829 Council of Paris


Does anyone know where I can read the proceedings of this Council? Who called it? Exactly what did they say? Did they really say that private Masses are a “reprehensible practice” which has crept in “partly through neglect, partly through avarice?” to reference P. Schaff, vol 4 p. 399 of his “History of the Christian Church.” Likewise the Synod of Mainz in 813, which likewise prohibited private Masses.




Y’know… usually if ya can’t verify something like that it proves to be a fabrication.

I just did a diligent search and came up empty except for the book you’re reading. That tells me that there is a very good chance that there wasn’t one.


And even if they did exist, they would have been local regional synods and therefore if they contradicted a higher authority, they would not be binding in that point.


I found a reference to it as “The so-called Council of Paris”, but nothing relating to the Mass. New Advent has some info on private Masses etc, but this particular event seems to have had no real authority and little influence.

Private Masses are allowed, but there are certain conditions that have to be met.


I just looked at the source again. Schaff references Mansi XIV 529 sqq and Hefele IV.64. Hefele wrote a massive history of the Catholic church and was initially a dissident at Vatican I. He was a bishop or archbishop. I’ve read some about him. Mansi I know nothing about.

While it would be tough to accuse Schaff of neutrality, it is an entirely different matter to suspect him of outright fabrication. Even if we have only one sketchy record of that long-ago council, it would be of interest. It would be important to know the perspective of the author of that record. At present the only lens I can see it through is Schaff’s.

It also puzzles me that I haven’t heard of this before. I am no scholar, and some anti-Catholic should have dug this up and waved it under your noses in an exceedingly unpleasant manner long ago. There should be thread after thread on this. This is hot stuff! ‘Modern church in conflict with ancient council!’ ‘Documentation of church use abuse’. Somebody should have stuffed this in their apologetic cannon and fired it by now. Instead you get the usual corn and dirty laundry.

I think there’s more to be known on this story. Does anybody know Dan Brown’s email address? Maybe I’ll ask him.:rolleyes:

Thanks for responding.

And we don’t yet know who was at the Council. What if it was the Pope and 400 bishops? Or was it just the wolf and three little pigs?


Ahhh…Posted whilst I was posting…Do you have a link?


there still doesn’t seem to be much on it. newadvent.org/cathen/08499a.htm

This may be better for what you are looking for.

Good luck.


I don’t see the problem.
Whatever was condemned (your OP doesn’t give the details of the private Masses), it no doubt was the abuse that was condemned, not the practice itself. I can think of a couple things that would be"reprehensible" in the context of private Masses, and thus should be condemned.


The high estimate of the efficacy of the sacrament led also to the abuse of solitary masses, where the priest celebrates without attendants.426 Â This destroys the original character of the institution as a feast of communion with the Redeemer and the redeemed. Several synods in the age of Charlemagne protested against the practice. The Synod of Mainz in 813 decreed: "No presbyter, as it seems to us, can sing masses alone rightly, for how will he say sursum corda! or Dominus vobiscum! when there is no one with him?"Â A reformatory Synod of Paris, 829, prohibits these masses, and calls them a “reprehensible practice,” which has crept in “partly through neglect, partly through avarice.”(Â Can. 48. Mansi XIV. 529 sqq. Hefele IV. 64.)


If this is the same “council” it seems to be dealing with priests who performed masses without anyone in attendence.


I don’t know if there is a problem. It is possible that

  1. Schaff regarded those Council as more far-reaching than they were intended to be, and overstated the case. Or I am reading more into Schaff than I should.

  2. The Church actually had a significant Council in which practices now in place were condemned (which would be red meat for Protestant apologists, who are always searching for such stuff) and somehow everyone forgot about that Council.
    Not likely. At the same time, Councils have had to repeatedly deal with problems with the clergy, so it is possible that a problem that had been dealt with returned.

  3. There is an easy explanation for what seems to be a contradiction; an examination of the Council documents and a comparison with canon law would show this.

  4. The Council was not forgotten and the reforms were adopted.

  5. There is insufficient historical data upon which to make a determination (which often happens).

  6. Something else (obvious to you, perhaps, but not to me).

Of interest, of course, is whether that Council had papal involvement, bishops were involved, or it was indeed just a local Council.

Since the Catholic Encyclopedia discusses it and the canons are quoted on some websites, somewhere the primary materials must be available. But where?


If you read Latin it shouldn’t be much of a problem

Concilium Parisiense a. 552, SL 148A, p. 167-169
Concilium Parisiense a. 556-573, SL 148A, p. 205-210
Concilium Parisiense a. 573, SL 148A, p. 212-217
Concilium Parisiense a. 614, SL 148A, p. 275-282

comes from the index.


It appears the references are all to the Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina



This began bugging me a few minutes ago. Why is it “so-called”? Who is claiming it was a Council, and why is that in dispute? And is the reader supposed to buy into it being in dispute without knowing any more (say on the strength of the CE) or is the reader presumed to know all the gory details of the situation? What makes it a Council or not a Council (as in just a synod or back yard barbecue or something)?

And my Latin is too lousy to allow me to read freely. I always want a translation at hand to check what I just read. Otherwise I come up things like ‘Augustine invaded Mars in a quest for penguin flavored pizza’. Theology is nuanced. Sigh.


Yeah, I know what you mean, when I try to read it is just sounds like everything Rome said was all a lie and they were concerned with little but filthy lucre. But it could just be a translational problem, my Latin isn’t too good either.



Philip Schaff was a meticulous historian. If he says something happened–or didn’t–then you can trust his facts.

However, as he was also a German Calvinist, his interpretation of facts can be questioned from either the Orthodox or Catholic side.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.