Texts of Roman Documents Condemning Jansenism
Onsite texts are taken from Denzinger’s The Sources of Catholic Dogma 1957
From the Constitution “Cum occasione,” May 31, 1653 – Errors said to have been extracted from the Augustinus of Cornelius Jansen
From the Constitution “Ad sacram beati Petri Sedem,” Oct. 16, 1656 – The Sense of Jansenius
From the Constitution, “Regiminis apostolicis,” Feb. 15, 1665 - Formulary of Submission Proposed for the Jansenists
From the Constitution “Inter multiplices,” Aug. 4, 1690 – Erroneous Articles of the Gallican Clergy about the Power of the Roman Pontiff
Decree of the Holy Office, Dec. 7, 1690 - Errors of the Jansenists
From the Constitution, “Vineam Domini Sabaoth,” July 16, 1705 - An Obsequious Silence in Regard to Dogmatic Facts
From the dogmatic Constitution “Unigenitus,” Sept. 8, 1713 - Condemnation of the Errors of Paschasius Quesnel (offsite)
Encyclical “Ex omnibus Christiani orbis,” Oct. 16, 1756 - On the Apostolic Constitution Unigenitus (offsite)
From the Constitution “Auctorem fidei,” Aug. 28, 1794 – Errors of the Synod of Pistoia
Innocent X – From the Constitution “Cum occasione,” May 31, 1653 – Errors said to have been extracted from the Augustinus of Cornelius Jansen
1. Some of God’s precepts are impossible to the just, who wish and strive to keep them, according to the present powers which they have; the grace, by which they are made possible, is also wanting.
Declared and condemned as rash, impious, blasphemous, condemned by anathema, and heretical.
2. In the state of fallen nature one never resists interior grace.
Declared and condemned as heretical.
3. In order to merit or demerit in the state of fallen nature, freedom from necessity is not required in man, but freedom from external compulsion is sufficient.
Declared and condemned as heretical.
4. The Semipelagians admitted the necessity of a prevenient interior grace for each act, even for the beginning of faith; and in this they were heretics, because they wished this grace to be such that the human will could either resistor obey.
Declared and condemned as false and heretical.
5. It is Semipelagian to say that Christ died or shed His blood for all men without exception.
Declared and condemned as false, rash, scandalous, and understood in this sense, that Christ died for the salvation of the predestined, impious, blasphemous, contumelious, dishonoring to divine piety, and heretical.
Alexander VII – From the Constitution “Ad sacram beati Petri Sedem,” Oct. 16, 1656 – The Sense of Jansenius
We declare and define that these five propositions have been taken from the book of the aforementioned Cornelius Jansen, Bishop of Ypres, entitled Augustinus, and in the sense understood by that same Cornelius condemned.
Alexander VII – From the Constitution, “Regiminis apostolicis,” Feb. 15, 1665 – Formulary of Submission Proposed for the Jansenists
“I, N., submit to the apostolic Constitution of Innocent X, dated May 31, 1653, and to the Constitution of Alexander VII, dated October 16, 1656, Supreme Pontiffs, and I reject and condemn with a sincere heart, just as the Apostolic See has condemned them by the said Constitutions, the five propositions taken from the book of Cornelius Jansen, entitled Augustinus, and in the sense understood by that same author, and so I swear: So help me God, and this holy gospel of God.”
Alexander VIII – From the Constitution “Inter multiplices,” Aug. 4, 1690 – Erroneous Articles of the Gallican Clergy about the Power of the Roman Pontiff
1. To blessed Peter and his successors the vicars of Christ, and to the Church herself power over spiritual things and over those pertaining to eternal salvation has been given by God, but not power over civil and temporal affairs, since the Lord said: “My Kingdom is not of this world” [John 18:36], and again: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” [Luke 20:25], and hence the statement of the Apostle: “Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisted the power, resisteth the ordinance of God” [Rom. 13:1 f.]. Therefore, by the command of God, kings and princes cannot be subject to ecclesiastical power in temporal affairs, nor can they be deposed by the authority of the keys of the Church, either directly or indirectly; nor can their subjects be released from loyalty and obedience and be freed from fulfilling their oath of allegiance; and this opinion, which is necessary for public tranquillity, and which is no less useful to the Church than to the Empire, must by every means be retained as being in harmony with the Word of God, the tradition of the Fathers, and the examples of the saints.
2. So there is in the Apostolic See and in the successors of Peter, the vicars of Christ, such full power over spiritual things that the decree concerning the authority of the General Councils which are contained in the fourth and fifth sessions of the sacred ecumenical Council of Constance are valid, and at the same time always remain unchanged, since these decrees have been approved by the Apostolic See and confirmed by the use of the Roman Pontiffs themselves, and by the whole Church and have been observed by the Gallican Church in continuous religious worship; and they are not to be approved by the Gallican Church who destroy the force of these decrees, as if they were of doubtful authority or have been less approved, or who distort the words of the Council in accordance only with the time of the schism.
3. Hence the use of the apostolic power must be moderated by the canons which have been established by the Spirit of God and consecrated by the reverence of the whole world; likewise, the rules, customs, and institutes accepted by the kingdom and the Gallican Church are valid, and the limitations of the Fathers remain unshaken; and this pertains to the fullness of the Apostolic See, namely, that these statutes and customs, confirmed by the consent of both so great a See and of the Churches, retain their proper stability.
4. In questions of faith also, the duties of the Supreme Pontiff are principal ones, and his decrees pertain to all and individual churches, and yet this judgment is not unalterable unless the consent of the Church has been added to it.
Concerning these statements Alexander VIII decreed as follows:
“Each and everything that was considered and decreed in the above mentioned assemblies of the Gallican clergy held in the year 1682, both in regard to the extension of the right of regalia and the declaration concerning the ecclesiastical power and the four propositions contained in that declaration, with all and individual mandates, judgments, and confirmations, declarations, epistles, edicts, and decrees edited and published by whatsoever persons, ecclesiastical or lay, in whatever way qualified, and no matter what authority and power they enjoy, even the power which requires individual mention,—all these acts, we declare, by the tenor of these letters, to have been from the very beginning, to be now, and always to be, by right itself, null and void, invalid, useless, entirely and wholly lacking in strength and effectiveness, and that no one is bound to their observance or to the observance of any one of them, even if they have been reinforced by an oath.”
Alexander VIII – Decree of the Holy Office, Dec. 7, 1690 – Errors of the Jansenists
1. In the state of fallen nature, for mortal [Viva: formale] sin and for demerit that liberty is sufficient by which the mortal sin or demerit was voluntary and free in its cause, namely, in original sin and in the will of Adam sinning.
2. Although there is such a thing as invincible ignorance of the law of nature, this, in the state of fallen nature, does not excuse from formal sin anyone acting out of ignorance.
3. It is not permitted to follow a (probable) opinion or among the probables the most probable.
4. Christ gave Himself for us as an oblation to God, not for the elect only, but for all the faithful only.
5. Pagans, Jews, heretics, and others of this kind do not receive in any way any influence from Jesus Christ, and so you will rightly infer from this that in them there is a bare and weak will without any sufficient grace.
6. Grace sufficient for our state is not so much useful as pernicious, so that we can justly pray: From sufficient grace deliver us, 0 Lord.
7. Every human act is a deliberate choice of God or of the world; if of God, it is love of the Father; if of the world, it is concupiscence of the flesh, that is, it is evil.
8. Of necessity, an infidel sins in every act.
9. In truth he sins who hates sin merely because of its vileness and its inconsistency with nature, without any reference to the offense to God.
10. The intention with which anyone detests evil and follows after good, merely that he may obtain heavenly glory, is not right nor pleasing to God.
11. Everything which is not in accordance with supernatural Christian faith, which works through charity, is a sin.
12. When in great sinners all love is lacking, faith also is lacking; and even if they seem to believe, their faith is not divine but human.
13. Whoever serves God even in view of an eternal reward, if he lacks charity, is not free from fault, as often as he acts even in view of his eternal reward.
14. Fear of hell is not supernatural.
15. Attrition, which is conceived through a fear of hell and punishments, with a love of benevolence for God in Himself, is not a good and supernatural motive.
16. Neither the policy nor institution of the Church has introduced the order of placing satisfaction before absolution, but the law and prescription of Christ, since the nature of the thing in a way demands that very order.
17. By that practice of absolving first the order of penance is inverted.
18. The modern custom as regards the administration of the sacrament of penance, even if the authority of many men sustains it and long duration confirms it, is nevertheless not considered by the Church as a usage but as an abuse.
19. Man ought to do penance during his whole life for original sin.
20. Confessions made to religious are generally either sacrilegious or invalid.
21. The parish priest can suspect mendicants who live on common alms, of imposing too light and unsuitable a penance or satisfaction because of the advantage or gain of some temporal aid.
22. They are to be judged sacrilegious who claim the right to receive Communion before they have done worthy penance for their sins.
23. Similarly, they must be prevented from Holy Communion, who have not yet a pure love of God, without any admixture.
24. The oblation in the Temple, which was made by the Blessed Virgin Mary on the day of her purification by means of two turtle doves, one for a holocaust and the other for sins, sufficiently testifies that she was in need of purification, and that her Son (who was being offered) was also stained with the stain of His mother, according to the words of the law.
25. It is unlawful to place in a Christian temple an image of God the Father [Viva: sedentis, sitting].
26. Praise which is offered to Mary, as Mary, is vain.
27. Sometimes baptism is valid when conferred under this form: “In the name of the Father, etc. . . ,” omitting these words: “I baptize thee.”
28. Baptism is valid when conferred by a minister who observes all the external rite and form of baptizing, but within his heart resolves, I do not intend what the Church does.
29. Futile and many times refuted is the assertion about the authority of the Roman Pontiff being superior to that of an ecumenical Council and about his infallibility in deciding questions of faith.
30. When anyone finds a doctrine clearly established in Augustine, he can absolutely hold and teach it, disregarding any bull of the pope.
31. The Bull of Urban VIII, “In Eminenti,” is false.
Clement XI – From the Constitution, “Vineam Domini Sabaoth,” July 16, 1705 – An Obsequious Silence in Regard to Dogmatic Facts
In order that, for the future, every occasion of error may be prevented, and that all sons of the Catholic Church may learn to listen to the Church herself, not in silence only (for, “even the wicked are silent in darkness” [I Kings 2:9]), but with an interior obedience, which is the true obedience of an orthodox man, let it be known that by this constitution of ours, to be valid forever, the obedience which is due to the aforesaid apostolic constitutions is not satisfied by any obsequious silence; but the sense of that book of Jansen which has been condemned in the five propositions mentioned above, and whose meaning the words of those propositions express clearly, must be rejected and condemned as heretical by all the faithful of Christ, not only by word of mouth but also in heart; and one may not lawfully subscribe to the above formula with any other mind, heart, or belief, so that all who hold or preach or teach or assert by word or writing anything contrary to what all these propositions mean, and to what each single one means, we declare, decree, state, and ordain, with this same apostolic authority, that all, as transgressors of the aforementioned apostolic constitutions, come under each and every individual censure and penalty of those constitutions.
Pius VI – From the Constitution “Auctorem fidei,” Aug. 28, 1794 – Errors of the Synod of Pistoia
[A. Errors about the Church]
Obscuring of Truths in the Church
[From the Decree de Grat., sec. 1]
1. The proposition, which asserts “that in these later times there has been spread a general obscuring of the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings of Jesus Christ,”—heretical.
The Power Attributed to the Community of the Church,
in Order That by This the Power May Be Communicated
to the Pastors
2. The proposition which states “that power has been given by God to the Church, that it might be communicated to the pastors who are its ministers for the salvation of souls”; if thus understood that the power of ecclesiastical ministry and of rule is derived from the COMMUNITY of the faithful to the pastors,—heretical.
The Name Ministerial Head Attributed to the Roman Pontiff
[Decree de fide (on faith), sec. 8]
3. In addition, the proposition which states “that the Roman Pontiff is the ministerial head,” if it is so explained that the Roman Pontiff does not receive from Christ in the person of blessed Peter, but from the Church, the power of ministry, which as successor of Peter, true vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church he possesses in the universal Church,—heretical.
The Power of the Church for the Establishing and the Sanctioning
of Exterior Discipline
[Decree de fide, sees. 13, 14]
4. The proposition affirming, “that it would be a misuse of the authority of the Church, when she transfers that authority beyond the limits of doctrine and of morals, and extends it to exterior matters, and demands by force that which depends on persuasion and love”; and then also, “that it pertains to it much less, to demand by force exterior obedience to its decrees”; in so far as by those undefined words, “extends to exterior matters,” the proposition censures as an abuse of the authority of the Church the use of its power received from God, which the apostles themselves used in establishing and sanctioning exterior discipline— heretical.
5. In that part in which the proposition
insinuates that the Church
Rights Attributed to Bishops Beyond What is Lawful
[Decree de ord., sec. 25]
6. The doctrine of the synod by which it professes that “it is convinced that a bishop has received from Christ all necessary rights for the good government of his diocese,” just as if for the good government of each diocese higher ordinances dealing either with faith and morals, or with general discipline, are not necessary, the right of which belongs to the supreme Pontiffs and the General Councils for the universal Church,— schismatic, at least erroneous.
7. Likewise, in this, that it encourages a bishop “to pursue zealously a more perfect constitution of ecclesiastical discipline,” and this “against all contrary customs, exemptions, reservations which are opposed to the good order of the diocese, for the greater glory of God and for the greater edification of the faithful”; in that it supposes that a bishop has the right by his own judgment and will to decree and decide contrary to customs, exemptions, reservations, whether they prevail in the universal Church or even in each province, without the consent or the intervention of a higher hierarchic power, by which these customs, etc., have been introduced or approved and have the force of law,—leading to schism and subversion of hierarchic rule, erroneous.
8. Likewise, in that it says it is convinced that “the rights of a bishop received from Jesus Christ for the government of the Church cannot be altered nor hindered, and, when it has happened that the exercise of these rights has been interrupted for any reason whatsoever, a bishop can always and should return to his original rights, as often as the greater good of his church demands it”; in the fact that it intimates that the exercise of episcopal rights can be hindered and coerced by no higher power, whenever a bishop shall judge that it does not further the greater good of his church,—leading to schism, and to subversion of hierarchic government, erroneous.
The Right Incorrectly Attributed to Priests of Inferior Rank
in Decrees of Faith and Discipline
9. The doctrine which states, that “the reformation of abuses in regard to ecclesiastical discipline ought equally to depend upon and be established by the bishop and the parish priests in diocesan synods, and that without the freedom of decision, obedience would not be due to the suggestions and orders of the bishops,” 1—false, rash, harmful to episcopal authority, subversive of hierarchic government, favoring the heresy of Aerius, which was renewed by Calvin [cf. Benedict XIV De Syn. dioc. (concerning diocesan synods), 13, 1].
[From the Episcopal Convocation. From the Epistle to the
Vic. For. From the Oration to the Synod, sec. 8.
From session 3.]
10. Likewise, the doctrine by which parish priests and other priests gathered in a synod are declared judges of faith together with the bishop, and at the same time it is intimated that they are qualified for judgment in matters of faith by their own right and have indeed received it by ordination,—false, rash, subversive of hierarchic order, detracting from the strength of dogmatic definitions or judgments of the Church, at least erroneous.
[Oration to the Synod, sec. 8]
11. The opinion enunciating that by the long-standing practice of our ancestors, handed down even from apostolic times, preserved through the better ages of the Church, it has been accepted that “decrees, or definitions, or opinions even of the greater sees should not be accepted, unless they had been recognized and approved by the diocesan synod,”— false, rash, derogatory, in proportion to its generality, to the obedience due to the apostolic constitutions, and also to the opinions emanating from the legitimate, superior, hierarchic power, fostering schism and heresy.
Calumnies Against Some Decisions in the Matter of Faith
Which Have Come Down from Several Centuries
[Faith, sec. 12]
12. The assertions of the synod, accepted as a whole concerning decisions in the matter of faith which have come down from several centuries, which it represents as decrees originating from one particular church or from a few pastors, unsupported by sufficient authority, formulated for the corruption of the purity of faith and for causing disturbance, introduced by violence, from which wounds, still too recent, have been inflicted,—false, deceitful, rash, scandalous, injurious to the Roman Pontiffs and the Church, derogatory to the obedience due to the Apostolic Constitutions, schismatic, dangerous, at least erroneous.
The So-called Peace of Clement IX
[Oration to the Synod, sec. 2 in the note]
13. The proposition reported among the acts of the synod, which intimates that Clement IX restored peace to the Church by the approval of the distinction of right and deed in the subscription to the formulary written by Alexander VII,—false, rash, injurious to Clement IX.
14. In so far as it approves that distinction by extolling its supporters with praise and by berating their opponents,—rash, pernicious, injurious to the Supreme Pontiffs, fostering schism and heresy.
The Composition of the Body of the Church
[Appendix n. 28]
15. The doctrine which proposes that the Church “must be considered as one mystical body composed of Christ, the head, and the faithful, who are its members through an ineffable union, by which in a marvelous way we become with Him one sole priest, one sole victim, one sole perfect adorer of God the Father, in spirit and in truth,” understood in this sense, that no one belongs to the body of the Church except the faithful, who are perfect adorers in spirit and in truth,—heretical.
[B. Errors about Justification, Grace, the Virtues]
The State of Innocence
[Grace, secs. 4, 7: the sacraments in general, sec. 1;
penance, sec. 4]
16. The doctrine of the synod about the state of happy innocence, such as it represents it in Adam before his sin, comprising not only integrity but also interior justice with an inclination toward God through love of charity, and primeval sanctity restored in some way after the fall; in so far as, understood comprehensively, it intimates that that state was a consequence of creation, due to man from the natural exigency and condition of human nature, not a gratuitous gift of God, false, elsewhere condemned in Baius, and in Quesnel, erroneous, favorable to the Pelagian heresy.
Immortality Viewed as a Natural Condition of Man
[Baptism, sec. 2]
17. The proposition stated in these words: “Taught by the Apostle, we regard death no longer as a natural condition of man, but truly as a just penalty for original guilt,” since, under the deceitful mention of the name of the Apostle, it insinuates that death, which in the present state has been inflicted as a just punishment for sin by the just withdrawal of immortality, was not a natural condition of man, as if immortality had not been a gratuitous gift, but a natural condition,—deceitful, rash, injurious to the Apostle, elsewhere condemned.
The Condition of Man in the State of Nature
[On Grace, sec. 10]
18. The doctrine of the synod stating that “after the fall of Adam, God announced the promise of a future Redeemer and wished to console the human race through hope of salvation, which Jesus was to bring”; nevertheless, “that God willed that the human race should pass through various states before the plenitude of time should come”; and first, that in the state of nature “man, left to his own lights, would learn to distrust his own blind reason and would move himself from his own aberrations to desire the aid of a superior light”; the doctrine, as it stands, is deceitful, and if understood concerning the desire of the aid of a superior light in relation to the salvation promised through Christ, that man is supposed to have been able to move himself to conceive this desire by his own proper lights remaining after the fall,—suspected, favorable to the Semi-pelagian heresy.
The Condition of Man under the Law
19. Likewise, the doctrine which adds that under the Law man “became a prevaricator, since he was powerless to observe it, not indeed by the fault of the Law, which was most sacred, but by the guilt of man, who, under the Law, without grace, became more and more a prevaricator”; and it further adds, “that the Law, if it did not heal the heart of man, brought it about that he would recognize his evil, and, being convinced of his weakness, would desire the grace of a mediator”; in this part it generally intimates that man became a prevaricator through the nonobservance of the Law which he was powerless to observe, as if “He who is just could command something impossible, or He who is pious would be likely to condemn man for that which he could not avoid” (from St. Caesarius Serm. 73, in append., St. Augustine, Serm. 273, edit. Maurin; from St. August., De nat, et grat., c. 43; De grat. et lib. arb., c. 16; Enarr. in psalm. 56, n. 1),—false scandalous, impious, condemned in Baius.
20. In that part in which it is to be understood that man, while under the Law and without grace, could conceive a desire for the grace of a Mediator related to the salvation promised through Christ, as if “grace itself does not effect that He be invoked by us” (from Cone. Araus. II, can. 3),—the proposition as it stands, deceitful, suspect, favorable to the Semipelagian heresy.
Illuminating and Exciting Grace
[Grace, sec. 11]
21. The proposition which asserts “that the light of grace, when it is alone, effects nothing but to make us aware of the unhappiness of our state and the gravity of our evil; that grace, in such a case, produces the same effect as the Law produced: therefore, it is necessary that God create in our heart a sacred love and infuse a sacred delight contrary to the love dominating in us; that this sacred love, this sacred delight is properly the grace of Jesus Christ, the inspiration of charity by which, when it is perceived, we act by a sacred love; that this is that root from which grow good works; that this is the grace of the New Testament, which frees us from the servitude of sin, makes us sons of God”; since it intimates that that alone is properly the grace of Jesus Christ, which creates in the heart a sacred love, and which impels us to act, or also, by which man, freed from the slavery of sin, is constituted a son of God; and that that grace is not also properly the grace of Jesus Christ, by which the heart of man is touched through an illumination of the Holy Spirit (TRID. sess. 6, c. 5), and that no true interior grace of Christ is given, which is resisted,—false, deceitful, leading to the error condemned in the second proposition of Jansen as heretical, and renewing it.
Faith as the First Grace
[Faith, sec. 1]
22. The proposition which declares that faith, “from which begins the series of graces, and through which, as the first voice, we are called to salvation and to the Church”: is the very excellent virtue itself of faith by which men are called and are the faithful; just as if that grace were not prior, which “as it precedes the will, so it precedes faith also” (from St. August., De dono persev., c. 16, n. 41),—suspected of heresy, and savoring of it, elsewhere condemned in Quesnel, erroneous.
The Twofold Love
[Grace, sec. 8]
23. The doctrine of the synod about the twofold love of dominating cupidity and of dominating charity, stating that man without grace is under the power of sin, and that in that state through the general influence of the dominating cupidity he taints and corrupts all his actions; since it insinuates that in man, while he is under the servitude or in the state of sin, destitute of that grace by which he is freed from the servitude of sin and is constituted a son of God, cupidity is so dominant that by its general influence all his actions are vitiated in themselves and corrupted; or that all his works which are done before justification, for whatsoever reason they may be done, are sins; as if in all his acts the sinner is a slave to the dominating cupidity,—false, dangerous, leading into the error condemned by the Tridentine Council as heretical, again condemned in Baius, art. 40.
24. But in this part, indeed, no intermediate affections are placed between the dominating cupidity and the dominating charity, planted by nature itself and worthy of praise because of their own nature, which, together with love of the beatitude and a natural inclination to good “have remained as the last outline and traces of the image of God” (from St. August., De spirit, et litt., c. 28); just as if “between the divine love which draws us to the kingdom, and illicit human love which is condemned, there should not be given a licit human love which is not censured” (from St. August., Serm. 349 de car., edit. Maurin),—false, elsewhere condemned.
[On Penance, sec. 3]
25. The doctrine which in general asserts that the fear of punishment “cannot be called evil if it, at least, prevails to restrain the hand”; as if the fear itself of hell, which faith teaches must be imposed on sin, is not in itself good and useful as a supernatural gift, and a motion inspired by God preparing for the love of justice,—false, rash, dangerous, injurious to the divine gifts, elsewhere condemned, contrary to the doctrine of the Council of Trent, and to the common opinion of the Fathers, namely “that there is need,” according to the customary order of preparation for justice, “that fear should first enter, through which charity will come; fear is a medicine, charity is health” (from S. August,, In [I] epist. Io., c. 4, tract. 9; in Io. evang., tract 41, n. 10; Enarr. in psalm, 127, n. 7; Serm. 157 de verbis Apost, n. 13; Serm. 161 de verbis Apost., n. 8; Serm. 349 de caritate, n. 7).
The Punishment of Those Who Die with Original Sin Only
[Baptism, sec. 3]
26. The doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable, that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of children) in which the souls of those departing with the sole guilt of original sin are punished with the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire, just as if, by this very fact, that these who remove the punishment of fire introduced that middle place and state free of guilt and of punishment between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation, such as that about which the Pelagians idly talk,—false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools.
[C. Errors] about the Sacraments, and First about the
Sacramental Form with a Condition Attached
[Baptism, sec. 12]
27. The deliberation of the synod which, under pretext of clinging to ancient canons in the case of doubtful baptism, declares its intention of omitting mention of the conditional form,—rash, contrary to practice, to the law, to the authority of the Church.
The Partaking of the Victim in the Sacrifice of the Mass
[The Eucharist, sec. 6]
28. The proposition of the synod in which, after it states that “a partaking of the victim is an essential part in the sacrifice,” it adds, “nevertheless, it does not condemn as illicit those Masses in which those present do not communicate sacramentally, for the reason that they do partake of the victim, although less perfectly, by receiving it spiritually,” since it insinuates that there is something lacking to the essence of the sacrifice in that sacrifice which is performed either with no one present, or with those present who partake of the victim neither sacramentally nor spiritually, and as if those Masses should be condemned as illicit, in which, with the priest alone communicating, no one is present who communicates either sacramentally or spiritually,—false, erroneous, suspected of heresy and savoring of it.
The Efficacy of the Rite of Consecration
[The Eucharist, sec. 2]
29. The doctrine of the synod, in that part in which, undertaking to explain the doctrine of faith in the rite of consecration, and disregarding the scholastic questions about the manner in which Christ is in the Eucharist, from which questions it exhorts priests performing the duty of teaching to refrain, it states the doctrine in these two propositions only: 1) after the consecration Christ is truly, really, substantially under the species; 2) then the whole substance of the bread and wine ceases, appearances only remaining; it (the doctrine) absolutely omits to make any mention of transubstantiation, or conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood, which the Council of Trent defined as an article of faith , and which is contained in the solemn profession of faith; since by an indiscreet and suspicious omission of this sort knowledge is taken away both of an article pertaining to faith, and also of the word consecrated by the Church to protect the profession of it, as if it were a discussion of a merely scholastic question,—dangerous, derogatory to the exposition of Catholic truth about the dogma of transubstantiation, favorable to heretics.
The Application of the Fruit of the Sacrifice
[The Eucharist, sec. 8]
30. The doctrine of the synod, by which, while it professes “to believe that the oblation of the sacrifice extends itself to all, in such a way, however, that in the liturgy there can be made a special commemoration of certain individuals, both living and dead, by praying God specially for them,” then it immediately adds: “Not, however, that we should believe that it is in the will of the priest to apply the fruit of the sacrifice to whom He wishes, rather we condemn this error as greatly offending the rights of God, who alone distributes the fruit of the sacrifice to whom He wishes and according to the measure which pleases Him”; and consequently, from this it derides “as false the opinion foisted on the people that they who give alms to the priest on the condition that he celebrate a Mass will receive from it special fruit”; thus understood, that besides the special commemoration and prayer a special offering itself, or application of the Sacrifice which is made by the priest does not benefit, other things being equal, those for whom it is applied more than any others, as if no special fruit would come from a special application, which the Church recommends and commands should be made for definite persons or classes of persons, especially by pastors for their flock, and which, as if coming down from a divine precept, has been clearly expressed by the sacred synod of Trent (sess. 23, c. 1 de reform; BENED. XIV, Constit. “Cum semper oblatas,” sec. 2),—false, rash, dangerous, injurious to the Church, leading into the error elsewhere condemned in Wycliffe.
The Suitable Order to Be Observed in Worship
[The Eucharist, sec. 5]
31. The proposition of the synod enunciating that it is fitting, in accordance with the order of divine services and ancient custom, that there be only one altar in each temple, and therefore, that it is pleased to restore that custom,—rash, injurious to the very ancient pious custom nourishing and approved for these many centuries in the Church, especially in the Latin Church.
32. Likewise, the prescription forbidding cases of sacred relics or flowers being placed on the altar,—rash, injurious to the pious and approved custom of the Church.
[Ibid., sec. 6]
33. The proposition of the synod by which it shows itself eager to remove the cause through which, in part, there has been induced a forgetfulness of the principles relating to the order of the liturgy, “by recalling it (the liturgy) to a greater simplicity of rites, by expressing it in the vernacular language, by uttering it in a loud voice”; as if the present order of the liturgy, received and approved by the Church, had emanated in some part from the forgetfulness of the principles by which it should be regulated,—rash, offensive to pious ears, insulting to the Church, favorable to the charges of heretics against it.
The Order of Penance
[Penance, sec. 7]
34. The declaration of the synod by which, after it previously stated that the order of canonical penance had been so established by the Church, in accord with the example of the apostles that it was common to all, and not merely for the punishment of guilt, but especially for the disposition to grace, it adds that “it (the synod) recognizes in that marvelous and venerable order the whole dignity of so necessary a sacrament, free from the subtleties which have been added to it in the course of time”; as if, through the order in which without the complete course of canonical penance this sacrament has been wont to be administered, the dignity of the sacrament had been lessened,—rash, scandalous, inducing to a contempt of the dignity of the sacrament as it has been accustomed to be administered throughout the whole Church, injurious to the Church itself.
[Penance, sec. 10, n. 4]
35. The proposition conceived in these words: “If charity in the beginning is always weak, it behooves the priest, in obtaining an increase of this charity in the ordinary way, to make those acts of humiliation and penance which have been recommended in every age by the Church precede; to reduce those acts to a few prayers or to some fasting after absolution has already been conferred, seems to be a material desire of keeping for this sacrament the mere name of penance, rather than an illuminating and suitable means to increase that fervor of charity which ought to precede absolution; indeed we are far from blaming the practice of imposing penances to be fulfilled after absolution; if all our good works have our defects always joined to them, how much more ought we to fear lest we admit very many imperfections into the very difficult and very important work of our reconciliation”; since it implies that the penances which are imposed, to be fulfilled after absolution, are to be considered as a supplement for the defects admitted in the work of our reconciliation, rather than as truly sacramental penances and satisfactions for the sins confessed, as if, in order that the true reason for the sacrament, not the mere name, be preserved, it would be necessary that in the ordinary way the acts of humiliation and penance, which are imposed as a means of sacramental satisfaction, should precede absolution,— false, rash, injurious to the common practice of the Church, leading to the error contained in the heretical note in Peter of Osma.
The Previous Disposition Necessary for Admitting
Penitents to Reconciliation
[Grace, sec. 15]
36. The doctrine of the synod, in which, after it stated that “when there are unmistakable signs of the love of God dominating in the heart of a man, he can deservedly be considered worthy of being admitted to participation in the blood of Jesus Christ, which takes place in the sacraments,” it further adds, “that false conversions, which take place through attrition (incomplete sorrow for sins), are not usually efficacious nor durable,” consequently, “the shepherd of souls must insist on unmistakable signs of the dominating charity before he admits his penitents to the sacraments”; which signs, as it (the decree) then teaches (sec. 17), “a pastor can deduce from a firm cessation of sin and from fervor in good works”; and this “fervor of charity,” moreover, it prescribes (De poenit, sec. 10) as the disposition which “should precede absolution”; so understood that not only imperfect contrition, which is sometimes called by the name of attrition, even that which is joined with the love with which a man begins to love God as the fountain of all justice, and not only contrition formed by charity, but also the fervor of a dominating charity, and that, indeed, proved by a long continued practice through fervor in good works, is generally and absolutely required in order that a man may be admitted to the sacraments, and penitents especially be admitted to the benefit of the absolution,—false, rash, disturbing to the peace of souls, contrary to the safe and approved practice of the Church, detracting from the efficacy of the sacrament and injurious to it.
The Authority for Absolving
[Penance, sec. 10, n. 6]
37. The teaching of the synod, which declares concerning the authority for absolving received through ordination that “after the institution of dioceses and parishes, it is fitting that each one exercise this judgment over those persons subject to him either by reason of territory or some personal right,” because “otherwise confusion and disturbance would be introduced”; since it declares that, in order to prevent confusion, after dioceses and parishes have been instituted, it is merely fitting that the power of absolving be exercised upon subjects; so understood, as if for the valid use of this power there is no need of ordinary or delegated jurisdiction, without which the Tridentine Synod declares that absolution conferred by a priest is of no value,—false, rash, dangerous, contrary and injurious to the Tridentine Synod, erroneous.
[Ibid., sec. 11]
38. Likewise, that teaching in which, after the synod professed that “it could not but admire that very venerable discipline of antiquity, which (as it says) did not admit to penance so easily, and perhaps never, that one who, after a first sin and a first reconciliation, had relapsed into guilt,” it adds, that “through fear of perpetual exclusion from communion and from peace, even in the hour of death, a great restraint will be put on those who consider too little the evil of sin and fear it less,” contrary to canon 13 of the first Council of Nicea, to the decretal of Innocent I to Exuperius Tolos, and then also to the decretal of Celestine I to the .Bishops of Vienne, and of the Province of Narbon, redolent of the viciousness at which the Holy Pontiff is horrified in that decretal.
The Confession of Venial Sins
[Penance, sec. 12]
39. The declaration of the synod about the confession of venial sins, which it does not wish, it says, to be so frequently resorted to, lest confessions of this sort be rendered too contemptible,—rash, dangerous, contrary to the practice of the saints and the pious which was approved by the sacred Council of Trent.
[Penance, sec. 16]
40. The proposition asserting “that an indulgence, according to its precise notion, is nothing else than the remission of that part of the penance which had been established by the canons for the sinner”; as if an indulgence, in addition to the mere remission of the canonical penance, does not also have value for the remission of the temporal punishment due to the divine justice for actual sins,—false, rash, injurious to the merits of Christ, already condemned in article 19 of Luther.
41. Likewise, in this which is added, i.e., that “the scholastics, puffed up by their subtleties, introduced the poorly understood treasury of the merits of Christ and of the saints, and, for the clear notion of absolution from canonical penance, they substituted a confused and false notion of the application of merits”; as if the treasures of the Church, whence the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints,— false, rash, injurious to the merits of Christ and of the saints, previously condemned in art. 17 of Luther.
42. Likewise, in this which it adds, that “it is still more lamentable that that fabulous application is meant to be transferred to the dead,”— false, rash, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Roman Pontiffs and to the practice and sense of the universal Church, leading to the error fixed in the heretical note in Peter of Osma, again condemned in article 22 of Luther.
43. In this, finally, that it most shamelessly inveighs against lists of indulgences, privileged altars, etc.,—rash, offensive to the ears of the pious, scandalous, abusive to the Supreme Pontiffs, and to the practice common in the whole Church.
The Reservation of Cases
[Penance, sec. 79]
44. The proposition of the synod asserting that the “reservation of cases at the present time is nothing else than an improvident bond for priests of lower rank, and a statement devoid of sense for penitents who are accustomed to pay no heed to this reservation,”—false, rash, evil-sounding, dangerous, contrary to the Council of Trent, injurious to the hierarchic power.
45. Likewise, concerning the hope which it expressed that “when the Ritual and the order of penance had been reformed, there would be no place any longer for reservations of this sort”; in so far as, considering the careful generality of the words, it intimates that, by a reformation of the Ritual and of the order of penance made by a bishop or a synod, cases can be abolished which the Tridentine Synod (sess. 14, c. 7) declares the Supreme Pontiffs could reserve to their own special judgment, because of the supreme power given to them in the universal Church,—the proposition is false, rash, derogatory, and injurious to the Council of Trent and to the authority of the Supreme Pontiffs.
[Penance, sees. 20 and 22]
46. The proposition asserting that “the effect of excommunication is merely exterior, because by its nature it merely excludes from exterior communion with the Church”; as if excommunication were not a spiritual punishment, binding in heaven, obligating souls (from St. August., Epistle 250 to Bishop Auxilius; Tract 50 in Io., 12),—false, dangerous, condemned in art. 23 of Luther, at least erroneous.
[Secs. 21 and 23]
47. Likewise, the proposition which teaches that it is necessary, according to the natural and divine laws, for either excommunication or for suspension, that a personal examination should precede, and that, therefore, sentences called “ipso facto” have no other force than that of a serious threat without any actual effect,—false, rash, pernicious, injurious to the power of the Church, erroneous.
48. Likewise, the proposition which says that “useless and vain is the formula introduced some centuries ago of general absolution from excommunications into which the faithful might have fallen,”—false, rash, injurious to the practice of the Church.
49. Likewise, the proposition which condemns as null and invalid “suspensions imposed from an informed conscience,”—false, pernicious, injurious to Trent.
50. Likewise, in that decree which insinuates that a bishop alone does not have the right to make use of the power which, nevertheless, Trent confers on him (sess. 14, c. i de reform.) of legitimately inflicting suspensions “from an informed conscience,”—harmful to the jurisdiction of the prelates of the Church.
[Orders, sec. 4]
51. The doctrine of the synod which says that in promoting to orders this method, from the custom and rule of the ancient discipline, was accustomed to be observed, “that if any cleric was distinguished for holiness of life and was considered worthy to ascend to sacred orders, it was the custom to promote him to the diaconate, or to the priesthood, even if he had not received minor orders; and that at that time such an ordination was not called ‘per saltum,’ as afterwards it was so called,”—
52. Likewise, the doctrine which intimates that there was no other title for ordinations than appointment to some special ministry, such as was prescribed in the Council of Chalcedon; adding (Sec. 6) that, as long as the Church conformed itself to these principles in the selection of sacred ministers, the ecclesiastical order flourished; but that those happy days have passed, and new principles have been introduced later, by which the discipline in the choice of ministers for the sanctuary was corrupted;—
53. Likewise, that among these very principles of corruption it mentions the fact that there has been a departure from the old rule by which, as it says (Sec. 5) the Church, treading in the footsteps of the Apostle, had prescribed that no one should be admitted to the priesthood unless he had preserved his baptismal innocence, since it implies that discipline has been corrupted by decrees and rules:
1) Whether by these ordinations “per saltum” have been forbidden;
2) or by these, for the need and advantage of churches, ordinations without special title of office are approved, as the ordination for the title of patrimony, specifically approved by Trent, that obedience having been assured by which those so ordained are obliged to serve the necessities of the Churches in fulfilling those duties, for which, considering the time and the place, they were ordained by the bishop, just as it was accustomed to be done from apostolic times in the primitive Church;
3) or, by these a distinction was made by canon law of crimes which render the delinquents irregular; as if, by this distinction, the Church departed from the spirit of the Apostle by not excluding in general and without distinction from the ecclesiastical ministry all, whosoever they be, who have not preserved their baptismal innocence,—the doctrine is false in its several individual parts, rash, disturbing to the order introduced for the need and advantage of the churches, injurious to the discipline approved by the canons and especially by the decrees of the Council of Trent.
54. Likewise, the doctrine which notes as a shameful abuse ever to offer alms for the celebration of Masses, and for administering the sacraments, as well as to accept any offering so-called “of the stole,” and, in general, any stipend and honorarium which may be offered on the occasion of prayers or of some parochial function; as if the ministers of the Church should be charged with a shameful abuse because they use the right promulgated by the Apostle of accepting temporal aids from those to whom they furnish spiritual ministrations [Gal. 6: 6],—false, rash, harmful to ecclesiastical and pastoral right, injurious to the Church and its ministers.
55. Likewise, the doctrine by which it professes to desire very much that some way be found of removing the lesser clergy (under which name it designates the clerics of minor orders) from cathedrals and colleges by providing otherwise, namely through approved lay people of mature age, a suitable assigned stipend for the ministry of serving at Masses and for other offices such as that of acolyte, etc., as formerly, it says, was usually done when duties of that sort had not been reduced to mere form for the receiving of major orders; inasmuch as it censures the rule by which care is taken that “the functions of minor orders are to be performed or exercised only by those who have been established in them according to rank” (Conc. prov. IV of Milan), and this also according to the intention of the Tridentine Council (sess. 23, c. 17) that the duties of sacred orders, from the diaconate to the porter, laudably received in the Church from apostolic times and neglected for a while in many places, should be renewed according to the sacred canons, and should not be considered useless as they are by heretics,”—a rash suggestion, offensive to pious ears, disturbing to the ecclesiastical ministry, lessening of the decency which should be observed as far as possible in celebrating the mysteries, injurious to the duties and functions of minor orders, as well as to the discipline approved by the canons and especially by the Tridentine Synod, favorable to the charges and calumnies of heretics against it.
56. The doctrine which states that it seems fitting that, in the case of canonical impediments which arise from crimes expressed in the law, no dispensation should ever be granted or allowed,—harmful to the canonical equity and moderation which has been approved by the sacred council of Trent, derogatory to the authority and laws of the Church.
[Ibid., sec. 22]
57. The prescription of the synod which generally and indiscriminately rejects as an abuse any dispensation that more than one residential benefice be bestowed on one and the same person: likewise, in this which it adds that the synod is certain that, according to the spirit of the Church, no one could enjoy more than one benefice, even if it is a simple one,—for its generality, derogatory to the moderation of the Council of Trent (sess. 7, c. 5, and sess. 24, c. 17).
Betrothals and Matrimony
[Memorial Booklet about Betrothals, etc. sec. 8]
58. The proposition which states that betrothals properly so-called contain a mere civil act which disposes for the celebrating of marriage, and that these same betrothals are altogether subject to the prescription of the civil laws; as if the act disposing for the sacrament is not, under this aspect, subject to the law of the Church,—false, harmful to the right of the Church in respect to the effects Rowing even from betrothals by reason of the canonical sanctions, derogatory to the discipline established by the Church.
[Matrimony, sees. 7, l1, 12]
59. The doctrine of the synod asserting that “to the supreme civil power alone originally belongs the right to apply to the contract of marriage impediments of that sort which render it null and are called nullifying”: which “original right,” besides, is said to be “essentially connected with the right of dispensing”: adding that “with the secret consent or connivance of the principals, the Church could justly establish impediments which nullify the very contract of marriage”; as if the Church could not and cannot always in Christian marriages, establish by its own rights impediments which not only hinder marriage, but also render it null as regards the bond, and also dispense from those impediments by which Christians are held bound even in the countries of infidels,—destructive of canons 3, 4, 9, 12 of the 24th session of the Council of Trent, heretical.
[Cit. Memorial Booklet about Betrothals, sec. 10]
60. Likewise, the proposal of the synod to the civil power, that “it remove from the number of impediments, whose origin is found in the Collection of Justinian, spiritual relationship and also that one which is called of public honor”; then, that “it should tighten the impediment of affinity and relationship from any licit or illicit connection of birth to the fourth degree, according to the civil computation through the lateral and oblique lines, in such a way, nevertheless, that there be left no hope of obtaining a dispensation”; in so tar as it attributes to the civil power the right either of abolishing or of tightening impediments which have been established and approved by the authority of the Church; likewise, where it proposes that the Church can be despoiled by the civil power of the right of dispensing from impediments established or approved by the Church,—subversive of the liberty and power of the Church, contrary to Trent, issuing from the heretical principle condemned above.
[D. Errors] Concerning Duties, Practices, Rules Pertaining
to Religious Worship
And First, the Adoration of the Humanity of Christ.
[Faith, sec. 3]
61. The proposition which asserts that “to adore directly the humanity of Christ, even any part of Him, would always be divine honor given to a creature”; in so far as, by this word “directly” it intends to reprove the worship of adoration which the faithful show to the humanity of Christ, just as if such adoration, by which the humanity and the very living flesh of Christ is adored, not indeed on account of itself as mere flesh, but because it is united to the divinity, would be divine honor imparted to a creature, and not rather the one and the same adoration with which the Incarnate Word is adored in His own proper flesh (from the and Council of Constantinople, 5th Ecumenical Council, canon 9,—false, deceitful, detracting from and injurious to the pious and due worship given and extended by the faithful to the humanity of Christ.
[Prayer, sec. 17]
62. The doctrine which rejects devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus among the devotions which it notes as new, erroneous, or at least, dangerous; if the understanding of this devotion is of such a sort as has been approved by the Apostolic See,—false, rash, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Apostolic See.
[Prayer sec. 10, and the appendix n. 32]
63. Likewise, in this that it blames the worshipers of the Heart of Jesus also for this name, because they do not note that the most sacred flesh of Christ, or any part of Him, or even the whole humanity, cannot be adored with the worship of latria when there is a separation or cutting off from the divinity; as if the faithful when they adore the Heart of Jesus, separate it or cut it off from the divinity; when they worship the Heart of Jesus it is, namely, the heart of the person of the Word, to whom it has been inseparably united in that manner in which the bloodless body of Christ during the three days of death, without separation or cutting off from divinity, was worthy of adoration in the tomb,—deceitful, injurious to the faithful worshipers of the Heart of Jesus.
The Order Prescribed in the Undertaking of Pious Exercises
[Prayer, sec. 14, Appendix n. 34]
64. The doctrine which notes as universally superstitious “any efficacy which is placed in a fixed number of prayers and of pious salutations”; as if one should consider as superstitious the efficacy which is derived not from the number viewed in itself, but from the prescript of the Church appointing a certain number of prayers or of external acts for obtaining indulgences, for fulfilling penances and, in general, for the performance of sacred and religious worship in the correct order and due form,— false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, injurious to the piety of the faithful, derogatory to the authority of the Church, erroneous,
[Penance, sec. 10]
65. The proposition stating that “the unregulated clamor of the new institutions which have been called exercises or missions . . . , perhaps never, or at least very rarely, succeed in effecting an absolute conversion; and those exterior acts of encouragement which have appeared were nothing else than the transient brilliance of a natural emotion,”—rash, evil-sounding, dangerous, injurious to the customs piously and salutarily practiced throughout the Church and founded on the Word of God.
The Manner of Uniting the Voice of the People with the Voice
of the Church in Public Prayers
[Prayer, sec. 24]
66. The proposition asserting that “it would be against apostolic practice and the plans of God, unless easier ways were prepared for the people to unite their voice with that of the whole Church”; if understood to signify introducing of the use of popular language into the liturgical prayers,—false, rash, disturbing to the order prescribed for the celebration of the mysteries, easily productive of many evils.
The Reading of Sacred Scripture
[From the note at the end of the decree on grace]
67. The doctrine asserting that “only a true impotence excuses” from the reading of the Sacred Scriptures, adding, moreover, that there is produced the obscurity which arises from a neglect of this precept in regard to the primary truths of religion,—false, rash, disturbing to the peace of souls, condemned elsewhere in Quesnel.
The Reading of Proscribed Books Publicly in Church
68. The praise with which the synod very highly commends the commentaries of Quesnel on the New Testament, and some works of other writers who favor the errors of Quesnel, although they have been proscribed; and which proposes to parish priests that they should read these same works, as if they were full of the solid principles of religion, each one in his own parish to his people after other functions,—false, rash, scandalous, seditious, injurious to the Church, fostering schism and heresy.
[Prayer, sec. 17]
69. The prescription which in general and without discrimination includes the images of the incomprehensible Trinity among the images to be removed from the Church, on the ground that they furnish an occasion of error to the untutored,—because of its generality, it is rash, and contrary to the pious custom common throughout the Church, as if no images of the Most Holy Trinity exist which are commonly approved and safely permitted (from the Brief “Sollicitudini nostrae” of Benedict XIV in the year 1745).
70. Likewise, the doctrine and prescription condemning in general every special cult which the faithful are accustomed to attach specifically to some image, and to have recourse to, rather than to another,—rash, dangerous, injurious to the pious custom prevalent throughout the Church and also to that order of Providence, by which “God, who apportions as He wishes to each one his own proper characteristics, did not want them to be common in every commemoration of the saints (from St. Augustine, Epistle 78 to the clergy, elders, and people of the church at Hippo).
71. Likewise, the teaching which forbids that images, especially of the Blessed Virgin, be distinguished by any title other than the denominations which are related to the mysteries, about which express mention is made in Holy Scripture; as if other pious titles could not be given to images which the Church indeed approves and commends in its public prayers,—rash, offensive to the ears of the pious, and especially injurious to the due veneration of the Blessed Virgin.
72. Likewise, the one which would extirpate as an abuse the custom by which certain images are kept veiled,—rash, contrary to the custom prevalent in the Church and employed to foster the piety of the faithful.
[Libell. memor. for the reformation of feasts, sec. 3]
73. The proposition stating that the institution of new feasts derived its origin from neglect in the observance of the older feasts, and from false notions of the nature and end of these solemnities,—false, rash, scandalous, injurious to the Church, favorable to the charges of heretics against the feast days celebrated by the Church.
[Ibid., sec. 8]
74. The deliberation of the synod about transferring to Sunday feasts distributed through the year, and rightly so, because it is convinced that the bishop has power over ecclesiastical discipline in relation to purely spiritual matters, and therefore of abrogating the precept of hearing Mass on those days, on which according to the early law of the Church, even then that precept flourished; and then, also, in this statement which it (the synod) added about transferring to Advent by episcopal authority the fasts which should be kept throughout the year according to the precept of the Church; insomuch as it asserts that it is lawful for a bishop in his own right to transfer the days prescribed by the Church for celebrating feasts or fasts, or to abrogate the imposed precept of hearing Mass,—a false proposition, harmful to the law of the general Councils and of the Supreme Pontiffs, scandalous, favorable to schism.
[Libell. memor. for the reformation of oaths, sec. 4]
75. The teaching which says that in the happy days of the early Church oaths seemed so foreign to the model of the divine Preceptor and to the golden simplicity of the Gospel that “to take an oath without extreme and unavoidable need had been reputed to be an irreligious act, unworthy of a Christian person,” further, that “the uninterrupted line of the Fathers shows that oaths by common consent have been considered as forbidden”; and from this doctrine proceeds to condemn the oaths which the ecclesiastical curia, having followed, as it says, the norm of feudal jurisprudence, adopted for investitures and sacred ordinations of bishops; and it decreed, therefore, that the law should be invoked by the secular power to abolish the oaths which are demanded in ecclesiastical curias when entering upon duties and offices and, in general, for any curial function,—false, injurious to the Church, harmful to ecclesiastical law, subversive of discipline imposed and approved by the Canons.
[Ecclesiastical Conferences, sec. 1]
76. The charge which the synod brings against the scholastic method as that “which opened the way for inventing new systems discordant with one another with respect to truths of a greater value and which led finally to probabilism and laxism”; in so far as it charges against the scholastic method the faults of individuals who could misuse and have misused it,— false, rash, against very holy and learned men who, to the great good of the Catholic religion, have developed the scholastic method, injurious, favorable to the criticism of heretics who are hostile to it.
77. Likewise in this which adds that “a change in the form of ecclesiastical government, by which it was brought about that ministers of the Church became forgetful of their rights, which at the same time are their obligations, has finally led to such a state of affairs as to cause the primitive notions of ecclesiastical ministry and pastoral solicitude to be forgotten”; as if, by a change of government consonant to the discipline established and approved in the Church, there ever could be forgotten and lost the primitive notion of ecclesiastical ministry or pastoral solicitude,—a false proposition, rash, erroneous.
78. The prescription of the synod about the order of transacting business in the conferences, in which, after it prefaced “in every article that which pertains to faith and to the essence of religion must be distinguished from that which is proper to discipline,” it adds, “in this itself (discipline) there is to be distinguished what is necessary or useful to retain the faithful in spirit, from that which is useless or too burdensome for the liberty of the sons of the new Covenant to endure, but more so, from that which is dangerous or harmful, namely, leading to superstitution and materialism”; in so far as by the generality of the words it includes and submits to a prescribed examination even the discipline established and approved by the Church, as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism,—false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous.
Complaints Against Some Opinions Which are Still Discussed
in “Catholic Schools”
[Oration to the Synod, sec. 1]
79. The assertion which attacks with slanderous charges the opinions discussed in Catholic schools about which the Apostolic See has thought that nothing yet needs to be defined or pronounced,—false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools, detracting from the obedience to the Apostolic Constitutions.
[E. Errors Concerning the Reformation of Regulars]
The “three rules” set down as fundamental by the Synod
“for the reformation of regulars”
[Libell. memor. for the reformation of regulars, sec. 9]
80. Rule I which states universally and without distinction that “the regular or monastic state by its very nature cannot be harmonized with the care of souls and with the duties of parochial life, and therefore, cannot share in the ecclesiastical hierarchy without adversely opposing the principles of monastic life itself”—false, dangerous to the most holy Fathers and heads of the Church, who harmonized the practices of the regular life with the duties of the clerical order,—injurious, contrary to the old, pious, approved custom of the Church and to the sanctions of the Supreme Pontiff; as if “monks, whom the gravity of their manners and of their life and whom the holy institution of Faith approves,” could not be duly “entrusted with the duties of the clergy,” not only without harm to religion, but even with great advantage to the Church. (From the decretal epistle of St. Siricius to Himerius of Tarraco c. 13.)
81. Likewise, in that which adds that St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were so occupied in protecting Orders of Mendicants against the best of men that in their defenses less heat and greater accuracy were to be desired,—scandalous, injurious to the very holy Doctors, favorable to the impious slanders of condemned authors.
82. Rule II, that “the multiplicity and diversity of orders naturally produce confusion and disturbance,” likewise, in that which sec. 4 sets forth, “that the founders” of regulars who, after the monastic institutions came into being, “by adding orders to orders, reforms to reforms have accomplished nothing else than to increase more and more the primary cause of evil”; if understood about the orders and institutes approved by the Holy See, as if the distinct variety of pious works to which the distinct orders are devoted should, by its nature, beget disturbance and confusion,—false, calumnious, injurious not only to the holy founders and their faithful disciples, but also to the Supreme Pontiffs themselves.
83. Rule III, in which, after it stated that “a small body living within a civil society without being truly a part of the same and which forms a small monarchy in the state, is always a dangerous thing,” it then charges with this accusation private monasteries which are associated by the bond of a common rule under one special head, as if they were so many special monarchies harmful and dangerous to the civic commonwealth,—false, rash, injurious to the regular institutes approved by the Holy See for the advancement of religion, favorable to the slanders and calumnies of heretics against the same institutes.
Concerning the “system” or list of ordinances drawn from rules
laid down and contained in the eight following articles “for
the reformation of regulars”
84. Art. I. “Concerning the one order to be retained in the Church, and concerning the selection of the rule of St. Benedict in preference to others, not only because of its excellence but also on account of the well-known merits of his order; however, with this condition that in those items which happen to be less suitable to the conditions of the times, the way of life instituted at Port-Royal is to furnish light for discovering what it is fitting to add, what to take away;
Art. II. “Those who have joined this order should not be a part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy; nor should they be promoted to Holy Orders, except one or two at the most, to be initiated as superiors, or as chaplains of the monastery, the rest remaining in the simple order of the laity;
Art. III. “One monastery only should be allowed in any one city, and this should be located outside the walls of the city in the more retired and remote places;
Art. IV. “Among the occupations of the monastic life, a proper proportion should be inviolably reserved for manual labor, with suitable time, nevertheless, left for devotion to the psalmody, or also, if someone wishes, for the study of letters; the psalmody should be moderate, because too much of it produces haste, weariness, and distraction; the more psalmody, orisons, and prayers are increased beyond a just proportion of the whole time, so much are the fervor and holiness of the regulars diminished;
Art. V. “No distinction among the monks should be allowed, whether they are devoted to choir or to services; such inequality has stirred up very grave quarrels and discords at every opportunity, and has driven out the spirit of charity from communities of regulars;
Art. VI. “The vow of perpetual stability should never be allowed; the older monks did not know it, who, nevertheless, were a consolation of the Church and an ornament to Christianity; the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience should not be admitted as the common and stable rule. If anyone shall wish to make these vows, all or anyone, he will ask advice and permission from the bishop who, nevertheless, will never permit them to be perpetual, nor to exceed the limits of a year; the opportunity merely will be given of renewing them under the same conditions;
Art. VII. “The bishop will conduct every investigation into their lives, studies, and advancement in piety; it will be his duty to admit and to dismiss the monks, always, however, after taking counsel with their fellow monks;
Art. VIII. “Regulars of orders which still survive, although they are priests, may also be received into this monastery, provided they desire to be free in silence and solitude for their own sanctification only; in which case, there might be provision for the dispensation stated in the general rule, n. II, in such a way, however, that they do not follow a rule of life different from the others, and that not more than one, or at most two Masses be celebrated each day, and that it should be satisfactory to the other priests to celebrate in common together with the community;
Likewise “for the reformation of nuns”
“Perpetual vows should not be permitted before the age of 40 or 45; nuns should be devoted to solid exercises, especially to labor, turned aside from carnal spirituality by which many are distracted; consideration must also be given as to whether, so far as they are concerned, it would be more satisfactory to leave the monastery in the city;—
The system is subversive to the discipline now flourishing and already approved and accepted in ancient times, dangerous, opposed and injurious to the Apostolic Constitutions and to the sanctions of many Councils, even general ones, and especially of the Council of Trent; favorable to the vicious calumnies of heretics against monastic vows and the regular institutes devoted to the more stable profession of the evangelical counsels.
[F. Errors] About Convoking a National Council
[Libell. memor. for convoking a national council, sec. 1]
85. The proposition stating that any knowledge whatsoever of ecclesiastical history is sufficient to allow anyone to assert that the convocation of a national council is one of the canonical ways by which controversies in regard to religion may be ended in the Church of the respective nations; if understood to mean that controversies in regard to faith or morals which have arisen in a Church can be ended by an irrefutable decision made in a national council; as if freedom from error in questions of faith and morals belonged to a national council,— schismatic, heretical.
Therefore, we command all the faithful of Christ of either sex not to presume to believe, to teach, or to preach anything about the said propositions and doctrines contrary to what is declared in this Constitution of ours; that whoever shall have taught, defended or published them, or anyone of them, all together or separately, except perhaps to oppose them, will be subject ipso facto and without any other declaration to ecclesiastical censures, and to the other penalties stated by law against those perpetrating similar offenses.
But, by this expressed condemnation of the aforesaid propositions and doctrines, we by no means intend to approve other things contained in the same book, particularly since in it very many propositions and doctrines have been detected, related either to those which have been condemned above, or to those which show an attitude not only of rash contempt for the commonly approved doctrine and discipline, but of special hostility toward the Roman Pontiffs and the Apostolic See. Indeed, we think two must be noted especially, concerning the most august mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, sec. 2 of the decree about faith, which have issued from the synod, if not with evil intent, surely rather imprudently, which could easily drive into error especially the untutored and the incautious.
The first, after it is rightly prefaced that God in His being remains one and most simple, while immediately adding that God is distinct in three persons, has erroneously departed from the common formula approved in institutions of Christian Doctrine, in which God is said to be one indeed “in three distinct persons,” not “distinct in three persons”; and by the change in this formula, this risk of error crept into the meaning of the words, so that the divine essence is thought to be distinct in persons, which (essence) the Catholic faith confesses to be one in distinct persons in such a way that at the same time it confesses that it is absolutely undivided in itself.
The second, which concerns the three divine Persons themselves, that they, according to their peculiar personal and incommunicable properties, are to be described and named in a more exact manner of speaking, Father, Word, and Holy Spirit; as if less proper and exact would be the name “Son,” consecrated by so many passages of Scripture, by the very voice of the Father coming from the heavens and from the cloud, and by the formula of baptism prescribed by Christ, and by that famous confession in which Peter was pronounced “blessed” by Christ Himself; and as if that statement should not rather be retained which the Angelic Doctor,1 having learned from Augustine, in his turn taught that “in the name of the Word the same peculiar property is meant as in the name of the Son,” Augustine 2 truly saying: “For the same reason he is called the Word as the Son.”
Nor should the extraordinary and deceitful boldness of the Synod be passed over in silence, which dared to adorn not only with most ample praises the declaration of the Gallican Council of the year 1682, which had long ago been condemned by the Apostolic See, but in order to win greater authority for it, dared to include it insidiously in the decree written “about faith,” openly to adopt articles contained in it, and to seal it with a public and solemn profession of those articles which had been handed down here and there through this decree. Therefore, surely, not only a far graver reason for expostulating with them is afforded us by the Synod than was offered to our predecessors by the assemblies, but also no light injury is inflicted on the Gallican Church itself, because the synod thought its authority worth invoking in support of the errors with which that decree was contaminated.
Therefore, as soon as the acts of the Gallican convention appeared, Our predecessor, Venerable Innocent XI, by letters in the form of a Brief on the nth day of April, in the year 1682, and afterwards, more expressly, Alexander VIII in the Constitution, “inter multiplices” on the 4th day of August, in the year 1690, by reason of their apostolic duty “condemned, rescinded, and declared them null and void”; pastoral solicitude demands much more strongly of Us that we “reject and condemn as rash and scandalous” the recent adoption of these acts tainted with so many faults, made by the synod, and, after the publication of the decrees of Our predecessors, “as especially injurious” to this Apostolic See, and we, accordingly, reject and condemn it by this present Constitution of Ours, and we wish it to be held as rejected and condemned.
Pope Clement XI