Trent 6, Justification, Canon 28

Can someone provide the Latin text of Canon XXVIII on Justification, of the Sixth Session of the Council of Trent? I’ve found three English translations of it which differ, one of which has a typo, and none of which seem to make sense, given Chapter VII of the Declaration.

Here’s the relevant data:

Chapter VII (What the justification of the impious is, and what are the causes thereof): “For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body.”

Canon XXVIII: “If anyone saith … that he, who has faith without charity, is not a Chris taught; let him be anathema.” or “is not as Christ taught” or “is not a Christian”.

First, what’s the Latin behind Canon XXVIII? Does it attest to “is not as Christ taught” or “is not a Christian”.

Second, how does “is not a Christian” in Canon XXVIII reconcile with Chapter VII, which states that faith must be joined with hope and charity if it is to produce a living member of the body of Christ? Is it simply stating that there are “dead” members of the body of Christ? That a Christian without charity is still a Christian, just an imperfect one?

(While I’m at it, is there an online resource with the Latin of the Council of Trent?)

Here’s the site you want:


Thank you very much.


CANON XXVIII.—If any one saith, that, grace being lost through sin, faith also is always lost with it; or, that the faith which remains, though it be not a lively faith, is not a true faith; or, that he who has faith without charity is not a Christian: let him be anathema.

Yeah, what the council was saying is that Faith is not the same as justification, because it is possible to have faith and not be saved. When you mortally sin, you lose sanctifying grace, and supernatural charity with it…but not necessarily faith. Obviously, you can still be a believing christian in a state of mortal sin. Therefore it is wrong to say that faith is justification, because charity is also needed. But it is also wrong to say that he who has faith without charity (ie, a mortal sinner) isn’t christian, or that their faith suddenly becomes not real (though it is not enlivened by charity).

Which is why it is heresy to say that all Christians will be saved (Pius II, Denz. No. 717). Got it.

I have another question; this one concerns Canon XIII: If any one saith, that it is necessary for every one, for the obtaining the remission of sins, that he believe for certain, and without any wavering arising from his own infirmity and disposition, that his sins are forgiven him; let him be anathema.

What is this Canon specifically driving at? Is it saying that the efficacy of absolution is not dependent upon my complete certainty of it? In other words, is it ok to “doubt” that God has really forgiven me, simply because of my weak human nature?

Yeah, you never have to be certain of anything, and can only be certain of dogma de fide. There will always be some doubt in absolution (for example, what if it is an imposter non-priest behind the confessional screen) or anything personal, so never certainity, but you can have moral certitude. But it’s not necessary as the sacraments work ex opere operato.

It’s referring to the error of the Protestants who taught that you are only forgiven if you believe without any doubt that you are forgiven. Many of them still teach this.

They believe that “faith” requires that you believe, without any doubt, that you are saved. They say that if you doubt you are saved, you lack faith. That is what the canon is addressing.

Is this in contrast to the sin of presumption, where you believe you will go to heaven no matter what you do?

Yeah. That’s covered in Canons XII through XXI. They deal with things like “faith in forgiveness means assurance of salvation”, “all who are justified are assuredly predestined”, “all who believe will endure to the end”, “faith is the only thing needed, the commandments of God are superfluous”, etc.

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