Marriage is maintained as a sacrament, although in contradiction to this preservation of virginity is valuated higher than marriage. And this is still the situation in the Roman church. In all this, something is fixed which before the Reformation still was in some kind of f lux. Now it is fixed against the Reformation, and now the Roman church has lost its dynamic creativity; and you can feel this if you read systematic theologies in Catholic thinking, they deal with very secondary problems, because all the fundamental problems are solved.
The basic doctrine of all of them is the doctrine of ordination, because here the point is given in which all the others are united. The priest does what makes the Roman church Roman church: he exercises the sacramental power. Preaching is very secondary and often omitted. Sacrifice and priesthood are by Divine ordination – sacrifice in the sense of sacrificing the body of Christ in the Mass. Both are implied in every ecclesiastical law. Both are presupposed, and this church of the sacramental sacrifice is the hierarchical church; and the hierarchical church is the church of the sacramental sacrifice. This is Rome. This is Catholicism, in the Roman sense.
Now these decisions decided about the split of Christianity/ Rome actually had accepted nothing, only external remedies against abuses. But many problems were left. The first was the problem of Pope against Councils. And it is the development between Trent and the Council of the Vatican in 1870 to which we must now go.
In Trent two opinions were fighting with each other. The first was that the Pope is the universal bishop, the Vicar of Christ – universal bishop meaning that every episcopal power is derived from the power of the Pope, so that every bishop participates in the Pope and the Pope participates in him, because he is the Vicar of Christ. The other opinion was that the Pope is the first among equals, representing the unity and the order of the Church. This is the Conciliaristic point of view – the Councils finally have the ultimate decision – while the former is the Curialistic point of view: the Curia, the court of the Pope, is the central deciding power. This was the question. How was it decided? Not at all at Trent. It took a few more centuries. One of the presuppositions for this decision was that the historical development more and more destroyed those groups which were most dangerous for the Pope within the Roman church, namely the national churches. One of them was France, and the movement for an independent French church – called Gallicanism – was a real threat to Rome. We have similar developments in Germany, in Austria, and in other places, where the national churches under the leadership of their bishops resisted many papal aspirations. The rulers had an alliance with the national bishops against the Pope. But this did not hold. It was undermined by the development itself. It could be destroyed, because the rulers, e. g., the leaders of the French revolution Napoleon, the German princes, used the Pope against their own ecclesiastical forces. Diplomacy always uses the one against the other and the other against the one. The national princes used their own bishops against the encroachments by the Pope, but they used the Pope against the power of their own bishops, if necessary.
Now the result of these oscillations was that finally the Pope prevailed by far. The result was the Vatican decision of 1870, the statement of the infallibility of the Pope.