Tridentine Utraquism

Did the Council of Trent allow communion in both kinds, in bread and wine? The answer is complicated.

Nathan Mitchell (Oxford History of Christian Worship, 338-9) writes that “After intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, Pope Pius IV authorized communion in both species for German (16 April 1564). In effect, the question of communion in both kinds had become a political football, for Ferdinand I, the Holy Roman emperor, refused to authorize closure of the Council of Trent . . . unless certain concessions were made, and the cup was one of them.”

That narrow permission wasn’t the end of things: “The papal concession was extremely controversial (and it was opposed, for example, by King Philip of Spain and b several cardinals), and Pius IV had to defend his decision in a consistory held on 14 July 1564, a few days before Emperor Ferdinand’s death.”

The concession to Germany was eventually extended to other parts of Europe – “Bavaria, Austria, Bohemia [home of Hussite Utraquissts – PJL!], Moravia, and Hungary.”

It didn’t last: “by 1621 all these concessions had been revoked. Clergy who continued the practice of communicating laypeople in both kinds were severely censured.” Mitchell quotes a 1622 condemnation from Archbishop John Lohelius against a Prague priest: “Like a dog returning to its vomit, he has fallen again into his former errors, . . . . [and] has rejected the papal mandate, . . . viz., that neither he nor any other pastor should give any lay person communion in both kinds.”

The Archbishop excommunicated the priest and stripped him of “his pastorate and all ecclesiastical benefices.”

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