"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

Matthew 16:18-19

   What is an Ecumenical Council?

Ecumenical Councils are those to which the bishops, and others entitled to vote, are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) under the presidency of the pope or his legates, and the decrees of which, having received papal confirmation, bind all Christians. A council, Ecumenical in its convocation, may fail to secure the approbation of the whole Church or of the pope, and thus not rank in authority with Ecumenical councils. Such was the case with the Robber Synod of 449 (Latrocinium Ephesinum), the Synod of Pisa in 1409, and in part with the Councils of Constance and Basle.

  • A legally convened meeting

  • of members of the hierarchy including the worldwide collection of Bishops lawfully summoned by the Pope, or with his consent,

  • for the purpose of carrying out their judicial and doctrinal functions,

  • With the intentions of utilizing the gift of the Holy Spirit, namely , Infallibility, when defining Faith or Morals.

  • with and under the authority of the Pope, presided by the Pope or by his legates, with its decrees having the approval of the Sovereign Pontiff,

  • by means of deliberation in common

  • resulting in regulations and decrees invested with the authority of the whole assembly.

  • Other Gatherings of the Catholic Church

    General Synods - The second rank is held by the general synods of the East or of the West, composed of but one-half of the episcopate. The Synod Of Constantinople (381) was originally only an Eastern general synod, at which were present the four patriarchs of the East (viz. of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem), with many metropolitans and bishops. It ranks as Ecumenical because its decrees were ultimately received in the West also.

    Patriarchal, national, and primatial councils represent a whole patriarchate, a whole nation, or the several provinces subject to a primate. Of such councils we have frequent examples in Latin Africa, where the metropolitan and ordinary bishops used to meet under the Primate of Carthage, in Spain, under the Primate of Toledo, and in earlier times in Syria, under the Metropolitan -- later Patriarch -- of Antioch.

    Provincial councils bring together the suffragan bishops of the metropolitan of an ecclesiastical province and other dignitaries entitled to participate.

    Diocesan synods consist of the clergy of the diocese and are presided over by the bishop or the vicar-general.

    Visitors' synods- A peculiar kind of council used to be held at Constantinople, it consisted of bishops from any part of the world who happened to be at the time in that imperial city. Hence the name synodoi enoemousai "visitors' synods".

     Mixed synods, in which both civil and ecclesiastical dignitaries met to settle secular as well as ecclesiastical matters. They were frequent at the beginning of the Middle Ages in France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. In England even abbesses were occasionally present at such mixed councils. Sometimes, not always, the clergy and laity voted in separate chambers.

    Brief explanation of the teachings of the following

    Ecumenical Councils

    The Ecumenical Councils

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    First Ecumenical Council -- Nicaea I

    SITE: Nicaea (in N.W. Asia Minor)
    YEAR:     A.D. 325
    POPE: St. Sylvester I, 314 - 335
    EMPEROR: Constantine I, The Great, Western Roman Emperor 306-337; Sole Emperor 324 - 337

    Condemned Arianism (which denied the divinity of Christ); Defined the consubstantiality of the Father and the Son, and thus Christ's divinity; Defined Christ will return in glory at the end of time to judge each individually; Pronounced one true Church as: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic; Formulated Nicene Creed; Fixed date of Easter; promulgated numerous dogmatic and disiplinary canons, including primacy of the Roman Church over all.(TFW: 13, 23, 35, 100)

    Council of Nicaea (325) lasted two months and twelve days. 318 Bishops were present. Hosius, Bishop of Cordova, assisted as legate of Pope Sylvester. The Emperor Constantine was also present. To this council we owe The Creed (Symbolum) Of Nicaea, defining against Arius the true Divinity of the Son of God (homoousios), and the fixing of the date for keeping Easter (against the Quartodecimans).

    ACTION: Called by the emperor and ratified by the Pope, this council Condemned the heresy of Arius (priest of Alexandria, d. 336) by defining the CONSUBSTANTIALITY of God the Son with God the Father. The Son is of the "same substance," homo-ousion, as the Father (St. Athanasius); not merely a "like substance," homoi-ousion (as with the semi-Arians); nor is He (as Arius taught) some sort of super-creature.

    NOTE: St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church (d. 373), Bishop of Alexandria, was present as deacon and peritus at Nicaea; exiled five times and excommunicated by the Arians.  St. Ephrem, Doctor of the Church (d. 373), deacon, was also present at Nicaea as peritus.


    Second Ecumenical Council -- Constantinople I

    SITE: Constantinople (near Bosporus, a strait in today's Turkey).
    YEAR: A.D. 381
    POPE: St. Damasus I, 367 - 384
    EMPEROR: Theodosius I, the Great, 379 - 395

    Re-Condemned Arianism and Condemned Semi-Arianism(Christ is divine, but of a "lesser" divinity than the Father); Condemned Macedonians, who denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit; Defined the Holy Spirit as consubstantial with the Father and the Son; Completed the Nicene-Constantinople Creed (professed every Sunday at Holy Mass); Promulgated numerous dogmatic and disiplinary canons, (TFW:13,23,35,100)

    First Council of Constantinople (381), under Pope Damasus and the Emperor Theodosius I, was attended by 150 Bishops. It was directed against the followers of Macedonius, who impugned the Divinity of the Holy Ghost. To the above-mentioned Nicene creed it added the clauses referring to the Holy Ghost (qui simul adoratur) and all that follows to the end.

    ACTION: It appears that Pope St. Damasus I was not contacted in regard to this council attended by about 186 Bishops. Called by the emperor, it was not attended by the Pope or his legates or any Bishops from the West. Nevertheless, it is listed as a General Council of the 4th century by papal decrees of the 6th century, by which time its doctrinal definitions were accepted throughout the Church (Murphy, pg. 41). This council Condemned the heresy of Macedonius by clearly defining the divinity of the Holy Ghost: He is not created like the angels no matter how high an order is attributed to such a "creature." The council also Reaffirmed the faith of Nicaea.

    NOTE: St. Gregory Nazianzen, Doctor of the Church (d. 389), was the bishop presiding. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church (d. 386), was also in attendance.


    Third Ecumenical Council -- Ephesus

    SITE: Ephesus (S. of Smyrna in SW Asia Minor).
    YEAR: A.D. 431
    POPE: St. Celestine I, 423 - 432
    EMPEROR: Theodosius II, 408 - 450

    Condemned Nestorianism, which denied the unity of the divine and human in Christ; Defined that Mary is the Mother of God; Defined that Christ was One Person, with two natures; Pronounced the primacy and necessity of grace for justification and salvation; Condemned Pelagianism, which held that man could earn his own justification and salvation by his nature works; that Adam's sin affedted only himself and not the human race, and that new born's are in that state in which Adam was in before his fall; Promulgated numerous dogmatic canons. (TFW 23,25,31,44)

    Council of Ephesus (431), of 200 Bishops, presided over by St. Cyril of Alexandria representing Pope Celestine l, Defined the true personal unity of Christ, declared Mary the Mother of God (theotokos) against Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, and renewed the condemnation of Pelagius.

    ACTION: Called by the Eastern Emperor, Theodosius II, influenced by his pious sister, St. Pulcheria (Emperor in the West was Valentinian III, 425 - 455), and ratified by Pope Celestine I, this council Condemned the heresy of Nestorius by clearly defining the Divine maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are two natures in Christ (Divine and Human), but only one Person (Divine). Mary is the Mother of this one Divine Person, the eternal Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Nestorius was deposed as bishop of Constantinople. This council also briefly affirmed the condemnation of the Pelagians (see local Council of Carthage, A.D. 416).

    NOTE: St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church (d.444), was the bishop presiding.


    Fourth Ecumenical Council -- Chalcedon

    SITE: Chalcedon, (north of Constatinople)
    YEAR: A.D. 451
    POPE: St. Leo I, the Great, 440 - 461
    EMPEROR: Marcian, 450 - 457

    Condemned Monophysitism which denied Christ's human nature believing it was absorbed by His divine nature; Defined that the two natures of Christ are distinct, not confused or blended (Hypostatic Union); Defined that Christ's humanity includes a human rational soul; Promulgated numerous disciplinary canons. (TFW: 23,25)

    Council of Chalcedon (451) -- 603 Bishops under Pope Leo the Great and the Emperor Marcian Defined the two natures (Divine and human) in Christ against Eutyches, who was excommunicated

    ACTION: Called by Emperor Marcian, spouse of the chaste and noble St. Pulcheria, and ratified by Pope St. Leo the Great, the council Condemned the heresy of the Abbot Eutyches, MONOPHYSITISM, which claimed that there existed only "one nature" (the divine) in Christ from the Incarnation onward. Though the council had approved the assertion that Constantinople should be ranked first after Rome ecclesiastically, Pope St. Leo did not. The primacy of the See of Rome was due to it's possession of the Chair of Peter, not to any political power. In his "Dogmatic Epistle," read by his legates at the end of the second session of the council (Oct. 10, 451), Pope St. Leo I also declared invalid all that had been done at the "Robber Synod of Ephesus" (a false Ephesus II):  " ....we see no Council, but a den of thieves (Latrocinium)." In the greatest testimony of the Eastern Council to the primacy of the Pope, the Bishops cried out:  "Behold the faith of the fathers, the faith of the Apostles; thus through Leo has Peter spoken!"  Eutyches was excommunicated.

    NOTE:  Pope St. Leo I, Doctor of the Church (d. 461), was called the "Soul" of Chalcedon.


    Fifth Ecumenical Council -- Constantinople II

    SITE: Constantinople
    YEAR: A.D. 553
    POPE: Vigilius, 537 - 555
    EMPEROR: Justinian I, 527 - 565

    Condemned the "Three Chapters:, writings influenced by Nestorianism; Defined that Mary was a virgin throughout her entire life (Perpetual Virginity) Reaffirmed Mary as the Mother of God; Promulgated numerous dogmatic canons. (TFW: 25, 27, 44-45)

    Second Council of Constantinople (553), of 165 Bishops under Pope Vigilius and Emperor Justinian I, Condemned the errors of Origen and certain writings (The Three Chapters) of Theodoret, of Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia and of Ibas, Bishop of Edessa; it further confirmed the first four general councils, especially that of Chalcedon whose authority was contested by some heretics.

    ACTION:  Effectively called by Justinian I and eventually ratified by Pope Vigilius, Constantinople II Condemned a collection of statements known as the "Three Chapters":  1) the person and the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Master of Nestorius, originator of that heresy; 2) the writings of Theodoret of Cyrrhus; 3) the writings of Ibas of Edessa.  The last two friends of Nestorius had been restored to their sees by Chalcedon when they no longer opposed the teachings of St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444) and of Ephesus. Chalcedon was not discredited here (as the Monophysites had hoped) since it had been concerned with men.  Constantinople II was concerned with their writings, although a hundred years after they had died.

    NOTE:  Two important local councils condemning heresies:  Carthage (416) solemnly approved by Pope Innocent II, (401 - 417), and then in 418 by Pope Zosimus (417 - 418), Condemned Pelagianism (Pelagius, a British Monk), which heresy denied original sin calling it only "bad example."  Orange (429) France, solemnly approved by Pope Boniface II (530 - 532), Condemned Semi-Pelagianism (an over-reaction to St. Augustine on grace), which claimed man needed grace only after his first supernatural act.  St. Augustine made it clear that God's grace is first.

    NOTE:  Council referred much to St. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church (d. 444).


    Sixth Ecumenical Council -- Constantinople III

    SITE: Constantinople
    YEARS: A.D. 680 - 681
    POPES: St. Agatho, 678 - 681, and St. Leo II, 682 - 683
    EMPEROR: Constantine IV, 668 - 685

    Condemned Monothelitism, which held that Christ had but one will, the divine will; Defined that Christ's humanity includes a free will, which was never contrary to His divine will; Defined that Christ was free from all sin - both original and personal; Censored Pope Honorius I (625-638) for failing to condemn Monothelitism and for a letter wherein he made an ambiguous statement concerning Christ's two wills. (TFW: 23, 26)

    Third Council of Constantinople (680-681), under Pope Agatho and the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus, was attended by the Patriarchs of Constantinople and of Antioch, 170 Bishops, and the emperor. It put an end to Monothelism by defining two wills in Christ, the Divine and the human, as two distinct principles of operation. It anathematized Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, Macarius, and all their followers.

    ACTION:  Called by Emperor Constantine IV, and its calling authorized by Pope St. Agatho, this council Condemned the heresy of the Monothelites (Mono-one thelema-will), which attributed only one will, to Christ (the divine), instead of two wills (divine and human), which two are in perfect accord within the one divine person, Jesus.   Constantinople III also reconfirmed Chalcedon.  Pope St. Leo II, 682 - 683, approved the decrees of Constantinople III, Pope St. Agatho having died (Jan. 10) before the council's end.

    NOTE:  Pope St. Leo II also Condemned Pope Honorius I (625 - 638) for negligence of duty in the face of heresy, in that he should have ascertained that Sergius was teaching not a mere harmony (oneness) of wills in Christ but literally one will in Christ, the divine will.  Honorius had not spoken ex cathedra, so infallibility had not been involved.

    HERESY/HERESIARCH:  MONOTHELITISM originated by SERGIUS (patriarch of Constantinople, 610 A.D.).

    Seventh Ecumenical Council -- Nicaea II

    SITE: Nicaea
    YEAR: A.D. 787
    POPE: Hadrian I, 772 - 795
    EMPERORS: Constantine VI, 780 - 797 and Empress Irene (797 - 802)

    Condemned iconoclasm, which held that the use of images constituted idolatry; Condemned Adoptionism, which held that Christ was not the Son of God by nature but only by adoption, thereby denying the Hypostatic Union; Defined that veneration of images and relics of saints is both right and beneficial.(TFW: 48)

    Second Council of Nicaea (787) was convoked by Emperor Constantine VI and his mother Irene, under Pope Adrian I, and was presided over by the legates of Pope Adrian; it regulated the veneration of holy images. 367 Bishops assisted.

    ACTION:  This council, called by Empress Irene (widow of Emperor Leo IV and regent for her son Constantine VI), with its doctrinal decree ratified by Pope Hadrian I, Condemned ICONOCLASM.  The Pope's epistle here, just as with Pope St.Leo I at Chalcedon, set the tone of the council.

    NOTE:  Brewing beneath the surface at this time, however, was a rejection of papal authority. The Eastern Bishops, cut off from Rome and receptive to heresy under persecution, were held suspect by Rome.

    NOTE:  Iconoclasm had been fostered by Emperor Leo III (717 - 741), who was opposed by Popes Gregory II (715 - 731) and Gregory III (731 - 741) and by St. John Damascene (d.749), priest and Doctor of the Church, who published three discourses in defense of images.


    Eighth Ecumenical Council -- Constantinople IV

    SITE: Constantinople
    YEARS: A.D. 869 - 870
    POPE: Hadrian II, 867 - 872
    EMPEROR: Basil, 867 - 886

    Pronounced that holding the Catholic Faith is the first condition for salvation; ReCondemned Adoptionism; Deposed Photius as Patriarch of Constantinople, thereby ending the Photian schism; Promulgated numerous disciplinary canons.

    Fourth Council of Constantinople (869), under Pope Adrian II and Emperor Basil numbering 102 Bishops, consigned to the flames the Acts of an irregular council (conciliabulum) brought together by Photius against Pope Nicholas and Ignatius the legitimate Patriarch of Constantinople; it Condemned Photius who had unlawfully seized the patriarchal dignity. The Photian Schism, however, triumphed in the Greek Church, and no other general council took place in the East.

    ACTION:  Called by Emperor Basil and ratified by Pope Hadrian II, this council Condemned and deposed PHOTIUS (820 - 891), the patriarch of Constantinople and author of the Greek schism.

    NOTE:  In 1054 the Greek schism was actually consummated by Michael Cerularius, the Patriarch of Constantinople at that time.  PHOTIUS attacked enforced clerical celibacy, the addition by the West of the "FILIOQUE" to the Creed, and the crowning of Charlemagne in the West. CERULARIUS (about 200 years later) closed the churches of the Latins in Constantinople, had the Blessed Sacrament cast out and trodden underfoot as invalid, and persisted in refusing to see the three delegates sent by Pope Leo IX (1049 - 1054).  On 16 July, 1054, they publicly placed on the altar of Saint Sophia the document containing his excommunication.


    (Here end the Eastern Councils and begin the Western)

    Ninth Ecumenical Council -- Lateran I

    SITE: The Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome
    YEAR: A.D. 1123
    POPE: Callistus II, 1119 - 1124
    EMPEROR: Henry V, 1106 - 1125

    Decrees on condemning simony (the buying or selling of spiritual things, sacraments, prayers, indulgences, etc); Decrees on celibacy, lay investiture and confirmed the Concordat of Worms. This where the Pope and the Emperor sought to end the dispute over investiture(i.e. the attempt by the secular powers to assume authority in appointing Bishops).

    First Lateran Council (1123) held at Rome under Pope Callistus II. 300 Bishops and 600 mitred abbots assisted. It abolished the right claimed by lay princes, of investiture with ring and crosier to ecclesiastical benefices and dealt with church discipline and the recovery of the Holy Land from the infidels.

    ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Callistus II, this council confirmed the Concordat of Worms (1122) between Emperor Henry V and Pope Callistus II, which secured that all elections of Bishops and Abbots should be made freely by the proper ecclesiastical authorities (electors).  In Germany the emperor was to preside over these free elections and then bestow temporal power on the bishop so chosen, in return for temporal fealty.  Outside Germany the emperor was to have no part in any elections.

    NOTE:  Also dealt with at this council was the subject of clerical marriages.  It was decided that once ordained, a priest may not marry in either Latin or Eastern Rites.


    Tenth Ecumenical Council -- Lateran II

    SITE: The Basilica of Saint John Lateran (Rome)
    YEAR: A.D. 1139
    POPE: Innocent II, 1130 - 1143
    EMPEROR: Conrad III, 1137 - 1152

    Ended a Papal schism by antipope Anacletus II; Reaffirmed baptism of infants; Reaffirmed sacramental nature of priesthood, marriage, and the Eucharist against Medieval heretics; Reaffirmed that holy orders is an impediment to marriage; Promulgated numerous disciplinary canons.

    Second Lateran Council (1139) held at Rome under Pope Innocent II with an attendance of 1000 Bishops(prelates) and the Emperor Conrad. Its object was to put an end to the errors of Arnold of Brescia.

    ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Innocent II, this council voided the acts of the deceased antiPope, Anacletus II (d. 1138), ending the Papal schism of the time. It also Condemned the heresies of:  1) Peter Bruys (Bruis) and his NEO-MANICHEANS, who denounced the Mass as a "vain show," opposed the Eucharist, marriage, and the baptism of children -- all this leading to Albigensianism ("Material things are evil in themselves"); 2) Arnold of Brescia, who contended that the Church was an "invisible body," not of this world, and should own no property.

    NOTE:  St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (d. 1153), preached against the abuses and laxity attendant upon lay investiture, and the Lateran Council set down laws to remove them.


    Eleventh Ecumenical Council -- Lateran III

    SITE: The Basilica of Saint John Lateran (Rome)
    YEAR: A.D. 1179
    POPE: Alexander III, 1159 - 1181
    EMPEROR: Frederick Barbarossa, 1152 - 1190

    Regulated Papal elections by requiring a two-thirds vote of cardinals;Condemned Waldensiansim and Albigensiansim, a form of Manicheanism (an ancient heresy that held matter is evil and thus denied the Incarnation). Albigensians opposed the authority of the Church and of the state, opposed the Sacrament of Matrimony and all external ritual, and practiced ritual suicide.

    Third Lateran Council (1179) took place under Pope Alexander III, Frederick I being emperor. There were 300 Bishops present. It Condemned the Albigenses and Waldenses and issued numerous decrees for the reformation of morals.

    ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Alexander III, this council regulated the election of Popes (two-thirds majority vote by the College of Cardinals was required for the Pope to be elected,  and the emperor was excluded from voting).  It annulled the acts of three antiPopes:  ANTIPOPE VICTOR IV (1159) and TWO SUCCESSORS.  One of its chapters excommunicated the Albigensians, but dealing with them in greater detail was Lateran IV Council, under Pope Innocent III.

    Twelfth Ecumenical Council -- Lateran IV

    SITE : The Basilica of Saint John Lateran (Rome)
    YEAR: A.D. 1215
    POPE: Innocent III, 1198 - 1216
    EMPEROR: Otto IV, 1208 - 1215

    Defined that God is transcendent, above nature and God's perfect attributes; Defined that God created all things ex nihilo (out of nothing); Defined that human nature is composed on two essential parts: a material body and a spiritual soul; Defined that, at His death, Christ's soul separated from His body and descended into hell and that He rose in the flesh from the dead; Defined that outside the Church there is no salvation; Defined that it is the ordained priest who brings about the consecration of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ; Defined the Real Presence with the term "transubstantiation". Defined that both Heaven (the Beatific Vision) and Hell (along with its pains) are eternal. Promulgated more disciplinary canons (TFW: 8-9, 13, 16, 21, 32-33, 35, 39, 75, 92, 96)

    Fourth Lateran Council (1215), under Innocent III. There were present the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem, 412 Bishops, and 800 Abbots and Friars, sovereigns and princes, the Primate of the Maronites, and St. Dominic. It issued an enlarged creed (symbol) against the Albigenses (Firmiter credimus), Condemned the Trinitarian errors of Abbot Joachim, and published 70 important reformatory decrees. This is the most important council of the Middle Ages, it marks the culminating point of ecclesiastical life and papal power.

    ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Innocent III [which Pope Defined ex cathedra (Denz. 430):  "There is but one Universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all is saved."], Lateran IV prescribed at least annual confession and communion for all the faithful and made official the use of the word, "TRANSUBSTANTIATION."  Its only failure was the Fourth Crusade.  It reformed discipline and Condemned the heresies of:  1) ALBIGENSIANISM (NEO-MANICHEANISM), which opposed marriage and all sacraments and belief in the resurrection of the body; 2) WALDENSIANISM (anti-clerical heresy), which claimed that laymen living an apostolic life could forgive sins, while a priest in the state of sin could not absolve.  Waldensianism also held that oath taking and assigning death penalties were held to be mortal sins.  They also held that the Evangelical Counsel of poverty was a commandment, thus they forbad all private ownership of property.


    Thirteenth Ecumenical Council -- Lyons I

    SITE: Lyons, France
    YEAR: 1245
    POPE: Innocent IV, 1243 - 1254
    EMPEROR: Frederick II, 1215 - 1250

    Exommunicated and deposed Frederick II(Emperor) for heresy and crimes against the Church; planned the seventh crusade (led by Saint Louis, King of France)

    First Council of Lyons (1245). Innocent IV presided the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Aquileia (Venice), 140 bishops, Baldwin II, Emperor of the East, and St. Louis, King of France, assisted. It excommunicated and deposed Emperor Frederick II and directed a new crusade, under the command of St. Louis, against the Saracens and Mongols.

    ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Innocent IV, this council excommunicated Emperor Frederick II, grandson of Frederick Barbarossa, for his contumacious attempt to make the Church merely a department of the state.  Lyons I also directed a new crusade (the 6th) under the command of King St. Louis IX (1226 - 1270) of France against the Saracens and the Mongols.


    Fourteenth Ecumenical Council -- Lyons II

    SITE: Lyons, France
    YEAR: 1274
    POPE: Blessed Gregory X, 1271 - 1276
    EMPEROR: Rudolph I of Hapsburg, 1273 - 1291

    Defined that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son as from on Principle(Filioque clause); Defined the primacy and authority of the Roman Church; Defined that there are seven (and only seven) sacraments;

    Council of Lyons (1274) with Pope Gregory X, the Patriarchs of Antioch and Constantinople, 500 Bishops, 70 Abbots, and 100 minor Prelates (dignitaries). It effected a temporary reunion of the Greek Church with Rome. The word filioque was added to the symbol of Constantinople and means were sought for recovering Palestine from the Turks. It also laid down the rules for papal elections.

    ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Gregory X, this council declared the double procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son:  "Qui ex Patre Filioque procedit."  The return of the Eastern Church to union with Rome, sought by the Popes, failed utterly.

    NOTE:  St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (d. 1274), died on his way to Lyons II.  St. Bonaventure, Cardinal and Doctor of the Church (d.1274), was prominent at Lyons II, died there, and was buried by the council. FILIOQUE Defined and added to Nicene Creed.

    Fifteenth Ecumenical Council -- Vienne

    SITE: Vienne (South of Lyons), France
    YEARS: 1311 - 1312
    POPE: Clement V, 1305 - 1314
    EMPEROR: Henry VII, 1308 - 1313

    Defined that the Vision of God is a supernatural gift beyond the natural powers of the human soul;

    Defined "that there is one baptism which regenerates all those baptized in Christ, just as there is one God and one faith. We believe that when baptism is administered in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, it is a perfect means of salvation for both adults and children."


    NOTE: This council does NOT say that administering baptism by water is the only means to reach the same effect of the sacrament, but that Baptism of water is the perfect means to achieve this sacrament, indicating that there are imperfect means to achieve this sacrament as well.

    NOTE: Baptism can manifest itself in 3 different ways, water, blood, or desire, but it is still one and the same baptism.

    NOTE: There is almost always an exception to a rule as Christ has demonstrated in the Gospels, when he appeared to break Jewish laws due to the fact that the Groom is with His bride. Another example of an exception is the fact that Our Lord said that no one is greater than Saint John the Baptist. "Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of a greater than John the Baptist...".(Saint Matthew 11:11) Our Lord did not list the exception of Our Lady. Another example of an exception is the fact that Saint Paul proclamed that "For ALL have sinned ..."(Romans 3:23) Saint Paul did not list the exception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us look at the words of Saint Augustine (Doctor of the Church) "For whatever unbaptized persons die confessing Christ, this confession is of the same efficacy for the remission of sins as if they were washed in the sacred font of baptism. For He who said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,"[Saint John 3:5] (2) made also an exception in their favor, in that other sentence where He no less absolutely said, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven;"[Saint Matthew 10:32] (3) and in another place, "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it." [Saint Matthew 16:25]" (Christ is supporting Baptism of Blood when he says "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it".)

    NOTE: The Council of Trent, 1545-1563, Decree on Justification, Ch. 4: "... and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected without the laver of regeneration(baptism), OR A DESIRE FOR IT, as it is written "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" [Saint John 3:5] (Here Trent interprets Saint John 3:5 to mean we must be baptized either in reality or in desire.)

    NOTE: If a catechumen meets some unforseen death, having desired to be a member of the Church through Baptism of water, he can still attain salvation.

    NOTE: "Augustine says 'that some have received the invisible sanctification without visible sacraments'...the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire." (Summa Theologica IIIa qu. 68 a 2)

    NOTE: "On the other hand, it must likewise be held as certain that those who are affected by ignorance of the true religion, if it is invincible ignorance, are not subject to any guilt in this matter before the eyes of the Lord." Venerable Pope Pius IX

    Abolished the Knights Templars; Promulgated decrees on reforms and morals(TFW: 93)

    Council of Vienne in France (1311-1313) by order of Clement V, the first of the Avignon popes. The Patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria, 300 Bishops, many Prelates, and 3 kings -- Philip IV of France, Edward II of England, and James II of Aragon -- were present. The synod dealt with the crimes and errors imputed to the Knights Templars, the Fraticelli, the Beghards, and the Beguines, with projects of a new crusade, the reformation of the clergy, and the teaching of Oriental languages in the universities.

    ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Clement V, first of the Avignon Popes (The "Avignon Captivity" lasted from 1305 until 1377, when Pope Gregory XI returned the Holy See to Rome), this council suppressed the Knights Templars (Master: Jacques de Molay) for crimes charged by King Philip IV of France.  Their confiscated property was given to the Hospitalers or, in Spain, to national orders that had fought against the Moors.  The council also declared that anyone who obstinately holds "that the rational or intellectual soul is not the form of the human body in itself and essentially, must be regarded as a heretic." (Denz. 481) The council also Condemned the Beghards (males) and Beguines ( ), who so stressed "inner union with God". Quietism, that prayer and fasting became unimportant.  Quietism taught that the "spiritual" person is so perfect that he or she can give free reign to fleshly desires.

    NOTE:  In his 1302 Bull UNAM SANCTAM Pope Boniface VIII (1294 - 1303), declared ex cathedra that it is "...absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Denz. 469)  He was opposed by the French King Philip IV, the "Fair" (1268-1314), who seems to have given up on gaining a condemnation of Pope Boniface, while gaining one against the Knights Templars at Vienne, 1311.

    HERESIES:  The Errors of Peter John of Olivi and QUIETISM.

    Sixteenth Ecumenical Council -- Constance

    SITE: Constance, Germany
    YEARS: 1414 - 1418
    POPES: Gregory XII, 1406 - 1415; Martin V, 1417 - 1431
    EMPEROR: Sigismund of Luxembourg, 1410 - 1437

    Ended the Great Schism, wich involved three rival claiments to the Papal throne; Condemned the teachings of John Wycliffe, who taught sola scriptura and denied the authority of the Pope and Bishops; denied the Real Presence and indulgences; Condemned the teachings of John Huss, who denied papal authority and its necessity for salvation and who taught wrongly about the nature of the Church; Promulgated disciplinary decrees

    Council of Constance (1414-1418), 200 Bishops and Prelates were present, and was held during the great Schism of the West, with the object of ending the divisions in the Church. It only became legitimate when Gregory XI had formally convoked it. Owing to this circumstance it succeeded in putting an end to the schism by the election of Pope Martin V, which the Council of Pisa (1403) had failed to accomplish on account of its illegality. The rightful pope confirmed the former decrees of the synod against Wyclif and Hus. This council is thus only ecumenical in its last sessions (XLII-XLV inclusive) and with respect to the decrees of earlier sessions approved by Martin V.

    ACTION:  Called by Emperor Sigismund and Pope Gregory XII who authorized the convocation as he abdicated the Papacy.  The anti-popes Benedict XIII (Avignon) and John XXIII (Pisa) also agreed to "abdicate" in the interests of unity.  The council elevated Martin V to the Chair of Peter to end the confustion of the Western Schism.  Pope Martin ratified the council ...except the decrees which proposed conciliarism.  In addition to ending the Western Schism, Constance also Condemned the heresies of:  1) John Wycliffe, who rejected the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, emphasized scripture as the sole rule of faith, subscribed to Donatism, asserted the Pope is not the head of the Church, and Bishops have no authority; and, 2) John Huss, who preached the above after Wycliffe's death.


    Seventeenth Ecumenical Council -- Florence

    SITES with YEARS: Basel (Switzerland, near France), 1431 - 1437; Ferrara (Italy, north of Bologna, southwest of Venice), 1438; Florence (Italy, south of Bologna, north of Rome), 1439 - 1445
    POPE: Eugene IV, 1431 - 1447
    EMPERORS: Albrecht II, 1438 - 1439; Frederick III, 1440 - 1493.

    Reaffirmed Papal primacy against the conciliarist heresy, which held that an ecumenical council is superior to a pope; Reaffirmed Filioque clause concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit; Reaffirmed that there are seven and only seven sacraments; Defined the necessity of proper form (words), matter and intention for the validity of the sacraments; Defined that Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders produce a spiritual mark which cannot be removed, hence these sacraments cannot be repeated; Defined that it is by Baptism men are made members of the Church; Defined the effects of Baptism and Confirmation; Pronounced the divine inspiration and authorship and and inerrancy of Sacred Scripture; Pronounced the canon of Scripture as containing 73(72) books; Defined the Province of God; Defined that outside the Catholic Church no one can be saved, "even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church." Defined Christ's Second Coming will be in the flesh "intellectually animated"; Decreed and approved of reunion with several eastern churches; (TFW: 5a,c, 13-16, 18, 25, 27, 39, 50, 63, 66, 68, 69a-d, 84a-c, 90-91, 94-99, 101)

    Council of Basle (1431), Eugene IV being pope, with 200 Bishops present and Sigismund Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Its object was the religious pacification of Bohemia. Quarrels with the pope having arisen, the council was transferred first to Ferrara (1438), then to Florence (1439), where a short-lived union with the Greek Church was effected, the Greeks accepting the council's definition of controverted points. The Council of Basle is only ecumenical till the end of the twenty-fifth session, and of its decrees Eugene IV approved only such as dealt with the extirpation of heresy, the peace of Christendom, and the reform of the Church, and which at the same time did not derogate from the rights of the Holy See.

    ACTION:  This council was called in 1431 for Basel, Switzerland, by Pope Martin V, who died that year.  Pope Eugene IV confirmed this decree for Basel, and the first session was held on 14 December, 1431.  Believing it would become unruly, Eugene IV dissolved the council within four days, angering the Bishops at Basel, who began to reassert the heretical decrees at Constance that "a general council is superior to the Pope".  In January, 1438, the Pope ordered a fresh start at Ferrara.  (Some Bishops remained in open schism at Basel, even electing an anti-pope, Felix V -- two "Popes," two "councils" at one time.)  A plague came to Ferrara, and the Pope moved the Council to Florence.  On June 8, 1439, the Greeks accepted the double procession of the Holy Ghost and, by July 5, agreed on some other points, but lasting union failed:  "Better the turban of the Prophet than the tiara of the Pope."  On May 29, 1453, Constantinople fell to the Mohammedans.  Cantate Domino decreed. (Papal Authority More Firmly Established):  ex cathedra: It [the Roman Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that none of those who are not within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of their life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of Ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the Sacraments of the Church of benefit for Salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church. [Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441, Denzinger 714].  Temporary reconciliation with the Greeks RE: Filoque.

    Eighteenth Ecumenical Council -- Lateran V

    SITE: The Basilica of Saint John Lateran (Rome)
    YEARS: 1512 - 1517 (March). (Luther's theses posted 31 October, 1517)
    POPES: Julius II, 1503 - 1513; Leo X, 1513 - 1521
    EMPEROR: ilian I, 1493 - 1519

    Condemned errors concerning the soul; Defined that the soul is immortal and that it is the form of the human body; Reaffirmed the necessity of the submission to the Roman Pontiff for salvation, (but not if that obedience harms faith).; Reaffirmed the dogma of Indulgences; Failed to establish thorough reforms within the Church, thus helping the Protestant revolt

    Fifth Lateran Council, sat from 1512 to 1517 under Popes Julius II and Leo X, the emperor being ilian I. 120 Bishops, representatives of kings and princes, took part in it. Its decrees are chiefly disciplinary. A new crusade against the Turks was also planned, but came to naught, owing to the religious upheaval in Germany caused by Luther.

    ACTION:  Called by Pope Julius II, this council opened on May 10, 1512; by Feb. 1513 Pope Julius was dying, and the council was reconvened by Pope Leo X in April 1513 and ratified by him.  The most important discussions concerned the "Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges."  In 1438 the King of France, Charles VII, had issued this edict, declaring a general council superior to the Pope and denying his right to nominate Bishops in France.  A later King, Louis XI, had abolished this decree in 1461, but Louis XII (1498 - 1515) had attempted to reintroduce it.  This council clearly rejected the teaching contained in the edict. (The appeal for another Crusade against the Turks met with no enthusiasm, and the situation in Europe relegated such a venture to oblivion.)

    Condemned:  PRAGMATIC SANCTION OF BOURGES (Charles VII/Louis XII).

    Nineteenth Ecumenical Council -- Trent

    SITE: Trent, Italy.
    YEARS: 1545 - 1563
    POPES: Paul III, 1534 - 1549 & 1551 - 1552; Julius III, 1550 - 1555; Pius IV, 1559 - 1565
    EMPERORS: Charles V, 1519 - 1556 & Ferdinand I, 1556 - 1564

    Affirmed Catholic doctrines against the errors of the Protestants; Initiated the Counter-Reformation; Reaffirmed and Defined doctrines of the Bible and Tradition, grace, sin, justification, Mass as real sacrifice, the Real Presence, purgatory, indulgences, jurisdiction of the Pope; Defined numerous points concerning the sacraments; Defined the necessity of Baptism for salvation, whether in reality or desire; Defined the necessity of both faith and good works for salvation; Promulgated numerous decrees on the sacraments and the liturgy; Reformed the clergy and morals; Ordered establishment of seminaries for future training of priests (TFW: 5c, 6, 19-20, 28-31, 37-38, 48-67, 69b-74, 76-89, 98-99)

    Council of Trent, lasted eighteen years (1545-1563) under five popes: Paul III, Julius III, Marcellus II, Paul IV and Pius IV, and under the Emperors Charles V and Ferdinand. There were present 5 cardinal legates of the Holy See, 3 patriarchs, 200 Bishops, 7 abbots, 7 generals of monastic orders, representatives of kings and princes. It was convoked to examine and condemn the errors promulgated by Luther and other Reformers, and to reform the discipline of the Church. Of all councils it lasted longest, issued the largest number of dogmatic and reformatory decrees, and produced the most beneficial results.

    ACTION:  Called by Pope Paul III, this council was continued by Pope Julius III, and, after 18 years and 25 sessions in all, Pope Pius IV concluded it and solemnly confirmed its decrees.  Trent Condemned the heresies of Luther, Calvin, and others.  It issued decrees on the Eucharist, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments (notably Baptism and Holy Orders) and teachings on marriage, purgatory, indulgences and the use of images. +See canons II and V, BAPTISM.  The remaining tasks begun by Pope Pius IV were continued by his successor, Pope St. Pius V (1566 - 1572):  reforming of the Missal and Brieviary, writing of the Catechism based on the decrees of Trent, appointing a commission to issue a more exact edition of the Vulgate, and the reforming of morals.

    NOTE:  St. Peter Canisius, Priest, Doctor of the Church (d. 1597), represented the Pope at Trent, and was an opponent of Melancthon.


    Twentieth Ecumenical Council -- Vatican I

    SITE: The Vatican (St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City-State, Rome).
    YEARS: 1869 - 1870
    POPE: Pius IX, 1846 - 1878
    EUROPEAN RULERS DURING THE COUNCIL: AUSTRIA: Francis Joseph, 1848 - 1916; ENGLAND: Victoria, 1837 - 1901; FRANCE: Napolean III, 1852 - 1870; SPAIN: Republic, 1868 - 1870; PRUSSIA: German Empire Prussian Kingdom William I, 1861 - 1888; RUSSIA: Alexander II, 1855 - 1881; ITALY: Victor Emmanuel II, 1848 - 1861 (King of Sardinia) 1861 - 1878 (King of Italy); Ulyssyes S. Grant, 1869 -1877 (United States President).

    Defined Papal infallibility; Defined the constitution, mission and infallibility of the Church; Defined nature of Divine Revelation and dogmas; Pronounced necessity of believing the Catholic Faith for salvation; Condemned errors concerning relationship between faith and reason, revelation and scientific knowledge and other modern errors (TFW: 1-12, 16-18, 21, 34, 36, 38, 40-41, 56)

    First Vatican Council was summoned to the Vatican by Pius IX. It met 8 December, 1869, and lasted till 18 July, 1870, when it was adjourned; it is still (1908) unfinished. There were 704 Patriarchs, Bishops, and superiors of Religious Orders present. Besides important canons relating to the Faith and the constitution of the Church, the council decreed the infallibility of the pope when speaking ex cathedra, i.e. when as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.

    ACTION:  Convened and ratified by Pope Pius IX, the First Vatican Council Defined the INFALLIBILITY of the Pope when, as Supreme Pontiff, he speaks from the Seat of Peter (ex cathedra), on a matter of Faith and Morals, pronouncing a doctrine to be believed by the whole Church.

    List of Illegitimate Councils

    Antioch (341 AD)

    Arles (353 AD)

    Basel (1061 AD) (1438 AD)

    Ephesus (John of Antioch) (431 AD)

    Ephesus (Latrocinium) (449 AD)

    Hieria (725 AD)

    Mainz and Brixen (1080 AD)

    Milan (355 AD)

    Parma (1063 AD)

    Philippopolis (343 AD)

    Pisa (1409 AD)

    Pisa, Milan & Lyons (1511-1512 AD)

    Rimini (359 AD)

    Rome (1084 AD) (1089 AD) (1098 AD) (1412 AD)

    Seleucia (359 AD)

    Second Council of Simirium (357 AD)

    Synod of Photius (879-880 AD)

    Second Vatican Council (1962-1965 AD)



    bulletBR. FRANCIS, M.I.C.M., selected notes and texts.
    bulletDENZINGER, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Translated by Roy J. Deferrari from the 30th Edition of Henry Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum, St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder Book Co., 1957. (Imprimatur).
    bulletHUGHES, Philip, A Popular History of the Catholic Church, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc., 1947. (Imprimatur index, tables of Popes and emperors, 320pp.)
    bulletLAUX, Rev. John L., Church History, Rockford, Illinois 61105: Tan Books & Publishers, 1989 (1945 Benzinger Bros.,N.Y.). (Imprimatur, index and appendices, 621pp.)
    bulletMURPHY, Fr. John L., The General Councils of the Church, Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1960. (Imprimatur, index 193pp., photos [8 plates], map [opp. p.1] of sites of the General Councils.)


    Given by His Holiness St. Pius X, September 1, 1910.
    To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious
    superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.
    Oath Against Modernism  
    I (name) firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.  
    And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world, that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated.  
    Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.  
    Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.  
    Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.  
    Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and Lord.  
    Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas.  

    I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion.


    I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful.


    Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm.


    Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.


    Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles.


    I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God which I touch with my hand.



       Teachings of the Popes


      Pius XII
        On Communism and the Church in China, June 29, 1958
        On Sacred Music, December 25, 1955
        On Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, October 11, 1954
        On Supranationality of the Church, October 7, 1954
        Concerning the Eucharistic Fast, January 6, 1953
        On Reciting the Rosary, September 15, 1951
        Concerning Some False Opinions, August 12, 1950
        On Combating Atheistic Propaganda, March 12, 1950
        On the Sacred Liturgy, November 20, 1947
        On the Mystical Body of Christ, June 29, 1943
        On Hierachry in the United States, November 1, 1939
        On the Unity of Human Society, October 20, 1939
      Pius XI
        On The Rosary, September 29, 1937
        On Atheistic Communism, March 19, 1937
        On the Church and the German Reich, March 14, 1937
        On The Catholic Priesthood, December 20, 1935
        On The Sacred Heart, May 3, 1932
        On Reconstruction of the Social Order, May 15, 1931
        On Christian Marriage, December 31, 1930
        On Christian Education, December 31, 1929
        On Reparation to The Sacred Heart, May 8, 1928
        On The Promotion of True Religious Unity, January 6, 1928
        On the Feast of Christ the King, December 11, 1925
      Benedict XV
        On Saint Dominic, June 29, 1921
        On Dante, April 30, 1921
        On the Third Order of Saint Francis, January 6, 1921
        On the Children of Central Europe, December 1, 1920
        On Saint Ephrem the Syrian, October 5, 1920
        On Saint Jerome, September 15, 1920
        On Peace and Reconciliation, May 23, 1920
        On the Children of Central Europe, November 24, 1919
        On Saint Boniface, May 14, 1919
        On the Future Peace Conference, December 1, 1918
        On Preaching the Word of God, June 15, 1917
        Appealing for Peace, November 1, 1914
      Saint Pius X
        Our Apostolic Mandate, August 25, 1910
        On the Bible and Against the Modernists, November 18, 1907
        On the Doctrine of the Modernists, September 8, 1907
        Syllabus Condemning Errors, July 3, 1907
        On the Separation of Church and State, January 6, 1907
        On the French Law of Separation, February 11, 1906
        On Teaching Christian Doctrine, April 15, 1905
        On the Immaculate Conception, February 2, 1904
        On the Restoration of All Things in Christ, October 4, 1903


      Leo XIII
        On New Opinions, Regarding Americanism, January 22, 1899
        On the Study of Holy Scripture, November 18, 1893
        On Freemasonry in Italy, December 8, 1892
        On Church & State in France, February 16, 1892
        On the Rosary, September 22, 1891
        On Freemasonry in Italy, October 15, 1890
        On Christians as Citizens, January 10, 1890
        On the Nature of Human Liberty, June 20, 1888
        On the Abolition of Slavery, May 5, 1888
        On Christian States, November 1, 1885
        On the Religious Question in France, February 8, 1884
        On Freemasonry, April 20, 1884
        On the Origin of Civil Power, June 29, 1881
        On Socialism, December 28, 1878
        On the Evils of Society, April 21, 1878
      Pius IX
        On the Afflictions of Church, October 27, 1867
        The Syllabus of Errors, 1864
        On Current Errors, December 8, 1864
        On Promotion of False Doctrines, August 10, 1863
        On the Need for Civil Sovereignty, January 19, 1860
        On Pleading for Public Prayer, April 27, 1859
        On Priests and the Care of Souls, May 3, 1858
        The Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1854
        On Urging Prayers for Peace, August 1, 1854
        On Pleading for Unity of Spirit, March 21, 1853
        On Faith and Religion, November 9, 1846


      Gregory XVI
        On the Propagation of the Faith, September 18, 1840
        Condemning the Slave Trade, December 3, 1839
        On the Errors of Lammenais, June 25, 1834
        On Liberialism and Religious Indifferentism, August 15, 1832


      Clement XIII
        On Instruction in the Faith, June 14, 1761
        On the Spiritual Advantages of Fasting, December 20, 1759
        On Unity Among Christians, September 13, 1758


      Benedict XIV
        On The Observance of Oriental Rites, July 26, 1755
        On Christians Using Mohammedan Names, August 1, 1754
        On Judaism in Poland, June 14, 1751
        On Usury and Other Dishonest Profit, November 1, 1745


      Clement XII
        On Freemasonry, April 28, 1738


      Innocent XI
        On the Errors of Miguel De Molinos, November 20, 1687


      Saint Pius V
        On the Rite of Mass, July 14, 1570


      Paul IV
        On Error in Respect of the Faith, February 15, 1559


      Leo X
        Condemning the Errors of Martin Luther, June 15, 1520


      Pius II
        On Appealing to a Future Council, January 16, 1460


      Boniface VIII
        On Papal Primacy, November 18, 1302

     Papal Coronation Oath

        "I vow to change nothing of the received Tradition, and nothing thereof I have found before me guarded by my God-pleasing predecessors, to encroach upon, to alter, or to permit any innovation therein;

        To the contrary: with glowing affection as her truly faithful student and successor, to safeguard reverently the passed-on good, with my whole strength and utmost effort;

        To cleanse all that is in contradiction to the canonical order, should such appear; to guard the Holy Canons and Decrees of our Popes as if they were the divine ordinance of Heaven, because I am conscious of Thee, whose place I take through the Grace of God, whose Vicarship I possess with Thy support, being subject to severest accounting before Thy Divine Tribunal over all that I shall confess;

        I swear to God Almighty and the Savior Jesus Christ that I will keep whatever has been revealed through Christ and His Successors and whatever the first councils and my predecessors have defined and declared.

        I will keep without sacrifice to itself the discipline and the rite of the Church. I will put outside the Church whoever dares to go against this oath, may it be somebody else or I.

        If I should undertake to act in anything of contrary sense, or should permit that it will be executed, Thou willst not be merciful to me on the dreadful Day of Divine Justice.

        Accordingly, without exclusion, We subject to severest excommunication anyone -- be it Ourselves or be it another -- who would dare to undertake anything new in contradiction to this constituted evangelic Tradition and the purity of the orthodox Faith and the Christian religion, or would seek to change anything by his opposing efforts, or would agree with those who undertake such a blasphemous venture."

    This oath was written by Pope St. Agatho, 678AD, however, it is more likely centuries older. It was taken by all pontiffs and even those claiming the papacy after Vatican II until John Paul II, who did not.

     Dogmas of the Catholic Church.
        from "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" by Dr. Ludwig Ott

    The following De Fide statements comprise "Our Catholic Faith without which it is impossible to please God" (The Council of Trent, Session V, explaining the correct interpretation of Hebrews 11: 6). These positive "articles of faith" have the function of fundamental principles which the faithful accepts without discussion as being certain and sure by virtue of the authority of God, Who is absolute truth (Council of the Vatican). They represent the mind of Christ as St. Paul says:

    bullet1 Cor. 2:16. - But we have the mind of Christ.
    bulletHebrews 13:8. - Jesus Christ yesterday, and today: and the same for ever.


    Since Our Catholic Faith comes from God, they are not open for debate, and they are not reversible.

    The Christian is called to adhere to Christ and His teaching integrally; the unity of faith is the dominant motif of divine revelation on which St. Paul insists energetically, when he writes:

    bullet1 Cor. 1:10. - I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you: but that you be perfect in mind and in the same judgement.


    There is, then, no place for "pick and choose" in the truths proposed to the Faith of Christians by the Infallible Teaching Church for they are bound in Heaven by God Himself. If something is decreed on earth and is also bound in Heaven, that thing must be the truth. Otherwise, God is no longer the Truth, which is contrary to the Gospel:

    bulletMatthew 16:19. - And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven.


    The Catholic Church is infallible because it is:

    bullet1 Tim 3:15. - the church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth.


    If a baptized person deliberately denies or contradicts a dogma, he or she is guilty of sin of heresy and automatically becomes subject to the punishment of excommunication.

    From the work of Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, published by the Mercier Press Ltd., Cork, Ireland, 1955. With Imprimatur of Cornelius, Bishop. Reprinted in U.S.A. by Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford, Illinois, 1974.  

    I. The Unity and Trinity of God

    1. God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty, by the natural light of reason from created things.
    2. God's existence is not merely an object of rational knowledge, but also an object of supernatural faith.
    3. God's Nature is incomprehensible to men.
    4. The blessed in Heaven possess an immediate intuitive knowledge of the Divine Essence.
    5. The immediate vision of God transcends the natural power of cognition of the human soul, and is therefore supernatural.
    6. The soul, for the immediate vision of God, requires the light of glory.
    7. God's Essence is also incomprehensible to the blessed in Heaven.
    8. The divine attributes are really identical among themselves and with the Divine Essence.
    9. God is absolutely perfect.
    10. God is actually infinite in every perfection.
    11. God is absolutely simple.
    12. There is only one God.
    13. The one God is, in the ontological sense, the true God.
    14. God possesses an infinite power of cognition.
    15. God is absolute veracity.
    16. God is absolutely faithful.
    17. God is absolute ontological goodness in Himself and in relation to others.
    18. God is absolute moral goodness or holiness.
    19. God is absolute benignity.
    20. God is absolutely immutable.
    21. God is eternal.
    22. God is immense or absolutely immeasurable.
    23. God is everywhere present in created space.
    24. God's knowledge is infinite.
    25. God's knowledge is purely and simply actual.
    26. God's knowledge is subsistent.
    27. God knows all that is merely possible by the knowledge of simple intelligence.
    28. God knows all real things in the past, the present and the future.
    29. By the knowledge of vision, God also foresees the future free acts of rational creatures with infallible certainty.
    30. God's Divine Will is infinite.
    31. God loves Himself of necessity, but loves and wills the creation of extra-divine things, on the other hand, with freedom.
    32. God is almighty.
    33. God is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth.
    34. God is infinitely just.
    35. God is infinitely merciful.
    36. In God there are three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Each of the three Persons possesses the one (numerical) Divine Essence.
    37. In God there are two internal divine processions.
    38. The Divine Persons, not the Divine Nature, are the subject of the internal divine processions (in the active and in the passive sense).
    39. The Second Divine Person proceeds from the First Divine Person by generation, and therefore is related to Him as Son to Father.
    40. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and from the Son as from a single principle through a single spiration.
    41. The Holy Ghost does not proceed through generation but through spiration.
    42. The relations in God are really identical with the Divine Nature.
    43. The Three Divine Persons are in one another.
    44. All the ad extra activities of God are common to the three Persons.

    II. God the Creator

    1. All that exists outside God was, in its whole substance, produced out of nothing by God.
    2. God was moved by His goodness to create the world.
    3. The world was created for the glorification of God.
    4. The Three Divine Persons are one single, common principle of creation.
    5. God created the world free from exterior compulsion and inner necessity.
    6. God has created a good world.
    7. The world had a beginning in time.
    8. God alone created the world.
    9. God keeps all created things in existence.
    10. God, through His Providence, protects and guides all that He has created.
    11. The first man was created by God.
    12. Man consists of two essential parts - a material body and a spiritual soul.
    13. The rational soul per se is the essential form of the body.
    14. Every human being possesses an individual soul.
    15. God has conferred on man a supernatural destiny.
    16. Our first parents, before the fall, were endowed with sanctifying grace.
    17. In addition to sanctifying grace, our first parents were endowed with the preternatural gift of bodily immortality.
    18. Our first parents in Paradise sinned grievously through transgression of the Divine probationary commandment.
    19. Through sin our first parents lost sanctifying grace and provoked the anger and the indignation of God.
    20. Our first parents became subject to death and to the dominion of the devil.
    21. Adam's sin is transmitted to his posterity, not by imitation but by descent.
    22. Original sin is transmitted by natural generation.
    23. In the state of original sin man is deprived of sanctifying grace and all that this implies, as well as of the preternatural gifts of integrity.
    24. Souls who depart this life in the state of original sin are excluded from the Beatific Vision of God.
    25. In the beginning of time God created spiritual essences (angels) out of nothing.
    26. The nature of angels is spiritual.
    27. The evil spirits (demons) were created good by God; they became evil through their own fault.
    28. The secondary task of the good angels is the protection of men and care for their salvation.
    29. The devil possesses a certain dominion over mankind by reason of Adam's sin.

    III. God the Redeemer

    1. Jesus Christ is true God and true Son of God.
    2. Christ assumed a real body, not an apparent body.
    3. Christ assumed not only a body but also a rational soul.
    4. Christ was truly generated and born of a daughter of Adam, the Virgin Mary.
    5. The Divine and human natures are united hypostatically in Christ, that is, joined to each other in one Person.
    6. In the hypostatic union each of the two natures of Christ continues unimpaired, untransformed, and unmixed with each other.
    7. Each of the two natures in Christ possesses its own natural will and its own natural mode of operation.
    8. The hypostatic union of Christ's human nature with the Divine Logos took place at the moment of conception.
    9. The hypostatic union was effected by the three Divine Persons acting in common.
    10. Only the second Divine Person became Man.
    11. Not only as God but also as man Jesus Christ is the natural Son of God.
    12. The God-Man Jesus Christ is to be venerated with one single mode of worship, the absolute worship of latria which is due to God alone.
    13. Christ's Divine and human characteristics and activities are to be predicated of the one Word Incarnate.
    14. Christ was free from all sin, from original sin as well as from all personal sin.
    15. Christ's human nature was passable.
    16. The Son of God became man in order to redeem men.
    17. Fallen man cannot redeem himself.
    18. The God-man Jesus Christ is a high priest.
    19. Christ offered Himself on the Cross as a true and proper sacrifice.
    20. Christ by His sacrifice on the Cross has ransomed us and reconciled us with God.
    21. Christ, through His passion and death, merited award from God.
    22. After His death, Christ's Soul, which was separated from His Body, descended into the underworld.
    23. On the third day after His death, Christ rose gloriously from the dead.
    24. Christ ascended body and soul into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.

    IV. The Mother of the Redeemer

    1. Mary is truly the Mother of God.
    2. Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin.
      Mary is the Immaculate Conception.
    3. Mary conceived by the Holy Ghost without the cooperation of man.
    4. Mary bore her Son without any violation of her virginal integrity.
    5. After the birth of Jesus, Mary remained a Virgin.
    6. Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven.

    V. God the Sanctifier

    1. There is a supernatural intervention of God in the faculties of the soul, which precedes the free act of the will.
    2. There is a supernatural influence of God in the faculties of the soul which coincides in time with man's free act of will.
    3. For every salutary act, internal supernatural grace of God (gratia elevans) is absolutely necessary.
    4. Internal supernatural grace is absolutely necessary for the beginning of faith and salvation.
    5. Without the special help of God, the justified cannot persevere to the end in justification.
    6. The justified person is not able for his whole life long to avoid sins, even venial sins, without the special privilege of the grace of God.
    7. Even in the fallen state, man can, by his natural intellectual power, know religious and moral truths.
    8. For the performance of a morally good action, sanctifying grace is not required.
    9. In the state of fallen nature, it is morally impossible for man without supernatural Revelation, to know easily, with absolute certainty, and without admixture of error, all religious and moral truths of the natural order.
    10. Grace cannot be merited by natural works either de condigno or de congruo.
    11. God gives all the just sufficient grace for the observation of the divine commandments.
    12. God, by His eternal resolve of Will, has predetermined certain men to eternal blessedness.
    13. God, by an eternal resolve of His Will, predestines certain men, on account of their foreseen sins, to eternal rejection.
    14. The human will remains free under the influence of efficacious grace, which is not irresistible.
    15. There is grace which is truly sufficient and yet remains inefficacious.
    16. The causes of Justification. (Defined by the Council of Trent) :
      1. The final cause is the honour of God and of Christ and the eternal life of men.
      2. The efficient cause is the mercy of God.
      3. The meritorious cause is Jesus Christ, who as mediator between God and men, has made atonement for us and merited the grace by which we are justified.
      4. The instrumental cause of the first justification is the Sacrament of Baptism. Thus it defines that Faith is a necessary precondition for justification (of adults).
      5. The formal cause is God's Justice, not by which He Himself is just, but which He makes us just, that is, Sanctifying Grace.
    17. The sinner can and must prepare himself by the help of actual grace for the reception of the grace by which he is justified.
    18. The justification of an adult is not possible without faith.
    19. Besides faith, further acts of disposition must be present.
    20. Sanctifying grace sanctifies the soul.
    21. Sanctifying grace makes the just man a friend of God.
    22. Sanctifying grace makes the just man a child of God and gives him a claim to the inheritance of heaven.
    23. The three Divine or theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are infused with sanctifying grace.
    24. Without special Divine Revelation no one can know with the certainty of faith, if he be in the state of grace.
    25. The degree of justifying grace is not identical in all the just.
    26. Grace can be increased by good works.
    27. The grace by which we are justified may be lost, and is lost by every grievous sin.
    28. By his good works, the justified man really acquires a claim to supernatural reward from God.
    29. A just man merits for himself through each good work an increase of sanctifying grace, eternal life (if death finds him in the state of grace) and an increase in heavenly glory.

    VI. The Catholic Church

    1. The Catholic Church was founded by the God-Man Jesus Christ.
    2. Christ founded the Catholic Church in order to continue His work of redemption for all time.
    3. Christ gave His Church a hierarchical constitution.
    4. The powers bestowed on the Apostles have descended to the Bishops.
    5. Christ appointed the Apostle Peter to be the first of all the Apostles and to be the visible Head of the whole Catholic Church, by appointing him immediately and personally to the primacy of jurisdiction.
    6. According to Christ's ordinance, Peter is to have successors in his Primacy over the whole Catholic Church and for all time.
    7. The successors of Peter in the Primacy are the Bishops of Rome.
    8. The Pope possesses full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Catholic Church, not merely in matters of faith and morals, but also in Church discipline and in the government of the Church.
    9. The Pope is infallible when he speaks ex cathedra.
    10. By virtue of Divine right, the bishops possess an ordinary power of government over their dioceses.
    11. Christ founded the Catholic Church.
    12. Christ is the Head of the Catholic Church.
    13. In the final decision on doctrines concerning faith and morals, the Catholic Church is infallible.
    14. The primary object of the Infallibility is the formally revealed truths of Christian Doctrine concerning faith and morals.
    15. The totality of the Bishops is infallible, when they, either assembled in general council or scattered over the earth propose a teaching of faith or morals as one to he held by all the faithful.
    16. The Church founded by Christ is unique and one.
    17. The Church founded by Christ is holy.
    18. The Church founded by Christ is catholic.
    19. The Church founded by Christ is apostolic.
    20. Membership of the Catholic Church is necessary for all men for salvation.

    VII. The Communion of Saints

    1. It is permissible and profitable to venerate the Saints in Heaven, and to invoke their intercession.
    2. It is permissible and profitable to venerate the relics of the Saints.
    3. It is permissible and profitable to venerate images of the Saints.
    4. The living faithful can come to the assistance of the souls in Purgatory by their intercessions.

    VIII. The Sacraments

    1. The Sacraments of the New Covenant contain the grace which they signify, and bestow it on those who do not hinder it.
    2. The Sacraments work ex opere operato, that is, the sacraments operate by the power of the completed sacramental rite.
    3. All the Sacraments of the New Covenant confer sanctifying grace on the receivers.
    4. Three Sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, imprint a character, that is an indelible spiritual mark, and, for this reason, cannot be repeated.
    5. The sacramental character is a spiritual mark imprinted on the soul.
    6. The sacramental character continues at least until the death of the bearer.
    7. All Sacraments of the New Covenant were instituted by Jesus Christ.
    8. There are seven Sacraments of the New Law.
    9. The Sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for the salvation of mankind.
    10. The validity and efficacy of the Sacrament is independent of the minister's orthodoxy and state of grace.
    11. For the valid dispensing of the Sacraments it is necessary that the minister accomplish the Sacramental sign in the proper manner.
    12. The minister must have the intention of at least doing what the Church does.
    13. In the case of adult recipients moral worthiness is necessary for the worthy or fruitful reception of the Sacraments.

    IX. Baptism

    1. Baptism is a true Sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ.
    2. The materia remota of the Sacrament of Baptism is true and natural water.
    3. Baptism confers the grace of justification.
    4. Baptism effects the remission of all punishments of sin, both eternal and temporal.
    5. Even if it be unworthily received, valid Baptism imprints on the soul of the recipient an indelible spiritual mark, the Baptismal Character, and for this reason, the Sacrament cannot be repeated.
    6. Baptism by water (Baptismus fluminis) is, since the promulgation of the Gospel, necessary for all men without exception for salvation.
    7. Baptism can be validly administered by anyone.
    8. Baptism can be received by any person in the wayfaring state who is not already baptised.
    9. The Baptism of young children is valid and licit.

    X. Confirmation

    1. Confirmation is a true Sacrament properly so-called.
    2. Confirmation imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, and for this reason, cannot be repeated.
    3. The ordinary minister of Confirmation is the Bishop alone.

    XI. Holy Eucharist

    1. The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ are truly, really, and substantially present in the Eucharist.
    2. Christ becomes present in the Sacrament of the Altar by the transformation of the whole substance of the bread into His Body and of the whole substance of the wine into His Blood.
    3. The accidents of bread and wine continue after the change of the substance.
    4. The Body and Blood of Christ together with His Soul and Divinity and therefore, the whole Christ, are truly present in the Eucharist.
    5. The Whole Christ is present under each of the two Species.
    6. When either consecrated Species is divided, the Whole Christ is present in each part of the Species.
    7. After the Consecration has been completed the Body and Blood are permanently present in the Eucharist.
    8. The Worship of Adoration (latria) must be given to Christ present in the Eucharist.
    9. The Eucharist is a true Sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ.
    10. The matter for the consummation of the Eucharist is bread and wine.
    11. For children before the age of reason, the reception of the Eucharist is not necessary for salvation.
    12. Communion under two forms is not necessary for any individual members of the Faithful, either by reason of Divine precept or as a means of salvation.
    13. The power of consecration resides in a validly consecrated priest only .
    14. The Sacrament of the Eucharist can be validly received by every baptised person in the wayfaring state, including young children.
    15. For the worthy reception of the Eucharist, the state of grace as well as the proper and pious disposition are necessary.
    16. The Holy Mass is a true and proper Sacrifice.
    17. In the Sacrifice of the Mass, Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross is made present, its memory celebrated, and its saving power applied.
    18. In the Sacrifice of the Mass and in the Sacrifice of the Cross the Sacrificial Gift and the Primary Sacrificing Priest are identical; only the nature and the mode of the offering are different.
    19. The Sacrifice of the Mass is not merely a sacrifice of praise and thanks-giving, but also a sacrifice of expiation and impetration.

    XII. Penance

    1. The Church has received from Christ the power of remitting sins committed after Baptism.
    2. By the Church's Absolution sins are truly and immediately remitted.
    3. The Church's power to forgive sins extends to all sin without exception.
    4. The exercise of the Church's power to forgive sins is a judicial act.
    5. The forgiveness of sins which takes place in the Tribunal of Penance is a true and proper Sacrament, which is distinct from the Sacrament of Baptism.
    6. Extra-sacramental justification is effected by perfect sorrow only when it is associated with the desire for the Sacrament (votum sacramenti).
    7. Contrition springing from the motive of fear is a morally good and supernatural act.
    8. The Sacramental confession of sins is ordained by God and is necessary for salvation.
    9. By virtue of Divine ordinance, all grievous sins according to kind and number, as well as those circumstances which alter their nature, are subject to the obligation of confession.
    10. The confession of venial sins is not necessary but is permitted and is useful.
    11. All temporal punishments for sin are not always remitted by God with the guilt of sin and the eternal punishment.
    12. The priest has the right and duty, according to the nature of the sins and the ability of the penitent, to impose salutary and appropriate works for satisfaction.
    13. Extra-sacramental penitential works, such as the performance of voluntary penitential practices and the patient bearing of trials sent by God, possess satisfactory value.
    14. The form of the Sacrament of Penance consists in the words of Absolution.
    15. Absolution, in association with the acts of the penitent, effects the forgiveness of sins.
    16. The principal effect of the Sacrament of Penance is the reconciliation of the sinner with God.
    17. The Sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation to those who, after Baptism, fall into grievous sin.
    18. The sole possessors of the Church's Power of Absolution are the bishops and priests.
    19. Absolution given by deacons, clerics or lower rank, and laymen is not Sacramental Absolution.
    20. The Sacrament of Penance can be received by any baptised person who, after Baptism, has committed a grievous or a venial sin.
    21. The Church possesses the power to grant Indulgences.
    22. The use of Indulgences is useful and salutary to the Faithful.

    XIII. Holy Orders

    1. Holy Order is a true and proper Sacrament which was instituted by Jesus Christ.
    2. The consecration of priests is a Sacrament.
    3. Bishops are superior to priests.
    4. The Sacrament of Order confers sanctifying grace on the recipient.
    5. The Sacrament of Order imprints a character on the recipient.
    6. The Sacrament of Order confers a permanent spiritual power on the recipient.
    7. The ordinary dispenser of all grades of Order, both the sacramental and the non-sacramental, is the validly consecrated Bishop alone.

    XIV. Matrimony

    1. Marriage is a true and proper Sacrament instituted by God.
    2. From the sacramental contract of marriage emerges the Bond of Marriage, which binds both marriage partners to a lifelong indivisible community of life.
    3. The Sacrament of Matrimony bestows sanctifying grace on the contracting parties.

    XV. Anointing of the sick

    1. Extreme Unction or anointing of the sick is a true and proper Sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ.
    2. The remote matter of Extreme Unction is oil.
    3. The form consists in the prayer of the priest for the sick person which accomplishes the anointing.
    4. Extreme Unction gives the sick person sanctifying grace in order to arouse and strengthen him.
    5. Extreme Unction effects the remission of grievous sins still remaining and of venial sins.
    6. Extreme Unction sometimes effects the restoration of bodily health, if this be of spiritual advantage.
    7. Only Bishops and priests can validly administer Extreme Unction.
    8. Extreme Unction can be received only by the Faithful who are seriously ill.

    XVI. The Last Things

    1. In the present order of salvation, death is a punishment for sin.
    2. All human beings subject to original sin are subject to the law of death.
    3. The souls of the just which in the moment of death are free from all guilt of sin and punishment for sin, enter into Heaven.
    4. The bliss of Heaven lasts for all eternity.
    5. The degree of perfection of the Beatific Vision granted to the just is proportioned to each one's merit.
    6. The souls of those who die in the condition of personal grievous sin enter Hell.
    7. The punishment of Hell lasts for all eternity.
    8. The souls of the just which, in the moment of death, are burdened with venial sins or temporal punishment due to sins, enter purgatory.
    9. At the end of the world Christ will come again in glory to pronounce judgement.
    10. All the dead will rise again on the last day with their bodies.
    11. The dead will rise again with the same bodies as they had on earth.
    12. Christ, on His second coming, will judge all men.

    The Didache

    The Lord's teaching to the heathen by the Twelve Apostles.


    1. There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways.
    2. The way of life is this:" First, you shalt love the God who made thee, secondly, thy neighbor as thyself; and whatsoever thou wouldst not have done to thyself, do not thou to another."
    3. Now, the teaching of these words is this: "Bless those that curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those that persecute you. For what credit is it to you if you love those that love you? Do not even the heathen do the same?" But, for your part, "love those that hate you," and you will have no enemy.
    4. "Abstain from carnal" and bodily "lusts." "If any man smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also," and thou wilt be perfect. "If any man impress thee to go with him one mile, go with him two. If any man take thy coat, give him thy shirt also. If any man will take from thee what is thine, refuse it not," not even if thou canst.
    5. Give to everyone that asks thee, and do not refuse, for the Father's will is that we give to all from the gifts we have received. Blessed is he that gives according to the mandate; for he is innocent; but he who receives it without need shall be tried as to why he took and for what, and being in prison he shall be examined as to his deeds, and "he shall not come out thence until he pay the last farthing."
    6. But concerning this it was also said, "Let thine alms sweat into thine hands until thou knowest to whom thou art giving."


    1. But the second commandment of the teaching is this:
    2. "Thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not commit adultery"; thou shalt not commit sodomy; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use magic; thou shalt not use philtres; thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide; "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods";
    3. thou shalt not commit perjury, "thou shall not bear false witness"; thou shalt not speak evil; thou shalt not bear malice.
    4. Thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is the snare of death.
    5. Thy speech shall not be false nor vain, but completed in action.
    6. Thou shalt not be covetous nor extortionate, nor a hypocrite, nor malignant, nor proud, thou shalt make no evil plan against thy neighbor.
    7. Thou shalt hate no man; but some thou shalt reprove, and for some shalt thou pray, and some thou shalt love more then thine own life.


    1. My child, flee from every evil man and from all like him.
    2. Be not proud, for pride leads to murder, nor jealous, nor contentious, nor passionate, for from all these murders are engendered.
    3. My child, be not lustful, for lust leads to fornication, nor a speaker of base words, nor a lifter up of the eyes, for from all these is adultery engendered.
    4. My child, regard not omens, for this leads to idolatry; neither be an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a magician, neither wish to see these things, for from them all is idolatry engendered.
    5. My child, be not a liar, for lying leads to theft, nor a lover of money, nor vain-glorious, for from all these things are thefts engendered.
    6. My child, be not a grumbler, for this leads to blasphemy, nor stubborn, nor a thinker of evil, for from all these are blasphemies engendered.
    7. but be thou "meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth;"
    8. be thou long-suffering, and merciful and guileless, and quiet, and good, and ever fearing the words which thou hast heard.
    9. Thou shalt not exalt thyself, nor let thy soul be presumptuous. Thy soul shall not consort with the lofty, but thou shalt walk with righteous and humble men.
    10. Receive the accidents that befall to thee as good, knowing that nothing happens without God.


    1. My child, thou shalt remember, day and night, him who speaks the word of God to thee, and thou shalt honor him as the Lord, for where the Lord's nature is spoken of, there is he present.
    2. And thou shalt seek daily the presence of the saints, that thou mayest find rest in their words.
    3. Thou shalt not desire a schism, but shalt reconcile those that strive. Thou shalt give rightous judgement; thou shalt favor no mans person in reproving transgression.
    4. Thou shalt not be of two minds whether it shall be or not.
    5. Be not one who stretches out his hands to receive, but shuts them when it comes to giving.
    6. Of whatsoever thou hast gained by thy hands thou shalt give a ransom for thy sins.
    7. Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor shalt thou grumble when thou givest, for thou shalt know who is the good Paymaster of the reward.
    8. Thou shalt not turn away the needy, but shalt share everything with thy brother, and shalt not say it is thine own, for if you are sharers in the imperishable, how much more in the things which perish?
    9. Thou shalt not withhold thine hand from thy son or from thy daughter, but thou shalt teach them the fear of God from their youth up.
    10. Thou shalt not command in thy bitterness thy slave or thine handmaid, who hope in the same God, lest they cease to fear the God who is over you both; for he comes not to call men with respect of persons, but those whom the Spirit has prepared.
    11. But do you who are slaves be subject to your master, as to God's representative, in reverence and fear.
    12. Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy, and everything that is not pleasing to the Lord.
    13. Thou shalt not forsake the commandments of the Lord, but thou shalt keep what thou didst receive, "Adding nothing to it and taking nothing away."
    14. In the congregation thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and thou shalt not betake thyself to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.


    1.But the Way of Death is this: First of all, it is wicked and full of cursing, murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, witchcrafts, charms, robberies, false witness, hypocrisies, a double heart, fraud, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul speach, jealousy, impudence, haughtiness, boastfulness.
    2. Persecutors of the good, haters of truth, lovers of lies, knowing not the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, spending wakeful nights not for good but for wickedness, from whom meekness and patience is far, lovers of vanity, following after reward, unmerciful to the poor, not working for him who is oppressed with toil, without knowledge of him who made them, murderers of children, corrupters of God's creatures, turning away the needy, oppressing the distressed, advocates of the rich, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful; may ye be delivered, my children, from all these.


    1. See "that no one make thee to err" from this Way of the teaching, for he teaches thee without God.
    2. For if thou canst bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou wilt be perfect, but if thou canst not, do what thou canst.
    3. And concerning food, bear what thou canst, but keep strictly from that which is offered to idols, for it is the worship of dead gods.


    1. Concerning baptism, baptise thus: Having first rehearsed all these things, "baptise, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," in running water;
    2. but if thou hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm.
    3. But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head "in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost."
    4. And before the baptism let the baptiser and him who is to be baptised fast, and any others who are able. And thou shalt bid him who is to be baptised to fast one or two days before.


    1. Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.
    2. And do not pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel, pray thus: "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in Heaven so also upon earth; give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into trial, but deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the power and the glory for ever."
    3. Pray thus three times a day.


    1. And concerning the Eucharist, hold Eucharist thus:
    2. First concerning the Cup, "We give thanks to thee, our Father, for the Holy Vine of David thy child, which, thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child; to thee be glory for ever."
    3. And concerning the broken Bread: "We give thee thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever.
    4. As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains, but was brought together and became one, so let thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom, for thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever."
    5. But let none eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptised in the Lord's Name. For concerning this also did the Lord say, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."


    1. But after you are satisfied with food, thus give thanks:
    2. "We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, for thy Holy Name which thou didst make to tabernacle in out hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever.
    3. Thou, Lord Almighty, didst create all things for thy Name's sake, and didst give food and drink to men for their enjoyment, that they might give thanks to thee, but us hast thou blessed with spiritual food and drink and eternal light through thy Child.
    4. Above all we give thanks to thee for that thou art mighty. To thee be glory for ever.
    5. Remember, Lord, thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in thy love, and gather it together in its holiness from the four winds to thy kingdom which thou hast prepared for it. For thine is the power and the glory for ever.
    6. Let grace come and let this world pass away. Hosannah to the God of David. If any man be holy, let him come! if any man be not, let him repent: Maranatha ("Our Lord! Come!"), Amen."
    7. But suffer the prophets to hold Eucharist as they will.


    1. Whosoever then comes and teaches you all these things aforesaid, receive him.
    2. But if the teacher himself be perverted and teach another doctrine to destroy these things, do not listen to him, but if his teaching be for the increase of righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
    3. And concerning the Apostles and Prophets, act thus according to the ordinance of the Gospel.
    4. Let every Apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord,
    5. but let him not stay more than one day, or if need be a second as well; but if he stay three days, he is a false prophet.
    6. And when an Apostle goes forth let him accept nothing but bread till he reach his night's lodging; but if he ask for money, he is a false prophet.
    7. Do not test or examine any prophet who is speaking in a spirit, "for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven."
    8. But not everyone who speaks in a spirit is a prophet, except he have the behaviour of the Lord. From his behaviour, then, the false prophet and the true prophet shall be known.
    9. And no prophet who orders a meal in a spirit shall eat of it: otherwise he is a false prophet.
    10. And every prophet who teaches truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet.
    11. But no prophet who has been tried and is genuine, though he enact a worldly mystery of the Church, if he teach not others to do what he does himself, shall be judged by you: for he has his judgment with God, for so also did the prophets of old.
    12. But whosoever shall say in a spirit "Give me money, or something else," you shall not listen to him; but if he tell you to give on behalf of others in want, let none judge him.


    1. Let everyone who "comes in the Name of the Lord" be received; but when you have tested him you shall know him, for you shall have understanding of true and false.
    2. If he who comes is a traveller, help him as much as you can, but he shall not remain with you more than two days, or, if need be, three.
    3. And if he wishes to settle among you and has a craft, let him work for his bread.
    4. But if he has no craft provide for him according to your understanding, so that no man shall live among you in idleness because he is a Christian.
    5. But if he will not do so, he is making traffic of Christ; beware of such.


    1. But every true prophet who wishes to settle among you is "worthy of his food."
    2. Likewise a true teacher is himself worthy, like the workman, of his food.
    3. Therefore thou shalt take the firstfruit of the produce of the winepress and of the threshingfloor and of oxen and sheep, and shalt give them as the firstfruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests.
    4. But if you have not a prophet, give to the poor.
    5. If thou makest bread, take the firstfruits, and give it according to the commandment.
    6. Likewise when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, give the firstfruits to the prophets.
    7. Of money also and clothes, and of all your possessions, take the firstfruits, as it seem best to you, and give according to the commandment.


    1. On the Lord's Day of the Lord come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure;
    2. but let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice be not defiled.
    3. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord, "In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great king," saith the Lord, "and my name is wonderful among the heathen."


    1. Appoint therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, meek men, and not lovers of money, and truthful and approved, for they also minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers.
    2. Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honourable men together with the prophets and teachers.
    3. And reprove one another not in wrath but in peace as you find in the Gospel, and let none speak with any who has done wrong to his neighbour, nor let him hear a word from you until he repents.
    4. But your prayers and alms and all your acts perform as ye find in the Gospel of our Lord.


    1. "Watch" over you life "let your lamps" be not quenched "and your loins" be not ungirded, but be "ready," for ye know not "the hour in which our Lord cometh."
    2. But be frequently gathered together seeking the things which are profitable for your souls, for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you except ye be found perfect at the last time;
    3. for in the last days the false prophets and the corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate;
    4. for as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the deceiver of the world as a Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders and the earth shall be given over into his hands and he shall commit iniquities which have never been since the world began.
    5. Then shall the creation of mankind come to the fiery trial and "many shall be offended" and be lost, but "they who endure" in their faith "shall be saved" by the curse itself.
    6. And "then shall appear the signs" of the truth. First the sign spread out in Heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead:
    7. but not of all the dead, but as it was said, "The Lord shall come and all his saints with him."
    8. Then shall the world "see the Lord comming on the clouds of Heaven."



    Courtesy of TraditionalCatholic.net