:

Monumentorum Ad Historiam Concilii Tridentini Potissimum Illustrandam Spectantium Amplissima Collectio: Complectens Conciones, Volume 1, Josse Le Plat, 1781. pgs. 309-318.

1444. Sabbath, Change of—Cited in Council of Trent as Proof that Tradition Is Above Scripture

Source: Heinrich Julius Holtzmann, Kanon und Tradition ("Canon and Tradition") (Ludwigsburg: Druck and Verlag von Ferd. Riehm, 1859), p. 263. German.

The Council [of Trent] agreed fully with Ambrosius Pelargus, that under no condition should the Protestants be allowed to triumph by saying that the council had condemned the doctrine of the ancient church. But this practice caused untold difficulty without being able to guarantee certainty. For this business, indeed, ‘well-nigh divine prudence’ was requisite—which the Spanish ambassador acknowledged as belonging to the council on the sixteenth of March, 1562. Indeed, thus far they had not been able to orient themselves to the interchanging, crisscrossing, labyrinthine, twisting passages of an older and newer concept of tradition. But even in this they were to succeed. Finally, at the last opening [see editors’ note] on the eighteenth of January, 1562, all hesitation was set aside: [Gaspar de Fosso] the Archbishop of Reggio made a speech [see No. 1443] in which he openly declared that tradition stood above Scripture. The authority of the church could therefore not be bound to the authority of the Scriptures, because the church had changed circumcision into baptism, Sabbath into Sunday, not by the command of Christ, but by its own authority. With this, to be sure, the last illusion was destroyed, and it was declared that tradition does not signify antiquity, but continual inspiration.

[Editors’ note: This "last opening" of the Council of Trent was not the last day, but the opening of the 17th session, the first meeting of the last series of sessions that was opened, after a lapse of time, under a new pope. The council was in session for longer or shorter periods over a series of years.]

Source for entries 1443, 1444: Neufeld, Don F.,  Seventh-day Adventist Bible Student’s Source Book, Don F. Neufeld and Julia Neuffer.—Washington, D.C., Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1962, pgs. 887-888.

Adonque conforme alla presa deliberazione, venuto il di diciotta, si fece la Processione di tutto 'l Clero della città, de' Theologi, & Prelati, che, oltrei Cardinali, erano cento dodici mitrati, accompagnati dalle famiglie loro, & guardati da molti paesani armati, caminando dalla Chiesa di San Pietro alla Catedrale; dove il Cardinale di Mantoua cantò la Messa dello Spirito Santo: & Gasparo dal Fosso, Arcivescovo di Reggio, fece l'orazione: Hebbe per soggetto trattar dell'autorità della Chiesa, del Primato del Papa, & della potestà de' concilii; disse l'autorità della Chiesa non esser minore di quella della parola di Dio; che la Chiesa ha mutato il Sabbato, da Dio già ordinato, nella Domenica, & levata la Circoncisione, già strettamente dalla Maestà divina commandata; che questi precetti, non per la predicazione di Cristo, ma per autorità della Chiesa sono mutati. Rivoltosi anco a' Padri, gli conforto ad adoperarsi constantmete contra i Protestanti, con certezza che, si come lo Spirito Santo non puo errare, cosi eglino non possono ingannarsi.

Therefore in conformity with the resolution, when the eighteenth day was come, a procession was made of the whole clergy of the city of the divines and prelates, who besides the cardinals were one hundred and twelve that wore the mitre, accompanied by their families and guarded by many of the country people armed, going from St. Peter's Church to the Cathedral; where the Cardinal of Mantoua sang the Mass of the Holy Ghost and Gasparo dal Fosso, Archbishop of Reggio, made the sermon: His subject was the authority of the Church, the primacy of the Pope, and the power of Councils: he said that the Church had as much authority as the word of God and that the Church had changed the sabbath ordained by God into Sunday, taking away the Circumcision formerly commanded by the divine Majesty, and that the precepts are changed, not by the preaching of Christ, but by the authority of the Church. Turning himself unto the fathers, he exhorted them to labour constantly against the Protestants, being assured, that, as the Holy Ghost could not err, so neither could they be deceived.

Source: Historia del Concilio Tridentino, Second Edition, Book 6, 1629, by Paolo Sarpi (Pietro Soave Polano), pgs. 479 - 480. 
Another 1629 printing online at Google Books.
An 1858 printing.

The English translation is found in Ecclesia Restaurata; Or The History Of The Reformation Of The Church Of England, by Peter Heylyn, D.D., Vol. 2, Cambridge, 1849, pg. 365.

    January 18. which was the Day appointed for the opening of the Council, all the Prelates, to the number of 112. and those who had a Right to assist at the Council, being assembled at St. Peter's Church, went from thence in Procession to the Cathedral; where the Cardinal of Mantua Sang the Mass of the Holy Ghost and Gaspar del Fosso, Archbishop of Reggio, Preached. He discoursed about the Authority of the Church, and of Councils: He began with telling them, That the Authority of the Church was not less than that of the Scriptures, because it received it from God; so that "whoever hears it, hears God; and whoever despiseth it, despiseth God: That the Church alone has Power to distinguish Canonical Books from Apocryphal, Catholick from Heretical; to interpret the Scriptures Faithfully, to reject whatsoever may he hurtful, and to embrace what may be profitable: That this was the reason of St. Augustin's saying, I should not believe the Gospel, if I were not induced to it by the Authority of the Church: That what they called the Church, was the Assembly of the Faithful, and of Prelates, which cannot err, because it is enlightened by the Holy Ghost; by Jesus Christ its Head; and that whosoever does

pg. 188

not acquiesce in its Determinations, opposes Jesus Christ himself, and ought to be esteemed as a Heathen Man and a Publican: That those do not deserve to be heard, who would have the Determinations of Councils examined over again, especially if they have been confirmed by the Holy See. That what has been once decided concerning Matters of Faith in a Council, has been never known to be resumed, but only things that relate to Manners and Ceremonies, which may be changed according to the variety of Times and Places: That we need not wonder that Hereticks should cry out so furiously against the Authority of Councils, because there 'tis that they find themselves Condemned: That if (which is impossible) they should find any Council favourable to their Errors, then only they would acknowledge its Authority and, That it is to no purpose for them to pretend to use the Word of God, thereby to ruine the Authority of the Church, as if the Church, which is the Body of Jesus Christ, could be contrary to his Word, and the Head to its Body: That on the contrary, the Authority of the Church borrows its Luster and Majesty from the Scriptures, when it declares, That these Holy Books come from God, when it gives them to be read, when it faithfully explains their Sense, when it condemns what is contrary to the Doctrine which they contain, even then, when by this Authority we see legal Ceremonies abolished, though commanded in Scripture by our Lord; the Lord's Day substituted in the room of the Sabbath, so famous in the Law of God; Circumcision ordained to Abraham and his Race with threatnings, so entirely done away, That St. Paul declares to the Galatians, That if they are Circumcised, they are faln from Grace, and Jesus Christ profits them nothing: That yet all these Ceremonies and others of the same sort, were not abolish'd by the Preaching of Jesus Christ, since he came to fulfil the Law, and not to destroy it: And therefore, That this change is wrought by the Authority of the Church; and, That if this Authority were destroy'd, since Heresies must be, Truth could never be discovered, nor the obstinacy of Hereticks be confounded; and Disorder and Confusion would be quickly seen in Religion. Upon occasion of the Festival of St. Peter, which was celebrated that Day in the Church, he spoke of the Popes Supremacy; and ended with a Prayer to Jesus Christ, That he would send the Holy Ghost to enlighten and conduct the Fathers of the Council.

Source: An Ecclesiastical History of the Sixteenth Century, Vol. 2, written in French by Lewis Ellies Du Pin, Doctor of Sorbonne, and Regius Professor of Philosophy, English translation, revised and improved with additional notations, by William Wotton, Church of England, London, 1706, pgs. 187-188.

Gaspard del Fosso, archbishop of Reggio, had chosen for his subject the authority of the Church and the power of councils. The bishops had the satisfaction of hearing it declared, as in the too famous sermon of Musso, that the Holy Spirit was about to speak by their mouth. And as for the Church's authority, "Is it not it," said he, among other reasons, "that substituted the Lord's day for the Sabbath, which was instituted by God himself? Did it not abolish circumcision, also instituted by God?" Whence it must be concluded, little room as there was for such reasoning, not that the Church is equal to the Word of God, but that it is much superior. If this were the place to reply, we might observe further, that the Sabbath and circumcision were practices, not doctrines; that these practices have been not abolished, but replaced, the one by the Lord's day, the other by baptism; that this substitution was the work of the Apostles; that, were it even the Church's doing, the right of modifying practices by no means draws along with it that of teaching new doctrines. Did the abolition of the Sabbath, and of circumcision, date as so many Romanist ideas do, from the tenth, nay, the twelfth century, should we be bound to subscribe to it? How prove the authority of the Church by decisions which we should be authorized to reject, did they emanate only from the Church? The argument, nevertheless, is in great favour, down to our own days even, in the writings of Romanist controversialists.

Source: History Of The Council Of Trent, from the French of L. F. Bungener, edited, from the second London edition, New York, 1855, pg. 298.

    At 8:00 A.M. on the morning of 18 January, 1562, the four conciliar legates Gonzaga, Seripando, Hosius, and Simonetta, together with Ludovico Madruzzo, Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga of Mantua, and the patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots, generals of the Orders, and many others assembled in the church of S. Pietro in the eastern German quarter of the city. From S. Pietro's [San Pietro degli Orbi] they went in procession to the cathedral [San Vigilio], where Cardinal Gonzaga began the proceedings by singing the solemn mass of the Holy Spirit. The indulgence was proclaimed, and Gasparo dal Fosso, archbishop of Reggio di Calabria, delivered the sermon, of which Massarelli* has preserved the text.

Source: The Papacy and The Levant, (1204-1571), Volume IV, The sixteenth century from Julius III to Pius V, By Kenneth M. Setton, 1984, pg. 777

* Angelo Massarelli (Masarello) was the secretary of the Council of Trent, and Bishop of Telese, and kept daily diaries of the council events, the original handwritten volumes of which are in the Vatican library.