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Council of Trent (1542-62)

The Reformation came late to Scotland when we consider that the first Penal Laws were passed in 1560, but the Church had already reacted by convoking a Council to help the Church respond to the crisis. Among other measures, the Council of Trent (1542-62) decreed that specialised institutes should be established for the proper training of candidates for the priesthood. These had not existed before, strangely. There had been no standardised formation of the clergy. This was considered to be one of the weak points contributing to the failure of the Church to take part in the battle of the new ideas. The Penal Laws made it unthinkable, at least at first, to have these anywhere in Scotland, and so we looked to friendly parts of Europe to give us a home for these seminaries, as they were called. In time Scots Colleges were to be found in Rome, as well as France, Bavaria and Spain. It would be 1714 before any seminary was set up in Scotland, at Loch Morar above.

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