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French of the seriousness of his intentions. The French national synod was accordingly abandoned; and Trent was accepted as the place of meeting. Before the assembly could meet there was, however, another difficulty to be settled. The Emperor and the French government wished for an explicit declaration that the Council was a new assembly, and not merely a continuation of the previous Sessions at Trent as Philip II and the Spanish Church insisted. The sympathies of the Pope were with Philip; but it was necessary not to offend the Emperor and the French. Accordingly the question was left in doubt, and no definite pronouncement was made on the matter.
Meanwhile the preparations for the Council went on. The Pope instructed his Nuncios to invite all Christian Princes to the Council, whether schismatic or not. The Protestant Powers, however, had little confidence in the proposed assembly; and it soon became clear that the Council would be confined to the nations still in communion with the See of Rome. Ferdinand, however, and the French government had no intention of allowing the Council simply to register the wishes of the Curia. Both Powers wished for concessions which might unite to the Church the moderate Protestants and disaffected Catholics in their dominions. The reforms which, they desired are enumerated in the instructions given to the French ambassadors at the Council, and in the Libel of Reformation which the Emperor caused to be drawn up. The Mass in the vulgar tongue, revision of the service books, communion in both kinds, the marriage of priests, reform of the Curia and a reduction in the number of Cardinals, the enforcement of residence on ecclesiastics, the abolition of the whole system of dispensations and exemptions, and a limitation of the power of excommunication, were among the chief points demanded. The whole Church system was in fact to be revised, and the share of the Papacy in its government to be reduced. Bavaria supported most of these demands; and in fact nearly all Catholics north of the Alps desired a radical reform of the Church.
Philip II and the Spanish Bishops, on the other hand, wished for no alteration in the ritual and practice of the Church; but they equally desired a thorough reform of the Curia and a diminution of the papal authority. At the same time they wished it to be distinctly declared that the assembly was a continuation of the previous Council, and that an effectual bar should be thus provided against any advances towards Protestantism. The Spanish Bishops were opposed, even more strongly than the papal Court, to any alteration in the discipline and practice of the Church. The division among the Catholic Powers gave the Papacy a means of which it was quick to avail itself. The history of the third meeting of the Council of Trent is mainly the story of the skilful diplomacy with which the Papacy played off one nation against another and succeeded in bringing all efforts for radical reform to naught. The task was not difficult, as there was little cooperation among the Powers even