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Cardinal Pole

In Cardinal Pole on May 26, 2009 at 1:06 am

Cardinal Reginald Pole was the last Archbishop of Canterbury to be in communion with the Pope. He lived as an exile in Italy for much of his life, and although not present at Regensburg, he was known, like Contarini, as a leading figure among the spirituali. He, too, was desirous of reform from within the existing institutions of the Church.

Unlike Contarini, Pole lived to see the Council of Trent, where he served as a papal legate. Trent posed a major dilemma for him, since his original convictions about salvation diverged from what the Council would define. Pole ultimately submitted to the Council. The story of his apparent anguish in this matter is recounted by Dermot Fenlon in Heresy and Obedience in Tridentine Italy.

As the Council deliberated on justification, Cardinal Pole was eventually required to write a summary of his views. In October of 1546 he prepared a positive statement on the issue as well as a short commentary on a draft of the decree. Both documents may be found in volume 12 of Concilium Tridentinum. The former is given below.

For comparison, scans of a 1562 printing of Pole’s work De Concilio may be found here.

Again, the translation is my own and amounts to an initial attempt at bringing the text into English. It is provided as is and for personal use only.