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St. Charles Borromeo and the Council Of Trent


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 completion.

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