St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) became known as The Soul of the Council of
Trent. He became a Doctor of Civil and Canon Law at the tender age of
twenty-one. The following year (1560) his uncle, the newly elected Pope Pius IV
summoned him to Rome. Pius recognized the extraordinary abilities of his nephew
and as a result was determined to give him a leading role in one of the most
outstanding dramas of the century: the concluding sessions of the Council of
Trent and the application of its decrees.
Pius was determined that the goal of his Pontificate would be the conclusion of
the Council. There had already been sixteen sessions in fourteen years and it
seemed that the council would never end. He found in his nephew the man capable
of accomplishing the task of bringing the council to a successful conclusion.
Charles Borromeo was made Cardinal Archbishop of Milan and Papal Secretary of
State (1560). When the council reopened for its seventeenth session, Charles was
the most active representative in supporting and conducting it to a successful