Encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI promulgated on September 18, 1840.
Venerable Brothers, We Give You Greeting and Our Apostolic Blessing.
You are well aware, venerable brothers, of the many misfortunes which now afflict the Catholic Church. You know, too, that holy religion is being attacked by the pollution of errors of every kind and by the unbridled rashness of renegades. At the same time heretics and unbelievers attempt by cleverness and deceit to pervert the hearts and minds of the faithful You are aware, in shore, that practically no effort has been left untried in the attempt to overthrow the unshakeable building of the holy city. In particular, We are obliged, alas! to see the wicked enemies of truth spread everywhere unpunished. They harass religion with ridicule, the Church with insults, and Catholics with arrogance and calumny. They even enter cities and towns, establish schools of error and impiety, and publish their poisonous teachings which are adapted to secret deceit by misusing the natural sciences and recent discoveries. Furthermore they enter the hovels of the poor, traverse the countryside, and seek the acquaintance of the farmers and the lowest classes. They try every method of attracting the uneducated, especially the youth, to their sects, and of making them desert the Catholic faith, whether by means of Bibles inaccurately translated into the vernacular, pestilential newspapers and pamphlets of little weight, or by seductive speeches, pretended charity, and gifts of money.
2. We mention events which you yourselves witness. For despite your sorrow and your pastoral denunciations, you are obliged to tolerate in your dioceses these men spreading heresy and unbelief, these assertive preachers who ceaselessly waylay and ravage your flock by going around in sheep's clothing while inwardly they are ravening wolves. What more can We add? There is hardly any uncivilized district left in the entire world to which headquarters of the main societies of heretics and unbelievers have not sent scouts and emissaries without counting the cost. These men, by waging secret or open war on the Catholic religion and its pastors and ministers, tear the faithful from the bosom of the Church and prevent unbelievers from entering it.
3. You can easily imagine the straits in which We live, since We are laden with the care of Christ's flock and the churches, and must therefore render a detailed account to the divine Prince of Shepherds. For this reason We decided to recall in this letter the causes of the troubles which beset both Us and you. You can then reflect how important it is for all the bishops to redouble their efforts so as to break the assault of the enemies, to beat back their attacks, and to forewarn and protect the faithful from their clever appeals. We have been doing this, and We shall not stop. We know that you have likewise done so, and We are confident that you will continue.
4. However, in order not to lose heart, "we should all be sure not to fear them as if We had to overcome them by our own strength, since Christ is both our counsel and our courage. As we can do nothing without Him, with Him we can do all things. To give strength to the preachers of the Gospel and ministers of the sacraments, He says, 'Behold I am with you all days even to the end of the world' and also, 'I have spoken these things to you that you may have peace in me; in the world you shall have affliction but take heart, I have overcome the world.' So clear and indisputable are these promises that no scandals should make us weak lest we seem unthankful for God's choice of us even though His help is as effective as His promises are true."
5. Even in our time all can see those clear results of the divine promise which never have failed and never shall fail in the Church. They are plainly seen in the unconquerable constancy of the Church amid so many enemy attacks, in the spread of religion amid such disturbance and dangers, and in the consolation which "the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation gives us in every trial." On the one hand We have to lament the loss which the Catholic religion has suffered and continues to suffer in certain districts. But the many victories which the unconquerable constancy of Catholics and their priests has won and continues to win even in those districts gives us ground for joy. We rejoice greatly also at its marvellously abundant gains despite so many hindrances. This proves even to our enemies that oppression of the Church frequently contributes to its glory and strengthens the faithful.
6. We are thankful for the success of apostolic missions in America, the Indies, and other faithless lands. The indefatigable zeal of many apostolic men has led them abroad into those places. Relying not on wealth nor on any army, they are protected by the shield of faith alone. They fearlessly fight the Lord's battles against heresy and unbelief by private and public speech and writings. They are inspired with a burning love and undeterred by rough roads and heavy toil. They search out those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death to summon them to the light and life of the Catholic Religion. So, fearless in the face of every danger, they bravely enter the woods and caves of savages, gradually pacify them by Christian kindness, and prepare them for true faith and real virtue. At length they snatch them from the devil's rule, by the bath of regeneration and promote them to the freedom of God's adopted sons.
7. However, We are reduced to tears both of sorrow in Our detestation of cruel persecutors and executioners, and of consolation in beholding the heroic constancy of the confessors of the faith, as We recall here the glorious deeds of the new martyrs in the Far East. We have already praised them at length in an address to the consistory. Tonkin and Cochin are still wet with the blood of many bishops, priests, and faithful. They have repeated the achievement of the early Christian martyrs in facing a cruel death for Christ undismayed by torture. This is a major victory for the Church and for religion. It casts the persecutors into confusion when they see that even today the divine promises of unending protection and help are really fulfilled. This is the reason why, in the words of St. Leo: "the religion established by the sacrament of the Cross of Christ cannot be destroyed by any kind of cruelty."
8. These events bring consolation and glory to the Catholic religion. But there are other grounds of consolation for the Church. Pious organizations are developing for the good of religion and Christian society. Some of these assist the work of the holy apostolic missions. God, who ceaselessly protects His Church, raises up within it new societies as times, places, and circumstances require. Under the Church's authority each society in its own ways devotes its full energy to works of charity, the instruction of the faithful, and the spread of the faith.
9. Likewise a source of joy to the Catholic world, and a wonder to nonCatholics, are the many widespread sodalities of pious women. Under the rule of St. Vincent de Paul or in association with other approved Institutes, they are remarkable in their practice of the Christian virtues. They devote themselves entirely either to saving women from the way of perdition, or to training girls in religion, solid piety and the tasks suited to their state in life, or to relieving the dire want of their neighbors with every assistance. No natural weakness of their sex or fear of any danger holds them back.
10. A similar cause of joy for Us and for all good men are those groups of the faithful who recently have begun to meet regularly in many cities, especially the larger ones. Their purpose is to combat bad books with good ones written by themselves or others, displaying purity of doctrine instead of foul forms of error and Christian gentleness and charity instead of insults and attacks.
11. Finally We must praise most highly the well known society which is constantly expanding, not alone in Catholic territories but even in the countries of non-Catholics and unbelievers. This society enables the faithful of every class to help the apostolic missions and to have a share themselves in the spiritual graces of these missions. We are referring, as you realize, to the famous Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
12. Now you know both the sorrows which afflict Us for Our losses and of the consolations which sustain Us in the victories of the Catholic religion. We are concerned though that these societies should continue to grow. We earnestly urge you, then, to cherish, protect, and augment them in your own dioceses.
13. The principal society which We recommend to you is the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. First organized in Lyons in 1822, it spread with marvellous speed and success. But certainly We recommend equally other societies of this type founded at Vienna and elsewhere. Their names are different, but they work at the same task of the propagation of the faith, a task which enjoys the religious support and favor of Catholic princes.
14. This task is sustained and strengthened by the moderate offerings and daily prayers to God said by each of the members. It is directed to practicing the works of Christian charity towards neophytes, and to delivering the faithful from the attack of persecution. Consequently, We consider it deserving of the admiration and love of all good men. A work so beneficial to the Church can have begun so recently only by the special design of divine providence. For when every kind of plot of the infernal enemy besets the beloved spouse of Christ, the Church could have no more timely good fortune than this ardent desire of the faithful to spread Catholic truth.
15. For this reason, established as We are despite Our unworthiness in the Papacy, We Ourselves affirm with Our predecessors Our complete support for this great work. Sharing Our concern, you should see to it that this important work flourishes among your flock. "Sing with the trumpet in Sion" and by your fatherly advice see to it that those not already members of the pious society are eager to become members, and that those who are members persevere in their purpose. This is surely the time "when the Christian battle line should smash the devil as he rages all over the world;" it is indeed the time for the faithful to join in this holy union with the priests. We have the strongest hope that God, who ceaselessly supports His Church in its long hard fight with its enemies and also gives it joy in the firmness, love and devotion of the faithful, will grant it the peace it desires when He is placated by Our combined prayers and pious works.
In the meantime We lovingly impart the apostolic blessing to yourselves, venerable brothers, and to all the clergy and lay faithful entrusted to your charge.
Given in Rome at St. Mary Major with the seal of the fisherman on the 18th day of September 1840, in the tenth year of Our Pontificate.
- Cf. St. Leo the Great, epistle to Rusticus of Narbonne.
- Sermon 82 (80) on the feast day of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
- Cf. St. Leo the Great. epistle to Rusticus of Narbonne.
Apostolic Constitution of Pope Gregory XVI, read during the 4th Provincial Council of Baltimore, December 3, 1839.
Placed at the summit of the Apostolic power and, although lacking in merits, holding the place of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, being made Man through utmost Charity, deigned to die for the Redemption of the World, We have judged that it belonged to Our pastoral solicitude to exert Ourselves to turn away the Faithful from the inhuman slave trade in Negroes and all other men. Assuredly, since there was spread abroad, first of all amongst the Christians, the light of the Gospel, these miserable people, who in such great numbers, and chiefly through the effects of wars, fell into very cruel slavery, experienced an alleviation of their lot. Inspired in fact by the Divine Spirit, the Apostles, it is true, exhorted the slaves themselves to obey their masters, according to the flesh, as though obeying Christ, and sincerely to accomplish the Will of God; but they ordered the masters to act well towards slaves, to give them what was just and equitable, and to abstain from menaces, knowing that the common Master both of themselves and of the slaves is in Heaven, and that with Him there is no distinction of persons.
But as the law of the Gospel universally and earnestly enjoined a sincere charity towards all, and considering that Our Lord Jesus Christ had declared that He considered as done or refused to Himself everything kind and merciful done or refused to the small and needy, it naturally follows, not only that Christians should regard as their brothers their slaves and, above all, their Christian slaves, but that they should be more inclined to set free those who merited it; which it was the custom to do chiefly upon the occasion of the Easter Feast as Gregory of Nyssa tells us. There were not lacking Christians, who, moved by an ardent charity 'cast themselves into bondage in order to redeem others,' many instances of which our predecessor, Clement I, of very holy memory, declares to have come to his knowledge. In the process of time, the fog of pagan superstition being more completely dissipated and the manners of barbarous people having been softened, thanks to Faith operating by Charity, it at last comes about that, since several centuries, there are no more slaves in the greater number of Christian nations. But - We say with profound sorrow - there were to be found afterwards among the Faithful men who, shamefully blinded by the desire of sordid gain, in lonely and distant countries, did not hesitate to reduce to slavery Indians, negroes and other wretched peoples, or else, by instituting or developing the trade in those who had been made slaves by others, to favour their unworthy practice. Certainly many Roman Pontiffs of glorious memory, Our Predecessors, did not fail, according to the duties of their charge, to blame severely this way of acting as dangerous for the spiritual welfare of those engaged in the traffic and a shame to the Christian name; they foresaw that as a result of this, the infidel peoples would be more and more strengthened in their hatred of the true Religion.
It is at these practices that are aimed the Letter Apostolic of Paul III, given on May 29, 1537, under the seal of the Fisherman, and addressed to the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, and afterwards another Letter, more detailed, addressed by Urban VIII on April 22, 1639 to the Collector Jurium of the Apostolic Chamber of Portugal. In the latter are severely and particularly condemned those who should dare 'to reduce to slavery the Indians of the Eastern and Southern Indies,' to sell them, buy them, exchange them or give them, separate them from their wives and children, despoil them of their goods and properties, conduct or transport them into other regions, or deprive them of liberty in any way whatsoever, retain them in servitude, or lend counsel, succour, favour and co-operation to those so acting, under no matter what pretext or excuse, or who proclaim and teach that this way of acting is allowable and co-operate in any manner whatever in the practices indicated.
Benedict XIV confirmed and renewed the penalties of the Popes above mentioned in a new Apostolic Letter addressed on December 20, 1741, to the Bishops of Brazil and some other regions, in which he stimulated, to the same end, the solicitude of the Governors themselves. Another of Our Predecessors, anterior to Benedict XIV, Pius II, as during his life the power of the Portuguese was extending itself over New Guinea, sent on October 7, 1462, to a Bishop who was leaving for that country, a Letter in which he not only gives the Bishop himself the means of exercising there the sacred ministry with more fruit, but on the same occasion, addresses grave warnings with regard to Christians who should reduce neophytes to slavery.
In our time Pius VII, moved by the same religious and charitable spirit as his Predecessors, intervened zealously with those in possession of power to secure that the slave trade should at least cease amongst the Christians. The penalties imposed and the care given by Our Predecessors contributed in no small measure, with the help of God, to protect the Indians and the other people mentioned against the cruelty of the invaders or the cupidity of Christian merchants, without however carrying success to such a point that the Holy See could rejoice over the complete success of its efforts in this direction; for the slave trade, although it has diminished in more than one district, is still practiced by numerous Christians. This is why, desiring to remove such a shame from all the Christian nations, having fully reflected over the whole question and having taken the advice of many of Our Venerable Brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and walking in the footsteps of Our Predecessors, We warn and adjure earnestly in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare to vex anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce to servitude, or lend aid and favour to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, are, without any distinction, in contempt of the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold, and devoted sometimes to the hardest labour. Further, in the hope of gain, propositions of purchase being made to the first owners of the Blacks, dissensions and almost perpetual conflicts are aroused in these regions.
We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices abovementioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.
Encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI promulgated on June 25, 1834.
To All the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops.
Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Blessing.
The illustrious examples of faith, obedience, and devotion conveyed by the enthusiastic reception given everywhere to Our encyclical letter of August 15, 1832, gave Us great joy. We declared in it the only sound doctrine to be followed concerning the main points in the fulfillment of the duties of Our office for the whole Catholic flock. The statements made by many who had approved those counsels and opinions which so grieved Us have increased Our joy, for they have acted as prompt defenders and supporters of Our decrees. We recognized that that evil which is still inflamed against both sacred and civil matters is not yet removed. Widely disseminated but very shameless pamphlets and certain gloomy machinations openly denoted those things which We condemned in a letter sent to Our venerable brother, the bishop of Rennes, in the month of October. Moreover, his response to those things which cause Us so much concern and anxiety has been gratefully received. His statement sent to Us on December 11 of last year distinctly confirmed that he would follow solely and absolutely the teaching transmitted in Our encyclical letter and that he would not write or approve anything which differs from it. In that matter We opened Our heart in paternal love to the son who was moved by Our warnings. We should also have trusted that he would produce more brilliant writings in time to confirm his compliance in word and deed with Our decision.
2. It hardly seemed believable that he whom We welcomed with such good will and affection would so quickly forget Our kindness and desert Our resolution. We can hardly believe that the good hope which occupied Us with the fruit of Our teaching has died. However, We have learned of the pamphlet written in French under the title Paroles d'un croyant, for it has been printed by this man and disseminated everywhere. It was written under a pseudonym, but matters of public record make clear the author's identity. Though small in size, it is enormous in wickedness.
3. We were very much amazed, venerable brothers, when at first We understood the blindness of this wretched author, for in him knowledge does not come from Cod, but from the elements of the world; this "knowledge" bursts forth. Against the oath solemnly given in his declaration, he cloaked Catholic teaching in enticing verbal artifice, in order ultimately to oppose it and overthrow it. We expressed this in Our letter mentioned above concerning both the dutiful submission toward authorities and the prevention of the fatal contamination of the people by indifferentism. It also concerned measures to use against the spreading license of ideas and speeches. Finally, it concerned that freedom of conscience which should be thoroughly condemned and the repulsive conspiracy of societies enkindling destruction of sacred and state affairs, even from the followers of false religions, as We have made clear by the authority handed down to Us.
4. The mind shrinks from reading through those things in which the author tries to break the bond of loyalty and submission toward leaders. Once the torch of treason is ignited everywhere, it ruins public order, fosters contempt of government, and stimulates lawlessness. It overthrows every element of sacred and civil power. From this, the writer transposes the power of princes, through a new and wicked idea, to the power of Satan and an omen of subterfuge, as if it were dangerous to divine law, even a work of sin. He brands the same marks of wickedness on the priests and rulers because of the conspiracy of crimes and labors in which he dreams they are joined against the rights of the people. Not content with such temerity, he thrusts forth every kind of opinion, speech, and freedom of conscience. He prays that everything will be favorable and happy for the soldiers who will fight to free liberty from tyranny, and he encourages groups and associations in the furious combat which engulfs everything. He stands so firm in such heinous thoughts that We feel him trample right from the beginning Our advice and orders.
5. It is annoying to recount here everything which throws all human and divine affairs into confusion with the wicked fruit of impiety and daring. But these things especially arouse Our indignation and should clearly not be tolerated by religion. Especially dangerous is the fact that holy Scriptures that have been tainted with the errors of this author are disseminated to the unwary. Acting as if he were sent and inspired by God, he speaks in the name of the Trinity and then uses Scripture as a pretext for releasing the people from the law of obedience. He twists the words of holy Scripture in a bold and cunning manner in order to firmly establish his depraved ravings. He does this in order that, as St. Bernard used to say, "He might spread clouds for light or give poison for honey, or rather in the honey, creating a new Gospel for the people and laying a different foundation from the one which is already laid."
6. He who placed Us as scouts in Israel for bids Us to hide in silence the great harm brought to sound doctrine. So We must warn about the error those whom Jesus, the author and perfector of the faith, entrusted to Our care. Therefore, We consulted many of Our venerable brothers, the cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. We have studied the book entitled Paroles d'un croyant. By Our apostolic power, We condemn the book: furthermore, We decree that it be perpetually condemned. It corrupts the people by a wicked abuse of the word of God, to dissolve the bonds of all public order and to weaken all authority. It arouses, fosters, and strengthens seditions, riots, and rebellions in the empires. We condemn the book because it contains false, calumnious, and rash propositions which lead to anarchy; which are contrary to the word of God; which are impious, scandalous, and erroneous; and which the Church already condemned, especially in regard to the Waldensians, Wycliffites, Hussites, and other heretics of this kind.
7. Venerable brothers, it will now be your duty to strongly support Our orders which We urgently demand as necessary for the safety and welfare of both sacred and civil affairs. Let us see that no writing of this kind comes out of hiding into the light, since it would be that much more harmful if it were to set sail through the passion of insane reform and creep far and wide like a crab among the people. It should be your duty to encourage sound doctrine through this whole affair and to make known the craftiness of the innovators. Watch more keenly over the care of the Christian flock, so that zeal for religion, piety of actions, and public peace might happily flourish and increase. We wait for this, trusting in your faith and commitment to the common good so that, with the help of God who is the Father of lights, We might give thanks (with St. Cyprian) that the error has been understood and weakened and then laid low, because it was recognized and discovered.
8. As for the rest, We greatly deplore the fact that, where the ravings of human reason extend, there is somebody who studies new things and strives to know more than is necessary, against the advice of the apostle. There you will find someone who is overconfident in seeking the truth outside the Catholic Church, in which it can be found without even a light tarnish of error. Therefore, the Church is called, and is indeed, a pillar and foundation of truth. You correctly understand, venerable brothers, that We speak here also of that erroneous philosophical system which was recently brought in and is clearly to be condemned. This system, which comes from the contemptible and unrestrained desire for innovation, does not seek truth where it stands in the received and holy apostolic inheritance. Rather, other empty doctrines, futile and uncertain doctrines not approved by the Church, are adopted. Only the most conceited men wrongly think that these teachings can sustain and support that truth.
9. While We write these things to understand and preserve the sound doctrine divinely delegated to Us, We sign over the harsh wound inflicted to Our heart by the error of Our son. In the great sadness We suffer, there is no hope of consolation, unless We can recall him to the way of righteousness. Therefore, at the same time, let Us raise Our eyes and hands to Him who is the leader of wisdom and the corrector of the wise. Let Us beseech Him with repeated prayer to give this man a docile heart and a great spirit to hear the voice of the most loving and most sorrowful Father. May he hasten the joy of the Church, the joy of your order, the joy of this Holy See, and the joy of Our unworthiness. Certainly We shall provide an auspicious and happy occasion to take hold of him and embrace him as a son returning to the bosom of his Father. We are and We shall be very optimistic from his example that others will come to their senses, others who might have been led into error by the same author. May there be an agreement of teaching, one course of thinking, one harmony of action and study, among all for the good of sacred and public matters. We need you and We expect you to beseech the Lord with Us in your pastoral concern for this great gift. We pray for divine assistance in this work and We lovingly impart Our apostolic blessing on you and on your flock as a sign of this.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter's, on June 25, 1834, in the fourth year of Our pontificate.
Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Gregory XVI, August 15, 1832
There shall be one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:16)
To Our Venerable Brethren: the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See
Venerable Brethren, health and Apostolic Benediction!
1. We think that you wonder why, from the time of Our assuming the pontificate, We have not yet sent a letter to you as is customary and as Our benevolence for you demanded. We wanted very much to address you by that voice by which We have been commanded, in the person of blessed Peter, to strengthen the brethren. You know what storms of evil and toil, at the beginning of Our pontificate, drove Us suddenly into the depths of the sea. If the right hand of God had not given Us strength, We would have drowned as the result of the terrible conspiracy of impious men. The mind recoils from renewing this by enumerating so many dangers; instead We bless the Father of consolation Who, having overthrown all enemies, snatched Us from the present danger. When He had calmed this violent storm, He gave Us relief from fear. At once We decided to advise you on healing the wounds of Israel; but the mountain of concerns We needed to address in order to restore public order delayed Us.
2. In the meantime We were again delayed because of the insolent and factious men who endeavored to raise the standard of treason. Eventually, We had to use Our God-given authority to restrain the great obstinacy of these men with the rod. Before We did, their unbridled rage seemed to grow from continued impunity and Our considerable indulgence. For these reasons Our duties have been heavy.
3. But when We had assumed Our pontificate according to the custom and institution of Our predecessors and when all delays had been laid aside, We hastened to you. So We now present the letter and testimony of Our good will toward you on this happy day, the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin. Since she has been Our patron and savior amid so many great calamities, We ask her assistance in writing to you and her counsels for the flock of Christ.
4. We come to you grieving and sorrowful because We know that you are concerned for the faith in these difficult times. Now is truly the time in which the powers of darkness winnow the elect like wheat. "The earth mourns and fades away....And the earth is infected by the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinances, they have broken the everlasting covenant."
5. We speak of the things which you see with your own eyes, which We both bemoan. Depravity exults; science is impudent; liberty, dissolute. The holiness of the sacred is despised; the majesty of divine worship is not only disapproved by evil men, but defiled and held up to ridicule. Hence sound doctrine is perverted and errors of all kinds spread boldly. The laws of the sacred, the rights, institutions, and discipline -- none are safe from the audacity of those speaking evil. Our Roman See is harassed violently and the bonds of unity are daily loosened and severed. The divine authority of the Church is opposed and her rights shorn off. She is subjected to human reason and with the greatest injustice exposed to the hatred of the people and reduced to vile servitude. The obedience due bishops is denied and their rights are trampled underfoot. Furthermore, academies and schools resound with new, monstrous opinions, which openly attack the Catholic faith; this horrible and nefarious war is openly and even publicly waged. Thus, by institutions and by the example of teachers, the minds of the youth are corrupted and a tremendous blow is dealt to religion and the perversion of morals is spread. So the restraints of religion are thrown off, by which alone kingdoms stand. We see the destruction of public order, the fall of principalities, and the overturning of all legitimate power approaching. Indeed this great mass of calamities had its inception in the heretical societies and sects in which all that is sacrilegious, infamous, and blasphemous has gathered as bilge water in a ship's hold, a congealed mass of all filth.
6. These and many other serious things, which at present would take too long to list, but which you know well, cause Our intense grief. It is not enough for Us to deplore these innumerable evils unless We strive to uproot them. We take refuge in your faith and call upon your concern for the salvation of the Catholic flock. Your singular prudence and diligent spirit give Us courage and console Us, afflicted as We are with so many trials. We must raise Our voice and attempt all things lest a wild boar from the woods should destroy the vineyard or wolves kill the flock. It is Our duty to lead the flock only to the food which is healthful. In these evil and dangerous times, the shepherds must never neglect their duty; they must never be so overcome by fear that they abandon the sheep. Let them never neglect the flock and become sluggish from idleness and apathy. Therefore, united in spirit, let us promote our common cause, or more truly the cause of God; let our vigilance be one and our effort united against the common enemies.
7. Indeed you will accomplish this perfectly if, as the duty of your office demands, you attend to yourselves and to doctrine and meditate on these words: "the universal Church is affected by any and every novelty" and the admonition of Pope Agatho: "nothing of the things appointed ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning." Therefore may the unity which is built upon the See of Peter as on a sure foundation stand firm. May it be for all a wall and a security, a safe port, and a treasury of countless blessings. To check the audacity of those who attempt to infringe upon the rights of this Holy See or to sever the union of the churches with the See of Peter, instill in your people a zealous confidence in the papacy and sincere veneration for it. As St. Cyprian wrote: "He who abandons the See of Peter on which the Church was founded, falsely believes himself to be a part of the Church."
8. In this you must labor and diligently take care that the faith may be preserved amidst this great conspiracy of impious men who attempt to tear it down and destroy it. May all remember the judgment concerning sound doctrine with which the people are to be instructed. Remember also that the government and administration of the whole Church rests with the Roman Pontiff to whom, in the words of the Fathers of the Council of Florence, "the full power of nourishing, ruling, and governing the universal Church was given by Christ the Lord." It is the duty of individual bishops to cling to the See of Peter faithfully, to guard the faith piously and religiously, and to feed their flock. It behooves priests to be subject to the bishops, whom "they are to look upon as the parents of their souls," as Jerome admonishes. Nor may the priests ever forget that they are forbidden by ancient canons to undertake ministry and to assume the tasks of teaching and preaching "without the permission of their bishop to whom the people have been entrusted; an accounting for the souls of the people will be demanded from the bishop." Finally let them understand that all those who struggle against this established order disturb the position of the Church.
9. Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the rights of the Church and her ministers are embraced.
10. To use the words of the fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church "was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit." Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain "restoration and regeneration" for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a "foundation may be laid of a new human institution," and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing "may become a human church." Let those who devise such plans be aware that, according to the testimony of St. Leo, "the right to grant dispensation from the canons is given" only to the Roman Pontiff. He alone, and no private person, can decide anything "about the rules of the Church Fathers." As St. Gelasius writes: "It is the papal responsibility to keep the canonical decrees in their place and to evaluate the precepts of previous popes so that when the times demand relaxation in order to rejuvenate the churches, they may be adjusted after diligent consideration."
11. Now, however, We want you to rally to combat the abominable conspiracy against clerical celibacy. This conspiracy spreads daily and is promoted by profligate philosophers, some even from the clerical order. They have forgotten their person and office, and have been carried away by the enticements of pleasure. They have even dared to make repeated public demands to the princes for the abolition of that most holy discipline. But it is disgusting to dwell on these evil attempts at length. Rather, We ask that you strive with all your might to justify and to defend the law of clerical celibacy as prescribed by the sacred canons, against which the arrows of the lascivious are directed from every side.
12. Now the honorable marriage of Christians, which Paul calls "a great sacrament in Christ and the Church," demands our shared concern lest anything contrary to its sanctity and indissolubility is proposed. Our predecessor Pius VIII would recommend to you his own letters on the subject. However, troublesome efforts against this sacrament still continue to be made. The people therefore must be zealously taught that a marriage rightly entered upon cannot be dissolved; for those joined in matrimony God has ordained a perpetual companionship for life and a knot of necessity which cannot be loosed except by death. Recalling that matrimony is a sacrament and therefore subject to the Church, let them consider and observe the laws of the Church concerning it. Let them take care lest for any reason they permit that which is an obstruction to the teachings of the canons and the decrees of the councils. They should be aware that those marriages will have an unhappy end which are entered upon contrary to the discipline of the Church or without God's favor or because of concupiscence alone, with no thought of the sacrament and of the mysteries signified by it.
13. Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that "there is one God, one faith, one baptism" may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that "those who are not with Christ are against Him," and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore "without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate." Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: "He who is for the See of Peter is for me." A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: "The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?"
14. This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. "But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error," as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly "the bottomless pit" is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws -- in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty.
15. Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor. We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice. We are in tears at the abuse which proceeds from them over the face of the earth. Some are so carried away that they contentiously assert that the flock of errors arising from them is sufficiently compensated by the publication of some book which defends religion and truth. Every law condemns deliberately doing evil simply because there is some hope that good may result. Is there any sane man who would say poison ought to be distributed, sold publicly, stored, and even drunk because some antidote is available and those who use it may be snatched from death again and again?
16. The Church has always taken action to destroy the plague of bad books. This was true even in apostolic times for we read that the apostles themselves burned a large number of books. It may be enough to consult the laws of the fifth Council of the Lateran on this matter and the Constitution which Leo X published afterwards lest "that which has been discovered advantageous for the increase of the faith and the spread of useful arts be converted to the contrary use and work harm for the salvation of the faithful." This also was of great concern to the fathers of Trent, who applied a remedy against this great evil by publishing that wholesome decree concerning the Index of books which contain false doctrine. "We must fight valiantly," Clement XIII says in an encyclical letter about the banning of bad books, "as much as the matter itself demands and must exterminate the deadly poison of so many books; for never will the material for error be withdrawn, unless the criminal sources of depravity perish in flames." Thus it is evident that this Holy See has always striven, throughout the ages, to condemn and to remove suspect and harmful books. The teaching of those who reject the censure of books as too heavy and onerous a burden causes immense harm to the Catholic people and to this See. They are even so depraved as to affirm that it is contrary to the principles of law, and they deny the Church the right to decree and to maintain it.
17. We have learned that certain teachings are being spread among the common people in writings which attack the trust and submission due to princes; the torches of treason are being lit everywhere. Care must be taken lest the people, being deceived, are led away from the straight path. May all recall, according to the admonition of the apostle that "there is no authority except from God; what authority there is has been appointed by God. Therefore he who resists authority resists the ordinances of God; and those who resist bring on themselves condemnation." Therefore both divine and human laws cry out against those who strive by treason and sedition to drive the people from confidence in their princes and force them from their government.
18. And it is for this reason that the early Christians, lest they should be stained by such great infamy deserved well of the emperors and of the safety of the state even while persecution raged. This they proved splendidly by their fidelity in performing perfectly and promptly whatever they were commanded which was not opposed to their religion, and even more by their constancy and the shedding of their blood in battle. "Christian soldiers," says St. Augustine, "served an infidel emperor. When the issue of Christ was raised, they acknowledged no one but the One who is in heaven. They distinguished the eternal Lord from the temporal lord, but were also subject to the temporal lord for the sake of the eternal Lord." St. Mauritius, the unconquered martyr and leader of the Theban legion had this in mind when, as St. Eucharius reports, he answered the emperor in these words: "We are your soldiers, Emperor, but also servants of God, and this we confess freely . . . and now this final necessity of life has not driven us into rebellion: I see, we are armed and we do not resist, because we wish rather to die than to be killed." Indeed the faith of the early Christians shines more brightly, if with Tertullian we consider that since the Christians were not lacking in numbers and in troops, they could have acted as foreign enemies. "We are but of yesterday," he says, "yet we have filled all your cities, islands, fortresses, municipalities, assembly places, the camps themselves, the tribes, the divisions, the palace, the senate, the forum....For what war should we not have been fit and ready even if unequal in forces -- we who are so glad to be cut to pieces -- were it not, of course, that in our doctrine we would have been permitted more to be killed rather than to kill?...If so great a multitude of people should have deserted to some remote spot on earth, it would surely have covered your domination with shame because of the loss of so many citizens, and it would even have punished you by this very desertion. Without a doubt you would have been terrified at your solitude.... You would have sought whom you might rule; more enemies than citizens would have remained for you. Now however you have fewer enemies because of the multitude of Christians."
19. These beautiful examples of the unchanging subjection to the princes necessarily proceeded from the most holy precepts of the Christian religion. They condemn the detestable insolence and improbity of those who, consumed with the unbridled lust for freedom, are entirely devoted to impairing and destroying all rights of dominion while bringing servitude to the people under the slogan of liberty. Here surely belong the infamous and wild plans of the Waldensians, the Beghards, the Wycliffites, and other such sons of Belial, who were the sores and disgrace of the human race; they often received a richly deserved anathema from the Holy See. For no other reason do experienced deceivers devote their efforts, except so that they, along with Luther, might joyfully deem themselves "free of all." To attain this end more easily and quickly, they undertake with audacity any infamous plan whatever.
20. Nor can We predict happier times for religion and government from the plans of those who desire vehemently to separate the Church from the state, and to break the mutual concord between temporal authority and the priesthood. It is certain that that concord which always was favorable and beneficial for the sacred and the civil order is feared by the shameless lovers of liberty.
21. But for the other painful causes We are concerned about, you should recall that certain societies and assemblages seem to draw up a battle line together with the followers of every false religion and cult. They feign piety for religion; but they are driven by a passion for promoting novelties and sedition everywhere. They preach liberty of every sort; they stir up disturbances in sacred and civil affairs, and pluck authority to pieces.
22. We write these things to you with grieving mind but trusting in Him who commands the winds and makes them still. Take up the shield of faith and fight the battles of the Lord vigorously. You especially must stand as a wall against every height which raises itself against the knowledge of God. Unsheath the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, and may those who hunger after justice receive bread from you. Having been called so that you might be diligent cultivators in the vineyard of the Lord, do this one thing, and labor in it together, so that every root of bitterness may be removed from your field, all seeds of vice destroyed, and a happy crop of virtues may take root and grow. The first to be embraced with paternal affection are those who apply themselves to the sacred sciences and to philosophical studies. For them may you be exhorter and supporter, lest trusting only in their own talents and strength, they may imprudently wander away from the path of truth onto the road of the impious. Let them remember that God is the guide to wisdom and the director of the wise. It is impossible to know God without God who teaches men to know Himself by His word. It is the proud, or rather foolish, men who examine the mysteries of faith which surpass all understanding with the faculties of the human mind, and rely on human reason which by the condition of man's nature, is weak and infirm.
23. May Our dear sons in Christ, the princes, support these Our desires for the welfare of Church and State with their resources and authority. May they understand that they received their authority not only for the government of the world, but especially for the defense of the Church. They should diligently consider that whatever work they do for the welfare of the Church accrues to their rule and peace. Indeed let them persuade themselves that they owe more to the cause of the faith than to their kingdom. Let them consider it something very great for themselves as We say with Pope St. Leo, "if in addition to their royal diadem the crown of faith may be added." Placed as if they were parents and teachers of the people, they will bring them true peace and tranquility, if they take special care that religion and piety remain safe. God, after all, calls Himself "King of kings and Lord of lords."
24. That all of this may come to pass prosperously and happily, let Us raise Our eyes and hands to the most holy Virgin Mary, who alone crushes all heresies, and is Our greatest reliance and the whole reason for Our hope. May she implore by her patronage a successful outcome for Our plans and actions. Let Us humbly ask of the Prince of the Apostles, Peter and his co-apostle Paul that all of you may stand as a wall lest a foundation be laid other than that which has already been laid. Relying on this happy hope, We trust that the Author and Crown of Our faith Jesus Christ will console Us in all these Our tribulations. We lovingly impart the apostolic benediction to you, venerable brothers, and to the sheep committed to your care as a sign of heavenly aid.
Given in Rome at St. Mary Major, on August 15, the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, in the year of Our Lord 1832, the second year of Our Pontificate.
1. Lk 22.32.
2. I Cor 4.21.
3. Lk 22.53.
4. Is 24.5.
5. St. Celestine, Pope, epistle 21 to Bishop Galliar.
6. St. Agatho, Pope, epistle to the emperor, apud Labb., ed. Mansi, vol. 2, p. 235.
7. St. Innocent, epistle 11 apud Constat.
8. St. Cyprian, de unitate eccles.
9. Council of Florence, session 25, in definit. apud Labb., ed. Venet., vol. 18, col. 527.
10. St. Jerome, epistle 2 to Nepot. a. 1, 24.
11. From canon ap. 38 apud Labb., ed Mansi, vol. 1, p. 38.
12. Council of Trent, session 13 on the Eucharist, prooemium.
13. St. Cyprian, epistle 52, ed. Baluz.
14. St. Gelasius, Pope, in epistle to the bishop of Lucaniae.
15. Heb 13.4.
16. Eph 4.5.
17. Lk 11.23.
18. Symbol .s. Athanasius.
19. St. Jerome, epistle 57.
20. St. Augustine, in psalm. contra part. Donat.
21. St. Augustine, epistle 166.
22. Ap 9.3.
23. Acts 19.
24. Acts of the Lateran Council 5, session 10, where the constitution of Leo X is mentioned; the earlier constitution of Alexander VI, Inter multiplices, ought to be read, in which there are many things on this point.
25. Council of Trent, sessions 18 and 25.
26. Letter of Clement XIII, Christianae, 25 November 1766.
27. Rom 13.2.
28. St. Augustine in psalt. 124, n. 7.
29. St. Euchenius apud Ruinart. Acts of the Holy Martyrs concerning Saint Maurius and his companions, n. 4.
30. Tertullian, in apologet., chap. 37.
31. Wis 7.15.
32. St. Irenaeus, bk. 14, chap. 10.
33. St. Bernard, serm de nat. b.M.v., sect. 7.
Encyclical of Pope Clement XIII, promulgated on June 14, 1761
To the Venerable Brothers, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops. Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.
In the Lord's field, for the tending of which Divine Providence placed Us as overseer, there is nothing which demands as much vigilant care and unremitting labor in its cultivation than guarding the good seed of Catholic teaching which the Apostles received from Jesus Christ and handed on to Us. If in laziness this is neglected, the enemy of the human race will sow weeds while the workers sleep. Then weeds will be found which should be committed to the flames rather than good grain to store in the barns. However, St. Paul strongly encourages Us to protect the faith that the saints handed on to Us.(1) He told Timothy to preserve the sacred trust (2) because dangerous times were coming (3) when evil and deceitful men would exist in the Church of God.(4) The insidious tempters would use their work to try to infect unwary minds with errors which are hostile to evangelical truth.
It often happens that certain unworthy ideas come forth in the Church of God which, although they directly contradict each other, plot together to undermine the purity of the Catholic faith in some way. It is very difficult to cautiously balance our speech between both enemies in such a way that We seem to turn Our backs on none of them, but to shun and condemn both enemies of Christ equally. Meanwhile the matter is such that diabolical error, when it has artfully colored its lies, easily clothes itself in the likeness of truth while very brief additions or changes corrupt the meaning of expressions; and confession, which usually works salvation, sometimes, with a slight change, inches toward death.
The faithful—especially those who are simple or uncultivated—should be kept away from dangerous and narrow paths upon which they can hardly set foot without faltering. The sheep should not be led to pasture through trackless places. Nor should peculiar ideas—even those of Catholic scholars—be proposed to them. Rather, only those ideas should be communicated which are definitely marked as Catholic truth by their universality, ambiguity, and harmony. Besides, since the crowd cannot go up to the mountain (5) upon which the glory of the Lord came down, and if whoever crosses the boundaries to see will die, the teachers of the people should establish boundaries around them so that no word strays beyond that which is necessary or useful for salvation. The faithful should obey the apostolic advice not to know more than is necessary, but to know in moderation.(6)
The popes clearly understood this. They devoted all their efforts not only to cut short with the sword of anathema the poisonous buds of growing error, but also to cut away certain developing ideas which either could prevent the Christian people unnecessarily from bearing a greater fruit of faith or could harm the minds of the faithful by their proximity to error. So the Council of Trent condemned those heresies which tried at that time to dim the light of the Church and which led Catholic truth into a clearer light as if the cloud of errors had been dispersed. As our predecessors understood that that holy meeting of the universal Church was so prudent in judgment and so moderate that it abstained from condemning ideas which authorities among Church scholars supported, they wanted another work prepared with the agreement of that holy council which would cover the entire teaching which the faithful should know and which would be far removed from any error. They printed and distributed this book under the title of The Roman Catechism. There are aspects of their action worthy of special praise. In it they compiled the teaching which is common to the whole Church and which is far removed from every danger of error, and they proposed to transmit it openly to the faithful in very eloquent words according to the precept of Christ the Lord who told the apostles to proclaim in the light what He had said in the dark and to proclaim from the rooftops what they heard in secret.(7) They have obeyed His bride, the Church, whose words are, "Show me where you recline at midday".(8) For where it is not midday and the light is not so bright that truth can be clearly known, error can easily be mistaken for truth because of its appearance of truth and can be distinguished from truth only with difficulty in the darkness. They knew that there were before and would again be people who attract those who seek food by the promise of more abundant pastures of wisdom and knowledge and that many people would come to those pastures because stolen waters are sweeter and hidden bread more delightful.(9) Therefore, in case the Church should be deceived and wander after the flocks of the companions who are themselves wanderers and unsettled with no certainty of truth, who are always learning (10) but never arriving at the knowledge of truth, they proposed that only what is necessary and very useful for salvation be clearly and plainly explained in the Roman Catechism and communicated to the faithful.
But even though this book, composed with remarkable work and effort, was universally approved and welcomed with the highest praises, at that time, the love of novelty almost wrested it from the priests' hands by inspiring the production of more and more catechisms which could compare in no way with the Roman Catechism. Thus two evils arose. Agreement on a method of teaching was almost destroyed, and the weak members of the faithful were scandalized at finding that they were no longer united by the same language and topics. On the other hand, contentions arose from different ways of transmitting Catholic truth and disunity of spirit and great disagreements from rivalry while one declared he was a follower of Apollo, another of Cephas, and another of Paul. We think that nothing can be more fatal to God's greater glory than the bitterness of those disagreements. Nothing can eliminate more disastrously the fruits which the faithful should gain from Christian discipline. Thus, in order to remove the double evil from the Church, We must return to that method from which some, setting themselves up in the Church as wiser, have insolently and imprudently led the faithful away for some time. We think that the Roman Catechism should be offered to the priests again so that just as it once strengthened the Catholic faith and strengthened the minds of the faithful in the Church's teaching which is the pillar of truth, (12) it may now turn them away from new ideas which neither antiquity nor unanimity recommend. To make the book more easily accessible and to correct the errors which have occurred in course of production, We have ensured that the copy published by Our predecessor St. Pius V in accordance with the decree of the Council of Trent is reprinted in Rome with all care. The vernacular translation of it which was made and published by order of the same St. Pius will be reprinted very soon by Our order and will finally be published.
So since Our care and diligence are providing a very suitable aid to remove the deceptions of wicked ideas at this very difficult time for the Church and to spread and establish true and sound teaching, it is your duty to see to it that the faithful accept it. Because the popes wanted this book set before pastors almost as the norm of Catholic faith and Christian discipline in order that unanimity might exist also in the method of transmitting doctrine, We now strongly recommend it to you, venerable brothers. We strongly encourage you to order that everybody who has the care of souls should use it in instructing the faithful in the Catholic truth in order to preserve unity of learning, charity, and harmony of spirits. For it is your duty to be attentive to everybody's serenity. Finally, it is the bishop's duty to watch carefully that nobody breaks the bond of unity and creates schisms by proudly acting in his own interests.
If those who ought to present and explain these books to the faithful are unsuitable teachers, they will prove useless or almost useless. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you choose for the office of communicating Christian teaching to the faithful not only men endowed with theological knowledge, but more importantly, men who manifest humility, enthusiasm for sanctifying souls, and charity. The totality of Christian practice does not consist in abundance of words nor in skill of debating nor in the search from praise and glory but in true and voluntary humility. There are those whom a greater wisdom raises up but also separates from the society of other people. The more they know, the more they dislike the virtue of harmony. Wisdom itself warns them with the word of God: "Have salt in yourselves and be at peace among us".(13) Thus it is necessary to have the salt of wisdom to preserve the love of neighbor and to offset weaknesses. If they turn from zeal for wisdom and from concern for their neighbor to disagreement, they have salt without peace—not a gift of virtue but a cause for condemnation. The more they know, the worse they fail. The Apostle James condemns them with these words: "If you are jealous and have contentions in your hearts, do not boast and be liars against the truth. This wisdom did not come down from on high. Rather, it is earthly, animal, diabolical. Inconstancy and every wicked deed accompany jealousy and contention. The wisdom which comes from on high is first of all pure. Then it is peaceful, modest, persuasive, agreeable to good things, full of mercy and good fruits. It does not judge and is without rivalry".(14)
Therefore, while We pray to God in affliction of spirit and in humility of heart to bestow his indulgence and mercy on our efforts to prevent disagreement disturbing the faithful, and to ensure that in the bond of peace and in charity of spirit, we all know, praise, and glorify the one God and our Lord Jesus Christ, We greet you with a holy kiss and We lovingly impart Our apostolic blessing to all of you and to all the faithful of your churches.
Given at Castel Gandolfo on the 14th day of June, 1761, the third year of Our Pontificate
1. Heb 3.
2. 2 Tm 1.14.
3. Ibid.. 3.1.
4. Ibid., 3.13.
5. Ex 19.12.
6. Rom 12.3.
7. Mt 10.27.
8. Ct 1.7.
9. Prv 9.17.
10. 2 Tm 3.7.
11. Gn 11.1.
12. 1 Tm 3.15.
13. Mk 9.49.
14. Jas 4.
Encyclical of Pope Clement XIII, promulgated on December 20, 1759
To the Venerable Brothers the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops. Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Blessing.
The holy season of Lent approaches, which is full of mysteries but not without mystery. It precedes that great celebration of Easter, by which alone the dignity of all other religious occasions is consecrated. Venerable Brothers, you should see that the faithful religiously observe this holy fast, which was recommended by the testimony of the laws and the prophets, consecrated by the Lord Jesus Christ, and handed on by the apostles. The Catholic Church has always preserved it so that by the mortification of the flesh and the humiliation of the spirit, we might be better prepared to approach the mysteries of the Lord's passion and the paschal sacraments. Likewise through fasting we might rise again in the resurrection of Him whose passion and death we joined after we put off the old man. Our predecessor Benedict XIV aroused you with two earlier briefs, that you might zealously preserve such a holy and salutary institution. Your work and zeal should recall the discipline of the Lenten fast, now weakened by many corruptions, to its original observance. For this reason, Pope Benedict XIV removed from your midst many quibblings which impaired fasting. However, as there are many persistent threats to the Lord's flock from the foul and dangerous enemy of the human race, we should be wary lest the sly old fox add new calculations and perverse customs to the minds of the weaker faithful. These things will weaken the strength of the fast and make it sink back to that point from which it was recently recalled. We think it is necessary to send you this letter to show your brotherhood how fearful We are that the old corruption might remain, or that a new stain might come upon ecclesiastic discipline in this matter, with the resulting destruction of the souls of the faithful.
2. We understand that it is just as necessary to lessen this fear of Ours as it is to increase your pastoral vigilance by it. After Our predecessor's letters, it perhaps remains for you to eradicate with God's help anything pertaining to the old or new corruption for breaking the laws of the fast, or the fabrications of opinions, or the customs which shy away from the true power and nature of the fast. Among these We number that abuse which rumor has brought to Us: while many people were permitted by dispensation to eat meat for just and legitimate reasons, they thought it was also permitted to consume drinks mixed with milk, contrary to what Our predecessor thought was right. He was of the opinion that those who were permitted by dispensation to have meat, as well as those who were fasting in any way, with one mixture excepted, were comparable to those who had no dispensation. Accordingly they can have meat, or whatever originates from meat, in only one mixture.
3. You will begin most appropriately, and with hope of the greatest profit, to recall men to the observance of the holy law of fasting, if you teach the people this: penance for the Christian man is not satisfied by withdrawing from sin, by detesting a past life badly lived, or by the sacramental confession of these same sins. Rather, penance also demands that we satisfy divine justice with fasting, almsgiving, prayer, and other works of the spiritual life. Every wrongdoing—be it large or small—is fittingly punished, either by the penitent or by a vengeful God. Therefore we cannot avoid God's punishment in any other way than by punishing ourselves. If this teaching is constantly implanted in the minds of the faithful, and if they drink deeply of it, there will be very little cause to fear that those who have discarded their degraded habits and washed their sins clean through sacramental confession would not want to expiate the same sins through fasting, to eliminate the concupiscence of the flesh. Besides, consider the man who is convinced that he repents of his sins more firmly when he toes not allow himself to go unpunished. That man, already consumed with the love of penance, will rejoice during the season of Lent and on certain other days, when the Church declares that the faithful should fast and gives them the opportunity to bring forth worthy fruits of penance. After all, it is always necessary to subdue concupiscence, for it is written, "Do not follow behind your desires, and do not turn away from your will". Let the faithful easily turn their attention during this most holy time of year to lessening the intemperance of the body by fasting. In this way the soul might understand how it should prepare itself to recall the holy mysteries of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, those who are spurred on by penance do not seek the delicacies of the table, which seem indistinguishable from forbidden foods, even with abstinence. However, one can rightfully say that whoever sets them on his table does not so much put aside his customary delicacies as give his appetites over to unusual enticements. Finally, those spurred on by penance do not seek escapes by which they might withdraw from fasting, nor do they seek various subtleties to break ecclesiastical law.
4. It is your duty, Venerable Brothers, to in spire enthusiasm and love of penance in the faithful by word and example. Thus, they will approach the fast more quickly, observe it according to the laws prescribed by the Catholic Church, and sanctify it through almsgiving and prayer. Finally—and this matter greatly concerns the Church—they should understand that they have died and been buried with Christ. They have been called to the new life of the new man in the paschal feast so that they can come to the risen Lord Jesus Christ in full confidence. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you, to whom We most lovingly impart the apostolic blessing as a pledge of Our love and good will toward you.
Given in Rome, at St. Mary Major, on the 20th day of December in the year 1759, in the second year of Our pontificate.
Encyclical of Pope Clement XIII, promulgated on September 13, 1758
Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Blessing.
Since that day when the unbelievable and unexpected happened, when God took Our unworthiness and placed it in the Holy See of St. Peter, the summit of all the churches, We have been troubled by a bitter and constant concern. A much heavier burden of sorrow has been placed on Us than We are able to bear. We would certainly have given Ourselves over to weeping if something had not deterred Us from this excessive sadness - something similar to what happened to the most holy prophet, the dynamic leader of Israel. Moses exclaimed to the Lord: "Why do you treat your servant so badly? And why have you placed the weight of all this people on me? I am not able to carry this nation by myself; the weight is too much for me." In order that Moses might not fail in spirit and that he might bear the burden he had assumed, God commanded him to gather seventy men from the elders of Israel. He granted the spirit of Moses to them so that they could be teachers of the people and share the burden with Moses. That same consolation alone sustains Us now, Venerable Brothers. God himself chose you much sooner from among the multitude of the faithful to care for souls. He gave you to Us as Our helpers and assistants. When you were ordained to the episcopacy, He abundantly filled you with His own spirit so that We might be confident in the aid and excellence of God and supported by your singular wisdom. You are on fire to fulfill your duties, and We conclude that much of Our sorrow and concern has been removed. Therefore, in order to find encouragement in our mutual faith and to arouse your sincere mind to remembrance, We write this letter to you. We know that you are ardent and upright against the foul enemy of the human race and have organized yourselves as in a battle line. Nevertheless We exhort you to meet the enemy more quickly and courageously, to wage the war well. Standing in battle, may you fight for the house of Israel.
2. In so many and such dangerous battles, the hope of victory is that much better and that much more certain if we preserve unity in the close bond of peace. Therefore, Venerable Brothers, may your love in all its strength remove from the hearts of the faithful the seeds of any kind of dissension. It is your responsibility that everybody seeks peace, that everybody searches for the elements of peace. The Lord Jesus, a short time before He gave himself up to die, said to His apostles, "Peace I give you; my own peace I give you." He does not leave the inheritance of peace only to the apostles, but also to us. He says "Not only for these but for those also who through their words will believe in me. May they all be one, Father, may they be one in us as you are in me and I am in you." Venerable Brothers, see to it that by eliminating spiritual dissensions, we constantly and continually preserve so great and so precious an inheritance which the Lord Jesus transmitted to us. The apostle says that the Holy Spirit is a pledge of this inheritance. When we place ourselves before Him and beseech Him to make holy the sacrifice of the Church, we ask nothing more than that the bond of love be preserved unbroken in the Church by spiritual grace. It is good for us all to remember that when the Lord asked "who do men say the Son of Man is" and whom the disciples believed He was, they answered that there were various opinions about Him. But St. Peter confessed that He was the son of the living God, not revealed by flesh and blood but by the Father.
3. From this, you can easily see that there is a difference between the sons of light and the sons of the world. The latter disagree among themselves with various and diverse opinions, while the former, initiated into the mysteries of unity, profess the one faith of all by the mouth of one, through the head of all. Therefore, concentrate all your attention on increasing peace among the faithful. Uproars, contentions, rivalries, animosities, and dissensions should be silenced. In this way those who go by the name of Catholic can all be perfect in the same sense, in the same opinion, saying the same thing together, knowing the same thing and understanding it thoroughly. They should understand that if they want to be members of Christ, they cannot have concord with the head if they want to be in disagreement with the members. Nor can those who have not lived in fraternal love be counted as brothers by the Almighty Father.
4. The apostle shows us remarkable signs of love and reliable pointers, so that nobody strays in a matter which contains the salvation of the human race. He says: "Love is patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense and is not resentful." From this, we should clearly understand that where love is absent, there reigns that malice which we men have brought about from the beginning of the human race. Arrogance and proud contempt, stubbornness and avarice, intolerance and ambition, envy and the inordinate desire for glory-these and other depravities of the spirit flare up from this like the torches of our soul. All of these things are produced by the corruption of lust in the world.
5. Let swelling of the spirit and stubborn customs depart from episcopal government. We who say we dwell in Christ should walk just as He walked. We should not seek an example anywhere else than from the Lord Jesus, whom we should imitate. For when the disagreement among the disciples arose about who should be reckoned the greatest, He said: "Among pagans it is the kings who lord it over them. This must not happen with you. No; the greatest among you must behave as the least; the leader as if he were the one who serves. Here I am among you as one who serves." Therefore, just as the Lord Jesus Christ forbade the apostles to rule, we believe that we have come not to rule the Church but to serve it. May we concentrate all our thoughts, labors, and counsels to that purpose, so that we might preserve safe and sound in the Church those sheep entrusted to us by the Lord. We should desire nothing more than their welfare.
6. Therefore, elders, We speak to you in the words of the prince of the apostles: "I am an elder myself and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, and with you I have a share in the glory that is to be revealed. Be shepherds of the flock of God." Watch over the sheep, not like the hired hand who sees the wolf coming, abandons them, and runs away, but gladly, because God wants it. Be like the shepherd who gives his life for his sheep, not for sordid money but freely. Do not lord over the clergy, but become examples for the flock. There is no more offensive or dangerous poison than the desire to rule. If a bishop is corrupted by this, it is inevitable that the church entrusted to him will be shaken, if not destroyed. Therefore, a bishop should not want to be powerful, but rather to be useful. Having made himself an example for the flock, he should like a torch radiate blameless conduct, moral integrity, piety, and religion. When the people see this, they will walk happily and quickly in the way of the Lord, for they will see that they have been given a leader and not a master.
7. It is especially characteristic of love to be lifted up with joy when someone in the Church of God flourishes in piety and learning, someone who longs to save souls and fulfills his priestly duty with industry, labor and diligence. We have often thought that such a man is exposed to the envy of his neighbor.. Every sane man sees that he is being destroyed by the disparagement of the envious, and it is not fitting that this happen. When Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp, Joshua, son of Nun, warned Moses that he should prohibit them. Moses responded that he very much wanted everybody to prophesy. He said: "are you jealous on my account? If only the whole people would prophesy and the Lord gave his Spirit to them all!" The love of the bishop considers it a crime to burn with anger. It does not consider the man led astray by harmful desires as an enemy but rather lays hold of him as a brother, coaxing him, encouraging him, and warning him. It calls him back from error and leads him back to the path of righteousness. If something should happen which requires a more serious verbal castigation, beware lest the words cut too harshly. Let severity abstain from every affront.
8. We cannot be silent concerning the useless desire for glory which a certain bishop correctly called hidden destruction. Once it has shown itself, there is perhaps nothing more hostile to love. Servility creeps up on whatever bishop this deadly plague gets hold of and infects; it attacks his most noble part, the soul. It captures him with its poisonous flatteries and constantly besieges him. It drives the wretch to the point that he no longer seeks the glory of God but only his own, increasing enormously that distorted and excessive self-esteem by which each of us is greatly deceived. Even the Lord Jesus denied that He sought this. Detraction and lying follow flattery as destructive attendants and ministers, so that nothing is left safe and sound for the eminent and virtuous men in the company of the bishop. For this reason, Solomon in his wisdom warns that it is better to be seized by wisdom than deceived by the flattery of fools. He also says: "Turn your back on the mouth that misleads; keep your distance from lips that deceive." Bishops should always keep this in mind: "When a ruler listens to false reports, all his ministers will be scoundrels." We must stop being envious of glory. Thus, glory will be the downfall of those who think earthly things are important. Let us look higher-let us look upon that heavenly home of eternal glory. Let us not think that our true, solid, and serious glory comes from the lips of men. We have all sinned, and we all need the glory of God. Having died to our sins, we should not glory in ourselves. The Father should be glorified in the Son, so that we might be filled with the fruit of justice through Jesus Christ for the glory of God, to whom alone belong all glory, majesty, authority, and power.
9. Among the fruits of justice, mercy to the poor should certainly be considered the most important. That justice which comes from faith belongs to Jesus Christ. It is true that "if one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, 'I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty' without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that?" Thus, the apostle James questions all Christians. Every faithful person, especially everyone who is a little more wealthy than the others, should out of mercy come to the assistance of the poor. They require our generosity as their principal right, for we hold the goods of the Church, which are the prayers of the faithful, the price of sins, and the inheritance of the poor, not as our own but as if in trust. It is not justifiable to use it for ourselves in such a way that nothing remains for those who could rightfully cry out, "What you spend is ours!" Where does such a great abundance of things come to us from, if not from the gifts of the Church? Like a bride, we should be content with the good things we receive, that is, food and shelter, considering piety with sufficiency as a great profit. It is certainly a special gift when it replenishes more abundantly those things which we need to protect, nourish, and embellish the bride. It is certainly everybody's great gain, because we obtain grace from God by almsgiving. Our blind mind is illuminated by it and we who are broken and fallen with a natural weakness are raised up and supported. When we pour forth our souls in desire and replenish our afflicted spirit, our light will rise in the darkness and our shadows will become like noon, for the Lord will fill our souls with his splendors.
10. Actually to obtain light for the mind from God and to obtain the grace and devotion without which the episcopal duties would languish, almsgiving has great power. But it is no more efficacious than prayer and the most holy sacrifice of the Mass. The apostle orders us to pray without interruption and to give thanks to God in everything because it is the will of God that we not extinguish the spirit of faith and love. This spirit helps us in our weakness and expresses our plea through groans that could never be put into words. If a certain bishop needs wisdom, he should ask God for it and God will give it to him. Let him not hesitate to seek anything in faith. He should ask that God arouse in his soul as great a faith as Moses had when he saw the invisible God. It is necessary to have humility to attain that faith. David cried: "I am poor and needy. God help me." These words of the Lord show us how great is the power of perseverance and persistence in prayer: "It is necessary to pray always without ceasing." In that constancy and perseverance, let us wait for the majesty of God if there is a delay: it will appear and will not deceive us because it comes gradually. We should not be concerned only about our weaknesses, but we should also consider that the problems of others afflict us and are on the same level as our own. Our prayers should be addressed more ardently and more perseveringly to God. It is through this prayer that we obtain from the Lord, as a decisive intermediary of the Church's faithful, the faith, hope, and love of all-virtues which are necessary for each and every one of us and for all the faithful in the world. The holy sacrifice of the Eucharist will build the road for us to beseech God and will open the way to obtain anything we want. For this reason, entangled in the great preoccupations of our office, we shall not refuse to offer the holy body and blood of Jesus Christ frequently to God. We do not think that we have been given any greater task than to offer repeatedly a sacrifice of appeasement to God the Father for our sins and those of the faithful.
11. As We are in a certain manner intermediaries between God and mankind, We offer to God the prayers of the people, and in the same way We communicate the will of God to them. This is the will of God: Our sanctification. Thus it is Our duty to proclaim and reveal the mystery of Christ, just as it is fitting for Us to speak. It is necessary, first of all to teach this to the people: The body of Christ was similar to ours, with the exception of sin. It is not only but also sanctifying, capable of suffering, exposed to death, and able to stand in the stead of all of us. Christ offered his body, and us at the same time, to satisfy divine justice. He handed himself--and us at the same time--to all the torments which our crimes merited. He was condemned to the sorrows of death and suffered the curse given to sinners by the law: death under the harshest tortures. He satisfied the law, for the death and burial of Jesus Christ abolished all sin. The Lord Jesus rose from the grave with the same flesh but it was stripped of its mortality and adorned with glory of eternity. In order that they may be justified, it is necessary for sinners to die with Christ, who died in their place and in their name. Then they must enter the grave with Christ, in order to leave behind the flesh defiled by sin. They must hand over the old man to the wrath of God and to the death of the sinner, so that by baptism a new man might return to life in us and live again with Christ in immortality and eternal glory. Therefore all Christians should think about that eternal life and not this brief one. They should remove from their hearts the desire for pleasures and riches which are the instruments of pleasure. Cast off pride, in which all harmful desires are contained. The world is passing away, as well as what it craves for; however, he who keeps the will of God will endure forever.
12. You can easily see, Venerable Brothers, how important it is for you yourselves to teach the people these and all other things which pertain to God's mysteries. Therefore, you should carefully consider that those whom you choose to exercise the priestly ministry and to teach the people the fundamentals of Christianity should possess great purity of life, moral integrity, chastity, justice, piety, and devotion. How serious it would be if something bad, if something vicious, if something perverse were to infect their character with bad habits. Cautiously and prudently remove this danger from the pastors. Help and instruct each of your neighbors with salutary advice. Give the soul of the faithful wings with which to fly from the earth to contemplate heavenly matters; once it is snatched away from the world, give that soul to God and recall the divine image in it to its original purity. On the other hand, it should not be said that pastors who ask to give an account of their lives cannot themselves bear this scrutiny. Nor should they reproach the character of another, so that they themselves must be contradicted. The learning which is perceived as worthy of a clergyman should attain pure and holy habits. They should have a knowledge of the Scriptures: "All Scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people's lives and teaching them to be holy that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." They should go to both testaments of the Bible, to the traditions of the Church, and to the writings of the holy fathers, as if they were going to springs from which pours forth a pure and undefiled teaching of faith and character. They should read often and reflect upon the Roman Catechism, the summation of Catholic teaching, which provides holy sermons to give to the faithful.
13. In considering someone's suitability for the ministry, do not rely only on individual enthusiasm or on someone's recommendation. You should consider as best suited to be a faithful minister and to receive a part of the Lord's flock the man whose timid virtue shirks the ministry. "Do not be too quick to lay hands on any man" which happens if we do not consider and test the men over and over again. Lest we pay the price to God for imprudent rashness and share in another's sin, let him be tested carefully and accurately and judged severely. It should not weary you if We dwell a little longer on this matter which requires great attention. In whatever manner the priests behave, the majority of the people will behave in the same way. Everyone looks upon them--especially if they are parish priests--as if in a mirror. For this reason, nobody deserves anything more destructive from the Church than evil priests, who infect the people with their vices and so corrupt the Church that they seem to harm it more by their example than by their sin.
14. Associate with distinguished men in the sacred ministry, not because we consider ourselves inadequate in the duty of preaching the gospel, but rather so that we might seem to leave in the hands of others the nets which the Lord gave to us to become fishers of men. The principal duty of the bishop is to preach the word of God, for the apostle cried: "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel. It is a duty which has been laid on me." The Lord Jesus Christ did not send him primarily to baptize- -even though this is a holy action--but especially to preach the gospel. We know that the ministry of the word held first place in the minds of the apostles and that these holy men did not neglect this duty. For this reason they thought it fitting to entrust to deacons the rest of the charitable works toward their neighbors. St. Paul writes to Timothy: "Make use of the time until I arrive by reading to the people, preaching, and teaching." If someone feels that he lacks the ability to preach or says that his talents do not measure up to the responsibility, do not allow him to neglect his duty in other matters which pertain to the word of God. Therefore, if the bishop commands the priests to teach the basics of Christian doctrine to the children, he should also give his assistance in that work. He should join himself as an assistant to the pastors in teaching the faithful, so that his duty of preaching the word might be preserved on all sides. This should make everybody hasten to fulfill his duty. Thus, he should not feel it burdensome to administer the sacraments to the faithful occasionally with his brother priests, to enter the choir in the meantime and sing the psalms with the canons, and to preside over the meetings which he has convened. From this the priests will receive a great share in the spirit of his holy ministry, just as the seventy men received the Spirit in the time of Moses. The people who witness this will be filled with the greatest esteem for divine worship, and the tainted men will be frightened away from the sacred ministry by the same venerable spectacle, so that they will not dare in the least to aspire to it.
15. Because the bishop cannot manage the Church and supervise his flock if he is away, you should not be absent from your churches for any length of time. This was solemnly ratified by natural law and by the holy canons, especially by the decrees of the Council of Trent. The bishop should visit all the places in his diocese to protect the power of their laws when they begin to fail, either through the laziness of the ministers or through the stubbornness of the faithful. If there is a serious and necessary reason for you to leave your diocese and if it is necessary to be absent for any length of time, We ask you not to allow the Church to be weakened by the desire of her pastor. Whenever you are absent, this danger is present.
16. In addition, example should accompany words. We should show ourselves in all things as an example of good works so that our opponents will respect us and not have anything bad to say about us. Deeds should not be silent without words, nor should the lack of deeds shame the words. In addition, we believe in our heart that the perfect leader of the Church has been furnished with the perfect goods of the greatest virtue, so that his life might be adorned by what he says and his teaching by what he lives. The home of modesty should be our own, as well as the teacher of modesty. The ecclesiastical discipline which we follow should be full of dignity and harmony. If we are not committed to anybody's will and pleasure, we will not indulge in the softness and weakness of our spirit and we will not single out anyone for special treatment. This often creates great turmoil in the administration of the Church and gives serious offense, providing contempt and envy for the bishop.
17. As for what concerns Us, We have already taken care that We establish as bishops in the various countries those who bring to the episcopacy a sound doctrine, a life beyond reproach, and a mind prepared for all things for the sake of Jesus Christ. We believe that the responsibility should go to him who presides over it; let him not swell up with the greatness of the honor but diminish in humility. In scrutinizing and testing men whom We want to place over such a great responsibility, We shall use you as witnesses and authorities, trusting in the holy devotion of your testimony and in your faith. We do not doubt in the least that you will not use any human rationale, but only thoughts for Him who has called you to the work of the ministry for building up the body of Christ.
18. It remains, Venerable Brothers, that We advise you concerning the fortitude and strength of spirit needed to oppose those things which are against the orthodox faith, which harm piety or which damage the integrity of moral living. Let us be strong in the spirit of the Lord, in good judgment, and in courage. We should not be like dumb watchdogs unable to bark, allowing our flocks to fall prey to looting and our sheep to be devoured by every wild animal in the field. Nor should anything deter us from throwing ourselves into battle for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls: "Think of the way he endured such opposition from sinners." If we are afraid of the audacity of worthless men, it affects the strength of the episcopacy and its sublime and divine power to govern the Church. Nor can we Christians endure or exist any longer-if it has come to that-if we become overly frightened by the snares or threats of the damned. Therefore, trusting not in ourselves but in the God who raises the dead to life, we despise human affairs and cry out to the Lord: You are my hope in the day of disaster. Let us never be exhausted in body or in spirit, for we are fellow workers with God. The Lord Jesus is with us always even to the end of time. Therefore let us not be weakened by scandal or persecution, lest we seem ungrateful for God's favor, since his assistance is as strong as His promises are true.
19. In the Last Judgment We shall be called to give account on behalf of everybody and before everybody who is reckoned in the name of Christ. Therefore We beseech you that if some scandal or disagreement arises which you are unable to put down, to refer it to this See of the blessed Prince of the apostles. As from the head and apex of the episcopacy, that very episcopacy and every authority which bears the same name comes from here. All waters flow from here as if from their very source, and they flow uncorrupted from a pure head through the various regions of the whole world. From here all the churches take what the water worthy of clean bodies avoids teaching and the people whom, as though fouled in unpurged filth, the water avoids washing. We trust first of all in the strength of God, then in the protection of St. Peter, whose care holds all present. We shall help you with advice, resources, and authority, for We are ready to be very near you, to keep the churches and the brothers safe and sound. As for the rest, We trust in God under the weight of this burden we have received; since He is the originator of this burden, He will also help us. In order that human weakness does not falter under the greatness of His grace, He who gave the dignity will also give the strength. Meanwhile in humble entreaty, beseech God in His merciful goodness to subdue now those who fight against Us, to strengthen your faith, and to increase devotion and peace. May He produce in Us, His humble servant, whom He wanted to oversee the government of His Church and to show the riches of His grace, enough strength in such a labor. May He make Us useful for your protection, and may He strive to extend to Our Papacy what was given to the age, for the profit of devotion. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you; We bless you and We greet you with a holy kiss. We lovingly impart to all of you, brother priests, and to all the faithful of your churches Our apostolic blessing. Given in Rome at St. Mary Major on September 14, in the year 1758 in the first year of Our pontificate.
1. Nm 11.11,14.
2. Rom 1.12.
3. 2 Pt 3.11.
4. Ez 13.5.
5. Eph 4.3.
6. 1 Pt 3.11.
7. Rom 14.19.
8. Jn 14.27.
9. Jn 17.20, 21.
10. Mt 16.14f.
11. 2 Cor 12.20.
12. 1 Cor 1.10.
13. 2 Cor 13.11.
14. I Cor 13.4, 5.
15. 2 Pt 1.4.
16. 1 Jn 2.6.
17. Lk 22.25.
18. 1 Pt 5.1-2.
19. Jn 10.12.
20. 1 Pt 5.1-2.
21. Jn 10.11.
22. 1 Pt 5.1-2.
23. Eccl. 4.4.
24. Nm 11.27.
25. Nm 11.29.
26. 2 Thes 3.15.
27. Jn 8.50.
28. Wis 7.6.
29. 29. Prv 4.24.
30. Prov 29.12.
31. Gal 5.26.
32. Phil 3.19.
33. Rom 3.23.
34. I Pt 2.24.
35. Jn 14.13.
36. Phil 1.11.
37. Jude 1.25.
38. Phil 3.9.
39. Jas 2.15.
40. 1 Tm 6.6.
41. 1 Tm 6.8.
42. Is 58.10,11.
43. 1 Thes 5.17-18.
44. Rom 8. 26.
45. Jas 1.5.
46. Heb 11.27.
47. Ps 70.6.
48. Lk 18.1
49. Hab 2.3.
50. 1 Thes 4.3.
51. Col 4.3.
52. 1 Pt 3.18.
53. 1 Jn 2.17.
54. 2 Tm 3.16-17.
55. 1 Tm 5.22.
56. 1 Tm 5.22.
57. Mt 4.19.
58. 1 Cor 9.16.
59. 1 Cor 1.17.
60. Acts 6.2,4.
61. 1 Tm 4.13.
62. Ti 2.7.
63. Ti 2.8.
64. Ps 76.5.
65. Ept 4.12.
66. Mi 3.8.
67. Is 56.10.
68. Ez 34.8.
69. Heb 12.3.
70. 2 Cor 1.9.
71. Jer 17.17.
72. 1 Cor 3.9.
73. Mt 28.20.
74. 2 Cor 12.15.
75. 1 Thes 2.2.
Encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV promulgated on July 26, 1755.
To Missionaries Assigned to the Orient.
Beloved Sons, We give You Greeting and Our Apostolic Blessing.
There has been brought to the Cardinals, who are in charge of the Propagation of the Faith, the letter of a certain priest who was assigned to conduct holy missions in the city of Balsera. This city, commonly called Bassora, is about fifteen days' journey from Babylon, a city well-known for the dealings of merchants. In his letter, he informed the Cardinals that many Catholics of the Oriental rite, Armenians or Syrians, live in that city. Because they have no temple of their own, they come to the church of the Latin missionaries where their priests offer masses and perform other sacred ceremonies in accordance with their own rite. But lay people attend these ceremonies and receive the sacraments from the priests. So he inquired whether these Armenians and Syrians should observe their own Catholic rite or whether, to avoid different practices in a church which Latins also attend, it would be more appropriate that the Armenians and Syrians should abandon their ancient calendar and accept the new one to establish the dates of Easter and movable feastdays. He further inquired whether if the observance of the new calendar were decreed for the Armenians and Syrians of Balsera, it should also be imposed on other orientals who, because their own church is small, generally come to the church of the Latins for their sacred functions.
Abstinence from Fish
2. Furthermore, this missionary also reported that although abstinence from fish is prescribed on fast days for Armenians and Syrian Catholics, many of them do not observe this regulation. This is not from any contempt, but in part from natural weakness and in part from seeing that Latin Catholics have a different custom. Accordingly, he suggested that it would be appropriate to give missionaries the power of allowing particular individuals to eat fish in a season of fasting, provided that this gives rise to no scandal and that they are obliged to perform some other work of piety in place of abstaining from fish.
Decree Forbidding Dispensations
3. These questions were, as We have said, submitted by this missionary to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. As is customary, it sent them to the Congregation of General Inquisition. This Congregation met in Our presence on March 13. The Cardinals Inquisitor unanimously answered that "no innovations were to be made." We confirmed this decision in conformity with a former decree of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith published on January 31, 1702; it has subsequently been renewed and confirmed several times. That decree reads as follows: "At the instance of its Secretary, R.P.D. Carolus Augustinus Fabronus, the Sacred Congregation has commanded that it be ordered, and by the present decree it is so ordered, that each and every missionary and prefect of Apostolic missions should not dare in future, in any circumstance or under any pretext, to give a dispensation to Catholics of any oriental nation in matters of fasts, prayers, ceremonies, and suchlike from the prescriptions of their own national rite which are approved by the Holy and Apostolic See. Moreover, the Sacred Congregation has decided that it neither has been nor is permitted for those Catholics to abandon in any respect the custom and observance of their own rite which has likewise been approved by the Holy Roman Church. The complete and straightforward observance of this decree, renewed and confirmed by each and every prefect and missionary, has been commanded by these most eminent fathers." This decree, indeed, applies to Catholics of the Oriental Church and to their rites which have been approved by the Apostolic See. As everyone knows, the Oriental Church is composed of four rites-Greek, Armenian, Syriac, and Coptic; all these rites are referred to by the single name of the Greek or Oriental Church, just as the name of the Latin or Roman Church signifies the Roman, Ambrosian, and Mozarabic rites, as well as the special rites of different Regular Orders.
4. The meaning of the decree is too clear to require any commentary. So the purpose of this encyclical letter is to ensure that this law is known and understood by everyone and is thereupon carried out with care. For it can be justly suspected that the missionary of Balsera submitted his questions with no knowledge of the decrees which had already been issued. We gather from many other indications that Latin missionaries devote thought and care to destroying or at least weakening the Oriental rite in the course of converting Orientals from the error of schism to the unity of the Holy Catholic Religion; they induce Oriental Catholics to embrace the Latin rite with the sole motivation of zealously spreading religion and performing a good work pleasing to God. We have thought it fitting for this reason (since We have set Our mind on writing) to treat as briefly as possible in this encyclical letter the proper procedure in all cases when Orientals are converted to the Catholic Religion. This procedure is to be observed in the case of Oriental Catholics who live both in places where there are no Latins and where Latin Catholics dwell together with Oriental Catholics.
Oriental Church United With Roman Church
5. Certainly, that man would have to be declared utterly inexperienced in ecclesiastical history who did not know of the mighty efforts of the Roman Pontiffs to bring the Orientals into unity since the fatal schism of Photius; he laid hold of the See of Constantinople when the lawful Patriarch St. Ignatius was forcefully ejected in the time of Pope St. Nicholas I. Our Predecessor St. Leo IX sent his legates to Constantinople to put an end to this schism, which, after almost two centuries' respite, had been renewed by Michael Cerularius; but their efforts came to nothing. Subsequently Urban II summoned the Greeks to the council of Bari. They accomplished very little though, even though St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, was fully engaged in working for unity between them and the Roman Church and in revealing to them the errors of their ways by the light of his teaching. At the Council of Lyons which Blessed Gregory X convened, the emperor Michael Palaeologus and the Greek bishops accepted unity with the Roman Church, but then changed their minds and abandoned it again. The Council of Florence, in the pontificate of Eugenius IV, which was attended by John Palaeologus and Joseph, Patriarch of Constantinople, together with the other Oriental bishops, decreed union; everyone present accepted it. At the same Council the churches of the Armenians and the Jacobites returned to obedience to the Apostolic See. When Pope Eugenius left Florence for Rome, he received an embassy from the king of the Ethiopians and restored the Syrians, Chaldaeans, and Maronites to obedience to the Roman See. But as it is written in St. Matthew's Gospel, chap. 13, the seed which fell on a rock produced no fruit since it had no place to put down roots: "These are those who at once receive the word of God with joy but do not have roots in themselves; when tribulation and persecution come on account of the word, they stumble at once." Thus, scarcely had Mark, Archbishop of Ephesus, like a new Photius, tried to destroy the union by raising his voice against it, than all the desired fruit immediately vanished.
6. That man too would betray his ignorance of ecclesiastical history who did not know that the union with the Orientals confirmed that they would accept the dogma of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, and add to the Creed the word Filioque ("and from the Son"); that they would admit that both leavened and unleavened bread was matter for the Sacrament of the Eucharist; that they would accept the dogma of purgatory, of the beatific vision and of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff; in a word, that every care was taken to overthrow all errors opposed to the Catholic faith. But there was never any question of causing harm to the venerable Oriental rite. That man would be utterly ignorant also of the present discipline of the Church who had not discovered that the Roman Pontiffs, undeterred by past fruitless attempts, have always intended to restore the Greeks to union and have always followed and still follow the path We have explained just above. This can be clearly gathered both from their words and from their deeds.
Leo IX Supported Greek Church in 11th Century
7. In the eleventh century, several Latin churches observing the Latin rite thrived in Constantinople, Alexandria, and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem; just as in Rome, Greek churches performed sacred ceremonies in the Greek rite. Michael Cerularius, the impious restorer of the schism, commanded the closing of the Latin Churches. St. Leo IX, however, did not respond in kind although he could readily have done so; rather than closing the Greek churches in Rome, he desired them to remain open. And so when he complained of the insult done to the Latins, he added: "See how much more restrained, moderate, and kindly towards you the Roman church is here! Although there are many Greek monasteries or churches, both inside and outside Rome, none of these has yet been disturbed or forbidden to follow the tradition of its fathers or its own custom; rather all of them are advised and urged to observe it." (I Ep 9)
Thirteenth Century Support for Greek Churches
8. At the start of the thirteenth century the Latins gained control of Constantinople. Innocent III then decided to establish a Latin Patriarch in that city with jurisdiction over Greeks as well as Latins; but he still was careful to state openly that he did not want any harm done to the Greek rites, excepting only those traditional customs which endangered souls or were at variance with the honor of the Church. The decretal of this pope, issued at the Fourth Lateran Council, is to be found both in Harduin's Collectionis Conciliorum, vol. I, p. 22, and in the chapter Licet, de Baptismo. "Although the Greeks have returned to obedience to the Apostolic See in Our day, We desire them as greatly as We can in the Lord to cherish and hold in honor their custom and rites, except for those customs which give rise to danger for souls and detract from the honor of the Church, for in these cases We neither should nor do We want to respect them." Later Honorius III, the immediate successor of Innocent, used the same words in a letter to the king of Cyprus who wanted two bishops in some cities in his kingdom, a Latin bishop for the Latin inhabitants and a Greek bishop for the Greeks living in the same district. This letter of Honorius is printed in the Annals of Raynaldus, 1222, a. 5.
9. There are many documents of this kind from the thirteenth century. For instance the letter of Innocent IV to Daniel, King of Russia, praises the particular devotion of the king to the Catholic Church and allows to be preserved in his kingdom rites which are not at variance with the faith of the Catholic Church. He writes: "Therefore, dearest son in Christ, We are moved by your prayer and grant by the authority of this letter to the bishops and other priests of Russia permission to consecrate leavened bread in accordance with their custom and to observe their other rites which are not opposed to the Catholic faith held by the Church of Rome." (Raynaldus, 1247, no. 29.) Such is the tenor, too, of the same Pope's letter to Cardinal Otho of Tusculum, Legate of the Holy See on the Island of Cyprus, whom he had entrusted with the authority to settle some disputes which had arisen between Greeks and Latins: "But since some of the Greeks are at last returning to their devotion to the Apostolic See, and obey it with reverence and respect, We may and should tolerate and preserve their customs and rites as far as God and their obedience to the Roman Church permits. However, We ought not-nor do We wish to-yield to them in the slightest matter which could produce danger for souls or lessen the honor of the Church" (in veteri Bullario, vol. 1, no. 14, constitution Sub Catholicae). But in the same letter after he laid down what the Greeks had to do, he listed the practices which he thought they should be allowed to observe and ends with the following words: "But on Our authority, order the aforesaid Archbishop of Nicosia together with his Latin suffragans not to disturb or harass the Greeks contrary to Our decision in these matters." The same Pope Innocent IV appointed his confessor Laurentius Minorita as Apostolic Legate and gave him full authority over all the Greeks who lived in the kingdom of Cyprus and the patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem, as well as over the Jacobites, Maronites and Nestorians. He commanded him especially to protect by his authority all the Greeks from harassment from the Latins: "As regards the Greeks of those regions, whatever their affiliation, We command you to protect them by apostolic authority, and to prevent their being disturbed by acts of violence or any harassment by fully correcting all wrongs and offenses done by Latins and by strictly commanding the Latins to give up such acts for the future" (Raynaldus, 1546, no. 30).
10. Alexander IV, the immediate successor of Pope Innocent, observed that the desire of his predecessor had not been achieved and that disorderly dissensions between Greek and Latin bishops continued to break out in the kingdom of Cyprus. Accordingly he commanded the Latin bishops to summon Greek clerics to their synods. But when he declared that they were subject to the decrees of the synods, he added the following condition: "(that they are) to accept and observe the statutes of the Synods, provided that these statutes do not conflict with the Greek rites which are not opposed to the Catholic faith and are tolerated by the Church of Rome." Elias, Archbishop of Nicosia, followed this praiseworthy precedent in 1340 when he included this declaration in the decrees of his synod: "We do not purpose by this decree to prevent Greek bishops and their subjects from observing their own rites which are consonant with the Catholic faith, in accordance with the arrangement proposed by Pope Alexander, and accepted by both Greeks and Latins in the kingdom of Cyprus" (Labbe, Collectione, vol. 14, p. 279, and vol. 15, p. 775, Venice edition).
11. The end of the thirteenth century is marked by the Union of Greeks and Latins decreed at the General Council of Lyons in the pontificate of Blessed Gregory X. Gregory sent to Michael Palaeologus the confession of faith and the decree of union confirmed by the Council which the eastern legates had sworn to, in order that the emperor himself and the other Greek bishops should accept them. The emperor and the Orientals performed all that was required, but they added the condition: "But we ask of Your Greatness etc. to be allowed to preserve the rites which we used before the schism since these rites are not opposed to the Faith or to the divine commandments" (Harduin, Collectionis, vol. 8, p. 698). Although the reply of Pope Gregory to this letter of the Orientals has not survived, it may rightly be taken that he approved this condition since he believed that they had firmly accepted the union. And of course Nicholas III, the successor of Gregory, through the legates he sent to Constantinople, revealed his mind in the following words: "As to the other Greek rites, however, the Roman Church gladly proposes that the Greeks observe them to the full extent that God allows and permits them to continue in those rites which in the decision of the Apostolic See do not injure the integrity of the Catholic faith or detract from the holy decrees of the Canons" (Raynaldus, 1278).
12. For the fifteenth century, we will mention only the union decreed at the council of Florence. Pope Eugenius approved it and John Palaeologus accepted it with the proviso "that no changes should be made in the Rites of our Church" (Harduin, Collectionis, vol. 9, p. 345). But since We do not intend to review in particular detail the actions of the Roman pontiffs in subsequent centuries, We shall touch on several main incidents which suggest clearly that while they tried zealously to correct the misconceptions of the Orientals, at the same time they indicated that they desired to preserve entire those rites used before the schism with the approval of the Apostolic See. They never demanded that Orientals who wished to be Catholic should embrace the Latin Rite.
13. The Greek Manual, published at Benevento, contains two Constitutions of Popes Leo X and Clement VII which vigorously criticize Latins who abuse the Greeks for practices which the Council of Florence permitted them: in particular that they may offer the Sacrifice of the Mass with leavened bread, that they may take a wife before receiving Holy Orders and keep their wife after Ordination, and that they may offer the Eucharist under both species even to children. When Pius IV decreed that Greeks living in the Dioceses of Latins should be subject to the Latin bishops, he added that "by this decree, however, We do not purpose that the Greeks themselves should be drawn away from their Greek rite, or that they should be hindered in any way in other places by the local Ordinaries or others" (veteris Bullarii, vol. 2, const. no. 75, Romanus Pontifex).
14. The annals of Gregory XIII, written by Fr. Maffei and printed at Rome in 1742, relate several deeds of this pope which aimed at restoring the Copts and Armenians to the Catholic faith, though quite unsuccessfully. But of especial interest are his words concerning the foundation of three colleges in Rome which he had established for the education of Greek, Maronite, and Armenian students, in which he provided that they should continue in their oriental rites (in novo Bullario, vol. 4, pt. 3, const. 63, and pt. 4, const. 157 and 173).
A solemn union of the Ruthenians with the Apostolic See was enacted in the time of Pope Clement VIII. The decree prepared by the Ruthenian archbishops and bishops for establishing union contains the following condition: "However, the ceremonies and rites of the divine liturgy and holy sacraments shall be preserved and fully observed in accordance with the custom of the oriental church; only those points shall be corrected which are a hindrance to union; everything shall be done in the ancient manner as they were long ago when the union was in existence.
Shortly afterwards a disturbance was caused by a widespread rumor that the union had put an end to all the old rites which the Ruthenians followed in the divine psalmody, the sacrifice of the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, and other holy ceremonies. Paul V in an apostolic brief written in 1615 and printed in the Greek Manual, solemnly declared his will in the following words: "Provided that they are not opposed to truth and the teaching of the Catholic faith, and they do not prevent communion with the Roman church, it was not and it is not the intention, understanding, or will of the Roman church to remove or destroy them by means of this union; and this could not and cannot be said or thought; instead these rites have been allowed and granted to the Ruthenian bishops and clergy by Apostolic kindness."
15. It is proper here to remember the churches which in later times different popes entrusted to Greeks, Maronites, Armenians, Copts, and Melchites in Rome. These still exist, with each group performing the holy ceremonies in accordance with its own rite. It can also be recalled that Clement VIII (in his constitution 34, sect. 7 of Veteris Bullarii) established a Greek bishop in Rome to ordain, according to the Greek rite, Italo-Greeks who lived in Latin dioceses. Another Greek bishop was established in the Diocese of Bisiniana by Our immediate predecessor Clement XII, and his constitution Pastoralis, to ordain Italo-Greeks and spare those who lived far from Rome the long journey to obtain ordination at the hands of the Greek Bishop of Rome. Catholic bishops of the Maronites, Copts, and Melchites who from time to time live in Rome are not denied the faculty of ordaining men of their own nation according to their own rite, provided suitable candidates are found. Whenever a dispute arises about the practice of the Orientals or the Italo-Greeks, the Apostolic See makes every effort to ensure that they correct what clearly needs correction, but states at once that it desires the Oriental rite to remain untouched and unshaken in all other respects. It also proclaims that laws affecting Italo-Greeks who live among us and are subject to the jurisdiction of Latin bishops should be understood to affect only these and should not in any way be extended to the Oriental Greeks who live far from us and are subject to their own Greek Catholic bishops.
16. This is learned from the confirmation of the provincial synod of the Ruthenians which met at Zamoscia in 1720. At that time Benedict XIII appointed Us to examine this matter as secretary of the Congregation of the Council. He thought the suggestions of the fathers of this synod should be approved, although they restrained or removed by their decrees some Greek rites which were in practice. He confirmed the synod in his apostolic brief in 1724, but added the following statement: "However Our confirmation of this synod should not be thought to derogate in the least from the constitutions of the popes who preceded Us or from the decrees of the General Councils on the subject of Greek Rites. Notwithstanding this confirmation, these rites should always remain strong."
The same message is gathered from many of Our own constitutions which can be found in Our Bullarium under the general headings of the rites of the Copts, Melchites, Maronites, Ruthenians, and Italo-Greeks and also specifically on the rites of the clergy of the collegiate church of Messana called St. Mary's de Grafeo, and finally on the Greek rite observed in the Order of St. Basil. In constitution 87 (Bullarii, vol. 1) on the rites of the Greek Melchites the following passage occurs: "So on the rites and customs of the Greek Church We have decided to command firstly and in general that no one has been or is permitted on any pretext or authority or rank even of a patriarch or a bishop to make any changes or introduce anything to detract from their full precise observance."
In the earlier constitution 57, Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 9, no. 1, the following measures are taken in regard to Italo-Greeks: "Since the rites of the Oriental Church, which derive mainly from the holy Fathers and tradition, have so impressed themselves on the minds of the Greeks and of other men, the Roman pontiffs, Our predecessors, have wisely preferred to approve and allow these rites, in so far as they are not at variance with the Catholic faith, dangerous to souls, or disreputable for the Church, rather than to reduce them to the form of the Roman ceremonies etc." And sect. 9, no. 24: "Furthermore everything which We have earlier granted, commanded, or forbidden to Italo-Greeks is not intended to prejudice any rights of the Oriental Greeks under their own Catholic bishops, archbishops, or patriarchs, or any of the rites of other Christian peoples which have been approved or allowed by the Holy See. These include all rights whether of law or custom or other legal grounds either from apostolic constitutions or the decrees passed by General or Special Councils or of the Congregations of the Cardinals on the subject of the rites of the Greeks or other Orientals."
Profession of Faith by Orientals
17. Passing by these questions, We will declare freely that the Roman pontiffs have carefully and tirelessly attempted to overcome the heresies which gave rise to the schism between the western and the eastern church, and that consequently they have commanded orientals who want to return to the unity of the Church to reject these errors, to find out if they really belong in union with the Apostolic See.
There are two forms of this profession of faith. The first was prescribed for Greeks by Pope Gregory XIII (veteris Bullarii, vol. 2, 33) while the second was demanded of Orientals by Pope Urban VIII. Both were published at the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the first in 1623 and the second in 1642. Subsequently, in 1665, the Patriarch of Antioch, Syriacus of Hierapolis, and the Archbishop of the Syrians in Hierapolis sent their profession of faith to Rome. Father Lorenzo de Lauraea of the Order of Conventuals Minor of St. Francis, then a consultor of the holy office and later a Cardinal, was asked to examine the question and on April 28th he produced his written verdict. It was subsequently approved by the Congregation, which concludes as follows: "All should be received, but those whom it concerns should be informed that they should not hereafter use a profession of faith different from that prescribed for Orientals by Urban VIII of happy memory, since this profession contains a rejection of many heresies and other matters needful for those districts."
Correction of the Greek Euchologion
18. Since the enemy, in order to sow weeds among the wheat, has driven some men so deeply into wickedness that they have inserted errors in Missals, Breviaries, and Rituals to mislead the clergy, the popes with timely wisdom have had new editions of the missals of the Copts, Maronites, Illyrians, etc., published by the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith after a careful examination of each of them. And We must mention the care which was devoted to the correction of the Greek Euchologion published in recent months by the press of the same Congregation.
The examination of this work was begun zealously under Pope Urban VIII, but it was interrupted after a short time. It was taken up again under Clement XII, but God reserved for Us the joy of beholding the completion of this very important work. During Our pontificate Cardinals, Prelates, theologians, and men trained in the languages of the east devoted long hours to work and discussion. We Ourselves read the discussions and weighed every matter which called for examination.
The work was revised scrupulously to avoid the slightest injury to the Greek rite and to ensure that this rite remained unimpaired and entire. This course was followed, even though previously, in their utter ignorance of the Oriental liturgies and rites which existed in the eastern church before the time of the schism, some of our theologians whose expert knowledge was confined to the western rite, used to condemn every detail which differed from this rite. In short, the chief concern of the popes in securing the return of Greeks and Oriental schismatics to the Catholic religion has ever been to pluck completely from their minds the errors of Arius, Macedonius, Nestorius, Eutyches, Dioscuros, the Monothelites, and others, into which they had wretchedly fallen. But the rites which they observed and professed before the schism and the practice which depends on these ancient liturgies and rituals have always been left unchanged. Indeed the popes have never asked those returning to the Catholic faith to give up their own rite and assume the Latin rite. For this would involve the complete extermination of the eastern church and of the Greek and other Eastern rites, an objective which this Holy See has certainly never planned or striven for.
19. Many inferences can be made from Our present exposition. First, the missionary who is attempting with God's help to bring back Greek and eastern schismatics to unity should devote all his effort to the single objective of delivering them from doctrines at variance with the Catholic faith. Their forefathers accepted these errors as some sort of pretext for leaving the unity of the Church and for refusing the pope the respect and obedience which is his due as head of the Church.
A missionary should make use of the following proofs. Since the Orientals are greatly devoted to their own Church Fathers, Leo Allatius and other notable theologians have studied the question carefully and have shown clearly that the more notable Fathers of the Greek and Latin Church fully agree on all points of doctrine; they specifically reject the errors which fetter the east now. Consequently the study of those books will be beneficial.
In the last century the Lutherans tried to draw Greeks and Orientals into their own errors. The Calvinists, who bitterly attack the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the transubstantiation of bread and wine into His Body and Blood, made the same attempt; it is reported that they won over the Patriarch Cyril to their view. However the Greeks, schismatic as they are, realized that the new errors were at variance with the teaching of their Fathers, especially SS. Cyril, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Damascene; with firm proofs drawn from their own liturgies which affirm the Real Presence and Transubstantiation, they rejected the deceptions and refused to abandon any aspect of the Catholic truth (see Schelestratus De perpetua consensione Orientalis Ecclesiae contra Lutheranos, the chapter De transubstantiatione, p. 717, vol. 2, of Actorum Ecclesiae Orientalis). In two synods they unanimously condemned Patriarch Cyril and the Calvinist doctrines published under his name (see Christian Lupus, ad Concilia Generalia, et Provincialia, part 5, and particularly his treatise De quibusdam locis, chap. 9, at end).
In the first place this gives substantial hope that when they are confronted with the teaching of the Fathers, which strongly supports our Catholic doctrine and attacks their own more recent errors, they will be inspired to a genuine conversion and find it very easy to return. Secondly, it can be seen that there is no need to harm or destroy their rites in recalling them to the way of unity since the Apostolic See has always opposed this procedure. This See has been able to separate the weeds from the wheat in these holy rites as often as the need arose. Moreover the attempt to destroy their rites will only jeopardize the desired union, as Thomas of Jesus rightly reflects: "It must also be shown that the Roman church approves and favors each Church maintaining its own rites and ceremonies, since of course the schismatics are very attached to their own rites. A timely effort must be made to persuade them that they will be confirmed in the observance of their own ceremonies in order to prevent any false suspicion developing that these rites would be abolished and any consequent turning away from the Roman church, which has no such objective" (De conversione omnium gentium procuranda, bk. 7, chap. 2).
Thirdly and finally, from what has already been said it can be inferred that a missionary who wants to convert an eastern schismatic should not attempt to make him accept the Latin rite. For the only work entrusted to the missionary is that of recalling the Oriental to the Catholic faith, not that of making him accept the Latin rite.
Transferring from Latin to Greek Rite Forbidden
20. When Union was effected at the Council of Florence, some Latin Catholics living in Greece thought that it was lawful for them to go over to the Greek rite. They may have been attracted by the freedom retained by the Greeks for priests to keep wives after Ordination if they were married before being ordained. But Pope Nicholas V carefully applied a timely remedy to this abuse: "It has come to Our attention that many Catholics in districts with a Greek Catholic bishop are shamelessly going over to the Greek rites under pretext of the Union. We are greatly astonished, since We do not know what inspired them to leave the practice and rites in which they were born and reared for foreign rites. Even though the rites of the oriental church are praiseworthy, it is not permitted to confuse the rites of the churches. The holy council of Florence never allowed this" (constitution in Bullarii recenter Romae editi, vol. 3, part 3, p. 64).
Since the Latin rite is the rite of the holy Roman church and this church is mother and teacher of the other churches, the Latin rite should be preferred to all other rites. It follows that it is not lawful to transfer from the Latin to the Greek rite. Nor may those who have come over to the Latin rite from the Greek or Oriental rite return again to the Greek Rite, unless particular circumstances occasion the giving of a dispensation (constitution Etsi Pastoralis 57, sect. 2, no. 13, in Our Bullarii, vol. 1). Such dispensations have sometimes been given in times past, and are still given in the Roman College of the Maronites. When a priest there enters the Society of Jesus, he is given a dispensation to transfer to the Latin rite, and sometimes he receives an additional dispensation to say Mass and perform his Divine Office in the church of this College in the Syrian and Chaldaean rite in order to teach this rite to the students there. This is quite clear from many Decrees of the Congregation of the Holy Office, e.g. the Decrees of December 30, 1716; December 14, 1740; and the more recent Decree of August 19, 1752.
Transferring from Greek to Latin Rite
21. We have dealt with transferring from the Latin to the Greek rite. Transferrals in the opposite direction are not forbidden as strictly as the former. Still, a missionary who hopes for the return of a Greek or Oriental to the unity of the Catholic Church may not make him give up his own rite. This can cause great harm.
Melchite Catholics used to transfer willingly from the Greek to the Latin rite, but they have been forbidden to do so. Missionaries have been warned not to urge them to transfer. Permission to do so has been reserved to the private decision of the Apostolic See. This is clear from Our constitution Demandatam, 85, sect. 35 (Bullarium, vol. 1): "Moreover We expressly forbid henceforth all Melchite Catholics who observe the Greek rite to transfer to the Latin rite. We give strict orders to all missionaries not to encourage anyone rashly to transfer to the Latin from the Greek rite, nor even to allow them to do so if they want to without the permission of the Apostolic See, under the penalties which will be set out below and other penalties to be decided on by Us."
The same teaching is conveyed in the Decrees of Urban VIII in reference to the GrecoRuthenian rite, issued at the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in his presence on February 7 and July 6, 1624. While it might seem fair to allow Italo-Greeks to transfer freely from the Greek to the Latin rite, since they live among us and are subject to a Latin bishop, it has nevertheless been laid down that the consent of the Apostolic See is necessary in the case of the transference of secular or regular clergy. If lay people want to transfer, the permission of their bishop is sufficient. He may give this permission with restraint to certain specified individuals, but never to a whole group. In the latter case the consent of the Apostolic See is required (see constitution Etsi Pastoralis 17, sect. 2, no. 14, Bullarium, vol. 1).
22. It is not difficult to respond to the claim that Orientals and other Greeks who reject their heresy and return to unity can be lawfully exhorted to abandon their own rite and accept the Latin rite on the grounds that approval has been given in the past and still continues for Orientals and Greeks to practice individual Latin rites.
First Category-Some Greeks Insist that Latins Follow Their Rites
There are two classes, as it were, of Greeks and Orientals. The first class consists of men who are not satisfied with the concessions made to them by the Apostolic See in order to preserve the Union. They are carried shamelessly beyond the bounds of decency; they claim that all their own practices are correct and that the Latins are mistaken not to follow the same practices.
Take the example of unleavened bread. Greeks and Orientals must admit as Catholics that unleavened as well as leavened bread is suitable matter for the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and that each person should follow the rite of his own church. Consequently any condemnation of the rite of the Latin church which uses unleavened bread in consecrating the Eucharist falls into error.
The monk Hilarion, in his Dialectical Oration, says: "I have written this to you, beloved Greeks, without attacking your bread, which I respect and reverence as much as I do our own unleavened bread. But I have explained that your conduct is neither correct nor Christian when you insult and injure in word and deed the unleavened bread of the Latins. In both cases, as has been said, Christ is truly present" (Latin translation of the Greek by Leo Allatius in Graeciae Orthodoxae, vol. 1, p. 762, 1652).
Another example is the freedom enjoyed by priests of the Oriental and Greek church to remain married to their wives after their ordination (see can. Aliter, dist. 31 and chap. Cum olim, de Clericis Conjugatis). Considering that this practice was at variance neither with divine nor natural law, but only with Church discipline, the popes judged it right to tolerate this custom, which flourished among Greeks and Orientals, rather than to forbid it by their apostolic authority, to avoid giving them a pretext to abandon unity. So does Arcudius assess the matter (Concordia bk. 7, chap. 33).
Nevertheless, incredible though it sounds, some Greeks and Orientals still accuse the Latin church of rejecting marriage simply because it requires celibacy of its subdeacons, deacons, and priests in imitation of the Apostles (see Hincmar of Rheims, Operum, vol. 2, letter 51).
Confirmation Following Baptism
A third and final example is provided by some of the Copts, whose rite prescribes that Confirmation should be conferred immediately after Baptism. The western church does not observe this practice, but generally requires that candidates for Confirmation be old enough to be able to distinguish between good and evil. The Roman Church does not oppose the ancient practice of the Copts. However-again this is incredible-some of them reject Baptism conferred by Latins because the Sacrament of Confirmation was not conferred after this Baptism.
For this reason they are rightly convicted and condemned in Our constitution 129 (Eo quamvis tempore in Our Bullarium vol. 1): "Just as it befits the gentleness and patience of the Apostolic See to allow the Copts to continue in their longestablished practice which has been tolerated by this See, so it is intolerable that they bitterly reject Baptism conferred in the Latin rite separately from Confirmation."
The Second Category-Greeks Who Follow Some Latin Rites
23. In the second category are those Orientals and Greeks who in the main observe their own rites, but out of respect follow some of the rites of the Latins and the Western Churches. This has been their practice from ancient times, and their bishops have examined and approved it. It has also been confirmed either expressly or tacitly by the Apostolic See. To this category belong the Armenians and Maronites who have abandoned the use of leavened bread in celebrating the Eucharist. Like the Latins they use unleavened bread (Abraham Echellensis, Eutychio vindicato, p. 477). Some of the Armenians attribute this practice to St. Gregory the Illuminator, their first bishop. At the start of the fourth century in the time of King Tiridates, he won the martyr's crown. Others claim that Pope St. Sylvester or St. Gregory the Great approved the practice in meetings with the Armenian people. Pope Gregory IX refers to these in his letter to the king of Armenia (Raynaldus, 1139), no. 82). Gregory, Patriarch of Sis, certainly states that this practice was given to the Armenians by the Roman Church in his letter to Haytonis the cenobite, father of King Leo of Armenia: "So we have recently received from the Holy Roman Church the practice of mixing water (with the wine in the chalice) just as we formerly received the use of unleavened bread, the episcopal mitre, and the method of making the sign of the Cross (Clement Galanus, Conciliatione Ecclesiae Armenae cum Romana, vol. 1, p. 449).
Using Unleavened Bread
The practice of using unleavened bread dates from antiquity among the Maronites. This is clear from Morinus, Praefatione ad Maronitarum Ordinationes, and from the Bibliotheca Orientali Assemani senioris, vol. 1, p. 410. It was also affirmed at the national synod held at Mt. Libanus in 1736 and confirmed by Us in Our constitution no. 31, Singularis (Bullarium, vol. 1). We wrote there that: "This custom has been followed both in our church and among the Armenians in the east since time out of mind, and we can produce genuine proofs that this is so" (chap. 12, de Sacramento Eucharistiae, in the section on unleavened bread).
In emulation of this practice of the Armenians and Maronites, Cardinal Bessarion, first Commendatory Abbot of Grottaferrata in the diocese of Tusculum, brought it about that Greek monks in the abbey should consecrate unleavened bread (constitution 33, Inter multa, sect. Ut autem, Our Bullarium, vol. 2). This practice is still observed in the Collegiate Church of St. Mary de Grafeo in the diocese of Messana, even though this church's clergy follow the Greek rite (constitution 81, Romana Ecclesia, sect. 1, Our Bullarium, vol. 1).
Generally speaking, Italian Greek priests in Italy and the nearby islands observe their own practice of consecrating the Eucharist with leavened bread. Priests of both the Latin and Greek rite should be warned to be careful to consecrate and distribute the Eucharist in accordance with their own rite, as We have stated in Our constitution, Etsi Pastoralis, 57, sect. 1, no. 2, ant sect. 6, no. 10f (Our Bullarium, vol. 1).
The Sacrament of the Eucharist Immediately Following Baptism
24. For several centuries the practice prevailed in the Church of giving children the Eucharist after the sacrament of baptism. This practice flourished as a simple rite and custom; it involved no belief that it was necessary for the eternal salvation of the children, as the fathers of Trent wisely remarked (session 21, chap. 4). Among the errors of the Armenians which Pope Benedict XII condemned, the fifty eighth was their declaration that the Eucharist as well as Confirmation must be given to children at baptism to ensure the validity of their baptism and their eternal salvation (Raynaldus, 1341, sect. 66).
For the last four centuries, the Western church has not given the Eucharist to children after baptism. But it must be admitted that the Rituals of the Oriental churches contain a rite of Communion for children after baptism. Assemanus the Younger (Codicis Liturgici), bk. 2, p. 149) gives the ceremony of conferring baptism among the Melchites. On page 309, he quotes the Syrians' baptismal ceremony as it was published by Philoxenus, the Monophysite Bishop of Mabbug, and on p. 306, the ceremony from the ancient Ritual of Severus, Patriarch of Antioch and leader of the Monophysites. He gives also the ceremonies of baptism observed by the Armenians and Copts (bk. 3, p. 95 and 130). All of these ceremonies command that the Eucharist should be given to children after baptism.
St. Thomas says that this practice was still observed by some Greeks in his time (Summa Th. 3, qu. 70, art. to the third). But Arcudius writes that this is the practice of the Greeks although some of them gradually abandoned it on account of the difficulties which arose repeatedly from offering the Eucharist to children at baptism (de Sacramento Eucharistiae, bk. 3, ch. 11.). Canon 7 of the Maronite Synod gathered at Mt. Lebanon on 18 September 1596 under Sergius Patriarch of Antioch and presided over by Fr. Jerome Dandin S.J., Nuncio of Pope Clement VIII, reads as follows: "Since Christ's Holy Communion can hardly be given to children with propriety and due respect for the holy sacrament, all priests should in the future beware of allowing anyone to receive before he attains the use of reason." The fathers of the synod of Zamoscia in 1720 agree with this view (sect. 3, de Eucharistia). And the Synod of Lebanon confirmed it in 1736: "In our old Rituals as well as in the old Roman ordo and in the Greek Euchologies, the minister of Baptism is clearly told to give the sacrament of the Eucharist to infants as soon as they are baptized ant confirmed. Still, both from due respect for this most august sacrament and since this is not necessary for the salvation of children and infants, we command that the Eucharist should not be offered to infants when they are baptized, not even under the appearance of wine" (chap. 12, Sanctissimo Eucharistiae Sacramento, no. 13). We made the same provision in Our constitution for Italian Greeks Etsi Pastoralis (Our Bullarium, vol. 1, sect. 2, no. 7).
Distributing Communion Under Both Species
25. The Oriental and Greek practice of distributing the Eucharist under both species even to lay people has been discussed at length by Arcudius in in Concordia Occidentali, et Orientali in Sacramentorum administratione, bk. 3, chap. 4, and by Leo Allatius in his first note in de Ecclesiae Occidentalis, atque Orientalis consensione, p. 1614f. In the Greek College built in Rome by Gregory XIII, observance of the Greek rite is obligatory. Leo Allatius affirms this in his treatise on de aetate, et Interstitiis, p. 21. In accordance with the Constitution of the College confirmed by Pope Urban VIII, the students must make a confession every week and receive the holy Eucharist every fortnight as well as on solemn feast days and every Sunday in Advent and Lent, following the Latin rite, But on the greater feasts, at Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas, they are obliged to receive the Eucharist under both species in the Greek rite with leavened bread and unmixed wine. The wine is given to them by means of a small spoon. All other Greeks who come to Mass on those days, or who ask to receive the Eucharist according to the Greek rite on other days of the year, are given communion in the same way.
However, Our constitution 57 Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 15, forbids the reception of Communion under both species by Italian Greeks except in places where this rite has been strongly upheld. Some Greeks and Orientals have gradually abandoned the practice of receiving communion under both species, even though it is the established custom of the whole Oriental church.
The famous Lucas Holstenius, writing to Bertoldus Nimissius, relates that he gave the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica to an Abyssinian priest who came with others to communicate at the altar. When he had given him communion under the appearance of bread alone, he inquired of him as well as of other Ethiopians whether they in their own rite usually received the Eucharist under the appearance of bread alone, both on feast days and ordinary days and as viaticum for the dying. He declares that they answered that they always received communion under the appearance of bread alone, and that this ancient custom prevailed in the Ethiopian church (in Opusculis Graecis, ac Latinis of Leo Allatius, p. 436).
Among the statements requested by Pope Gregory XIII from the Patriarch of the Maronites is the following: "We celebrate Mass only with unleavened bread, but our laity communicate under both species." The Pope replied: "If they wish to consecrate unleavened bread, it is obvious that they should not be prevented, but the laity should be slowly discouraged from communicating under both species. For all Christ is present under one species, and there is great danger of spilling if the chalice is used" (Thomas of Jesus, de Conversione omnium gentium, p. 486f).
The fathers at the Synod of Lebanon, 1736, passed a similar decree: "Next, following the practices of the Holy Roman Church, we order and strictly command that laity and minor clerics are not to receive Communion under both species, but under one species only, that of bread" (part 2, chap. 12, no. 21). They allowed only deacons to receive the Eucharist under both species at a high Mass, first under the appearance of bread, then of wine, without the use of a spoon as We mentioned above: "But we allow deacons, especially at High mass, to receive from the priest the host dipped in the Blood. A spoon however should not be used. We decree that the use of spoons at Communion should be absolutely abolished."
Pouring Water into the Chalice
26. Our final point on the Sacrament of the Eucharist concerns the other Oriental and Greek rite in which the priest pours a little warm water into the chalice, after consecration but before communion. Matthaeus Blastares mentions this rite and explains its meaning in his Syntagmate Alphabetico, chap. 8 (Synodicon Graecorum, vol. 2, p. 153), Euthymius, Archbishop of Tyre and Sidon, made some inquiries of Pope Clement XI in 1716. He asked whether the Melchites of Syria and Palestine should be forbidden to add warm water to the Divine Blood after the Consecration. The reply he received contained a clear, careful instruction which the Pope approved and ordered sent to the superiors of missions in the Holy Land, Damascus, Tyre, and Sidon. He ordered the Archbishop not to forbid this practice, since it was an ancient rite which the Apostolic See had examined and allowed to Greek priests even in Rome. The warm water signified the warmth of faith which should burst out in great flames in the face of so mighty a mystery. Pope Benedict XIII gave a similar answer on March 31, 1729, to Cyril, Greek Patriarch of Antioch. This rite is allowed to Italian Greeks in Our constitution 57, Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 2.
Subsequently, in the Congregations formed for the careful revision of the books of the Eastern Church, when a long dispute arose as to whether the rite of pouring warm water into the chalice after the consecration should be prohibited, the answer was given on May 1, 1746, that "no changes should be made." It is true that Cardinal Humbertus of Silva Candida had vigorously attacked this rite in earlier times, but it was discovered that his arguments against the rite lacked substance. Still the fathers of the Synod of Zamoscia in 1720 forbade Ruthenian priests to pour warm water into the chalice after the Consecration. "For a serious reason, the synod forbids and abolishes the rite which is tolerated in the Eastern Church of pouring warm water into the chalice after the Consecration before communion" (sect. 4 on the celebration of Mass).
27. Such occurrences-and many could be recalled-are invoked by those who favor transference from the Oriental and Greek rite to the Latin rite. They think they act rightly in their eager attempts to bring Oriental converts to abandon, without Our prior consent, the rite they used to observe, even though this has been firmly maintained from ancient times by all other Orientals and Greeks.
But the events mentioned above and those which could be mentioned do not in the least support their opinion. For in the first place, transferring from an Oriental rite to the Latin rite removes all the prescriptions of the Oriental rite which are at variance with Our rite. But this is not what happened in the events We have mentioned; although a specific Greek ritual was abolished, the Greek rite itself and all its other prescriptions were preserved unchanged. In addition, to remove even a part of the rite is not within the power of any individual, but requires the intervention of the public authority of the supreme head of the universal Church, the Roman Pontiff.
For the Apostolic See possesses the preeminent right to decide what rituals are to be taken over from the Oriental church by the Latin church. As often as this Apostolic See has noticed that a dangerous or unfitting rite has made its way into the Oriental Church, it has condemned, criticized, and forbidden its use in the Latin Church. Lastly, whenever the Apostolic See sees Orientals or Greeks eager to take up a Latin ritual, particularly when this ritual is ancient, widely established, and either expressly or implicitly approved by the bishops, it has confirmed this practice by toleration and approval.
28. The Creed is said in both the Latin and Greek liturgy. The practice of saying the Creed during the sacrifice of the Mass was first established in the Greek Church and then introduced in the Latin Church. This is evident from Canon Two of the third Council of Toledo in 589: "That the creed of the faith be said in all churches of Spain or Galicia in accordance with the form of the Oriental churches and of the council of Constantinople at which 150 bishops were present; that it be sung with clear voice by the people before the Lord's prayer is said" (Labbe, Collectionis, vol. 5, p. 1009).
Since the fathers at Toledo appealed to the rite of the Oriental churches in establishing the practice of saying the Creed during Mass, it is quite evident that this practice was first established in the east and spread from there to the west. This is the opinion both of Cardinal Bona, Rerum Lyturgic, bk. 2, chap. 8, no. 2, and of Georgius, de lyturgia Romani Pontificis, vol. 2, chap. 20, no. 2, p. 176.
Adoration of the Cross
Continuing with Our topic, Amalarius in his de Divinis Officiis, chap. 14 (relying on the authority of St. Paulinus' Epistola ad Severum) relates that the Cross on which Christ hung was exposed for the adoration of the faithful in the church at Jerusalem on Good Friday of Holy Week only. He declares that the ceremony of the adoration of the Holy Cross which forms part of the Good Friday service in every Latin church until the present day derived from this practice of the Greeks.
The trisagion: "Holy God, Holy Strong One, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us" is a pious and oft-repeated prayer in the Greek liturgy; Goarius correctly observes this in his in notis ad Euchologium, p. 109, in reference to the Mass of St. John Chrysostom. This prayer originated in a miracle which occurred in Constantinople in the middle of the fifth century. Emperor Theodosius, Patriarch Proclus, and all the people were beseeching God on open ground for deliverance from the destruction which threatened them from violent earthquakes. They suddenly saw a boy snatched up to heaven; when he was returned to earth, he reported that he had heard the angels singing the trisagion. At the bidding of the Patriarch Proclus, the whole people sang it with devotion and the terrifying earthquakes ceased, as is related by Nicephorus, bk. 14, chap. 46, and mentioned by Pope Felix III in his third letter to Peter the Fuller (Labbe, Collectionis, vol. 4). This same trisagion is sung in the western church in Greek and Latin on Friday of Holy Week, as Cardinal Bona remarks (Rerum Lyturgicar., bk. 2, chap. 10, no. 5).
Blessing of Water at Epiphany
The blessing of water on the eve of the Epiphany derives from the rite of the Greek Church, as Goarius shows at length in the case of the Euchology or Ritual of the Greeks. At the present time, on the same day, this ceremony is performed in Rome in the Church of the Greeks, as We recalled in constitution 57, sect. 5, no. 13, and the faithful are permitted to be sprinkled with this holy water.
On the transmission of this rite from the Oriental Church to some western churches two authorities may be consulted: Martene, vol. 4, de antiqua Ecclesiae disciplina in Dovomos celebrandis Officiis, chap. 4, no. 2, and Fr. Sebastianus Paulus of the Congregation of the Mother of God, De ritu Ecclesiae Neritinae exorcizandi aquam in Epiphania, Naples, 1719. The latter writer (part. 3, pp. 177ff) gives bishops an appropriate admonition not to give cause for rioting by attempting to abolish certain ceremonies which have at a great distance in time made their way into their dioceses from the Greek church. To attack these ceremonies, he says, would give the appearance of criticizing the way the Apostolic See has acted in regard to these rites. Although this See was well aware that these ceremonies had come from the Greek church it permitted them to be observed and attended. On p. 203 he quotes the letter of Cardinal Sanctorius of Sancta Severina written in 1580 to Fornarius, Bishop of Nerita, on this topic of the blessing of water at Epiphany which was performed in his diocese.
Stripping and Washing the Altar
The ceremony of stripping and washing the altar on Holy Thursday is also Greek. A reference to this ceremony is found in the fifth century. St. Sabas mentions it in his Typico, the Order of saying the Divine Office throughout the year. According to Leo Allatius, he died in 451 (de Libris Ecclesiae Graecae, dissert. I, p. 9). If it could be asserted with certainty that the Roman order published by Hittorpius was composed at the command of Pope St. Gelasius, the ceremony of washing the altars on Holy Thursday would be almost as ancient in the Latin Church as it is in the Greek Church, since Gelasius died in 496. But the antiquity of this Order is disputed and, apart from it, St. Isidore, Bishop of Hispala, is the first of the Latins to mention this ceremony. He died in 646. So probably this ceremony came to the west from the east and is observed to this day in some Latin churches with papal approval. In particular it is performed each year on Holy Thursday with great solemnity in the Vatican Basilica.
Suarez, Bishop of Vasionum and Vicar of this Basilica, and John Chrysostom Battellus, Archbishop of Amaseno, who were recently appointed Beneficiates of this Basilica, have each published a thoughtful treatise elucidating this ceremony. Therefore, it is evident from these examples that the Apostolic See, for good reasons, has adopted for the whole Latin Church ceremonies which belong to the Greek Church and has allowed some Latin churches to observe particular ceremonies.
29. We have mentioned above the miraculous way in which the trisagion entered the liturgies of the Greek Church. Peter the Fuller, surnamed Gnaphaeus, a promoter of the heresy of the Apollinarists who are called Theopaschites, attempted to add to the trisagion the words: "You who were crucified for us" (Theodorus Lector, Collectanear, bk. 1). And some eastern bishops, especially Syrians and Armenians, at the instigation of one James the Syrian, accepted this addition (Nicephorus, bk. 18, chap. 52). When this happened, the Roman popes with their usual watchful concern opposed this error from the start and prohibited the addition. They did not accept the interpretation which claimed that the trisagion referred to the person of the Son alone, not to the three divine persons, and so avoided all suspicion of error. For a danger of associating with heretical teaching still remained, and the human mind for all its rashness could not plausibly refer to Christ alone a hymn sung by the angels in honor of the Holy Trinity, as Lupus rightly observes (Notes ad Trullanum, canon 81). After relating that the addition to the trisagion had been condemned by Pope Felix III and a Roman synod, Lupus continues: "They declare firmly that the hymn eternally sung to the Trinity alone by the holy angels and transmitted to the Church by God Himself and the holy angels by means of the miraculous boy was confirmed by the cessation of the earthquakes which were threatening Constantinople. They were approved in this sense by the whole Council of Chalcedon (he refers both to the bishops who attended the Council and to those others who rejected the addition to the trisagion). Therefore the words of the hymn cannot be daringly twisted to signify Christ alone."
St. Gregory VII, with similar zeal, condemned the addition in his letter to the Archbishop of Patriarch of the Armenians (bk. 8, 1). Gregory XIII acted in like manner in his Brief of February 14, 1577, to the Patriarch of the Maronites. In the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith which met on January 30, 1635, the liturgy of the Armenians was examined.
Among the matters which were carefully discussed was whether the addition to the trisagion could be tolerated on the grounds that it could be understood to refer to the person of the Son alone. The answer given was that it should not be allowed and that the addition should be utterly deleted.
Women Assisting at Mass
Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: "Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry." We too have forbidden this practice in the same words in Our oft-repeated constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 21.
Eucharist for Viaticum
On Thursday of Holy Week, in memory of the Lord's Supper, there is peformed the ceremony of consecrating the bread which is kept for a full year as viaticum for the mortally ill who request Holy Communion. Sometimes too a little of the consecrated wine is added to this consecrated bread. Leo Allatius describes this ceremony in his treatise, de Communione Orientalium sub specie unica num, no. 7. Pope Innocent IV in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum forbade the Greeks to perform this ceremony. "They should not reserve for a year the Eucharist which has been consecrated on Holy Thursday on the pretext that the sick may receive communion from this." He added that they should always have the Eucharist ready for the sick, but that they should replace it every fortnight.
Arcudius, de Concordia Ecclesiae Occidentalis, et Orientalis, bk. 5, chap. 55 and 56, points out the extremes to which this ceremony leads and beseeches the popes to abolish it entirely. Clement VIII did this in an Instruction, as did We in Our constitution 57, Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 3f. It was decreed at the Synod of Zamoscia, which was studied by the Congregation of the Council as well as by the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, that the ceremony of consecrating the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, pouring on it a drop of the Blood and keeping it for a full year for the sick should for the future be discontinued wherever it was still in practice. Parish priests should keep the Eucharist for the sick but replace it every week or fortnight (sect. 3, de Eucharistia). The fathers of the synod of Lebanon, which We confirmed, acted in the same way (chap. 12, de Sacramento Eucharistiae, no. 24).
These examples show clearly that the Apostolic See has always forbidden ceremonies to the Greeks, even if they already were prevalent among them, whenever it saw that these ceremonies were already or were in danger of becoming evil and destructive.
Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son
30. Whenever the union of the Greek and Latin Church has been discussed, the chief matter of contention has been the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son. Examination of this point involves a triple aspect, and so is dealt with here under three headings. The first question is whether the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son is a dogma of the Faith. This question has always been firmly answered that there is no room for doubting that this procession is a dogma of the Faith and that every true Catholic accepts and professes this.
Granting that this is so, the second question is whether it is permissible to add the phrase "and from the Son" to the Creed in the Mass even though this phrase was not used at the Council of Nicea or the Council of Constantinople. The difficulty is increased in that the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus decreed that no additions should be made to the Nicene Creed: "The holy Council decrees that it is lawful for no one to produce or compose a Faith other than that defined by the holy fathers who assembled at Nicea together with the Holy Spirit." It has been asserted in answer to this question that it is indeed lawful and very appropriate to make this addition to the Nicene Creed. The Council of Ephesus forbade only additions which are contrary to the Faith, presumptuous, and at variance with general practice, but not those additions which are orthodox and express more plainly some point of faith implied in that Creed.
On the assumption that the first two answers are accepted, the third and final question is whether Orientals and Greeks can be allowed to say the Creed in the way they used to before the Schism, that is to say, without the phrase "and from the Son." On this final point, the practice of the Apostolic See has varied. Sometimes it allowed the Orientals and Greeks to say the Creed without this addition. This allowance was made when it was certain that they accepted the first two points, and it realized that insistence on the addition would block the way to union. At other times this See has insisted on Greeks and Orientals using the addition. It has done this when it had grounds to suspect that they were unwilling to include the addition in the Creed because they shared the false view that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Father and the Son or that the Church had no power to add the phrase "and from the Son."
The former approach was used by two popes-Blessed Gregory X at the Council of Lyons and Eugenius IV at the Council of Florence-for the reasons already mentioned (Harduin, Collectionis Conciliorum, vol. 7, p. 698D, and vol. 9, p. 305D). The latter position was taken by Pope Nicholas III when he realized that Emperor Michael was not acting in good faith and was not abiding by the promises he had made in establishing union with his predecessor Pope Gregory X. The evidence for this comes from the Vatican Archives and is printed in Raynaldus, 1278, sect. 7. Martin IV and Nicholas IV acted in the same manner. Although the sources are contradictory about the attitude of these popes to this affair, Pachymeres, who was then writing the history of Constantinople, openly declares that they did not imitate the fair judgment of their predecessors. Rather they required that Orientals and Greeks add "and from the Son" to the Creed, in order to remove doubts about their orthodoxy, "to make a definite trial of the faith and opinion of the Greeks; the suitable pledge of this would be for them to say the same Creed as the Latins."
Pope Eugenius IV at the Council of Florence allowed the Orientals to say the Creed without the addition. But when he later received the Armenians into union he obliged them to include it (Harduin, vol. 9, p. 435B) perhaps because he had learned that the Armenians were less averse to the addition then were the Greeks.
Similarly, Pope Callistus III, when he sent Brother Simon of the Order of Preachers to Crete in the capacity of Inquisitor, commanded him to watch carefully that the Greeks said "and from the Son" in the Creed, since in Crete there were many Greek refugees from Constantinople which had fallen to the Turks two years earlier (Gregory of Trebizond, epistola ad Cretans, in his Graeciae Orthodoxae, quoted by Allatius, p. 537, and confirmed by Echardus, Scriptorum Ordinis Sanai Dominici, vol. 1, p. 762). It may be that the Pope suspected that the Greeks from Constantinople were weak in this dogma of the faith.
There is nothing at variance with the decrees of the Council of Florence in either of the two forms of the Profession of Faith which, as We have mentioned, were required of the Greeks by Gregory XIII and of the Orientals by Urban VIII. Constitution 34, sect. 6, of Clement VIII (veteris Romani Bullarii, vol. 3) and Our constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 1, are both addressed to Latin bishops with Greeks and Albanians who observe the Greek rite living in their dioceses. These people should not be ordered to say the Creed with the addition of the phrase "and from the Son," provided that they confess that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and that they recognize the Church's power of making this addition. They should be obliged to say the additional phrase, however, it its ommission would cause scandal, if this particular custom of reciting the Creed with its addition prevailed in their locality, or it were thought necessary to obtain unambiguous proof of the correctness of their faith. However, both the fathers of the synod of Zamoscia (heading 1, de Fide Catholica and the fathers of the synod of Lebanon (pt. 1, no. 12) were right to prudently decree, in order to remove every doubt, that all priests subject to them should use the Creed with its additional phrase in accordance with the custom of the Roman Church.
31. The obvious conclusion from the foregoing remarks is that in this matter the Apostolic See has sometimes agreed in certain circumstances and in consideration of the character of individual people to make specific concessions which it has refused to others in different circumstances among different peoples. So to complete the task which We have begun, We have only to show that this Apostolic See has kindly allowed an Oriental or Greek people to use a Latin ceremony to which they were devoted, particularly if they adopted this ceremony in ancient times and if the bishops did not oppose it at any time, but approved it either expressly or implicitly.
Latin Rite Adopted by Oriental Church
We referred to evident examples of this occurrence above, in mentioning the category of Orientals and Greeks who respect equally the Latin and Greek rites. In the main they observe their own ceremonies, but are attached to some of Ours. Therefore, We will refrain from useless repetition, merely recalling here what was fully presented earlier in this letter. We shall add just two examples from the Maronites. For several centuries the episcopal and priestly vestments of the Maronites have resembled exactly the vestments prescribed in the Latin rite (Synod of Lebanon 1736, chap. 12, on the sacrament of the Eucharist, no. 7). Pope Innocent 111 in his letter Quia Divinae Sapientiae bonitas to Patriarch Jeremiah in 1215 exhorted them to imitate the episcopal vestments of the Latin Church. In consequence this pope and his successors sent them gifts of holy vestments, chalices, and patens (Patriarch Peter in two letters to Leo X in Labbe, Collectionis Conciliorum, vol. 14, p. 346f). Recently at the synod of Lebanon (chap. 13), unanimously and with Our approval, the Maronites adopted the Latin rite in regard to the Mass of the Presanctified. They celebrate it only on Good Friday, since they have abandoned for just reasons the practice of the Greeks who offer only the Mass of the Presanctified on the days of the Lenten fast, except on Saturdays, Sundays, and the feast of the Annunciation when it occurs in Lent, as is laid down in Trullan Canon 52. On these days the priest divides the consecrated bread into as many pieces as will suffice for celebrating the Mass of the Presanctified on the following days. On these days he consumes and distributes to the congregation these pieces, which he had reserved in the ciborium (Leo Allatius in his prolegomena to Gabriel Naud, de Missa Praesanctificatorum, p. 1531, n. 1).
32. One might think that this letter could end at this point. It has answered the questions raised by the missionary priest at Balsera by stating that "no changes should be made." Also it has mentioned the stringent rules to be followed by missionaries engaged in recalling Orientals from schism and error to the unity of the holy Catholic faith. The Canons and Apostolic Constitutions prohibit those who convert Orientals from attempting to destroy the Oriental and Greek rite in matters which the Apostolic See allows and prohibits trying to make converts abandon the rite they previously observed and embrace the Latin rite. Nevertheless, before ending, We may fittingly touch on some additional points which are quite relevant to the questions raised by the missionary who has been told that "no changes should be made."
33. Now it is true that in the city of Balsera, Armenian and Syrian Catholics of the Oriental rite who have no church of their own assemble at the church of the Latin missionaries. Their priests celebrate Mass and other ceremonies there according to their own rite in the presence of the laity, who also receive the Sacraments. Still, it is not difficult to uphold the decision that "no changes should be made"; therefore the prevailing practice should continue, that is, that the priests and laity should continue celebrating in the Latin church the rites they have celebrated until now.
Canon Law decrees that the Oriental and Greek rite should not be mixed with the Latin rite. See the entire Decretal of Celestine III in Gonzales, chap. Cum secundum: de temporibus Ordinationum; in the decretal of Innocent III, see chap. Quanto: de consuetudine; chap. Quoniam: de Officio Judic. Ordinar.; and the Decretal of Honorius III, chap. Literas: de celebrat. Missar. But there are no good grounds for declaring that this mixing of rite forbidden by Apostolic Constitution is being practiced in the simple case of an Armenian, Maronite, or Greek celebrating Mass or other ceremonies with their own laity according to their own rite in a Latin church. Nor are there grounds in the opposite case of a Latin doing likewise in an Oriental church, especially when there is a just cause for doing so. Clearly such a cause exists in the present case, since the Orientals in the city of Balsera have no church of their own. If they were deprived of the Latin church, they would have nowhere to offer the sacrifice of the Mass and perform the essential ceremonies with the laity of their rite which maintain and nourish them in holy unity.
34. An example of the forbidden mixing of rite would be a Latin consecrating leavened bread and giving communion from it to Latins. It would be the same if Orientals who do not consecrate unleavened bread were to do so and to distribute it to their people for holy communion. Latin Ordinaries who have Italian Greeks subject to them should show a careful concern "that Latins receive communion from unleavened bread and Greeks from leavened bread where they have their own parish" (Our constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 14).
Another example of forbidden mixing of rites would be a priest celebrating Mass at one time according to the Latin rite and at another time according to the Greek rite. St. Pius V forbids this in his constitution 21, Providentia (Bull. novi, vol. 4, pt. 2, Rome). He revokes absolutely all faculties of so doing which had previously been granted to-some priests. Our constitution 57, sect. 7, no. 10, agrees with this constitution of Pius V. Even though priests in charge of colleges of Orientals in Rome who became Jesuits and transferred from the Greek to the Latin rite have received a dispensation to sometimes offer the sacrifice of the Mass in the Greek and Oriental rite, as already mentioned, this has been approved in order that their students may learn how to celebrate Mass in their own rite since they are bound to profess the Greek and Maronite rite and conduct divine services in accordance with it thoughout their lives. The particular circumstances of this obviously unique case show clearly enough that it cannot be used as an exemplary argument for gaining similar dispensations.
Cardinal Kollonitz advised Pope Clement XI that allowing Latin missionaries in Hungary to celebrate in the Greek rite whenever this appeared necessary, while remaining at liberty to return to the Latin rite, would be beneficial to the Church. The Pope rejected the Cardinal's advice because he felt that each one should remain in his own rite in accordance with the provisions of the Canons and that a priest should not be permitted to change the rite in which he celebrated Mass. This is clear from his Brief to the Cardinal on May 9, 1705 (Epistolar. et Brev. selectior, ejusdem Pontificis typis editor, p. 205).
35. These among many other examples refer to the mixing of rite, which is forbidden by the Church's laws. But there is no forbidden mixing of rites involved if, for a lawful cause, priests of the Oriental rite are allowed to celebrate Mass and other services in a Latin church and administer the sacraments to their own people. We see this happening openly in Rome where our churches are available to Armenian, Coptic, Melchite, and Greek priests for the celebration of Mass to satisfy their piety, even though they have their own churches where they could offer the sacrifice of the Mass. They have only to bring with them the vestments and other necessities for celebrating Mass according to their rite, as well as a server from their own people; they must also take appropriate steps with guards and prefects of the sanctuary to prevent riotous tumults among the bystanders on account of the novelty of the event. These matters are fully discussed in the edict promulgated at Our command on February 13, 1743, by Our Vicar General in the City and its district, Giovanni Antonio Guadagni, who then was titular priest of Sts. Sylvester and Martin on the Mountains and is now Bishop of Tusculum and Cardinal.
Important for this topic is the following event: about the middle of the fifteenth century, as is well known, Mahomet II began to attack Constantinople. Some of the Greeks who had rejected the errors of the Schismatics and preserved union with the Latin Church retreated to Venice and remained there. When the Greek Cardinal Isidore came there, he informed the Senate of the Pope's wishes to have a church assigned to these people of the Greek rite for their services. The piety of the Senate was aroused, and they gave the refugees the Church of St. Blasius. In one chapel of this church for many years the Greeks performed the divine services in the Greek rite, while in the other chapels, the Latins worshipped in the Latin rite. This is attested by the renowned Flaminius Cornelius Scriptor, Venetarum Ecclesiarum, Decad. 14, p. 359: "So the services of both rites were celebrated for several years in different chapels of the same church." This practice continued until the Greeks' numbers rose and another church in addition to the Church of St. Blasius was allotted to them for their own private use.
36. This incident concerns Greeks who were allowed to celebrate their services in Latin Churches. But to show more clearly that this does not entail the mixing of rites forbidden by the Church, it will be appropriate to mention also Latins who for a just reason were permitted to offer the sacrifice of the Mass and perform divine services in Greek churches. This will not only confirm the opinion We have presented, but will help much to show the necessity of unanimity and benevolence among Catholics of different rites.
In White Russia, Ruthenian Catholics, who are known as United, have many churches while the Latins have few; these are far distant from the districts of the Latins who live among the Ruthenians. Sometimes the Latins are deprived of Mass for a long period because their business prevents them from travelling as far as the nearest Latin church. Latin priests could not easily travel to the few Latin churches there to celebrate Mass since those churches were so far from their own place of residence. So to avoid depriving the Latins for long periods of Mass celebrated in the Latin rite, there was only one solution: for Latin priests to celebrate the Mass in the Latin rite for the welfare of the Latins in the Ruthenian churches. At this point a difficulty was recognized in that Greek altars have no holy stone, since they offer Mass on the antimensia, that is, linens consecrated by the bishop with relics of the saints at the corners. For this reason Latin priests were obliged to bring the holy stone with them at great inconvenience, and risk breaking it in the course of the journey. But at last a timely remedy was discovered and applied to all these inconveniences by God's help. With the agreement of the Ruthenians, Latin priests were allowed to celebrate Mass in the Latin rite in the Ruthenian churches, and on the antimensia. This was approved more readily because Ruthenian priests who sometimes came to say Mass in Latin churches consecrated the sacrifice on our altar stones. This matter is treated in full in Our constitution 43, Imposito nobis (Bullarii nostri, vol. 3).
37. The following fact is also important. Learned men are divided as to whether the ancient practice of the western church was to have one or more altars in basilicas. Schelestratus declares that there was only one altar (Actor. Ecclesiae Orientalis, pt. 1, chap. 2 de Missa Privata in Ecclesia Latina). On the other hand Cardinal Bona, on the authority of Walfrid, chap. 4, shows that there were many altars in the Roman basilica of St. Peter (Rerum Lyturgicar, bk. I, chap. 14, no. 3). But if one considers the Oriental and Greek churches and basilicas, it seems evident that there was only one altar in them, and even today this is generally the case. This can be seen from the drawings of these churches in Du Cange, Constantinopoli Christiana; Beveregius, ad Pandectas Canonum; and Goarius in Euchologium Graecorum. Since in the Greek Church of St. Athanasius in Rome there are many altars, Leo Allatius in his letter to Joannes Marinus de Templis Graecorum recentiorum, no. 2 states with certainty that this church has no Greek form except the Bema or enclosure which separates the main altar from the rest of the church.
At this altar, only one Mass may be celebrated each day. This practice of the Greeks is mentioned by Dionysius Barsalibaeus, the Jacobite bishop of Amida, in Explanatione Missae, and by Cyriacus, Patriarch of the Jacobites, as the Jacobite Gregorius Barhebraeus says in his Directorio. Assemanus quotes these writers in his Biblioth. Oriental., vol. 2, p. 184, and vol. 3, part 1, p. 248. Cardinal Bona writes on this practice as follows: "They have a single altar in their churches, and they consider it wrong to repeat the Sacrifice in the sanctuary on the same day" (op. cit. chap. 14, no. 3).
Euthymius, Archbishop of Tyre and Sidon, and Cyril, Greek Patriarch of Antioch, several times during the pontificates of Clement XI, Benedict XIII, and Clement XII inquired whether they should allow this practice to continue which forbade the offering of a second Mass at the same altar on the same day. They always received the response that no changes were to be made and the ancient rite was to be preserved entire. The people came to believe mistakenly that the reason for not offering a second Mass at the same altar on the same day was that the second priest to celebrate Mass in the same vestments as the first was infringing a period of fasting. So in Our encyclical letter to the Greek Melchite Patriarch of Antioch and the Catholic bishops subject to him, We commanded them to inform the people that this was an error. They were to do this, however, without changing the practice of one priest only offering Mass on the same day at the same altar (constitution 87, Demandatam, Bullarii Nostri, vol. 1).
38. Finally, it was custom in both the western and the eastern church for the priests to offer Mass together with the bishop. The evidence is collected by Christianus Lupus in the Appendix on the Council of Chalcedon in his ad Concilia Generalia, et Provincialia, vol. 1, p. 994, of the first edition, where he interprets the words of Bassianus: "He used to celebrate Masses with me and to communicate with me"; and by Georgius, Lyturgiae Pontificiae, vol. 2, p. lf, and vol. 3, p. lf. The rite of concelebration is now out of fashion in the western church, except at priestly ordinations performed by the bishop and at episcopal consecrations where two bishops assist the consecrating bishop. But this rite continues to thrive in the Oriental Church, and priests often concelebrate with the bishop or with the priest as chief celebrant. This practice is derived from the Apostolic Constitutions, bk. 8, and the eighth Apostolic Canon. And wherever this custom is practiced among Greeks and Orientals, it is approved and to be preserved as We command in Our constitution Demandatam, sect. 9.
39. Some have used this Greek and Oriental rite of concelebration as an argument for questioning whether there is any place in their church for private Masses said by an individual priest, since there is only a single altar in Greek churches and only one Mass is offered at it and priests concelebrate with the bishop or a chief celebrant. The Lutherans were careful to send the Augsburg Confession, which abolished private Masses, to Jeremiah, Patriarch of Constantinople, for his approval and acceptance. But since the traditional practice of private Mass in the Oriental Church is derived from Trullan Canon 31, and defended by this canon and the commentary on it written by Theodore Balsamon, both the rite of frequent concelebration and the practice of private Masses have remained unharmed in the Oriental Church. So the efforts of the Lutherans came to nothing. They were told that the East as well as the West condemned the evil practice of men who approached the altar with a wicked desire of obtaining offerings, but not the actions of men who with religious piety celebrated private Masses in order to offer to God an acceptable sacrifice. This is evident from Schelestratus, ex Actis Ecclesiae Orientalis contra Lutheranos, chap. 1: on private Masses in the Greek Church, towards the end. For the convenience of priests who want to offer a private Mass, while preserving the custom of offering only one Mass at the one altar in the church, the Greeks began to set up Paracclesias. These are mentioned by Leo Alla ius in his letter to Joannes Morinus. Paracclesiae are oratories beside the church in which there is an altar for the celebration of Masses which cannot be said in the church because Mass has akeady been said there on that day.
40. Some have with reason feared that this practice would permanently prevent Latin priests from offering Mass in Greek Churches, since these have only one altar which cannot be used twice on the same day for the celebration of Mass. In that case, Latin priests could not use the oratories for saying Mass since these were built for Greeks only. But to dispel this fear, it can be seen that today Greek churches generally have a second altar at which Latin priests can celebrate Mass. Goarius describes three kinds of Greek churches in his Euchologium Graecorum. The third kind has a second altar built, as Goarius thinks, for Latin priests, and Schelestratus follows him in this view (p. 887).
In the Maronite and Greek churches in Rome, besides the main altar, there are other altars at which Latin priests say Mass. In Our constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no, 8-9, We deal with the best way of treating Italian Greeks, and in this passage We forbid Latin priests ever to celebrate Mass at the main altar in Greek churches except in a case of absolute necessity and then only with the consent of the Greek parish priest. We also allow the Greeks to build altars in their churches apart from the main altar and at these, Latin priests may, if they wish, celebrate Mass.
41. The previous statements show clearly that the Catholic Armenians and Syrians who live among the Latins in Balsera and have no church of their own should be allowed to continue meeting in the Latin church as they have been doing, in order to hold the holy services in accordance with their rite. This permission is given not only because their action does not constitute a mixture of rite which is forbidden in the Apostolic Constitutions, but also because the situation calls for kindness, or rather compliance with the law of equity. This demands that a place should be gladly given to those who have no place in which to perform what they are required by law to perform. Therefore it only remains to command that the binding laws of love be observed and that a chapel or part of a church be assigned to the Orientals for holding their services. All care should be taken to hold the Latin and the Greek services at different times. Otherwise more disputes which so plagued Our two predecessors Leo X and Clement VII might be caused.
At that time, contrary to the argument made at the Council of Florence under Eugenius IV that the Greeks should not be hindered in the observance of their rites, these popes learned that certain Latins were going to Greek churches and celebrating Mass in the Latin rite at their altar with the design of preventing Greek priests from offering the Sacrifice in their own rite. On several occasions Greeks were deprived of the Sacrifice of the Mass even on feast days. "Under a strange inspiration, they (the Latin priests) sometimes take possession of the altars of parish churches and there, against the will of the Greeks, they celebrate Mass and other services. The result is that the Greeks often remain without Mass to their great annoyance on feast days and other days when they usually attend Mass." These complaints of the Pope are contained in the document beginning Provisionis nostrae and can be found on page 86 of the Greek Manual published at Beneventum in 1717. We have no reason to join in their complaints. But if We ever hear that Our Latins are preventing the Orientals at Balsera from holding their services in the Latin churches, Our severe complaints will be accompanied by appropriate remedies.
42. A second question in regard to these Armenians and Syrians is whether they may use the old calendar in fixing the date of Easter and of the other moveable feasts, or whether they should follow the revised calendar when they hold services in the Latin churches. It is also asked to what extent the use of the old calendar is lawful for them and whether this decision also binds those Orientals who, because they have only a small church which cannot hold them all, are forced to come in great numbers to Latin churches.
43. Everyone knows the provisions of Popes St. Pius and St. Victor and of the Council of Nicea concerning the proper celebration of Easter. All likewise are aware that the Council of Trent reserved to the Pope the question of revising the calendar, and that finally the matter was resolved in all its details in the time of Pope Gregory XIII. For this reason Bucherius writes in the preface to his Commentario de doctrina temporum: "At the bidding of Pope Gregory XIII, Clavius has fully seen to the definite reckoning of Easter in future years." Clavius was a Jesuit priest with scientific talents who contributed greatly to the correction of the calendar. The Pope also studied the calculations of Aloysius Lilius, which had taken years to complete. Finally, after weighing all aspects of the difficulty during many meetings and after consulting with many experts, he published in 1582 his constitution Inter gravissimas which established the regular calendar (in veteri Bullario, vol. 1, cons. 74).
44. This papal constitution revoked the old calendar and ordered Patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, and abbots to use the newly revised calendar. This can be seen both in the constitution itself and in the Annals of Gregory XIII, vol. 2, p. 271. Rome 1742. But since there is no mention of Orientals in the constitution, the question arises as to whether it applies to Orientals. This question has been raised not only by learned men such as Azorius, Instit. Moral., vol. 1, bk. 5, chap. 11, qu. 7; and Baldellus, Theologia Morali, vol. 1, bk. 5, disp. 41, but it was also discussed by the famous gentlemen who met in the palace of Cardinal Pamphilius, later Pope Innocent X, on July 4, 1631. These men concluded that "the subjects of the four eastern patriarchates should not be bound by new papal constitutions except in three cases: first, on the subject of teachings of the faith; second, if the Pope mentions them expressly in his Constitution and makes arrangements; third, it they are implicitly included in the arrangements of the Constitution as in cases of invitation to a future council." This resolution is reported by Verricellus, de Apostolicis Missionibus, bk. 3, chap. 38, no. 4, and by Us in Our work on de Canonizatione Sanct., bk. 2, chap. 38, no. 15.
45. We pass this question by since there is no pressing need to discuss it at present. It is sufficient for Us to point out how the Apostolic See has acted in this affair. On the evidence of this See in earlier actions, the wisest answer it has made to the question is that "no changes are to be made."
The Apostolic See has ordered Italian Greeks who live among us, subject to the authority of the Latin bishops in whose dioceses they reside, to adopt the new calendar (Etsi Pastoralis, 57, sect. 9, no. 3f). The clergy of the Collegiate Church of St. Mary de Graphaeo in Messana who observe the Greek rite, follow the new calendar most carefully (constitution 81, Romana Ecclesia, sect. 1, Our Bullarii, vol. 1). Still its adoption is not so stringently insisted on that no room is left for fairness when serious reasons demand it. The Armenian Catholics living in Lebanon refused to accept the Gregorian calendar and were dispensed from using it by Pope Innocent XII.
At the Congregation of the Holy Office on Wednesday, June 20, 1674, this decree was issued:
"There has again been mention of the letter of the Apostolic Nuncio at Florence sent on April 10 concerning the petitions made to him by Armenians for permission to pray for the Armenian patriarch during Mass, to celebrate Easter and the other feasts according to their own rite, that is, according to the old computation which was in force before the revision of the calendar etc.... Reference was also made to the answer of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith on the matter of praying for the Armenian Patriarch during Mass: "Let the nuncio be answered that in this matter the Sacred Congregation abides by the decrees issued on June 7, 1673; that is, it cannot be done and should be absolutely forbidden. As regards the celebration of Easter and the other feasts they similarly abide by the decrees that the Armenians in Liburnum should observe the Gregorian Calendar." So when these Armenians refused to obey this decree, investigation of the matter was entrusted to a special congregation of learned Cardinals. Among these were Cardinal Joanne Franciscus Albanus, who was later elected Pope, and Cardinal Henricus Norisius, who was famous in learned circles.
This congregation issued the following decree on September 23, 1699, and the Pope confirmed it on the same day: "After prolonged consideration of the subject and its many details, they decided in accordance with the original proposals that the Armenian Catholics living in Liburnum who have their own church could be allowed the use of the old calendar until they are disposed to accept the full observance of the Gregorian Calendar. This would be allowed at the good pleasure of the Apostolic See with the further condition that they should refrain from servile works and be required to hear Mass on the feast days of obligation in the Gregorian calendar."
46. The Oriental Greeks were asked to use the newly revised calendar, but this request was in vain. The articles and conditions presented to the Ruthenians in the time of Clement VIII when a union was effected mentioned accepting the calendar. They replied that "we will accept the new calendar if it can be made to accord with the old" (Thomas of Jesus, Operum, p. 329). Although there was some ambiguity in this reply, We learn of no further steps taken in this matter, nor did the theologian appointed to investigate the case pass any judgment on this article (op. cit., p. 335f).
Sometimes, however, Orientals have of their own accord adopted the new calendar, as can be seen from the statement of the provincial synod of the Maronites in 1736 to which We have often referred. "We command that the Roman calendar revised by Pope Gregory XIII, the eminent benefactor of Our people, be strictly observed in all our churches in reckoning both fast days and feast days, whether movable or immovable. And We order that the method of use of this calendar be taught to the boys in every church by their teachers in addition to Church music."
But whenever the Orientals did not accept it and there was good reason to fear riotous protests if the use of the new calendar was imposed on them, the Apostolic See has tolerated the observance of the ancient practice of the Orientals and Greeks in distant places. It has done this by allowing them to follow the old calendar until a more favorable opportunity developed for introducing the use of the newly revised calendar. The decrees of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith of August 22, 1625, and April 30, 1631, and the Holy Inquisition of July 18, 1613, and December 14, 1616, are in harmony with this procedure. Sometimes, indeed, missionaries have even been allowed to follow the old calendar while living in districts where only the old calendar was in use (Decrees of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, April 16, 1703, and December 16, 1704).
47. It remains to discuss the final enquiry about fasting. Syrian and Armenian Catholics abstain from fish on fast days in accordance with their rite. But when they see the Latins eating fish, it is claimed that it is impossible or at least very hard for them to refrain from fish. So the seemingly reasonable suggestion is made that missionaries should be empowered to give them a dispensation with circumspection and without risk of scandal, and to substitute another pious work for abstinence from fish.
This would be an ideal place to deal with the antiquity of fasting in the east and of how its obligations have always been strictly observed despite their severity. To avoid excessive length, however, We confine Ourselves to saying that the Apostolic See has always opposed the Patriarchs whenever they wanted to relax the ancient harshness of the fast imposed on their subjects. Peter the Maronite Patriarch permitted the archbishops and bishops subject to him to eat meat as the laity did although the ancient practice had them abstain from meat. He allowed his entire people to eat fish and drink wine in Lent although this had been forbidden to them. But Pope Paul V wrote a Brief to the Patriarch who succeeded Peter on March 9, 1610, commanding him to restore the earlier state of affairs by revoking the concessions of Patriarch Peter.
During Our own pontificate the excessive good-natured laxity of Euthymius, Archbishop of Tyre and Sidon, and of Cyril Patriarch of Antioch, towards the Greek Melchites was investigated and condemned (constitution 87, Demandatam, sect. 6). "Judging that this innovation and relaxation of rigorous abstinence tends to the excessive harm of the ancient practice of the Greek churches, even though these measures have no force without the authority of the Apostolic See, We expressly revoke them by Our authority. We command that they should have no effect for the future nor be implemented in any way, but that everything should be restored to its former condition. Moreover, We order that the praiseworthy custom of your fathers of abstaining from fish every Wednesday and Friday throughout the year be observed in all the Patriarchate of Antioch, just as it is practiced among the neighboring peoples of the Greek rite."
It is nonsensical to affirm that a dispensation, or rather a general faculty of dispensing, should be granted on the grounds that Orientals are easily tempted to eat fish themselves by the sight of Latins eating fish on a fast day, yielding to the weakness of their nature and not from contempt. For if this argument were at all persuasive it would lead to an absolute mixture of rites. A further result would be that Latins at the sight of Greeks living in ways which are forbidden to Latins could seek a dispensation to allow them to do what they see the Greeks doing. They would claim that they accepted the Latin rite, but that from the weakness of their nature they could no longer observe it.
48. We thought We should explain these matters in this encyclical letter to reveal the bases of the answers given to the missionary who raised the questions mentioned at the beginning. But We also wanted to make clear to all the good will which the Apostolic See feels for Oriental Catholics in commanding them to observe fully their ancient rites which are not at variance with the Catholic religion or with propriety. The Church does not require schismatics to abandon their rites when they return to Catholic unity, but only that they forswear and detest heresy. Its great desire is for the preservation, not the destruction, of different peoples-in short, that all may be Catholic rather than all become Latin.
We end Our letter at last, imparting to its every reader the Apostolic Blessing.
Given at St. Mary Major, July 26, 1755, in the fifteenth year of Our pontificate.
Encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV promulgated on August 1, 1754.
To Our Venerable Brothers the Archbishops and Bishops as well as Our Beloved Sons, the Parish Priests and Missionaries of the Province of Albania.
Venerable Brothers and Beloved Sons, We give you Greeting and Our Apostolic Blessing.
Forbidding Use of Mohammedan Names
The Provincial Council of your province of Albania, Venerable Brothers and Beloved Sons, was held in the year 1703 during the pontificate of Our predecessor Pope Clement XI. It decreed most solemnly in its third canon, among other matters, as you know, that Turkish or Mohammedan names should not be given either to children or adults in baptism. It also decreed that the faithful of Christ should not allow themselves to be called by Turkish or Mohammedan names which they had never received, for the purpose of either exemption or immunity from taxes, or the advantage of free trading, or avoiding penalties. We have confirmed and commanded the observance of this decree in Our encyclical letter Inter omnigenas, addressed to the kingdom of Serbia and its neighbouring regions. This encyclical letter, covering many subjects of religion and discipline, was published on the 2nd of February 1744 in the fourth year of Our pontificate. This prudent and saving statute was established by your predecessors with great wisdom and devotion as a shining example of your Catholic faith and sincere Christian piety; in our 1744 encyclical, We strictly ordered it to be imitated and fully observed by other churches. Just as adhering to it clearly results in the greater fame and reputation of your province and in greater benefits for securing the eternal salvation of souls, so if it should be neglected, it would greatly dishonor your province and openly endanger these souls.
In Our letter mentioned above, We designated that abuse as a cowardly concealment of the Christian profession, approaching infidelity. Since then, We have learned with great mental anguish that many people in that province continue to take Turkish or Mohammedan names despite the consideration of their eternal salvation. They do so not only in order to be immune and free from those taxes and burdens which have often been and continue to be imposed on the faithful of Christ, but also in order that neither they themselves nor their parents may be thought to have abandoned the Mohammedan sect, thereby avoiding the requisite penalties. For all this cannot take place without a pretense of the errors of Mohammed, even if the faith of Christ is adhered to in the heart, and this is at variance with Christian sincerity. It involves a lie in a most serious matter and includes a virtual denial of the Faith, most insulting to God and scandalous to their neighbors. It even gives the Turks themselves a suitable opportunity to rate all Christ's faithful as hypocrites and deceivers, and accordingly to persecute them justly and deservedly.
2. Our sorrow and anguish is further increased by the fact that some of you yourselves, venerable brothers, and of you also, beloved sons, parish priests and missionaries, take no measures against so vile and hateful a pretense. In fact, some of you even connive at it; by being impressed by empty motives to find excuses for sins, you do not hesitate to allow those who take common Turkish or Mohammedan names and desire to be addressed by them, to partake of the Sacraments with no pang of conscience at all, to the public offense of the obedient faithful.
3. We who are entrusted with the care of all the churches and the supreme administration of the sacred Apostolate; in this capacity, We are obliged to lead all Christians back to the way of salvation and to present them to God pure and sincere, walking in the spirit and in truth without stain. We have heard Our Venerable Brothers, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, who are general Inquisitors for evil heresy on this subject. In accordance with their advice, We first renew and confirm by Our Apostolic authority in this letter the praiseworthy canon of the council of your province of Albania, and We command that it be strictly observed. Also We extend the decrees of Our church by the same authority and uniformity to include your province; We equally strictly prohibit any of Christ's faithful from daring to take Turkish or Mohammedan names in order to be considered Mohammedans, in any case, under any pretext, or in any conceivable circumstances.
4. Furthermore, venerable brothers and beloved sons, We ask and urge you in the Lord to think seriously about your ministry and the strict account you will have to give to the Eternal Judge Jesus Christ, the Supreme Prince of Pastors, for the sheep entrusted to each one of you; to this end, We urge you to take personal care by your good works that your election will be assured. Since it would be very careless and negligent on your part not to, do not fail to patiently convince, implore, and exhort the faithful of Christ in your Province to lead a good life among the nations. Urge them in all affairs to conduct themselves so as to be an example of good works in order that those who oppose them may be chagrined since they have nothing evil to say of them, and they cannot accuse them of being evildoers who for the sake of base gain profess one thing with their lips while believing differently in their hearts. But if they do not accept your warnings and Our commands, they must be compelled by the rod to follow the norm of Apostolic discipline. The sanctions and penalties provided for by your Albanian council and by Our letter mentioned above must be fully applied in their case: that is, they must be declared unfit to receive the Sacraments in their lifetime, and if they die unrepentant, to benefit from prayers after death. Insofar as it is necessary, We renew and reapply these penalties; We enjoin you to ensure their due execution. This should not be hard for any one of you, venerable brothers and beloved sons, for none of the schismatics and heretics has been rash enough to take a Mohammedan name, and unless your justice abounds more than theirs, you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven.
5. Finally, gravely advise those who have converted from Mohammedanism or the children of such converts, if they lack confidence in their constancy in the Faith, fearing punishment by their rulers if they abandon their Turkish names, to emigrate secretly from those territories and come for refuge to Christian lands. There they shall in no way lack the help of God who gives food to all flesh, or the charity of the faithful, especially if their Bishops provide them with letters of recommendation. In the meantime, We lovingly grant you Our Apostolic Blessing, venerable brothers and beloved sons, and We desire each Venerable Brother Bishop to extend it in Our name to all the orthodox faithful of Christ in his own diocese.
Given at Rome in St. Mary Major on the first day of August, 1754, in the fourteenth year of Our Pontificate.
Encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV promulgated on June 14, 1751.
To the Primate, Archbishops and Bishops, of the Kingdom of Poland.
Venerable Brothers, We give you Greeting and Our Apostolic Blessing.
God in his goodness allowed Catholicism to take root in Poland at the end of the tenth century during the reign of Our predecessor Leo VIII. At the time, the efforts of King Mieszko and his Christian consort Dobrava (Dlugosz, Annalium vestrorum Scriptorum, 2, 94) encouraged the spread of Christianity. Since then pious and devout Poles have continued the faithful practice of their new religion. During this time various sects have attempted to establish themselves in Poland and to spread the seeds of their errors, heresies, and evil opinions. But the faithful Polish people have strongly withstood their efforts.
We esteem the glorious memory of Polish martyrs, confessors, virgins and holy men; their exemplary lives are recorded in the holy annals of the Church. We also recall the many successful councils and synods which gloriously defeated the Lutherans who tried tenaciously, using a variety of methods, to establish a foothold and welcome in this kingdom. At that time indeed the great council of Piotrkow met under Our great predecessor and fellow citizen Gregory XIII, with prelate Lippomano, bishop of Verona and Apostolic nuncio, as its president. To the great glory of God it prohibited the principle of freedom of conscience; adherents of this principle were seeking to introduce and establish it in Poland. Another threat to Christians has been the influence of Jewish faithlessness; this influence was strong because Christians and Jews were living in the same cities and towns. However their influence was minimized because the Polish bishops did all they could to aid the Poles in their resistance to the Jews. What the bishops did is recorded in the large tome which contains the constitutions of the synods of the province of Gniezno. These facts establish most clearly and plainly the great glory which the Polish nation has won for its zeal in preserving the holy religion embraced by its ancestors so many ages before.
2. In regard to the matter of the Jews We must express our concern, which causes Us to cry aloud: "the best color has been changed." Our credible experts in Polish affairs and the citizens of Poland itself who communicated with Us have informed Us that the number of Jews in that country has greatly increased. In fact, some cities and towns which had been predominantly Christian are now practically devoid of Christians.
The Jews have so replaced the Christians that some parishes are about to lose their ministers because their revenue has dwindled so drastically. Because the Jews control businesses selling liquor and even wine, they are therefore allowed to supervise the collection of public revenues. They have also gained control of inns, bankrupt estates, villages and public land by means of which they have subjugated poor Christian farmers. The Jews are cruel taskmasters, not only working the farmers harshly and forcing them to carry excessive loads, but also whipping them for punishment. So it has come about that those poor farmers are the subjects of the Jews, submissive to their will and power. Furthermore, although the power to punish lies with the Christian official, he must comply with the commands of the Jews and inflict the punishments they desire. If he doesn't, he would lose his post. Therefore the tyrannical orders of the Jews have to be carried out.
3. In addition to the harm done to Christians in these regards, other unreasonable matters can result in even greater loss and danger. The most serious is that some households of the great have employed a Jew as "Superintendent-of-the-Household"; in this capacity, they not only administer domestic and economic matters, but they also ceaselessly exhibit and flaunt authority over the Christians they are living with. It is now even commonplace for Christians and Jews to intermingle anywhere. But what is even less comprehensible is that Jews fearlessly keep Christians of both sexes in their houses as their domestics, bound to their service. Furthermore, by means of their particular practice of commerce, they amass a great store of money and then by an exorbitant rate of interest utterly destroy the wealth and inheritance of Christians. Even if they borrow money from Christians at heavy and undue interest with their synagogues as surety, it is obvious to anyone who thinks about it that they do so to employ the money borrowed from Christians in their commercial dealings; this enables them to make enough profit to pay the agreed interest and simultaneously increase their own store. At the same time, they gain as many defenders of their synagogues and themselves as they have creditors.
4. The famous monk, Radulph, inspired long ago by an excess of zeal, was so inflamed against the Jews that he traversed Germany and France in the twelfth century and, by preaching against the Jews as the enemies of our holy religion, incited Christians to destroy them. This resulted in the deaths of a very large number of Jews. What must we think his deeds or thoughts would be if he were now alive and saw what was happening in Poland? But the great St. Bernard opposed this immoderate and maddened zeal of Radulph, and wrote to the clergy and people of eastern France: "The Jews are not to be persecuted: they are not to be slaughtered: they are not even to be driven out. Examine the divine writings concerning them. We read in the psalm a new kind of prophecy concerning the Jews: God has shown me, says the Church, on the subject of my enemies, not to slay them in case they should ever forget my people. Alive, however, they are eminent reminders for us of the Lord's suffering. On this account they are scattered through all lands in order that they may be witnesses to Our redemption while they pay the just penalties for so great a crime" (epistle 363). And he writes this to Henry, Archbishop of Mainz: "Doesn't the Church every day triumph more fully over the Jews in convicting or converting them than if once and for all she destroyed them with the edge of the sword: Surely it is not in vain that the Church has established the universal prayer which is offered up for the faithless Jews from the rising of the sun to its setting, that the Lord God may remove the veil from their hearts, that they may be rescued from their darkness into the light of truth. For unless it hoped that those who do not believe would believe, it would obviously be futile and empty to pray for them." (epistle 365).
5. Peter, abbot of Cluny, likewise wrote against Radulph to King Louis of France, and urged him not to allow the destruction of the Jews. But at the same time he encouraged him to punish their excesses and to strip them of the property they had taken from Christians or had acquired by usury; he should then devote the value of this to the use and benefit of holy religion, as may be seen in the Annals of Venerable Cardinal Baronius (1146). In this matter, as in all others, We adopt the same norm of action as did the Roman Pontiffs who were Our venerable predecessors. Alexander III forbade Christians under heavy penalties to accept permanent domestic service under Jews. "Let them not continually devote themselves to the service of Jews for a wage." He sets out the reason for this in the decretal . "Because Jewish ways do not harmonize in any way with ours and they could easily turn the minds of the simple to their own superstitions and faithlessness through continual intercourse and unceasing acquaintance." Innocent III, after saying that Jews were being received by Christians into their cities, warns that the method and condition of this reception should guard against their repaying the benefit with evildoing. "They on being admitted to our acquaintance in a spirit of mercy, repay us, the popular proverb says, as the mouse in the wallet, the snake in the lap and fire in the bosom usually repay their host." The same Pope stated that it was fitting for Jews to serve Christians rather than vice versa and added: "Let not the sons of the free woman be servants of the sons of the handmaid; but as servants rejected by their lord for whose death they evilly conspired, let them realize that the result of this deed is to make them servants of those whom Christ's death made free," as we read in his decretal . Likewise in the decretal under the same heading , he forbids the promotion of Jews to public office: "forbidding Jews to be promoted to public offices since in such circumstances they may be very dangerous to Christians." Innocent IV, also, in writing to St. Louis, King of France, who intended to drive the Jews beyond the boundaries of his kingdom, approves of this plan since the Jews gave very little heed to the regulations made by the Apostolic See in their regard: "Since We strive with all Our heart for the salvation of souls, We grant you full power by the authority of this letter to expel the Jews, particularly since We have learned that they do not obey the said statutes issued by this See against them" (Raynaldus, Annals, A.D. 1253, no. 34).
6. But if it is asked what matters the Apostolic See forbids to Jews living in the same cities as Christians, We will say that all those activities which are now allowed in Poland are forbidden; these We recounted above. There is no need of much reading to understand that this is the clear truth of the matter. It is enough to peruse decretals with the heading ; the constitutions of Our predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs Nicholas IV, Paul IV, St. Pius V, Gregory XIII and Clement VIII are readily available in the Roman Bullarium. To understand these matters most clearly, Venerable Brothers, you do not even need to read those. You will recall the statutes and prescripts of the synods of your predecessors; they always entered in their constitutions every measure concerning the Jews which was sanctioned and ordained by the Roman Pontiffs.
7. The essence of the difficulty, however, is that either the sanctions of the synods are forgotten or they are not put into effect. To you then, Venerable Brothers, passes the task of renewing those sanctions. The nature of your office requires that you carefully encourage their implementation. In this matter begin with the clergy, as is fair and reasonable. These will have to show others the right way to act, and light the way for the rest by their example. For in God's mercy, We hope that the good example of the clergy will lead the straying laity back to the straight path. You will be able to give these orders and commands easily and confidently, in that neither your property nor your privileges are hired to Jews; furthermore you do no business with them and you neither lend them money nor borrow from them. Thus, you will be free from and unaffected by all dealings with them.
8. The sacred canons, prescribe that in the most important cases, such as the present, censures should be imposed upon the recalcitrant; and that those cases which bode danger and ruin to religion should be reckoned as reserved cases in which only the bishop can give absolution. The Council of Trent considered your jurisdiction when it affirmed your right to reserve cases. It did not restrict such cases to public crimes only, but extended them to include more notorious and serious cases, provided they were not purely internal. But we have often said that some cases should be considered more notorious and serious. These are cases, to which men are more prone, which are a danger both to ecclesiastical discipline and to the salvation of the souls which have been entrusted to your episcopal care. We have discussed these at length in Our treatise , Book 5, 5.
9. In this matter We will help as much as possible. If you have to proceed against ecclesiastics exempt from your jurisdiction, you will doubtless encounter additional difficulties. Therefore We are giving Our Venerable Brother Archbishop Nicaenus, Our Nuncio there, a mandate appropriate for this business, in order that he may supply for you the necessary means from the powers entrusted to him. At the same time We promise you that when the situation arises, We will cooperate energetically and effectively with those whose combined authority and power are appropriate to remove this stain of shame from Poland. But first Venerable Brothers, ask aid from God, the source of all things. From Him beg help for Us and this Apostolic See. And while We embrace you in the fullness of charity, We lovingly impart to you, Our brothers, and to the flocks entrusted to your care, Our Apostolic Blessing.
Given at Castelgandolfo on the 14th of June 1751 in the eleventh year of Our Pontificate.
Encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV promulgated on November 1, 1745.
To the Venerable Brothers, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops and Ordinary Clergy of Italy.
Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.
Hardly had the new controversy (namely, whether certain contracts should be held valid) come to our attention, when several opinions began spreading in Italy that hardly seemed to agree with sound doctrine; We decided that We must remedy this. If We did not do so immediately, such an evil might acquire new force by delay and silence. If we neglected our duty, it might even spread further, shaking those cities of Italy so far not affected.
Therefore We decided to consult with a number of the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, who are renowned for their knowledge and competence in theology and canon law. We also called upon many from the regular clergy who were outstanding in both the faculty of theology and that of canon law. We chose some monks, some mendicants, and finally some from the regular clergy. As presiding officer, We appointed one with degrees in both canon and civil law, who had lengthy court experience. We chose the past July 4 for the meeting at which We explained the nature of the whole business. We learned that all had known and considered it already.
2. We then ordered them to consider carefully all aspects of the matter, meanwhile searching for a solution; after this consideration, they were to write out their conclusions. We did not ask them to pass judgment on the contract which gave rise to the controversy since the many documents they would need were not available. Rather We asked that they establish a fixed teaching on usury, since the opinions recently spread abroad seemed to contradict the Church's doctrine. All complied with these orders. They gave their opinions publicly in two convocations, the first of which was held in our presence last July 18, the other last August 1; then they submitted their opinions in writing to the secretary of the convocation.
3. Indeed they proved to be of one mind in their opinions.
I. The nature of the sin called usury has its proper place and origin in a loan contract. This financial contract between consenting parties demands, by its very nature, that one return to another only as much as he has received. The sin rests on the fact that sometimes the creditor desires more than he has given. Therefore he contends some gain is owed him beyond that which he loaned, but any gain which exceeds the amount he gave is illicit and usurious.
II. One cannot condone the sin of usury by arguing that the gain is not great or excessive, but rather moderate or small; neither can it be condoned by arguing that the borrower is rich; nor even by arguing that the money borrowed is not left idle, but is spent usefully, either to increase one's fortune, to purchase new estates, or to engage in business transactions. The law governing loans consists necessarily in the equality of what is given and returned; once the equality has been established, whoever demands more than that violates the terms of the loan. Therefore if one receives interest, he must make restitution according to the commutative bond of justice; its function in human contracts is to assure equality for each one. This law is to be observed in a holy manner. If not observed exactly, reparation must be made.
III. By these remarks, however, We do not deny that at times together with the loan contract certain other titles-which are not at all intrinsic to the contract-may run parallel with it. From these other titles, entirely just and legitimate reasons arise to demand something over and above the amount due on the contract. Nor is it denied that it is very often possible for someone, by means of contracts differing entirely from loans, to spend and invest money legitimately either to provide oneself with an annual income or to engage in legitimate trade and business. From these types of contracts honest gain may be made.
IV. There are many different contracts of this kind. In these contracts, if equality is not maintained, whatever is received over and above what is fair is a real injustice. Even though it may not fall under the precise rubric of usury (since all reciprocity, both open and hidden, is absent), restitution is obligated. Thus if everything is done correctly and weighed in the scales of justice, these same legitimate contracts suffice to provide a standard and a principle for engaging in commerce and fruitful business for the common good. Christian minds should not think that gainful commerce can flourish by usuries or other similar injustices. On the contrary We learn from divine Revelation that justice raises up nations; sin, however, makes nations miserable.
V. But you must diligently consider this, that some will falsely and rashly persuade themselves-and such people can be found anywhere-that together with loan contracts there are other legitimate titles or, excepting loan contracts, they might convince themselves that other just contracts exist, for which it is permissible to receive a moderate amount of interest. Should any one think like this, he will oppose not only the judgment of the Catholic Church on usury, but also common human sense and natural reason. Everyone knows that man is obliged in many instances to help his fellows with a simple, plain loan. Christ Himself teaches this: "Do not refuse to lend to him who asks you." In many circumstances, no other true and just contract may be possible except for a loan. Whoever therefore wishes to follow his conscience must first diligently inquire if, along with the loan, another category exists by means of which the gain he seeks may be lawfully attained.
4. This is how the Cardinals and theologians and the men most conversant with the canons, whose advice We had asked for in this most serious business, explained their opinions. Also We devoted our private study to this matter before the congregations were convened, while they were in session, and again after they had been held; for We read the opinions of these outstanding men most diligently. Because of this, We approve and confirm whatever is contained in the opinions above, since the professors of Canon Law and Theology, scriptural evidence, the decrees of previous popes, and the authority of Church councils and the Fathers all seem to enjoin it. Besides, We certainly know the authors who hold the opposite opinions and also those who either support and defend those authors or at least who seem to give them consideration. We are also aware that the theologians of regions neighboring those in which the controversy had its origin undertook the defense of the truth with wisdom and seriousness.
5. Therefore We address these encyclical letters to all Italian Archbishops, Bishops, and priests to make all of you aware of these matters. Whenever Synods are held or sermons preached or instructions on sacred doctrine given, the above opinions must be adhered to strictly. Take great care that no one in your dioceses dares to write or preach the contrary; however if any one should refuse to obey, he should be subjected to the penalties imposed by the sacred canons on those who violate Apostolic mandates.
6. Concerning the specific contract which caused these new controversies, We decide nothing for the present; We also shall not decide now about the other contracts in which the theologians and canonists lack agreement. Rekindle your zeal for piety and your conscientiousness so that you may execute what We have given.
7. First of all, show your people with persuasive words that the sin and vice of usury is most emphatically condemned in the Sacred Scriptures; that it assumes various forms and appearances in order that the faithful, restored to liberty and grace by the blood of Christ, may again be driven headlong into ruin. Therefore, if they desire to invest their money, let them exercise diligent care lest they be snatched by cupidity, the source of all evil; to this end, let them be guided by those who excel in doctrine and the glory of virtue.
8. In the second place, some trust in their own strength and knowledge to such an extent that they do not hesitate to give answers to those questions which demand considerable knowledge of sacred theology and of the canons. But it is essential for these people, also, to avoid extremes, which are always evil. For instance, there are some who judge these matters with such severity that they hold any profit derived from money to be illegal and usurious; in contrast to them, there are some so indulgent and so remiss that they hold any gain whatsoever to be free of usury. Let them not adhere too much to their private opinions. Before they give their answer, let them consult a number of eminent writers; then let them accept those views which they understand to be confirmed by knowledge and authority. And if a dispute should arise, when some contract is discussed, let no insults be hurled at those who hold the contrary opinion; nor let it be asserted that it must be severely censured, particularly if it does not lack the support of reason and of men of reputation. Indeed clamorous outcries and accusations break the chain of Christian love and give offense and scandal to the people.
9. In the third place, those who desire to keep themselves free and untouched by the contamination of usury and to give their money to another in such a manner that they may receive only legitimate gain should be admonished to make a contract beforehand. In the contract they should explain the conditions and what gain they expect from their money. This will not only greatly help to avoid concern and anxiety, but will also confirm the contract in the realm of public business. This approach also closes the door on controversies-which have arisen more than once-since it clarifies whether the money, which has been loaned without apparent interest, may actually contain concealed usury.
10. In the fourth place We exhort you not to listen to those who say that today the issue of usury is present in name only, since gain is almost always obtained from money given to another. How false is this opinion and how far removed from the truth! We can easily understand this if we consider that the nature of one contract differs from the nature of another. By the same token, the things which result from these contracts will differ in accordance with the varying nature of the contracts. Truly an obvious difference exists between gain which arises from money legally, and therefore can be upheld in the courts of both civil and canon law, and gain which is illicitly obtained, and must therefore be returned according to the judgments of both courts. Thus, it is clearly invalid to suggest, on the grounds that some gain is usually received from money lent out, that the issue of usury is irrelevant in our times.
11. These are the chief things We wanted to say to you. We hope that you may command your faithful to observe what these letters prescribe; and that you may undertake effective remedies if disturbances should be stirred up among your people because of this new controversy over usury or if the simplicity and purity of doctrine should become corrupted in Italy. Finally, to you and to the flock committed to your care, We impart the Apostolic Benediction.
Given in Rome at St. Mary Major, November 1, 1745, the sixth year of Our Pontificate.
Papal Bull of Pope Clement XII, April 28, 1738
CLEMENT, BISHOP, Servant of the Servants of God to all the faithful, Salutation, and Apostolic Benediction.
Since the divine clemency has placed Us, Whose merits are not equal to the task, in the high watch-tower of the Apostolate with the duty of pastoral care confided to Us, We have turned Our attention, as far as it has been granted Us from on high, with unceasing care to those things through which the integrity of Orthodox Religion is kept from errors and vices by preventing their entry, and by which the dangers of disturbance in the most troubled times are repelled from the whole Catholic World.
Now it has come to Our ears, and common gossip has made clear, that certain Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations or Conventicles called in the popular tongue Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons or by other names according to the various languages, are spreading far and wide and daily growing in strength; and men of any Religion or sect, satisfied with the appearance of natural probity, are joined together, according to their laws and the statutes laid down for them, by a strict and unbreakable bond which obliges them, both by an oath upon the Holy Bible and by a host of grievous punishment, to an inviolable silence about all that they do in secret together. But it is in the nature of crime to betray itself and to show itself by its attendant clamor. Thus these aforesaid Societies or Conventicles have caused in the minds of the faithful the greatest suspicion, and all prudent and upright men have passed the same judgment on them as being depraved and perverted. For if they were not doing evil they would not have so great a hatred of the light. Indeed, this rumor has grown to such proportions that in several countries these societies have been forbidden by the civil authorities as being against the public security, and for some time past have appeared to be prudently eliminated.
Therefore, bearing in mind the great harm which is often caused by such Societies or Conventicles not only to the peace of the temporal state but also to the well-being of souls, and realizing that they do not hold by either civil or canonical sanctions; and since We are taught are taught by the divine word that it is the part of faithful servant and of the master of the Lord's household to watch day and night lest such men as these break into the household like thieves, and like foxes seek to destroy the vineyard; in fact, to prevent the hearts of the simple being perverted, and the innocent secretly wounded by their arrows, and to block that broad road which could be opened to the uncorrected commission of sin and for the other just and reasonable motives known to Us; We therefore, having taken counsel of some of Our Venerable Brothers among the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and also of Our own accord and with certain knowledge and mature deliberations, with the plenitude of the Apostolic power do hereby determine and have decreed that these same Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations, or Conventicles of Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons, or whatever other name they may go by, are to be condemned and prohibited, and by Our present Constitution, valid for ever, We do condemn and prohibit them.
Wherefore We command most strictly and in virtue of holy obedience, all the faithful of whatever state, grade, condition, order, dignity or pre-eminence, whether clerical or lay, secular or regular, even those who are entitled to specific and individual mention, that none, under any pretext or for any reason, shall dare or presume to enter, propagate or support these aforesaid societies of Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons, or however else they are called, or to receive them in their houses or dwellings or to hide them, be enrolled among them, joined to them, be present with them, give power or permission for them to meet elsewhere, to help them in any way, to give them in any way advice, encouragement or support either openly or in secret, directly or indirectly, on their own or through others; nor are they to urge others or tell them, incite or persuade them to be enrolled in such societies or to be counted among their number, or to be present or to assist them in any way; but they must stay completely clear of such Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations or Conventicles, under pain of excommunication for all the above mentioned people, which is incurred by the very deed without any declaration being required, and from which no one can obtain the benefit of absolution, other than at the hour of death, except through Ourselves or the Roman Pontiff of the time.
Moreover, We desire and command that both Bishops and prelates, and other local ordinaries, as well as inquisitors for heresy, shall investigate and proceed against transgressors of whatever state, grade, condition, order dignity or pre-eminence they may be; and they are to pursue and punish them with condign penalties as being most suspect of heresy. To each and all of these We give and grant the free faculty of calling upon the aid of the secular arm, should the need arise, for investigating and proceeding against those same transgressors and for pursuing and punishing them with condign penalties.
Given at Rome, at Saint Mary Mayor, in the year 1738 of Our Lord.
Apostolic Constitution of Pope Innocent XI promulgated on November 20, 1687.
In order to free the world, prostrate in darkness and bound by numerous pagan errors, from the power of the devil who held it a wretched prisoner after the fall of our first parent, the heavenly shepherd, Christ our Lord, by his ineffable mercy, condescended to take flesh and, as a living victim, offer himself to God for us on the wood of the cross, nailing the guarantee of our redemption to the wood of the cross as a proof of his love for us. Then before returning to heaven he left on earth the Catholic Church his bride, as a new city, a holy Jerusalem, coming down from heaven without wrinkle or spot, one and holy, protected by his mighty weapons against the gates of hell. Its government he entrusted to the prince of the apostles, Peter, and his successors; they are to preserve whole and entire the teaching drawn from his lips, lest the sheep redeemed by his precious blood feed on poisonous ideas and fall back into age-old errors. This power sacred Scripture teaches us he entrusted especially to blessed Peter. For to which of the apostles but Peter did he say: "Feed my sheep." And again: "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when once you have turned, strengthen your brothers." Therefore, we who occupy Peter's throne and possess power equal to his, not by our own merits but because of almighty God's inscrutable wisdom, steadfastly desire that the Christian people embrace that faith proclaimed by Christ our Lord through his apostles in a continuous and uninterrupted tradition; the faith which he promised will endure to the end of the world.
Recently it has been brought to the attention of our apostolic office that a certain Miguel de Molinos, under pretext of the prayer of quiet, but actually at variance with the teaching and practice of the holy fathers from the very beginnings, was teaching false doctrines by word and writings, and in practice was following them; these doctrines were leading the faithful from true religion and from the purity of Christian piety into terrible errors and every indecency. Therefore, since we have always been deeply concerned that the souls of the faithful committed to us by God will arrive safely at the hoped-for harbor of salvation by being kept free from such depraved errors, we have ordered, after legitimate investigation, the aforesaid Molinos put in prison. Then in person and in the presence of our honorable brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman Church who had been especially assigned as general inquisitors throughout Christendom, we consulted a number of masters of sacred theology and received their judgment in word and writing, and weighed it carefully. Even imploring the assistance of the Holy Spirit, we have determined to condemn, with the unanimous consent of these our brothers, the following propositions of this same Molinos. He had acknowledged these propositions as his own and had been convicted for dictating, writing, disseminating, and holding them, or had acknowledged his guilt, as is more fully explained in the judicial procedures and verdict issued by our mandate of 28 August 1687.
1. It is necessary that man reduce his own powers to nothingness, and this is the interior way.
2. To wish to operate actively is to offend God, who wishes to be himself the sole agent; and therefore it is necessary to abandon oneself wholly in God and thereafter to continue in existence as an inanimate body.
3. Vows about doing something are impediments to perfection.
4. Natural activity is the enemy of grace, and impedes the operations of God and true perfection, because God wishes to operate in us without us.
5. By doing nothing the soul annihilates itself and returns to its beginning and to its origin, which is the essence of God, in which it remains transformed and divinized, and God then remains in himself, because then the two things are no more united, but are one alone, and in this manner God lives and reigns in us, and the soul annihilates itself in operative being.
6. The interior way is that in which neither light, nor love, nor resignation is recognized, and it is not necessary to understand God, and in this way one makes progress correctly.
7. A soul ought to consider neither the reward, nor punishment, nor paradise, nor hell, nor death, nor eternity.
8. He ought not to wish to know whether he is progressing according to the will of God, or whether or not with the same resigned will he stands still; nor is it necessary that he wish to know his own state or his own nothingness; but he ought to remain as an inanimate body.
9. The soul ought not to remember either itself, or God, or anything whatsoever, and in the interior life all reflection is harmful, even reflection upon its human actions and upon its own defects.
10. If one scandalizes others by one's own defects, it is not necessary to reflect, as long as the will to scandalize is not present; not to be able to reflect upon one's own defects, is a grace of God.
11. It is not necessary to reflect upon doubts as to whether one is proceeding rightly or not.
12. He who gives his own free will to God should care about nothing, neither about hell, nor about heaven; neither ought he to have a desire for his own perfection, nor for virtues, nor his own sanctity, nor his own salvation-the hope of which he ought to remove.
13. After our free will has been resigned to God, reflection and care about everything of our own must be left to that same God, and we ought to leave it to him, so that he may work his divine will in us without us.
14. It is not seemly that he who is resigned to the divine will, ask anything of God; because asking is an imperfection, since the act is of one's own will and election, and this is wishing that the divine will be conformed to ours, and not that ours be conformed to the divine; and this from the Gospel: "Seek and you shall find," was not said by Christ for interior souls who do not wish to have free will; nay indeed, souls of this kind reach this state, that they cannot seek anything from God.
15. Just as they ought not ask anything from God, so should they not give thanks to him for anything, because either is an act of their own will.
16. It is not proper to seek indulgences for punishment due to one's own sins, because it is better to satisfy divine justice than to seek divine mercy, since the latter proceeds from pure love of God, and the former from an interested love of ourselves, and that is not a thing pleasing to God and meritorious, because it is a desire to shun the cross.
17. When free will has been surrendered to God, and the care and thought of our soul left to the same God, no consideration of temptations need any longer be of concern; neither should any but a negative resistance be made to them, with the application of no energy, and if nature is aroused, one must let it be aroused, because it is nature.
18. He who in his prayer uses images, figures, pretension, and his own conceptions, does not adore God "in spirit and in truth."
19. He who loves God in the way which reason points out or the intellect comprehends, does not love the true God.
20. To assert that in prayer it is necessary to help oneself by discourse and by reflections, when God does not speak to the soul, is ignorance. God never speaks; his way of speaking is operation, and he always operates in the soul when this soul does not impede him by its discourses, reflections, and operations.
21. In prayer it is necessary to remain in obscure and universal faith, with quiet and forgetfulness of any particular and distinct thought of the attributes of God and the Trinity, and thus to remain in the presence of God for adoring and loving him and serving him, but without producing acts, because God has no pleasure in these.
22. This knowledge through faith is not an act produced by a creature, but it is a knowledge given by God to the creature, which the creature neither recognizes that he has, and neither later knows that he had it; and the same is said of love.
23. The mystics with St. Bernard in the Scala Claustralium (The Ladder of the Recluses) distinguished four steps: reading, meditation, prayer, and infused contemplation. He who always remains in the first, never passes over to the second. He who always persists in the second, never arrives at the third, which is our acquired contemplation, in which one must persist throughout all life, provided that God does not draw the soul (without the soul expecting it) to infused contemplation; and if this ceases, the soul should turn back to the third step and remain in that, without returning again to the second or first.
24. Whatever thoughts occur in prayer, even impure, or against God, the saints, faith, and the sacraments, if they are not voluntarily nourished, nor voluntarily expelled, but tolerated with indifference and resignation, do not impede the prayer of faith; indeed they make it more perfect, because the soul then remains more resigned to the divine will.
25. Even if one becomes sleepy and falls asleep, nevertheless there is prayer and actual contemplation, because prayer and resignation, resignation and prayer are the same, and while resignation endures, prayer also endures.
26. The three ways: the purgative, illuminative, and unitive, are the greatest absurdity ever spoken about in mystical (theology), since there is only one way, namely, the interior way.
27. He who desires and embraces sensible devotion does not desire nor seek God, but himself; and anyone who walks by the interior way, in holy places as well as on feast days, acts badly when he desires it and tries to possess it.
28. Weariness for spiritual matters is good, if indeed by it one's own love is purified.
29. As long as the interior soul disdains discourses about God, disdains the virtues, and remains cold, feeling no fervor in himself, it is a good sign.
30. Everything sensible which we experience in the spiritual life, is abominable, base, and unclean.
31. No meditative person exercises true interior virtues; these should not be recognized by the senses. It is necessary to abandon the virtues.
32. Neither before nor after communion is any other preparation or act of thanksgiving required for these interior souls than continuance in a customary passive resignation, because in a more perfect way it supplies all acts of virtues, which can be practiced and are practiced in the ordinary way. And, if on this occasion of communion there arise emotions of humility, of petition, or of thanksgiving, they are to be repressed, as often as it is not discerned that they are from a special impulse of God; otherwise they are impulses of nature not yet dead.
33. That soul acts badly which proceeds by this interior way, if it wishes on feast days by any particular effort to excite some sensible devotion in itself, since for an interior soul all days are equal, all festal. And the same is said of holy places, because to souls of this kind all places are alike.
34. To give thanks to God by words and by speech is not for interior souls which ought to remain in silence, placing no obstacle before God, because he operates in them; and the more they resign themselves to God, they discover that they cannot recite the Lord's prayer, i.e., Our Father.
35. It is not fitting for souls of this interior life to perform works, even virtuous ones, by their own choice and activity; otherwise they would not be dead. Neither should they elicit acts of love for the Blessed Virgin, saints, or the humanity of Christ, because since they are sensible objects, so, too, is their love toward them.
36. No creature, neither the Blessed Virgin nor the saints, ought to abide in our heart, because God alone wishes to occupy and possess it.
37. On occasion of temptations, even violent ones, the soul ought not to elicit explicit acts of opposite virtues, but should persevere in the above mentioned love and resignation.
38. The voluntary cross of mortifications is a heavy weight and fruitless, and therefore to be dismissed.
39. The more holy works and penances, which the saints performed, are not enough to remove from the soul even a single tie.
40. The Blessed Virgin never performed any exterior work, and nevertheless was holier than all the saints. Therefore, one can arrive at sanctity without exterior work.
41. God permits and wishes to humiliate us and to conduct us to a true transformation, because in some perfect souls, even though not inspired, the demon inflicts violence on their bodies and makes them commit carnal acts, even in wakefulness and without the bewilderment of the mind, by physically moving their hands and other members against their wills. And the same is said as far as concerns other actions sinful in themselves, in which case they are not sins, but in them (because with these) the consent is not present.
42. A case may be given, that things of this kind contrary to the will result in carnal acts at the same time on the part of two persons, for example man and woman, and on the part of both an act follows.
43. God in past ages has created saints through the ministry of tyrants; now in truth he produces saints through the ministry of demons, who, by causing the aforesaid things contrary to the will, bring it about that they despise themselves the more and annihilate and resign themselves to God
Saint Pius V
Papal Bull of Pope St. Pius V, issued on July 14, 1570.
Upon our elevation to the Apostolic throne We gladly turned Our mind and energies and directed all Our thoughts, to the matter of preserving incorrupt the public worship of the Church; and We have striven, with God's help, by every means in Our power to achieve that purpose.
Whereas amongst other decrees of the Holy Council of Trent We were charged with revision and re-issue of the sacred books, to wit the Catechism, the Missal and the Breviary; and whereas We have with God's consent published a Catechism for the instruction of the faithful, and thoroughly revised the Breviary for the due performance of the Divine Office, We next, in order that the Missal and Breviary might be in perfect harmony, as is right and proper (considering that it is altogether fitting that there should be in the Church only one appropriate manner of Psalmody and one sole rite of celebrating Mass), deemed it necessary to give Our immediate attention to what still remained to be done, namely the re-editing of the Missal with the least possible delay.
We resolved accordingly to delegate this task to a select committee of scholars; and they, having at every stage of their work and with the utmost care collated the ancient codices in Our Vatican Library and reliable (original or amended) codices from elsewhere, and having also consulted the writing of ancient and approved authors who have bequeathed to us records relating to the said sacred rites, thus restored the Missal itself to the pristine form and rite of the holy Fathers. When this production had been subjected to close scrutiny and further amended We, after mature consideration, ordered that the final result be forthwith printed and published in Rome, so that all may enjoy the fruit of this labor: that priests may know what prayers to use, and what rites and ceremonies they are to use henceforth in the celebration of Masses.
Now therefore, in order that all everywhere may adopt and observe what has been delivered to them by the Holy Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of the other churches, it shall be unlawful henceforth and forever throughout the Christian world to sing or to read Masses according to any formula other than that of this Missal published by Us; this ordinance to apply to all churches and chapels, with or without care of souls, patriarchal, collegiate and parochial, be they secular or belonging to any religious Order, whether of men (including the military Orders) or of women, in which conventual Masses are or ought to be sung aloud in choir or read privately according to the rites and customs of the Roman Church; to apply, moreover even if the said churches have been in any way exempted, whether by indult of the Apostolic See, by custom, by privilege, or even by oath or Apostolic confirmation, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them in any other way whatsoever; saving only those in which the practice of saying Mass differently was granted over two hundred years ago simultaneously with the Apostolic See's institution and confirmation of the church, and those in which there has prevailed a similar custom followed continuously for a period of not less than two hundred years; in which cases We in no wise rescind their prerogatives or customs aforesaid. Nevertheless, if this Missal which We have seen fit to publish be more agreeable to these last, We hereby permit them to celebrate Mass according to its rite, subject to the consent of their bishop or prelate, and of their whole Chapter, all else to the contrary notwithstanding. All other churches aforesaid are hereby denied the use of other missals, which are to be wholly and entirely rejected; and by this present Constitution, which shall have the force of law in perpetuity, We order and enjoin under pain of Our displeasure that nothing be added to Our newly published Missal, nothing omitted therefrom, and nothing whatsoever altered there in.
We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator and all other persons of whatsoever ecclesiastical dignity, be they even Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or, possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them by virtue of holy obedience to sing or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herein laid down by Us, and henceforward to discontinue and utterly discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, howsoever ancient, which they have been accustomed to follow, and not to presume in celebrating Mass to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.
Furthermore, by these present ordinances and by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, We give and grant in perpetuity that for the singing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used. Nor shall bishops, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious of whatsoever Order or by whatsoever title designated, be obliged to celebrate Mass otherwise than enjoined by Us. We likewise order and declare that no one whosoever shall be forced or coerced into altering this Missal; and this present Constitution can never be revoked or modified, but shall forever remain valid and have the force of law, notwithstanding previous constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the usage of the churches aforesaid established by very long and even immemorial prescription, saving only usage of more than two hundred years.
Consequently it is Our will, and by the same authority We decree, that one month after publication of this Our constitution and Missal, priests of the Roman Curia shall be obliged to sing or to read the Mass in accordance therewith; others south of the Alps, after three months; those who live beyond the Alps, after six months or as soon as the Missal becomes available for purchase.
Furthermore, in order that the said Missal may be preserved incorrupt and kept free from defects and errors, the penalty for non-observance in the case of all printers resident in territory directly or indirectly subject to Ourselves and the Holy Roman Church shall be forfeiture of their books and a fine of 100 gold ducats payable ipso facto to the Apostolic Treasury. In the case of those resident in other parts of the world, it shall be automatical excommunication latae sententiae and other penalties at Our discretion; and by Our Apostolic authority and the tenor of these presents We also decree that they must not dare or presume either to print or to publish or to sell, or in any way to take delivery of such books without Our approval and consent, or without express permission of the Apostolic Commissary in the said parts appointed by Us for that purpose. Each of the said printers must receive from the aforementioned Commissary a standard Missal to serve as an exemplar and agree faithfully therewith, varying in no wise from the first impression printed in Rome.
But, since it would be difficult for this present Constitution to be transmitted to all parts of the world and to come to the notice of all concerned simultaneously, We direct that it be, as usual, posted and published at the doors of the Basilica of the Prince of Apostles, at those of the Apostolic Chancery, and at the end of the Campo de' Fiori; moreover We direct that printed copies of the same, signed by a notary public and authenticated with the seal of an ecclesiastical dignitary, shall possess the same unqualified and indubitable validity everywhere and in every country that would attend the display there of Our present text. Accordingly, no one whosoever is permitted to infringe or rashly contravene this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, direction, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree and prohibition. Should any person venture to do so, let him understand that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at Saint Peter's, Rome, in the year of Our Lord's Incarnation one thousand five hundred and seventy, on the fourteenth day of July in the fifth year of Our Pontificate.
Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius IV, February 15, 1559.
By virtue of the Apostolic office which, despite our unworthiness, has been entrusted to Us by God, We are responsible for the general care of the flock of the Lord. Because of this, in order that the flock may be faithfully guarded and beneficially directed, We are bound to be diligently watchful after the manner of a vigilant Shepherd and to ensure most carefully that certain people who consider the study of the truth beneath them should be driven out of the sheepfold of Christ and no longer continue to disseminate error from positions of authority. We refer in particular to those who in this age, impelled by their sinfulness and supported by their cunning, are attacking with unusual learning and malice the discipline of the orthodox Faith, and who, moreover, by perverting the import of Holy Scripture, are striving to rend the unity of the Catholic Church and the seamless tunic of the Lord.
1.In assessing Our duty and the situation now prevailing, We have been weighed upon by the thought that a matter of this kind [i.e. error in respect of the Faith] is so grave and so dangerous that the Roman Pontiff,who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fulness of power over peoples and kingdoms, who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith. Remembering also that, where danger is greater, it must more fully and more diligently be counteracted, We have been concerned lest false prophets or others, even if they have only secular jurisdiction, should wretchedly ensnare the souls of the simple, and drag with them into perdition, destruction and damnation countless peoples committed to their care and rule, either in spiritual or in temporal matters; and We have been concerned also lest it may befall Us to see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, in the holy place. In view of this, Our desire has been to fulfil our Pastoral duty, insofar as, with the help of God, We are able, so as to arrest the foxes who are occupying themselves in the destruction of the vineyard of the Lord and to keep the wolves from the sheepfolds, lest We seem to be dumb watchdogs that cannot bark and lest We perish with the wicked husbandman and be compared with the hireling.
2 Hence, concerning these matters, We have held mature deliberation with our venerable brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church; and, upon their advice and with their unanimous agreement, we now enact as follows:-
In respect of each and every sentence of excommunication, suspension, interdict and privation and any other sentences, censures and penalties against heretics or schismatics, enforced and promulgated in any way whatsoever by any of Our predecessors the Roman Pontiffs, or by any who were held to be such (even by their "litterae extravagantes" i.e. private letters), or by the sacred Councils received by the Church of God, or by decrees of the Holy Fathers and the statutes, or by the sacred Canons and the Constitutions and Apostolic Ordinations - all these measures, by Apostolic authority, We approve and renew, that they may and must be observed in perpetuity and, if perchance they be no longer in lively observance, that they be restored to it.
Thus We will and decree that the aforementioned sentences, censures and penalties be incurred without exception by all members of the following categories:
(i) Anysoever who, before this date, shall have been detected to have deviated from the Catholic Faith, or fallen into any heresy, or incurred schism, or provoked or committed either or both of these, or who have confessed to have done any of these things, or who have been convicted of having done any of these things.
(ii) Anysoever who (which may God, in His clemency and goodness to all, deign to avert) shall in the future so deviate or fall into heresy, or incur schism, or shall provoke or commit either or both of these.
(iii) Anysoever who shall be detected to have so deviated, fallen, incurred, provoked or committed, or who shall confess to have done any of these things, or who shall be convicted of having done any of these things.
These sanctions, moreover, shall be incurred by all members of these categories, of whatever status, grace, order, condition and pre-eminence they may be, even if they be endowed with the Episcopal, Archiepiscopal, Patriarchal, Primatial or some other greater Ecclesiastical dignity, or with the honour of the Cardinalate and of the Universal Apostolic See by the office of Legate, whether temporary or permanent, or if they be endowed with even worldly authority or excellence, as Count, Baron, Marquis, Duke, King or Emperor.
All this We will and decree.
3. Nonetheless, We also consider it proper that those who do not abandon evil deeds through love of virtue should be deterred therefrom by fear of punishment; and We are aware that Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals and Legates, Counts, Barons, Marquises, Dukes, Kings and Emperors (who ought to teach others and offer them a good example in order to preserve them in the Catholic Faith), by failing in their duty sin more gravely than others; since they not only damn themselves, but also drag with them into perdition and into the pit of death countless other people entrusted to their care or rule, or otherwise subject to them, by their like counsel and agreement.
Hence, by this Our Constitution which is to remain valid in perpetuity, in abomination of so great a crime (than which none in the Church of God can be greater or more pernicious) by the fulness of our Apostolic Power, We enact, determine, decree and define (since the aforesaid sentences, censures and penalties are to remain in efficacious force and strike all those whom they are intended to strike) that:
(i) each and every member of the following categories - Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals, Legates, Counts, Barons, Marquises, Dukes, Kings and Emperors - who:
(a) hitherto (as We have already said) have been detected, or have confessed to have, or have been convicted of having, deviated [i.e. from the Catholic Faith], or fallen into heresy or incurred schism or provoked or committed either or both of these;
(b) in the future also shall [so] deviate, or fall into heresy, or incur schism, or provoke or commit either or both of these, or shall be detected or shall confess to have, or shall be convicted of having [so] deviated, or fallen into heresy, or incurred schism, or provoked or committed either or both of these; (since in this they are rendered more inexcusable than the rest) in addition to the aforementioned sentences, censures and penalties, shall also automatically, without any exercise of law or application of fact, be thoroughly, entirely and perpetually deprived of:- their Orders and Cathedrals, even Metropolitan, Patriarchal and Primatial Churches, the honour of the Cardinalate and the office of any embassy whatsoever, not to mention both active and passive voting rights, all authority, Monasteries, benefices and Ecclesiastical offices, be they functional or sinecures, secular or religious of whatsoever Order, which they may have obtained by any concessions whatsoever, or by Apostolic Dispensations to title, charge and administration or otherwise howsoever, and in which or to which they may have any right whatsoever, likewise any whatsoever fruits, returns or annual revenues from like fruits, returns and revenues reserved for and assigned to them, as well as Countships, Baronies, Marquisates, Dukedoms, Kingships and Imperial Power;
(ii) that, moreover, they shall be unfit and incapable in respect of these things and that they shall be held to be backsliders and subverted in every way, just as if they had previously abjured heresy of this kind in public trial; that they shall never at any time be able to be restored, returned, reinstated or rehabilitated to their former status or Cathedral, Metropolitan, Patriarchal and Primatial Churches, or the Cardinalate, or other honour, any other dignity, greater or lesser, any right to vote, active or passive, or authority, or Monasteries and benefices, or Countships, Baronies, Marquisates, Dukedoms, Kingships and positions of Imperial power; but rather that they shall be abandoned to the judgement of the secular power to be punished after due consideration, unless there should appear in them signs of true penitence and the fruits of worthy repentance, and, by the kindness and clemency of the See itself, they shall have been sentenced to sequestration in any Monastery or other religious house in order to perform perpetual penance upon the bread of sorrow and the water of affliction;
(iii) that all such individuals also shall be held, treated and reputed as such by everyone, of whatsoever status, grade, order, condition or pre-eminence he may be and whatsoever excellence may be his, even Episcopal, Archiepiscopal, Patriarchal and Primatial or other greater Ecclesiastical dignity and even the honour of the Cardinalate, or secular, even the authority of Count, Baron, Marquis, Duke, King or Emperor, and as such must be avoided and must be deprived of the sympathy of all natural kindess.
4. By this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity, We further enact, determine, decree and define: that those who shall have claimed to have the right of patronage or of nominating suitable persons to Cathedral, Metropolitan, Patriarchal and Primatial Churches, or to Monasteries or other Ecclesiastical benefices which may be vacant by privation of this kind (in order that those which shall have been vacant for a long time may not be exposed to the unfit, but, having been rescued from enslavement to heretics, may be granted to suitable persons who would faithfully direct their people in the paths of justice), shall be bound to present other persons suitable to Churches, Monasteries and benefices of this kind, to Us, or to the Roman Pontiff at that time existing, within the time determined by law, or by their concordats, or by compacts entered into with the said See; and that, if they shall not have done so when the said period shall have elapsed, the full and free disposition of the aforesaid Churches, Monasteries and benefices shall by the fulness of the law itself devolve upon Us or upon the aforesaid Roman Pontiff.
5. By this Our Constitution, moreover, which is to remain valid in perpetuity, We also enact, determine, decree and define: as follows concerning those who shall have presumed in any way knowingly to receive, defend, favour, believe or teach the teaching of those so apprehended, confessed or convicted:
(i) they shall automatically incur sentence of excommunication;
(ii) they shall be rendered infamous;
(iii) they shall be excluded on pain of invalidity from any public or private office, deliberation, Synod, general or provincial Council and any conclave of Cardinals or other congregation of the faithful, and from any election or function of witness, so that they cannot take part in any of these by vote, in person, by writings, representative or by any agent;
(iv) they shall be incapable of making a will;
(v) they shall not accede to the succession of heredity;
(vi) no one shall be forced to respond to them concerning any business;
(vii) if perchance they shall have been Judges, their judgements shall have no force, nor shall any cases be brought to their hearing.;
(viii) if they shall have been Advocates, their pleading shall nowise be received;
(ix) if they shall have been Notaries, documents drafted by them shall be entirely without strength or weight;
(x) clerics shall be automatically deprived of each and every Church, even Cathedral, Metropolitan, Patriarchal, Primatial, and likewise of dignities, Monasteries, benefices and Ecclesiastical offices, and even, as has been already mentioned, of qualifications, howsoever obtained by them;
(xi) laymen, moreover, in the same way - even if they be qualified, as already described, or endowed with the aforesaid dignities or anysoever Kingdoms, Duchies, Dominions, Fiefs and temporal goods possessed by them;
(xii) finally, all Kingdoms, Duchies, Dominions, Fiefs and goods of this kind shall be confiscated, made public and shall remain so, and shall be made the rightful property of those who shall first occupy them if these shall be sincere in faith, in the unity of the Holy Roman Church and under obedience to Us and to Our successors the Roman Pontiffs canonically entering office.
6. In addition, by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity We enact, determine, decree and define: that if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy:
(i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless;
(ii) it shall not be possible for it to acquire validity (nor for it to be said that it has thus acquired validity) through the acceptance of the office, of consecration, of subsequent authority, nor through possession of administration, nor through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff, or Veneration, or obedience accorded to such by all, nor through the lapse of any period of time in the foregoing situation;
(iii) it shall not be held as partially legitimate in any way;
(iv) to any so promoted to be Bishops, or Archbishops, or Patriarchs, or Primates or elevated as Cardinals, or as Roman Pontiff, no authority shall have been granted, nor shall it be considered to have been so granted either in the spiritual or the temporal domain;
(v) each and all of their words, deeds, actions and enactments, howsoever made, and anything whatsoever to which these may give rise, shall be without force and shall grant no stability whatsoever nor any right to anyone;
(vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.
7. Finally, by this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity, We also enact, determine, define and decree: that any and all persons who would have been subject to those thus promoted or elevated if they had not previously deviated from the Faith, become heretics, incurred schism or provoked or committed any or all of these, be they members of anysoever of the following categories:
(i) the clergy, secular and religious;
(ii) the laity;
(iii) the Cardinals, even those who shall have taken part in the election of this very Pontiff previously deviating from the Faith or heretical or schismatical, or shall otherwise have consented and vouchsafed obedience to him and shall have venerated him;
(iv) Castellans, Prefects, Captains and Officials, even of Our Beloved City and of the entire Ecclesiastical State, even if they shall be obliged and beholden to those thus promoted or elevated by homage, oath or security; shall be permitted at any time to withdraw with impunity from obedience and devotion to those thus promoted or elevated and to avoid them as warlocks, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs (the same subject persons, nevertheless, remaining bound by the duty of fidelity and obedience to any future Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals and Roman Pontiff canonically entering). To the greater confusion, moreover, of those thus promoted or elevated, if these shall have wished to prolong their government and authority, they shall be permitted to request the assistance of the secular arm against these same individuals thus promoted or elevated; nor shall those who withdraw on this account, in the aforementioned circumstances, from fidelity and obedience to those thus promoted and elevated, be subject, as are those who tear the tunic of the Lord, to the retribution of any censures or penalties.
8. The provisions of this Our Constitution, which is to remain valid in perpetuity are to take effect notwithstanding any Constitutions, Apostolic Ordinations, privileges, indults or Apostolic Letters, whether they be to these same Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates and Cardinals or to any others, and whatsoever may be their import and form, and with whatsoever sub-clauses or decrees they may have been granted, even "motu proprio" and by certain knowledge, from the fulness of the Apostolic power or even consistorially or otherwise howsoever; and even if they have been repeatedly approved and renewed,have been included in the corpus of the Law or strengthened by any capital conclaves whatsoever (even by oath) or by Apostolic confirmation or by anysoever other endorsements or if they were legislated by ourself. By this present document instead of by express mention, We specially and expressly derogate the provisions of all these by appropriate deletion and word-for-word substitution, so that these may otherwise remain in force.
9. In order, however, that this document may be brought to the notice of all whom it concerns, We wish it or a transcription of it (to which, when made by the hand of the undersigned Public Notary and fortified by the seal of any person established in ecclesiastical dignity, We decree that complete trust must be accorded) to be published and affixed in the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles in this City and on the doors of the Apostolic Chancery and in the pavilion of the Campus Florae by some of our couriers; [we] will [further] that a quantity of copies affixed in this place should be distributed, and that publication and affixing of this kind should suffice and be held as right, solemn and legitimate, and that no other publication should be required or awaited.
10. No one at all, therefore, may infringe this document of our approbation, re-introduction, sanction, statute and derogation of wills and decrees, or by rash presumption contradict it. If anyone, however, should presume to attempt this, let him know that he is destined to incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul.
Given in Rome at Saint Peter's in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 1559, 15th February, in the fourth year of our Pontificate.
Bull of Pope Leo X, issued June 15, 1520
Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. Listen to our prayers, for foxes have arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard whose winepress you alone have trod. When you were about to ascend to your Father, you committed the care, rule, and administration of the vineyard, an image of the triumphant church, to Peter, as the head and your vicar and his successors. The wild boar from the forest seeks to destroy it and every wild beast feeds upon it.
Rise, Peter, and fulfill this pastoral office divinely entrusted to you as mentioned above. Give heed to the cause of the holy Roman Church, mother of all churches and teacher of the faith, whom you by the order of God, have consecrated by your blood. Against the Roman Church, you warned, lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom. Their tongues are fire, a restless evil, full of deadly poison. They have bitter zeal, contention in their hearts, and boast and lie against the truth.
We beseech you also, Paul, to arise. It was you that enlightened and illuminated the Church by your doctrine and by a martyrdom like Peter's. For now a new Porphyry rises who, as the old once wrongfully assailed the holy apostles, now assails the holy pontiffs, our predecessors.
Rebuking them, in violation of your teaching, instead of imploring them, he is not ashamed to assail them, to tear at them, and when he despairs of his cause, to stoop to insults. He is like the heretics "whose last defense," as Jerome says, "is to start spewing out a serpent's venom with their tongue when they see that their causes are about to be condemned, and spring to insults when they see they are vanquished." For although you have said that there must be heresies to test the faithful, still they must be destroyed at their very birth by your intercession and help, so they do not grow or wax strong like your wolves. Finally, let the whole church of the saints and the rest of the universal church arise. Some, putting aside her true interpretation of Sacred Scripture, are blinded in mind by the father of lies. Wise in their own eyes, according to the ancient practice of heretics, they interpret these same Scriptures otherwise than the Holy Spirit demands, inspired only by their own sense of ambition, and for the sake of popular acclaim, as the Apostle declares. In fact, they twist and adulterate the Scriptures. As a result, according to Jerome, "It is no longer the Gospel of Christ, but a man's, or what is worse, the devil's."
Let all this holy Church of God, I say, arise, and with the blessed apostles intercede with almighty God to purge the errors of His sheep, to banish all heresies from the lands of the faithful, and be pleased to maintain the peace and unity of His holy Church.
For we can scarcely express, from distress and grief of mind, what has reached our ears for some time by the report of reliable men and general rumor; alas, we have even seen with our eyes and read the many diverse errors. Some of these have already been condemned by councils and the constitutions of our predecessors, and expressly contain even the heresy of the Greeks and Bohemians. Other errors are either heretical, false, scandalous, or offensive to pious ears, as seductive of simple minds, originating with false exponents of the faith who in their proud curiosity yearn for the world's glory, and contrary to the Apostle's teaching, wish to be wiser than they should be. Their talkativeness, unsupported by the authority of the Scriptures, as Jerome says, would not win credence unless they appeared to support their perverse doctrine even with divine testimonies however badly interpreted. From their sight fear of God has now passed.
These errors have, at the suggestion of the human race, been revived and recently propagated among the more frivolous and the illustrious German nation. We grieve the more that this happened there because we and our predecessors have always held this nation in the bosom of our affection. For after the empire had been transferred by the Roman Church from the Greeks to these same Germans, our predecessors and we always took the Church's advocates and defenders from among them. Indeed it is certain that these Germans, truly germane to the Catholic faith, have always been the bitterest opponents of heresies, as witnessed by those commendable constitutions of the German emperors in behalf of the Church's independence, freedom, and the expulsion and extermination of all heretics from Germany. Those constitutions formerly issued, and then confirmed by our predecessors, were issued under the greatest penalties even of loss of lands and dominions against anyone sheltering or not expelling them. If they were observed today both we and they would obviously be free of this disturbance. Witness to this is the condemnation and punishment in the Council of Constance of the infidelity of the Hussites and Wyclifites as well as Jerome of Prague. Witness to this is the blood of Germans shed so often in wars against the Bohemians. A final witness is the refutation, rejection, and condemnation no less learned than true and holy of the above errors, or many of them, by the universities of Cologne and Louvain, most devoted and religious cultivators of the Lord's field. We could allege many other facts too, which we have decided to omit, lest we appear to be composing a history.
In virtue of our pastoral office committed to us by the divine favor we can under no circumstances tolerate or overlook any longer the pernicious poison of the above errors without disgrace to the Christian religion and injury to orthodox faith. Some of these errors we have decided to include in the present document; their substance is as follows:
1. It is a heretical opinion, but a common one, that the sacraments of the New Law give pardoning grace to those who do not set up an obstacle.
2. To deny that in a child after baptism sin remains is to treat with contempt both Paul and Christ.
3. The inflammable sources of sin, even if there be no actual sin, delay a soul departing from the body from entrance into heaven.
4. To one on the point of death imperfect charity necessarily brings with it great fear, which in itself alone is enough to produce the punishment of purgatory, and impedes entrance into the kingdom.
5. That there are three parts to penance: contrition, confession, and satisfaction, has no foundation in Sacred Scripture nor in the ancient sacred Christian doctors.
6. Contrition, which is acquired through discussion, collection, and detestation of sins, by which one reflects upon his years in the bitterness of his soul, by pondering over the gravity of sins, their number, their baseness, the loss of eternal beatitude, and the acquisition of eternal damnation, this contrition makes him a hypocrite, indeed more a sinner.
7. It is a most truthful proverb and the doctrine concerning the contritions given thus far is the more remarkable: "Not to do so in the future is the highest penance; the best penance, a new life."
8. By no means may you presume to confess venial sins, nor even all mortal sins, because it is impossible that you know all mortal sins. Hence in the primitive Church only manifest mortal sins were confessed.
9. As long as we wish to confess all sins without exception, we are doing nothing else than to wish to leave nothing to God's mercy for pardon.
10. Sins are not forgiven to anyone, unless when the priest forgives them he believes they are forgiven; on the contrary the sin would remain unless he believed it was forgiven; for indeed the remission of sin and the granting of grace does not suffice, but it is necessary also to believe that there has been forgiveness.
11. By no means can you have reassurance of being absolved because of your contrition, but because of the word of Christ: "Whatsoever you shall loose, etc." Hence, I say, trust confidently, if you have obtained the absolution of the priest, and firmly believe yourself to have been absolved, and you will truly be absolved, whatever there may be of contrition.
12. If through an impossibility he who confessed was not contrite, or the priest did not absolve seriously, but in a jocose manner, if nevertheless he believes that he has been absolved, he is most truly absolved.
13. In the sacrament of penance and the remission of sin the pope or the bishop does no more than the lowest priest; indeed, where there is no priest, any Christian, even if a woman or child, may equally do as much.
14. No one ought to answer a priest that he is contrite, nor should the priest inquire.
15. Great is the error of those who approach the sacrament of the Eucharist relying on this, that they have confessed, that they are not conscious of any mortal sin, that they have sent their prayers on ahead and made preparations; all these eat and drink judgment to themselves. But if they believe and trust that they will attain grace, then this faith alone makes them pure and worthy.
16. It seems to have been decided that the Church in common Council established that the laity should communicate under both species; the Bohemians who communicate under both species are not heretics, but schismatics.
17. The treasures of the Church, from which the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints.
18. Indulgences are pious frauds of the faithful, and remissions of good works; and they are among the number of those things which are allowed, and not of the number of those which are advantageous.
19. Indulgences are of no avail to those who truly gain them, for the remission of the penalty due to actual sin in the sight of divine justice.
20. They are seduced who believe that indulgences are salutary and useful for the fruit of the spirit.
21. Indulgences are necessary only for public crimes, and are properly conceded only to the harsh and impatient.
22. For six kinds of men indulgences are neither necessary nor useful; namely, for the dead and those about to die, the infirm, those legitimately hindered, and those who have not committed crimes, and those who have committed crimes, but not public ones, and those who devote themselves to better things.
23. Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church.
24. Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them.
25. The Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, is not the vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world, instituted by Christ Himself in blessed Peter.
26. The word of Christ to Peter: "Whatsoever you shall loose on earth," etc., is extended merely to those things bound by Peter himself.
27. It is certain that it is not in the power of the Church or the pope to decide upon the articles of faith, and much less concerning the laws for morals or for good works.
28. If the pope with a great part of the Church thought so and so, he would not err; still it is not a sin or heresy to think the contrary, especially in a matter not necessary for salvation, until one alternative is condemned and another approved by a general Council.
29. A way has beeri made for us for weakening the authority of councils, and for freely contradicting their actions, and judging their decrees, and boldly confessing whatever seems true, whether it has been approved or disapproved by any council whatsoever.
30. Some articles of John Hus, condemned in the Council of Constance, are most Christian, wholly true and evangelical; these the universal Church could not condemn.
31. In every good work the just man sins.
32. A good work done very well is a venial sin.
33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.
34. To go to war against the Turks is to resist God who punishes our iniquities through them.
35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally, because of the most hidden vice of pride.
36. Free will after sin is a matter of title only; and as long as one does what is in him, one sins mortally.
37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture which is in the canon.
38. The souls in purgatory are not sure of their salvation, at least not all; nor is it proved by any arguments or by the Scriptures that they are beyond the state of meriting or of increasing in charity.
39. The souls in purgatory sin without intermission, as long as they seek rest and abhor punishment.
40. The souls freed from purgatory by the suffrages of the living are less happy than if they had made satisfactions by themselves.
41. Ecclesiastical prelates and secular princes would not act badly if they destroyed all of the money bags of beggary.
No one of sound mind is ignorant how destructive, pernicious, scandalous, and seductive to pious and simple minds these various errors are, how opposed they are to all charity and reverence for the holy Roman Church who is the mother of all the faithful and teacher of the faith; how destructive they are of the vigor of ecclesiastical discipline, namely obedience. This virtue is the font and origin of all virtues and without it anyone is readily convicted of being unfaithful.
Therefore we, in this above enumeration, important as it is, wish to proceed with great care as is proper, and to cut off the advance of this plague and cancerous disease so it will not spread any further in the Lord's field as harmful thornbushes. We have therefore held a careful inquiry, scrutiny, discussion, strict examination, and mature deliberation with each of the brothers, the eminent cardinals of the holy Roman Church, as well as the priors and ministers general of the religious orders, besides many other professors and masters skilled in sacred theology and in civil and canon law. We have found that these errors or theses are not Catholic, as mentioned above, and are not to be taught, as such; but rather are against the doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church, and against the true interpretation of the sacred Scriptures received from the Church. Now Augustine maintained that her authority had to be accepted so completely that he stated he would not have believed the Gospel unless the authority of the Catholic Church had vouched for it. For, according to these errors, or any one or several of them, it clearly follows that the Church which is guided by the Holy Spirit is in error and has always erred. This is against what Christ at his ascension promised to his disciples (as is read in the holy Gospel of Matthew): "I will be with you to the consummation of the world"; it is against the determinations of the holy Fathers, or the express ordinances and canons of the councils and the supreme pontiffs. Failure to comply with these canons, according to the testimony of Cyprian, will be the fuel and cause of all heresy and schism.
With the advice and consent of these our venerable brothers, with mature deliberation on each and every one of the above theses, and by the authority of almighty God, the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we condemn, reprobate, and reject completely each of these theses or errors as either heretical, scandalous, false, offensive to pious ears or seductive of simple minds, and against Catholic truth. By listing them, we decree and declare that all the faithful of both sexes must regard them as condemned, reprobated, and rejected ... We restrain all in the virtue of holy obedience and under the penalty of an automatic major excommunication....
Moreover, because the preceding errors and many others are contained in the books or writings of Martin Luther, we likewise condemn, reprobate, and reject completely the books and all the writings and sermons of the said Martin, whether in Latin or any other language, containing the said errors or any one of them; and we wish them to be regarded as utterly condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We forbid each and every one of the faithful of either sex, in virtue of holy obedience and under the above penalties to be incurred automatically, to read, assert, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend them. They will incur these penalties if they presume to uphold them in any way, personally or through another or others, directly or indirectly, tacitly or explicitly, publicly or occultly, either in their own homes or in other public or private places. Indeed immediately after the publication of this letter these works, wherever they may be, shall be sought out carefully by the ordinaries and others [ecclesiastics and regulars], and under each and every one of the above penalties shall be burned publicly and solemnly in the presence of the clerics and people.
As far as Martin himself is concerned, O good God, what have we overlooked or not done? What fatherly charity have we omitted that we might call him back from such errors? For after we had cited him, wishing to deal more kindly with him, we urged him through various conferences with our legate and through our personal letters to abandon these errors. We have even offered him safe conduct and the money necessary for the journey urging him to come without fear or any misgivings, which perfect charity should cast out, and to talk not secretly but openly and face to face after the example of our Savior and the Apostle Paul. If he had done this, we are certain he would have changed in heart, and he would have recognized his errors. He would not have found all these errors in the Roman Curia which he attacks so viciously, ascribing to it more than he should because of the empty rumors of wicked men. We would have shown him clearer than the light of day that the Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, whom he injuriously attacks beyond all decency, never erred in their canons or constitutions which he tries to assail. For, according to the prophet, neither is healing oil nor the doctor lacking in Galaad.
But he always refused to listen and, despising the previous citation and each and every one of the above overtures, disdained to come. To the present day he has been contumacious. With a hardened spirit he has continued under censure over a year. What is worse, adding evil to evil, and on learning of the citation, he broke forth in a rash appeal to a future council. This to be sure was contrary to the constitution of Pius II and Julius II our predecessors that all appealing in this way are to be punished with the penalties of heretics. In vain does he implore the help of a council, since he openly admits that he does not believe in a council.
Therefore we can, without any further citation or delay, proceed against him to his condemnation and damnation as one whose faith is notoriously suspect and in fact a true heretic with the full severity of each and all of the above penalties and censures. Yet, with the advice of our brothers, imitating the mercy of almighty God who does not wish the death of a sinner but rather that he be converted and live, and forgetting all the injuries inflicted on us and the Apostolic See, we have decided to use all the compassion we are capable of. It is our hope, so far as in us lies, that he will experience a change of heart by taking the road of mildness we have proposed, return, and turn away from his errors. We will receive him kindly as the prodigal son returning to the embrace of the Church.
Therefore let Martin himself and all those adhering to him, and those who shelter and support him, through the merciful heart of our God and the sprinkling of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ by which and through whom the redemption of the human race and the upbuilding of holy mother Church was accomplished, know that from our heart we exhort and beseech that he cease to disturb the peace, unity, and truth of the Church for which the Savior prayed so earnestly to the Father. Let him abstain from his pernicious errors that he may come back to us. If they really will obey, and certify to us by legal documents that they have obeyed, they will find in us the affection of a father's love, the opening of the font of the effects of paternal charity, and opening of the font of mercy and clemency.
We enjoin, however, on Martin that in the meantime he cease from all preaching or the office of preacher.
Papal Bull of Pope Pius II
1. An execrable, and in former ages unheard-of-abuse, has sprung up in our time, namely that some people, imbued with the spirit of rebellion, presume to appeal to a future Council, from the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, to whom it was said in the person of blessed Peter: "Feed my sheep" and "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in Heaven"; they do not do so because they are anxious to obtain sounder judgment, but in order to escape the consequences of their sins, and anyone who is not ignorant of the laws can realize how contrary this is to the sacred canons and how detrimental to the Christian community. Because - passing over other things which are most manifestly opposed to this corruption - who would not find it ridiculous when appeals are made to what does not exist and the time of whose future existence nobody knows? The poor are oppressed in many ways by the stronger, crimes remain unpunished, freedom is conceded to delinquents, and all the ecclesiastical discipline and hierarchical order are confounded.
2. Wishing therefore to thrust away from Christ's Church this pestilent venom, to take care of the salvation of all those who have been committed to us, and to hold off from the sheepfold of our Saviour all cause of scandal, we condemn appeals of this kind by the counsel of all prelates and juris-consults of Divine and human law adhering to the Curia and on the ground of our sure knowledge; we denounce them as erroneous and detestable, quash and entirely annul them in the event that any such appeals, extant at present, may be discovered, and we declare and determine that they are - like something void and pestilent - of no significance. Consequently, we enjoin that nobody dares under whatever pretext to make such an appeal from any of our ordinances, sentences or commands and from those of our successors, or to adhere to such appeals, made by others, or to use them in any manner.
3. If any one, of whatever status, rank, order or condition he may be, even if adorned with imperial, royal or Papal dignity, shall contravene this after the space of two months from the day of the publication of this Bull by the Apostolic Chancery, he shall ipso facto incur sentence of anathema, from which he can not be absolved except by the Roman Pontiff and at the point of death. A University or a corporation shall be subjected to an ecclesiastical interdict; nonetheless, corporations and Universities, like the aforesaid and any other persons, shall incur those penalties and censures which offenders who have committed the crimen laesae maiestatis and promoters of heretical depravity are known to incur. Furthermore, scriveners and witnesses who shall witness acts of this kind and, in general, all those who shall knowingly furnish counsel, help or favour to such appealers, shall be punished with the same penalty.
Therefore, it is not allowed to any man to infringe or to oppose by audacious perversion this charter of our will, by which we have condemned, reproved, quashed, annulled, decreed, declared and ordered the aforesaid. If any one, however, shall so attempt, let him know that he shall incur the indignation of Almighty God and of Saint Peter and Paul, His Apostles.
Given at Mantua, in the year 1460 of the Lord's Incarnation, on the fifteenth day before the Kalends of February, in the second year of our Pontificate.
Papal Bull of His Holiness Pope Boniface VIII, promulgated November 18, 1302
Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles [Sgs 6:8] proclaims: 'One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,' and she represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God [1 Cor 11:3]. In her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism [Eph 4:5]. There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed.
We venerate this Church as one, the Lord having said by the mouth of the prophet: 'Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword and my only one from the hand of the dog.' [Ps 21:20] He has prayed for his soul, that is for himself, heart and body; and this body, that is to say, the Church, He has called one because of the unity of the Spouse, of the faith, of the sacraments, and of the charity of the Church. This is the tunic of the Lord, the seamless tunic, which was not rent but which was cast by lot [Jn 19:23- 24]. Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter, since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: 'Feed my sheep' [Jn 21:17], meaning, my sheep in general, not these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that He entrusted all to him [Peter]. Therefore, if the Greeks or others should say that they are not confided to Peter and to his successors, they must confess not bei ng the sheep of Christ, since Our Lord says in John 'there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.' We are informed by the texts of the gospels that in this Church and in its power are two swords; namely, the spiritual and the temporal. For when the Apostles say: 'Behold, here are two swords' [Lk 22:38] that is to say, in the Church, since the Apostles were speaking, the Lord did not reply that there were too many, but sufficient. Certainly the one who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter ha s not listened well to the word of the Lord commanding: 'Put up thy sword into thy scabbard' [Mt 26:52]. Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered _for_ the Church but the latter _by_ the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.
However, one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power. For since the Apostle said: 'There is no power except from God and the things that are, are ordained of God' [Rom 13:1-2], but they would not be ordained if one sword were not subordinated to the other and if the inferior one, as it were, were not led upwards by the other.
For, according to the Blessed Dionysius, it is a law of the divinity that the lowest things reach the highest place by intermediaries. Then, according to the order of the universe, all things are not led back to order equally and immediately, but the lowest by the intermediary, and the inferior by the superior. Hence we must recognize the more clearly that spiritual power surpasses in dignity and in nobility any temporal power whatever, as spiritual things surpass the temporal. This we see very clearly also by the payment, benediction, and consecration of the tithes, but the acceptance of power itself and by the government even of things. For with truth as our witness, it belongs to spiritual power to establish the terrestrial power and to pass judgement if it has not been good. Thus is accomplished the prophecy of Jeremias concerning the Church and the ecclesiastical power: 'Behold to-day I have placed you over nations, and over kingdoms' and the rest. Therefore, if the terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a minor spiritual power err, it will be judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest power of all err, it can be judged only by God, and not by man, according to the testimony of the Apostle: 'The spiritual man judgeth of all things and he himself is judged by no man' [1 Cor 2:15]. This authority, however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, 'Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven' etc., [Mt 16:19]. Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2] , unless he invent like Manicheus two beginnings, which is false and judged by us heretical, since according to the testimony of Moses, it is not in the beginnings but in the beginning that God created heaven and earth [Gen 1:1]. Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.