Does the Council(s) of Orange contradict the Council of Trent?

I have heard that the Council of Trent contradicts the Council of Orange because in the Councils of Orange, which same first, it seems as though you cannot cooperate with God’s grace of justification - the grace that moves you towards conversion. You have no choice in the acceptance of the grace, so, in essence (of the idea) you will be justified no matter what…

In the Council of Trent, however, it is well held you must cooperate with the grace of justification - you must cooperate/accept this grace, it’s a gift. Of course this is the Catholic belief today.

If there is a contradiction, it should be considered a major one.

I’m assured there’s no contradiction, but even I have trouble reading these…

I have highlighted in bold the main terms/phrases:


CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, ***he resists the Holy Spirit himself ***who says through Solomon, “The will is prepared by the Lord” (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if **anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience **of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).


CANON 9: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”


***I give all credit to the purpose of this thread to TriuneUnity! ***TriuneUnity, I hope we can resolve this matter!

It is a little hard to understand, but the basic point is that, while one cannot desire to be holy (or anything of that nature) without grace, our acceptance and participation in that grace is what can lead us to justification.

So, in a sense, we receive everything that we need from the Holy Spirit and it is when we act in accordance with the grace that we can be justified. It is a bit like “faith plus works,” where our works would be our cooperation, although embracing of faith could be seen as the step before that.

Grace from the Holy Spirit–> acceptance of grace–> faith–> works

A little clearer? Can anyone bring it together better? Please do so, or add to it, or whatever! :smiley:

Yours in Christ,

Yah, great!
The problem is still, “…or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle…” Canon 6 from Council of Orange

It really has to do with the idea of free will, which the Church teaches. We all have free will and, in cooperation with the grace that we receive (not due to any prior work of our own), we are able to access even more grace!

Another analogy may be that, if we were sitting in the dark doing nothing, God suddenly shows us a bright light, inclining us to walk towards it. When we walk towards the light and come into His presence, we are able to receive even more grace! So really, we initiate nothing, but can only “reach out” to God through prayer.

I believe that this is what the two councils were saying. :smiley:

Yours in Christ,

This says that our will to seek sanctifying grace (that which cleanses us from sin) is, itself, another grace which precedes the sanctification it desires and is ordered to. In other words, there are many graces, and it is an earlier (perhaps the first) grace which even provides our will with the impetus to seek greater graces.

I think this is arguing against the notion that some men are naturally (that is, apart from grace) humble or obedient, and so predisposed to cooperate with grace. Or perhaps it is argument against the notion that the “assistance of grace” varies with each man depending on his inherent humility and obedience: that grace supplies more for a man who is “naturally” proud and disobedient, more than it does for a man who is “naturally” humble and obedient.

Trent is affirming that we must co-operate with the grace of justification for it to operate upon and within us; yet this very act of assent is itself a movement of another grace already present.

I’m sure it’s not really a circular argument, though it might sound like one (in my wording). It comes down to this, I think:

There is some grace in us that gives our will the opportunity to submit itself to God and open itself to more graces. This existing grace is not a reward; it is not something we can merit. The natural effect of that grace is that we do respond to it, but we can stifle our response to that grace because of our free will.

I wish to say this without even considering the details of the statements and canons.

The local or regional council of Orange would have limited jurisdiction and would not be considered “infallible”. The Universal Council of Trent would have universal jurisdiction and would be infallible in it’s canons on Faith and Morals when ratified by the Pope.

Does this mean the list of the canon of Scripture at Hippo and Carthage, since they were local/regional council’s and not ecumenical, did not infallibly list the canon until the Council of Trent?

The Council of Orange was a local council in France. In fact it didn’t even include all the French bishops. Only those who favoured the extreme predestinarian position were invited. Trent was an Ecumenical Council with full authority.

Sort of. If it were not for the fact that they were accepted Nicea.

Hippo and Carthage were after Nicea.

Whoops Sorry. Got my date wrong. Let me look it up.

But it had been accepted by the Church as a whole not long after these councils.

But it is true that local councils are not magisterial and do not have the charism of infallibility.

Okay…but doesn’t the Church specifically state that only an ecumenical council and an ex cathedra statement are infallible? So even if the whole church had accepted the decrees of Hippo and Carthage about the canon, they still would not have been infallible, right?

There have only been 21 Ecumenical Councils and they do not include Hippo, Carthage or Orange.

That would in a sense be correct. Hippo and Carthage however didn’t conflict with the eventual decree of Trent on the Canon and so were in fact correct.

So for 1100 years, the people of the church did not have infallible knowledge of the canon? :shrug:

The first time every book found in the canon was 382 at the Council of Rome. That council included the deuterocanonicals found in the Catholic canon. The Bible from that time on was identical to the Catholic Bible of today.

This may be seen by the decisions ratified at the council of Hippo in 393, and the Third Council of Carthage in 397.

These decisions were echoed at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 and** infallibly **declared at the Council of Florence in 1441.

But even though the latter didn’t happen until, well, so later, the canon was universally accepted. The Holy Spirit wouldn’t fail them. I’m sure!:gopray2:

It was self-evident to Spirit-filled believers which books belonged The Spirit testified to the inspired books.

But even though the latter didn’t happen until, well, so later, the canon was universally accepted. The Holy Spirit wouldn’t fail them. I’m sure!

It was self-evident to Spirit-filled believers which books belonged The Spirit testified to the inspired books.

Now that the canon issue is solved, let’s get back on topic!:rolleyes:

Absolutely, but my point, and the Protestant position, is that while it is extremely important for the Church to testify to the canon of Scripture; it doesnt mean we must have an infallible pronouncement from the Church to know what is and is not Scripture; a fallible, yet inerrant pronouncement of the Church is more than sufficient precisely because, and you stated below…

It was self-evident to Spirit-filled believers which books belonged The Spirit testified to the inspired books


The New Testament in its canonical aspect has little history between the first years of the fifth and the early part of the sixteenth century. As was natural in ages when ecclesiastical authority had not reached its modern centralization, there were irregular divergences from the common teaching and tradition. There was no diffused contestation of any book, but here and there attempts by individuals to add something to the received collection…

The last trace of any Western contradiction within the Church to the Canon of the New Testament reveals a curious transplantation of Oriental doubts concerning the Apocalypse. An act of the Synod of Toledo, held in 633, states that many contest the authority of that book, and orders it to be read in the churches under pain of excommunication.

So my point, here, is that yes, there does need to be an infallible decision on the inerrant, inspired books of the Word of God. There have been additions and subtractions throughout history. This leads me to Luther and the Protestant Reformation.

The ecumenical synod of the Council of Trent had to defend the integrity of the New Testament as well as the Old against the attacks of the pseudo-Reformers, Luther, basing his action on dogmatic reasons and the judgment of antiquity, had discarded Hebrews, James, Jude, and Apocalypse as altogether uncanonical.

My point I tried to make earlier, though, was the bishops were people dwelling with the spirit that were able to recognize the inspired work of the Holy Spirit. Though the councils/synods were not recognized as infallible, the canons, as I said, were universally accepted. This does not mean there were never “attempts by individuals to add something to the received collection”. So we can see the Spirit did lead the Church to the infallible canon…even if there wasn’t a council that was considered infallible until later on.


It was not infallibly defined until Trent, it was however correctly defined for all those years.

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