January 13, 1547
(A) DECREE CONCERNING JUSTIFICATION
Since there is being disseminated at this time, not without the loss of many souls and grievous detriment to the unity of the Church, a certain erroneous doctrine concerning justification, the holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent [ . . . ] intends, for the praise and glory of Almighty God, for the tranquillity of the Church and the salvation of souls, to expound to all the faithful of Christ the true and salutary doctrine of justification, which the Sun of justice (1), Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith (2) taught, which the Apostles transmitted and which the Catholic Church under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost has always retained; strictly forbidding that anyone henceforth presume to believe, preach or teach otherwise than is defined and declared in the present decree.
THE IMPOTENCY OF NATURE AND OF THE LAW TO JUSTIFY MAN
The holy council declares first, that for a correct and clear understanding of the doctrine of justification, it is necessary that each one recognize and confess that since all men had lost innocence in the prevarication of Adam (3), having become unclean (4), and, as the Apostle says, by nature children of wrath (5), as has been set forth in the decree on original sin, they were so far the servants of sin (6) and under the power of the devil and of death, that not only the Gentiles by the force of nature, but not even the Jews by the very letter of the law of Moses, were able to be liberated or to rise therefrom, though free will, weakened as it was in its powers and downward bent, was by no means extinguished in them.
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(1) Mal. 4:2.
(2) Heb. 12:2.
(3) Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:22.
(4) Is. 64:6.
(5) Eph. 2:3.
(6) Rom. 6:17, 20.