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DENZINGER, Heinrich Joseph Dominicus. Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum.
Latin (new numbering, parallelly with older numbering):

Denzinger: Sources of dogma

Sources of Catholic Dogma by Denzinger is a great work which traces the development of doctrine and Dogma in the Catholic Church from its earliest times.

English translation

older numbering: #1 - 100 - 200 - 300 - 400 - 500 - 600 - 700 - 800 - 900 - 1000 - 1100 - 1200 - 1300 - 1400 - 1500 - 1600 - 1700 - 1800 - 1900 - 2000 - 2100 - 2200 - 2301-2331, Appendix 5000+
Most Ancient Forms of the Apostolic Creed

1 THE creed which is called Apostolic is composed essentially of (1) a Trinitarian part, three articles professing faith in three divine persons; (2) a Christological part which was added to the first section.

 There are extant, however, certain formulae composed in the manner of creeds, but lacking the Christological part. These formulae seem to be more ancient than the Apostolic Creed. An achristological formula of this kind which seems to be the most ancient of all-exists in a work infected with Gnosticism written between the years 150 and 180, Testamentum in Galilaea D.N.I. Christi (or in an almost identical work Gesprache Jesu mit seinen Jungern nach der Auferstehung) where the short Creed (reads):

 "[I believe] in the Father almighty,--and in Jesus Christ, our Savior; --and in the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, in the holy Church, and in the remission of sins."

 Another achristological formula, perhaps already used in the liturgy of Egypt probably in the third century, is shown by a papyrus discovered in Der-Balyzeh, written in the seventh or eighth century (cf. Dict. d'Archeol. chret. et de Lit. s.v. Canon, II, 2, 1882 ff.):

 "I believe in God almighty;--and in his only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ;--and in the Holy Spirit and in the resurrection of the body <in> the holy Catholic Church."

The More Ancient Western Form of the Apostolic Creed

[Called Roman (R)]


 A. [The following]show at least elements of some Creed or a rule

of faith or questions in common use at baptism:

 ST. JUSTIN MARTYR, martyred 167.-Apology I and II; Dial. c. Tryph. [MG 6, 328 pp.]--A twofold form, western and eastern can be conjectured with some probability; therefore, a comparison will be made below [n. 8].

  ST. IRENAEUS, died 202, bishop of Lyons.--Adv. haer. 1, 10, 1; 3, 4, 1 and 2; 16, 5 (which are the chief places) [MG 7, 549 A 855 B 924 B]. He shows (1, 10, 1) almost all the elements of the Roman creed as a faith which the Church received from the apostles and their disciples (1, 10, 1).- (Greek text deleted)C.3 and 6. [Karapat Ter-Mekerttschian und Erwand Ter-Minassiantz,Des hl. Irenaus Schrift zum Erweise der apostolischen Verkundigung (Texte und Untersuchungen, Harnack-Schmidt XXXI, I) Leipzig: 1907].

 ST. HI PPOLYTUS, died 235, Roman presbyter. — Paradosis--Heshows the baptismal creed by means of questions from "You believe in Jesus Christ . . ." [H. Elfers, Die Kirchenordnung Hippolyts von Rom,1938, 321. E. Hauler, Didasc. apost. fragm., Veron. 1900, 110 f., L 10 f. R.-H. Connolly, The so called Egyptian Church Order and derived documents, 1916].

  TERTULLIAN, died after 225 (probably in 240), perhaps a presbyter in Carthage.--De praescr. haer.13,De virg. vel. I; De carne Chr. 20; Adv. Prax.2[ML2, 26B 88 B 785B 856B]. He says that the church at Carthage received the rule of faith from the church at Rome (De praescr. haer. 36)and that it was common to the apostolic churches; (l.c. 21) the form of the creed was somewhat fixed.

 ORIGEN, died 254, presbyter at Alexandria.--Deprincip. I,praef. 4et 5[MG 11, 117 A]. He has a rule of faith similar to the creed.

  CANONES HIPPOLYTI, of uncertain date (Some 200-235, others about 500) [Achelis, DiealtestenQuellen des oriental Kirchenrects I 38 (Texte und Untersuchungen, Gebhardt-Harnack VI) Leipzig: 1891].-They contain questions.


[According to the Psalter of Rufinus (The Roman form)]

2  1. I believe in God, the Father almighty;

 2. and in Christ Jesus, His only-begotten Son, our Lord,

 3. who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,

 4. a. was crucified by Pontius Pilate, and was buried;


 5. the third day He arose again from the dead;
 6. a. He ascended into heaven,

  b. sits at the right hand of the Father,

 7. whence He is coming to judge the living and the dead;

 8. and in the Holy Spirit,

 9. a. the holy [Church,]


 10. a.

  b. the forgiveness of sins,

 11. the resurrection of the body. Amen.

[According to the Psalter of Aethelstane]

 1. I believe in God the Father almighty

 2. and in Christ Jesus, His only begotten Son, our Lord

 3. born of the Holy Spirit and Mary the virgin

 4. a. was crucified by Pontius Pilate and was buried


 5. the third day He arose again from the dead

 6. a. He ascended into heaven

  b. sits at the right hand of the Father

 7. whence He is coming to judge the living and the dead

 8. and in the Holy Spirit

 9. a. the holy [Church]


 10. a.

  b. the forgiveness of sins

 11. the resurrection of the body. Amen.


B.[ The following] show a fixed form of the Creed.

4  PSALTER OF AETHELSTANE (in Greek), in the third part, written in the ninth century (at the beginning perhaps) [H. sect. 18; L. 10; CspQ. III 5].The Creed is of uncertain date, very old,* was in liturgical use.

  CODEX LAUDIANUS , (E. Actium, lat.) [H. sect. 20; CspQ. III 162].-The Creed is of uncertain date, written in the seventh century.*

  CODEX SWAINSON (Latin) [Swainson, The Nicene and Apostles' Creeds,London: 1875, 161; H. sect. 23]--The Creed is of uncertain date, written in the eighth century.

  MARCELLUS ANCYRANUS , fourth century, bishop of Angora in Galatia of Asia Minor--Epist. ad Iulium Papam written in the year 337* (In Epiphanius, Haer. 72) [MG 42, 385 D; H. sect. 17].

  PRISCILLIAN, died 385,* lived at Avila in Spain.-Lib. ad Damasum tract. 11 [ed. Schepss (CSEL XVIII [1889] 34). Cf. also KAnt. 20 ff.; H. Sect. 53; L 13].

  PHOEBADIUS , died after 392, bishop of Agen in Aquitania secunda [Guyenna]. - -De fide orthodoxa contra Arianosat the end [H. sect. 59; ML 20, 49 B. "Libellus fidei"]; the book is genuine* (some ascribe it to Gregorius Baeticus, died after 392, bishop of Illiberi [Elivira-Granada].

  RUFINUS , died 410, presbyter of Aquileia--Expositio in Symbolum (other wise Commentarius in Symbolum apostolorum)[H. sect. 19; ML 21, 3.35 B]. --The form of the creed of both the Church at Rome and of the Church at Aquileia is gathered from this.

 NICETAS OF ROMATIANA,* wrote 380*-420,* Romatiana [Remesiana] in Dacia.*--Explanatio Symboli habita ad competentes[H. sect. 40; ML 52, 865 D].

  ST. AUGUSTINE, died 430, bishop of Hippo.--Chief sources:De Fide et Symbolo; serm. 212-214 in traditione Symboli; serm. 215 in redditione Symboli[ML 40, 181; 38, 1058, 1072; H sect. 47; L 13. Serni. 2I5 is genuine*; many believe with Caspari that the creed of Hippo is given in Serm. 215, and that the Creed of Milan is handed down in the rest].

  ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS, died before 458, bishop of Ravenna.--Serm. 57-62[H sect. 35; L. 12; ML 52, 357 A].

  ST. MAXIMUS, middle of the fifth century, bishop of Turin,-- Hom. 83 d e expositione Symboli[H. sect. 34; L. 13; ML 57, 433 A].

  ST. FULGENTIUS OF RUSPE, died 533 (Ruspe in Africa) Liber 10. contra Fabianum Arianum [H. sect. 49; L 14; ML 65, 822].

  ST. MARTIN, died 580, bishop of Braga [Braga in Spain, now Portugal]. De correctione rusticorum [H. sect. 54; ed. Caspari, Christiania 1883.-Cf. K I 153].

  TRACTATUS SYMBOLI in a Missal and Sacramentarium for the use of a certain Florentine church furnishes a Florentine* Creed of the seventh * century; manuscript is of the twelfth century. [H. sect. 39; Csp ANQ 290].

  ST. ILDEFONSE,* died 669, bishop of Toledo.-Liber de cognitione baptismi C. 35 [H. sect. 55; L 13 f.; ML 96, 127 B].

  ETHERIUS, Eighth century bishop of Osmo and Beatus (Biaco), eighth century, presbyter of Astorga in Spain.-Etherii episcopi Uxamensis et Beati presbyteri adv. Elpiandum archiep. Toletanum libri duo,written in the year 785 [H. sect. 56 f.; L 13 f.; ML 96, 906 D].

  LITURGIA MOZARABICA: Seventh century Liber Ordinum [ed. Ferotin, p. 185; H. sect. 58; L 14; ML 85, 395 A].

The More Recent Western Form of the Apostolic Creed

[The received western text called (T)]


 FAUSTUS OF REI, died after 485, in Riez in France. Duae homiliae de Symbolo; Tractatus de Symbolo* [H. sect. 61, L 14; CspQ. II 200].

5 ST. CAESARIUS OF ARLES, died 543, Primate of Gaul [Arles].-Sermo 10 [G. Morin, S. Caesarii Arel. Sermones I, 1, Maretioli 1937, P. 51 ff.; ML 39, 2149]. The elements of the Creed are possessed, an exact formula cannot be worked out; seems to be the same as the two following:

 SACRAMENTARIUM GALLICANUM [Mabillon, Museum Italicum I, Paris 1687, 312, H. sect. 66; L 15], 7/8th century, composed in Gaul,* (others, Missale Vesontiense [Besancon], Missale Bobbiense [Bobbio]); contains two formulae and a Creed in the manner of questions-(The first form is regarded).

 MISSALE GALLICANUM VETUS, Of the beginning of the eighth century [Mabillon,De liturgia Gallicana III, Paris: 1685, 339. H. sect. 67; L 15].

  ST. PIRMINIUS, born in Gallia merid.*; died 753, bishop of the Meld! (?), afterwards abbot of the monastery of Reichenau [Reichenau in Germany]. Words of the Abbot Pirminius on the individual canonical books scarapsus; written between 718 and 724.* [G. Jecker, Die Heimat des III. Pirmin,Munster: 1927, 34 ff.; the creed itself in the customary form IL lo and 28 a, in the form of questions IL 12. H. Sect. 92; ML 89, 1034 C].

  CODEX AUGIENSIS CXCV, perhaps of the eighth century [CspQ III 512].Creed written by a certain Irish monk(?).


 ORDO ROMANUS, ancient of the year 950 [H. Sect. 25; Hittorp, De divinis catholicae ecclesiae officiis, Cologne 1568].-Shows the usual form.


[According to "the Roman Order"]


6  1 a. I believe in God the Father almighty

  b. creator of heaven and earth

 2. and in Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord

 3. who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary

 4. a. suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, died, and was buried

  b. descended into hell

 5. on the third day he arose from the dead

 6. a. He ascended to heaven

  b. sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty

 7. thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead

 8. I believe in the Holy Spirit

 9. a. the holy Catholic Church

  b. the communion of saints

 10. the remission of sins

 11. the resurrection of the body

 12. and life everlasting.

The Eastern Form of the Apostolic Creed


8  ST. JUSTIN MARTYR. See above [n. I] COPTIC APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS (Constitutiones Apostolicae Copticae) orthe Constitutions of the Egyptian Church in Funk, Didasc. et Const. Apost. II (1905) 97 ff., show the Apostolic Tradition (Paradosis) of Hippolytus (on which see above n. 2-3) in the Orient also changed as a creed. Therefore, it seems to be a witness also for the eastern form of the Apostolic Creed.


[of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem] *

9 1. a. We believe in one God the Father Almighty

  b. The creator of heaven and earth

  c. and of all things visible and invisible

 2. a. and in one Lord Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God

  b. who was begotten of the Father

  c. true God

  d. before all ages

  e. by whom all things were made

 3.  a. (who for our salvation)

  b. was made flesh (of the Holy Spirit and Mary the virgin)

  and was made man

 4. a. was crucified (under Pontius Pilate) and was buried


 5. a. arose on the third day

  b. (according to the Scriptures

 6.  a. and ascended into heaven

  b. and sits at the right hand of the Father

 7. a. and comes in glory to judge the living and the dead

  b. of whose kingdom there will be no end

 8. a. and in one Holy Spirit the Paraclete




  e. who spoke among the prophets

 9 * . and one holy [Catholic] church

 10. a. and in one baptism of repentance

  b. in the dismissal of sins

 11. and in the resurrection of the flesh

 12. and in life everlasting

12  EUSEBIUS , died about 340, bishop of Caesarea, Ep. ad suam dioec.[Socrates, Hist. eccl. I,8, 38; MG 67, 69; H. sect. 123; L 18]. Eusebius offered his creed. to the Nicene council in 325, which used it to establish its own form.

 ST. CYRIL, bishop of Jerusalem-Catecheses 6-18,held before 350 (351) [H sect. 124; L. 19; MG 33, 535 ff.]. He gives out a Creed used before 325; its text is construed otherwise by some [Macarius of Jerusalem, predecessorof St. Cyril, seems to have had the same creed, at least according to the: headings].

  ST. EPIPHANIUS, died in 403, bishop of Salamis in Cyprus.-Ancoratus,written about the year 374; contains at the end two formulae, of which the shorter (Greek text deleted) is here considered; [cf. the longer, n. 13 LI ; the Creed is believed to be older than the Ancoratus [H. sect. 125; L 19 f.; ed. K. Holl. 1915, 148; MG 43, 232 C].

 CONSTITUTIONES APOSTOLORUM VII 41, of the beginning* of the fifth century [otherwise, of middle of fourth century; it contains certainly more ancient materials (MG 1, 1041 C. Funk, Didascalia et Constitutiones ApostolorumI, Paderborn: 1905, 445)]. The Creed, as far as many parts are concerned, belongs to Lucian Martyr* (died 312); it shows a Syro-Palestinian* form.

Longer Form

(Exposition of Nicene Creed proposed to certain catechumens in the Orient)

13 We believe in one God, the father almighty, the creator of all things invisible and visible; and in one lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, the only begotten born of God the father, that is of the substance of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, consubstantial to the father, by whom all things were made, both those in heaven and those on earth, both visible and invisible, who for us melt and for our salvation came down and became man, that is was completely born of holy Mary ever-virgin by the Holy Spirit, was made man, that is, assumed perfect human nature, soul and body and mind, and all whatever is man except sin, not from the seed of man nor by means of man, but having fashioned unto himself a body into one holy unity; not as he lived in the prophets and talked and worked in them, but became man completely ("for the word was made flesh," he did not submit to an alteration, nor did he change his own divine nature into human nature); he combined both the divine nature and the human into the only holy perfection of himself; (for there is one Lord Jesus Christ, and not two; the same God, the same Lord, the same King); but the same suffered in the flesh and arose again and ascended into heaven with the very body and sits in glory at the right hand of the Father, in that very body he is coming in glory to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end:-and we believe in the Holy Spirit who spoke in the law, and taught by the prophets, and descended to the Jordan, spoke by the Apostles, and lives in the saints; thus we believe in him: that he is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the perfect Spirit, the Spirit Paraclete, uncreated, proceeding from the Father and receiving of the Son, in whom we believe.

14 We believe in one catholic and apostolic Church, and in one baptism of repentance, and in the resurrection of the dead, and the just judgment of souls and bodies, and in the kingdom of heaven, and in life eternal.

 But those who say that there was a time when the Son or the Holy Spirit was not, that he was made from nothing or is of another substance or essence, alleging that the Son of God or the Holy Spirit was changed or altered, these the catholic and apostolic Church, your mother and our mother, anathematizes. We also anathematize those who do not confess the resurrection of the dead, and besides all the heresies which are not consistent with this true faith.


[Of uncertain author and time; from Gaul about 500 (?)]

15 We believe in one God the Father almighty and in our one Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God and in (one) Holy Spirit God. Not three Gods, but Father and Son and Holy Spirit one God do we worship and confess: not one God in such a way as to be solitary, nor the same in such wise that he himself is Father to himself and he himself is Son to himself; but the Father is he who begot, and the Son is he who is begotten; the Holy Spirit in truth is neither begotten nor unbegotten, neither created nor made, but proceeding from the Father and the Son, coeternal and coequal and the cooperator with the Father and the Son, because it is written: "By the word of the Lord the heavens were established" (that is, by the Son of God), "and all the power of them by the spirit of his mouth" [Ps. 32:6], and elsewhere: "Send forth thy spirit and they shall be created and thou shalt renew the face of the earth" [Ps. 103:30]. And therefore we confess one God in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, because god is the name of power, not of peculiarity. The proper name for the Father is Father, and the proper name for the Son is Son, and the proper name for the Holy Spirit is Holy Spirit. And in this Trinity we believe in one God, because what is of one nature and of one substance and of one power with the Father is from one Father. The Father begot the Son, not by will, nor by necessity, but by nature.

16 The Son in the fullness of time came down from the Father to save us and to fulfill the Scriptures, though he never ceased to be with the Father, and was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; he took a body, soul, and sense, that is, he assumed perfect human nature; nor did he lose, what he was, but he began to be, what he was not; in such a way, however, that he is perfect in his own nature and true in our nature.

 For he who was God, was born a man, and he who was born a man, operates as God; and he who operates as God, dies as a man; and he who dies as a man, arises as God. He having conquered the power of death with that body, with which he was born, and suffered, and had died, arose on the third day, ascended to the Father, and sits at his right hand in glory, which he always has had and always has. We believe that cleansed in his death and in his blood we are to be raised up by him on the last day in this body with which we now live; and we have hope that we shall obtain from him either life eternal, the reward of good merit or the penalty of eternal punishment for sins. Read these words, keep them, subject your soul to this faith. From Christ the Lord you will receive both life and reward.


[Of uncertain author and time; from Gaul about 500(?)]

17 The merciful Trinity is one divine Godhead. Consequently the Father 17 and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one source, one substance, one virtue, and one power. We say that God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are not three gods, but we very piously confess one God. For although we name three persons, we publicly declare with the catholic and apostolic voice that they are one substance. Therefore the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, these three are one[cf. 1 John 5:7]. Three, neither confused, nor separated, but both distinctly joined, and, though joined, distinct; united in substance, but differentiated in name, joined in nature, distinct in person, equal in divinity, entirely similar in majesty, united in trinity, sharers in splendor. They are one in such a way, that we do not doubt that they are also three; and they are three in such a way that we acknowledge that they cannot be disjoined from one another. Therefore there is no doubt, that an insult to one is an affront to all, because the praise of one pertains to the glory of all.

18 'For this is the principal point of our faith according to the Gospel and the apostolic doctrine, that our Lord Jesus Christ and the Son of God are not separated from the Father either in the acknowledgment of honor, or in the power of virtue, or in the divine nature of substance, or by an interval of time.'* And therefore if anyone says that the Son of God, who just as he is truly God, so also is true man except in sin alone, ,did not possess something belonging to human nature or did not possess something belonging to the Godhead, he should be judged wicked and hostile to the Catholic and apostolic Church.


OF THE YEAR 400 [AND 447] *

[Formula, "A little book like a Creed"]

 The rule of the Catholic faith against all heresies [(Here) begin the rules ,of the Catholic faith against all heresies, and especially indeed against the Priscillianists, which the bishops of Tarraco, Carthage, Lusitania, and Baetica have composed and with a command of Pope Leo of the City transmitted to Balconius, bishop of Gallicia. .. .. .. ].

19 We believe in one true God, Father, and Son and Holy Spirit, maker of the visible and the invisible, by whom were created all things in heaven and on earth. This God alone and this Trinity alone is of divine name [divine substance]. The Father is not [himself] the Son, but has the Son, who is not the Father. The Son is not the Father, but the Son is of God by nature [is of the Father's nature]. The Spirit is also the Paraclete, who is himself neither the Father, nor the Son, but proceeds from the Father [proceeding from the Father and the Son]. Therefore the Father is unbegotten, the Son is begotten, the Paraclete is not begotten, but proceeding from the Father [and the Son]. The Father is he whose words were heard from the heavens: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.[Matt. 17:5;2 Peter 1:17. Cf- Matt. 3:17]. The Son is he who says: I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world[cf. John 16:28 ]. The Paraclete himself [the Spirit] is he, concerning whom the Son says: Unless I go to the Father, the Paraclete will not come toyou [ John 16:17 ]. This Trinity, though distinct in persons, is one substance [united], virtue, power, majesty [in virtue and in power and in majesty] indivisible, not different. [We believe] there is no divine nature except that [this], either of angel or of spirit or of any virtue, which is believed to be God.

20 Therefore this Son of God, God, born of the Father entirely before every beginning, has sanctified in the womb [the womb] of the Blessed Mary Virgin, and from her has assumed true man, human nature having been begotten without the [virile] seed of man; [of not more or not less than two natures, namely, of God and of flesh, meeting completely in one person], that is, [our] Lord Jesus Christ. Not [And not] an imaginary body or one constituted of form alone [ in place of this:or that it belong to some phantasm in him]; but a firm [and true] one. And this man hungered and thirsted and grieved and wept and felt all the pains of a body [ in place of this:suffered all the injuries of a body]. Finally he was crucified [by the Jews], died and was buried, [and] on the third day he arose again; afterwards he conversed with [his] disciples; the fortieth day [ after the resurrection ] he ascended to the heavens [ heaven ]. This son of man is called [named] also the Son of God; but the Son of God, God, is not (likewise) called the Son of man [calls the Son of man (thus)].

 We believe that there [will] assuredly [be] a resurrection of the human flesh [for the body]. However, the soul of man is not a divine substance, or a part of God, but a creature [we say] which did not fall by the divine will [created].

21  1. If therefore [however] anyone says and [or] believes, that this world and all its furnishings were not made by God almighty, let him be anathema.

22 2. If anyone says and [or] believes, that God the Father is the same person as the Son or the Paraclete, let him be anathema.

23  3. If anyone says and [or] believes that God the Son [of God] is the same person as the Father or the Paraclete, let him be anathema.

24 4. If anyone says and [or] believes that the Paraclete the Spirit is either the Father or the Son, let him be anathema.

25  5. If anyone say and [or] believes that the man Jesus Christ was not assumed by the Son of God [ in place of this:that a body only without a soul was assumed by the Son of God], let him be anathema.

26 6. If anyone says and [or] believes, that the Son of God, as God, suffered [ in place of this: that Christ cannot be born], let him be anathema.

27 7. If anyone says and [or] believes that the man Jesus Christ was a man incapable of suffering [in place of this:the divine nature of Christ was changeable or capable of suffering], let him be anathema.

28 8. If anyone says and [or] believes, that there is one God of the old Law, another of the Gospels, let him be anathema.

29 9. If anyone says and [or] believes, that the world was made by another God than [and not] by him, concerning whom it is written:In the beginning God created hea ven and earth [cf. Gen. I, I], let him be anathema.

30 10. If anyone says and [or] believes that the human bodies will not rise again [do not rise] after death, let him be anathema.

31 11. If anyone says and for] believes that the human soul is a part of God or is God's substance, let him be anathema.

32 12. If anyone either believes that any scriptures, except those which the Catholic Church has received, ought to be held in authority or venerates them [If anyone says or believes other scriptures, besides those which the Catholic Church receives, ought to be held in authority or ought to be venerated], let him be anathema.

33 [13. If anyone says or believes that there is in Christ one nature of the Godhead of humanity, let him be anathema.]

34  [14. If anyone says or believes that there is anything that can extend itself beyond the divine Trinity, let him be anathema.]

35 [15. If anyone holds that astrology and the interpretation of stars (sic) ought to be believed, let him be anathema.]

36 [16. If anyone says or believes, that the marriages of men, which are considered licit according to divine law, are accursed, let him be anathema.]

37  [17. If anyone says or believes that the flesh of birds or of animals, which has been given for food, not only ought to be abstained from for the chastising of the body, but ought to be abhorred, let him be anathema.]

38  [18. If anyone follows the sect of Priscillian in these errors or publicly professes it) so that he makes a change in the saving act of baptism contrary to the chair of Holy Peter, let him be anathema.]


[Which is called "Athanasian"] *

39 Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity. -But the Catholic faith is this, that we venerate one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in oneness; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance; for there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, (and) another of the Holy Spirit; but the divine nature of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one, their glory is equal, their majesty is coeternal. Of such a nature as the Father is, so is the Son, so (also) is the Holy Spirit; the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, (and) the Holy Spirit is uncreated; the Father is immense, the Son is immense, (and) the Holy Spirit is immense; the Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, (and) the Holy Spirit is eternal: and nevertheless there are not three eternals, but one eternal; just as there are not three uncreated beings, nor three infinite beings, but one uncreated, and one infinite; similarly the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, (and) the Holy Spirit is omnipotent: and yet there are not three omnipotents, but one omnipotent; thus the Father is God, the Son is God, (and) the Holy Spirit is God; and nevertheless there are not three gods, but there is one God; so the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, (and) the Holy Spirit is Lord: and yet there are not three lords, but there is one Lord; because just as we are compelled by Christian truth to confess singly each one person as God and [and also] Lord, so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there are three gods or lords. The Father was not made nor created nor begotten by anyone. The Son is from the Father alone, not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son, not made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding. There is therefore one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits; and in this Trinity there is nothing first or later, nothing greater or less, but all three persons are coeternal and coequal with one another, so that in every respect, as has already been said above, both unity in Trinity, and Trinity in unity must be venerated. Therefore let him who wishes to be saved, think thus concerning the Trinity.

40 But it is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believe also the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly it is the right faith, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God is God and man. He is God begotten of the substance of the Father before time, and he is man born of the substance of his mother in time: perfect God, perfect man, consisting of a rational soul and a human body, equal to the Father according to his Godhead, less than the Father according to humanity. Although he is God and man, yet he is not two, but he is one Christ; one, however, not by the conversion of the Divinity into a human body, but by the assumption of humanity in the Godhead; one absolutely not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For just as the rational soul and body are one man, so God and man are one Christ. He suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, on the third day arose again from the dead, ascended to heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty; thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead; .at his coming all men have to arise again with their bodies and will render an account of their own deeds: and those who have done good, will go into life everlasting, but those who have done evil, into eternal fire.-This is the Catholic faith; unless every one believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.


under whose name two canonical epistles are extant.

ST. LINUS 67(?) - 79(?) ST. (ANA) CLETUS 79(?) - 90(?)

ST. CLEMENT I 90(?)- 99(?)

The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *

[From the letter "(Greek text deleted)" to the Corinthians]

41 (1) BECAUSE of the sudden calamities that have followed one another in turn and because of the adverse circumstances which have befallen us, we think, brethren, that we have returned too late to those matters which are being inquired into among you, beloved, and to the impious and detestable sedition . . . which a few rash and presumptuous men have aroused to such a degree of insolence that your honorable and illustrious name . . . is very much reviled. . . . In order to remind you of your duty, we write. . . . (57) You, therefore, who have laid the foundations of this insurrection, be subject in obedience to the priests and receive correction unto repentance. . . . (59) But if some will not submit to them, let them learn what He [Christ] has spoken through us, that they will involve themselves in great sin and danger; we, however, shall be innocent of this transgression. . . . (63) Indeed you will give joy and gladness to us, if having become obedient to what we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will cut out the unlawful application of your zeal according to the exhortation which we have made in this epistle concerning peace and union.

42   Concerning the Hierarchy and the Status of the Laity *

[From the same epistle to the Corinthians]

 (40) (For) they do not go astray who follow the commands of the Lord. Inasmuch as peculiar gifts have been bestowed upon the chief priest, a special place has been assigned to the priests, and particular duties are incumbent upon the Levites. The layman is bound by the precepts pertaining to the laity.

 (41) Let each of us, brethren, "in his own order" [ 1 Cor. 15:23 ] with a good conscience not transgressing the prescribed rule of his own office give thanks to God honorably.

 (42) The Apostles were made preachers of the Gospel to us by the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent by God. . . . Accordingly, when they had proclaimed the word through country districts and cities and had tested the first converts of these by the spirit, they appointed bishops and deacons of those who were to believe.

  ST. EVARISTUS (99) (?)-107 (?)  ST. PIUS 1 140 (?)-154 (?)

  ST. ALEXANDER I 107 (?)-116 (?) ST. ANICETUS 154 (?)-165 (?)

  ST. SIXTUS I 116 ( ?)-125 (? )  ST. SOTER 165 (?)-174 (? )

  ST. TELESPHORUS 125 (?)-136 (?) ST. ELEUTHERIUS 174 ( P )-I 89 ( ? )

  ST. HYGINUS 136 (?)-140 (?)  ST. VICTOR 189 (?)-198 (?) *

ST. ZEPHYRINUS 198 (?)-217

resp. ST. CALLISTUS I    2I7-222

The Incarnate Word *

[From St. Hippolytus's Philosophy IX 11, about the year 230]

42a "[Callistus], however, influenced ZEPHYRINUS himself to speak to the people openly: I know one God Christ Jesus, and besides him no other begotten and passible; then indeed [CALLISTUS] said: The Father did not die, but the Son: in such a way as this he kept up the perpetual dispute among the people.

 When we had learned his [CALLISTUS'S] purposes, we did not yield, refuting and resisting for the sake of truth: driven to madness, especially because all agreed to his pretext-not we, however-he invoked two gods, voluntarily discharging the virus which lay hidden in his internal organs."

The Absolving of Sins *

[Fragment from Tertullian's "De pudicitia" c. 1]

43 "I also hear that an edict is published and is indeed final. Evidently the Supreme Pontiff, because he is the bishop of bishops, declares: I forgive the sins of adultery and fornication to those who have performed the penance." *

  ST. URBANUS 222-230  ST. ANTERUS 235-236

  ST. PONTIANUS 230-235 ST. FABIANUS 235-250


The Monarchical Constitution of the Church *

[From epistle (6) "Quantam solicitudinem" to Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, 252]

44 "We know that CORNELIUS, bishop of the most holy Catholic 44 Church, was chosen by God almighty and by Christ our Lord; we confess our error; we have suffered imposture; we have been deceived by treachery and captious loquacity; for although we seemed to have held, as it were, a certain communication with a schismatical and heretical man, nevertheless our heart has always been in the Church; for we are not ignorant that there is one God and that there is one Lord Christ, whom we have confessed, that there is one Holy Spirit and that there ought to be one bishop in the Catholic Church."

Concerning the written proof for teaching the Holy Spirit,

see Kirch n. 256 R n. 547; concerning the Trinity,

see R n. 546.

The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy *

[From the epistle "(Greek text deleted)" to Fabius, bishop ofAntioch, in the year 251]

45  Therefore did not that famous defender of the Gospel [Novatian] know that there ought to be one bishop in the Catholic Church [of the city of Rome]? It did not lie hidden from him (for how could it be concealed?) that in this there were forty-six priests, seven deacons, seven subdeacons, forty-two acolytes, and fifty-two exorcists and lectors together with porters and more than a thousand five hundred widows and [needy] eunuchs.

ST. LUCIUS I 253-254
ST. STEPHAN I 254-257

The Baptism of Heretics *

[Fragment of a letter to Cyprian, from his letter (74) to Pompey]

46 (1) . . . "If therefore any come to you from any heresy whatsoever, let nothing be renewed except what has been transmitted, so that the hand is placed upon them for repentance, since the heretics among themselves properly do not baptize those coming to them, but only give them communion."

[Fragment from a letter of Stephan from a letter

(75) of Firmilianus to Cyprian]

47 (18) "But," he [STEPHAN] says, "the name of Christ conduces greatly to faith and to the sanctification of baptism, so that whoever has been baptized anywhere in the name of Christ, at once obtains the grace of Christ." 



The Trinity and the Incarnation *

[Fragment from epistle (2) against the Tritheists and

Sabellians, about the year 260]

48 (1) Now assuredly it is just to preach against those who destroy the 48 one power which is the most sacred teaching of the Church of God, dividing and rending it into some three powers and distinct substances and three deities. For I have heard that some who preach and explain the divine word among you are teachers of this belief; yet they, so to speak, are diametrically opposed to the opinion of Sabellius.

 For the latter blasphemes when he says that the Son himself is the Father and the reverse: the former indeed in a certain measure proclaim three gods, when they divide the sacred unity into three different substances altogether distinct from one another. For it is necessary that the divine Word be united to the God of all, and that the Holy Spirit abide in God and dwell in Him: and thus the divine Trinity is reduced to and gathered into one, as it were, into a certain head, that is into the omnipotent God of all. For foolish Marcion's doctrine which divides and separates the monarchy into three principles is surely diabolical; moreover, it is not of the true disciples of Christ or of those to whom the teaching of the Savior is pleasing. For these know well that the Trinity is indeed proclaimed in divine Scripture, moreover, that three gods are taught neither in the Old nor in the New Testament.

49 (2) But none the less they should be blamed who think that the Son is 49 a work, and that the Lord was made just as one of those things which were actually created; since divine statements bear witness that He was begotten, as is proper and fitting, not created or made.

 It is therefore not a trifling, but a very great irreverence to say that the Lord was made in some way. For if the Son was made, there was a time when He did not exist; and yet He always was, if He undoubtedly is, as He himself declares, in the Father [John 14:10 f.]. Moreover, and if Christ is the word, the wisdom, and the power (for the divine Scriptures teach that Christ is [John 1:14; 1 Cor. 1:24], as you yourselves know), surely these are the powers of God. Wherefore, if the Son was made, there was a time when these powers did not exist; and so there was a time when God was without them; which is very absurd.

50 But why should I treat further about these matters with you, man full of the Spirit, and especially who understand what absurdities follow from that opinion which asserts that the Son was made? It seems to me that the leaders of this belief did not consider these at all, and thus have completely strayed from the truth, when they explain differently from what the divine and prophetic Scripture wishes, the passage: "The Lord created man in the beginning of his ways" [Prov. 8:22: LXX]. Certainly there is not, as you know, only one meaning of the word "created." For in this passage "created" is the same as "he set him over works made by Him," made, I say, by the Son Himself.

 But here "created" ought not to be understood exactly as "made." For " to make" and "to create" differ from each other. "Is not he thy father that hast possessed thee, and made thee, and created thee?" [Dt. 32:6:LXX] said Moses in the great canticle of Deuteronomy. And so who can rightly refute them: O rash and inconsiderate men, was he then a made thing "the first born of every creature" [Col. 1:15], "begotten from the womb before the daystar" [Ps. 109:3:LXX] of whom as Wisdom says, "before all the hills he brought me forth"? [Prov. 8:25:LXX]. Finally anybody may read in many passages of the divine statements that the Son was "begotten," but nowhere "made." By reason of this they who dare to call His divine and inexplicable begetting a making, are clearly proved to speak falsely about the Lord's generation.

51 (3) Neither therefore ought the admirable and divine unity be separated into three godheads, nor ought the dignity and supreme magnitude of the Lord be lessened by the designation of making; but we must believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus his Son, and in the Holy Spirit, that the Word, moreover, is united to the God of all.

 For He said: "I and the Father are one" [ John 10:30], and: "I am in the Father, and the Father in me" [ John 14:10]. Thus it is evident that the divine Trinity and the holy proclamation of the monarchy will be preserved intact.

  ST. FELIX I 269-274  ST. CAIUS 283-296



The Indissolubility of Matrimony

52a Can. 9. Likewise let the faithful woman, who has left an adulterous husband and attracts another faithful one, be forbidden to marry; if she should marry, let her not receive communion unless he whom she has left has previously departed this world; unless by chance the exigency of illness should compel the giving.

The Celibacy of the Clergy

52b Can. 27. A bishop, or any priest at all, may have with him only a sister or a virgin daughter dedicated to God; it is decided that he by no means have a stranger.

52c Can. 33. It is decided that marriage be altogether prohibited to bishops, priests, and deacons, or to all clerics placed in the ministry, and that they keep away from their wives and not beget children; whoever does this, shall be deprived of the honor of the clerical office.

Baptism and Confirmation

52d Can. 38. If people are traveling by sea in a foreign place or if there is no church in the neighborhood, a person of the faith who keeps his baptism sound and is not twice married, can baptize a catechumen placed in the exigency of sickness, on condition that, if he survives, he bring him to a bishop, in order that it may be made perfect by the imposition of the hand.

52e Can. 77. If any deacon ruling the people without a bishop or priest baptizes some, the bishop will have to confirm these by a blessing; but if they should depart the world beforehand, in the faith in which anyone of them has believed, that one can be justified.

ST. MARCELLUS 308-309 ST. EUSEBIUS 309 (or 310)




53*  Can. 15. That deacons may not offer, see Kch 373

Plenary (against the Donatists) The Baptism of Heretics *

53 Can. 8. Concerning the Africans, because they use their own law so as to rebaptize, it has been decided that, if anyone from a heretical sect come to the Church, he should be asked his creed, and if it is perceived that he has been baptized in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, only the hand should be imposed upon him, in order that he may receive the Holy Spirit. But if upon being questioned he does not answer this Trinity, let him be baptized.


Ecumenical I (against the Arians).

The Nicene Creed *

54    [Version of Hilary of Poitiers]

 We believe in one God the Father almighty, creator of all things visible and invisible. And in our one Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, the onlybegotten born of the Father, that is of the substance of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, born, not made, of one substance with the Father (which they call in Greek "homousion"), by whom all things were made, which are in heaven and on earth, who for our salvation came down, and became incarnate and was made man, and suffered, and arose again on the third day, and ascended into heaven, and will come to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit.

 But those who say: "There was [a time] when he was not," and, "Before he was born, he was not," and "Because he was made from nonexisting matter, he is either of another substance or essence," and those who call "God the Son of God changeable and mutable," these the Catholic Church anathematizes. *

The Baptism of Heretics and the Viaticum of the Dying *

55    [Version of Dionysius Exig.*]

 Can. 8. Concerning those who call themselves Cathari [Novatians] that is, clean, if at any time they come to the Catholic Church, it has been decided by the holy and great Council, that, provided they receive the imposition of hands, they remain among the clergy. However, because they are accepting and following the doctrines of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, it is fitting that they acknowledge this in writing before all; that is, both that they communicate with the twice married and with those who have lapsed during a persecution.

56 Can. 19. Concerning the Paulianists who take refuge with the Catholic Church, a decree has been published that they should be fully baptized. If, however, any of these in time past have been in the clerical order, if indeed they have appeared spotless and above reproach, after being baptized, let them be ordained by the bishop of the Catholic Church. . . .

57 Can. 13. Concerning these, who approach death, even now the ancient and regular law will be kept; so that, if anyone is departing from the body, he be not deprived of the last and necessary viaticum. But if after being despaired of, and receiving communion, and being made a sharer of the oblation, he again regains his health, let him be among those who receive only the communion of prayer. Generally, however, to everyone without exception placed at death and requesting that the grace of communion be given him, the bishop probably ought to give from the oblation.

57*   Synodal letter to the Egyptians concerningthe error of Arius

and the ordinationsmadeby Melitius see Kch n 410 f.


ST. JULIUS I 337-352

The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *

[From the epistle (Greek text deleted) to

the Antiochenes, in the year 341]

57a For if, indeed as you assert, some sin has risen among them, a judicial investigation ought to have been made according to the ecclesiastical canon, and not in this manner. Everyone should have written to us, in order that thus what was might be decided by all; for the bishops were the ones who suffered, and it was not the ordinary churches that were harassed, but which the apostles themselves governed in person. Yet why has nothing been written to us, especially regarding the Alexandrian church? Or do you not know that it is the custom to write to us first, and that here what is just is decided? Certainly if any suspicion of this nature did fall upon the bishop of that city, the fact should have been written to this church.


The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *

57b [Authentic text] [Can. 3] (Isid. 4). Caius the bishop said: That also, that a bishop may not cross from one province into another province, in which there are bishops, unless perchance on the invitation of his brothers, lest we seem to have shut the door of charity. --That too should be provided; if perchance in any province some bishop has a dispute with a brother bishop, let no one of these summon the bishops from another province.-But if any bishop has been judged in some case, and he thinks he has a good case, so that a new trial may be given, if it seems good to you, let us honor the memory of the most holy Apostle, PETER: either let those who have examined the case or the bishops who reside in the next province write to the Roman bishop; and if he should judge that the judicial investigation ought to be repeated, let it be repeated, and let him appoint judges. But if he should determine that the case is such, that what has been finished should not be reopened, his decree shall be confirmed. Is this agreeable to all? The synod replied: It is agreeable.

 (Isid. 5). Gaudentius the bishop said: To this very holy opinion which you have offered, if it is agreeable, we ought to add: when any bishop has been deposed by the judgment of those bishops who abide in the neighboring places, and when he has proclaimed that he must plead his case in the city of Rome, another bishop may not be ordained for his place in the same office after the appeal of him who seems to have been deposed, unless his case has been decided by the judgment of the bishop of Rome.

57d [Can. 3b] (Isid. 6.) Osius the bishop said: However it has been agreed, that, if a bishop has been accused, and the assembled bishops of the same province have judged and deprived him of his office, and he appears to have appealed, and has taken refuge with the most blessed bishop of the Roman church and has desired to be heard, and he has thought it just that an examination be made anew, let him deign to write to these bishops who are in the adjoining and neighboring province so that they themselves may diligently make all inquiries and decide according to their pledge of truth. But if anyone asks that his case be heard again and by his plea moves the Roman bishop to send a presbyter from his own side, what he [the presbyter] wishes or what he determines will be in the power of the bishop; and if he decrees those ought to be sent who in person may judge with the bishops and who have the authority [of him] by whom they have been appointed, it [this decree] will be within his decision. But if he believes that the bishops suffice to put an end to the affair, he will do that which he decides in accordance with his own very wise deliberation.

57b [Greek version] 3. Hosius the bishop said: It is necessary to declare this in order that no bishop may keep crossing from his own province into a different province in which there are bishops, unless perchance he should be invited by his brothers, so that we may not seem to close the doors of charity. And this too, one must provide for, that, if in any province one of the bishops should have trouble with his brother and fellow-bishop, neither of these two call to his aid as judges the bishops of another province. Yet on the other hand, if one of the bishops should think that he is being condemned in some trouble, and thinks that he has not an unsound, but a good case, in order that a new trial may be held, if it seems good to your charity, let us honor the memory of Peter the apostle, and let these judges write to Julius the bishop of Rome so that through the bishops who border on the province, if it should be necessary, the trial be reopened, and he himself should furnish the judges. But if it cannot be proven that this matter is of such a nature as to need a new trial, let not the decisions made once be set aside, but let them be confirmed.

 4. Gaudentius the bishop said: If it is decided, we ought to add to this decision which you have offered full of pure charity: that, if a bishop has been deposed by the judgment of these bishops who are in the neighborhood, and he alleges that the business of defense will again fall upon himself, another may not be ordained to his office unless previously the bishop of Rome has come to a decision concerning him and has published his judgment.

57d 5. Hosius the bishop said: It has been agreed that, if a bishop has been accused, and the assembled bishops of the same region have deposed him from his rank, and in as much as he has appealed and taken refuge with the most blessed bishop of the Roman church, and he has wished to hear him, if he thinks it is just to renew the examination of his difficulty, let him deign to write to these bishops who live in the neighboring province so that they themselves may examine carefully and with exactness each matter and declare their vote on the problem according to their pledge of truth. But if anyone should ask that his case be heard again, and by his prayer seems to move the bishop of Rome to dispatch elders from his side; what be decides is good is in the power of the bishop himself, and if he determines that it is necessary to send those who will judge with the bishops and who have the absolute authority of him by whom they were sent, this also must be granted. But if he should consider it sufficient by reason of the examination of the difficulty and the sentence of the bishop, he will do what he thinks is good according to his very wise deliberation. The bishops gave an answer. What was said was agreeable.

From the epistle "Quod semper" by which the synod

transmitted its acts to St. Julius] *

57e For this will seem to be best and most fitting indeed, if the priests from each and every province refer to the head, that is, to the chair of PETER the apostle.

ST. LIBERIUS 352-366

Concerning the Baptism of Heretics, see St. SIRICIUS

[n. 88]

 ST. DAMASUS I 366-384


The Trinity and the Incarnation *

[Tome of DAMASUS *]

58 [After this Council, which was assembled in the city of Rome by the Catholic bishops, * they made additions concerning the Holy Spirit]. And because afterwards this error became so fixed that they even dared to say with sacrilegious words that the Holy Spirit was made by the Son:

59 (1) We anathematize those who proclaim quite freely that he is not of one power and substance with the Father and the Son.

60 (2) We anathematize those also who follow the error of Sabellius, saying that the same one is Father as well as Son.

61 (3) We anathematize Arius and Eunomius who with equal impiety, though in different terms, declare that the Son and Holy Spirit are creatures.

62 (4) We anathematize the Macedonians who, springing from the root of Arius, have changed not the perfidy, but the name.

63 (5) We anathematize Photinus who, renewing the heresy of Ebion, confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ was of Mary only.

64 (6) We anathematize those who say (there are) two Sons, one eternal, and the other after the assumption of flesh from the Virgin.

65 (7) We anathematize those who say that instead of the rational and intellectual soul of man, the Word of God dwelt in a human body, although the Son Himself and Word of God was not in His own body instead of a rational and intellectual soul, but assumed our soul without sin (that is the rational and intellectual soul) and saved it.

66 (8) We anathematize those who contend that the Word, the Son of God, has extension or collection (of members) and is separate from the Father, is unsubstantial, and will have an end.

67 (9) Those also who have moved from churches to churches, we hold as not belonging to our communion until they return to those cities in which they were first established. But if one is ordained in the place of one who is living, while another is moving, let him who has left his own city be without the dignity of the priestly office until his successor rests in the Lord.

68  (10) If anyone does not say that the Father does always exist, the Son does always exist, and the Holy Spirit does always exist, he is a heretic.

69 (11) If anyone does not say that the Son was begotten of the Father, that is, of the divine substance of Him Himself, he is a heretic.

70  (12) If anyone does not say that the Son of God is true God just as [His] Father is true God [and] He is all-powerful and omniscient and equal to the Father, he is a heretic.

71 (13) If anyone says that because He was established in the flesh when He was on earth, He was not in heaven with the Father, he is a heretic.

72 (14) If anyone says, that in the passion of the cross God felt pain, and not the body with the soul which the Son of God Christ had assumed-the form of a servant, which He had taken upon himself [cf. Phil. 2:7], as says the Scripture-, he does not think rightly.

73 (15) If anyone does not say that He sits at the right hand of the Father, in the flesh, in which He will come to judge the living and the dead, he is a heretic.

74 (16) If anyone does not say that the Holy Spirit, just as the Son, is truly and properly of the Father, of divine substance, and is true God, he is a heretic.

75 (17) If anyone does not say that the Holy Spirit can do all things and knows all things and is everywhere just as the Son and the Father, he is a heretic.

76 (18) If anyone says that the Holy Spirit is a creature, or was made by the Son, he is a heretic.

77 (19) If anyone does not say that the Father made all things through the Son and His Holy Spirit, that is, the visible and the invisible; he is a heretic.

78 (20) If anyone does not say that there is one divinity of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, one sovereignty, one majesty, one power, one glory, one dominion, one kingdom, and one will and truth, he is a heretic.

79  (21) If anyone does not say there are three true persons of Father, and of Son, and of Holy Spirit, equal, immortal, containing all things visible and invisible, ruling all things, judging all things, vivifying all things, creating all things, saving all things, he is a heretic.

80 (22) If anyone does not say that the Holy Spirit ought to be adored by every creature just as the Son and Father, he is a heretic.

81 (23) If anyone thinks well of the Father and the Son, but does not rightly esteem the Holy Spirit, he is a heretic, because all heretics who think erroneously about the Son [ of God I and the [ Holy ] Spirit are found in the perfidy of the Jews and the pagans.

82 (24) But if anyone divides,* saying that God [Christ's] Father, and God His Son, and God the Holy Spirit are gods, and does not thus say God on account of the one divinity and power which we believe and know (to be) the Father's, and the Son's, and the Holy Spirit's, but taking away the Son or the Holy Spirit, thus believes that the Father alone is called God, or in this manner believes God one, he is a heretic in every respect, nay rather a Jew, because the name of gods was attached and given both to angels and to all the saints from God, but of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit because of their one and equal divinity, not the name of gods, but of God is declared and revealed to us, in order that we may believe, because we are baptized only in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit and not in the names of archangels or angels, as heretics, or Jews, or even demented pagans.

 This then is the salvation of Christians, that believing in the Trinity, that is, in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, [and] baptized in this, we believe without doubt that there is only one true divinity and power, majesty and substance of the same

The Holy Spirit*

["Decree of DAMASUS" from the acts of the Roman Synod, in the year 382]

83 It has been said: We must first treat of the sevenfold Spirit, which reposes in Christ, the Spirit of wisdom:Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God[1 Cor. 1:24]. The Spirit of understanding: I will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in this way, in which thou shalt go[Ps. 31:8]. The Spirit of counsel:And his name shall be called angel of great counsel[ Is. 9:6: LXX]. The Spirit of power (as above):The power of God and the wisdom of God [1 Cor. 1:24]. The Spirit of knowledge: on account of the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the apostle[Eph. 3:19]. The Spirit of truth:I am the way and the life and the truth[ John 14:6]. The Spirit of fear [of God]:The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom[Ps. 110:10] . . . [ there follows an explanation of the various names of Christ:Lord, Word, Flesh, Shepherd, etc.] . . . For the Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of the Father or not only the Spirit of the Son, but the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. For it is written:If anyone love the world, the Spirit of the Father is not in him[1 John 2:15; Rom. 8:9]. Likewise it is written:Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his [Rom. 8:9]. When the Father and the Son are mentioned in this way, the Holy Spirit is understood, of whom the Son himself says in the Gospel, that the Holy Spirit proceedeth from the Father[John 15:26], andhe shall rec eive of mine and shall announce it to you[ John 16:14.]

The Canon of Sacred Scripture *

[From the same decree and the acts of the same Roman Synod]

84 Likewise it has been said: Now indeed we must treat of the divine Scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun.

 The order of the Old Testament begins here:Genesis one book, Exodus one book, Leviticus one book, Numbers one book, Deuteronomy one book, Joshua Nave one book, judges one book, Ruth one book, Kings four books, Paralipomenon two books, Psalms one book, Solomon three books, Proverbs one book, Ecclesiastes one book, Canticle of Canticles one book, likewise Wisdom one book, Ecclesiasticus one book.

  Likewise the order of the Prophets. Isaias one book, Jeremias one book, with Ginoth, that is, with his lamentations, Ezechiel one book, Daniel one book, Osee one book, Micheas one book, Joel one book, Abdias one book, Jonas one book, Nahum one book, Habacuc one book, Sophonias one book, Aggeus one book, Zacharias one book, Malachias one book.

  Likewise the order of the histories. Job one book, Tobias one book, Esdras two books, Esther one book, Judith one book, Machabees two books.

  Likewise the order of the writings of the New and eternal Testament, which the holy and Catholic Church supports. Of the Gospels, according to Matthew one book, according to Mark one book, according to Luke one book, according to John one book.

  The Epistles of Paul [the apostle] in number fourteen. To the Romans one, to the Corinthians two, to the Ephesians one, to the Thessalonians two, to the Galatians one, to the Philippians one, to the Colossians one, to Timothy two, to Titus one, to Philemon one, to the Hebrews one.

  Likewise the Apocalypse of John, one book. And the Acts of the Apostles one book.

  Likewise the canonical epistles in number seven.Of Peter the Apostle two epistles, of James the Apostle one epistle, of John the Apostle one epistle, of another John, the presbyter, two epistles, of Jude the Zealot, the Apostle one epistle, see n. 162 ff. *

  The canon of the New Testament ends here.


Ecumenical II (against the Macedonians, etc.)

Condemnation of the Heretics *

85 The faith of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers who assembled at Nicea in Bithynia is not to be disregarded; but it remain authoritative, and all heresy is to be anathematized: and especially that of the Eunomians or of the Anomians, and that of the Arians, or that of the Eudoxians, and that of the Macedonians, that is to say of those opposing the Spirit, and that of the Sabellians, of the Marcellians and that of the Photinians and that of the Apollinarians.

85 Can. I. [Version of Dionysius Exig.] The faith of three hundred and eighteen Fathers, who convened at Nicea in Bithynia, ought not to be violated; but remains firm and stable. Every heresy ought to be anathematized, and especially those of the Eunomians or Anomians, and of the Arians or Eudoxians, and of the Macedonians or those who oppose the Holy Spirit, and of the Sabellians, and of the Marcellians, and of the Photinians, and of the Apollinarians.

The "Nicene-Constantinopolitan" * Creed

86 We believe in one God, Father omnipotent, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made, who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh by the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became man, and was crucified for us by Pontius Pilate, suffered, and was buried and arose again the third day, according to the Scripture, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father, and is coming again with glory to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets. In one holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of eternity to come. Amen.

86 [Version of Dionysius Exiguus] We believe [I believe] in one God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of the Father [the only begotten Son of God. And born of the Father] before all ages. [God of God, light of light] true God of true God. Born [Begotten], not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and our salvation [and for our salvation] came down from heaven. And was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made human [was made man]. And he was crucified [He was crucified also] for us under Pontius Pilate, [suffered]-and was buried. And on the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. And] ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, [and I will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall not be an end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, proceeding from the Father, [who proceeds from the Father and the Son, * who] to be adored with the Father and the Son [is adored together with] and to be glorified together with (them) [and is glorified together with], who spoke through the holy Prophets [by the Prophets]. And in one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. We confess [I confess] one baptism for the remission of sins. We expect [And I expect] the resurrection of the dead, and the life of a future age [to come]. Amen.

ST. SIRICIUS 384-398

The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *

[From the epistle (1) "Directa ad decessorem" to Himerius,

Bishop of Terracina, Feb. 10, 385]

87 . . . To your inquiry we do not deny a legal reply, because we, upon whom greater zeal for the Christian religion is incumbent than upon the whole body, out of consideration for our office do not have the liberty to dissimulate, nor to remain silent. We carry the weight of all who are burdened; nay rather the blessed apostle PETER bears these in us, who, as we trust, protects us in all matters of his administration, and guards his heirs.

The Baptism of Heretics *

[From the same letter to Himerius]

88 (1, 1) And so on the first page of your letter you have indicated that very many baptized by the impious Arians are hastening to the Catholic faith and that certain of our brothers wish to baptize these same ones again. This is not allowed since the Apostle forbids it to be done [cf. Eph. 4:5; Heb. 6:4 ff. (?)] and the canons oppose it, and after the cessation of the Council of Ariminum general decrees * sent to the provinces by my predecessor LIBERIUS of venerable memory prohibit it. These together with the Novatians and other heretics we join to the company of the Catholics through the sole invocation of the sevenfold Spirit by the imposition of a bishop's hands, just as it was determined in the Synod, which, too, the whole East and West observe. It is proper that you also do not deviate from this course henceforth, if you do not wish to be separated from our company by synodal decision .*

Christian Marriage *

[From the same epistle to Himerius]

88a (4, 5) But you have inquired concerning the marriage veil, whether one can receive in matrimony a girl betrothed to another. Let this not be done. We prohibit it in every way, because, if that blessing which the priest gives to the bride is violated by any transgression, it is like a kind of sacrilege among the faithful.

88* (5, 6) The relapses into passions tobe forgiven finally before death, see Kch. n. 657.

The Celibacy of the Clergy*

[From the same epistle to Himerius]

89 (7, 8 ff.) Let us come now to the most sacred orders of the clergy, which we find so abused and so disorderly throughout your provinces to the injury of venerable religion, that we ought to say in the words of Jeremias:Who will water to my head, or a fountain of tears to my eyes? and I will weep for this people day and night( Jer. 9:1). . . . For we have learned that very many priests and levites of Christ, after long periods of their consecration, have begotten offspring from their wives as well as by shameful intercourse, and that they defend their crime by this excuse, that in the Old Testament it is read that the faculty of procreating was given to the priests and the ministers.

 Whoever that follower of sensual desires is let him tell me now: . . . Why does [the Lord] forewarn those to whom the holies of holies were to be entrusted saying: Be ye holy, because I your Lord God am holy [ Lev. 20:7;1 Pet. 1:16]? Why also were the priests ordered to dwell in the temple at a distance from their homes in the year of their turn? Evidently for this reason that they might not be able to practise carnal intercourse with their wives, so that shining with purity of conscience they might offer an acceptable gift to God. . . .

 Therefore also the Lord Jesus, when He had enlightened us by His coming, testifies in the Gospel, that he came to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it[ Matt. 5:17]. And so He has wished the beauty of the Church, whose spouse He is, to radiate with the splendor of chastity, so that on the day of judgment, when He will have come again, He may be able to find her without spot or wrinkle [Eph. 5:27] as He instituted her through His Apostle. All priests and levites are bound by the indissoluble law of these sanctions, so that from the day of our ordination, we give up both our hearts and our bodies to continence and chastity, provided only that through all things we may please our God in these sacrifices which we daily offer."But those who are in the flesh,"as the vessel of election says, "cannot please God"[ Rom. 8:8 ].

 But those, who contend with an excuse for the forbidden privilege, so as to assert that this has been granted to them by the Old Law, should know that by the authority of the Apostolic See they have been cast out of every ecclesiastical office, which they have used unworthily, nor can they ever touch the sacred mysteries, of which they themselves have deprived themselves so long as they give heed to impure desires. And because existing examples warn us to be on our guard for the future should any bishop, priest, or deacon be found such, which henceforth we do not want) let him now understand that every approach to indulgence is barred through us, because it is necessary that the wounds which are not susceptible to the healing of warm lotions be cut out with a knife.

The Ordinations of Monks *

[From the same epistle to Himerius]

90 (13) We both desire and will that monks also, whom however the austerity of their manners and the holy disposition of their lives and faith commend, be added to the offices of the clergy. . . [cf. n. 1580].

The Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary *

[From epistle (9) "Accepi litteras vestras" to Anysius, 

Bishop of Thessalonica, 392]

91 (3) Surely, we cannot deny that regarding the sons of Mary the statement is justly censured, and your holiness has rightly abhorred it, that from the same virginal womb, from which according to the flesh Christ was born, another offspring was brought forth. For neither would the Lord Jesus have chosen to be born of a virgin, if he had judged she would be so incontinent, that with the seed of human copulation she would pollute that generative chamber of the Lord's body, that palace of the eternal King. For he who imputes this, imputes nothing other than the falsehood of the Jews, who say that he could not have been born of a virgin. For, if they accept this authority from the priests, that Mary seems to have brought forth many children, they strive to sweep away the truth of faith with greater zeal.


The Canon of the Sacred Scripture *

92 Can. 36 (or otherwise 47). [It has been decided] that nothing except the Canonical Scriptures should be read in the church under the name of the Divine Scriptures. But the Canonical Scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the Prophets, Isaias, Jeremias, Daniel, Ezechiel, Tobias, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Machabees. Moreover, of the New Testament: Four books of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles one book, thirteen epistles of Paul the Apostle, one of the same to the Hebrews, two of Peter, three * of John, one of James, one of Jude, the Apocalypse of John. Thus [it has been decided] that the Church beyond the sea may be consulted regarding the confirmation of that canon; also that it be permitted to read the sufferings of the martyrs, when their anniversary days are celebrated.


The Orthodoxy of the Pope LIBERIUS *

[From the epistle "Dat mihi plurimum" to Venerius,

Bishop of Milan, about the year 400]

93 That which is done for the love of Christ gives me very much joy; Italy, as victor with that zeal and aroused ardor for the godhead, retained that faith whole which was handed down from the Apostles and placed in the whole world by our ancestors. For at this time when Constantius of holy memory held the world as victor, the heretical African faction was not able by any deception to introduce its baseness because, as we believe, our God provided that that holy and untarnished faith be not contaminated through any vicious blasphemy of slanderous men-that faith which had been discussed and defended at the meeting of the synod in Nicea by the holy men and bishops now placed in the resting-place of the saints.

 For this faith those who were then esteemed as holy bishops gladly endured exile, that is Dionysius, thus a servant of God, prepared by divine instruction, or those following his example of holy recollection, LIBERIUS bishop of the Roman Church, Eusebius also of Vercelli, Hilary of the Gauls, to say nothing of many, on whose decision the choice could rest to be fastened to the cross rather than blaspheme God Christ, which the Arian heresy compelled, or call the Son of God, God Christ, a creature of the Lord. 

93*   Council of Toledo the yea" 400, The Minister of Unction

and Anointing (can. 20) see Kch n. 712.

ST. INNOCENT I 401-417 *

The Baptism of Heretics *

[From epistle (2) "Etsi tibi" to Vitricius, Bishop of Rouen, Feb. 15, 404]

94 (8) That those who come from the Novatians or the Montanists should be received by the imposition of the hand only, because although they were baptized by heretics, nevertheless they were baptized in the name of Christ.

Reconciliation in the Moment of Death *

[From the epistle "Consulenti tibi" to Exuperius, Bishop

of Toulouse, Feb. 20, 405]

95 (2). . . It has been asked, what must be observed with regard to those who after baptism have surrendered on every occasion to the pleasures of incontinence, and at the very end of their lives ask for penance and at the same time the reconciliation of communion. Concerning them the former rule was harder, the latter more favorable, because mercy intervened. For the previous custom held that penance should be granted, but that communion should be denied. For since in those times there were frequent persecutions, so that the ease with which communion was granted might not recall men become careless of reconciliation from their lapse, communion was justly denied, penance allowed, lest the whole be entirely refused; and the system of the time made remission more difficult. But after our Lord restored peace to his churches, when terror had now been removed, it was decided that communion be given to the departing, and on account of the mercy of God as a viaticum to those about to set forth, and that we may not seem to follow the harshness and the rigor of the Novatian heretic who refused mercy. Therefore with penance a last communion will be given, so that such men in their extremities may be freed from eternal ruin with the permission of our Savior [see n. 1538].

95*   Reconciliation outside of the danger of death; see Kch. n. 727.

The Canon of the Holy Scripture and the Apocryphal Books *

[From the same epistle to Exuperius]
96 (7) A brief addition shows what books really are received in the canon. These are the desiderata of which you wished to be informed verbally: of Moses five books, that is, of Genesis, of Exodus, of Leviticus, of Numbers, of Deuteronomy, and Joshua, of judges one book, of Kings four books, and also Ruth, of the Prophets sixteen books, of Solomon five books, the Psalms. Likewise of the histories, job one book, of Tobias one book, Esther one, Judith one, of the Machabees two, of Esdras two, Paralipomenon two books. Likewise of the New Testament: of the Gospels four books, of Paul the Apostle fourteen epistles, of John three [cf.n. 84, 92] epistles of Peter two, an epistle of Jude, an epistle of James, the Acts of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of John.

 Others, however, which were written by a certain Leucius under the name of Matthias or of James the Less, or under the name of Peter and John (or which were written by Nexocharis and Leonidas the philosophers under the name of Andrew), or under the name of Thomas, and if there are any others, you know that they ought not only to be repudiated, but also condemned.

The Baptism of the Paulianists *

[From the epistle (17) "Magna me gratulatio" to Rufus

and other bishops of Macedonia, Dec. 13, 414]

97  From the canon of Nicea[n. 56] indeed the Paulianists coming to the Church ought to be baptized, but not the Novatians[see n. 55]: (5) . . . What therefore is distinct in the two heresies themselves, clear reason declares, because the Paulianists do not at all baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and the Novatians do baptize in the same tremendous and venerable names, and among them the question has not ever been raised concerning the unity of the divine power, that is of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Minister of Confirmation *

[From the epistle (25) "Si instituta ecclesiastica" to

Decentius the Bishop of Gubbio, March 19, 416]

98 (3) But in regard to the signing of little children, it is evident that it may not be done by any other than a bishop. For the presbyters, although they are second priests, nevertheless do not possess the crown of the pontificate. That this power of a bishop, however, is due to the bishops alone, so that they either sign or give the Paraclete the Spirit, not only ecclesiastical custom indicates, but also that reading in the Acts of the Apostles which declares that Peter and John were directed to give the Holy Spirit to those already baptized [ cf.Acts 8:14-17]. For to presbyters it is permitted to anoint the baptized with chrism whenever they baptize, whether without a bishop or in the presence of a bishop, but (with chrism) that has been consecrated by a bishop; nevertheless (it is) not (allowed) to sign the forehead with the same oil; that is due to the bishops alone when they bestow the Spirit, the Paraclete. Indeed, I cannot say the words lest I seem to go further than to reply to the inquiry.

The Minister of Extreme Unction *

[From the same letter to Decentius]

99 (8) Truly since your love has wished to take counsel regarding this just as concerning other (matters), my son Celestine, the deacon, has also added in his letter that what was written in the epistle of the blessed Apostle James has been proposed by your love: If anyone among you is sick, let him call the priests, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sufferer, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he has committed sin, he shall pardon him[Jas. 5:14 f.]. There is no doubt that this anointing ought to be interpreted or understood of the sick faithful, who can be anointed with the holy oil of chrism, which prepared by a bishop, is permitted not only to priests, but also to all as Christians for anointing in their own necessity or in the necessity of their (people). Moreover, we see that addition to be superfluous; that what is undoubtedly permitted the presbyters is questioned regarding bishops. For, on this account it was said to priests, because the bishops being hindered by other business cannot go to all the sick. But if a bishop, to whom it belongs to prepare the chrism, is able (to do it) or thinks someone is worthy to be visited by him, he can both bless and anoint with the chrism without delay. For, that cannot be administered to penitents, because it is a kind of sacrament. For, how is it supposed that one species (of sacrament) can be granted to those to whom the rest of the sacraments are denied?

The Primacy and the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff *

[From the epistle (29) "In requirendis" to the African bishops, Jan. 27, 417]

100 (1) In seeking the things of God . . . preserving the examples of ancient tradition . . . you have strengthened the vigor of your religion . . . with true reason, for you have confirmed that reference must be made to our judgment, realizing what is due the Apostolic See, since all of us placed in this position desire to follow the Apostle, from whom the episcopate itself and all the authority of this name have emerged. Following him we know how to condemn evils just as (well as how) to approve praiseworthy things. Take this as an example, guarding with your sacerdotal office the practices of the fathers you resolve that (they) must not be trampled upon, because they made their decisions not by human, but by divine judgment, so that they thought that nothing whatever, although it concerned separated and remote provinces, should be concluded, unless it first came to the attention of this See, so that what was a just proclamation might be confirmed by the total authority of this See, and from this source (just as all waters proceed from their natal fountain and through diverse regions of the whole world remain pure liquids of an uncorrupted source), the other churches might assume what [they ought] to teach, whom they ought to wash, those whom the water worthy of clean bodies would shun as though defiled with filth incapable of being cleansed.

100*     For another rescript of Innocent I concerning the same matter, see Kch n. 720-726.





(against the Pelagians) *

Original Sin and Grace *


101 Can. 1. All the bishops established in the sacred synod of the Carthaginian Church have decided that whoever says that Adam, the first man, was made mortal, so that, whether he sinned or whether he did not sin, he would die in body, that is he would go out of the body not because of the merit of sin but by reason of the necessity of nature, * let him be anathema.

102 Can. 2. Likewise it has been decided that whoever says that infants fresh from their mothers' wombs ought not to be baptized, or says that they are indeed baptized unto the remission of sins, but that they draw nothing of the original sin from Adam, which is expiated in the bath of regeneration, whence it follows that in regard to them the form of baptism "unto the remission of sins" is understood as not true, but as false, let him be anathema. Since what the Apostle says: "Through one man sin entered into the world (and through sin death), and so passed into all men, in whom all have sinned" [cf. Rom. 5:12], must not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For on account of this rule of faith even infants, who in themselves thus far have not been able to commit any sin, are therefore truly baptized unto the remission of sins, so that that which they have contracted from generation may be cleansed in them by regeneration. *

103 Can. 3. Likewise it has been decided that whoever says that the grace of God, by which man is justified through Jesus Christ, our Lord, has power only for the remission of sins which have already been committed, and not also for help, that they be not committed, let him be anathema.

104 Can. 4. In like manner, whoever says that the same grace of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord, helps us not to sin only for this reason, that through it the understanding of the commands is revealed and opened to us, that we may know what we ought to strive after, what we ought to avoid, but that through this [the power] is not also given to us to love and to be able to do that which we know ought to be done, let him be anathema. For since the Apostle says: "Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies" [1 Cor. 8:1], it is very impious for us to believe that for that which puffs up, we have the grace of Christ, and for that which edifies we have not, although each is a gift of God, both to know what we ought to do and to love in order that we may do it, so that while charity edifies, knowledge may not be able to puff us up. Moreover, just as it is written of God: "Who teaches man knowledge" [Ps. 93:10], so also it is written: "Charity is from God" [1 John 4:7].

105 Can. 5. It has likewise been decided that whoever says that the grace of justification is given to us for this reason: that what we are ordered to do through free will, we may be able to accomplish more easily through grace, just as if, even if grace were not given, we could nevertheless fulfill the divine commands without it, though not indeed easily, let him he anathema. For concerning the fruits of His commands the Lord spoke not when He said: "Without me you can accomplish with greater difficulty," but when He said: "Without me you can do nothing" [John 15:5].

106 Can. 6. It has likewise been decided that what St. John the Apostle says: If we say, that we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us [1 John 1:8], whoever thinks that this ought to be interpreted thus: that he asserts that this ought to be said on account of humility, namely, that we have sin, and not because it is truly so, let him be anathema. For the Apostle continues and adds: If however we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, who remits our sins and cleanses us from all Iniquity [1 John 1:9], wherein it is quite clear, that this is said not only humbly but truly. For the Apostle could have said: If we say: we have not sin, we extol ourselves, and humility is not in us. But when he says: We deceive ourselves, and the truth i's not in us, he shows clearly that he who said he had not sin, spoke not the truth but a falsehood.

107 Can. 7. It has likewise been decided that whoever says that for this reason the saints say in the Lord's prayer: "Forgive us our debts" [ Matt. 6:12], that they say this not for themselves, because that petition is not now necessary for them, but for others who are sinners among their people, and that on this account each one of the saints does not say: Forgive me my debts, but, Forgive us our debts;so that the just man is understood to seek this for others rather than for himself, let him be anathema. For the Apostle James was holy and just, when he said: "For in many things we all offend"[ Jas. 3:2]. For why was "all" ( omnes)added, unless that this meaning was proper and in the Psalm where one reads: Enter not into judgment with thy servant, because no( ne omnes) living person shall be justified in thy sight[ Ps. 142:2]. And in the prayer of wisest Solomon: There is not a man who has not sinned[1 Kings 8:46]. And in the book of holy Job:In the hand of every( omnis) man he signs, so that every ( omnis) man may know his infirmity[ Job 37:7]. Hence also holy and just Daniel, when he spoke in the plural in his prayer: " We have sinned, we have done evil" [ Dan. 9:5,15], and the rest which he there truly and humbly confesses, lest it should be thought, as certain ones do think, that he said this not about his own sins, but rather about the sins of his people, declared afterwards: "When. . .I prayed and confessed my sins and the sins of my people" [Dan. 9:20] to the Lord my God; he did not wish to say "our sins," but he said the sins of his people and his own sins, since as a prophet he foresaw there would be those who would thus misunderstand.

108 Can. 8. it has likewise been decided that whoever wishes that the words themselves of the Lord's prayer, where we say:"Forgive us our debts" [ Matt. 6:12] be said by the saints so as to be spoken humbly, not truthfully, let him be anathema. For who would tolerate one praying and lying, not to men, but to the Lord himself, who says with his lips that he wishes to be forgiven, and in his heart holds that he does not have debts to be forgiven?


The Primacy and the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff 1

[From the epistle (12) "Quamvis Patrum traditio" to

the African bishops, March 21, 418]


109 Although the tradition of the Fathers has attributed such great authority to the Apostolic See that no one would dare to disagree wholly with its judgment, and it has always preserved this judgment by canons and rules, and current ecclesiastical discipline up to this time by its laws pays the reverence which is due to the name of PETER, from whom it has itself descended . . . ; since therefore PETER the head is of such (Treat authority and he has confirmed the subsequent endeavors of all our ancestors, so that the Roman Church is fortified . . . by human as well as by divine laws, and it does not escape you that we rule its place and also hold power of the name itself, nevertheless you know, dearest brethren, and as priests you ought to know, although we have such great authority that no one can dare to retract from our decision, yet we have done nothing which we have not voluntarily referred to your notice by letters . . . not because we did not know what ought to be done, or would do anything which by going against the advantage of the Church, would be displeasing.


Original Sin*

[From the epistle "Tract(at)oria ad Orientales ecclesias,

Aegypti diocesim, Constantinopolim, Thessalonicam,

Hierosolymam," sent after March, 418]


109a  The Lord [is] faithful in his words [ Ps. 144:13] and His baptism holds the same plenitude in deed and words, that is in work, confession, and true remission of sins in every sex, age, and condition of the human race. For no one except him who is the servant of sin is made free, nor can he be said to be redeemed unless he has previously truly been a captive through sin, as it is written: "If the Son liberates you, you will be truly free [John 8:36]. For through Him we are reborn spiritually, through Him we are crucified to the world. By His death that bond of death introduced into all of us by Adam and transmitted to every soul, that bond contracted by propagation is broken, in which no one of our children is held not guilty until he is freed through baptism.

 ST. BONIFACE I 418-422


The Primacy and Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff *

[From the epistle (13) "Retro maioribus tuis" to

Rufus, Bishop of Thessaly, March 11, 422]


110 (2) . . . To the Synod [of Corinth]. . . . . we have directed such writings that all the brethren may know. . . . . that there must be no withdrawal from our judgment. For it has never been allowed that that be discussed again which has once been decided by the Apostolic See.





Reconciliation in the Moment of Death *

[From the epistle (4) "Cuperemus quidem" to the

bishops of the provinces of Vienne and Narbo, July 26, 428]


111 (2) We acknowledge that penance is being denied the dying and no assent is given to the ardent wishes of those who at the time of their death desire to come to the assistance of their souls with this remedy. We are horrified, I confess, that anyone is found of such great impiety, that he despairs of the love of God, as if He were not able at any time whatever to hasten to the aid of the one who runs to Him for help and to free from his burden a man endangered by the weight of sins, from which he longs to be liberated. For what else is this, I ask, than to add death to the dying and to kill his soul with one's own cruelty, that it may not be able to be absolved? Since God, most ready to succor, inviting to repentance, thus promised: In whatever day, He says, the sinner shall be converted, his sins shall not be imputed to him [cf. Eze. 33:16]. . . Since therefore the Lord is the examiner of the heart, penance must not be denied at any time to one who asks for (it) . . . .



Ecumenical III (against the Nestorians)

The Incarnation *

[From the epistle II of St. Cyril of Alexandria to

Nestorius, read and approved in action I]


111a For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and made flesh, nor yet that it was changed into the whole man (composed) of soul and body but rather (we say) that the Word, in an ineffable and inconceivable manner, having hypostatically united to Himself flesh animated by a rational soul, became Man and was called the Son of Man, not according to the will alone or by the assumption of a person alone, and that the different natures were brought together in a real union, but that out of both in one Christ and Son, not because the distinction of natures was destroyed by the union, but rather because the divine nature and the human nature formed one Lord and Christ and Son for us, through a marvelous and mystical concurrence in unity. . . . For it was no ordinary man who was first born of the Holy Virgin and upon whom the Word afterwards descended; but being united from the womb itself He is said to have undergone flesh birth, claiming as His own the birth of His own flesh. Thus [the holy Fathers] did not hesitate to speak of the holy Virgin as the Mother of God.


The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *

[From the speech of Philip the Roman legate in action 111]


112 No one doubts, but rather it has been known to all generations, that the holy and most blessed Peter, chief and head of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith, the foundation stone of the Catholic church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that the power of binding and loosing sins was given to him, who up to this moment and always lives in his successors, and judges [see n. 1824].


The Anathemas of the Chapter of Cyril * (against Nestorius) *


113 Can. 1. If anyone does not confess that God is truly Emmanuel, and that on this account the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (for according to the flesh she gave birth to the Word of God become flesh by birth), let him be anathema.

114 Can. 2. If anyone does not confess that the Word of God the Father was united to a body by hypostasis and that one is Christ with his own body, the same one evidently both God and man, let him be anathema.

115 Can. 3. If anyone in the one Christ divides the subsistences after the union, connecting them by a junction only according to worth, that is to say absolute sway or power, and not rather by a joining according to physical union, let him be anathema.

116 Can. 4. If anyone portions out to two persons, that is to say subsistences, the words in the Gospels and the apostolic writings, whether said about Christ by the saints, or by Him concerning Himself, and attributes some as it to a man specially understood beside the Word of God, others as befitting God alone, to the Word of God the Father, let him be anathema.

117 Can. 5. If anyone ventures to say that Christ is a man inspired by God, and not rather that He is truly God, as a son by nature, as the Word was made flesh and has shared similarly with us in blood and flesh, let him be anathema.

118 Can. 6. If anyone ventures to say that God or the Lord is the Word of Christ from God the Father and does not rather confess the same as at once both God and man, since the Word was made flesh according to the Scriptures, let him be anathema.

119 Can. 7. If anyone says that Jesus as mail was assisted by the Word of God, and that the glory of the Only-begotten was applied as to another existing beside Him, let him be anathema.

120 Can. 8. If anyone ventures to say that the assumed man must be worshipped and glorified along with God the Word, and bears the same title with Him, as the one in the other, for the "(Greek text deleted)" always being added will force (one) to understand this, and does not rather honor Emmanuel with one worship and apply one glory to Him, according as the Word was made flesh, let him be anathema.

121 Can. 9. If anyone says that the one Lord Jesus Christ was glorified by the Spirit, as it were using through Him a power belonging to another, and that He received from Him the power to work against unclean spirits, and to perform miracles for men, and does not say rather that the Spirit through which He worked the miracles was His own; let him be anathema.

122 Can. 10. The Divine Scripture says that Christ was made a high priest and apostle of our confession [Heb. 3:1] and in the odor of fragrance offered himself to God and the Father for us [ Eph. 5:2]. Therefore, if anyone says that the Word of God Himself was not made our High-priest and Apostle, when He was made flesh [ John 1:14] and man in our likeness, but that as it were another besides Himself specifically a man (born) of a woman, or if anyone says that He offered the oblation for Himself and not rather for us alone, for He who knew not sin would not have needed oblations, let him be anathema.

123 Can. 11. If anyone does not confess that the flesh of the Lord is life giving and belongs personally to the Word of God, the Father, but that it is of someone else besides Him, but joined to Him according to worthiness, as having only the divine indwelling, and not rather as we said, is life-giving, since He was made the Word's own, and has power to give life to all things, let him be anathema.

124 Can. 12. If anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh, and tasted death in the flesh, and was made the firstborn from the dead [ Col. 1:18 ] according to which as God He is both the life and the life-giver, let him be anathema.


Faith and the Tradition to be Guarded *


125 . . . The holy synod decided that no one is allowed to declare or at any rate to compose or devise a faith other than that defined by the holy fathers who with the Holy Spirit came together at Nicea. . . .

 . . . If any should be discovered, whether bishops or priests, or lay persons, who believe or teach those things in the exposition conveyed by Charisius the priest concerning the Incarnation* of the Only-begotten Son of God, or at any rate the abominable and distorted dogmas of Nestorius . . . , let them be subject to the decision of this holy and ecumenical synod. . . .


Condemnation of the Pelagians *


126 Can. 1. Whether a metropolitan of the province after revolting against the holy and ecumenical synod . . . . heeded or will heed the (opinions) of Celestius, this person is in no wise able to accomplish anything against the bishops of the province, since thereafter he is debarred by the synod from all ecclesiastical communion and is rendered inefficacious. . . .

127 Can. 4. But if some of the clergy should rebel, and dare to hold the opinions of Nestorius or Celestius either in private or in public, it has been judged by the holy synod that they too are deposed.


The Authority of St. Augustine *


[From Ep. (21) "Apostolici Verba Praecepti" to the

bishops of the Gauls, May 15 (?), 431]


128 Chapter 2. We have always held Augustine a man of holy memory because of his life and also of his services in our communion, nor has even report ever sullied him with unfavorable suspicion. We recall him as having once been a man of such great knowledge that even by my predecessors in the past he was always accounted among the best teachers. *


The Catalog or the Authoritative Statements of the Past

Bishops of the Holy See* Concerning the Grace of God


129 Because some, who glory in the name of Catholic, linger in the condemned view of heretics whether through perverseness or through ignorance, and presume to oppose the very pious disputers, and, although they do not hesitate to anathematize Pelagius and also Caelestius, nevertheless contradict our teachers, as if they overstepped the necessary limit, and profess to follow and approve only those [doctrines] which the most sacred See of the Blessed Apostle PETER has sanctioned and taught against the enemies of the grace of God through the office of its leaders, it has become necessary to inquire diligently as to what the rulers of the Roman Church judged concerning the heresy which had arisen in their times, and in opposition to the most harmful [heretics] what the defenders of free will decreed should be thought with regard to the grace of God. Thus, too, we have added certain opinions of the African Councils, which the apostolic high-priests have assuredly made their own when they approved [them]. In order therefore that [those] who doubt in any [matter] may be the more fully instructed, we are making public the definitions of the Holy Fathers in a brief catalogue, in which, if anyone is not a little contentious, he will recognize that the organic union of all reasonings depends upon this concise [catalogue] of supporting authorities, and no reason for contradiction remains to him, if he believes and speaks with the Catholics.

130  Chapter 1. In the transgression of Adam all men lost their "natural power" * and innocence, and no one can rise from the depth of that ruin through free will, unless the grace of a merciful God raise him up, [according as] Pope INNOCENT of blessed memory proclaimed and said in his letter * to the Council of Carthage:* "For he, having once braved every consequence of free choice, while he used his goods too unadvisedly, fell and was overwhelmed in the depth of his transgression, and found no [way] by which he was able to rise from it; and beguiled forever by his own liberty he would have lain prostrate by the weight of this ruin, if the coming of Christ had not afterwards lifted him up by virtue of His grace, who through the purification of a new regeneration washed away in the bath of His baptism every past sin."

131 Chapter 2. For no one is good of himself, unless He gives [him] a participation of Himself, who alone is good.

 In the same writings the opinion of the same pontiff bears witness to this, stating: * "Shall we after this judge anything to be right in the minds of those who think they owe to themselves the fact that they are good, and do not consider Him, whose grace they obtain daily; who feel sure that they are able to secure [it] alone without Him?"

132 Chapter 3. No one even after having been restored by the grace of baptism is capable of overcoming the snares of the devil and subduing the concupiscenses of the flesh, unless he has received through the daily help of God the perseverance of the good way of life. The doctrine of the same high-priest confirms this in the same letter, declaring* : "For although He had redeemed man from his past sins, nevertheless knowing that he would be able to sin again, He saved many things for reparation to Himself, offering him daily remedies by which He might be able to correct him even after those (sins), and, if we do not struggle relying upon these [remedies] and trusting in them, we shall by no means be able to conquer human mistakes. For it is necessary that, as we are victorious with His aid, we shall again be defeated if He does not help us."

133 Chapter 4. The same teacher in the epistle to the council of Mileum * proclaims that no one uses his free will well, except through Christ, asserting: * "Note finally, O perverse doctrine of most distorted minds, that liberty itself so deceived the first man, that, while he used his bridle too indulgently, he fell into transgression by presumption. Nor would he have been able to be rescued from this, had not the coming of Christ the Lord reestablished for him the state of pristine liberty by the providence of regeneration."

134 Chapter 5. That all the zeal and all the works and merits of the saints ought to be referred to the glory and praise of God; because no one pleases Him with anything except with that which He Himself has given. To this view the regular authority of the Pope ZOSIMUS of blessed memory directs us, when, writing to the bishops of the whole world, he says:* "We, however, by the inspiration of God (for all good things must be assigned to their author, whence they derive their origin) have referred all things to the conscience of our brothers and co-bishops." However, the African bishops honored with such great praise this discourse radiating with the light of sincerest truth, that they wrote thus to the same man: "That statement indeed, which you made in the letter, that you caused to be sent to all the provinces, saying: 'We nevertheless by the inspiration of God, etc.,' we have accepted the words thus: that you, as it were moving swiftly with the drawn sword of truth have cut off those who extol the freedom of the human will in opposition to the help of God. For you have done nothing with free will except refer all things to the conscience of our lowliness. And yet you have faithfully and wisely seen that it was done by the inspiration of God, and you have spoken truly and confidently. Therefore assuredly, becausethe good will is provided beforehand by the Lord[Prov. 8:35: LXX], and that the good may accomplish something, He Himself touches the hearts of His sons with paternal inspirations. For all that are moved by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God[ Rom. 8:14]; so that we do not think that our free will is lacking; and we do not doubt that in each and every good movement of the human will, His help is mote powerful."

135 Chapter 6. That God thus operates in the hearts of men and in the free will itself, so that a holy thought, a pious plan, and every motion of good will is from God, because we can do anything good through Him,without whom we ca n do nothing[John 15:5]. For to this profession the same teacher ZOSIMUS trained us, who, when he spoke * to the bishops of the whole world concerning the assistance of divine grace, said: "What time therefore occurs in which we do not need His help? Accordingly in all acts, situations, thoughts, and movements He ought to be implored as helper and protector. Indeed, it is arrogant for human nature to take anything to itself since the Apostle declares:Our struggle is notagainst flesh and blood, but against princes and powers of this atmosphere, against the spirits of wickedness in high places[ Eph. 6:12 ]. And thus He Himself said again:Unhappyman (that) I (am),who will free me from the body of this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord[ Rom. 7:24 ]. And again:By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace in me has not been void; but I have labored more than all those; yet not I, but the grace with me[ 1 Cor. 15:10 ]."

136 Chapter 7. Furthermore that which was determined in the decrees of the synod of Carthage, * we have embraced as the Apostolic See's own, namely, what was defined in the third chapter: "That whoever says that the grace of God, by which we are justified through Jesus Christ our Lord, has power only for the remission of sins which have already been committed, and not also for help, that they may not be committed, let him be anathema." [seen. 103 ].

137 And again in the fourth chapter: "That whoever says that the grace of God through Jesus Christ on this account alone helps us not to sin, that through it an understanding of the commands is revealed and opened to us, so that we know what we ought to strive after and what we ought to shun, but that through it [the power] is not also given to us to love and to be able to do that which we know ought to be done, let him be anathema. For since the Apostle says:Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies [ 1 Cor. 8:1]; it is very impious, for us to believe, that for that which puffs up, we have the grace of Christ, and for that which edifies, we have not, although each is a gift of God, both to know what we ought to do, and to love in order that we may do it, so that since charity edifies, knowledge may not be able to puff up. Moreover just as it is written of God:Who teaches man knowledge[ Ps. 93:10], so also it is written:Charity is fromGod [ 1 John 4:7 ];" [ see n. 104].

138 Likewise in the fifth chapter: "That whoever says, that for this reason the grace of justification is given to us, that what we are ordered to do through free will we may be able to accomplish more easily through grace, just as if, even were grace not given, we could nevertheless fulfill the divine commands without it, though not indeed easily, let him be anathema. For of the fruits of his commands the Lord did not speak when He said:Without me you can accomplish ( them) with more difficulty,but when He said: Without me you can do nothing[John 15:5]" [See n. 105].

139 Chapter 8. * But besides these hallowed ordinances of the most blessed and Apostolic See, in accordance with which the most pious Fathers, after casting aside the pride of pernicious novelty, have taught us to refer to Christ's grace both the beginnings of good will, and the advances in commendable devotions and the perseverance in these unto the end, let us be mindful also of the sacraments of priestly public prayer, which handed down by the Apostles are uniformly celebrated in the whole world and in every Catholic Church, in order that the law of supplication may support the law of believing.

 For when the leaders of the holy nations perform the office of ambassador entrusted to them, they plead the cause of the human race before divine Clemency, and while the whole Church laments with them, they ask and pray that the faith may be granted to infidels; that idolaters may be delivered from the errors of their impiety; that the veil of their hearts may be removed and the light of truth be visible to the Jews; that heretics may come to their senses through a comprehension of the Catholic faith; that schismatics may receive the spirit of renewed charity; that the remedy of repentance may be bestowed upon the lapsed; that finally after the catechumens have been led to the sacraments of regeneration, the royal court of heavenly mercy may be opened to them. Moreover, the effect of these prayers shows that these are not sought from the Lord perfunctorily and uselessly, since indeed God deigns to attract from every kind of error very many whom,torn from the power of darkness, He transfers into the kingdom of the Son of his love [ Col. 1:13], andfrom vessels of wrath He makes vessels of mercy [Rom. 9:22 f.]. This is felt to be so completely a divine work that the action of the graces and the acknowledgement of praise on account of the illumination or correction of such [persons] should always be referred to God who effects these things.

140 That also, which the holy Church uniformly does in the whole world with regard to those to be baptized, we do not observe with indifferent respect. Since whether children or youths come to the sacrament of regeneration, they do not approach the fountain of life, before the unclean spirit is driven away from them by the exorcisms and the breathings upon them of the priests; so that then it is truly manifest howthe prince of this world is sent forth[John 12:31 ], and how the strong[man] is first bound [Matt. 12:29 ], and thereafter his vessels are plundered [Mark 3:27 ], having been transferred to the possession of the victor, who leads captivity captive [ Eph. 4:8 ] and gives gifts to man [Ps. 67:19 ].

141 Therefore, in accordance with the ecclesiastical rules and documents taken on divine authority, we are so strengthened by our Lord's aid that we confess openly that God [is] the author of all good dispositions of mind, and also of works, and of all zeal, and of all virtues by which from the beginning of faith we tend towards God; and we do not doubt that all the merits of man are preceded by His grace, through whom it is brought to pass, that we begin both to will and to do [ Phil. 2:13] anything good. Assuredly free choice is not taken away by this aid and gift of God, but it is set at liberty, that light may come from darkness, right from wrong, health from sickness, and prudence from imprudence. For, so great is the goodness of God towards all men that He wishes the merits, which are His own gifts, to be ours, and in consideration of those which He has conferred, He intends to give eternal rewards. * For He acts in us that we may both will and do what He wishes, nor does He allow those gifts to be idle in us which He has given to be used and not to be neglected, that we also may be cooperators with the grace of God. And if we see that there is any listlessness in us as a result of our relaxation, let us carefully have recourse to Him,who heals all our weaknesses and redeems our life from destruction [ Ps. 102:3 f.], andto whom we daily say: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil [ Matt. 6:13].

142  Chapter 10. But although we do not dare to esteem lightly the deeper and more difficult parts of the questions which they have treated * in more detail who have resisted the heretics, yet we do not consider it necessary to add what their writings, according to the aforementioned regulation of the Apostolic See, have taught us, because we believe that it is quite enough to confess the grace of God, from whose work and honor nothing should be entirely taken away, so that we do not deem that to be at all Catholic which appears to be contrary to the views presented above.


ST. SIXTUS III 432-440


"Creed of the union" of the year 433, by which peace was restored

between St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Antiochenes [St. Cyril,

Ep. 39: MG 77, 176 D f. 7; see R n. 2060; approved

by St. Sixtus III, App. n. 5002 ff. ]

ST. LEO I, THE GREAT 440-461


The Incarnation * (against Eutyches) *

[From the dogmatic epistle (28) "Lectis dilectionis tuae"

to Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople, June 13, 449]


 (2) see R n. 2182.

143 (3) The uniqueness of each nature being preserved and combined in one person, humility was assumed by majesty, weakness by strength, mortality by eternity, and for the sake of paying the debt of our creation, an inviolable nature was joined to a passible nature; so that, because it was adapted to our relief, one and the same mediator of God and men, the man Jesus Christ [1 Tim. 2:5] both could die by reason of the one, and could not die on account of the other. Accordingly, in the whole and perfect nature of true man, true God was born, complete in His own, complete in ours. . . .

144 (4) Consequently, the Son of God entered into these lowly conditions of the world, after descending from His celestial throne, and though He did not withdraw from the glory of the Father, He was generated in a new order and in a new nativity. In a new order, because invisible in His own, He was made visible in ours; incomprehensible [in His own], He wished to be comprehended; permanent before times, He began to be in time; the Lord of the universe assumed the form of a slave, concealing the immensity of His majesty; the impassible God did not disdain to be a passible man and the immortal [did not disdain] to be subject to the laws of death. Moreover, He was generated in a new nativity, because inviolate virginity [that] did not know concupiscence furnished the material of His body. From the mother of the Lord, nature, not guilt, was assumed; and in the Lord Jesus Christ born from the womb of the Virgin, because His birth was miraculous, nature was not for that reason different from ours. For He who is true God, is likewise true man, and there is no falsehood in this unity, as long as there are alternately the lowliness of man and the exaltedness of the Divinity. For, just as God is not changed by His compassion, so man is not destroyed by His dignity. For each nature does what is proper to it with the mutual participation of the other; the Word clearly effecting what belongs to the Word, and the flesh performing what belongs to the flesh. One of these gleams with miracles; the other sinks under injuries. And just as the Word does not withdraw from the equality of the paternal glory, so His body does not abandon the nature of our race [For more see R n. 2183 f. 2188].


144*      Matrimony as a sacrament [ Eph. 5:32] see R n. 2189;

The creation of the soul and original sin, see

R n. 2181.


Secret Confession *

[From epistle "Magna indign." to all the bishops through

Campania, etc., March 6, 459]


145 (2) 1 also decree that that presumption against the apostolic regulation, which I recently learned is being committed by some through unlawful usurpation, be banished by all means.

 With regard to penance, what is demanded of the faithful, is clearly not that an acknowledgement of the nature of individual sins written in a little book be read publicly, since it suffices that the states of consciences be made known to the priests alone in secret confession. For although the fullness of faith seems to be laudable, which on account of the fear of God is not afraid to blush before men, nevertheless since the sins of all are not such that those who ask for penance do not dread to publish them, so objectionable a custom should be abolished. . . . For that confession is sufficient, which is first offered to God, then also to a priest, who serves as an intercessor for the transgressions of the penitents. For then, indeed, more will be able to be incited to penance, if the conscience of the one confessing is not exposed to the ears of the people.


The Sacrament of Penance *

[From epistle (108) "Solicitudinis quidem tuae" to

Theodore, Bishop of Forum Julii, June 11, 452]


146 (2) The manifold mercy of God came to the assistance of fallen men in such a way that the hope of eternal life might be recovered not only by the grace of baptism, but also by the remedy of penance, that those who have violated the gifts of regeneration, condemning themselves by their own judgment, might attain to the remission of their sins; the help of divine goodness having been so ordered that the indulgence of God cannot be obtained except by the supplications of the priests. For"the Mediator of God and of men, the man Christ Jesus[1 Tim. 2:5] has entrusted this power to the leaders of the Church, that they might both grant the action of penance to those confessing, and admit the same [persons] cleansed by salutary satisfaction to the communion of the sacraments through the gate of reconciliation. . . .

147 (5) It is necessary that each and every Christian hold a trial of his own conscience, lest from day to day he defer being converted to God, and choose the difficulties of that time when neither the confession of the penitent nor the reconciliation of the priest can take place. But, as I have said, the need even of such should be served, so that neither the action of penance nor the grace of communion may be denied them, even if the function of speech has been lost, and they ask it through the signs of a sound sense. But if they are so oppressed by some violent illness, that what they asked a little while before, they are not able to signify in the presence of the priest, the testimonies of the faithful standing about ought to be advantageous to them, that they may gain simultaneously the benefit of both penance and reconciliation, the regulation of the canons of the Fathers, however, being observed regarding the persons of those who have sinned against God by deserting the faith.



Ecumenical IV (against the Monophysites)

Definition of the Two Natures of Christ *


148 Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all teach that with one accord we confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in human nature, truly God and the same with a rational soul and a body truly man, consubstantial with the Father according to divinity, and consubstantial with us according to human nature, like unto us in all things except sin, [cf. Heb. 4:15]; indeed born of the Father before the ages according to divine nature, but in the last days the same born of the virgin Mary, Mother of God according to human nature; for us and for our deliverance, one and the same Christ only begotten Son, our Lord, acknowledged in two natures,' without mingling, without change, indivisibly, undividedly, the distinction of the natures nowhere removed on account of the union but rather the peculiarity of each nature being kept, and uniting in one person and substance, not divided or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son only begotten God Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as from the beginning the prophets taught about Him and the Lord Jesus Himself taught us, and the creed of our fathers has handed down to us.

 Therefore, since these have been arranged by us with all possible care and diligence, the holy and ecumenical synod has declared that no one is allowed to profess or in any case to write up or to compose or to devise or to teach others a different faith.

148 [Version of Rusticus] Therefore, following the holy Fathers, we all teach that with one accord we confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and the same perfect in human nature, true God and true man, the same with a rational soul and a body, consubstantial with the Father according to divine nature, consubstantial with us according to the human nature, like unto us in all things except sin [cf. Heb. 4:15]: indeed born of the Father before the ages according to divinity, but in the latest days the same born of the virgin Mary, Mother of God according to the humanity; for us and for our salvation, one and the same Christ, only begotten Son, our Lord, acknowledged in two natures * without mingling, without change, indivisibly, undividedly, the distinction of the natures nowhere removed on account of the union, but rather the uniqueness of each nature being kept and uniting in one person and one substance, not divided or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son only begotten God Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as from the beginning the prophets taught about Him and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught us, and as the creed of the Fathers has handed down to us [see n. 54 ,86].

 Therefore, since these having been arranged by us with all possible care and diligence, the sacred and universal Synod has declared that no one is allowed to profess or to write up or to compose or to devise or to teach others a different faith.


The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *

[From the epistles of the Synod "Repletum est gaudio"

to Leo the Pope, at the beginning of November, 451]


149 For if where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He says He is in the midst of them, how great an intimacy did He show with regard to the five hundred and twenty consecrated men, who preferred to both native land and to labor the knowledge of confession for Him. Over these you ruled as a head over the members, among those holding office, displaying your good will.


149 [The more ancient version.] For if where two or three are gathered togetherinhis name, there he says he is in the midst of them [cf. Matt. 18:20], how great an intimacy will He show in regard to the five hundred and twenty priests, who have preferred to both native land and to labor the knowledge of confession for Him. Over these you ruled as a head over the members, among those holding office, displaying your good will.


The words of St. LEO himself regarding the primacy of

the Roman Pontiff, see Kch n. 891-901


The Ordination of the Clergy *

[From "Ancient Statutes of the Church," or

"Ancient Statutes of the East"]


150 Can. 2 (90). When a bishop is ordained, let two bishops place (expose) and hold the book of the Gospels above his head, and while one pours forth the benediction upon him, let all the remaining bishops, who are present, touch his head with their hands.

151 Can 3 (91). When a priest is ordained, while the bishop is blessing [him] and holding his hands over his head, let all the priests also, who are present, hold their hands close to the hands of the bishop above his head.

152  Can. 4 (92). When a deacon is ordained, let the bishop alone, who blesses him, place his hands above his head, because he is consecrated not for the priesthood, but for the ministry.

153 Can. 5 (93). When a subdeacon is ordained, because he does not receive the imposition of hands, let him receive the empty paten from the band of the bishop, and the empty chalice. But from the hand of the archdeacon let him receive the cruet with the water and the maniple, and the towel.

154 Can. 6 (94). When an acolyte is ordained, let him indeed be taught by the bishop how he ought to conduct himself in his office; let him receive from the archdeacon the candlestick with the wax tapers, so that he may know that he is about to be given the right to kindle the lights of the church. Let him also receive the empty cruet for carrying the wine at the Eucharist of the blood of Christ.

155 Can. 7 (95). When the exorcist is ordained, let him receive from the hand of the bishop the little book in which the exorcisms are written, while the bishop says to him: Receive and commit to memory, and have the power of imposing the hand uponone possessed of the devil, whether[he be ] baptized or a catechumen.

156 Can. 8 (96). When a lector is ordained, let the bishop speak a word concerning him to the people, pointing out his faith, his life, and his ability. After this, while the people look on, let him hand him the book, from which he is about to read, saying to him: Receive and be the reporter of the word of God; if you fulfill the office faithfully and usefully, you will have a part with those who have administered the word of God.

157 Can. 9 (97). When a porter is ordained, after he has been instructed by the archdeacon as to how he ought to live in the house of God, at the suggestion of the archdeacon let the bishop hand him the keys of the church from the altar, saying: So act as if You were about to give God the reason for these things which are opened with those keys.

158 Can. 10 (98). The psalmist, that is the cantor, can receive his office of singing without the knowledge of the bishop, by the sole order of the presbyter, the presbyter saying to him:See that what you sing with your heart, and what you believe with your heart, you confirm with your deeds.


[ There follow the regulations for consecrating virgins,

Widows: can. 101 on matrimony, see Kch n. 952]


ST. HILARIUS 461-468



The Necessity of Guarding the Faith Which Has Been Handed Down *

[From the epistle "Quantum presbyterorum" to Acacius,

Bishop of Constantinople, January 9, 476]


159 (2) Because, according to the extant doctrine of our predecessors of sacred memory, against which it is wrong to argue, whoever seems to understand rightly, does not desire to be taught by new assertions, but all [matters] in which either he who has been deceived by heretics can be instructed, or he who is about to be planted in the vineyard of the Lord can be trained, are clear and perfect; after imploring trust in your most merciful leader, have the request for calling a synod refused. (3) I urge (therefore), dearest brother, that by every means resistance be offered to the efforts of the perverse to call a synod, which has not always been enjoined in other cases, unless something new arose in distorted minds or something ambiguous in a pronouncement so that, if there were any obscurity, the authority of sacerdotal deliberation might illumine those who were treating the ambiguous pronouncement in common, just as first the impiety of Arius and then that of Nestorius, lastly that of Dioscorus and also of Eutyches caused this to be done. And --may the mercy of Christ our God (and) Savior avert this--it must be made known, abominable [as it is], that [the purpose is] to restore [to their former positions] in opposition to the opinions of the priests of the Lord of the whole world and of the principal rulers of both [scil., worlds] those who have been condemned. . . .


The Unchangeableness of Christian Doctrine *

[From the epistle "Cuperem quidem" to Basiliscus

Augustus January 10, 476]


160 Those genuine and clear [truths] which flow from the very pure fountains of the Scriptures cannot be disturbed by any arguments of misty subtlety. For this same norm of apostolic doctrine endures in the successors of him upon whom the Lord imposed the care of the whole sheepfold [John 21:15 ff.], whom [He promised] He would not fail even to the end of the world [Matt. 28:20], against whom He promised that the gates of hell would never prevail, by whose judgment He testified that what was bound on earth could not be loosed in heaven [Matt. 16:18 ff.]. (6). . . Let whoever, as the Apostle proclaimed, attempts to disseminate something other, than what we have received, be anathema[ Gal. 1:8 f.]. Let no approach to your ears be thrown open to the pernicious plans of undermining, let no pledge of revising any of the old definitions be granted, because, as it must be repeated very often, what has deserved to be cut away with the sharp edge of the evangelical pruninghook by apostolic hands with the approval of the universal Church, cannot acquire the strength for a rebirth nor is it able to return to the fruitful shoot of the master's vine, because it is evident that it has been destined to eternal fire. Thus, finally, the machinations of all heresies laid down by decrees of the Church are never allowed to renew the struggles of their crushed attack.




[From the letter of submission of Lucidus, the priest] *

Grace and Predestination


160a Your public reproof is public salvation, and your opinion is medicine. From this I also draw the highest remedy, that by blaming past errors I excuse [them], and by healing confession I wash myself. just so in consequence of the recent statutes of the Council about to be published, I condemn with you that view which states that the work of human obedience does not have to be united with divine grace; which says that after the fall of the first man the free choice of the will was totally destroyed; which states that Christ our Lord and Savior did not incur death for the salvation of all; which states that the foreknowledge of God violently impels man to death, or that they who perish, perish by the will of God; which affirms that whoever sins after baptism which has been legitimately received dies in Adam; which states that some have been condemned to death, others have been predestined to life; which states that from Adam even to Christ none of the nations has been saved unto the coming of Christ through the first grace of God, that is, by the law of nature, and that they lost free will in the first parent; which states that the patriarchs and prophets or every one of the highest saints, even before the times of the redemption, entered into paradise. All these I condemn as impious and replete with sacrileges.

 But I declare that the grace of God is such that I always unite the striving and efforts of man with grace, and I proclaim that the liberty of the human will was not destroyed but enfeebled and weakened, and that he who is saved, was tried; and he who perished, could have been saved.

160b Also that Christ, God and Redeemer, as far as it pertained to the riches of His goodness, offered the price of death for all, and because He, who is the Savior of all, especially of the faithful, does not wish anyone to perish, rich unto all who call upon him [Rom. 10:12] . . . . Now by the authority of the sacred witnesses, which are found in (Treat profusion through the extent of the Divine Scriptures, in accordance with the doctrine of our elders made clear by reason, I freely confess that Christ came also for the lost, because they perished although He did not will [it]. For it is not right that the riches of His boundless goodness and His divine benefits be confined to those only who seem to have been saved. For if we say that Christ extended assistance only to those who have been redeemed, we shall seem to absolve the unredeemed, who, it is established, had to be punished for having despised redemption. I declare further that by reason and through the regular succession of the centuries some have been saved by the law of grace, others by the law of Moses, others by the law of nature, which God has written in the hearts of all, in the expectation of the coming of Christ; nevertheless from the beginning of the world, they were not set free from the original slavery except by the intercession of the sacred blood. I acknowledge, too, that the eternal fires and the infernal flames have been prepared in advance for capital deeds, because divine judgment, which they deservedly incur, who have not believed these I truths] with their whole heart, justly follows those who persist in human sins. Pray for me, holy lords and apostolic fathers.

 I, Lucius the priest, have signed this my letter with my own hand, and I affirm the things which are asserted in it, and I condemn what has been condemned.


FELIX II (III) 483-492

 ST. GELASIUS I 492-496


Errors Once Condemned, not to be Discussed Again *

[From the epistle "Licet inter varias" to Honorius,

Bishop of Dalmatia, July 28, 493 (?)]


161 (1) [For] it has been reported to us, that in the regions of the Dalmatians certain men had disseminated the recurring tares of the Pelagian pest, and that their blasphemy prevails there to such a degree that they are deceiving all the simple by the insinuation of their deadly madness. . . . [But] since the Lord is superior, the pure truth of Catholic faith drawn front the concordant opinions of all the Fathers remains present. . . . (2) . . . What pray permits us to abrogate what has been condemned by the venerable Fathers, and to reconsider the impious dogmas that have been demolished by them? Why is it, therefore, that we take such great precautions lest any dangerous heresy, once driven out, strive anew to come [up] for examination, if we argue that what has been known, discussed, and refuted of old by our elders ought to be restored? Are we not ourselves offering, which God forbid, to all the enemies of the truth an example of rising again against ourselves, which the Church will never permit? Where is it that it is written: Do not go beyond the limits of your fathers [Prov. 22:28], and: Ask your fathers and they will tell you, and your elders will declare unto you [Deut. 32:7]? Why, accordingly, do we aim beyond the definitions of our elders, or why do they not suffice for us? If in our ignorance we desire to learn something, how every single thing to be avoided has been prescribed by the orthodox fathers and elders, or everything to be adapted to Catholic truth has been decreed, why are they not approved by these? Or are we wiser than they, or shall we be able to stand constant with firm stability, if we should undermine those [dogmas] which have been established by them? . . . .


161*   The Authority and the Priesthood, and the Primacy of

the Roman Pontiff. See Kch n. 959


The Canon of Sacred Scripture *

[From the epistle 42, or decretal "de recipiendis et non

recipiendis libris," in the year 495]


162   An enumeration of the canonical books similar to that, which we haveplaced under DAMASUS[ n. 84] is accustomed in certain codices to be set before the special Decree of GELASIUS. Nevertheless among others it is no longer read in this place.Of John the Apostle one epistle, of the other John the priest two epistles, but, of the Apostle John three epistles [cf. n. 84,92, 96].


Then follows:


The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff and the Patriarchal Sees *


[From the same epistle or "Decretal," in the year 495]


163 (1) After (all these) prophetic and evangelical and apostolic writings (which we have set forth above), on which the Catholic Church by the grace of God is founded, we have thought this (fact) also ought to be published, namely that, although the universal Catholic Church spread throughout the world has the one marriage of Christ, nevertheless the holy Roman Church has not been preferred to the other churches by reason of synodical decrees, but she has held the primacy by the evangelical voice of the Lord and Savior saying:Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven, and wh atsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven[ Matt. 16:18 f.]. There is added also the association of the most blessed Paul the Apostle, the vessel of election, who not at a different time, as the heretics say, but at the one time, on one and the same day, while contending for the prize together with Peter was crowned with a glorious death under Caesar Nero in the City of Rome; and equally have they consecrated the above-mentioned Church of Rome to Christ the Lord and have raised it above all other cities in the whole world by their presence and their venerable triumph.

 Accordingly the see of PETER the Apostle of the Church of Rome is first,having neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor anything of this kind[Eph. 5:27]. But the second see at Alexandria was consecrated in the name of blessed PETER by Mark his disciple and evangelist . . . but the third in honor is considered the see of the most blessed Apostle PETER at Antioch. . . .


The Authority of the Councils and the Fathers *

[From the same epistle or "Decretal"]


164 (2) And although no one can lay a foundation other than that, which has been laid, which is Christ Jesus [cf. 1 Cor. 3:11], nevertheless for the purpose of instruction the holy, that is, the Roman Church, does not forbid these writings also, that is: the Sacred Synod of NICEA . . . EPHESUS . . . [and] CHALCEDON . . . to be received after those of the Old or New Testament, which we regularly accept.

165 (3) Likewise the works of blessed Caecilius Cyprian . . . [ and in the same waythe works of Gregory Nazianzen, Basil, Athanasius, John (Chrysostom)) Theophilus, Cyril of Alexandria, Hilary, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, (and) Prosper may be admitted ] .Also the epistle of blessed LEO the Pope to Flavian [dogmatic, see n. 143 f.] . ; if anyone argues concerning the text of this one even in regard to one iota, and does not receive it in all respects reverently, let him be anathema.

 Likewise it decrees that the works and treatises of all the orthodox Fathers who in no [way] have deviated from the society of the holy Roman Church . . . ought to be read.

 Likewise, too, the decretal epistles, which the most blessed Popes . . . have written, ought to be received with reverence.

 Likewise the deeds of the holy martyrs . . . [which] with remarkable caution are not read in the holy Roman Church . . . because the names of those who wrote (them) are entirely unknown . . . lest an occasion of light mockery arise. We, however, with the aforementioned Church venerate with every devotion both all the martyrs and the glorious combats of those who are known to God rather than to men.

 Likewise we acknowledge with all honor the lives of the Fathers, of Paul, of Anthony, of Hilary, and of all the hermits, which however the most blessed Jerome has described.

 [Finally many other writings are enumerated and praised, with addition however: ]

 But . . . let the judgment of blessed Paul the Apostle lead the way: "Prove. . . all things, hold that which is good" [1 Thess. 5:21 ].

 Other things which have been written or published by heretics or schismatics, the Catholic and apostolic Roman Church in nowise receives. We believe that a few of these . . . ought to be appended.


The Apocrypha "which are not accepted" *

[From the same epistle or "Decretal"]


166 (4) [ After the long series of apocrypha has been presented, the Decree of Gelasius is thus concluded: ] These and f writings] similar to these, which . . . all the heresiarchs and their disciples, or the schismatics have taught or written. . . . . . . we confess have not only been rejected, but also banished from the whole Roman Catholic and apostolic Church and with their authors and the followers of their authors have been condemned forever under the indissoluble bond of anathema.


The Remission of Sins*

[From the Tome of GELASIUS, "Ne forte," concerning

the bond of the anathema, about the year 495]


167 (5) The Lord said thatto those sinning against the Holy Spirit, it should not be forgiven either here or in the future world [ Matt. 12:32]. But how many do we know that sin against the Holy Spirit, such as various heretics . . . who return to the Catholic faith, and here have received the pardon of their blasphemy, and have enjoyed the hope of gaining indulgence in the future? And not on this account is the judgment of the Lord not true, or will it be thought to be in any way weakened, since with respect to such men, if they continue to be thus, the judgment remains never to be relaxed at all; moreover, never because of such effects is it not imposed. just as consequently is also that of the blessed John the Apostle: There is a sin unto death: I do not say that prayer should be offered for this: and there is a sin not unto death: I do say that prayer should be offered for this[ 1 John 5:16, 17]. It is a sin unto death for those persisting in the same sin; it is not a sin unto death for those withdrawing from the same sin. For there is no sin for whose remission the Church does not pray, or which she cannot forgive those who desist from that same sin, or from which she cannot loose those who repent, since the power has been divinely given to her, to whom it was said:Whatsoever you shall forgive upon earth. . . [cf.John 20:23 ] ; "whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven"[Matt. 18:18 ]. In whatsoeverall are [included], howsoever great they may be, and of whatsoever kind they may be, although the judgment of them nevertheless remains true, by which he is denounced [as] never to be loosed who continues in the course of them, but not after he withdraws from this same [course].


The Two Natures of Christ *

[From the Tome of GELASIUS, "Necessarium," on

the two natures in Christ, (492-) 496]


168 (3) Although, I say, in accordance with this confession this must piously be believed regarding the conception of our Lord, although it can in no wise be explained, the Eutychiansassert that there is one nature, that is, the divine; andNestoriusnone the less mentions a single [nature] , namely, the human; if we must maintain two against the Eutychians, because they draw out one, it follows that we should without doubt proclaim also in opposition to Nestorius who declares one, that not one, but rather two existed as a unity from His beginning, properly adding the human, contrary to Eutyches, who attempts to defend one, that is, the divine only, in order to show that the two, upon which that remarkable mystery rests, endure there; in opposition to Nestorius indeed, who similarly says one, namely, the human, we nevertheless substitute the divine, so that in like manner we hold that two against hisonewith a true division have existed in the plenitude of this mystery from the primordial effects of His union, and we refute both who chatter in a different way of single[natures], not each of them in regard to one only, but both in respect to the abiding possession of two natures: to wit, the human and divine, united from His beginning without any confusion or defect.

 (4) For although one and the same person is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole God man and the whole man God, and whatever there is of humanity, the God man makes his own, and whatever there is of God, the man God possesses, nevertheless, granted that this remains a mystery and cannot be explained in any degree, thus the whole man continues to be what God is, [as?] the whole God continues to be whatever man is . . . *




The Ordinations of Schismatics *

[From the epistle (1) "Exordium Pontificatus mei" to

Anastasius Augustus, 496]


169 (7) According to the most sacred custom of the Catholic Church, let the heart of your serenity acknowledge that no share in the injury from the name of Acacius should attach to any of these whom Acacius the schismatic bishop has baptized, or to any whom he has ordained priests or levites according to the canons, lest perchance the grace of the sacrament seem less powerful when conferred by an unjust [person]. . . . For if the rays of that visible sun are not stained by contact with any Pollution when they pass over the foulest places, much less is the virtue of him who made that visible [sun] fettered by any unworthiness in the minister.

 (8) Therefore, then, this person has only injured himself by wickedly administering the good. For the inviolable sacrament, which was given through him, held the perfection of its virtue for others.


The Origin of Souls and Original Sin *

[From the epistle "Bonum atque iucundum" to the

bishops of Gaul, August 23, 498]

170 (1) . . . Certain heretics in Gaul think that by a rational assertion they are persuaded of this, that just as the parents transmit bodies to the human race from material dregs, so also they bestow the vital principle of the living souls. . . . How (therefore) do they, contrary to God's will, with a very carnal mind think that the soul made to the image of God is diffused and insinuated by the mixture of human beings, when that very action by Him, who did this in the beginning, has not ceased even today, just as He Himself said: My Father works up to this time, and I work [cf. John 5:17]? Although likewise they ought to know what is written: "He who lives unto eternity, created all things at the same timely [Sir. 18:1]. If, then, previously according to the Scripture He placed order and reason by single species in every individual creature (potentially), which cannot be denied, and causally in the work pertaining to the creation of all things at the same time, after the consummation of which He rested on the seventh day, but now operates visibly in the work pertaining to the passage of time even up to the present, * let the sound doctrines then rest, namely, that He, who calls those, which are not, just as those that are [cf.Rom. 4:17], imparts souls.

 (4) By the reasoning of which they think perhaps that they speak piously and well, in declaring that the souls are justly handed down by parents, since they are entangled with sins, they ought to be separated from them by this wise sundering, because nothing else can be transmitted by them than what has been brought to pass by their own evil presumption, that is, guilt and the punishment of sin, which their offspring have followed through the vine-branch * and clearly show so that men are born vicious and distorted. In this alone at any rate God is clearly seen to have no communion, (and) lest any fall into this necessary destruction, He has prevented it by an inborn terror of death and has given warning of it. Therefore, through the vine-branch what is transmitted by the parents evidently appears, and what God has operated from the beginning even to the end, and what He is operating is shown.



The Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff *

["Libellus professionis fidei" added to the epistle

"Inter ea quae" to the bishops of Spain, April 2, 517]

171 [Our] first safety is to guard the rule of the right faith and to deviate in no wise from the ordinances of the Fathers; because we cannot pass over the statement of our Lord Jesus Christ who said: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church" . . . [Matt. 16:18]. These [words] which were spoken, are proved by the effects of the deeds, because in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved without stain. Desiring not to be separated from this hope and faith and following the ordinances of the Fathers, we anathematize all heresies, especially the heretic Nestorius, who at one time was bishop of the city of Constantinople, condemned in the Council of EPHESUS by the blessed CELESTINE, Pope of the City of Rome,* and by the venerable man Cyril, high priest of the City of Alexandria. Similiarly anathematizing both Eutyches and Dioscorus of Alexandria condemned in the holy Synod of CHALCEDON [see n. 148] which we follow and embrace, which following the sacred Council of NICEA proclaimed the apostolic faith, we detest both Timothy the parricide, surnamed the Cat, and likewise his disciple and follower in all things, Peter of Alexandria. We condemn, too, and anathematize Acacius, formerly bishop of Constantinople, who was condemned by the Apostolic See, their confederate and follower, or those who remained in the society of their communion, because Acacius justly merited a sentence in condemnation like theirs in whose communion he mingled. No less do we condemn Peter of Antioch with his followers, and the followers of all mentioned above.

172 Moreover, we accept and approve all the letters of blessed LEO the Pope, which he wrote regarding the Christian religion, just as we said before, following the Apostolic See in all things, and extolling all its ordinances. And, therefore, I hope that I may merit to be in the one communion with you, which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which there is the whole and the true and the perfect solidity of the Christian religion, promising that in the future the names of those separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, those not agreeing with the Apostolic See, shall not be read during the sacred mysteries. But if I shall attempt in any way to deviate from my profession, I confess that I am a confederate in my opinion with those whom I have condemned. However, I have with my own hand signed this profession of mine, and to you, HORMISDAS, the holy and venerable Pope of the City of Rome, I have directed it.

The Canon, Primacy, Councils, Apocrypha *

[From epistle 125 or "Decretal . . . on divine scriptures" in the year 520]

173  Besides those which are containedin the Decretal of Gelasius, [ n. 162] here, after the Synod of Ephesus "Constantinopolitana (1)" was also inserted: then was added:But even if any councils thus far have been instituted by the holy Fathers, we have decreed that after the authority of those four they must be both kept and received.

The Authority of St. Augustine

[From the epistle "Sicut rationi" to Possessor, August 13, 520] *

173a 5. Yet what the Roman, that is the Catholic, Church follows and preserves concerning free will and the grace of God can be abundantly recognized both in the various books of the blessed Augustine, and especially [in those] to Hilary and Prosper, but the prominent chapters are contained in the ecclesiastical archives and if these are lacking there and you believe them necessary, we establish [them], although he who diligently considers the words of the apostle, should know clearly what he ought to follow.

ST. JOHN 1 523-526


ST. FELIX III 526-530


Confirmed by Boniface II (against the Semipelagians)

Original Sin, Grace, Predestination *


173b To us, according to the admonition and authority of the Apostolic See, it has seemed just and reasonable that we should set forth to be observed by all, and that we should sign with our own hands, a few chapters transmitted * to us by the Apostolic See, which were collected by the ancient fathers from the volumes of the Sacred Scripture especially in this cause, to teach those who think otherwise than they ought. . . .

174 [I. Original sin] Can. 1. If anyone says that by the offense of Adam's transgression not the whole man, that is according to body and soul, was changed for the worse [St. Augustine], * but believes that while the liberty of the soul endures without harm, the body only is exposed to corruption, he is deceived by the error of Pelagius and resists the Scripture which says:"The soul, that has sinned, shall die" [ Ezech. 18:20]; and: "Do you not know that to whom you show yourselves se rvants to obey, you are the servants of him whom you obey?"[ Rom. 6:16]; and: Anyone is adjudged the slave of him by whom he is overcome [ 2 Pet.2:19].

175 Can. 2. If anyone asserts that Adam's transgression injured him alone and not his descendants, or declares that certainly death of the body only, which is the punishment of sin, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man into the whole human race, he will do an injustice to God, contradicting the Apostle who says: Through one man sin entered in the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed into all men, in whom all have sinned[Rom. 5:12; Cf. St. Augustine]. *

176 [II Grace] Can. 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be bestowed by human invocation, but that the grace itself does not bring it to pass that it be invoked by us, he contradicts Isaias the Prophet, or the Apostle who says the same thing: "I was found by those who were not seeking me: I appeared openly to those, who did not ask me"[ Rom. 10:20; cf.Is. 65:1 ].

177 Can. 4. If anyone contends that in order that we may be cleansed from sin, God waits for our good will, but does not acknowledge that even the wish to be purged is produced in us through the infusion and operation of the Holy Spirit, he opposes the Holy Spirit Himself, who says through Solomon: "Good will is prepared by the Lord"[ Prov. 8:35: LXX], and the Apostle who beneficially says:"It is God, who works in us both to will and to accomplish according to his good will" [Phil. 2:13].

178 Can. 5. If anyone says, that just as the increase [of faith] so also the beginning of faith and the very desire of credulity, by which we believe in Him who justifies the impious, and (by which) we arrive at the regeneration of holy baptism (is) not through the gift of grace, that is, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reforming our will from infidelity to faith, from impiety to piety, but is naturally in us, he is proved (to be) antagonistic to the doctrine of the Apostles, since blessed Paul says:We trust, that he who begins a good work in us, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus[Phil. 1:6]; and the following: It was given to you for Christ not only that you may believe in Him, but also, that you may suffer for Him[Phil. 1:29]; and:By grace you are made safe through faith, and this not of yo urselves; for it is the gift of God[Eph. 2:8. For those who say that faith, by which we believe in God, is natural, declare that all those who are alien to the Church of Christ are in a measure faithful [cf. St. Augustine]. *

179 Can. 6. If anyone asserts that without the grace of God mercy is divinely given to us when we believe, will, desire, try, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, urge, but does not confess that through the infusion and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in us, it is brought about that we believe, wish, or are able to do all these things as we ought, and does not join either to human humility or obedience the help of grace, nor agree that it is the gift of His grace that we are obedient and humble, opposes the Apostle who says: What have you, that you have not received? [1 Cor. 4:7]; and:By the grace of God I am that, which I am [ 1 Cor. 15:10 ; cf. St. Augustine and St. Prosper of Aquitaine]. *

180 Can. 7. If anyone affirms that without the illumination and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,--who gives to all sweetness in consenting to and believing in the truth,--through the strength of nature he can think anything good which pertains to the salvation of eternal life, as he should, or choose, or consent to salvation, that is to the evangelical proclamation, he is deceived by the heretical spirit, not understanding the voice of God speaking in the Gospel:"Without me you can do nothi ng" [John 15:5]; and that of the Apostle: Not that we are fit to think everything by ourselves as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is,from God[2 Cor. 3:5; cf. St. Augustine]. *

181 Can. 8. If anyone maintains that some by mercy, but others by free will, which it is evident has been vitiated in all who have been born of the transgression of the first man, are able to come to the grace of baptism, he is proved to be inconsistent with the true faith. For he asserts that the free will of all was not weakened by the sin of the first man, or assuredly was injured in such a way, that nevertheless certain ones have the power without revelation of God to be able by themselves to seek the mystery of eternal salvation. How contrary this is, the Lord Himself proves, who testifies that not some, but no one can come to Him, except whom the Father draws[John 6:44], and just as he says to PETER:"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because fles h and blood hath not revealed it to you, but my Father, whois in heaven" [Matt. 16:17]; and the Apostle: No one can say Lord Jesus except in the Holy Spirit [1 Cor. 12:3; cf- St. Prosper]. *

182 Can. 9 . "The assistance of God.It is a divine gift, both when we think rightly and when we restrain our feet from falsity and injustice; for as often as we do good, God operates in us and with us, that we may work" [St. Prosper ].*

183  Can. 10. The assistance of God. The assistance of God ought to be implored always even by those who have been reborn and have been healed, that they may arrive at a good end, or may be able to continue in good work [cf. St. Prosper]. *

184 Can. 11. "The obligation of vows. No one would rightly vow anything to God, unless he accepts from Him what he vows" [St. Prosper] * as it is written: And what we have received from your hand, we give to you [ 1 Chron. 29:14 ].

185 Can. 12. "God loves such as us.God loves us, such as we shall be by His gift, not such as we are by our own merit" [St. Prosper].*

186 Can. 13. The restoration of free will. Freedom of will weakened in the first man cannot be repaired except through the grace of baptism; cc once it has been lost, it cannot be restored except by Him by whom it could be given. Thus Truth itself says: If the Son liberates you, then you will be truly free" [ John 8:36 ; St. Prosper]. *

187 Can. 14. "No wretched person is freed from misery, however small, unless he is first reached by the mercy of God" [St. Prosper] * just as the Psalmist says:Let thy mercy, Lord, speedily anticipate us [ Ps. 78:8 ]; and also: "My God, His mercy will prevent me"[Ps. 58:11 ].

188 Can. 15. "From that which God fashioned, Adam was changed by his own iniquity, but for the worse. From that which injustice has effected, the faithful (man) is changed by the grace of God, but for the better. Therefore, the former change was (the result) of the first transgression, the latter according to the Psalmistis the change of the right hand of the Most High [ Ps. 76:11 ]" [St. Prosper]. *

189 Can. 16. "Let no one glory in that which he seems to possess, as if he did not receive (it), or think that he has received (it) for this reason, because the sign appeared from without, either that it might be read, or sounded that it might be heard. For thus says the Apostle: If justice ( is) through the law, then Christ died for nothing [ Gal. 2:21]: ascending on high he led captivity captive, he gave gifts to men[ Eph. 4:8; cf.Ps. 67:19]. Whoever has, has from Him, but whoever denies that he has from Him, either does not truly possess, or that,which he possesses, is taken away from him [ Matt. 25:29]" [St. Prosper]. *

190  Can. 17. "Worldly desire creates the fortitude of the Gentiles, but the charityof God, whichis diffused in our hearts,not by free will, which is from us, butby the Holy Spirit, which is given to us[ Rom. 5:5] produces the fortitude of the Christians" [St. Prosper].*

191  Can. 18."That grace is preceded by no merits.A reward is due to good works, if they are performed; but grace, which is not due, precedes, that they may be done" [St. Prosper]. *

192  Can. 19. "That no one is saved except by God's mercy. Even if human nature remained in that integrity in which it was formed, it would in no way save itself without the help of its Creator; therefore, since without the grace of God it cannot guard the health which it received, how without the grace of God will it be able to recover what it has lost?" [St. Prosper] *

193 Can. 20."That without God man can do no good. God does many good things in man, which man does not do; indeed man can do no good that God does not expect that man do" [St. Prosper].*

194  Can. 21."Nature and grace.Just as the Apostle most truly says to those, who, wishing to be justified in the law, have fallen even from grace: if justice is from the law, then Christ died in vain [ Gal. 2:21 ]; so it is most truly said to those who think that grace, which the faith of Christ commends and obtains, is nature: If justice is through nature, then Christ died in vain. For the law was already here, and it did not justify; nature, too, was already present, and it did not justify. Therefore, Christ did not die in vain, that the law also might be fulfilled through Him, who said:I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill (it) [Matt. 5:17], and in order that nature ruined by Adam, might be repaired by Him, who said: He cameto seek and to save that which had been lost[ Luke 19:10]" [St. Prosper].*

195  Can. 22. "Those things which are peculiar to men.No one has anything of his own except lying and sin. But if man has any truth and justice, it is from that fountain for which we ought to thirst in this desert, that bedewed by some drops of water from it, we may not falter on the way" [St. Prosper].*

196 Can. 23. "The good will of God and of man. Men do their own will, not God's, when they do what displeases God; but when they do what they wish, in order to serve the divine will, even though willingly they do what they do, nevertheless it is the will of Him by whom what they will is both prepared and ordered" [St. Prosper]. *

197 Can. 24. "The branches of the vine. Thus there are branches in the vine,not that they may bestow anything upon the vine, but that they may receive from it the means by which they may live; so truly the vine is in the branches, that it may furnish vital nourishment to these, not take it from them. And by this it is an advantage to the disciples, not to Christ, that each have Christ abiding in him, and that each abide in Christ. For if the branch is cut off, another can sprout forth from the living root; but that which has been cut off, cannot live without tile root [John 15:5 ff.]" [St. Prosper]. *

198  Can. 25. "The love with which we love God.Truly to love God is a gift of God. He Himself has granted that He be loved, who though not loved loves. Although we were displeasing we were loved, so that there might be produced in us [something] by which we might please. For theSpiritwhom we love together with the Father and the Son pours forth the charity[of the Father and the Son]in our hearts[Rom. 5:5]" [St. Prosper]. *

199  And thus according to the statements of the Holy Scriptures written above, or the explanations of the ancient Fathers, God being propitious, we ought to proclaim and to believe that through the sin of the first man free will was so changed and so weakened that afterwards no one could either love God as he ought, or believe in God, or perform what is good on account of God, unless the grace of divine mercy reached him first. Therefore, we believe that in the [case of] the just Abel, and Noah and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the multitude of the ancient saints that illustrious faith which the Apostle Paul proclaims in their praise [Heb. 11], was conferred not by tile good of nature, which had been given before in [the case of] Adam, but through the grace of God. Even after the coming of the Lord we know and likewise believe that this grace was not held in the free will of all who desired to be baptized, but was bestowed by the bounty of Christ, according to what has already been said often, and Paul the Apostle declares: It has been given to you for Christ, not only, that you may believe in him, but also that you may suffer for him [Phil. 1:29]; and this: God, who has begun a good work in you, will perfect it even to the day of our Lord[Phil. 1:6]; and this: By grace you are made safe through faith, and this not of yourselves: for it is the gift of God[Eph. 2:8]; and that which the Apostle says about himself:I have obtained mercy, that I may be faithful [ 1 Cor. 7:25;1 Tim. 1:13]; he did not say: "because I was," but: "that I may be." And that: What have you, that you have not received?[1 Cor. 4:7]. And that:Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights [ Jas. 1:17 ]. And that: No one has anything, except it has been given him from above [John 3:27]. Innumerable are the testimonies of the Sacred Scriptures which can be brought forward to prove grace, but they are passed over out of a desire for brevity; also because, in truth, more [proofs] will not profit those for whom a few do not suffice.

 [III. Predestination] According to the Catholic faith we believe this also, that after grace has been received through baptism, all the baptized with the help and cooperation of Christ can and ought to fulfill what pertains to the salvation of the soul, if they will labor faithfully. We not only do not believe that some have been truly predestined to evil by divine power, but also with every execration we pronounce anathema upon those, if there are [any such], who wish to believe so great an evil. This, too, we profess and believe unto salvation, that in every good work we do not begin, and afterwards are helped by the mercy of God, but He Himself, with no preceding good services [on our part], previously inspires us with faith and love of Him, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacraments of baptism, and after baptism with His help be able to perform those [acts] which are pleasing to Him. So very clearly we should believe that the faith-so admirable-both of that famous thief, whom the Lord restored to his native land of paradise [Luke 23:43], and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent [ Acts 10:3], and of Zacheus, who deserved to receive the Lord Himself [Luke 19:6], was not from nature, but a gift of God's bounty.


Confirmation of the Council of Orange II *

[From the letter "Per filium nostrum" to Caesarius of Arles, January 25, 531].

200a 1 . . . To your petition, which you have composed with laudable solicitude for the Faith, we have not delayed to give a Catholic reply. For you point out that some bishops of the Gauls, although they now agree that other goods are born of God's grace, think that faith, by which we believe in Christ, is only of nature, not of grace; and that (faith) has remained in the free will of man from Adam-which it is a sin to sayand is not even now conferred on individuals by the bounty of God's mercy; asking that, for the sake of ending the ambiguity, we confirm by the authority of the Apostolic See your confession, in which in the Opposite way you explain that right faith in Christ and the beginning of all good will, according to Catholic truth, is inspired in the minds of individuals by the preceding grace of God.

200b 2. And therefore, since many Fathers, and above all Bishop Augustine of blessed memory, but also our former high priests of the Apostolic See are proved to have discussed this with such detailed reasoning that there should be no further doubt in anyone that faith itself also comes to us from grace, we have thought that we should desist from a complex response, especially since according to these statements from the Apostle which you have arranged, in which he says: I have obtained mercy, that I may be faithful [1 Cor. 7:25], and elsewhere: It has been given to you, for Christ, not only that you may believe in Him, but also that you may suffer for Him [Phil. 1:29], it clearly appears that the faith by which we believe in Christ, just as all blessings, comes to each man from the gift of supernal grace, not from the power of human nature. And this, too, we rejoice that your Fraternity, after holding a meeting with certain priests of the Gauls, understood according to the Catholic faith, namely in these matters in which with one accord, as you have indicated, they explained that the faith, by which we believe in Christ, is conferred by the preceding grace of God; adding also that there is no good at all according to God, that anyone can will, or begin, or accomplish without the grace of God, since our Savior Himself says: Without Me you can do nothing" [John 15:5]. For it is certain and Catholic that in all blessings of which the chief is faith, though we do not will it, the mercy of God precedes us, that we may be steadfast in faith, just as David the prophet says: "My God, his mercy will prevent me" [Ps. 58:11]; and again: My mercy is with him [Ps. 88:25]; and elsewhere: His mercy follows me [ Ps. 22:6]. And similarly blessed Paul says: Or did anyone first give to him, and will he be rewarded by him? Since from him, and through him, andin him are all things[ Rom. 11:35 f.]. So we marvel very much that those, who believe the contrary, are oppressed by the remains of an ancient error even to the point that they do not believe that we come to Christ by the favor of God, but by that of nature, and say that the good of that very nature, which is known to have been perverted by Adam's sin, is the author of our faith rather than Christ; and do not perceive that they contradict the statement of the master who said: No one comes to me, except it be given to him by my Father [ John 6:44]; but they also oppose blessed Paul likewise, who exclaims to the Hebrews:Let us run in the contest proposed to us, looking uponthe author and finisher of faith, Jesus Christ[ Heb. 2:1 f.]. Since this is so, we cannot discover what they impute to the human will without the grace of God for belief in Christ, since Christ is the author and consummator of faith.

 3. Therefore, we salute [you] with proper affection, and approve your confession written above in agreement with the Catholic rules of the Fathers.

JOHN II 533-535

"One of the Trinity Suffered," and the Blessed

Virgin Mary, Mother of God *

[From epistle (3) "Olim quidem" to the senators of

Constantinople, March, 534]

201 [Since] Justinian the Emperor, our son, as you have learned from the tenor or his epistle, has signified that arguments have arisen with regard to these three questions, whether one of the Trinity can be called Christ and our God, that is, one holy person of the three persons of the Holy Trinity whether the God Christ incapable of suffering because of deity endured [suffering in] the flesh; whether properly and truly (the Mother of God and the Mother of God's Word become incarnate from her) the Mother of our Lord God Christ ought to be called Mary ever Virgin. In these matters we have recognized the Catholic faith of the Emperor, and we show that this is clearly so from the examples of the prophets, and of the Apostles, or of the Fathers. For in these examples we clearly point out that one of the Holy Trinity is Christ, that is, one of the three persons of the Holy Trinity is a holy person or substance, which the Greeks call (Greek text deleted) [various witnesses are brought forward, as Gen. 3:22; 1 Cor. 8:6; the Nicene Creed; Proclus' letter to the Westerners, etc.]; but let us confirm by these examples that God truly endured in the flesh [Deut. 28:66; John 14:6; Matt. 3:8; Acts 3:15,: 20, 28; 1 Cor. 2:8; Cyrilli anath. 12; LEO ad Flavium etc.].

202 We rightly teach that the glorious Holy ever Virgin Mary is acknowledged by Catholic men [to be] both properly and truly the one who bore God, and the Mother of God's Word, become incarnate from her. For He Himself deigned from earliest times properly and truly to become incarnate and likewise to be born of the holy and glorious Virgin Mother. Therefore, because the Son of God was properly and truly made flesh from her and born of her, we confess that she was properly and truly the Mother of God made incarnate and born from her, and (properly indeed), lest it be believed that the Lord Jesus received the name of God through honor or grace, as the foolish Nestorius thinks; but truly for this reason, lest it be believed that He took flesh in a phantasm or some other manner, not true flesh from the virgin, just as the impious Eutyches has asserted.

ST. AGAPETUS I 535-536 ST. SILVERIUS 536-(537)-540

VIGILIUS (537) 540-555

Canons against Origen *

[From the Book against Origen of the Emperor Justinian, 543]

203 Can. 1. If anyone says or holds that the souls of men pre-existed, as if they were formerly minds and holy powers, but having received a surfeit of beholding the Divinity, and having turned towards the worse, and on this account having shuddered (apopsycheisas) at the love of God, in consequence being called souls (psychae) and being sent down into bodies for the sake of punishment, let him be anathema.

204 Can. 2. If anyone says and holds that the soul of the Lord pre-existed, and was united to God the Word before His incarnation and birth from the Virgin, let him be anathema.

205  Can. 3. If anyone says or holds that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ was first formed in the womb of the holy Virgin, and that after this God, the Word, and the soul, since it had pre-existed, were united to it, let him be anathema.

206 Can. 4. If anyone says or holds that the Word of God was made like all the heavenly orders, having become a Cherubim for the Cherubim, a Seraphim for the Seraphim, and evidently having been made like all the powers above, let him be anathema.

207  Can. 5. If anyone says or maintains that in resurrection the bodies of men are raised up from sleep spherical, and does not agree that we are raised up from sleep upright, let him be anathema.

208  Can. 6. If anyone says that the sky, and the sun, and the moon and the stars, and the waters above the heavens are certain living and material * powers, let him be anathema.

209 Can. 7. If anyone says or holds that the Lord Christ in the future age will be crucified in behalf of the demons, just as (He was) for the sake of men, let him be anathema.

210 Can. 8. If anyone says or holds that the power of God is limited, and that He has accomplished as much as He has comprehended, let him be anathema.

211 Can. 9. If anyone says or holds that the punishment of the demons and of impious men is temporary, and that it will have an end at some time, that is to say, there will be a complete restoration of the demons or of impious men, let him be anathema.


Ecumenical V (concerning the three Chapters)

Ecclesiastical Tradition *

212 We confess that (we) hold and declare the faith given from the beginning by the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ to the Holy Apostles, and preached by them in the whole world; which the sacred Fathers both confessed and explained, and handed down to the holy churches, and especially [those Fathers] who assembled in the four sacred Synods, whom we follow and accept through all things and in all things . . . judging as at odds with piety all things, indeed, which are not in accord with what has been defined as right faith by the same four holy Councils, we condemn and anathematize them.

Anathemas Concerning the Three Chapters *

[In part identical with "Homologia" of the Emperor, in the year 551]

213 Can. 1. If anyone does not confess that (there is) one nature or substance of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and one power and one might, and that the Trinity is consubstantial, one Godhead being worshipped in three subsistences, or persons, let such a one be anathema. For there is one God and Father, from whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit, in whom are all things.

214  Can. 2. If anyone does not confess that there are two generations of the Word of God, the one from the Father before the ages, without time and incorporeally, the other in the last days, when the same came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the holy and glorious Mother of God and ever Virgin Mary, and was born of her, let such a one be anathema.

215  Can. 3. If anyone says that one [person] is the Word of God who performed miracles, and another the Christ who suffered, or says that God the Word was with Christ when Ile was born of a woman, or was with Him as one in another, but not that the same [person] is our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, incarnate and made man, and that both the miracles and the sufferings which He voluntarily endured in the flesh were of the same person, let such a one be anathema.

216  Can. 4. If anyone says that the union of the Word of was made according to grace, or according to operation, dignity, or according to equality of honor, or according relation, or temperament, or power, or according to good was pleasing to God the Word because it seemed well to Himself, as [mad] Theodore declares; or according to which the Nestorians who call God the Word Jesus and Christ, and name the man separately Christ and the Son, and, though plainly speaking of two persons, pretend to speak of one person and one Christ according to name only, and honor, and dignity, and worship, but does not confess that the union of the Word of God to a body animated with a rational and intellectual soul, took place according to composition or according to subsistence, as the Holy Fathers have taught, and on this account one subsistence of Him, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Holy Trinity, let such a one be anathema. For, since the union is thought of in many ways, some following the impiety of Appollinaris and Eutyches, consenting to the disappearance of those who have come together, worship the union according to confusion; others thinking like Theodore and Nestorius, rejoicing in the division, introduce the accidental union. But the Holy Church of God, rejecting the impiety of each heresy, confesses the union of God's Word to the body according to composition, that is according to subsistence. For the union through composition in the mystery about Christ not only preserves unconfused what have come together but besides does not admit a division.

217 Can. 5. If anyone accepts the one subsistence of our Lord Jesus Christ as admitting the significance of many subsistences, and on this account attempts to introduce in the mystery about Christ two subsistences or two persons, and of the two persons introduced by him, he speaks of one person according to dignity, and honor, and adoration, just as mad Theodore and Nestorius have written, and he falsely accuses the sacred synod of Chalcedon of using the expression "of one subsistence" according to this impious conception, but does not confess that the word of God was united to a body according to subsistence, and on this account one subsistence of Him, that is one person, and that thus, too, the holy Council of Chalcedon confessed one subsistence of our Lord Jesus Christ, let such a one be anathema. For, the Holy Trinity did not receive the addition of a person or of a subsistence when one of the Holy Trinity, God the Word, became incarnate.

218 Can. 6. If anyone says that the holy glorious ever-virgin Mary is falsely but not truly the Mother of God; or (is the Mother of God) according to relation, as if a mere man were born, but not as if the Word of God became incarnate [and of her] from her, but the birth of the man according to them being referred to the Word of God as being with the man when he was born, and falsely accuses the holy synod of Chalcedon of proclaiming the Virgin Mother of God according to this impious conception which was invented by Theodore; or, if anyone calls her the mother of the man or the mother of the Christ, as if the Christ were not God, but does not confess that she is exactly and truly the Mother of God, because God the Word, born of the Father before the ages, was made flesh from her in the last days, and that thus the holy Synod of Chalcedon confessed her (to be), let such a one be anathema.

219 Can. 7. If anyone speaking on the two natures does not confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is acknowledged as in His Divinity as well as in His Manhood, in order that by this he may signify the difference of the natures in which without confusion the marvelous union was born, and that the nature of the Word was not changed into that of the flesh, nor was the nature of the flesh changed into that of the Word (for each remains exactly as it is by nature, and the union has been made according to subsistence) but with a view to division by part; if he accepts such an expression as this with regard to the mystery of Christ, or, acknowledging a number of natures in the same one Lord our Jesus Christ the Word of God made flesh, but does not accept the difference of these [natures] of which He is also composed, but which is not destroyed by the union (for one is from both, and through one both), but in this uses number in such a way, as if each nature had its own subsistence separately, let such a one be anathema.

220 Can. 8. If anyone who agrees that a union has been born of the two natures of divinity and humanity, or who says that one nature of the Word of God has been made flesh, does not accept these (expressions) as the holy Fathers have taught, namely, that of the nature of God and of that of man, the union having taken place according to subsistence, one Christ was produced; but from such words attempts to introduce one nature or substance of Godhead and humanity of Christ, let such be anathema. For, while asserting that the only-begotten Word is united according to subsistence, we do not say that any confusion of the natures with each other has been produced; but rather we believe that while each remains exactly as it is, the Word has been united to the flesh. Therefore, there is one Christ, God and man, the same [person being] consubstantial with the Father according to the Divinity, and the same consubstantial with us according to the humanity, for the Church of God equally detests and anathernatizes those who divide or cut part by part, and those who confuse the mystery of the divine dispensation of Christ.

221 Can. 9. If anyone says that Christ is adored in two natures and as a result of this two (forms of) adoration are introduced, a special one for God the Word, and a special one for the man; or, if anyone with a view to the destruction of the humanity, or to the confusing of Divinity and the humanity, talking of one nature or substance of those who have come together, thus adores Christ but does not adore with one worship God the Word incarnate with His own flesh, just as the Church of God has accepted from the beginning, let such a one be anathema.

222  Can. 10. If anyone does not confess that Jesus Christ, our Lord, who was crucified in the flesh is true God, and Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity, let such a one be anathema.

223  Can. 11. If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinarius, Nestorius, Eutyches, and Origen, in company with their sinful works, and all other heretics, who have been condemned by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and by the four holy synods above-mentioned, and those of the above-mentioned heretics who have thought or think likewise, and have remained in their impiety until the end, let such a one be anathema.

224 Can. 12. If anyone defends the impious Theodore of Mopsuestia, who said that one was God the Word, and another the Christ, who was troubled by the sufferings of the soul and the longings of the flesh, and who gradually separated Himself from worse things, and was improved by the progress of His works, and rendered blameless by this life, so as to be baptized as mere man in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and on account of the baptism received the grace of the Holy Spirit, and was deemed worthy of adoption as a son, and according to the likeness of the royal image is worshipped in the person of God the Word, and after the resurrection became unchangeable in thoughts and absolutely unerring, and again the same impious Theodore having said that the union of God the Word with the Christ was such as the Apostle (spoke of) with reference to man and woman: "They shall be two in one flesh"[Eph. 5:31]; and in addition to his other innumerable blasphemies, dared to say that after the resurrection, the Lord when He breathed on His disciples and said:"Receive ye the holy ghost"[Is. 20:22], did not give them the Holy Spirit, but breathed only figuratively. But this one, too, said that the confession of Thomas on touching the hands and the side of the Lord, after the resurrection, " My Lord and my God"[Is.. 20:28 ], was not said by Thomas concerning Christ, but that Thomas, astounded by the marvel of the resurrection, praised God for raising Christ from the dead;

225 and what is worse, even in the interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles made by him, the same Theodore comparing Christ to Plato and Manichaeus, and Epicurus, and Marcion, says that, just as each of those after inventing his own doctrine caused his disciples to be called Platonists, and Manichaeans, and Epicureans, and Marcionites, and Christ invented His own way of life and His own doctrines [caused His disciples] to be called Christians from Him; if, then, anyone defends the aforementioned most impious Theodore and his impious writings, in which he sets forth the aforesaid and other innumerable blasphemies against the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, but does not anathematize him and his impious writings, and all those who accept or even justify him, or say that he preached in an orthodox manner, and those who wrote in his defense or in defense of his wicked writings, and those who think the same things, or have thought them up to this time and acquiesced in such heresy until their deaths, let such a one be anathema.

226 Can. 13. If anyone defends the impious writings of Theodoritus, which are against the true faith and the first holy synod (held) in Ephesus, and (against) Cyril in the number of the saints, and his twelve chapters [see note 113ff.], and defends all that he has written on behalf of the impious Theodore and Nestorius, and on behalf of others who think the same as the above-mentioned Theodore and Nestorius, and accepts them and their godlessness; and because of them calls the teachers of the Church impious, who believe in the union of the Word of God according to subsistence; and if he does not anathematize the said impious writings, and those who have thought or think similarly with these, and all those who have written against the true faith, or against Cyril among the saints and his twelve chapters, and have died in such impiety, let such a one be anathema.

227 Can. 14. If anyone defends the epistle which Ibas is said to have written to Maris the Persian, which denied that God the Word became incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever virgin Mary, was made man, but which said that a mere man was born of her, whom he calls a temple, so that God the Word is one, and the man another; and which slandered as a heretic Cyril in the number of the saints for having proclaimed the right faith of the Christians; and as one who wrote in a manner like that of the wicked Apollinaris, and blamed the first holy synod (held) in Ephesus, because it condemned Nestorius without an inquiry; and the same impious letter stigmatizes the twelve chapters of Cyril [see n. 113ff.] in the number of the saints as wicked and opposed to the true faith, and justifies Theodore and Nestorius and their impious doctrines and writings; if anyone then defends the said letter, and does not anathematize it, and those who defend it, and say that it is true, or part of it is, and those who have written and are writing in its defense, or in defense of the wicked (ideas) included in it, and dare to justify it or the impiety included in it in the name of the holy Fathers, or of the holy synod (held) in Chalcedon, and have persisted in these (actions) until death, let such a one be anathema.

228 When then these things have been so confessed, which we have received from Holy Scripture, and from the teaching of the Holy Fathers, and from what was defined with regard to one and the same faith by the aforesaid four holy synods, and from that condemnation formulated by us against the heretics and their impiety, and besides, that against those who have defended or are defending the aforementioned three chapters, and who have persisted or do persist in their own error; if anyone should attempt to transmit [doctrines] opposed to those piously molded by us, or to teach or to write [them] if indeed he be a bishop, or belongs to the clergy, such a one, because he acts in a manner foreign to the sacred and ecclesiastical constitutions, shall be stripped of the office of bishop or cleric, but if he be a monk or a layman, he shall be anathematized.

PELAGIUS I 556-561

The Last Things *

[From Fide PELAGII in the letter "Humani generis"

to Childebert I, April, 557]

228a For I confess that all men from Adam, even to the consummation of the world, having been born and having died with Adam himself and his wife, who were not born of other parents, but were created, the one from the earth, the other [al.: altera], however, from the rib of the man [cf. Gen. 2:7, 22], Will then rise again and stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he has done, whether it be good or bad[ Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10]; and indeed by the very bountiful grace of God he will present the just, as vessels of mercy prepared beforehand for glory[Rom. 9:23], with the rewards of eternal life; namely, they will live without end in the society of the angels without any fear now of their own fall; the wicked, however, remaining by choice of their own withvessels of wrath fit for destruction[ Rom. 9:22], who either did not know the way of the Lord, or knowing it left it when seized by various transgressions, He will give over by a very just judgment to the punishment of eternal and inextinguishable fire, that they may burn without end. This, then, is my faith and hope, which is in me by the gift of the mercy of God, in defense of which blessed PETER taught [cf.1 Pet 3:15] that we ought to be especially ready to answer everyone who asks us for an accounting.


The Form of Baptism *

[From the epistle "Admonemus ut" to Gaudentius,

Bishop of Volterra, about the year 560]

229 There are many who assert that they are baptized in the name of Christ alone with only one immersion. But the evangelical precept which the very God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, handed down warns us to give each one holy baptism in the name of the Trinity and with a triple immersion also, since our Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples: Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit [ Matt. 28:19]. If, in fact, those of the heretics, who are said to remain in places near your love, confess perchance that they have been baptized only in the name of the Lord, without any uncertainty of doubt you will baptize them in the name of the Holy Trinity, if they come to the Catholic faith. But if . . . by a clear confession it becomes evident that they have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, you will hasten to unite them to the Catholic faith, employing only the grace of reconciliation, in order that nothing other than what the evangelical authority orders may seem to be accomplished.

The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff*

[From epistle (26) "Adeone te" to a certain bishop

(John ?), about the year 560]


230 Has the truth of your Catholic mother so failed you, who have been placed in the highest office of the priesthood, that you have not at once recognized yourself as a schismatic, when you withdrew from the apostolic sees? Being appointed to preach the Gospel to the people, had you not even read that the Church was founded by Christ our Lord upon the chief of the Apostles, so thatthe gates of hell might not be able to prevail against it [ cf. Matt. 16:18 ] ? If you had read this, where did you believe the Church to be outside of him in whom alone are clearly all the apostolic sees? To whom in like measure as to him, who had receivedthe keys, has the power of binding and of loosingbeen granted [cf. Matt. 16:19]? But for this reason he gave first to him alone, what he was about to give also to (in) all, so that, according to the opinion of blessed Cyprian the martyr who explains this very thing, the Church might be shown to be one. Why, therefore, did you, already dearest in Christ, wander away from your portion, or what hope did you have for your salvation?

 (JOHN III 561-574)


Anathemas against Heretics, especially the Priscillianists *

231 1. If anyone does not confess that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (are) three persons of one substance, and virtue, and power) just as the Catholic and apostolic Church teaches, but says there is only one and a solitary person, so that He Himself is the Father who is the Son, and also He Himself is the Paraclete, the Spirit, just as Sabellius and Priscillian have asserted, let him be anathema.

232 2. If anyone introduces some other names of the Godhead in addition to the Holy Trinity, because, as he says, there is in the Godhead himself a Trinity of the Trinity, just as the Gnostics and Priscillians have stated, let him be anathema.

233 3. If anyone says that the Son of God our Lord did not exist before He was born of the Virgin, just as Paul of Samosata and Photinus and Priscillian have said, let him be anathema,

234 4. If anyone does not truly honor the birthday of Christ according to the flesh, but pretends that he honors (it), fasting on the very day and on the Lord's Day, because, like Cerdon, Marcion, Manichaeus, and Priscillian, he does not believe that Christ was born in the nature of man, let him be anathema.

235 5. If anyone believes, as Manichaeus and Priscillian have said, that human souls or angels have arisen from the substance of God, let him be anathema.

236 6. If anyone says that human souls first sinned in the heavenly habitation and in view of this were hurled down into human bodies on earth, as Priscillian has affirmed, let him be anathema.

237 7. If anyone says that the devil was not first a good angel made by God, and that his nature was not a work of God, but says that he came forth from darkness, and does not have any author of himself, but is himself the origin and substance of evil, as Manichaeus and Priscillian have said, let him be anathema.

238 8. If anyone believes that the devil made some creatures in the world and by his own authority the devil himself causes thunder and lightning, and storms and spells of dryness, just as Priscillian has asserted, let him be anathema.

239 9. If anyone believes that human souls [al. souls and human bodies] are bound by a fatal sign [al. by fatal stars], just as the pagans and Priscillian have affirmed, let him be anathema.

240 10. If anyone believes that the twelve signs or stars, which the astrologers are accustomed to observe, have been scattered through single members of the soul or body, and say that they have been attributed to the names of the Patriarchs, just as Priscillian has asserted, let him be anathema.

241 11. If anyone condemns human marriage and has a horror of the procreation of living bodies, as Manichaeus and Priscillian have said, let him be anathema.

242 12. If anyone says that the formation of the human body is a creation of the devil, and says that conceptions in the wombs of mothers are formed by the works of demons, and for this reason does not believe in the resurrection of the body, just as Manichaeus and Priscillian have said, let him be anathema.

243 13. If anyone says that the creation of all flesh is not the work of God, but belongs to the wicked angels, just as Priscillian has said, let him be anathema.

244  14. If anyone considers the foods of the flesh unclean, which God has given for the use of men; and, not for the affliction of his body, but as if he thought it unclean, so abstains from these that he does not taste vegetables cooked with meats, just as Manichaeus and Priscillian have said, let him be anathema.

 [15 and 16 consider only ecclesiastical discipline].

245  17. If anyone reads the Scriptures, which Priscillian has distorted according to his own error, or Dictinius's treatises, which Dictinius himself wrote before he was converted- or whatsoever writings of the heretics under the name of the Patriarchs, of the Prophets, or of the Apostles they have devised in agreement with their own error, and follows or defends their impious creations, let him be anathema.

BENEDICT I 575-579


The Unity of the Church *

[From epistle (1) "Quod ad dilectionern" to the

schismatic bishops of Istria, about 585]

246 (For) you know that the Lord proclaims in the Gospel: Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I have asked the Father for thee, that thy faith fail not; and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren [Luke 22:31 f.].

 Consider, most dear ones, that the Truth could not have lied, nor will the faith of PETER be able to be shaken or changed forever. For although the devil desired to sift all the disciples, the Lord testifies that He Himself asked for PETER alone and wished the others to be confirmed by him; and to him also, in consideration of a greater love which he showed the Lord before the rest, was committed the care of feeding the sheep [cf. John 21:15 ff.]; and to him also He handed over the keys of the kin gdom of heaven,and upon him He promised to build his Church,and He testified that the gates of hell would not prevail against it [cf. Matt. 16:16 ff.]. But, because the enemy of the human race even until the end of the world does not abstain from sowing cockle [Matt. 13:25] over the good seed in the Church of the Lord, and therefore, lest perchance anyone with malignant zeal should by the instigation of the devil presume to make some alterations in and to draw conclusions regarding the integrity of the faith- and (lest) by reason of this your minds perhaps may seem to be disturbed, we have judged it necessary through our present epistle to exhort with tears that you should return to the heart of your mother the Church, and to send you satisfaction with regard to the integrity of faith. . . .

 [ The faith of the Synods ofNICEA, CONSTANTINOPLE I, EPHESUS I,and especially ofCHALCEDON,and likewise of the dogmatic epistle of LEO to Flavian having been confirmed, he proceeds thus: ]

 If anyone, however, either suggests or believes or presumes to teach contrary to this faith, let him know that he is condemned and also anathematized according to the opinion of the same Fathers. . . . Consider (therefore) the fact that whoever has not been in the peace and unity of the Church, cannot have the Lord [Gal. 3:7]. . . .


The Necessity of Union with the Church *

[From epistle (2) "Dilectionis vestrae" to the schismatic

bishops of Istria, about 585]

247 . . . Do not (therefore) because of a love of ostentation, which is always next to pride, remain in the vice of obstinacy; since in the day of judgment no one can excuse himself. . . .

 For although it is evident from the word of the Lord Himself in the Sacred Gospel [cf. Matt. 16:18 ] where the Church is established, let us hear nevertheless what the blessed Augustine, mindful of the opinion of the same Lord, has explained. For he says that the Church of God is established among those who are known to preside over the apostolic sees) through the succession of those in charge, and whoever separates himself from the communion or authority of these sees, is shown to be in schism. And following additional remarks (he says): "If you are put outside, for the name of Christ you will also die. Suffer for Christ among the members of Christ; clinging to the body, fight for the head." But the blessed Cyprian . . . among other things, says the following: "The beginning starts from unity, and the primacy is given to PETER, So that the Church and the chair of Christ may be shown (to be) one: and they are all shepherds, but the flock, which is fed by the Apostles in unanimous agreement, is shown to be one." * And after a few (remarks he adds): "Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church believe that he has the faith? Does he who deserts and resists the chair of PETER, on which the Church was founded, have confidence that he is in the Church?" Likewise after other remarks (he asserts): "They can. not arrive at the reward of peace, because they disrupt the peace of the Lord by the fury of discord. . . . Those who were not willing to be at agreement in the Church of God, cannot remain with God; although given over to flames and fires, they burn, or thrown to wild beasts, they lay down their lives, there will not be [for them] that crown of faith, but the punishment of faithlessness, not a glorious result (of religious virtue), but the ruin of despair. Such a one can be slain, he cannot be crowned. . . . For the crime of schism is worse than that which they [commit] who have offered sacrifice, who, nevertheless, having been disposed to penance for their sins prayed to God with the fullest satisfaction. In this case the Church is sought and solicited; in the other the Church is opposed. So in this case he who has fallen, has injured only himself; in the other, who attempts to cause a schism deceives many by dragging (them) with himself. In this case there is the loss of one soul; in the other there is danger to many. Certainly the one knows that he has sinned and laments and bewails (it); the other puffed up with pride in his sin and pluming himself on the sins themselves, separates sons from their mother, seduces the sheep from the shepherds, disturbs the sacraments of God, and, whereas the former having stumbled sinned once, the latter sins daily. Lastly although the lapsed, if afterwards he acquired martyrdom, is able to secure the promises of the kingdom; if the other is slain outside of the Church, he cannot attain to the rewards of the Church." *


The Knowledge of Christ (against the Agnoetae) *

[From the epistle "Sicut aqua frigida" to Eulogius,

Patriarch of Alexandria, August, 600]

248 (But) concerning that which has been written: That neither the Son, nor the angels know the day and the hour [cf. Mark 13:32], indeed, your holiness has perceived rightly, that since it most certainly should be referred not to the same son according to that which is the head, but according to his body which we are . . . . He [Augustine] also says . . . that this can be understood of the same son, because omnipotent God sometimes speaks in a human way, as he said to Abraham: Now I know that thou fearest God [Gen. 22:12], not because God then knew that He was feared, but because at that time He caused Abraham to know that he feared God. For, just as we say a day is happy not because the day itself is happy, but because it makes us happy, so the omnipotent Son says He does not know the day which He causes not to be known, not because He himself is ignorant of it, but because He does not permit it to be known at all. Thus also the Father alone is said to know, because the Son (being) consubstantial with Him, on account of His nature, by which He is above the angels, has knowledge of that, of which the angels are unaware. Thus, also, this can be the more precisely understood because the Only-begotten having been incarnate, and made perfect man for us, in His human nature indeed did know the day and the hour of judgment, but nevertheless He did not know this from His human nature. Therefore, that which in (nature) itself He knew, He did not know from that very (nature), because God-made-man knew the day and hour of the judgment through the power of His Godhead. . . . Thus, the knowledge which He did not have on account of the nature of His humanity-by reason of which, like the angels, He was a creaturethis He denied that He, like the angels, who are creatures, had. Therefore (as) God and man He knows the day and the hour of judgment; but On this account, because God is man. But the fact is certainly manifest that whoever is not a Nestorian, can in no wise be an Agnoeta. For with what purpose can he, who confesses that the Wisdom itself of God is incarnate say that there is anything which the Wisdom of God does not know? It is written: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . All things were made by him [John 1:13]. If all, without doubt also the day of judgment and the hour. Who, therefore, is so foolish as to presume to assert that the Word of the Father made that which He does not know? it is written also: Jesus knowing, that the Father gave him all things into his hands [ John 13:3]. If all things, surely both the day of judgment and the hour. Who, therefore, is so stupid as to say that the Son has received in His hands that of which He is unaware?


Baptism and the Orders of Heretics *

[From the epistle "Quia charitati" to the bishops of

Spain, about June 22, 601]

249  From the ancient institution of the Fathers we have learned that those who are baptized in the name of the Trinity, although amid heresy, whenever they return to the holy Church, may be recalled to the bosom of their mother the Church either with the anointing of chrism, or the imposition of hands, or with a profession of faith alone . . . , because the holy baptism, which they received among the heretics, at that time restores the power of cleansing in them when they have been united to the holy faith and the heart of the universal Church. But these heretics who are not baptized in the name of the Trinity . . . , whenever they come to the holy Church, are baptized, because whatever those placed in error received not in the name of the Trinity-was not baptism. Nor can that baptism itself, which, as has been said, had not been given in the name of the Trinity, be called repeated.

 Therefore . . . without any hesitation your holiness may receive in your assembly all whoever return from the perverse error of Nestorius, their own orders preserved for them so that, while . . . through gentleness you make no opposition or difficulty in regard to their own orders, you may snatch them from the mouth of the ancient enemy.


The Time of the Hypostatic Union *

[From the same epistle to the bishops of Spain]


250 (But) the flesh was not first conceived in the womb of the Virgin and afterwards the divinity came into the flesh; but, as soon as the Word came into the womb, directly, the power of His own nature being preserved, the Word was made flesh. . . . Nor was He conceived first and afterwards anointed; but that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit from the flesh of the Virgin, was anointed by the Holy Spirit, this was.

250*   Concerning the adoration of images, see Kch n. 1054 ff.;--concerning the authority for the four councils see R n. 2291;--concerni ng the anointing, ibid. n. 2294;--concerning the rite of baptism, ibid. n. 2292; the effect, ibid. n. 2298; concerning the indissolubility of matrimony, ibid. n. 2297.


  SABIANUS 604-606 ST. BONIFACE IV 608-615


BONIFACE V 619-625


HONORIUS I 625-638

Two Wills and Operations in Christ *

[From the epistle (1) "Scripta fraternitatis vestrae"

to Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople in the year 634]

251 . . . With God as a leader we shall arrive at the measure of the right faith which the apostles of the truth have extended by means of the slender rope of the Sacred Scriptures. Confessing that the Lord Jesus Christ, the mediator of God and of men [1 Tim. 2:5], has performed divine (works) through the medium of the humanity naturally [gr. hypostatically] united to the Word of God, and that the same one performed human works, because flesh had been assumed ineffably and particularly by the full divinity [gr. in--] distinctly, unconfusedly, and unchangeably . . . so that truly it may be recognized that by a wonderful design [passible flesh] is united [to the Godhead] while the differences of both natures marvelously remain. . . . Hence, we confess one will of our Lord Jesus Christ also, because surely our nature, not our guilt was assumed by the Godhead, that certainly, which was created before sin, not that which was vitiated after the transgression. For Christ . . . was conceived of the Holy Spirit without sin, and was also born of the holy and immaculate Virgin mother of God without sin, experiencing no contagion of our vitiated nature. . . . For there was no other law in His members, or a will different from or contrary to the Savior, because He was born above the law of the human nature. . . . There are extensive works of sacred literature pointing out very clearly that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son and the Word of God, by whom all things were made [John 1:3], is Himself the one operator of divinity and of humanity. But whether on account of the works of divinity and of humanity, one or two operations ought to be said or understood to be derived, such (questions) should not concern us, leaving them to the grammarians, who are accustomed to sell to children words acquired by derivation. For in sacred literature we have perceived that the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit operated not one operation or two, but we have learned that (He) operated in many ways.

[From the epistle (2) "Scripta dilectissimi filii" to the same Sergius]

252  . . . So far as pertains to ecclesiastical doctrine, what we ought to hold or to preach on account of the simplicity of men and the inextricable ambiguities of questions (which) must be removed . . . . is to define not one or two operations in the mediator of God and of men, but both natures united in one Christ by a natural union, when we should confess those operating with the participation of the other and the operators, both the divine, indeed, performing what is of God, and the human performing what is of the flesh; teaching [that they operate] neither separately, nor confusedly, nor interchangeably, the nature of God changed into man, and the human changed into God; but con. fessing the complete differences of the natures. . . Therefore, doing away with . . . the scandal of the new invention, we, when we are explaining, should not preach one or two operations; but instead of one operation, which some affirm, we should confess one operator, Christ the Lord, in both natures; and instead of two operations-when the expression of two operations has been done away with-rather of the two natures themselves, that is of divinity and of the flesh assumed, in one person, the Only-begotten of God the Father unconfusedly, inseparably, and unchangeably performing their proper (works) with us.

[More from this epistle see Kch. n. 1065-1069]


JOHN IV 640-642

The Meaning of the Words of HONORIUS about the Two Wills *

[From the epistle "Dominus qui dixit" to Constantius the Emperor, 641]

253  . . . One and He alone is without sin, the mediator of God and of men, the man Christ Jesus [cf. 1 Tim. 2:5] who was conceived and born free among the dead [Ps. 87:6]. Thus in the dispensation of His sacred flesh, He never had two contrary wills, nor did the will of His flesh resist the will of His mind. . . . Therefore, knowing that there was no sin at all in Him when He was born and lived, we fittingly say and truthfully confess one will in the humanity of His sacred dispensation; and we do not preach two contrary wills, of mind and of flesh, as in a pure man, in the manner certain heretics are known to rave. In accord with this method, then, our predecessor (already mentioned) [HONORIUS] is known to have written to the (aforenamed) Sergius the Patriarch who was asking questions, that in our Savior two contrary wills did not exist internally, that is, in His members, since He derived no blemish from the transgression of the first man. . . . This usually happens, that, naturally where there is a wound, there medicinal aid offers itself. For the blessed Apostle is known to have done this often, preparing himself according to the custom of his hearers; and sometimes indeed when teaching about the supreme nature, he is completely silent about the human nature, but sometimes when treating of the human dispensation, he does not touch on the mystery of His divinity. . . So, my aforementioned predecessor said concerning the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, that there were not in Him, as in us sinners, contrary wills of mind and flesh; and certain ones converting this to their own meaning, suspected that He taught one will of His divinity and humanity which is altogether contrary to the truth. . . .


ST. MARTIN I 649-653 (655)


(Against the Monothelites)

The Trinity, the Incarnation, etc.*

254 Can. 1. If anyone does not confess properly and truly in accord with the holy Fathers that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit [are a] Trinity in unity, and a unity in Trinity, that is, one God in three subsistences, consubstantial and of equal glory, one and the same Godhead, nature, substance, virtue, power, kingdom, authority, will, operation of the three, uncreated, without beginning, incomprehensible, immutable, creator and protector of all things, let him be condemned [see n. 78-82, 213].

255 Can. 2. If anyone does not properly and truly confess in accordance with the Holy Fathers that God the Word himself, one of the holy and consubstantial and venerable Trinity, descended from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Mary ever Virgin, and was made man, was crucified in the flesh, voluntarily suffered for us and was buried, and arose again on the third day, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father, and will come again with paternal glory, with his flesh assumed by Him and intellectually animated, to judge the living and the dead, let him be condemned [see n. 2, 6, 65,215].

256  Can. 3. If anyone does not properly and truly confess in accord with the holy Fathers, that the holy Mother of God and ever Virgin and immaculate Mary in the earliest of the ages conceived of the Holy Spirit without seed, namely, God the Word Himself specifically and truly, who was born of God the Father before all ages, and that she incorruptibly bore [Him?], her virginity remaining indestructible even after His birth, let him be condemned [see n. 218].

257 Can. 4. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers, two nativities of our one Lord and God Jesus Christ, as before the ages from God and the Father incorporally and eternally, and as from the holy ever Virgin, Mother of God Mary, corporally in the earliest of the ages, and also one and the same Lord of us and God, Jesus Christ with God and His Father according to His divine nature and , consubstantial with man and His Mother according to the human nature, and the same one passible in the flesh, and impassible in the Godhead, circumscribed in the body, uncircumscribed in Godhead, the same one uncreated and created, terrestial and celestial, visible and intelligible, comprehensible and incomprehensible, that all mankind which fell under sin, might be restored through the same complete man and God, let him be condemned [see n. 214].

258  Can. 5. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers one incarnate nature of God the Word, in this way, that our substance is called incarnate perfectly in Christ God and without diminution, [see n. 220] provided substance is signified without sin, let him be condemned.

259  Can. 6. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers, that from two and in two natures substantially united unconfusedly and undividedly there is one and the same Lord and God, Jesus Christ, let him be condemned [see n. 148].

260 Can. 7. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers, the substantial difference of the natures preserved in Him, unconfusedly and undividedly, let him be condemned [see n.148 ].

261  Can. 8. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers the substantial union of the natures recognized in Him undividedly and unconfusedly, let him be condemned [see n. 148].

262 Can. 9. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers, the natural properties of His Godhead and of His humanity preserved without diminution and without injury in Him, let him be condemned.

263 Can. 10. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers two wills of one and the same Christ our God, united uninterruptedly, divine and human, and on this account that through each of His natures the same one of His own free will is the operator [Editors add: operator] of our salvation, let him be condemned.

264 Can. 11. If anyone does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers two operations of one and the same Christ our God uninterruptedly united, divine and human, from this that through each of His natures He naturally is the same operator of our salvation, let him be condemned.

265 Can. 12. If anyone according to the wicked heretics confesses one will and one operation of Christ our God, to the destruction of the confession of the holy Fathers and to the denial of the same dispensation of our Savior, let him be condemned.

266 Can. 13. If anyone according to the wicked heretics, contrary to the doctrine of the Fathers, confesses both one will and one operation, although two wills and two operations, divine and human, have been substantially preserved in union in Christ God, and have been piously preached by our holy Fathers, let him be condemned.

267 Can. 14. If anyone according to the wicked heretics, together with one will and one operation, which is impiously confessed by the heretics, denies and rejects both two wills and in like manner two operations, that is, divine and human, which are preserved in unity in the very Christ God, and are proclaimed in regard to Him in an orthodox manner by the holy Fathers, let him be condemned.

268 Can. 15. If anyone according to the wicked heretics unwisely accepts the divine-human operation, which the Greeks call (Greek text deleted),as one operation, but does not confess that it is twofold according to the holy Fathers, that is, divine and human, or that the new application itself of the word "divine-human" which has been used is descriptive of one, but not demonstrative of the marvelous and glorious union of both, let him be condemned.

269 Can. 16. If anyone according to the wicked heretics in the destruction of the two wills and the two operations, that is, divine and human, preserved essentially in unity in Christ God, and piously preached by the holy Fathers, foolishly connects discords and differences with the mystery of His dispensation, and so attributes the evangelical and apostolic words about the same Savior not to one and the same person and essentially to the same Lord Himself and God, our Jesus Christ, according to blessed Cyril, so that he is shown to be by nature God and likewise man, let him be condemned.

270 Can. 17. If anyone in word and mind does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers all even to the last portion that has been handed down and preached in the holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church of God, and likewise by the holy Fathers and the five venerable universal Councils, let him be condemned.

271 Can. 18. If anyone according to the holy Fathers, harmoniously with us and likewise with the Faith, does not with mind and lips reject and anathematize all the most abominable heretics together with their impious writings even to one least portion, whom the holy Catholic and apostolic Church of God, that is, the holy and universal five Synods and likewise all the approved Fathers of the Church in harmony, rejects and anathematizes, we mean Sabellius, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Polemon, Eutyches, Dioscurus, Timothy Aelurus, Severus, Theodosius, Colluthus, Themistius, Paul of Samosata , Diodorus, Theodore, Nestorius, Theodulus the Persian, Origen, Didymus, Evagrius, and briefly all the remaining heretics, who have been condemned and cast out by the Catholic Church; whose teachings are the fruit of diabolical operation, and those, who unto the end have obstinately suggested (ideas) similar to these, or do suggest (them), or are believed to suggest (them), with whom (they are) justly (associated), inasmuch as (they are) like them and (are) possessed of a similar error, according to which they are known to teach and by their own error determine their lives, we mean, Theodore formerly Bishop of Pharan, Cyrus of Alexandria, Sergius of Constantinople, or his successors, Pyrrhus and Paul, persisting in their treachery, and all their impious writings; and those, who have unto the end obstinately suggested, or are suggesting, or are believed to suggest (ideas) similar to those, that is, one will and one operation of the divinity and humanity of Christ, and besides these the very impious Ecthesis, which was composed at the persuasion of the same Sergius by Heraclius, formerly emperor in opposition to the orthodox faith, defining that one will of Christ God, and one operation from the composite are to be venerated; but also everything, which has been impiously written or done by them in defense of it, and those who accept it, or any thing that has been written or done in defense of it; and together with those again the wicked Typus, who on the persuasion of the aforementioned Paul was prepared recently by the most serene Emperor Constantine [read: Constantius], the emperor against the Catholic Church, inasmuch as he promulgates equally the denial and by silence the binding together of two natural wills and operations, divine and human, which are piously preached by the holy Fathers in the very Christ, true God and our Savior, together with one will and operation, which is impiously venerated in Him by the heretics, and inasmuch as he unjustly defines that together with the holy Fathers the wicked heretics also are freed from all reprehension and condemnation, unto the trimming down of the definitions or of the rule of the Catholic Church.

272 If anyone therefore, as has been said, does not in agreement with us reject and anathematize all these most impious teachings of their heresy, and those matters which have been impiously written by anyone in defense of them or in definition of them, and the specifically designated heretics, we mean Theodore, Cyrus and Sergius, Pyrrhus and Paul, seeing that they are the rebels against the Catholic Church; or if anyone holds as condemned and entirely deposed some one of these who were in writing, or without writing, in any manner or place or time whatsoever rashly deposed or condemned by them (heretics) or by persons like them, inasmuch as the one condemned does not believe at all like them but with us confesses the doctrine of the holy Fathers-but, on the contrary (anyone) does not consider everybody who has been of this class-that is, whether bishop or priest or deacon or a member of any other ecclesiastical rank, or monk or layman-pious and orthodox and a defender of the Catholic Church, and also more firmly settled in the order to which he has been called by the Lord, but believes such (to be) impious and their judgments in defense of this detestable, or their opinions vain and invalid and weak, nay more wicked and execrable or worthy of condemnation, let such a person be condemned.

273 Can. 19. If anyone who indubitably has professed and also understands those (teachings) which the wicked heretics suggest, through vain impudence says that these are teachings of piety, which the investigators and ministers of the Word have handed down from the beginning, that is to say, the five holy and universal Synods, certainly calumniating the holy Fathers themselves and the five holy Synods mentioned, in the deception of the simple, or in the acceptance of their own impious treachery, let such a person be condemned.

274 Can. 20. If anyone according to the wicked heretics in any manner whatsoever, by any word whatsoever, or at any time or place whatsoeverillicitly removing the boundswhich the holy Fathers of the Catholic Churchhave rather firmly established[ Prov. 22:28], that is, the five holy and universal Synods, in order rashly to seek for novelties and expositions of another faith; or books, or letters, or writings, or subscriptions, or false testimonies, or synods, or records of deeds, or vain ordinations unknown to ecclesiastical rule; or unsuitable and irrational tenures of place; and briefly, if it is customary for the most impious heretics to do anything else, (if anyone) through diabolical operation crookedly and cunningly acts contrary to the pious preachings of the orthodox (teachers) of the Catholic Church, that is to say, its paternal and synodal proclamations, to the destruction of the most sincere confession unto the Lord our God, and persists without repentance unto the end impiously doing these things, let such a person be condemned forever,and let all the people say: so be it, so be it[ Ps. 105:48].

ST. EUGENIUS I 654 (655)-657 ST. VITALIANUS 657-672

(ADEODATUS 672-676)


Creed of Faith (especially concerning the Trinity and the Incarnation) *

["Exposition of faith" against the Priscillianists]

275 [The Trinity] We confess and believe the holy and ineffable Trinity, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God naturally, to be of one substance, one nature, and also of one majesty and power. And we profess that the Father, indeed, is not begotten, not created but unbegotten. For He from whom both the Son received His nativity and the Holy Spirit His procession takes His origin from no one. Therefore, He is the source and origin of all Godhead; also is the Father Himself of His own essence, He who ineffably begot the Son [Another version: Father, essence indeed ineffable, Son of His own substance] from an ineffable substance; nor did He, however, beget other than what He Himself is: God God, light light, from Him, therefore, is all paternity

276 in heaven and on earth [Eph. 3:15].--We confess also that the Son was born, but not made, from the substance of the Father without beginning before all ages, because neither the Father without the Son, nor the Son without the Father ever at any time existed. And yet not as the Son front the Father, so the Father from the Son, because the Father did not receive generation from the Son, but the Son from the Father. The Son, therefore, is God from the Father; the Father, however, is God, but not from the Son; Father indeed of the Son, not God from the Son. He, however, is Son of the Father and God from the Father. However, the Son is equal in all things to God the Father, because at no time did He either begin or cease to be born. We believe that He is of one substance with the Father, and because of this we say that He is (Greek text deleted) to the Father, that is, of the same substance with the Father, for (Greek text deleted) in Greek means one, (Greek text deleted) means substance, and the two joined together mean "one substance." For, neither from nothing, nor from any other substance, but from the womb of the Father, that is, from His substance, we must believe that the Son was begotten or born. Therefore, the Father is eternal, and the Son is eternal. But if He always was Father, He always had a Son to whom He was Father; and by reason of this we confess that the Son was born of the Father without beginning. Neither do we call the same Son of God a part of a divided nature because of the fact that He is begotten of the Father; but we assert that the perfect Father begot the perfect Son without diminution or division, because it is a characteristic of Divinity alone not to have an unequal Son. Also, this Son is Son of God by nature, not by adoption, * whom we must believe God the Father begot neither by will nor by necessity; for, neither does any necessity happen [ al. capit, 'take hold'] in God, nor does will precede wisdom.--We believe also that the

277 Holy Spirit, who is the third person in the Trinity, is God, one and equal with God the Father and the Son, of one substance, also of one nature; that He is the Spirit of both, not, however, begotten nor created but proceeding from both. We believe also that this Holy Spirit is neither unbegotten nor begotten, lest if we say unbegotten, we should affirm two Fathers, or if begotten, we should be proven to declare two Sons; He is said to be the Spirit, however, not only of the Father but at the same time of the Father and the Son. For, neither does He proceed from the Father into the Son, nor does He proceed from the Son to sanctify the creature, but He is shown to have proceeded at the same time from both, because He is acknowledged to be the love or holiness of both. Therefore, we believe that this Holy Spirit was sent by both, as the Son was sent by the Father; but He is not considered less than the Father and the Son, as the Son, on account of the body He assumed, testifies that He Himself is less than the Father and the Holy Spirit.

278 This is the account of the Holy Trinity that has been handed down. We must call and believe it to be not triple but triune. Neither can we rightly say that in one God is the Trinity, but that one God is the Trinity. In the relative names of persons, however, the Father refers to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both, in that while relatively three persons are asserted, we yet believe they are one nature or substance. Neither as three persons, so do we predicate three substances, but one substance, however three persons. For, as He is Father, not to Himself, but to the Son; and as He is Son not to Himself but to the Fattier, similarly also the Holy Spirit refers in a relative sense not to Himself, but to the Father and to the Son, in that He is proclaimed the Spirit of the Father and the Son.--Likewise when we say "God," no relationship is expressed, as the Father to the Son, or the Son

279 to the Father, or the Holy Ghost to the Father and the Son, but God applies especially to Himself. For, if we are asked concerning the individual persons, we must confess that each is God. Therefore, we say that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God each singly; yet there are not three Gods, but there is one God. Likewise also we say that the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, and the Holy Spirit is omnipotent, each singly; not, however, three omnipotent Gods, but one omnipotent God, as also we predicate one light and one principle. We confess and believe, therefore, that singly each person is wholly God and that all three persons are one God; they have one indivisible and equal Godhead, majesty or power, neither is it lessened in the single person, nor increased in the three persons, because it does not have anything less when each person of God is spoken of singly,

280 nor more when all three persons are called one God.--Therefore, this Holy Trinity, which is the one and true God, neither excludes number nor is it contained in number.-For in the relation of persons number appears, but in the substance of divinity, what might be enumerated is not understood. Therefore, in this alone they imply number, that they are related to each other; and in this, that they are to themselves, they lack number. For natural unity is so suitable to this Holy Trinity that there cannot be a plurality in the three persons. For this reason, then, we believe that saying in Sacred Scripture: "Great is our Lord and great is his power; and of his Wisdom there is no number" [ Ps. 146:5]. Neither because we have said that these three persons are one God, are we able to say that the same one is the Father who is the Son, or that He is the Son who is the Father, or that He who is the Holy Spirit is either the Father or the Son. For He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is He the Son who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit He who is either the Father or the Son, even though the Father is the same as the Son, the Son the same as the Father, the Father and the Son the same as the Holy Spirit; that is, in nature one God. For, when we say that the same one is not the Father as the Son, we refer to the distinction of persons. When, however, we say that the Father is the same as the Son, the Son the same as the Father, the Holy Spirit the same as the Father and the Son, it is plain that the reference is to the nature or substance by which He is God, because in substance they are one; for we

281 are distinguishing persons, we are not dividing the Deity.--We acknowledge, therefore, the Trinity in a distinction of persons; we profess unity on account of the nature or substance. Therefore, the three are one, that is, in nature, not in person. We must not, however, consider these three persons separable, since we believe that no one before the other, no one after the other, no one without the other ever existed or did anything. For, they are found inseparable both in that which they are, and in that which they do, because between the generating Father and the generated Son and the proceeding Holy Spirit we believe that there was no interval of time in which either the begetter at any time preceded the begotten, or the begotten was lacking to the begetter, or the proceeding Holy Spirit appeared after the Father or the Son. Therefore, for this reason we proclaim and believe that this Trinity is inseparable and unconfused. These three, therefore, are called persons, as our ancestors define, that they may be recognized, not that they may be separated. For, if we give attention to that which Holy Scripture says of Wisdom: "She is the brightness of eternal light" [ Wis. 7:26], as we see the splendor inhering inseparably in light, so we confess that the Son cannot be separated from the Father. Therefore, just as we do not confuse these three persons of one and inseparable nature, so do we in nowise declare them separable. Since, indeed, the Trinity itself has so deigned to show this clearly to us that even in these names by which it wished the persons to be recognized singly, it does not permit one to be understood without the other; for neither is the Father recognized without the Son, nor is the Son found without the Father. Indeed, the very relation of personal designation forbids the persons to be separated, whom, even when it does not name them together, it implies together. Moreover, no one can hear anyone of those names without being constrained to think also of another. Since, then, these three are one and the one three, there is yet remaining to each person His own property. For the Father has eternity without nativity, the Son eternity with nativity, and the Holy Spirit procession without nativity with eternity.

282 [The Incarnation] Of these three persons we believe that for the liberation of the human race only the person of the Son became true man without sin from the holy and immaculate Virgin Mary, from whom He is begotten in a new manner and by a new birth; in a new manner, because invisible in divinity, He became visible in flesh; by a new birth, however, is He begotten, because inviolate virginity without the experience of sexual intercourse supplied the material of human flesh made fruitful by the Holy Spirit. This Virgin birth is neither grasped by reason nor illustrated by example, because if grasped by reason, it is not miraculous; if illustrated by example, it will not be unique. * Yet we must not believe that the Holy Spirit is Father of the Son, because of the fact that Mary conceived by the overshadowing of the same Holy Spirit, lest we seem to assert that there are two Fathers of the Son,

283  which is certainly impious to say.--In this marvelous conception with Wisdom building a house for herself, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us[John 1:14 ]. The Word itself, however, was not so converted and changed that He who willed to become man ceased to be God; but the Word was made flesh in such a way that not only are the Word of God and the flesh of man present, but also the soul of a rational man, and this whole is called God on account of God, and man on account of man. In this Son of God we believe there are two natures, one of divinity, the other of humanity, which the one person of Christ so united in Himself that the divinity can never be separated from the humanity, nor the humanity from the divinity. Christ, therefore, is perfect God and perfect man in the unity of one person; but it does not follow, because we have asserted two natures in the Son, that there are two persons in Him, lest--which God forbid--a quaternity be predicated of the Trinity. For God the Word has not received the person of man, but the nature, and to the eternal person of divinity He has united the

284   temporal substance of flesh.-Likewise we believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of one substance, but we do not say that the Virgin Mary gave birth to the unity of the Trinity, but only to the Son, who alone assumed our nature in the unity of His person. Also, we must believe that the entire Trinity accomplished the Incarnation of the Son of God, because the works of the Trinity are inseparable. However, only the Sontook the form of a servant [cf. Phil. 2:7 ] in the singleness of His person, not in the unity of His divine nature; in what is proper to the Son, not in what is common to the Trinity; and this form was adapted to Him for unity of person so that the Son of God and the Son of man is one Christ, that is, Christ in these two natures exists in three substances; of the Word, which must refer to the essence of God alone, of the body, and of the soul, which pertain to true man.

285  He has therefore, in Himself the twofold substance of His divinity and our humanity. We understand, however, that by the fact that He proceeded from God the Father without beginning, He was born only, for He was neither made nor predestined; by the fact, however, that He was born of the Virgin Mary, we must believe that He was born, made, and predestined. Yet both births in Him are marvelous, because He was both begotten by the Father without a mother before all ages and in the end of the ages He was born of a mother without a father; He who, however, according as He is God created Mary, according as He is man was created from Mary; He is both father and son of His mother Mary. Likewise by the fact that He is God, He is equal to the Father; by the fact that He is man, He is less than the Father. Likewise we must believe that He is both greater and less than Himself; for in the form of God even the Son Himself is greater than Himself on account of the humanity He assumed, than which the divinity is greater; in the form, however, of a servant he is less than Himself, that is, in His humanity, which is recognized as less than His divinity. For, as by reason of the body which He assumed He is believed to be not only less than the Father but also less than Himself, so according to His divinity He is coequal with the Father, and both He and the Father are greater than man, which the person of the Son alone assumed. Likewise to the question whether the Son could so be equal to and less than the Holy Spirit, as we believe that He is now equal to, now less than the Father, we reply: According to the form of God He is equal to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, according to the form of a servant, He is less than both the Father and the Holy Spirit; because neither the Holy Spirit nor the Father, but only the person of the Son assumed a body, by which He is believed to be less than those two persons. Likewise we believe that this Son, inseparable from God the Father and the Holy Spirit, is distinguished from them by His person, and distinguished from other men by the nature He assumed [another version, from the manhood assumed]. Likewise with reference to man it is His person that is preeminent; but with reference to the Father and the Holy Spirit it is the divine nature or substance. Yet we must believe that the Son was sent not only by the Father but also by the Holy Spirit; because He himself said through the prophetAnd now the Lord has sent me and His Holy Spirit[Is. 48:16]. We believe also that He was sent by Himself, because we acknowledge that not only the will but also the works of the whole Trinity are inseparable. For, He who before all ages was called the only begotten, in time became the first born; the only begotten on account of the substance of the Godhead, the first born on account of the nature of the body which He assumed.

286 [The Redemption] In this form of assumed human nature we believe according to the truth of the Gospels that He was conceived without sin, born without sin, and died without sin, who alone for us became sin [2 Cor. 5:21 ], that is, a sacrifice for our sin. And yet He endured His passion without detriment to His divinity, for our sins, and condemned to death and to the cross, He accepted the true death of the body; also on the third day, restored by His own power, He arose from the grave.

287 In this example, therefore, of our Head we confess is accomplished another version: with true faith] the true resurrection of the body of all the dead. Neither do we believe that we shall rise in an ethereal Or any other body (as some madly say) but in that in which we live and exist and move. When this example of His holy resurrection was finished, our same Lord and Savior returned by ascending to His paternal home, which in His divinity He had never left. There sitting at the right hand of the Father, He awaits the end of time to be the judge of all the living and the dead. Thence with the holy angels and men He will come to judge, and to render to everyone the due of his own reward, according as each oneliving in the bodyhas done good or evil[2 Cor. 5:10]. We believe that the holy Catholic Church, purchased by the price of His blood, will reign with Him for eternity. Established in her bosom we believe in and confess one baptism for the remission of all sins. in this faith we both truly believe in the resurrection of the dead and we await the joys of the future life. We must pray and beg for this only, that when, the judgment finished and over, the Sonwill hand over the kingdom to God the Father[1 Cor. 15:24], that He may render us participators of His kingdom, so that through this faith in which we cling to Him, we may reign with Him without end.-This exposition is the pledge of our confession through which the teaching of all heretics is destroyed, through which the hearts of the faithful are cleansed, through which also we ascend gloriously to God for all eternity. Amen.


DONUS 676-678

ST. AGATHO 678-681


The Hypostatic Union *

[From the dogmatic epistle of Agatho and the Roman

Synod "Omnium bonorum spes" to the Emperors *]

288 We acknowledge (indeed) that one and the same our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, from two and in two substances subsists, unconfusedly without change, indivisibly, inseparably [see n.148], never the difference of natures destroyed on account of the union, but rather the property of each nature preserved and concurring in one person and in one subsistence; not shared or divided in a duality of persons, nor fused into one composite nature; but we acknowledge, even after the subsistential union, one and the same only begotten Son, the Word God, our Lord Jesus Christ [see n. 148], neither each in a different way, nor the one and the other, but the very same in two natures, that is, in the Godhead and in the humanity, because neither has the Word been changed into the nature of the flesh, nor has the flesh been transformed into the nature of the Word; for each remains what by nature it was; indeed in contemplation alone do we discern a difference of the united natures in that from which unfusedly, inseparably, and incommutably it was composed; for one from both and each through one, because at the same time there arc present both the dignity of the Godhead and the humility of the flesh, each nature, even after the union, preserving without defect its own property, "and each form doing with the mutual participation of the other what it holds as its own (work); the Word doing what is of the Word, and the flesh accomplishing what is of the flesh, the one of which shines forth in miracles, the other subnuts to injuries." * Thus, it follows that as we truly confess that He has two natures or substances, that is, the Godhead and the humanity, unfusedly, indivisibly, incommutably, so also He has both two natural wills and two natural operations, since the rule of piety instructs us that perfect God and perfect man is one and the same Lord Jesus Christ [see n. 254-274], because it is shown that the apostolic and evangelical tradition and the teaching of the holy Fathers, whom the holy, apostolic, and Catholic Church and the venerable Synods accept, have taught us this.


Ecumenical VI (against the Monothelites)

Definition of the Two Wills of Christ *

289 This present holy and universal Synod faithfully receiving and willingly accepting such a suggestion which was made by the most holy and most blessed Agatho, Pope of ancient Rome, to Constantine, our very good and most faithful ruler, which (decree) by name has excommunicated those who have taught or have preached, as has been said above, that there is one will and one operation in the dispensation of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God [see n. 288], likewise has accepted another Synodal decree, which was sent by the Sacred Council which, under the same most holy Pope, is made up of one hundred and twenty-five bishops * pleasing to God, in accordance with a tranquillity established by God, in so far as they are in agreement with the holy Council of Chalcedon, and the [see n. 148] letter of this most holy and most blessed Pope Leo of ancient Rome which was directed to holy Flavian [see n. 143], and which (letter) the Synod has called a monument of this kind of orthodox faith.

290 Besides both in Synodical letters which were written by blessed Cyril against the impious Nestorius and to the oriental bishops, following also the five holy ecumenical councils and the holy and trusted Fathers, and defining harmoniously with them it confesses that our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, one of the holy and consubstantial Trinity and giving forth the origin of life, perfect in Godhead and the same perfect in humanity, truly God and truly man, Himself of a rational soul and body; it confesses the same consubstantial with the Father according to Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to humanity, through all things like to us except in sin [Heb. 4:15], before ages, indeed, begotten of the Father according to Godhead, in the last days, however, the same for us and for our salvation of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary properly and truly the mother of God according to humanity, one and the same Christ, the only begotten Lord God in two natures recognized unfusedly, unchangeably, inseparably, indivisibly, never the difference of these natures destroyed on account of union, but rather the property of each nature saved and in one person and in one substance concurring, not into two persons portioned or divided but one and the same only be,(Totten Son of God the Word. our Lord Jesus Christ, just as formerly the prophets taught us about Him, and our Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us [Conc. Chal., see n. 148].

291 And so we proclaim two natural wills in Him, and two natural operations indivisibly, inconvertibly, inseparably, unfusedly according to the doctrine of the holy Father, and two natural wills not contrary, God forbid, according as impious heretics have asserted, but the human will following and not resisting or hesitating, but rather even submitting to His divine and omnipotent will. For, it is necessary that the will of the flesh act, but that it be subject to the divine will according to the most wise Athanasius. * For, as His flesh is called and is the flesh of the Word of God, soalso the natural will of His flesh is called and is the proper will of the Word of God as He Himself says: "Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of my Father who sent me) , [ cf.John 6:38], calling the will of the flesh His own. For the body became His own. For as His most holy and immaculate animated flesh deified has not been destroyed but in its own status and plan remained, so also His human will deified has not been destroyed, but on the contrary it has been saved according to the theologian Gregory who says: * "For to wish of that one an entire deification, which is understood in the Savior, is not contrary to God."

292 But we glorify two natural operations indivisibly, inconvertibly, unfusedly, inseparably in our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, our true God, that is, the divine operation and the human operation, according to Leo the divine preacher who very clearly asserts: "For each form does what is proper to itself with the mutual participation of the other, that is, the Word doing what is of the Word and the flesh accomplishing what is of the flesh" [see n. 144]. For at no time shall we grant one natural operation to God and to the creature, so that neither what was created, we raise into divine essence, nor what is especially of divine nature, we cast down to a place begetting creatures. For of one and the same we recognize the miracles and the sufferings according to the one and the other of these natures from which He is and in which He has to be as the admirable Cyril says. Therefore we, maintaining completely an unconfused and undivided (opinion), In a brief statement set forth all: that we, believing that He is one of the Holy Trinity, our Lord Jesus Christ our true God, and after the incarnation assert that His two natures radiate in His one substance, in which His miracles and His sufferings through all His ordained life, not through phantasy but truly He has shown, on account of the natural difference which is recognized in the same single substance, while with the mutual participation of the other, each nature indivisibly and without confusion willed and performed its own works; according to this plan we confess two natural wills and operations concurring mutually in Him for the salvation of the human race.

293 These things, therefore, having been determined by us with all caution and diligence, we declare that no one is permitted to introduce, or to describe, or to compare, or to study, or otherwise to teach another faith. But whoever presumes to compare or to introduce or to teach or to pass on another creed to those wishing to turn from the belief of the Gentiles or of the Jews or from any heresy whatsoever to the acknowledgement of truth, or who (presumes) to introduce a novel doctrine or an invention of discourse to the subversion of those things which now have been determined by us, (we declare) these, whether they are bishops or clerics, to be excommunicated, bishops indeed from the bishopric, but priests from the priesthood; but if they are monks or laymen, to be anathematized.


  ST. LEO II 682-683 *   JOHN V 685-686

  ST. BENEDICT II 684-685 CONON 686-687


(ST. SERGIUS I 687-701)


Protestation concerning the Trinity and the Incarnation *

[From "Liber responsionis" or the "Apologia" of Julian,

Archbishop of Toledo]

294 . . . We have found that in that book of response to our faith, which we had sent to the Roman Church through Peter the regent, it had seemed to the Pope already mentioned (Benedict) that we had carelessly written that first chapter where we said according to divine essence: "Will begot will, as also wisdom, wisdom," because that man in a hurried reading thought that we had used these very names according to a relative sense, or according to a comparison of the human mind; and so in his reply he commanded us to give warning saying: "In the natural order we recognize that the word takes its origin from the mind, just as reason and will, and they cannot be changed, so that it may be said that, as the word and the will proceed from the mind, so also the mind from the word or the will, and from this comparison it seemed to the Roman Pontiff that the will cannot be said to be from the will." We, however, not according to this comparison of the human mind, nor according to a relative sense, but according to essence have said: Will from will, as also wisdom from wisdom. For this being is to God as willing: this willing as understanding. But this we cannot say concerning man. For it is one thing for man not to will that which is, and another thing to will even without understanding. In God, however, it is not so, because so perfect is His nature, that this being is to Him as willing, as understanding. . . .

295 Passing also to a re-examination of the second chapter in which the same Pope thought that we had uncautiously said that three substances are professed in Christ, the Son of God, as we will not be ashamed to defend the things that are true, so perchance others will be ashamed to be ignorant of the things that are true. For who does not know that every man consists of two substances, namely of the soul and of the body? . . . Therefore when the divine nature has been joined to the human nature, they can be called both three personal and two personal substances. . . .


Profession of Faith concerning the Trinity *

296 Let the designation of this "holy will"-although through a comparative similitude of the Trinity, where it is called memory, intelligence, and will-refer to the person of the Holy Spirit; according to this, however, what applies to itself, is predicated substantially. For the will is the Father, the will is the Son, the will is the Holy Spirit; just as God is the Father, God is the Son, God is the Holy Spirit and many other similar things, which according to substance those who live as protectors of the Catholic faith do not for any reason hesitate to say. And just as it is Catholic to say: God from God, light from light, life from life, so it is a proved assertion of true faith to say the will from the will; just as wisdom from wisdom, essence from essence, and as God the Father begot God the Son, so the Will, the Father, begot the Son, the Will. Thus, although according to essence the Father is will, the Son is will and the Holy Spirit is will, we must not however believe that there is unity according to a relative sense, since one is the Father who refers to the Son, another the Son, who refers to the Father, another the Holy Spirit who, because He proceeds from the Father and the Son, refers to the Father and the Son; not the same but one in one way, one in another, because to whom there is one being in the nature of deity, to these there is a special property in the distinction of persons.

  John VI 701-705  Sisinnius 708

  John VII 705-707  Constantine I 708-715

ST. GREGORY II 715-731

The Form and Minister of Baptism *

[From the epistle "Desiderabilem mihi" to St. Boniface, Nov. 22, 726]

296a You have said that some without the profession of the Creed were baptized by adulterous and unworthy priests. In these cases may your love hold to the ancient custom of the Church: that, whoever has been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, may in no case be rebaptized; for not in the name of the one baptizing, but in the name of the Trinity has one received the gift of this grace. And let that which the Apostle says be observed: One God, one faith, one baptism [Eph. 4:51. But we recommend that to such you teach more zealously the spiritual doctrine.


Baptism and Confirmation *

[From the epistle "Doctoris omnium" to St. Boniface, Oct. 29, 739]

296b However, because they were baptized in the name of the Trinity, it is necessary that those indeed who were baptized through a diversity and a variation of the relationship of languages, be strengthened through the hands of imposition [another version: imposition] and of the holy chrism.


The Form and Minister of Baptism *

[From the epistle "Virgilius et Sedonius" to St. Boniface, July I, 746 (?)]

297 For they have reported that there was a priest in that province, who was so completely ignorant of the Latin language that when he was baptizing, because of his ignorance of the Latin speech, breaking up the language, said: "Baptizo te in nomine Patria et Filia et Spiritus Sancti." And on account of this your honored brotherhood has considered rebaptizing. But . . . if that one who baptized, not introducing an error or a heresy, but through mere ignorance of the Roman speech by breaking up the language, baptizing he said, as we mentioned above, we do not agree that they should be baptized a second time.

[From the epistle (10 resp. 11) "Sacris liminibus" to

St. Boniface, May 1, 748 (?)]

297a In that (synod of the Angles) it is distinctly recognized that such a decree and judgment is very firmly commanded and diligently demonstrated, so that whoever had been washed without the invocation of the Trinity, he has not been perfected, unless he shall have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


  (STEPHEN II 752)  ST. PAUL I 757-767

  ST. STEPHEN III 752-757 * STEPHEN IV 768-772

HADRIAN I 772-795

The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *

[From the epistle "Pastoralibus Curis" to the Patriarch

Tarasius in the year 785]

298 . . . Let that false assembly, which without the Apostolic See . . . was held contrary to the traditions of the venerable fathers against the divine images, be declared anathema in the presence of our delegates, and let the word of our Lord Jesus Christ be fulfilled, that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against her" (Matt. 16:18); and again: "Thou art Peter . . ." (Matt. 16:18-19), whose throne holding the first place in all the world shines forth and holds its place as the head of the whole Church of God.

The Errors of the Adoptionists *

[From the epistle "Institutio universalis" to the bishops

of Spain, in the year 785]


299 . . . And then from your country a plaintive chapter came to us that certain bishops living there, namely Eliphandus and Ascaricus with others agreeing with them, do not blush to confess the Son of God adopted, although no heretical leader, however great, has dared to utter such blasphemy, except that perfidious Nestorius who has declared that the Son of God is pure man . . . .

Predestination and the Various Abuses of the Spaniards*

[From the same epistle to the bishops of Spain]

300  As for that, however, which some of these say, that predestination to life or to death is in the power of God and not in ours; they say: "Why do we try to live, because it is in the power of God?"; again others say: "Why do we ask God, that we may not be overcome by temptation, since it is in our power, as in the freedom of will?" For truly they are able to render or to accept no plan, being ignorant . . . [of the words] of blessed Fulgentius * [against a certain Pelagius]: "Therefore, God in the eternity of His changelessness has prepared works of mercy and justice . . . but for men who are to be justified He has prepared merits; He has prepared rewards for those who are to be glorified; but for the wicked He has not prepared evil wills or evil works, but He has prepared for them just and eternal punishments. This is the eternal predestination of the future works of God, which as we have always acknowledged to be taught to us by apostolic doctrine, so also faithfully we proclaim. . . ."

301  Dearly beloved ones, in regard to those diverse chapters, which we have heard from those parts, namely, that many saying that they are Catholics, living a life common with the Jews and nonbaptized pagans, as in food so in drink or in diverse errors, say that they are not being harmed; and that which has been practised, for although it is not permitted for anyone to marry an infidel, they bless their daughters with one, and so they are entrusted to a pagan people; and that without examination these aforesaid priests are ordained in order that they may preside; and also another great deadly error has grown strong, that although the husband is living, these false priests choose women for themselves in marriage; and at the same time we have heard from these parts about the liberty of the will, and many other things which are too numerous to mention . . . .


Ecumenical VII (against the Iconoclasts)

Definition of the Sacred Images and Tradition *


302 (I. Definition) . . . We, continuing in the regal path, and following the divinely inspired teaching of our Holy Fathers, and the tradition of the Catholic Church, for we know that this is of the Holy Spirit who certainly dwells in it, define in all certitude and diligence that as the figure of the honored and life-giving Cross, so the venerable and holy images, the ones from tinted materials and from marble as those from other material, must be suitably placed in the holy churches of God, both on sacred vessels and vestments, and on the walls and on the altars, at home and on the streets, namely such images of our Lord Jesus Christ, God and Savior, and of our undefiled lady, or holy Mother of God, and of the honorable angels, and, at the same time, of all the saints and of holy men. For, how much more frequently through the imaginal formation they are seen, so much more quickly are those who contemplate these, raised to the memory and desire of the originals of these, to kiss and to render honorable adoration to them, not however, to grant true Iatria according to our faith, which is proper to divine nature alone; but just as to the figure of the revered and life-giving Cross and to the holy gospels, and to the other sacred monuments, let an oblation of incense and lights be made to give honor to these as was the pious custom with the ancients. "For the honor of the image passes to the original"; * and he who shows reverence to the image, shows reverence to the substance of Him depicted in it.

303 (II. Proof) For thus the doctrine of our Holy Fathers, that is, the tradition of the Catholic Church which has received the Gospel from and even to the end of the world is strengthened. Thus we follow Paul, who spoke in Christ [ 2 Cor. 2:17], and all the divine apostolic group and the paternal sanctity keeping the traditions[ 2 Thess. 2:14] which we have received. Thus prophetically we sing the triumphal hymns for the Church:Rejoice exceedingly, O daughter of Zion, sing forth, O daughter of Jerusalem: be joyful and be happy with all your heart. The Lord has taken from you the injustices of those adverse to you: He has redeemed you from the power of your enemies. The Lord is king in your midst: You will not see more evils[ Wis. 3:14 f.: LXX]and peace to youunto time eternal.

304 (III. Declaration) Those, therefore, who dare to think or to teach otherwise or to spurn according to wretched heretics the ecclesiastical traditions and to invent anything novel, or to reject anything from these things which have been consecrated by the Church: either the Gospel or the figure of the Cross, or the imaginal picture, or the sacred relics of the martyr; or to invent perversely and cunningly for the overthrow of anyone of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church; or even, as it were, to use the sacred vessels or the venerable monasteries as common things; if indeed they are bishops or clerics, we order (them) to be deposed; monks, however, or laymen, to be excommunicated.


The Sacred Elections *




305 Can. 3. Let every election of a bishop or of a presbyter or of a deacon made by the leaders remain invalid according to the canon (Apostolic Canon 30), which says: If any bishop, using secular powers, obtains a church by means of these, let him be deposed and let all be segregated who join with him. For, it is necessary that he who is going to enter upon the office of bishop, be elected by bishops, as it has been defined by the Holy Fathers who met at Nicea, in the canon (Canon 4) which says: Indeed it is especially fitting that a bishop be ordained by all the bishops who are in the province. If, however, this is difficult either because of pressing necessity or because of the length of the journey, nevertheless, in any case with three meeting together for this very thing, and the absent ones in agreement and joining by letter, then the consecration may be held. The authority, however, over what is done in each province is granted to the metropolitan bishop.

Images, the Humanity of Christ, Tradition *




306 We admit that images should be venerated. Those of us who are not so minded we subject to anathema. . . .

307 If anyone does not confess that Christ, our Lord, has been described according to His humanity . . . let him be anathema.

308 If anyone rejects all ecclesiastical tradition either written or not written . . . let him be anathema.

The Errors of the Adoptionists*

[From the epistle of Hadrian "Si tamen licet" to the

bishops of Gaul and of Spain, 793]

309 On that occasion selections of perfidious words from a disordered pen were read; among other things which must be rejected, was the matter arranged with false arguments giving rise, however, to perfidy concerning the adoption of Jesus Christ, the Son of God according to the flesh. This the Catholic Church has never believed, has never taught, has never given assent to those believing wickedly.

310  . . . O, you impious, and you who are ungrateful for so many benefits, do you not fear to whisper with a poisonous mouth that He, our liberator, is an adopted Son, as it were, a mere man subject to human misfortune, and what is a disgrace to say, that He is a servant. . . . Why are you not afraid, O, querulous detractors, O, men odious to God, to call Him servant, who has freed you from the servitude of the devil? . . . For, although in the imperfect representation of the prophet He was called servant[cf. Job 1:8 ff.] because of the condition of servile form which He assumed from the Virgin . . . we understand that this was said both historically of holy Job and allegorically of Christ.


Christ, the Natural, not the Adopted Son of God *

[From the synodical epistle of the bishops of France to the Spaniards]

311 . . . For in the beginning of your little book we have found written what you have laid down: "We confess and we believe that God, the Son of God before all ages without beginning, was begotten from the Father, co-eternal and consubstantial, not by adoption but by birth." Likewise after a few words in the same place we read: "We confess and we believe that He was made from a woman, made under the law[cf. Gal. 4:4], that not by birth is He the Son of God but by adoption; not by nature but by grace." Behold the serpent hiding among the fruit bearing trees of Paradise, that he may deceive every unwary one. . . .

312  That also which you, added in the following [cf.n. 295] we have not found expressed in the profession of the Nicene Creed, that in Christ there are two natures and three substances [cf.n. 295] and "man deified  and God made human." What is the nature of man, but soul and body? or what is the difference between nature and substance, that it is necessary for us to say three substances, and not rather simply, as the Holy Fathers have said, that they confess our Lord Jesus Christ true God and true man in one person? Certainly the person of the Son remained in the Holy Trinity, to which person human nature was joined so that it was one person, God and man, not man deified and God made human, but God man and man God, on account of the unity of the person one Son of God, and the same Son of man, perfect God, perfect man . . . Ecclesiastical custom is wont to name two substances in Christ, namely of God and of man. . . .

313  If, therefore, He is true God, who was born of the Virgin, how then can He be adopted or a servant? For by no means do you dare to confess God a servant or one adopted; and if the prophet called Him servant, it is not, however, from the condition of servitude, but from the obedience of humility, by which He was made obedientto the Fatherevenunto death [Phil. 2:8].

[From "Capitulari"]


314 (I). . . In the beginning of the chapters there arose the question concerning the impious and abominable heresy of Elephandus, Bishop of the see of Toledo, and of Felix of Orgellitana, and of their followers, who, thinking wrongly, asserted adoption in the Son of God; the most Holy Fathers, who previously rejected all these, have unanimously protested against this and they have determined that this heresy must be thoroughly eradicated from the Holy Church.

ST. LEO III 795-816


Christ, the Natural, not the Adopted * Son of God

[From the Symbol of Faith]

314a Neither was the human and temporal nativity absent from the divine and eternal nativity, but in one person of Christ Jesus true Son of God and true Son of man. Not one Son of man and another of God . . . not the supposed Son of God, but true; not adopted, but His own, because never was He alien from the Father because of the human nature which He assumed. And so in each nature we confess that He is the true and not the adopted Son of God, because unconfusedly and inseparably, man having been assumed, one and the same is the Son of God and the Son of man. By nature Son to the mother according to humanity, however, true Son to the Father in both natures. *


  STEPHAN V 816-817  VALENTINE 827

  ST. PASCHAL I 817-824  GREGORY IV 828-844

  EUGENIUS II 824-827  SERGIUS II 844-847

ST. LEO IV 847-855


The Sacrament of Extreme Unction *

315 (8) That saving sacrament also which James the Apostle commends saying: If anyone is sick . . .it will be remitted him [ Jas. 5:14], must be made known to the people by skillful teaching; a truly great mystery and one exceedingly to be sought, through which, if the faithful ask, and their sins are forgiven, it may even follow that health of body is restored. . . . This, however, must be known, that, if he who is sick has not been freed from public penance, he cannot receive the remedy of this mystery, unless first by the prescribed reconciliation he has merited the communion of the body and blood of Christ. He to whom the other sacraments have been restricted, is by no means permitted to use this one.


(Against Gottschalk and the Predestinarians)

Redemption and Grace *

316 Chap. 1. Omnipotent God created man noble without sin with a free will, and he whom He wished to remain in the sanctity of justice, He placed in Paradise. Man using his free will badly sinned and fell, and became the "mass of perdition" of the entire human race. The just and good God, however, chose from this same mass of perdition according to His foreknowledge those whom through grace He predestined to life [ Rom. 8:29 ff.; Eph. 1:11], and He predestined for these eternal life; the others, whom by the judgment of justice he left in the mass of perdition,* however, He knew would perish, but He did not predestine that they would perish, because He is just; however, He predestined eternal punishment for them. And on account of this we speak of only one predestination of God, which pertains either to the gift of grace or to the retribution of justice.

317 Chap. 2. The freedom of will which we lost in the first man, we have received back through Christ our Lord; and we have free will for good, preceded and aided by grace, and we have free will for evil, abandoned by grace. Moreover, because freed by grace and by grace healed from corruption, we have free will.

318 Chap. 3. Omnipotent God wishes all menwithout exception to besaved[1 Tim. 2:4 ] although not all will be saved. However, that certain ones are saved, is the gift of the one who saves; that certain ones perish, however, is the deserved punishment of those who perish.

319 Chap. 4. Christ Jesus our Lord, as no man who is or has been or ever will be whose nature will not have been assumed in Him, so there is, has been, or will be no man, for whom He has not suffered- although not all will be saved by the mystery of His passion. But because all are not redeemed by the mystery of His passion, He does not regard the greatness and the fullness of the price, but He regards the part of the unfaithful ones and those not believing in faith those things which He has worked th rough love[ Gal. 5:6], because the drink of human safety, which has been prepared by our infirmity and by divine strength, has indeed in itself that it may be beneficial to all; but if it is not drunk, it does not heal.


(Against John Scotus)

Predestination *

320 Can. 1. We have faithfully and obediently heard that Doctor of the Gentiles warning in faith and in truth: "O Timothy, guard that which has been entrusted to you, avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions under the false name of knowledge, which some promising concerning faith have destroyed" [2 Tim. 6:20 f.]; and again: "Shun profane and useless talk; for they contribute much toward ungodliness, and their speech spreadest like an ulcer" [2 Tim. 2:16 f.]; and again: "Avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that they beget strifes; but the servant of the Lord must not quarrel" [2 Tim. 2:23 f.] and again: "Nothing through contention, nothing through vain glory" [Phil. 2:3]: desiring to be zealous for peace and charity, in so far as God has given, attending the pious counsel of this same apostle: "Solicitous to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace" [Eph. 4:3], let us with all zeal avoid novel doctrines and presumptuous talkativeness, whence rather the smoke of contention and of scandal between brothers can be stirred up, than any increase of the fear of God arise. Without hesitation, however, to the doctors piously and correctly discussing the word of truth, and to those very clear expositors of Sacred Scripture, namely, Cyprian, Hilary, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and others living tranquilly in Catholic piety, we reverently and obediently submit our hearing and our understanding, and to the best of our ability we embrace the things which they have written for our salvation. For concerning the foreknowledge of God, and predestination, and other questions in which the minds of the brethren are proved not a little scandalized, we believe that we must firmly hold that only which we are happy to have drawn from the maternal womb of the Church.

321 Can. 2. We faithfully hold that "God foreknows and has foreknown eternally both the good deeds which good men will do, and the evil which evil men will do," because we have that word of Scripture which says: "Eternal God, who are the witness of all things hidden, who knew all things before they are" [ Dan. 13:42]; and it seems right to hold "that the good certainly have known that through His grace they would be good, and that through the same grace they would receive eternal rewards; that the wicked have known that through their own malice they would do evil deeds and that through His justice they would be condemned by eternal punishment";* so that according to the Psalmist: "Because power belongs to God and mercy to the Lord, so that He will render to each man according to his works" [ Ps. 61:12 f.], and as apostolic doctrine holds: "To them indeed, who according to patience in good works, seek glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life; but to them that are contentious, and who obey not the truth, but give credit to iniquity, wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man doing evil" [Rom. 2:7 ff.]. In the same sense, this same one says elsewhere: "In the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of His power, in a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who do not know God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction . . . when He shall come to be glorified in His Saints, and to be made wonderful in all them who have believed [2 Thess. 1:7 ff.]. Certainly neither (do we believe) that the foreknowledge of God has placed a necessity on any wicked man, so that he cannot be different, but what that one would be from his own will, as God, who knew all things before they are, He foreknew from His omnipotent and immutable Majesty. "Neither do we believe that anyone is condemned by a previous judgment on the part of God but by reason of his own iniquity." * "Nor (do we believe) that the wicked thus perish because they were not able to be good; but because they were unwilling to be good, they have remained by their own vice in the mass of damnation either by reason of original sin or even by actual sin." *

322  Can. 3. But also it has seemed right concerning predestination and truly it is right according to the apostolic authority which says: "Or has not the potter power over the clay, from the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor, but another unto dishonor?" [Rom. 9:21] where also he immediately adds: "What if God willing to show His wrath and to make known His power, endured with much patience vessels of wrath fitted or prepared for destruction, so that He might show the riches of His grace on the vessels of mercy, which He has prepared unto glory" [Rom. 9:22 f.]: faithfully we confess the predestination of the elect to life, and the predestination of the impious to death; in the election, moreover, of those who are to be saved, the mercy of God precedes the merited good. In the condemnation, however, of those who are to be lost, the evil which they have deserved precedes the just judgment of God. In predestination, however, (we believe) that God has determined only those things which He Himself either in His gratuitous mercy or in His just judgment would do * according to Scripture which says: "Who has done the things which are to be done" [ Is. 4 5:11, LXX]; in regard to evil men, however, we believe that God foreknew their malice, because it is from them, but that He did not predestine it, because it is not from Him. (We believe) that God, who sees all things, foreknew and predestined that their evil deserved the punishment which followed, because He is just, in whom, as Saint Augustine* says, there is concerning all things everywhere so fixed a decree as a certain predestination. To this indeed he applies the saying of Wisdom: "Judgments are prepared for scorners, and striking hammers for the bodies of fools" [Prov. 19:29]. Concerning this unchangeableness of the foreknowledge of the predestination of God, through which in Him future things have already taken place, even in Ecclesiastes the saying is well understood: "I know that all the works which God has made continue forever. We cannot add anything, nor take away those things which God has made that He may be feared" [ Eccles. 3:14]. "But we do not only not believe the saying that some have been predestined to evil by divine power," namely as if they could not be different, "but even if there are those who wish to believe such malice, with all detestation," as the Synod of Orange, "we say anathema to them" [see n. 200].

323 Can. 4. Likewise concerning the redemption of the blood of Christ, because of the great error which has arisen from this cause, so that some, as their writings indicate, declare that it has been shed even for those impious ones who from the beginning of the world even up to the passion of our Lord, have died in their wickedness and have been punished by eternal damnation, contrary to that prophet: "O death, I will be Thy death, O hell, I will be thy bite" [ Hosea 13:14]; it seems right that we should simply and faithfully hold and teach according to the evangelical and apostolic truth, because we hold this price to have been paid for those concerning whom our Lord Himself says: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so it is necessary that the Son of man be lifted up, that all, who believe in Him, may not perish, but may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son: that all, who believe in Him, may not perish but may have eternal life" [John 3:14 ff.], and the Apostle: "Christ," he said, "once has been offered to exhaust the sins of many" [Heb. 9:28]. Furthermore, although they are becoming widely spread, we completely remove from the pious hearing of the faithful the chapters (four, which by the council of our brothers have been unwisely accepted, because of the uselessness or even the harmfulness, and the error contrary to truth, and other reasons) absurdly concluded with nineteen syllogisms, and not outstanding in learning, in which the machination of the devil rather than any tenet of faith is found, and that such and similar things may be avoided through all (chapters), we by the authority of the Holy Spirit forbid (them); we believe also that those who introduce these novel doctrines must be punished lest they become too harmful.

324  Can. 5. Likewise we believe that we must hold most firmly that all the multitude of the faithful, regenerated "from the water and the Holy Spirit" [John 3:5 ], and through this truly incorporated in the Church, and according to the apostolic doctrine baptized in the death of Christ[Rom. 6:3], in His blood has been absolved from its sins; that neither for these could there have been true regeneration unless there were true redemption; since in the sacraments of the Church there is nothing false, nothing theatrical, but certainly everything true, dependent upon truth itself and sincerity. Moreover, from this very multitude of the faithful and the redeemed some are preserved in eternal salvation, because through the grace of God they remain faithfully in their redemption, bearing in their hearts the voice of their God Himself: "Who . . . perseveres even unto the end, he will be saved" [Matt. 10:22 ; 24:13]; that others, because they were unwilling to remain in the safety of faith, which in the beginning they received, and because they choose by wrong teaching or by a wrong life to make void rather than to preserve the grace of redemption, came in no way to the fullness of salvation and to the reception of eternal beatitude. in both certainly we have the doctrine of the holy Doctor: "We who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in His death" [Rom. 6 :3], and: "All you who are baptized in Christ have put on Christ" [Gal. 3:27 ], and again: "Let us approach with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water let us hold unwavering the confession of our hope" [ Heb. 10:22], and again: "For to us sinning willfully after the accepted knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins" [Heb. 10:26], and again: "He who making void the law of Moses, dies without mercy with two or three witnesses. How much more do you think he deserves worse punishments, who has crushed under foot the son of God, and has considered the blood of the testament unclean, by which he was sanctified, and has offered insult to the Spirit of grace?" [ Heb. 10:28].

325 Can. 6. Likewise concerning grace, through which those who believe are saved, and without which never has a rational creature lived happily, and concerning free will weakened through sin in our first parents, but reintegrated and healed through the grace of our Lord Jesus for His faithful, we most constant and in complete faith confess the same, which the most Holy Fathers by the authority of the Sacred Scriptures have left for us to hold, which the Synod of Africa and the Synod of Orange [n. 174 ff.] have professed, which the most blessed Pontiffs of the Apostolic See in the Catholic faith have held; but also concerning nature and grace, we presume in no manner to change to another way. We thoroughly refute, however, the foolish questions,and the utterlyold wives' tales,the porridge of the Scoti bearing nausea to the purity of faith, which in these most dangerous and grave times, to the summit of cur labors even up to the dividing of charity wretchedly and tearfully have arisen, lest Christian minds henceforthbe corrupted and cut offeven from the purity of faith,which is in Christ [ 2 Cor. 11:3 ] Jesus,and we warn by the love of our Lord Christ that brotherly charity, by being on its guard, protects the hearing from such things. Let the brotherhood recall that it is hard pressed by the very grave evils of the world, by the excessive harvest of iniquity, and that it is most cruelly suffocated by the chaff of light men. Let it have zeal to conquer these things; let it labor to correct these things; and let it not burden the assembly with the inanities of those who grieve and weep piously, but rather in certain and true faith, let that be embraced which has been sufficiently determined by the Holy Fathers concerning these and similar things.


ST. NICHOLAS I 858-867


Primacy, the Passion of Christ, Baptism *

326 Chap. 5. If anyone condemns dogmas, mandates, interdicts, sanctions or decrees, promulgated by the one presiding in the Apostolic See, for the Catholic faith, for the correction of the faithful, for the emendation of criminals, either by an interdict of threatening or of future ills, let him be anathema. *

327 Chap. 7. Truly indeed we must believe and in every way profess that our Lord Jesus Christ, God arid Son of God, suffered the passion of the Cross only according to the flesh; in the Godhead however, he remained impassible, as the apostolic authority teaches and the doctrine of the Holy Fathers most clearly shows.

328 Chap. 8. Let these however be anathema, who say that our Redeemer Jesus Christ and Son of God sustained the passion of the Cross according to His Godhead, since it is impious and detestable to Catholic minds.

329 Chap. 9. For all those who say that these who believing in the most holy font of baptism are reborn in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, are not equally cleansed from original sin, let it be anathema.

The Immunity and Independence of the Church *

[From epistle (8) "Proposueramus quidem" to

Michael the Emperor, 865]

330 . . . Neither by Augustus, nor by all the clergy, nor by religious, nor by the people will the judge be judged * . . . The first seat will not be judged by anyone" * [see n. 352 ff.]

331  . . . . Where have you ever read that your former rulers were present in synodal meetings, unless perchance in those in which (matters) concerning faith were discussed, which is universal, which is common to all, which pertains not only to the clergy but even to the laity and certainly to all Christians? . . . The greater the complaint which is brought to the judgment of a more powerful authority, so much the higher authority must be sought, until gradually it comes to this See, whose cause either from itself, as the merits of the matters demand, is changed for the better or is left without question to the will of God alone.

332 Furthermore if you have not heard us, it remains for you to be with us of necessity, such as our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded those to be considered, who disdained to hear the Church of God, especially since the privileges of the Roman Church, built on Blessed Peter by the word of Christ, deposited in the Church herself, observed in ancient times and celebrated by the sacred universal Synods, and venerated jointly by the entire Church, can by no means be diminished, by no means infringed upon, by no means changed; for the foundation which God has established, no human effort has the power to destroy and what God has determined, remains firm and strong. . . . Thus the privileges granted to this holy Church by Christ, not given by the Synod, but now only celebrated and venerated. . . .

333 Since, according to the canons, where there is a greater authority, the judgment of the inferiors must be brought to it to be annulled, or to be substantiated, certainly it is evident that the judgment of the Apostolic See, of whose authority there is none greater, is to be refused by no one. If indeed they wish the canon to be appealed to any part of the world; from it, however, no one may be permitted* to appeal. . . . We do not deny that the opinion of this See can be changed for the better, when either something shall have been stealthily snatched from it, or by the very consideration of age or time, or by a dispensation of grave necessity, it shall have decided to regulate something. We beseech you, however, never question the judgment of the Church of God; that indeed bears no prejudgment on your power, since it begs eternal divinity for its own stability, and it beseeches in constant prayer for your well being and eternal salvation. Do not usurp the things that belong to it; do not wish to snatch away that which has been intrusted to it alone, knowing that without doubt every administrator of mundane affairs ought to be removed from sacred affairs, just as it is proper that no one from the group of clergy and those militant for God be implicated in any secular affairs. Finally, we are completely without knowledge of how those to whom it has been intrusted only to be in charge of human affairs presume to judge concerning those through whom divine affairs are ministered. These things existed before the coming of Christ, so that some figuratively lived at one and the same time as kings and priests; this, sacred history shows how holy Melchisedech was, and this the devil imitated in his members, since he always hastens to assume for himself in a tyrannical spirit the things which are becoming to the divine culture, so that these pagan emperors were also called supreme pontiffs. But when it came to the same true king and pontiff, neither has He, the emperor, voluntarily taken to himself the rights of the pontiff, nor as pontiff has He usurped the name of the emperor. Since the same "mediator of God and man, the man Christ Jesus" [ 1 Tim. 2:5] by His own acts and distinct dignities, has so decreed the duties of each power, wishing His own to be lifted up by His salutary humility, not to be submerged again by human pride, so that Christian rulers for eternal life may need pontiffs, and that pontiffs may use imperial laws only for the course of temporal affairs; because spiritual action differs from carnal efforts.

The Form of Matrimony *

[From the responses of Nicholas to the decrees of the Bulgars, Nov., 866]


334 Chap. 3 . . . According to the laws, let the consent alone of those suffice concerning whose union there is question; and if by chance this consent alone be lacking in the marriage, all other things, even when solemnized with intercourse itself, are in vain.

The Form and Minister of Baptism *

[From the responses to the decrees of the Bulgars, Nov., 866]

334a Chap. 15. You ask whether those persons who received baptism from that man [who imagines himself a priest] are Christians or ought to be baptized again. If they have been baptized in the name of the highest and indivisible Trinity, they certainly are Christians; and it is not proper that they be baptized again, by whatever Christian they have been baptized. . . . An evil person by ministering blessings brings an accumulation of harm not upon others but upon himself, and by this it is certain that no portion of injury touched those whom that Greek baptized, because: "He it is that baptizeth" [ John 1:33], that is Christ, and again: "God . . . giveth the increase" [1 Cor 3:7] is heard; and not man.

335 Chap. 104. You assert that in your fatherland many have been baptized by a certain Jew, you do not know whether Christian or pagan, and you consult us as to what should be done about them. If indeed they have been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity or only in the name of Christ, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles [cf.Acts 2:38;19:5], (surely it is one and the same, as Saint Ambrose * sets forth) it is established that they should not be baptized again.


HADRIAN II 867-872


Ecumenical VIII (against Photius)

Canons against Photius *

In actio I the rule of faith of Hormisdas is read and

subscribed [see n. 171 f.]

336 (Text of Anastasius:) Canon I--We, wishing to advance without offense through the just and regal way of divine justice, ought to retain the definitions and opinions of the Holy Fathers who live according to God as lamps always burning and illuminating our steps. Therefore, judging and believing these as favorable words according to the great and very wise Dienysius, * likewise regarding these with the divine David we most readily sing: "The Command of the Lord is a light illumining our eyes" [Ps. 18:9], and, "Thy light [law] is a lamp to my feet and a light to my ways" [Ps. 118:105], and with the writer of Proverbs we say: "Thy command is a light and Thy law is a light" [Prov. 6:23]; and with a loud voice with Isaias we cry to the Lord God: "Thy precepts are a light upon the earth" [Is. 26:9: LXX]. For to the light truly have been assimilated the exhortations and dissuasions of the divine canons, according as that which is better is discerned from that which is worse, and the expedient and profitable from that which is recognized as not expedient but even harmful. Therefore we profess to keep and guard the rules, which have been handed down for the holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church by the holy, noted apostles as well as by the universal and also the local Councils of the orthodox or even by any Father or teacher of the Church speaking the word of God; guiding by these both our own life and morals and also the whole group of priests, but also all those who are known by the name Christian, resolving to submit canonically to these punishments and condemnations and on the other hand, to the receptions and justifications which through these have been brought forth and defined; Paul, the great apostle, openly gave warning to hold indeed the traditions which we have received either through the word or through the epistle[ 2 Thess. 2:14] of the Saints who have previously been distinguished.

336 We, wishing to advance without offense through the just and royal way of divine justice, ought to control the definitions of the Holy Fathers as lamps always burning. Therefore, we confess to keep and guard the rules which have been handed down in the Catholic and Apostolic Church by the holy and noted Apostles and by the universal and local orthodox synods or by any Father, teacher of the Church, speaking the word of God. For the great Apostle Paul expressly exhorted usto hold the traditionswhich we have received either through word or epistles of the Saints who have been distinguished before.

337  Can. 3. We decree that the sacred image of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Liberator and Savior of all, be adored in equal honor with the book of the holy Gospels. For, as through the eloquence of the syllables which are in the book, we should all attain salvation, so through the imaginal energies of colors both all the wise and the unwise from that which is manifest enjoy usefulness; for the things which are the sermon in syllables, these things also the writing which is in colors, teaches and commands; and it is fitting, that according to the suitableness of reason and very ancient tradition on account of honor, because they refer to the very principal things, it follows likewise that the images will be honored and adored equally as the sacred book of the holy Gospels and the figure of the precious Cross. If, therefore anyone does not adore the image of Christ the Savior, let him not see His form when He will comein paternal glory to be glorified and to glorify His saints[2 Thess. 1:10]; but let him be separated from His communion and glory; likewise, however, also the image of Mary, His undefiled Mother, and Mother of God; moreover, we also represent the images of the holy Angels, just as Divine Scripture shows them in words; and also of the Apostles most worthy of praise, of the Prophets, of the Martyrs and of holy men; at the same time also of all the saints we both honor and venerate. And whoever does not hold thus, let him be anathema from the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

337 We adore the sacred image of our Lord Jesus Christ in like honor with the book of the Holy Gospels. For as through the syllables carried in it, we all attain salvation, so through the imaginal energies of the colors both all the wise and the unwise from that which is manifest enjoy usefulness; for the things which are the sermon in syllables, those things also the writing which is in colors teaches and commands. If, therefore, anyone does not adore the image of Christ the Savior, let him not see His form in the second coming. And we likewise honor and adore the image of His undefiled Mother and the images of the holy angels, just as Divine Scripture characterizes them in words. And let those who do not hold thus be anathema.

338 Can. 11. Although the Old and the New Testaments teach that man has one rational and intellectual soul, and all the Fathers speaking the word of God and all the teachers of the Church declare the same opinion, certain persons giving attention to the inventors of evil, have reached such a degree of impiety that they impudently declare that man has two souls, and by certain irrational attempts "through wisdom which has been made foolish" [1 Cor. 1:20], they try to strengthen their own heresy. Hastening to root out as the very worst cockle this wicked opinion currently germinating, and furthermore carrying "the firebrand in the hand of Truth" [ Matt. 3:12; 3:17], and wishing to transmit with the unquenchable fire all the chaff and "to show forth the cleansed threshing floor of Christ" [ Matt. 3:12 ; Luke 3:17] this holy and universal Synod with a loud voice declares anathema all inventors and perpetrators of such impiety and those believing things similar to these, and it defines and promulgates that no one have or keep in any way the statutes of the authors of this impiety. If, however, anyone should presume to act contrary to this holy and great Synod, let him be anathema, and let him be separated from the faith and worship of Christians.

338 Although the Old and New Testaments teach that man has one rational and intellectual soul, and all the Fathers and teachers of the Church teach the same opinion, there are some who think that he has two souls, and by certain irrational attempts they strengthen their own heresy. Therefore, this holy and ecumenical synod loudly anathematizes the originators of such impiety and those who agree with them; and if anyone shall dare to speak contrary to the rest, let him be anathema.

339  Can. 12. In accord with the apostolic and synodical canons forbidding promotions and consecrations of bishops made by the power and precept of princes, we define and offer the opinion also that, if any bishop through the craftiness or tyranny of princes should accept a consecration of such dignity, let him by all means be deposed, since he wished or agreed to possess the house of God not from the will of God both by ecclesiastical rite and decree, but from a desire of carnal sense, from men and through men.

340   From Can. 17. . . . Moreover, we cast aside from our ears as something poisonous what is said by certain ignorant men, namely, that it is not possible to hold a synod without the presence of the civil ruler, since never did the sacred canons order secular leaders to meet in councils, but only bishops. Thus neither do we find that they were present in the synods, ecumenical councils excepted; for neither is it right that secular rulers be spectators of things which sometimes happen to the priests of God.

340 (12) There came to our ears the statement that a synod cannot be held without the presence of the civil ruler. But nowhere do the sacred canons order secular leaders to come together in synods, but only bishops. Thus we do not find that their presence was effected except for ecumenical synods. For it is not right that secular rulers be spectators of the things that happen to the priests of God.

341   Can. 21. We, believing that the word of the Lord which Christ spoke to His Apostles and disciples: "Who receives you, receives Me" [ Matt. 10:40 ]: "and who spurns you, spurns me" [ Luke 10:16], was said to all, even to those who after them according to them have been made Supreme Pontiffs and chiefs of the pastors, declare that absolutely no one of the powerful of this world may try to dishonor or move from his throne anyone of those who are in command of the patriarchial sees, but that they judge them worthy of all reverence and honor; especially indeed the most holy Pope of senior Rome; next the Patriarch of Constantinople; then certainly of Alexandria and of Antioch and of Jerusalem; but that no one compose or prepare any writings and words against the most holy Pope of older Rome under the pretext, as it were, of some evil crimes, a thing which both Photius did recently, and Dioscorus long ago.

 Whoever, moreover, shall use such boasting and boldness that following Photius or Dioscorus, in writings or without writings he may arouse certain injuries against the See of Peter, the chief of the Apostles, let him receive the equal and same condemnation as those. But if anyone enjoying some secular power or being influential should try to depose the above mentioned Pope of the Apostolic Chair or any of the other Patriarchs, let him be anathema. But if the universal Synod shall have met, and there will have arisen even concerning the holy church of the Romans any doubt or controversy whatever, it is necessary with veneration and with fitting reverence to investigate and to accept a solution concerning the proposed question, either to offer to have offered but not boldly to declare an opinion contrary to the Supreme Pontiffs of senior Rome.

 (13) If anyone should employ such daring as, like Photius and Dioscorus, in writings or without writings, to rouse certain inquiries against the See of Peter, the chief of the Apostles, let him receive the same condemnation as those; but if, when the ecumenical synod has met, any doubt arises even about the church of the Romans, it is possible to make an investigation reverently and with fitting respect concerning the question at hand, and to accept the solution either to be assisted or to assist, but not boldly to deliver (an opinion) contrary to the Supreme Pontiffs of senior Rome.

  JOHN VIII 872-882  JOHN X 914-928

  MARINUS I 882-884  LEO VI 928

  ST. HADRIAN III 884-885 STEPHAN VIII 929-931

  STEPHAN VI 885-891  JOHN XI 931-935

  FORMOSUS 891-896  LEO VII 936-939

  BONIFACE VI, 896  STEPHAN IX 939-942

  STEPHAN VII 896-897  MARINUS II 942-946

  ROMANUS 897  AGAPETUS II 946-955

  THEODORE II 897  JOHN XII 955-963

  JOHN IX 898-900  LEO VIII 963-964

  BENEDICT IV 900-903  BENEDICT V 964 (966)

  LEO V 903   JOHN XIII 965-972

  SERGIUS III 904-911  BENEDICT VI 973-974


  LANDO 913-914  JOHN XIV 983-984

JOHN XV 985-996


(For the Canonization of St. Udalrich)

The Worship of the Saints *

342 . . . By common agreement we have decreed that we should venerate the memory of that one, namely, St. Udalrich the bishop, with all pious affection and most faithful devotion, since we so venerated and worship the relics of the martyrs and confessors that Him whose martyrs and confessors they are, we may adore; we honor the servants that honor may redound to the Lord, who said: "Who receives you, receives me" [Matt. 10:40]; and thus we who do not have the pledge of our justice, by their prayers and merits may be helped jointly before the most clement God, because the salutary divine precepts both of the holy Canons and of the venerable Fathers effaciously taught that by the attentive study of all the churches, and by the effort of apostolic guidance, the documents accomplish a degree of usefulness and an integrity of strength; just as the memory of the already mentioned venerable Bishop Udalrich dedicated to divine worship exists and is always advantageous in most devoutly giving praise to God.

  GREGORY V 996-999  JOHN XIX 1024-1032

  SYLVESTER II 999-1003  BENEDICT IX 1032-1044


  JOHN XVIII 1004-1009  GREGORY VI 1045-1046

  SERGIUS IV 1009-1012  CLEMENT II 1046-1047


ST. LEO IX 1049-1054

Symbol of Faith *

[From the epistle "Congratulamur vehementer" to Peter,

Bishop of Antioch, April 13, 1053]

343 For I firmly believe that the Holy Trinity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, is one omnipotent God, and in the Trinity the whole Godhead is co-essential and consubstantial, co-eternal and co-omnipotent, and of one will, power, and majesty; the creator of all creation, from whom all things, through whom all things, in whom all things [Rom. 11:36] which are in heaven or on earth, visible or invisible. Likewise I believe that each person in the Holy Trinity is the one true God, complete and perfect.

344 I believe also that the Son of God the Father, the Word of God, was born eternally before all time from the Father, consubstantial, co-omnipotent, and co-equal to the Father through all things in divinity; born of the Holy Spirit from the ever virgin Mary in time, with a rational soul, having two nativities, the one from the Father, eternal, the other from the Mother, in time; having two wills and operations, true God and true man, individual in each nature and perfect, not having suffered a fusion and division, not adopted or phantastical, the one and only God, the Son of God in two natures, but in the singleness of one person, incapable of suffering and immortal in divinity; but in humanity for us and for our salvation suffered in the true passion of the body and was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day in the true resurrection of the body; because of which we must declare with the disciples that He ate from no need of food but only from will and power; on the fortieth day after His resurrection with the flesh in which He arose, and with His soul He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, whence on the tenth day He sent the Holy Spirit, and thence, as He ascended, He will come to judge the living and the dead, and will render to each one according to his works.

345 I believe also that the Holy Spirit, complete and perfect and true God, proceeding from the Father and the Son, co-equal, co-essential, co-omnipotent and co-eternal with the Father and the Son in all respects, has spoken through the prophets.

346 That this holy and individual Trinity is not three Gods, but in three persons and in one nature or essence [is] one God omnipotent, external, invisible and incommutable, so I believe and confess, so that I may truly proclaim that the Father is not begotten, the Son is the only begotten one, and the Holy Spirit is neither begotten nor unbegotten, but proceeds from the Father and the Son.

347 (Variant Readings:) I believe that the one true Church is holy, Catholic and apostolic, in which is given one baptism and the true remission of all sins. I also believe in a true resurrection of this body, which now I bear, and in eternal life.

348  I believe also that there is one author of the New and Old Testament, of the law both of the Prophets and of the Apostles, namely the omnipotent God and Lord. (I believe) that God predestined only the good things, but that He foreknew the good and the evil. I believe and profess that the grace of God precedes and follows man, yet in such a manner that I do not deny free will to the rational creature. I also believe and declare that the soul is not a part of God but was created from nothing and was without baptism subject to original sin.

349  Furthermore, I declare anathema every heresy raising itself against the holy Catholic Church, and likewise him whosoever has honored or believes that any writings beyond those which the Catholic Church accepts ought to be held in authority or has venerated them. I accept entirely the four Councils and I venerate them as the four Gospels, because through four parts of the world the universal Church, upon these as on square stone, has been founded *. . . . Equally I accept and venerate the three remaining Councils. . . . Whatever the above mentioned seven holy and universal Councils believe and praise I also believe and praise, and whomever they declare anathema, I declare anathema.

The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *

[From the epistle "In terra pax hominibus" to Michael

Cerularius and to Leo of Achrida, September 2, 1053]


350 Chap. 5 . . . You are said to have condemned publicly in a strange presumption and incredible boldness the Apostolic and Latin Church, neither heard nor refuted, for the reason chiefly that it dared to celebrate the commemoration of the passion of the Lord from the Azymes. Behold your incautious reprehension, behold your evil boasting, when "you put your mouth into heaven. When your tongue passing on to the earth" [ Ps. 72:9], by human arguments and conjectures attempts to uproot and overturn the ancient faith. . . .

351 Chap. 7 . . . The holy Church built upon a rock, that is Christ, and uponPeteror Cephas, the son of John who first was called Simon, because by the gates of Hell, that is, by the disputations of heretics which lead the vain to destruction, it would never be overcome; thus Truth itself promises, through whom are true, whatsoever things are true: "The gates of hell will not prevail against it" [Matt. 16:18]. The same Son declares that He obtained the effect of this promise from the Father by prayers, by saying to Peter: "Simon, behold Satan etc." [ Luke 23:31]. Therefore, will there be anyone so foolish as to dare to regard His prayer as in anyway vain whose being willing is being able? By the See of the chief of the Apostles, namely by the Roman Church, through the same Peter, as well as through his successors, have not the comments of all the heretics been disapproved, rejected, and overcome, and the hearts of the brethren in the faith of Peter which so far neither has failed, nor up to the end will fail, been strengthened?

352 Chap. 11. By passing a preceding judgment on the great See, concerning which it is not permitted any man to pass judgment, you have received anathema from all the Fathers of all the venerable Councils. . . .

353 Chap. 32 . . . As the hinge while remaining immovable opens and closes the door, so Peter and his successors have free judgment over all the Church, since no one should remove their status because "the highest See is judged by no one." [see n. 330 ff.]


VICTOR II 1055-1057  STEPHEN IX 1057-1058

BENEDICT X, 1058-1059

NICHOLAS II 1059-1061


The Ordinations by Simoniacs *

354 Lord Pope Nicholas presiding at the Synod in the Basilica of Constantine said: "We judge that in preserving dignity no mercy is to be shown toward the simoniacs; but according to the sanctions of the canons and the decrees of the Holy Fathers we condemn them entirely and by apostolic authority we decree that they are to be deposed. Concerning those, however, who have been ordained by the simoniacs, not through money but gratis, because the question from long standing has been drawn out still longer, we absolve from every manner [another version: knot or impediment] of doubt; so that with regard to this chapter let us permit no one later to doubt. . . . Thus, moreover, by the authority of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul we entirely forbid that at any time any of our successors from this our permission take or fix a rule for himself or another, because the authority of the ancient Fathers has not promulgated this by order or grant, but too great a necessity of the time has forced us to permit it . . . . "

ALEXANDER II 1061-1073

 ST. GREGORY VII 1073-1085


(Against Berengarius)

The Most Holy Eucharist *

(Oath taken by Berengarius)

355 I, Berengarius, in my heart believe and with my lips confess that through the mystery of the sacred prayer and the words of our Redeemer the bread and wine which are placed on the altar are substantially changed into the true and proper and living flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and that after consecration it is the true body of Christ which was born of the Virgin and which, offered for the salvation of the world, was suspended on the Cross, and which sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and the true blood of Christ, which was poured out from His side not only through the sign and power of the sacrament, but in its property of nature and in truth of substance, as here briefly in a few words is contained and I have read and you understand. Thus I believe, nor will I teach contrary to this belief. So help me God and these holy Gospels of God.


URBAN II 1088-1099


The Sacramental Nature of the Diaconate *

356 Can. 1. Let no one be chosen in order of succession into the episcopacy except one who has been found living religiously in sacred orders. Moreover we call sacred orders the diaconate and the priesthood. Since we read that the early Church had only these, only concerning these do we have the precept of the Apostle.

PASCHAL II 1099-1118


(Against Henry IV)

The Obedience Owed the Church *

[Formula prescribed for all the cities of the Eastern Church]

357 I declare anathema every heresy and especially that one which disturbs the position of the present Church, which teaches and declares that excommunication is to be despised and that the restrictions of the Church are to be cast aside. Moreover, I promise obedience to Paschal, the supreme Pontiff of the Apostolic See, and to his successors under the testimony of Christ and the Church, affirming what the holy and universal Church affirms and condemning what she condemns.


The Ordinations by Heretics and Simoniacs *

358 For many years now the broad extent of the Teutonic kingdom has been separated from the unity of the Apostolic See. In this schism indeed so great a danger has arisen that-and we say this with sorrow-only a few priests or Catholic clergy are found in such a broad extent Of territory. Therefore, with so many sons living in this condition, the necessity of Christian peace demands that regarding this (group) the maternal womb of the Church be open. Therefore instructed by the examples and writings of our Fathers, who in different times received into their ranks the Novatians, the Donatists, and other heretics, we are receiving in the episcopal office the bishops of the above-mentioned region who have been ordained in schism, unless they are proven usurpers, simoniacs, or criminals. We decree the same concerning the clergy of any rank whom way of life together with knowledge commends.

GELASIUS II 1118-1119

CALLISTUS II 1119-1124


Ecumenical IX (concerning investitures)

Simony, Celibacy, Investiture, Incest *


359 Can. 1. "Following the examples of the Holy Fathers" and renewing the duty of our office "we forbid in every way by the authority of the Apostolic See that anyone by means of money be ordained or promoted in the Church of God. But if anyone shall have acquired ordination or promotion in the Church in this way, let him be entirely deprived of his office." *

360 Can. 3. We absolutely forbid priests, deacons, or subdeacons the intimacy of concubines and of wives, and cohabitation with other women, except those with whom for reasons of necessity alone the Nicene Synod permits them to live, that is, a mother, sister, paternal or maternal aunt, or others of this kind concerning whom no suspicion may justly arise [see n.52 b f.]. *

361 Can. 4. "Besides according to the sanction of the most blessed Pope Stephen we have decided that laymen, although they are religious, nevertheless have no faculty for determining anything concerning ecclesiastical possessions; but according to the Canons of the Apostles let the bishop have the care of all ecclesiastical business, and let him dispense these things as in the sight of God. If, therefore, any civil ruler or other layman appropriates to himself either a donation of property or of ecclesiastical possessions, let him be judged sacrilegious." *

362 Can. 5. "We forbid that the marriages of blood relatives take place since both divine and secular laws forbid these. For divine laws not only cast out but also call wicked those who do this, and those who are born from these (marriages); but secular laws call such disreputable, and they cast them off from inheritance. We, therefore, following our Fathers point them out in disgrace, and we declare that they are disreputable." *

363 Can. 10. Let no one unless canonically elected extend his hand for consecration to the episcopacy. But if he should presume to do so, let both the one consecrated and the one consecrating be deposed without hope of restoration.

HONORIUS II 1124-1130


INNOCENT II 1130-1143


Ecumenical X (against pseudo-pontiffs)

Simony, Usury, False Penitence, the Sacraments *

364 Can. 2. If anyone with the intervention of the accursed ardor of avarice has acquired through money an allowance from the state, or a priory, or a deanery, or honor, or some ecclesiastical promotion, or any ecclesiastical sacrament, namely chrism or holy oil, the consecrations of altars or of churches, let him be deprived of the honor evilly acquired. And let the buyer and the seller and the mediator be struck with the mark of disgrace. And not for food nor under the pretense of any custom before or after may anything be demanded from anyone, nor may he himself presume to give, since he is a simoniac. But freely and without any diminution let him enjoy the dignity and favor acquired for himself. *

365 Can. 13. Moreover the detestable and shameful and, I say, insatiable rapacity of money lenders, forbidden both by divine and human laws throughout the Scripture in the Old and in the New Testament, we condemn, and we separate them from all ecclesiastical consolation, commanding that no archbishop, no bishop, no abbot of any rank, nor anyone in an order and in the clergy presume to receive moneylenders except with the greatest caution. But during their whole life let them be considered disreputable and, unless they repent, let them be deprived of Christian burial. *

366 Can. 22. "Certainly because among other things there is one thing which especially disturbs the Holy Church, namely, false repentance, we warn our confreres and priests lest by false repentance the souls of the laity are allowed to be deceived and to be drawn into hell. It is clear, moreover, that repentance is false when, although many things have been disregarded, repentance is practiced concerning one thing only; or when it is practiced concerning one thing, in such a way that he is not separated from another. Therefore, it is written: "He who shall observe the whole law yet offends in one thing, has become guilty of all," [ Jas. 2:10], with respect to eternal life. For just as if he had been involved in all sins, so if he should remain in only one, he will not enter the gate of eternal life. Also that repentance becomes false if when repenting one does not withdraw from either court or business duty, a thing which for no reason can be done without sin, or if hatred is kept in the heart, or if satisfaction be not made to one who has been offended, or if the offended one does not forgive the one offending, or if anyone take up arms against justice."*

367  Can. 23. "Those, moreover, who pretending a kind of piety condemn the sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord, the baptism of children, the sacred ministry and other ecclesiastical orders, and the bond, of legitimate marriages, we drive as heretics from the Church of God, and we both condemn and we command them to be restrained by exterior powers. We bind their defenders also by the chain of this same condemnation." *

COUNCIL OF SENS * 1140 or 1141

The Errors of Peter Abelard *

368 1. That the Father is complete power, the Son a certain power, the Holy Spirit no power.

369 2. That the Holy Spirit is not of the substance [another version:* power] of the Father or of the Son.

370   3. That the Holy Spirit is the soul of the world.

371  4. That Christ did not assume flesh to free us from the yoke of the devil.

372 5. That neither God and man, nor this Person which is Christ, is the third Person in the Trinity.

373  6. That free will is sufficient in itself for any good.

374  7. That God is only able to do or to omit those things, either in that manner only or at that time in which He does (them), and in no other.

375  8. That God neither ought nor is He able to prevent evil.

376  9. That we have not contracted sin from Adam, but only punishment.

377 10. That they have not sinned who being ignorant have crucified Christ, and that whatever is done through ignorance must not be considered as sin.

378 11. That the spirit of the fear of the Lord was not in Christ.

379 12. That the power of binding and loosing was given to the Apostles only, not to their successors.

380 13. That through work man becomes neither better nor worse.

381 14. That to the Father, who is not from another, properly or especially belongs power, * not also wisdom and kindness.

382 15. That even chaste fear is excluded from future life.

383 16. That the devil sends forth evil suggestion through the operation * of stones and herbs.

384 17. That the coming at the end of the world can be attributed to the Father.

385 18. That the soul of Christ did not descend to hell by itself but only by power.

386 19. That neither action nor will, neither concupiscence nor delight, when * it moves it [the soul] is a sin, nor ought we to wish to extinguish (it).,*

[From the letter of Innocent II "Testante Apostolo"

to Henry the Bishop of Sens, July 16, 1140 * ]

387 And so we who though unworthily are observed to reside in the chair of St. Peter, to whom it has been said by the Lord: "And thou being once converted convert thy brethren" (Luke 22:33), after having taken counsel with our brethren the principal bishops, have condemned by the authority of the sacred canons the chapters sent to us by your discretion and all the teachings of this Peter (Abelard) with their author, and we have imposed upon him as a heretic perpetual silence. We declare also that all the followers and defenders of his error must be separated from the companionship of the faithful and must be bound by the chain of excommunication.


Baptism of Desire (an unbaptized priest) *

388    [From the letter "Apostolicam Sedem" to the Bishop

of Cremona, of uncertain time]

 To your inquiry we respond thus: We assert without hesitation (on the authority of the holy Fathers Augustine and Ambrose) that the priest whom you indicated (in your letter) had died without the water of baptism, because he persevered in the faith of holy mother the Church and in the confession of the name of Christ, was freed from original sin and attained the joy of the heavenly fatherland. Read (brother) in the eighth book of Augustine's "City of God" * where among other things it is written, "Baptism is ministered invisibly to one whom not contempt of religion but death excludes." Read again the book also of the blessed Ambrose concerning the death of Valentinian * where he says the same thing. Therefore, to questions concerning the dead, you should hold the opinions of the learned Fathers' and in your church you should join in prayers and you should have sacrifices offered to God for the priest mentioned.

CELESTINE II 1143-1144 Lucius II 1144-1145

EUGENIUS III 1145-1153


Confession of Faith in the Trinity *

389 1. We believe and confess that God is the simple nature of divinity, and that it cannot be denied in any Catholic sense that God is divinity, and divinity is God. Moreover, if it is said that God is wise by wisdom, great by magnitude, eternal by eternity, one by oneness, God by divinity, and other such things, we believe that He is wise only by that wisdom which is God Himself; that He is great only by that magnitude which is God Himself; that He is eternal only by that eternity which is God Himself; that He is one only by the oneness which is God Himself; that He is God only by that divinity which He is Himself; that is, that He is wise, great, eternal, one God of Himself.

390 2. When we speak of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess that they are one God, one divine substance. And contrariwise, when we speak of one God, one divine substance, we confess that the one God himself, the one divine substance are three persons.

391 3. We believe (and we confess) that only God the Father and Son and Holy Spirit are eternal, and not by any means other things, whether they be called relations or peculiarities or singularities or onenesses, and that other such things belong to God, which are from eternity, which are not God.

392 4. We believe (and confess) that divinity itself, whether you call it divine substance or nature, is incarnate only in the Son.

ANASTASIUS IV 1153-1154 HADRIAN IV 1154-1159


Erroneous Proposition concerning the Humanity of Christ *

[Condemned in the letter "Cum Christus" to Willelmus,

Archbishop of Rheims, February 18, 1177]

393 Since Christ perfect God is perfect man, it is strange with what temerity anyone dares to say that "Christ is not anything else but man." *  Moreover lest so great an abuse of God be able to spring up in the Church . . . by our authority you should place under anathema, lest anyone dare to say this concerning the other . . . because just as He is true God, so He is true man existing from a rational soul and human flesh.


The Illicit Contract of a Sale *

[From the letter "In civitate tua" to the

Archbishop of Geneva, of uncertain time]

394 In your city you say that it often happens that when certain ones are purchasing pepper or cinnamon or other wares which at that time are not the value of more than five pounds, they also promise to those from whom they receive these wares that they will pay six pounds at a stated time. However, although a contract of this kind according to such a form cannot be considered under the name of usury, yet nevertheless the sellers incur sin, unless there is a doubt that the wares would be of more or less value at the time of payment. And so your citizens would look well to their own interests, if they would cease from such a contract, since the thoughts of men cannot be hidden from Almighty God.

The Bond of Matrimony *

[From the letter "Ex publico instrumento" to the

Bishop of Brescia, of uncertain time]


395 Since the aforesaid woman, although she has been espoused by the aforesaid man, yet up to this time, as she asserts, has not been known by him, in instructing your brotherhood through Apostolic writings we order that if the aforesaid man has not known the said woman carnally and this same woman, as it is reported to us on your part, wishes to enter religion, after she has been made sufficiently mindful that she ought either to enter religion or return to her husband within two months, you at the termination of her objection and appeal absolve her from the sentence (of excommunication); that if she enters religion, each restore to the other what each is known to have received from the other, and the man himself, when she takes the habit of religion, have the liberty of passing over to other vows. Certainly what the Lord says in the Gospel: "It is not permitted to man unless on account of fornication to put away his wife" [ Matt. 5:32;19:9], must be understood according to the interpretation of the sacred words concerning those whose marriage has been consummated by sexual intercourse, without which marriage cannot be consummated, and so, if the aforesaid woman has not been known by her husband, it is permissible (for her) to enter religion.

[From fragments of a letter to the Archbishop of

Salerno, of uncertain time]

396 After legitimate consent in the present case it is permitted to the one, even with the other objecting, to choose a monastery, as some saints have been called from marriage, as long as sexual intercourse has not taken place between them. And to the one remaining, if, after being advised, he is unwilling to observe continency, he is permitted to pass over to second vows; because, since they have not been made one flesh, it is quite possible for the one to pass over to God, and the other to remain in the world. *

397 If between the man and the woman legitimate consent . . . occurs in the present, so indeed that one expressly receives another by mutual consent with the accustomed words. . . . whether an oath is introduced or not, it is not permissible for the woman to marry another. And if she should marry, even if carnal intercourse has taken place, she should be separated from him, and forced by ecclesiastical order to return to the first, although some think otherwise and also judgment has been rendered in another way by certain of our predecessors.

The Form of Baptism *

[From fragments of the letter to (Pontius, the Bishop

of Clermont?), of uncertain time]


398 Certainly if anyone immerses a child in water three times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen, and he does not say: "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen," the child is not baptized.

399 Let those concerning whom there is a doubt, whether or not they have been baptized, be baptized after these words have first been uttered: "If you are baptized I do not baptize you; if you are not yet baptized, I baptize you, etc."


Ecumenical XI (against the Albigenses)

Simony *

400 Chap. 10. Let monks not be received in the monastery at a price. . . If anyone, however, on being solicited gives anything for his reception, let him not advance to sacred orders. Let him, however, who accepts (a price) be punished by the taking away of his office.*

Heresies that Must be Avoided *

401 Chap. 27. As Blessed Leo * says: "Although ecclesiastical discipline, content with sacerdotal judgment, does not employ bloody punishments, it is nevertheless helped by the constitutions of Catholic rulers, so that men often seek a salutary remedy, when they fear that corporal punishment is coming upon them." For this reason, since in Gascony, in Albegesium, and in parts of Tolosa and in other places, the cursed perversity of the heretics whom some call Cathari, others Patareni, others Publicani, others by different names, has so increased that now they exercise their wickedness not as some in secret, but manifest their error publicly and win over the simple and weak to their opinion, we resolve to cast them, their defenders and receivers under anathema, and we forbid under anathema that anyone presume to hold or to help these in their homes or on their land or to do business with them. *


Ecumenical XI (against the Albigenses)

Simony *

400 Chap. 10. Let monks not be received in the monastery at a price. . . If anyone, however, on being solicited gives anything for his reception, let him not advance to sacred orders. Let him, however, who accepts (a price) be punished by the taking away of his office.*

Heresies that Must be Avoided *

401 Chap. 27. As Blessed Leo * says: "Although ecclesiastical discipline, content with sacerdotal judgment, does not employ bloody punishments, it is nevertheless helped by the constitutions of Catholic rulers, so that men often seek a salutary remedy, when they fear that corporal punishment is coming upon them." For this reason, since in Gascony, in Albegesium, and in parts of Tolosa and in other places, the cursed perversity of the heretics whom some call Cathari, others Patareni, others Publicani, others by different names, has so increased that now they exercise their wickedness not as some in secret, but manifest their error publicly and win over the simple and weak to their opinion, we resolve to cast them, their defenders and receivers under anathema, and we forbid under anathema that anyone presume to hold or to help these in their homes or on their land or to do business with them. *

LUCIUS III 1181-1185


The Sacraments (against the Albigenses) *

[From the decree "Ad abolendum" against the heretics]

402 All who, regarding the sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, or regarding baptism or the confession of sins, matrimony or the other ecclesiastical sacraments, do not fear to think or to teach otherwise than the most holy Roman Church teaches and observes; and in general, whomsoever the same Roman Church or individual bishops through their dioceses with the advice of the clergy or the clergy themselves, if the episcopal see is vacant, with the advice if it is necessary of neighboring bishops, shall judge as heretics, we bind with a like bond of perpetual anathema.

 URBAN III 1185-1187

Usury *

[From the epistle "Consuluit nos" to a certain priest of Brescia]

403 Your loyalty asks us whether or not in the judgment of souls he ought to be judged as a usurer who, not otherwise ready to deliver by loan, loans his money on this proposition that without any agreement he nevertheless receive more by lot; and whether he is involved in that same state of guilt who, as it is commonly said, does not otherwise grant a similar oath, until, although without payment, he receives some gain from him; whether or not that negotiator ought to be condemned with a like punishment, who offers his wares at a price far greater, if an extension of the already extended time be asked for making the payment, than if the price should be paid to him at once. But since what one must hold in these cases is clearly learned from the Gospel of Luke in which is said: "Give mutually, hoping nothing thereby" [cf. Luke 6:35], men of this kind must be judged to act wrongly on account of the intention of gain which they have, since every usury and superabundance are prohibited by law, and they must be effectively induced in the judgment of souls to restore those things which have been thus received.



INNOCENT III 1198-1216

The Form of the Sacrament of Matrimony *

[From the letter, "Cum apud sedem" to Humbert,

Archbishop of Arles, July 15, 1198]

404 You have asked us whether the dumb and the deaf can be united to each other in marriage. To this question we respond to your brotherhood thus: Since the edict of prohibition concerning the contracting of marriage is that whoever is not prohibited, is consequently permitted, and only the consent of those concerning whose marriages we are speaking is sufficient for marriage, it seems that, if such a one wishes to contract (a marriage), it cannot and it ought not to be denied him, since what he cannot declare by words he can declare by signs.

[From the letter to the Bishop of Mutina, in the year 1200] *

 Besides in the contracting of marriages we wish you to observe this: when, as in the present case legitimate agreement exists between legitimate persons, which is sufficient in such cases according to canonical sanctions, and if this alone is lacking, other things are made void, even if sexual intercourse itself has taken place, if persons legitimately married afterwards actually contract (marriage) with others, what before had been done according to law cannot be annulled.

On the Bond of Marriage and the

Pauline Privilege *

[From the letter "Quanto te magis" to Hugo, Bishop

of Ferrara, May 1, 1199]


405   Your brotherhood has announced that with one of the spouses passing over to heresy the one who is left desires to rush into second vows and to procreate children, and you have thought that we ought to be consulted through your letter as to whether this can be done under the law. We, therefore, responding to your inquiry regarding the common advice of our brothers make a distinction, although indeed our predecessor seems to have thought otherwise, whether of two unbelievers one is converted to the Catholic Faith, or of two believers one lapses into heresy or falls into the error of paganism. For if one of the unbelieving spouses is converted to the Catholic faith, while the other either is by no means willing to live with him or at least not without blaspheming the divine name or so as to drag him into mortal sin, the one who is left, if he wishes, will pass over to second vows. And in this case we understand what the Apostle says: "If the unbeliever depart, let him depart: for the brother or sister is not subject to servitude in (cases) of this kind" [1 Cor. 7:15]. And likewise (we understand) the canon in which it is said that "insult to the Creator dissolves the law of marriage for him who is left." *

406 But if one of the believing spouses either slip into heresy or lapse into the error of paganism, we do not believe that in this case he who is left, as long as the other is living, can enter into a second marriage; although in this case a greater insult to the Creator is evident. Although indeed true matrimony exists between unbelievers, yet it is not ratified; between believers, however, a true and ratified marriage exists, because the sacrament of faith, which once was admitted, is never lost, but makes the sacrament of marriage ratified so that it itself lasts between married persons as long as the sacrament of faith endures.

Marriages of Pagans and the Pauline Privilege *

[From the letter "Gaudemus in Domino" to the Bishop

of Tiberias, in the beginning of 1201]

407 You have asked to be shown through Apostolic writings whether pagans receiving wives in the second, third, or further degree ought, thus united, to remain after their conversion with the wives united to them or ought to be separated from them. Regarding this we reply to your brotherhood thus, that, since the sacrament of marriage exists between believing and unbelieving spouses as the Apostle points out when he says: "If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she consents to live with him, let him not put her away" [1 Cor. 7:12], and since in the aforesaid degree matrimony is lawfully contracted with respect to them by pagans who are not restricted by canonical constitutions, ("For what is it to me?" according to the same Apostle, "to judge concerning those which are outside?" [ 1 Cor. 5:12]; in favor especially of the Christian religion and faith, from receiving which many fearing to be deserted by their wives can easily be restrained, such believers, having been joined in marriage, can freely and licitly remain united, since through the sacrament of baptism marriages are not dissolved but sins are forgiven.

408 But since pagans divide their conjugal affection among many women at the same time, it is rightly doubted whether after conversion all or which one of all they can retain. But this (practice) seems to be in disagreement with and inimical to the Christian Faith, since in the beginning one rib was changed into one woman, and Divine Scripture testifies that "on account of this, man shall leave father and mother and shall cling to his wife and they shall be two in one flesh" [ Eph. 5:31; Gen. 2:24; cf.Matt. 19:5]; it does not say "three or more" buttwo; nor did it say "he will cling to wives" butto a wife.Never is it permitted to anyone to have several wives at one time except to whom it was granted by divine revelation. This custom existed at one time, sometimes was even regarded as lawful, by which, as Jacob from a lie, the Israelites from theft, and Samson from homicide, so also the Patriarchs and other just men, who we read had many wives at the same time, were ex-used from adultery. Certainly this opinion is proved true also by the witness of Truth, which testifies in the Gospel: "Whosoever puts away his wife (except) on account of fornication, and marries another commits adultery," [ Matt. 19:9; cf.Mark 10:11]. If, therefore, when the wife has been dismissed, another cannot be married according to law, all the more she herself cannot be retained; through this it clearly appears that regarding marriage plurality in either sex-since they are not judged unequallymust be condemned. Moreover, he who according to his rite puts away a lawful wife, since Truth in the Gospel has condemned such a repudiation, never while she lives, even after being converted to the faith of Christ, can he have another wife, unless after his conversion she refuses to live with him, or even if she should consent, yet not without insult to the Creator, or so as to lead him into mortal sin. In this case to the one seeking restitution, although it be established regarding unjust spoliation, restitution would be denied, because according to the Apostle: "A brother or sister is not subject to servitude in (cases) of this kind" [ 1 Cor 7,12]. But if her conversion should follow his conversion to faith, before, on account of the above mentioned causes, he would marry a legitimate wife, he would be compelled to take her back again. Although, too, according to the Evangelical truth, "he who marries one put aside is guilty of adultery" [Matt. 19:9], yet the one doing the dismissing will not be able to upbraid the one dismissed with fornication because he married her after the repudiation, unless she shall otherwise have committed fornication.

The Dissolubility of Valid Marriage by Religious Profession *

[From the letter "Ex parte tua" to Andrew, the

Archbishop of Lyons, Jan. 12, 1206]


409 Unwilling to depart suddenly on this point from the footsteps of our predecessors who, on being consulted, responded that before marriage has been consummated by sexual intercourse, it is permitted for one of the parties, even without consulting the remaining one, to pass over to religion, so that the one left can henceforth legitimately marry another; we advise you that this must be observed.


The Effect of Baptism (and the Character) *


410   (For) they assert that baptism is conferred uselessly on children. . . . We respond that baptism has taken the place of circumcision. . . . Therefore as "the soul of the circumcised did not perish from the people" [Gen. 17:4], so "he who has been reborn from water and the Holy Spirit will obtain entrance to the kingdom of heaven" [ John 3:5]. . . .Although original sin was remitted by the mystery of circumcision, and the danger of damnation was avoided, nevertheless there was no arriving at the kingdom of heaven, which up to the death of Christ was barred to all. But through the sacrament of baptism the guilt of one made red by the blood of Christ is remitted, and to the kingdom of heaven one also arrives, whose gate the blood of Christ has mercifully opened for His faithful. For God forbid that all children of whom daily so great a multitude die, would perish, but that also for these the merciful God who wishes no one to perish has procured some remedy unto salvation. . . . As to what opponents say, (namely), that faith or love or other virtues are not infused in children, inasmuch as they do not consent, is absolutely not granted by most. . . . some asserting that by the power of baptism guilt indeed is remitted to little ones but grace is not conferred; and some indeed saying both that sin is forgiven and that virtues are infused in them as they hold virtues as a possession not as a function, until they arrive at adult age. . . . We say that a distinction must be made, that sin is twofold: namely, original and actual: original, which is contracted without consent; and actual which is committed with consent. Original, therefore, which is committed without consent, is remitted without consent through the power of the sacrament; but actual, which is contracted with consent, is not mitigated in the slightest without consent. . . . The punishment of original sin is deprivation of the vision of God, but the punishment of actual sin is the torments of everlasting hell. . . .

411 This is contrary to the Christian religion, that anyone always unwilling and interiorly objecting be compelled to receive and to observe Christianity. On this account some absurdly do not distinguish between unwilling and unwilling, and forced and forced, because he who is violently forced by terrors and punishments, and, lest he incur harm, receives the sacrament of baptism, such a one also as he who under pretense approaches baptism, receives the impressed sign of Christianity, and he himself, just as he willed conditionally although not absolutely, must be forced to the observance of Christian Faith. . . . But he who never consents, but inwardly contradicts, receives neither the matter nor the sign of the sacrament, because to contradict expressly is more than not to agree. . . . The sleeping, moreover, and the weak-minded, if before they incurred weak-mindedness, or before they went to sleep persisted in contradiction, because in these the idea of contradiction is understood to endure, although they have been so immersed, they do not receive the sign of the sacrament; not so, however, if they had first lived as catechumens and had the intention of being baptized; therefore, the Church has been accustomed to baptize such in a time of necessity. Thus, then the sacramental operation impresses the sign, when it does not meet the resisting obstacle of a contrary will.


The Matter of Baptism *

[From the letter "Non ut apponeres" to Thorias

Archbishop of Nidaros] *

412 You have asked whether children ought to be regarded as Christians whom, when in danger of death, on account of the scarcity of water and the absence of a priest, the simplicity of some has anointed on the head and the breast, and between the shoulders with a sprinkling of saliva for baptism. We answer that since in baptism two things always, that is, "the word and the element,"* are required by necessity, according to which Truth says concerning the word: "Going into the world etc." [Luke 16:15; cf. Matt. 28:19

], and the same concerning the element says: "Unless anyone etc." [John 3:5 ] you ought not to doubt that those do not have true baptism in which not only both of the above mentioned (requirements) but one of them is missing.

The Minister of Baptism and the Baptism of Spirit*

[From the letter "Debitum pastoralis officii" to Berthold,

the Bishop of Metz, August 28, 1206]

413  You have, to be sure, intimated that a certain Jew, when at the point of death, since he lived only among Jews, immersed himself in water while saying: "I baptize myself in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen."

 We respond that, since there should be a distinction between the one baptizing and the one baptized, as is clearly gathered from the words of the Lord, when he says to the Apostles: "Go baptize all nations in the name etc." [cf. Matt. 28:19], the Jew mentioned must be baptized again by another, that it may be shown that he who is baptized is one person, and he who baptizes another. . . . If, however, such a one had died immediately, he would have rushed to his heavenly home without delay because of the faith of the sacrament, although not because of the sacrament of faith.

The Form of the Eucharistic Sacrament and its Elements *

[From the letter "Cum Marthae circa" to a certain

John, Archbishop of Lyons, Nov. 29, 1202]

414 You have asked (indeed) who has added to the form of the words which Christ Himself expressed when He changed the bread and wine into the body and blood, that in the Canon of the Mass which the general Church uses, which none of the Evangelists is read to have expressed. . . . In the Canon of the Mass that expression, "mysterium fidei,"is found interposed among His words. . . . Surely we find many such things omitted from the words as well as from the deeds of the Lord by the Evangelists, which the Apostles are read to have supplied by word or to have expressed by deed. . . . From the expression, moreover, concerning which your brotherhood raised the question, namely "mysterium fidei," certain people have thought to draw a protection against error, saying that in the sacrament of the altar the truth of the body and blood of Christ does not exist, but only the image and species and figure, inasmuch as Scripture sometimes mentions that what is received at the altar is sacrament and mystery and example. But such run into a snare of error, by reason of the fact that they neither properly understand the authority of Scripture, nor do they reverently receive the sacraments of God, equally "ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God" [Matt. 22:29]. . . . Yet "mysterium fidei" is mentioned, since something is believed there other than what is perceived; and something is perceived other than is believed. For the species of bread and wine is perceived there, and the truth of the body and blood of Christ is believed and the power of unity and of love. . . .

415 We must, however, distinguish accurately between three things which are different in this sacrament, namely, the visible form, the truth of the body, and the spiritual power. The form is of the bread and wine; the truth, of the flesh and blood; the power, of unity and of charity. The first is the "sacrament and not reality." The second is "the sacrament and reality." The third is "the reality and not the sacrament." But the first is the sacrament of a twofold reality. The second, however, is a sacrament of one and the reality (is) of the other. But the third is the reality of a twofold sacrament. Therefore, we believe that the form of words, as is found in, the Canon, the Apostles received from Christ, and their successors from them. . . .


Water Mixed w ith Wine in the Sacrifice of the Mass *

[From the same letter to John, Nov. 29, 1202]

416 You have asked (also) whether the water with the wine is changed into the blood. Regarding this, however, opinions among the scholastics vary. For it seems to some that, since from the side of Christ two special sacraments flowed-of the redemption in the blood and of regeneration in the water-into those two the wine and water, which are mixed in the chalice, are changed by divine power. . . . But others hold that the water with the wine is transubstantiated into the blood; when mixed with the wine, it passes over into the wine. . . . Besides it can be said that water does not pass over into blood but remains surrounded by the accidents of the original wine. . . . This, however, is wrong to think, which some have presumed to say, namely, that water is changed into phlegm. . . . But among the opinions mentioned that is judged the more probable which asserts that the water with the wine is changed into blood.

[From the letter "In quadam nostra" to Hugo,

Bishop of Ferrara, March 5, 1209]

417 You say that you have read in a certain decretal letter of ours that it is wrong to think what certain ones have presumed to say, namely, that the water of the Eucharist is changed into phlegm, for they say falsely that from the side of Christ not water but a watery liquid came forth. Moreover, although you recall that great and authentic men have thought this, whose opinions in speech and in writings up to this time you have followed, from whose (opinions), however, we differ, you are compelled to agree with our opinion. . . . For if it had not been water but phlegm which flowed from the side of the Savior, he who saw and gave testimonyto the truth [cf. John 19:35] certainly would not have said water but phlegm. . . . It remains, therefore, that of whatever nature that water was, whether natural, or miraculous, or created anew by divine power, or resolved in some measure of component parts, without doubt it was true water.


The Feigned Celebration of Mass *

[From the letter "De homine qui" to the rectors of the

Roman brotherhood, September 22, 1208]

418 (For) you have asked us what we think about the careless priest who, when he knows that he is in mortal sin, hesitates because of the consciousness of his guilt to celebrate the solemnity of the Mass, which he however, cannot omit on account of necessity . . . and, when the other details have been accomplished, pretends to celebrate Mass; and after suppressing the words by which the body of Christ is effected, he merely takes up the bread and wine. . . . Since, therefore, false remedies must be cast aside, which are more serious than true dangers, it is proper that he who regards himself unworthy on account of the consciousness of his own crime ought reverently to abstain from a sacrament of this kind, and so he sins seriously if he brings himself irreverently to it; yet without a doubt he seems to offend more gravely who so fraudently presumes to feign (the sacrifice of the Mass); since the one by avoiding sin, as long as he acts, falls into the hands of the merciful God alone; but the other by committing sin, as long as he lives, places himself under obligation not only to God whom he does not fear to mock, but also to the people whom he deceives.


The Minister of Confirmation *

[From the letter "Cum venisset" to Basil, Archbishop of Tirnova, Feb. 25, 1204]


419 The imposition of the hands is designated by the anointing of the forehead which by another name is called confirmation, because through it the Holy Spirit is given for an increase (of grace) and strength. There,fore, although a simple priest or presbyter is able to give other anointings, this one, only the highest priest, that is the bishop, ought to confer, because we read concerning the Apostles alone, whose successors the bishops are, that through the imposition of the hands they gave the Holy Spirit [cf. Acts 8:14 ff.].


Profession of Faith Prescribed for Durand of Osca and His

Waldensian Companions*

[From the letter "Fitts exemplo" to the Archbishop of

Terraco, Dec. 18, 1208]


420  By the heart we believe, by faith we understand, by the mouth we confess, and by simple words we affirm that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three Persons, one God, and entire Trinity, co-essential and consubstantial and co-eternal and omnipotent, and each single Person in the Trinity complete God as is contained in "Credo in Deum, " [see n. 2] in "Credo in unum Deum" [see n. 86], and in "Quicumque vult" [see n. 39 ].

421  By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess that the Father also and the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, concerning whom we are speaking, is the creator, the maker, the ruler, and the dispenser of all things corporal and spiritual, visible and invisible. We believe that God is the one and same author of the Old and the New Testament, who existing in the Trinity, as it is said, created all things from nothing; and that John the Baptist, sent by Him, was holy and just, and in the womb of his mother was filled with the Holy Spirit.

422  By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess that the Incarnation of the Divinity took place neither in the Father, nor in the Holy Spirit, but in the Son only; so that He who was in the Divinity the Son of God the Father, true God from the Father, was in the humanity the son of man, true man from a mother, having true flesh from the womb of his mother and a human rational soul; at the same time of each nature, that is God and man, one Person, one Son, one Christ, one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the author and ruler of all, born from the Virgin Mary in a true birth of the flesh; He ate and drank, He slept and, tired out from a journey, He rested, He suffered in the true passion of His flesh; He died in the true death of His body, and He arose again in the true resurrection of His flesh and in the true restoration of His soul to the body in which, after He ate and drank, He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and in the same will come to judge the living and the dead.

423  By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic (Church) outside which we believe that no one is saved.

424 The sacraments also which are celebrated in it with the inestimable and invisible power of the Holy Spirit cooperating, although they may be administered by a priest who is a sinner, as long as the Church accepts him, in no way do we reprove nor from ecclesiastical offices or blessings celebrated by him do we withdraw; but we receive with a kind mind as from the most just, because the wickedness of a bishop or priest does no harm to the baptism of an infant, nor to consecrating the Eucharist, nor to the other ecclesiastical duties celebrated for subjects. We approve, therefore, the baptism of infants, who, if they died after baptism, before they commit sins, we confess and believe are saved; and in baptism all sins, that original sin which was contracted as well as those which voluntarily have been committed, we believe are forgiven. We decree that confirmation performed by a bishop, that is, by the imposition of hands, is holy and must be received reverently. Firmly and without doubt with a pure heart we believe and simply in faithful words we affirm that the sacrifice, that is, the bread and wine [Other texts: in the sacrifice of the Eucharist those things which before consecration were bread and wine] after the consecration is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which we believe nothing more by a good nor less by a bad priest is accomplished because it is accomplished not in the merits of the one who consecrates but in the word of the Creator and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we firmly believe and we confess that however honest, religious, holy, and prudent anyone may be, he cannot nor ought he to consecrate the Eucharist nor to perform the sacrifice of the altar unless he be a priest, regularly ordained by a visible and perceptible bishop. And to this office three things are necessary, as we believe: namely, a certain person, that is a priest as we said above, properly established by a bishop for that office; and those solemn words which have been expressed by the holy Fathers in the canon; and the faithful intention of the one who offers himself; and so we firmly believe and declare that whosoever without the preceding episcopal ordination, as we said above, believes and contends that he can offer the sacrifice of the Eucharist is a heretic and is a participant and companion of the perdition of Core and his followers, and he must be segregated from the entire holy Roman Church. To sinners truly penitent, we believe that forgiveness is granted by God, and with them we communicate most gladly. We venerate the anointing of the sick with the consecrated oil. According to the Apostle [cf.1 Cor. 7 ] we do not deny that carnal unions should be formed, but ordinarily we forbid absolutely the breaking of the contracts. Man also with his wife we believe and confess are saved, and we do not even condemn second or later marriages.


425 We do not at all censure the receiving of the flesh. Nor do we condemn an oath; on the contrary, we believe with a pure heart that with truth and judgment and justice it is permissible to swear. [In the year 1210, the following sentence was added:] Concerning secular power we declare that without mortal sin it is possible to exercise a judgment of blood as long as one proceeds to bring punishment not in hatred but in judgment, not incautiously but advisedly.

426  We believe that preaching is exceedingly necessary and praiseworthy, yet that it must be exercised by the authority or license of the Supreme Pontiff or by the permission of prelates. But in all places where manifest heretics remain and renounce and blaspheme God and the faith of the holy Roman Church, we believe that, by disputing and exhorting in all ways according to God, we should confound them, and even unto death oppose them openly with the word of God as adversaries of Christ and the Church. But ecclesiastical orders and everything which in the holy Roman Church is read or sung as holy, we humbly praise and faithfully venerate.

427  We believe that the devil was made evil not through creation but through will. We sincerely believe and with our mouth we confess the resurrection of this flesh which we bear and not of another. We firmly believe and affirm also that judgment by Jesus Christ will be individually for those who have lived in this flesh, and that they will receive either punishment or rewards. We believe that alms, sacrifice, and other benefits can be of help to the dead. We believe and confess that those who remain in the world and possess their own wealth, by practicing alms, and other benefits from their possessions, and by keeping the commands of the Lord are saved. We believe that tithes and first fruits and oblations should be paid to the clergy according to the Lord's command.


Ecumenical XII (against the Albigensians, Joachim, Waldensians etc.

The Trinity, Sacraments, Canonical Mission, etc.*

Chap. 1. The Catholic Faith

(Definition directed against the Albigensians and other heretics]

428 Firmly we believe and we confess simply that the true God is one alone, eternal, immense, and unchangeable, incomprehensible, omnipotent and ineffable, Father and Son and Holy Spirit: indeed three Persons but one essence, substance, or nature entirely simple. The Father from no one, the Son from the Father only, and the Holy Spirit equally from both; without beginning, always, and without end; the Father generating, the Son being born, and the Holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial and coequal and omnipotent and coeternal; one beginning of all, creator of all visible and invisible things, of the spiritual and of the corporal; who by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual, and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human, constituted as it were, alike of the spirit and the body. For the devil and other demons were created by God good in nature, but they themselves through themselves have become wicked. But man sinned at the suggestion of the devil. This Holy Trinity according to common essence undivided, and according to personal properties distinct, granted the doctrine of salvation to the human race, first through Moses and the holy prophets and his other servants according to the most methodical disposition of the time.

429 And finally the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, incarnate by the whole Trinity in common, conceived of Mary ever Virgin with the Holy Spirit cooperating, made true man, formed of a rational soul and human flesh, one Person in two natures, clearly pointed out the way of life. And although He according to divinity is immortal and impassible, the very same according to humanity was made passible and mortal, who, for the salvation of the human race, having suffered on the wood of the Cross and died, descended into hell, arose from the dead and ascended into heaven. But He descended in soul, and He arose in the flesh, and He ascended equally in both, to come at the end of time, to judge the living and the dead, and to render to each according to his works, to the wicked as well as to the elect, all of whom will rise with their bodies which they now bear, that they may receive according to their works, whether these works have been good or evil, the latter everlasting punishment with the devil, and the former everlasting glory with Christ.

430 One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved, * in which the priest himself is the sacrifice, Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine; the bread (changed) into His body by the divine power of transubstantiation, and the wine into the blood, so that to accomplish the mystery of unity we ourselves receive from His (nature) what He Himself received from ours. And surely no one can accomplish this sacrament except a priest who has been rightly ordained according to the keys of the Church which Jesus Christ Himself conceded to the Apostles and to their successors. But the sacrament of baptism (which at the invocation of God and the indivisible Trinity, namely, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, is solemnized in water) rightly conferred by anyone in the form of the Church is useful unto salvation for little ones and for adults. And if, after the reception of baptism, anyone shall have lapsed into sin, through true penance he can always be restored. Moreover, not only virgins and the continent but also married persons pleasing to God through right faith and good work merit to arrive at a blessed eternity.


Chap.2.The Error of Abbot Joachim *

431 We condemn, therefore, and we disapprove of the treatise or tract which Abbot Joachim published against Master Peter Lombard on the unity or essence of the Trinity, calling him heretical and senseless because in hisSentenceshe said: "Since it is a most excellent reality-the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and it is not generating, nor generated, nor proceeding." * Thus he (Joachim) declares that Peter Lombard implies not so much a Trinity as a quaternity in God, namely the three Persons and that common essence as a fourth, openly protesting that there is no matter which is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; neither is there essence, nor substance, nor nature, although he concedes that the Father, and the Son. and the Holy Spirit are one essence, one substance, and one nature. But he says that unity of this kind is not true and proper, but is something collective and similar, as many men are called one people, and many faithful, one Church, according to the following: "Of the multitude believing there was one heart and one mind" [ Acts 4:32]; and, "He who clings to God is one spirit with him" [ 1 Cor. 6:17]; likewise, "He who . . . plants and he who waters are one" [ 1 Cor. 3:8]; and, "we are all one body in Christ" [ Rom. 12:5]; again in the Book of Kings [Ruth]: "My people and your people are one" [Ruth 1:16]. Moreover, to add to this opinion of his he brings the following most powerful expression, that Christ spoke in the Gospel about the faithful: "I will, Father, that they are one in us as we are one, so that they may be perfected in unity" [John 17:22 f.]. For not, (as he says), are the faithful of Christ one, that is, a certain one matter which is common to all, but in this way are they one, that is, one Church because of the unity of the Catholic faith; and finally one kingdom, because of the union of indissoluble love, as in the canonical letter of John the Apostle we read: "For there are three that give testimony in heaven, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one" [ 1 John 5:7], and immediately is added: "And there are three who give testimony on earth, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and these three are one" [ 1 John 5:8 ], as is found in certain texts.

432 We, however, with the approval of the sacred Council, believe and confess with Peter Lombard that there exists a most excellent reality, incomprehensible indeed and ineffable, which truly is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at the same time three Persons, and anyone of the same individually; and so in God there is Trinity only, not a quaternity; because any one of the three Persons is that reality, namely, substance, essence or divine nature, which alone is the beginning of all things, beyond which nothing else can be found, and that reality is not generating, nor generated, nor proceeding, but it is the Father who generates, the Son who is generated, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds, so that distinctions are in Persons and unity in nature. Therefore, although "one is the Father, another the Son, and another the Holy Spirit, yet they are not different" * but what is the Father is the Son and the Holy Spirit entirely the same, so that according to the true and Catholic Faith they are believed to be consubstantial. For the Father from eternity by generating the Son gave His substance to Him according to which He Himself testifies: "That which the Father has given to me is greater than all things" [John 10:29]. But it cannot be said that He (the Father) has given a part of His substance to Him (the Son), and retained a part for Himself, since the substance of the Father is indivisible, namely, simple. But neither can it be said that the Father has transferred His substance to the Son in generating, as if He had given that to the Son which he did not retain for Himself; otherwise the substance would have ceased to exist. It is clear, therefore, that the Son in being born without any diminution received the substance of the Father, and thus the Father and the Son have the same substance, and so this same reality is the Father and the Son and also the Holy Spirit proceeding from both. But when Truth prays to the Father for His faithful saying: "I will that they may be one in us, as we also are one" [ John 17:22]: this word "one" indeed is accepted for the faithful in such a way that a union of charity in grace is understood, for the divine Persons in such a way that a unity of identity in nature is considered, as elsewhere Truth says: "Be . . . perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect" [Matt. 5:48 ], as if He said more clearly, "Be perfect" in the perfection of grace "as your heavenly Father is perfect" in the perfection of grace, that is, each in his own manner, because between the Creator and the creature so great a likeness cannot be noted without the necessity of noting a greater dissimilarity between them. If anyone, therefore, shall presume to defend or approve the opinion or doctrine of the above mentioned Joachim, let him be refuted as a heretic by all.

433 Yet on this account we do not wish to detract from the monastery in Florence (whose founder is Joachim himself), since both the institution there is regular and the observance salutary, especially since Joachim himself has ordered all his writings to be assigned to us, to be approved or even corrected by the judgment of the Apostolic See, dictating a letter which he signed with his own hand in which he firmly confesses that he holds that Faith which the Roman Church, which (the Lord disposing) is the mother and master of all the faithful, holds. We reprove also and we condemn that very perverse dogma of the impious Almaricus, whose mind the father of lies has so blinded that his doctrine must be considered not so heretical as insane.


Chap. 3 . The Heretics[ Waldensian] *

[The necessity of a canonical mission]

434  Because some indeed "under the pretext of piety, denying his power" (according to what the Apostle says) [2 Tim. 3:5], assume to themselves the authority of preaching, when the same Apostle says: "How . . . shall they preach, unless they are sent?" [Rom. 10:15 ], let all who, being prohibited or not sent, without having received authority from the Apostolic See, or from the Catholic bishop of the place, shall presume publicly or privately to usurp the duty of preaching * be marked by the bond of excommunication; and unless they recover their senses, the sooner the better, let them be punished with another fitting penalty.


Chap. 4. The Pride of the Greeks Against the Latins *


435 Although we wish to cherish and honor the Greeks who in our days are returning to the obedience of the Apostolic See, by sustaining their customs and rites in as far as we are able with the Lord, yet we do not wish nor are we able to defer to them in these things which engender danger to souls and which detract from ecclesiastical honor. For when the church of the Greeks with certain accomplices and their protectors withdrew itself from the obedience of the Apostolic See, the Greeks began to detest the Latins so much that among other things which they impiously committed to their dishonor, if at any time Latin priests celebrated Mass on their altars, they themselves were unwilling to sacrifice on these (altars), before they washed them, as if defiled on account of this (sacrifice by the Latin priests); these same Greeks presumed with indiscreet boldness to rebaptize those baptized by the Latins, and up to this time, as we have learned, certain ones do not fear to do this. Therefore, wishing to remove such scandal from the Church, on the recommendation of the Sacred Council, we strictly command that they do not presume such things in the future, conforming themselves as obedient sons to the holy Roman Church, their mother, so that there may be "one flock and one shepherd" [John 10:16]. If anyone, however, shall presume any such thing, struck by the sword of excommunication, let him be deposed from every office and ecclesiastical favor.

Chap. 5. The Dignity of the Patriarchs *

436 Renewing the ancient privilege of the patriarchal sees, with the approval of the sacred universal synod, we sanction that after the Roman Church, which by the ordering of the Lord before all others holds the first place of ordinary power as the mother and teacher of all the faithful of Christ, the (Church of) Constantinople holds the first, Alexandria the second, Antioch the third, and Jerusalem the fourth place.

Chap. 21.The Obligation of Making Confession and of its not

being Revealed by the Priest, and the Obligation of Receiving

the Sacrament at leastin Paschal Time.*


437 Let everyone of the faithful of both sexes, after he has arrived at the years of discretion, alone faithfully confess all his sins at least once a year to his own priest, and let him strive to fulfill with all his power the penance enjoined upon him, receiving reverently the sacrament of the Eucharist at least in Paschal time, unless by chance on the advice of his own priest for some reasonable cause it shall be decided that he must abstain from the precept temporarily; otherwise both while living let him be barred from entrance to the church, and when dying let him be deprived of Christian burial. Therefore, let this salutary law be published frequently in the churches, lest anyone assume a pretext of excuse in the blindness of ignorance. Moreover if anyone from a just cause shall wish to confess his sins to another priest, let him first ask and obtain permission from his own priest, since otherwise that one (the other priest) cannot absolve or bind him. Let the priest, however, be discreet and cautious, so that skilled by practice "he may pour wine and oil" [ Luke 10:34] on the wounds of the wounded, diligently inquiring into both the circumstances of the sinner and the sin, by which prudently he may understand what kind of advice he ought to give to him, and, using various experiments to save the sick, what kind of a remedy he ought to apply.

438  Moreover, let him constantly take care, lest by word or sign or any other way whatsoever he may at any time betray the sinner; but if he should need more prudent counsel, he should seek it cautiously without any mention of the person, since he who shall presume to reveal a sin entrusted to him in confession, we decree not only must be deposed from priestly office but must also be thrust into a strict monastery to do perpetual penance.

Chap. 41.The Continuation of Good Faith in Every Precept *

439 Since "everything . . . which is not from faith is a sin" [ Rom. 14:23 ], by synodal judgment we define that no precept either canonical or civil without good faith has any value, since that which cannot be observed without mortal sin must in general be rejected by every constitution and custom. Therefore, it is necessary that he who lay down a rule at no time be conscious of anything wrong.

Chap. 62 . The Relics of the Saints *


440 Since, because certain ones expose the relics of saints for sale and exhibit them at random, the Christian religion has often suffered detraction; so that it may not suffer detraction in the future, we have ordered by the present decree that from now on ancient relics may by no means be exhibited or exposed for sale outside a case. Moreover let no one presume that newly found relics be venerated publicly, unless first they have been approved by the authority of the Roman Pontiff

HONORIUS III 1216-1227

The Matter of the Eucharist *

[From the letter "Perniciosus valde" to Olaus, Archbishop

of Upsala Dec. 13, 1220]

441 An exceedingly pernicious abuse, as we have heard, has arisen in your area, namely, that in the sacrifice water is being used in greater measure than wine; when according to the reasonable custom of the general Church more of wine than of water should be used. And so to your brotherhood through the apostolic writings we order that in the future you do not do this, and that you do not allow it to be done in your province.

GREGORY IX 1227-1241

The Necessity of Preserving Theological Terminology and Tradition *

[From the letter "Ab Aegyptiis" to the theologians of Paris, July 7, 1228]

442 "Touched inwardly with sorrow of heart" [Gen. 6:6], "we are filled with the bitterness of wormwood" [cf. Lam. 3:15], because as it has been brought to our attention, certain ones among you, distended like a skin by the spirit of vanity, are working with profane novelty to pass beyond the boundaries which thy fathers have set [cf. Prov. 22:28], the understanding of the heavenly page limited by the fixed boundaries of expositions in the studies of the Holy Fathers by inclining toward the philosophical doctrine of natural things, which it is not only rash but even profane to transgress; (they are doing this) for a show of knowledge, not for any profit to their hearers; so that they seem to be not taught of God or speakers of God, but rather revealed as God. For, although they ought to explain theology according to the approved traditions of the saints and not with carnal weapons, "yet with (weapons) powerful for God to destroy every height exalting itself against the knowledge of God and to lead back into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ" [cf. 2 Cor. 10:4 f.], they themselves "led away by various and strange doctrines" [cf.Heb. 13:9] reduce the "head to the tail" [cf. Deut. 28:13, 44] and they force the queen to be servant to the handmaid, that is, by earthly documents attributing the heavenly, which is of grace, to nature. Indeed relying on the knowledge of natural things more than they ought, returning "to the weak and needy elements" of the world, which they served while they were "little" and "serving them again" [ Gal. 4:9] as foolish in Christ they feed on "milk and not solid food" [ Heb. 5:12 f.], and they seem by no means to have established "the heart in grace" [cf. Heb. 13:9]; and so despoiled of their rewards "plundered and wounded by their natural possessions * they do not reduce to memory that (saying) of the Apostle which we believe they have already frequently read: "Avoiding the profane novelties of words, and the oppositions of knowledge falsely so called, which some seeking have erred concerning the faith" [cf.1 Tim. 6:20 f.]. "O foolish and slow of heart in all things" which the protectors of divine grace, namely "the prophets" the evangelists and the apostles "have spoken" [cf.Luke 24:25], since nature in itself cannot (work) anything for salvation unless it is helped by grace [see n. 105, 138]. Let presumers of this kind speak, who embracing the doctrine of natural things offer the leaves and not the fruit of words to their hearers, whose minds as if fed with husks remain empty and vacant; and their soul cannot be "delighted in fatness" [ Is. 55:2], because thirsty and dry it cannot drink "from the waters of Siloe running with silence" [cf.Is. 8:6] but rather from those which are drawn from the philosophical torrents, of which it is said: "The more they are drunk, the more the waters are thirsted for, because they do not bring satiety, but rather anxiety and labor. And while by extorted, nay rather distorted, expositions they turn the sacred words divinely inspired to the sense of the doctrine of philosophers who are ignorant of God, "do they not place the ark of the covenant by Dagon" [ 1 Samuel 5:2], and set up the image of Antiochus to be adored in the temple of the Lord? And while they try to add to faith by natural reason more than they ought, do they not render it in a certain way useless and empty since "faith does not have merit for one to whom human reason furnishes proof?" * Finally, nature believes what is understood, but faith by its freely given power comprehends what is believed by the intelligence, and bold and daring it penetrates where natural intellect is not able to reach. Will such followers of the things of nature, in whose eyes grace seems to be proscribed, say that "the Word which was in the beginning with God, was made flesh, and dwelt in us" [John 1] is of grace or of nature? As for the rest, God forbid that a "most beautiful woman" [ Song. 5:9], with "eyes painted with stiblic" [ 2 Kings 9:30] by presumers, be adorned with false colors, and that she who "girded with clothes" [ Ps. 44:10] and "adorned with jewels" [ Is. 61:10 ] proceeds splendid as a queen, be clothed with stitched semi-girdles of philosophers, sordid apparel. God forbid that "cows ill favored" and consumed with leanness, which "give no mark of being full would devour the beautiful" [Gen. 41:18 ff.] and consume the fat.

443 Therefore, lest a rash and perverse dogma of this kind "as a canker spreads" [ 2 Tim. 2:17], and infects many and makes it necessary that "Rachel bewail her lost sons" [Jer. 31:15], we order and strictly command by the authority of those present that, entirely forsaking the poison mentioned above, without the leaven of worldly knowledge, that you teach theological purity, not "adulterating the word of God" [2 Cor. 2:17] by the creations of philosophers, lest around the altar of God you seem to wish to plant a grove contrary to the teaching of the Lord, and by a commingling of honey to cause the sacrifice of doctrine to ferment which is to be presented "with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" [ 1 Cor. 5:8]. But content with the terminology established by the Fathers, you should feed the minds of your listeners with the fruit of heavenly words, so that after the leaves of the words have been removed, "they may draw from the fountains of the Savior" [ Is. 12:3 ]; the clear and limpid waters which tend principally to this, that they may build up faith or fashion morals, and refreshed by these they may be delighted with internal richness. *


Condemnation of Various Heretics *

[From the form of anathema published Aug. 20, I229 MI


444 "We excommunicate and anathematize... all heretics": the Cathari, the Patareni, the Pauperes of Lyons, the Passagini, the Josephini, the Arnoldistac, the Speronistae, and others, "by whatever names they may be known; having different faces indeed, but "tails coupled to each other" [ Judg. 15:4 ], because from vanity they come together at the same point." *

The Matter and Form of Ordination *

[From the letter to Olaus, Bishop of Lyons, Dec. 9, 1232]

445 When a priest and deacon are ordained, they receive the imposition of a hand by corporal touch, by the rite introduced by the Apostles; and if this shall be omitted, it must not be partially repeated, but at an established time for conferring orders of this kind, what through error was omitted must be carefully supplied. Moreover, the suspension of hands over the head must be made, when the prayer of ordination is uttered over the head.


The Invalidity of Marriage Subject to Conditions *

[From fragments of the Decrees n. 104, about the years 1227-1234]

446 If conditions contrary to the nature of marriage are inserted, for example, if one says to the other: "I contract marriage with you, if you avoid the generation of children," or "until I find another more worthy by reason of reputation or riches," or, "if you surrender yourself to adultery for money," the marriage contract, however favorable it may be, is lacking in effect; although some conditions appended in matrimony, if they are disgraceful or impossible, because of its esteem, are to be considered as not added.


The Matter of Baptism *

[From the letter "Cum, sicut ex" to Sigurd, Archbishop

of Nidaros, * July 8, 1241]

447  Since as we have learned from your report, it sometimes happens because of the scarcity of water, that infants of your lands are baptized in beer, we reply to you in the tenor of those present that, since according to evangelical doctrine it is necessary "to be reborn from water and the Holy Spirit" [ John 3:5] they are not to be considered rightly baptized who are baptized in beer.

Usury *

[From a letter to brother R. in fragments of Decree

n. 69, of uncertain date]


448  He who loans a sum of money to one sailing or going to market, since he has assumed upon himself a risk, is [not] to be considered a usurer who will receive something beyond his lot. He also who gives ten solidi, so that at another time just as many measures of grain, wine, and oil may be payed back to him, and although these are worth more at the present time, it is probably doubtful whether at the time of payment they will be worth more or less, for this reason should not be considered a usurer. By reason of this doubt he also is excused, who sells clothing, grain, wine, oil, or other wares so that at a set time he receives for them more than they are worth at that time, if, however, he had not intended so to sell them at the time of the contract.



INNOCENT IV 1243-1254


Ecumenical XIII (against Frederick II)

He did not send out dogmatic decrees.

The Rites of the Greeks *

[From the letter "Sub Catholicae" to the Bishop of

Tusculum, of the Legation of the Apostolic

See among the Greeks, March 6, 1254]

449 1. And so concerning these matters our deliberation has resulted thus, that Greeks of the same kingdom in the anointings, which are made with respect to baptism, should hold to and observe the custom of the Roman Church.--2. But the rite or custom which they are said to have, of anointing completely the bodies of those to be baptized may be tolerated, if it cannot be given up or be removed without scandal, since, whether or not it be done, it makes no great difference with regard to the efficacy or effect of baptism.--3. Also it makes no difference whether they baptize in cold or in hot water, since they are said to affirm that baptism has equal power and effect in each.

450 4. Moreover, let bishops alone mark the baptized on the forehead with chrism, because this anointing is not to be given except by bishops, since the apostles alone, whose places the bishops take, are read to have imparted the Holy Spirit by the imposition of the hand, which confirmation, or the anointing of the forehead represents.--5. Also all bishops individually in their own churches on the day of the Lord's Supper can, according to the form of the Church, prepare chrism from balsam and olive oil. For the gift of the Holy Spirit is given in the anointing with chrism. And particularly the dove, which signifies the Spirit Himself, is read to have brought the olive branch to the ark. But if the Greeks should wish rather to preserve their own ancient rite in this, namely, that the patriarch together with the archbishops and bishops, his suffragans and the archbishops with their suffragans, prepare chrism at the same time, let them be tolerated in such a custom of theirs.

451 6. Moreover no one may merely be anointed with some unction by priests or confessors for satisfaction of penance--7. But upon the sick according to the word of James the Apostle [ Jas. 5:4] let extreme unction be conferred.

452 8. Furthermore in the application of water, whether cold or hot or tepid, in the sacrifice of the altar, let the Greeks follow their own custom if they wish, as long as they believe and declare that, when the form of the canon has been preserved, it is accomplished equally by each (kind of water).--9. But let them not preserve the Eucharist consecrated on the day of the Lord's Supper for a year on the pretext of the sick, that with it they may obviously communicate themselves. It may be permitted them, however, in behalf of the sick themselves, to consecrate the body of Christ and to preserve it for fifteen days, but not for a longer period of time, lest through its long preservation, perchance by a change in the species, it be rendered less suitable to receive, although the truth and its efficacy always remain entirely the same, and never by any length of time or the mutability of time do they grow weak.--10. But in the celebration of solemn and other Masses, and concerning the hour of celebrating these, as long as in the preparation and in the consecration they observe the form of words expressed and handed down by the Lord, and (as long as) in celebrating they do not pass the ninth hour, let them be permitted to follow their own custom.

453  18. Moreover concerning fornication which an unmarried man commits with an unmarried woman, there must not be any doubt at all that it is a mortal sin, since the Apostle declares that "fornicators as adulterers are cast out from the kingdom of God" [ 1 Cor. 6:9].

454  19. In addition to this we wish and we expressly command that the Greek bishops in the future confer the seven orders according to the custom of the Roman Church, since they are said to have neglected or to have hitherto omitted three of the minor ones with respect to those to be ordained. But let those who already have been so ordained by them, because of their exceedingly great number, be kept in the orders thus received.

455  20. Because according to the Apostle "a woman if her husband is dead is freed from the law of her husband" so "that she has the free power of marrying whom she will in the Lord" [cf. Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:39], let the Greeks in no measure reprehend second or third or even later marriages; nor should they condemn but rather approve them between persons who otherwise can licitly be united to one another in marriage. Priests, however, should not by any means bless those who marry a second time.

456  23. Finally, since Truth in the Gospel asserts that "if anyone shall utter blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, neither in this life nor in the future will it be forgiven him" [cf. Matt. 12:32], by this it is granted that certain sins of the present be understood which, however, are forgiven in the future life, and since the Apostle says that "fire will test the work of each one, of what kind it is," and " if any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire" [ 1 Cor 3:13,15], and since these same Greeks truly and undoubtedly are said to believe and to affirm that the souls of those who after a penance has been received yet not performed, or who, without mortal sin yet die with venial and slight sin, can be cleansed after death and can be helped by the suffrages of the Church, we, since they say a place of purgation of this kind has not been indicated to them with a certain and proper name by their teachers, we indeed, calling it purgatory according to the traditions and authority of the Holy Fathers, wish that in the future it be called by that name in their area. For in that transitory fire certainly sins, though not criminal or capital, which before have not been remitted through penance but were small and minor sins, are cleansed, and these weigh heavily even after death, if they have been forgiven in this life.

457 24. Moreover, if anyone without repentance dies in mortal sin, without a doubt he is tortured forever by the flames of eternal hell.--25. But the souls of children after the cleansing of baptism, and of adults also who depart in charity and who are bound neither by sin nor unto any satisfaction for sin itself, at once pass quickly to their eternal fatherland.

ALEXANDER IV 1254-1261

Errors of William of St.. Amour (concerning Mendicants) *

[From Constit. "Romanus Pontifex," October 5, 1256]

458 They have published, I say, and they have rushed forth into wicked falsehoods out of an excessive passion of soul, rashly composing an exceedingly pernicious and detestable treatise. After this treatise was carefully read, and opportunely and rigidly examined, and a complete report concerning it was made to us by these, because in it (there are) some perverse and wicked things: against the power and authority of the Roman Pontiff and of his bishops; some against those who overcome the world with its riches by voluntary indigence, and for the sake of God beg in very strict poverty; others even against those who, ardently zealous for the salvation of souls and caring for sacred interests, bring about much spiritual progress in the Church of God and make much fruit there;

459 moreover, certain statements against the salutary state of the poor or religious mendicants, as are the beloved sons, the Brother Preachers and Minor, who in the vigor of spirit after abandoning the world with its riches, aspire to their heavenly fatherland alone with all effort; and because also we find many other disagreements, certainly worthy of confutation and lasting confusion clearly contained; and because, too, this same treatise was a festering center of great scandal and matter of much disturbance, and induced a loss of souls, since it distracted the faithful from ordinary devotion and the customary giving of alms and from conversion and entrance into religion,

 We by the advice of our Brethren, by Apostolic authority have thought that this same book which begins thus: "Behold seeing they will cry from abroad," and which according to its title is called "a brief tract concerning the dangers of most recent times" as something wicked, criminal, and detestable, and the rules and documents handed down in it as wicked, false, and impious, must be rejected, and must be condemned forever, and we rigidly command that whoever has that treatise will take care to burn it and entirely destroy it immediately in whole and in any of its parts within eight days from the time at which he shall know of such a rejection and condemnation of ours.

URBAN IV 1261-1264  CLEMENT IV 1265-1268

GREGORY X 1271-1276


Ecumenical XIV (concerning the union of the Greeks)

Declaration Concerning the Procession of the Holy Spirit *

[The Most Exalted Trinity and the Catholic Faith]

460 In faithful and devout profession we declare that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two beginnings, but from one beginning, not from two breathings but from one breathing. The most holy Roman Church, the mother and teacher of all the faithful, has up to this time professed, preached, and taught this; this she firmly holds, preaches, declares, and teaches; the unchangeable and true opinion of the orthodox Fathers and Doctors, Latin as well as Greek, holds this. But because some through ignorance of the irresistible aforesaid truth have slipped into various errors, we in our desire to close the way to errors of this kind, with the approval of the sacred Council, condemn and reject (those) who presume to deny that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son; as well as (those) who with rash boldness presume to declare that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from two beginnings, and not as from one.

Profession of Faith of Michael Palaeologus *

461 We believe that the Holy Trinity, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is one God omnipotent and entire Deity in the Trinity, coessential and consubstantial, coeternal and co-omnipotent, of one will, power, and majesty, the creator of all creatures, from whom are all things, in whom are all things, through whom all things which are in the heavens and on the earth, visible, invisible, corporal, and spiritual. We believe that each individual Person in the Trinity is one true God, complete and perfect.

462  We believe that the same Son of God, the Word of God, is eternally born from the Father, consubstantial, co-omnipotent, and equal through all things to the Father in divinity, temporally born from the Holy Spirit and Mary ever Virgin with a rational soul; having two births, one eternal birth from the Father, the other temporal from the mother; true God and true man, proper and perfect in each nature, not adopted nor phantastic, but the one and only Son of God, in two and from two natures, that is divine and human, in the singleness of one person impassible and immortal in divinity, but in humanity for us and for our salvation having suffered in the true passion of the flesh, died, and was buried, descended to hell, and on the third day arose again from the dead in the true resurrection of the flesh, on the fortieth day after the resurrection with the flesh in which He arose and with His soul ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father, whence

463 He will come to judge the living and the dead, and will return to each one according to his works whether they were good or evil. We believe also that the Holy Spirit is complete and perfect and true God, proceeding from the Father and the Son, coequal and consubstantial, co-omnipotent, and coeternal through all things with the Father and the Son. We believe that this holy Trinity is not three Gods but one God, omnipotent, eternal, invisible, and unchangeable.

Variant Readings

464  We believe that the true Church is holy, Catholic, apostolic, and one, in which is given one holy baptism and true remission of all sins. We believe also in the true resurrection of this flesh, which now we bear, and in eternal life. We believe also that the one author of the New and the Old Testament, of the Law, and of the Prophets and the Apostles is the omnipotent God and Lord. This is the true Catholic Faith, and this in the above mentioned articles the most holy Roman Church holds and teaches. But because of diverse errors introduced by some through ignorance and by others from evil, it (the Church) says and teaches that those who after baptism slip into sin must not be rebaptized, but by true penance attain forgiveness of their sins. Because if they die truly repentant in charity before they have made satisfaction by worthy fruits of penance for (sins) committed and omitted, their souls are cleansed after death by purgatorical or purifying punishments, as Brother John * has explained to us. And to relieve punishments of this kind, the offerings of the living faithful are of advantage to these, namely, the sacrifices of Masses, prayers, alms, and other duties of piety, which have customarily been performed by the faithful for the other faithful according to the regulations of the Church. However, the souls of those who after having received holy baptism have incurred no stain of sin whatever, also those souls who, after contracting the stain of sin, either while remaining in their bodies or being divested of them, have been cleansed, as we have said above, are received immediately into heaven. The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, yet to be punished with different punishments. The same most holy Roman Church firmly believes and firmly declares that nevertheless on the day of judgment "all" men will be brought together with their bodies "before the tribunal of Christ" "to render an account" of their own deeds [Rom. 14:10 ].

465 The same holy Roman Church also holds and teaches that the ecclesiastical sacraments are seven: namely, one is baptism, concerning which we have spoken above; another is the sacrament of confirmation which the bishops confer through the imposition of hands when anointing the reborn; another is penance; another the Eucharist; another the sacrament of orders; another is matrimony; another extreme unction, which according to the doctrine of St. James is given to the sick. The same Roman Church prepares the sacrament of the Eucharist from unleavened bread, holding and teaching that in the same sacrament the bread is changed into the body, and the wine into the blood of Jesus Christ. But concerning matrimony it holds that neither one man is permitted to have many wives nor one woman many husbands at the same time. But she (the Church) says that second and * third marriages successively are permissible for one freed from a legitimate marriage through the death of the other party, if another canonical impediment for some reason is not an obstacle.

466  Also this same holy Roman Church holds the highest and complete primacy and spiritual power over the universal Catholic Church which she truly and humbly recognizes herself to have received with fullness of power from the Lord Himself in Blessed Peter, the chief or head of the Apostles whose successor is the Roman Pontiff. And just as to defend the truth of Faith she is held before all other things, so if any questions shall arise regarding faith they ought to be defined by her judgment. And to her anyone burdened with affairs pertaining to the ecclesiastical world can appeal; and in all cases looking forward to an ecclesiastical examination, recourse can be had to her judgment, and all churches are subject to her; their prelates give obedience and reverence to her. In her, moreover, such a plentitude of power rests that she receives the other churches to a share of her solicitude, of which many patriarchal churches the same Roman Church has honored in a special way by different privileges-its own prerogative always being observed and preserved both in general Councils and in other places.

  INNOCENT V 1276  MARTIN IV 1281-1285

  HADRIAN V 1276  HONORIUS IV 1285-1287

  JOHN XXI 1276-1277  NICHOLAS IV 1288-1292

  NICHOLAS III 1277-1280  ST. CELESTINE V 1294-(l295)


Indulgences *

[From the jubilee Bull "Antiquorum habet" Feb. 22, 1300]

467 A faithful report of the ancients holds that to those approaching the honorable Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles are granted great remissions of sins and indulgences. We..... confirm and by apostolic authority approve all such remissions and indulgences, holding them all and individually valid and pleasing . . . .

The Unity and Power of the Church *

[From the Bull "Unam Sanctam" November 18, 1302]

468 With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this (Church) outside which there is no salvation nor remission of sin, the Spouse in the Canticle proclaiming: "One is my dove, my perfect one. One she is of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her" [ Song. 6:8]; which represents the one mystical body whose head is Christ, of Christ indeed, as God. And in this, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" [Eph. 4:5]. Certainly Noah had one ark at the time of the flood, prefiguring one Church which perfect on one cubit had one ruler and guide, namely Noah outside which we read all living things on the earth were destroyed. Moreover this we venerate and this alone, the Lord in the prophet saying: "Deliver, 0 God, my soul from the sword; my only one from the hand of the dog" [ Ps. 21:21]. For in behalf of the soul, that is, in behalf of himself, the head itself and the body he prayed at the same time, which body he called the "Only one" namely, the Church, because of the unity of the spouse, the faith, the sacraments, and the charity of the Church. This is that "seamless tunic" of the Lord [ John 19:23], which was not cut, but came forth by chance. Therefore, of the one and only Church (there is) one body, one head, not two heads as a monster, namely, Christ and Peter, the Vicar of Christ and the successor of Peter, the Lord Himself saying to Peter: "Feed my sheep" [ John 21:17]. He said "My," and generally, not individually these or those, through which it is understood that He entrusted all to him. If, therefore, the Greeks or others say that they were not entrusted to Peter and his successors, of necessity let them confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ, since the Lord says in John, "to be one flock and one Shepherd" [John 10:16].

469 And we are taught by evangelical words that in this power of his are two swords, namely spiritual and temporal. . . . Therefore, each is in the power of the Church, that is, a spiritual and a material sword. But the latter, indeed, must be exercised for the Church, the former by the Church. The former (by the hand) of the priest, the latter by the hand of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest. For it is necessary that a sword be under a sword and that temporal authority be subject to spiritual power. . . . It is necessary that we confess the more clearly that spiritual power precedes any earthly power both in dignity and nobility, as spiritual matters themselves excel the temporal. . . . For, as truth testifies, spiritual power has to establish earthly power, and to judge if it was not good. . . . Therefore, if earthly power deviates, it will be judged by spiritual power; but if a lesser spiritual deviates, by its superior; but if the supreme (spiritual power deviates), it can be judged by God alone, not by man, as the Apostle testifies: "The spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is judged by no one" [1 Cor. 2:15]. But this authority, although it is given to man and is exercised by man, is not human, but rather divine, and has been given by the divine Word to Peter himself and to his successors in him, whom the Lord acknowledged an established rock, when he said to Peter himself: "Whatsoever you shall bind" etc. [ Matt. 16:19]. Therefore, "whosoever resists this power so ordained by God, resists the order of God" [cf.Rom. 13:2], unless as a Manichaean he imagines that there are two beginnings, which we judge false and heretical, because, as Moses testifies, not "in the beginnings" but "in the beginning God created the heaven and earth" [cf. Gen. 1:1]. Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.

BENEDICT XI 1303-1304

The Repeated Confession of Sins *

[From the order "Inter cunctas sollicitudines" Feb. 17, 1304]

470 . . . Although . . . it is not necessary to confess the same sins a second time, nevertheless, because of the shame which is a large part of repentance, we consider it of benefit to repeat the confession of the same sins, we strongly enjoin the Brothers [Preachers and Minors] carefully to advise those confessing, and in their sermons exhort that they confess to their own priests at least once in a year, declaring that without doubt this pertains to the advancement of souls.

CLEMENT V 1305-1314


Ecumenical XV (abolition of the Templars)

The Errors of the Beghards and the Beguines (the State

of Perfection) *

471 1. That man in the present life can acquire so great and such a degree of perfection that he will be rendered inwardly sinless, and that he will not be able to advance farther in grace; for, as they say, if anyone could always advance, he could become more perfect than Christ.

472  2. That it is not necessary for man to fast or to pray, after he has attained a degree of such perfection; because then his sensuality is so perfectly subject to the spirit and to reason that man can freely grant to the body whatever it pleases.

473  3. That those who are in the aforementioned degree of perfection and in that spirit of liberty are not subject to human obedience, nor are they bound to any precepts of the Church, because (as they assert) "where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [2 Cor. 3:17].

474  4. That man can so attain final beatitude according to every degree of perfection in the present life, as he will obtain it in the blessed life.

475 5. That any intellectual nature in its own self is naturally blessed, and that the soul does not need the light of glory raising it to see God and to enjoy Him beatifically.

476 6. That it is characteristic of the imperfect man to exercise himself in acts of virtue, and the perfect soul gives off virtues by itself.

477 7. That a woman's kiss, since nature does not incline to this, is a mortal sin; but the carnal act, since nature inclines to this, is not a sin, especially when the one exercising it is tempted.

478 8. That in the elevation of the body of Jesus Christ they ought not to arise nor to show reverence to it, declaring that it would be characteristic of the imperfection in them, if from the purity and depth of their contemplations they should descend to such a degree as to think about other things regarding the minister [other text, mystery] or the sacrament of the Eucharist or the passion of the humanity of Christ.

 A judgment: We with the approval of the Sacred Council condemn and disapprove completely that sect together with its past errors, restraining more strictly lest anyone in the future hold, approve, or defend them.

Usury *

[From the edict "Ex gravi ad nos"]

479 If anyone shall fall into that error, so that he obstinately presumes to declare that it is not a sin to exercise usury, we decree that he must be punished as a heretic.

The Errors of Peter John Olivi (The Wounds of Christ,

the Union of the Soul and Body,. and Baptism *)

[From the edict "De Summa Trinitate et fide catholica"]


480 (The incarnation). Clinging firmly to the "foundation" of the Catholic faith "against which," as the Apostle testifies "no one is able to place anything different" [cf. 1 Cor. 3:11], we openly acknowledge with holy mother Church that the only begotten Son of God in all these things in which God the Father is, existing eternally together with the Father, parts of our nature as well as unity, from which He Himself existing as true God in Himself became true man, namely, a human body capable of suffering and an intellective or rational soul, forming the body by Himself and essentially, assumed it temporarily in the Virginal womb unto the unity of its substance and person. And that the same Word of God in this assumed nature, for working out the salvation of all, wished not only to be fastened to the Cross and to die on it, but also, after His Spirit had been given up, permitted His side to be pierced with a lance, that in the streams of water and blood which flowed from it there might be formed the one and only immaculate virgin, holy Mother Church, the Spouse of Christ, just as from the side of the first man asleep Eve was formed into a marriage with him, that so truth should respond to a certain figure of the first and ancient Adam "who," according to the Apostle, "is formed for the future" [cf.Rom. 5:14], in our new Adam, that, is, Christ. That is, I say, the truth, made strong by the testimony of that very great eagle which the prophet Ezechiel saw flying around the other evangelical animals, namely of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, who narrating in his Gospel the condition and order of this sacrament said: "But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it has given testimony and his testimony is true. And he knows that he speaks the truth, that you [also] may believe" [John 19:33-35]. We, therefore, turning our attention to such remarkable testimony and to the common opinion of apostolic reflection of the Holy Fathers and the Doctors in accord with which alone it is proper to declare these things, with the approval of the sacred council we declare that the above mentioned Apostle and Evangelist John had kept the right order of the deed accomplished in the aforesaid, when he said that Christ "already dead, one of the soldiers opened His side with a lance."

481 [The soul as a form of the body]. Furthermore, with the approval of the above mentioned sacred council we reprove as erroneous and inimical to the Catholic faith every doctrine or position rashly asserting or turning to doubt that the substance of the rational or intellective soul truly and in itself is not a form of the human body, defining, so that the truth of sincere faith may be known to all, and the approach to all errors may be cut off, lest they steal in upon us, that whoever shall obstinately presume in turn to assert, define, or hold that the rational or intellective soul is not the form of the human body in itself and essentially must be regarded as a heretic.

482 Besides, one baptism which regenerates all who are baptized in Christ must be faithfully confessed by all just as "one God and one faith" [Eph. 4:5], which celebrated in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit we believe to be commonly the perfect remedy for salvation for adults as for children.

483 But because certain theological doctors are found to have contrary opinions as to how great the effect of baptism (is) in the case of children, certain of these saying that through the power of baptism indeed sin is remitted to children, but grace is not conferred, others asserting on the contrary that sin is remitted for them in baptism and virtues and forming grace are infused as a habit [see n. 410], although not for them at the time as a function, we, however, considering the general efficacy of the death of Christ, which through baptism is applied equally to all the baptized, with the approval of the sacred council, consider the second opinion to be preferred, which says that forming grace and virtue are conferred on children as on adults, as more probable, more consonant and more in agreement with the words of the saints and the modern doctors of theology.

JOHN XXII 1316-1334

The Errors of the Fraticelli (the Church and the Sacraments) *

[Condemned in the law "Gloriosam Ecclesiarn," January 23, 1318]

484 As a report worthy of faith holds, the sons of the above mentioned rashness and impiety have been driven to this weakness of mind, that they think impiously in opposition to the most renowned and salutary truth of the Christian faith; they contemn the sacraments of the Church which should be venerated, and in an attack of blind fury they who should be crushed by it, press against the glorious primacy of the Roman Church, saying that it ought to be overthrown by all nations.

485 (1) Thus, the first error which breaks forth from their dark workshop invents two churches, the one carnal, packed with riches, overflowing with riches [others, luxuries], stained with crimes which they declare the Roman prefect and other inferior prelates dominate; the other spiritual, cleansed by frugality, beautiful in virtue, bound by poverty, in which they only and their companions are held, and which they, because of the merit of their spiritual life, if any faith should be applied to lies, rule.

486 (2) The second error, by which the conscience of the above mentioned insolent is stained, cries out that the venerable priests of the Church and other ministers of jurisdiction and order' are so devoid of authority that they cannot pass sentences, nor perform the sacraments nor instruct nor teach the subject people, imagining that these have been deprived of all ecclesiastical power, whom they see are free of their own heresy; because only in themselves (as they themselves vainly think), just as the sanctity of a spiritual life, so authority remains; and in this matter they are following the error of the Donatists. . . .

487 (3) The third error of these men conspires with the error of the Waldensians, since both declare that an oath was to be taken in no case, propounding that who happen to be bound by the sacredness of an oath are defiled by the contagion of mortal sin and are bound by punishment.

488  (4) The fourth blasphemy of such wicked men, breaking forth from the poisoned fount of the Waldensian teachings pretends that priests rightly and even legitimately ordained according to the form of the Church, yet weighed down by any sins cannot consecrate or confer the ecclesiastical sacraments. . . .

489  (5) The fifth error so blinds the minds of these that they declare that the Gospel of Christ has been fulfilled in them alone at this time, because up to now (as they foolishly think) it has been concealed or indeed entirely extinct. . . .

490 There are many other things which these very presumptuous men are said to babble against the venerable sacrament of matrimony; many things which they foolishly believe concerning the course of time and the end of time; many things which they propagate with lamentable vanity concerning the coming of the Antichrist which they declare even now to be close at hand. All these things, because we recognize them as partly heretical, partly senseless, partly fabulous, we decree must be condemned together with their authors rather than pursued or refuted with a pen. . . .


The Errors of John of Pouilly ("Confession and the Church") *

[Examined and condemned in the edict "Vas electionis," July 21, 1321]


491  (1). That they who have confessed to brothers having the general permission of hearing confessions are bound to confess again those same sins which have been confessed, to their own priest.

492 (2). That under the existing law "everyone of each sex" published in the General Council [Later. IV. see n. 437] the Roman Pontiff cannot bring it about that parishioners be not bound to confess all their sins once a year to their own priest, who, it says, is the parish curate; indeed neither could God do this, because, as it says, this involves contradiction.

493  (3). That the Pope cannot give the general power of hearing confessions, indeed neither can God, without the one who has confessed to one having general power being bound to confess these same sins again to his own priest, who, it says, as we have already indicated, is the parish curate. . . .

 All the above mentioned articles and each one of them we, by apostolic authority, condemn and reprove as false and erroneous and deviating from sound authority . . . . declaring that the true and Catholic doctrine is contrary to them.

Hell and Limbo(?)*

[From the letter "Nequaquam sine dolore" to the Armenians,

Nov. 21, 1321]

493a It (The Roman Church) teaches. . . . . that the souls . . . . . of those who die in mortal sin, or with only original sin descend immediately into hell; however, to be punished with different penalties and in different places.

The Poverty of Christ*

[From the edict "Cum inter nonnullos," Nov. 13, 1323]

494 Since among some learned men it often happens that doubt is again raised as to whether should be branded as heretical to affirm persistently that our Redeemer and Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles did not possess anything either in particular or even in common, even though there are different and adverse opinions on that question, we, in a desire to put an end to this controversy, declare on the advice of our brethren by this perpetual edict that a persistent assertion of this kind shall henceforth be branded as erroneous and heretical, since it expressly contradicts Sacred Scripture, which in many passages asserts that they did have some possessions; and since with regard to the aforementioned it openly submits that Sacred Scripture itself, by which surely the articles of orthodox faith are approved, contains a ferment of falsehood and consequently, in so far as in it lies, completely voiding the faith of Scripture it renders the Catholic faith, by destroying its approval, doubtful and uncertain. Moreover, in the future to affirm persistently that the right to use these same possessions which Sacred Scripture testifies that they had was by no means appropriate to our aforesaid Redeemer and His apostles, and that they did not have the right to sell or to donate them or to acquire others by means of them, which, nevertheless, Sacred Scripture testifies that they did according to the aforesaid or submits expressly that they could have done, since such an assertion evidently includes use and deeds on their part, in the aforesaid, it is not just; since surely it is wicked, contrary to Sacred Scripture, and to Catholic doctrine about the use, actions, or deeds on the part of our Redeemer, the Son of God, we declare on the advice of our brethren that the persistent assertion shall henceforth be worthily branded as erroneous and heretical.


Errors of Marsilius of Padua and John of Jandun

(The Constitution of the Church) *

[Examined and condemned in the edict "Licet iuxta doctrinam" Oct. 23, 1327]

495 (1) That what we read about Christ in the Gospel of St. Matthew, that He Himself paid tribute to Caesar, when He ordered the stater which had been taken from the mouth of the fish [cf.Matt. 17:26] to be given to those who sought a drachma, He did this not with condescension out of liberality or piety, but forced by necessity.

 [ Thence according to the Bull they concluded ]:

 That all temporal affairs of the Church are subject to the emperor and he can accept these things as his own.

496 (2) That blessed Peter the Apostle had no more authority than the other Apostles had nor was he the head of the other apostles. Likewise that God did not send forth any head of the Church, nor did He make anyone His vicar.

497  (3) That it pertains to the emperor to correct, to appoint, to depose, and to punish the pope.

498 (4) That all priests, whether the pope or archbishop or a simple priest, are by the institution of Christ equal in authority and jurisdiction. (5) That the whole Church joined together can punish no man by 499 forced punishment, unless the emperor permits this.

500 We declare by sentence the above mentioned articles..... to be contrary to Sacred Scripture and enemies of the Catholic faith, heretics, or heretical and erroneous,and also that the above mentioned Marsilius and John, will be heretics-rather they will be manifest and notorious archheretics.

Errors of Eckart (The Son of God, etc.) *

[Examined and condenined in the edict "In agro dominico," Mar. 27, 1329]

501 (1) And when asked why God did not create the world first, he answered that God was not able to create the world first, * because He cannot make things before He is; therefore, as soon as God was, He immediately created the world.

502  (2) Likewise it can be granted that the world existed from eternity.

503 (3) Likewise at the same time and once, when God was, when He begot the Son coeternal with Himself, through all things coequal God, He also created the world.

504 (4) Likewise in every work, even evil, evil I say, as of punishment and of sin, the glory of God is manifested and reflects equally.

505 (5) Likewise he who blames anyone, in the blame itself by the sin of blaming praises God, and the more he blames and the more gravely he sins, the more he praises God.

506 (6) Likewise anyone by blaspheming God Himself, praises God.

507  (7) Also he seeking anything here or there seeks evil and badly be cause he seeks the denial of good and the denial of God, and he prays God to be denied to him.

508 (8) In those men who do not seek after wealth, or honors, or utility, or interior devotion, or sanctity or reward, or the kingdom of heaven, but renounce all these things even that which is theirs, God is honored.

509  (9) Recently I have considered whether I would wish to receive or to wish for anything from God; I wish to deliberate exceedingly well about this, because when I was receiving from God, then I was under Him or below Him, as a servant or slave, and He [was] as a master in giving, and thus we ought not to be in eternal life.

510  (10) We are transformed entirely in God, and we are changed into Him; in a similar manner as in the sacrament the bread is changed into the body of Christ; so I am changed into Him because He Himself makes me to be one with Him, not like (to Him); through the living God it is true that there is no distinction there.

511  (11) Whatever God the Father gave to His only begotten Son in human nature, all this He has given to me; here I except nothing, neither union, nor sanctity, but He has given all to me as to Himself.

512  (12) Whatever Sacred Scripture says about Christ, all this also is verified with respect to every good and divine man.

513 (13) Whatever is proper to divine nature, all this is proper to the just and divine man; because of this that man operates whatever God operates, and together with God he created heaven and earth, and he is the generator of the eternal Word, and God without such a man does not know how to do anything.

514  (14) A good man ought so to conform his will to the divine will that he himself wishes whatever God wishes; because God wishes me to have sinned in some way, I would not wish that I had not committed sins, and this is true repentance.

515 (15) If man had committed a thousand mortal sins, if such a man were rightly disposed, he ought not to wish that he had not committed them.

516 (16) God properly does not prescribe an exterior act.

517   (17) An exterior act is not properly good or divine, neither does God properly operate it or produce it.

518 (18) We bring forth the fruit not of exterior actions which do not make us good, but of interior actions which the Father abiding in us does and operates.

519  (19) God loves souls, not works outside.

520  (20) A good man is the only begotten Son of God.

521  (21) A noble man is that only begotten Son of God whom the Father has begotten from eternity.

522  (22) The Father begot me His son and the same Son. Whatever God does, this is one; because of this He Himself begot me His Son without any distinction.

523 (23) God is one in all ways and according to every reason, so that in Himself He cannot find any multitude in intellect or outside intellect; for he who sees two, or sees a distinction, does not see God, for God is one beyond the above number, neither is He counted one [read: number I with anyone. It follows, therefore, that no distinction can exist or be understood in God Himself.

524 (24) Every distinction is foreign to God, either in nature or in person; it is proved that nature itself is one and this oneness, and any person is one and the oneness which is nature.

525 (25) When it is said: "Simon, do you love me more than these?" [John 21:15 f.], the sense is: That is, more than those and indeed well but not perfectly. For in thefirst and the second and more and less thereis both a degree and a rank; in oneness, however, there is no degree nor rank. Therefore, he who loves God more than his neighbor, (loves) indeed well but not yet perfectly.

526 (26) All creatures are one pure nothing; I do not say that they are something ordinary or anything, but that they are one pure nothing.

 In addition there is an objection against the above said Eckart, because he preached two other articles under these words:

527 (1) Something is in the soul which is uncreated and incapable of creation; if the entire soul were such, it would be uncreated and incapable of creation, and this is the intellect.

528 (2) That God is not good nor better nor best; so I speak badly whenever I call God good, as if I should call white black.

529 . . . We condemn and expressly disapprove the first fifteen articles and also the two last ones as "heretical," but the eleven others already mentioned as "evil-sounding, rash, and suspected of heresy," and no less any books or works of this Eckart containing the above mentioned articles or any one of them.

BENEDICT XII 1334-1342

The Beatific Vision of God and the Last Days *

[From the edict "Benedictus Deus," Jan. 29, 1336]

530 By this edict which will prevail forever, with apostolic authority we declare: that according to the common arrangement of God, souls of all the saints who departed from this world before the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ; also of the holy apostles, the martyrs, the confessors, virgins, and the other faithful who died after the holy baptism of Christ had been received by them, in whom nothing was to be purged, when they departed, nor will there be when they shall depart also in the future; or if then there was or there will be anything to be purged in these when after their death they have been purged; and the souls of children departing before the use of free will, reborn and baptized in that same baptism of Christ, when all have been baptized, immediately after their death and that aforesaid purgation in those who were in need of a purgation of this kind, even before the resumption of their bodies and the general judgment after the ascension of our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, into heaven, have been, are, and will be in heaven, in the kingdom of heaven and in celestial paradise with Christ, united in the company of the holy angels, and after the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ have seen and see the divine essence by intuitive vision, and even face to face, with no mediating creature, serving in the capacity of an object seen, but divine essence immediately revealing itself plainly, clearly, and openly, to them, and seeing thus they enjoy the same divine essence, and also that from such vision and enjoyment their souls, which now have departed, are truly blessed and they have eternal life and rest; and also [the souls] of those who afterwards will depart, will see that same divine essence, and will enjoy it before the general judgment; and that such vision of the divine essence and its enjoyment makes void the acts of faith and hope in them, inasmuch as faith and hope are proper theological virtues; and that after there has begun or will be such intuitive and face-to-face vision and enjoyment in these, the same vision and enjoyment without any interruption [intermission] or departure of the aforesaid vision and enjoyment exist continuously and will continue even up to the last judgment and from then even unto eternity.

531 Moreover, we declare that according to the common arrangement of God, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin immediately after their death descend to hell where they a-re tortured by infernal punishments, and that nevertheless on the day of judgment all men with their bodies will make themselves ready to render an account of their own deeds before the tribunal of Christ, "so that everyone may receive the proper things of the body according as he has done whether it be good or evil" [ 2 Cor. 5:10].


Errors of the Armenians *

[From the book "lam dudum" sent to the Armenians in the year 1341]

532 (4) Also that the Armenians say and hold that the personal sin of our first parents themselves was so serious that all of their children propagated from their seed up to the passion of Christ have been deservedly condemned for the aforesaid personal sin, and they have been thrust into hell after death, not because they themselves have contracted some original sin from Adam, since they say that children have no original sin at all, neither before the passion of Christ nor after, but that the aforementioned condemnation before the passion of Christ followed them by reason of the gravity of the personal sin which Adam and Eve committed by transgressing the divine precept which had been given to them; but after the passion of our Lord, by which the sin of our first parents was erased, the children who are born from the sons of Adam are not subject to this condemnation, nor are they to be thrust into hell by reason of the aforesaid sin, because Christ erased entirely the sin of our first parents in His passion.

533 (5) Also that a certain teacher of the Armenians called Mechitriz, which is interpreted the paraclete, has again introduced and taught that the human soul of the son is propagated from the soul of his father, as the body from his body; and also one angel from another, because since a human soul is rational and an angel is of intellectual nature, they are in a way spiritual lights, and from themselves they propagate other spiritual lights.

534 (6) Also the Armenians say that the souls of children who are born from Christian parents after the passion of Christ, if they die before they are baptized, go to a terrestial Paradise in which Adam was before sin; but the souls of children who are born after the passion of Christ from non-Christian parents and who die without baptism go to the place where the souls of their parents are.

535 (17) Also that the Armenians commonly believe and hold that in another world there is no purgation of souls, because, as they say, if a Christian confesses his sins, all his sins and the punishments of his sins are forgiven him. They do not even pray for the dead, that their sins may be forgiven them in another world, but in general they pray for all the dead, as for blessed Mary, the apostles. . . .

536 (18) Also that the Armenians believe and hold that Christ descended from heaven and became incarnate for the salvation of men, not on account of the fact that the sons propagated from Adam and Eve after their sin contracted from them original sin, from which through the incarnation and death of Christ they will be saved, since they say that no such sin exists in the sons of Adam; but they say that Christ for the salvation of man became incarnate and suffered, because through His passion the sons of Adam who preceded the aforesaid passion have been freed from hell in which they were, not because of original sin which was in them, but because of the gravity of the personal sin of our first parents. They also believe that Christ for the salvation of children who were born after His passion became incarnate and suffered, because by His passion He entirely destroyed hell. . . .

537 (19) In such a degree they (the Armenians) say that (the aforesaid) concupiscence of the flesh is a sin and evil, that even Christian parents when they lie together in marriage commit a sin . . . . because they say that the marriage act and even matrimony itself is a sin. . . .

538 (40) Some indeed say that bishops and priests of the Armenians do nothing toward the remission of sins either principally or ministerially, but God alone remits sins; neither bishops nor priests are employed to perform the aforesaid remission of sins, except that they have received the power of speaking from God, and so when they absolve they say: "May God forgive you your sins" or, "I forgive you your sins on earth and God forgives you in heaven."

539  (42) Also the Armenians hold and say that the passion of Christ alone, without any other gift of God, even grace, suffices for the remission of sins; they do not say that sanctifying grace is required for the granting of remission of sins, nor that in the sacraments of the new law sanctifying grace is given.

540   (48) Also the Armenians say and hold that, if the Armenians commit any crime whatsoever once, certain ones excepted, their church can absolve them, as far as the fault and the punishment of the aforesaid sins are concerned; but, if afterwards anyone should commit the aforesaid sins again, he could not be absolved by their church.

541 (49) Also they say that if any one . . . takes a third [wife] or a fourth, one after another, he cannot be absolved by their church, because they say that such a marriage is fornication. . . .

542 (58) Also the Armenians hold and say that for what is true baptism, these three things are required: namely water, chrism . . . and the Eucharist, so that if anyone should baptize another in water while saying: "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen" and afterwards he should not be anointed with the (aforesaid) chrism, he would not be baptized. . . .

543   (64) Also the Catholicon of lesser Armenia says that the sacrament of confirmation is of no value, and if it has any value he himself has given permission to his priests that they confer the same sacrament.

544  (67) Also that the Armenians do not say that, after the aforesaid words of the consecration of bread and wine are said, the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the true body and blood of Christ, which was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered, and arose again, is accomplished; but they hold that this sacrament is an example or likeness or figure of the true body and blood of the Lord . . . on account of which they do not call the sacrament of the Altar the body and blood of the Lord, but a victim or sacrifice or communion. . . .

545  (68) Also the Armenians say and hold that if an ordained priest or bishop commits fornication, even in secret, he loses the power of consecrating and of administering all the sacraments.

546 (70) Also the Armenians do not say nor hold that the sacrament of the Eucharist worthily received operates in him who receives remission of sin, or the relaxation of punishments due to sin, or that through it the grace of God or its increase is granted; but . . . the body of Christ enters into his body and is changed into him as other foods are changed in the one who has been fed. . . .

547 (92) Also that among the Armenians there are only three orders, namely the offices of acolyte, deacon, and priest, which orders the bishops confer after money has been promised or received. And in the same manner the aforesaid orders of the priesthood and diaconate are confirmed, that is, through the imposition of the hands, by saying certain words, with this change only, that in the ordination of the deacon the order of diaconate is expressed, and in the ordination of the priest the order of the priesthood. For no bishop among them can ordain another bishop except the Catholicon alone. . . .

548 (95) Also that the Catholicon of lesser Armenia gave power to a certain priest that he might be able to ordain to the diaconate those of his subjects whom he wished.

549 (109) Also that among the Armenians no one is punished for any error whatsoever which he may hold. . . . [117 numbers are extant].

CLEMENT VI 1342-1352

550  The Satisfaction of Christ, the Treasure of the Church,

Indulgences *

[From the Bull of jubilee, "Unigenitus Dei Filius," Jan. 25, 1343]

 The only begotten Son of God . . . "made unto us from God, wisdom, justice, sanctification and redemption" [1 Cor. 3], "neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by His own blood entered once into the holies having obtained eternal redemption" [Heb. 9:12]. "For not with corruptible things as gold or silver, but with the precious blood of His very (Son) as of a lamb unspotted and unstained He has redeemed us" [cf.1 Pet. 1:18-19], who innocent, immolated on the altar of the Cross is known to have poured out not a little drop of blood, which however on account of union with the Word would have been sufficient for the redemption of the whole human race, but copiously as a kind of flowing stream, so that "from the soles of His feet even to the top of His Head no soundness was found in Him" [ Is. 1:6]. Therefore, how great a treasure did the good Father acquire from this for the Church militant, so that the mercy of so great an effusion was not rendered useless, vain or superfluous, wishing to lay up treasures for His sons, so that thus the Church is an infinite treasure to men, so that they who use it, become the friends of God [ Wis. 7:14].

551 Indeed this treasure . . . through blessed Peter, the keeper of the keys of heaven and his successors, his vicars on earth, He has committed to be dispensed for the good of the faithful, both from proper and reasonable causes, now for the whole, now for partial remission of temporal punishment due to sins, in general as in particular (according as they know to be expedient with God), to be applied mercifully to those who truly repentant have confessed.

552 Indeed, to the mass of this treasure the merits of the Blessed Mother of God and of all the elect from the first just even to the last, are known to give their help; concerning the consumption or the diminution of this there should be no fear at any time, because of the infinite merits of Christ (as was mentioned before) as well as for the reason that the more are brought to justification by its application, the greater is the increase of the merits themselves.

Errors (philosophical) of Nicholas of Autrecourt *

[Condemned and publicly recalled by him in the year 1347]


553 1 . . . That through natural appearances no certainty, as it were, be had regarding things; yet that measure can be had in a short time, if men turn their intellect to things and not to the intellect of Aristotle and his commentator.

554  2 . . . That clearly from the above mentioned evidence from one matter another matter cannot be inferred or concluded, or from the nonexistence of one, the nonexistence of another.

555   3 . . . That the propositions: "God is" and "God is not" signify entirely the same thing, although in a different way.

556  9 . . .That the certainty of evidence does not have degrees.

557 10 . . . That we do not have from our soul the certainty of evidence concerning another material substance.

558  11 . . . That with the certainty of faith excepted there was not another certainty except the certainty of the first principle, or that which can be resolved into the first principle.

559 14 . . . That we do not know clearly that other things can be from God because of some effect--that some cause works efficiently which is not God--that some efficient cause is or can be natural.

560 15 . . . That we do not know clearly whether any effect is or can be produced naturally.

561 17 . . . That we do not know clearly that in any production the subject concurs.

562 21 . . . That in any demonstrated matter whatever no one knows clearly that in truth it surpasses all others in nobility.

563 22 . . . That in any demonstrated matter no one knows clearly that this thing is not God, if by God we understand the most noble substance.

564 25 . . . That one does not know clearly that in truth it can be reasonably conceded, "if any matter has been produced, God has been produced."

565 26 . . . That it cannot be shown clearly that in truth any matter at all is eternal.

566 30 . . . That these consequences are not clear: "An act of understanding exists; therefore intelligence exists. An act of willing exists, therefore will exists."

567 31 . . . That it cannot be shown clearly that in truth all things which are apparent are true.

568 32 . . .That God and the creature are not something.

569 40 . . .That whatever exists in the universe is better that, than not that.

570 53 . . .That this is the first principle and not another: "If something is, it is something."

The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff*

[From the letter "Super quibusdam" to the Consolator,

the Catholicon of the Armenians, Sept. 20, 1351]

570a 3 . . . We ask: In the first place, whether you and the Church of the Armenians which is obedient to you, believe that all those who in baptism have received the same Catholic faith, and afterwards have withdrawn and will withdraw in the future from the communion of this same Roman Church, which one alone is Catholic, are schismatic and heretical, if they remain obstinately separated from the faith of this Roman Church.

570b In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience of the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.

570c But in the second chapter . . . we ask:

 First, whether you have believed, believe, or are prepared to believe with the Church of the Armenians which is obedient to you, that blessed Peter received complete power of jurisdiction over all faithful Christians from our Lord Jesus Christ; and that every power of jurisdiction, which in certain lands and provinces and in different parts of the world especially and particularly Jude Thaddeus and the other Apostles had, was completely subject to the authority and power which blessed Peter received from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, over whomsoever are believers in Christ in all parts of the world, and that no apostle or any other one whosoever received that very complete power over all Christians except Peter alone.

570d In the second place, whether you have believed, have held, or are prepared to believe and to hold with the Armenians subject to you that all the Roman Pontiffs, who succeeding blessed Peter have entered canonically and will enter canonically, have succeeded blessed Peter the Roman Pontiff and will succeed in the same plentitude in the jurisdiction of power over the complete and universal body of the militant church which blessed Peter himself received from our Lord Jesus Christ.

570e In the third place, if you and the Armenians subject to you have believed and do believe that the Roman Pontiffs who have been and we who now are the Roman Pontiff and, those who in future will be successively as legitimate vicars of Christ and full of power in the highest degree, have received immediately from Christ Himself over the complete and universal body of the church militant, every jurisdiction of power which Christ as fitting head had in human life.

570f In the fourth place, if you have believed and now believe that all the Roman Pontiffs who have been and we who are, and others who will be in the future from the plentitude of past power and authority have been able, are able, and will be able directly by our own power and theirs both to judge all those subject to our jurisdiction and theirs, and to establish and delegate ecclesiastical judges to judge whomsoever we wish.

570g In the fifth place, if you have believed and now believe that to such an extent has been, is, and will be both pre-eminent authority together with juridical power of the Roman Pontiffs who have been, of us who are, and of those who in future will be, has been, is, and will be so extensive, that by no one have they been, can we be, or will they in the future be able to be judged; but they have been, we are, and they will be reserved for judgment by God alone; and that from our sentences and judgments it has not been possible nor will it be possible for an appeal to be made to any judges.

570h In the sixth place, if you have believed and still believe that the plentitude of the power of the Roman Pontiff extends so far that it is possible to transfer patriarchs, the Catholicon, the archbishops, bishops, abbots, and whatsoever other prelates from the offices in which they have been established to other offices of greater or lesser jurisdiction, or, as their sins demand, to demote, to depose, excommunicate, or to surrender them to Satan.

570i In the seventh place, if you have believed and still believe that the Pontifical authority cannot or ought not to be subject to any imperial or regal or other secular power, in so far as pertains to a judicial institution, to correction or to deposition.

570k In the eighth place, if you have believed and now believe that the Roman Pontiff alone is able to establish sacred general canons, to grant plenary indulgences to those who visit the thresholds of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, or to those who go to the Holy Land, or to any of the faithful who are truly and fully repentant and have confessed.

570l  In the ninth place, if you have believed and do believe that all who have raised themselves against the faith of the Roman Church and have died in final impenitence have been damned and have descended to the eternal punishments of hell.

570m In the tenth place, if you have believed and still believe that the Roman Pontiff regarding the administration of the sacraments of the Church, can tolerate and even permit different rites of the Church of Christ, in order that they may be saved, provided that those matters are always preserved which belong to the integrity and necessity of the sacraments.

570o In the eleventh place, if you have believed and now believe that the Armenians, who are obedient to the Roman Pontiff in different parts of the world and who observe studiously and with devotion the forms and rites of the Roman Church in the administration of the sacraments and in ecclesiastical duties, fasts, and other ceremonies do well, and by doing this merit eternal life.

570p In the twelfth place, if you have believed and now believe that no one can be transferred from episcopal offices to the archiepiscopal, patriarchal, or to the Catholicon by his own authority, nor even by the authority of any secular leader whomsoever, whether he be king or emperor, or any one also distinguished by any such power or earthly office.

570q In the thirteenth place if you have believed, and still believe that the Roman Pontiff alone, when doubts arise regarding the Catholic faith, through authentic decision can impose the limit to which all must inviolably adhere, and that whatever by the authority of the keys handed to him by Christ, he determines to be true is true and Catholic, and what he determines to be false and heretical, must be so regarded.

 In the fourteenth place, if you have believed and now believe that the New and Old Testaments in all their books, which the authority of the Roman Church has given to us, contain undoubted truth in all things.

P urgatory*

[From the same letter to Consolator]

570s  We ask if you have believed and now believe that there is a purgatory to which depart the souls of those dying in grace who have not yet made complete satisfaction for their sins. Also, if you have believed and now believe that they will be tortured by fire for a time and that as soon as they are cleansed, even before the day of judgment, they may come to the true and eternal beatitude which consists in the vision of God face to face and in love.

The Matter and Minister of Confirmation*

[From the same letter to Consolator]

571 (12) You have given responses which influence us to ask the following from you: first, concerning the consecration of chrism, whether you believe that the chrism can rightly and deservedly be consecrated by no priest who is not a bishop.

572 Second, whether you believe that the sacrament of confirmation cannot ordinarily be administered by any other than by the bishop by virtue of his office.

573   Third, whether you believe that by the Roman Pontiff alone, having a plentitude of power, the administration of the sacrament of confirmation can be granted to priests who are not bishops.

574 Fourth, whether you believe that those confirmed by any priests whatsoever, who are not bishops and who have not received from the Roman Pontiff any commission or concession regarding this, must be anointed again by a bishop or bishops.

The Errors of the Armenians

[From the same letter to Consolator]


574a (15) After all the above mentioned, we are forced to wonder strongly that in a certain letter, which begins, "To the honorable Fathers in Christ," you retract fourteen chapters from the first fifty-three chapters. First, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Third, that children contract original sin from their first parents. Sixth, that souls separated from their bodies, when entirely cleansed, clearly see God. Ninth, that the souls of those departing in mortal sin descend into hell. Twelfth, that baptism destroys original and actual sins. Thirteenth, that Christ did not destroy a lower hell by descending into hell. Fifteenth, that the angels were created good by God. Thirtieth, that the pouring out of the blood of animals works no remission of sins. Thirty-second, those who eat of fish and oil on the days of fasts, shall not judge. Thirty-ninth, that having been baptized in the Catholic Church, if they become unfaithful and afterwards are converted, they must not be baptized again. Fortieth, that children can be baptized before the eighth day and that baptism cannot be by any liquid other than pure water. Forty-second, that the body of Christ after the words of consecration is the same in number as the body born from the Virgin and immolated on the Cross. Forty-fifth, that no one even a saint can consecrate the body of Christ, unless he is a priest. Forty-sixth, that it is necessary for salvation to confess all mortal sins perfectly and distinctly to one's own priest or with his permission (to another priest).

INNOCENT VI 1352-1362

URBAN V 1362-1370

Errors of Dionysius Foullechat (Perfection and Poverty) *

[Condemned in the order "Ex suprernae clementiae dono," Dec. 23, 1368]

575 (1) This blessed, indeed most blessed and sweetest law, namely, the law of love, takes away all propriety and power,--false, erroneous, heretical.

576 (2) The actual renunciation of sincere will and temporal powers shows and produces the most perfect state of dominion orauthority-false, erroneous, heretical.

577 (3) That Christ did not renounce such possession and right in temporal things is not held according to the New Law, but rather the opposite false, erroneous, heretical.


GREGORY XI 1370-1378

Errors of Peter of Bonageta and of John of Lato

(The Most Holy Eucharist) *

[Examined and condemned by the Inquisitors according

to the mandate of the Pontiff]

578  (1) That if a consecrated host fall or is cast into a sewer, into mud, or some disgraceful place, that, while the species remain, the body of Christ ceases to be under them and the substance of bread returns.

579  (2) That if the consecrated host is gnawed by a mouse or is consumed by an animal, that, while the so-called species remains, the body of Christ ceases to be under them and the substance of bread returns.

580  (3) That if the consecrated host is consumed by a just man or by a sinner, that while the species is being crushed by the teeth, Christ is snatched up to heaven and He is not cast into the stomach of man.

URBAN VI 1378-1389  INNOCENT VII 1404-1406

BONIFACE IX 1389-1404 GREGORY XII 1406-1415

 MARTIN V 1417-1431


Ecumenical XVI (against Wycliffe, Hus, etc.)

SESSION VIII (May 4, 1415)

Errors of John Wycliffe *

[Condemned in Council and by the Bulls "Inter Cunctas"

and "In eminentis" Feb. 22, 1418]

581 1. In the sacrament of the altar the material substance of bread and likewise the material substance of wine remain.

582 2. In the same sacrament the accidents of the bread do not remain without a subject. The sacrament Christ is not identically and really with His

583 3. In the same sacrament Christ is not identically and really with His own bodily presence.

584 4. If a bishop or priest is living in mortal sin, he does not ordain, nor consecrate, nor perform, nor baptize.

585 5. it is not established in the Gospel that Christ arranged the Mass.

586 6. God ought to obey the devil.

587 7. If man is duly contrite, every exterior confession on his part is superfluous and useless.

588 8. If the pope is foreknown and evil, and consequently a member of the devil, he does not have power over the faithful given to him by anyone, unless perchance by Caesar.

589 9. After Urban VI no one should be received as pope, unless he live according to the customs of the Greeks under their laws.

590  10. It is contrary to Sacred Scripture that ecclesiastical men have possessions.

591 11. No prelate should excommunicate anyone, unless first he knows that he has been excommunicated by God; and he who so excommunicates becomes, as a result of this, a heretic or excommunicated.

592  12. A prelate excommunicating a cleric who has appealed to the king, or to a council of the kingdom, by that very act is a traitor of the king and the kingdom.

593 13. Those who cease to preach or to hear the word of God because of the excommunication of men, are themselves excommunicated, and in the judgment of God they will be considered traitors of Christ.

594 14. It is permissible for any deacon or priest to preach the word of God without the authority of the Apostolic See or a Catholic bishop.

595 15. No one is a civil master, no one a prelate, no one a bishop, as long as he is in mortal sin.

596 16. Temporal rulers can at their will take away temporal goods from the Church, when those who have possessions habitually offend, that is, offend by habit, not only by an act.

597 17. People can at their will correct masters who offend.

598 18. The tithes are pure alms and parishioners can take these away at will because of the sins of their prelates.

599 19. Special prayers applied to one person by prelates or religious are not of more benefit to that person than general (prayers), all other things being equal.

600 20. One bringing alms to the Brothers is excommunicated by that very thing.

601 21. If anyone enters any private religious community of any kind, of those having possessions or of the mendicants, he is rendered unfit and unsuited for the observance of the laws of God.

602 22. Saints, instituting private religious communities, have sinned by instituting them.

603 23. Religious living in private religious communities are not of the Christian religion.

604 24. Brothers are bound to acquire their food by the labor of hands and not by begging.

605 25. All are simoniacs who oblige themselves to pray for others who assist them in temporal matters.

606 26. The prayer for the foreknown is of avail to no one.

607 27. All things happen from absolute necessity.

608 28. The confirmation of youths, ordination of clerics, and consecration of places are reserved to the pope and bishops on account of their desire for temporal gain and honor.

609 29. Universities, studies, colleges, graduations, and offices instruction in the same have been introduced by a vain paganism; they are of as much value to the Church as the devil.

610 30. The excommunication of the pope or of any prelate whatsoever is not to be feared, because it is the censure of the Antichrist.

611 31. Those who found cloisters sin and those who enter (them) are diabolical men.

612 32. To enrich the clergy is contrary to the rule of Christ.

613 33. Sylvester, the Pope, and Constantine, the Emperor, erred in enriching the Church.

614 34. All of the order of mendicants are heretics, and those who give alms to them are excommunicated.

615 35. Those entering religion or any order, by that very fact are unsuited to observe divine precepts, and consequently to enter the kingdom of heaven, unless they apostatize from these.

616 36. The pope with all his clergy who have possessions are heretics, because they have possessions; and all in agreement with these, namely all secular masters and other laity.

617 37. The Roman Church is a synagogue of Satan, and the pope is not the next and immediate vicar of Christ and His apostles.

618 38. The decretal letters are apocryphal and they seduce from the faith of Christ, and the clergy who study them are foolish.

619 39. The emperor and secular masters have been seduced by the devil to enrich the Church with temporal goods.

620 40. The election of the pope by cardinals was introduced by the devil.

621 41. It is not necessary for salvation to believe that the Roman Church is supreme among other churches.

622 42. It is foolish to believe in the indulgences of the pope and bishops.

623 43. Oaths are illicit which are made to corroborate human contracts and civil commerce.

624  44. Augustine, Benedict, and Bernard have been damned, unless they repented about this, that they had possessions and instituted and entered religious communities; and thus from the pope to the last religious, all are heretics.

625 45. All religious communities without distinction have been introduced by the devil.

 See the theological censures of these 45 articles to be proposed to the Wycliffites and Hussites,n.. 11 (661 below).


SESSION XIII (June 15, 1415)

Definition of Communion under One Species *

626 Since in some parts of the world certain ones have rashly presumed to assert that Christian people should receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both species of bread and wine, and since they give communion to the laity indiscriminately, not only under the species of bread, but also under the species of wine, after dinner or otherwise when not fasting, and since they pertinaciously assert that communion should be enjoyed contrary to the praiseworthy custom of the Church reasonably approved which they try damnably to disprove as a sacrilege, it is for this reason that this present Council . . . declares, decides, and defines, that, although Christ instituted that venerable sacrament after supper and administered it to His disciples under both species of bread and wine; yet, notwithstanding this, the laudable authority of the sacred canons and the approved custom of the Church have maintained and still maintain that a sacrament of this kind should not be consecrated after supper, nor be received by the faithful who are not fasting, except in case of sickness or of another necessity granted or admitted by law or Church; and although such a sacrament was received by the faithful under both species in the early Church, yet since then it is received by those who consecrate under both species and by the laity only under the species of bread [another reading: And similarly, although this sacrament was received by the faithful in the early Church under both species, nevertheless this custom has been reasonably introduced to avoid certain dangers and scandals, namely, that it be received by those who consecrate it under both species, and by the laity only under the species of bread], since it must be believed most firmly and not at all doubted that the whole body of Christ and the blood are truly contained under the species of bread as well as under the species of wine. Therefore, to say that to observe this custom or law is a sacrilege or illicit must be considered erroneous, and those pertinaciously asserting the opposite of the above mentioned must be avoided as heretics and should be severely punished, either by the local diocesan officials or by the inquisitors of heretical depravity.

SESSION XV (July 6, 1415)

Errors of John Hus*

[Condemned in the Council and by the above mentioned

Bulls in 1418]

627 1. One and only is the holy universal Church which is the aggregate of the predestined.

628 2. Paul never was a member of the devil, although he did certain acts similar to the acts of those who malign the Church.

629 3. The foreknown are not parts of the Church, since no part of it finally will fall away from it, because the charity of predestination which binds it will not fall away.

630 4. Two natures, divinity and humanity, are one Christ. *

631 5. The foreknown, although at one time he is in grace according to the present justice, yet is never a part of the holy Church; and the predestined always remains a member of the Church, although at times he may fall away from additional grace, but not from the grace of predestination.

632 6. Assuming the Church as the convocation of the predestined, whether they were in grace or not according to the present justice, in that way the Church is an article of faith.

633  7. Peter is not nor ever was the head of the Holy Catholic Church.

634 8. Priests living criminally in any manner whatsoever, defile the power of the priesthood, and as unfaithful sons they think unfaithfully regarding the seven sacraments of the Church, the keys, the duties, the censures customs, ceremonies, and sacred affairs of the Church, its veneration of relics, indulgences, and orders.

635 9. The papal dignity has sprung up from Caesar, and the perfection and institution of the pope have emanated from the power of Caesar

636 10. No one without revelation would have asserted reasonably regarding himself or anyone else that he was the head of a particular church nor is the Roman Pontiff the head of a particular Roman Church.

637 11. It is not necessary to believe that the one whosoever is the Roman Pontiff, is the head of any particular holy church, unless God has predestined him.

638 12. No one takes the place of Christ or of Peter unless he follows him in character, since no other succession is more important, and not otherwise does he receive from God the procuratorial power, because for that office of vicar are required both conformity in character and the authority of Him who institutes it.

639 13. The pope is not the true and manifest successor of Peter, the first of the other apostles, if he lives in a manner contrary to Peter; and if he be avaricious, then he is the vicar of Judas Iscariot. And with like evidence the cardinals are not the true and manifest successors of the college of the other apostles of Christ, unless they live in the manner of the apostles, keeping the commandments and counsels of our Lord Jesus Christ.

640  14. Doctors holding that anyone to be emended by ecclesiastical censure, if he is unwilling to be corrected, must be handed over to secular judgment, certainly are following in this the priests, scribes, and pharisees, who, saying that "it is not permissible for us to kill anyone" (John 18:31), handed over to secular judgment Christ Himself, who did not wish to be obedient to them in all things, and such are homicides worse than Pilate.

641   15. Ecclesiastical obedience is obedience according to the invention of the priest of the Church, without the expressed authority of Scripture.

642 16. The immediate division of human works is: that they are either virtuous or vicious, because, if a man is vicious and does anything, then he acts viciously; and if he is virtuous and does anything, then he acts virtuously; because as vice, which is called a crime or mortal sin, renders the acts of man universally vicious, so virtue vivifies all the acts of the virtuous man.

643 17. Priests of Christ, living according to His law and having a knowledge of Scripture and a desire to instruct the people, ought to preach without the impediment of a pretended excommunication. But if the pope or some other prelate orders a priest so disposed not to preach, the subject is not obliged to obey.

644 18. Anyone who approaches the priesthood receives the duty of a preacher by command, and that command he must execute, without the impediment of a pretended excommunication.

645  19. By ecclesiastical censures of excommunication, suspension, and interdict, the clergy for its own exaltation supplies for itself the lay populace, it multiplies avarice, protects wickedness, and prepares the way for the Antichrist. Moreover, the sign is evident that from the Antichrist such censures proceed, which in their processes they call fulminations, by which the clergy principally proceed against those who uncover the wickedness of the Antichrist, who will make use of the clergy especially for himself.

646 20. If the pope is wicked and especially if he is foreknown, than as Judas, the Apostle, he is of the devil, a thief, and a son of perdition, and he is not the head of the holy militant Church, since he is not a member of it.

647 21. Thegrace of predestination is a chain by which the body of the Church and any member of it are joined insolubly to Christ the Head.

648  22. The pope or prelate, wicked and foreknown, is equivocally pastor and truly a thief and robber.

649 23. The pope should not be called "most holy" even according to his office, because otherwise the king ought also to be called "most holy" according to his office, and torturers and heralds should be called holy, indeed even the devil ought to be called holy, since he is an official of God.

650 24. If the pope lives in a manner contrary to Christ, even if he should ascend through legal and legitimate election according to the common human constitution, yet he would ascend from another place than through Christ, even though it be granted that he entered by an election made principally by God; for Judas Iscariot rightly and legitimately was elected by God, Jesus Christ, to the episcopacy, and yet he ascended from another place to the sheepfold of the sheep.

651 25. The condemnation of the forty-five articles of John Wycliffe made by the doctors is irrational and wicked and badly made; the cause alleged by them has been feigned, namely, for the reason that "no one of them is a Catholic but anyone of them is either heretical, erroneous, or scandalous."

652 26. Not for this reason, that the electors, or a greater part of them, agreed by acclamation according to the observance of men upon some person, is that person legitimately elected; nor for this reason is he the true and manifest successor or vicar of the Apostle Peter, or in the ecclesiastical office of another apostle. Therefore, whether electors have chosen well or badly, we ought to believe in the works of the one elected; for, by the very reason that anyone who operates for the advancement of the Church in a manner more fully meritorious, has from God more fully the faculty for this.

653 27. For there is not a spark of evidence that there should be one head ruling the Church in spiritual affairs, which head always lives and is preserved with the Church militant herself.

654 28. Christ through His true disciples scattered through the world would rule His Church better without such monstrous heads.

655 29. The apostles and faithful priests of the Lord strenuously in necessities ruled the Church unto salvation, before the office of the pope was introduced; thus they would be doing even to the day of judgment, were the pope utterly lacking.

656  30. No one is a civil master, no one is a prelate, no one is a bishop while he is in mortal sin [see n. 595].

 See the theological censures of these thirty articles among "Questions of Wycliffe and Hus to be proposed"n. 11 ( 661 below ).

Questions to be Proposed to the Wycliffites and Hussites *

[From the Bull above mentioned "Inter Cunctas," Feb. 22, 1418]

Articles1-4, 9-10 treat of communions with said heretics.


657  5. Likewise, whether he believes, holds, and declares, that every general Council, including that of CONSTANCE, represents the universal Church.*

658  6. Likewise, whether he believes that what the sacred Council of Constance, which represents the Catholic Church, has approved and does approve in favor of faith, and for the salvation of souls, must be approved and maintained by all the faithful of Christ; and that what (the Council) has condemned and does condemn to be contrary to faith and good morals, this must be believed and proclaimed by the same as considered worthy of condemnation.

659 7. Likewise, whether he believes that the condemnations of John Wycliffe, John Hus, and Jerome of Prague, made by the sacred general Council of CONSTANCE, concerning their persons, books, and documents have been duly and justly made, and that they must be considered and firmly declared as such by every Catholic whatsoever.

660 8. Likewise, whether he believes, holds, and declares, that John Wycliffe of England, John Hus of Bohemia, and Jerome of Prague have been heretics and are to be considered and classed as heretics, and that their books and doctrines have been and are perverse; and because of these books and these doctrines and their obstinacy, they have been condemned as heretics by the sacred Council of CONSTANCE.

661 11. Likewise, let the especially learned person be asked, whether he believes that the decision of the sacred Council of CONSTANCE passed concerning the forty-five articles of John Wycliffe and the thirty of John Hus described above, would be true and Catholic: namely, that the above mentioned forty-five articles of John Wycliffe and the thirty of John Hus are not Catholic, but some of them are notedly heretical, some erroneous, others audacious and seditious, others offensive to the ears of the pious.

662  12. Likewise, whether he believes and maintains that in no case one may take an oath.

663  13. Likewise, whether he believes that by the order of a judge an oath must be uttered regarding truth, or anything else suitable for a cause be allowed, even if it must be done for the purification of infamy.

664 14. Likewise whether he believes, that perjury knowingly committed, for whatever cause or occasion, for the conservation of one's own bodily life or that of another, even in favor of faith, is a mortal sin.

665 15. Likewise, whether he believes that anyone deliberately despising the rite of the Church, the ceremonies of exorcism and catechism, of consecrated baptismal water, sins mortally.

666 16. Likewise, whether he believes, that after the consecration by the priest in the sacrament of the altar under the semblance of bread and wine, it is not material bread and material wine, but the same Christ through all, who suffered on the Cross and sitteth at the right (hand) of the Father.

667 17. Likewise, whether he believes and maintains that after the consecration by the priest, under the sole species of bread only, and aside from the species of wine, it is the true body of Christ and the blood and the soul and the divinity and the whole Christ, and the same body absolutely and under each one of these species separately.

668 18. Likewise, whether he believes that the custom of giving communion to lay persons under the species of bread only, which is observedby the universal Church, and approved by the sacred Council of CONSTANCE, must be preserved, so that it be not allowed to condemn this or to change it at pleasure without the authority of the Church, and that those who obstinately pronounce the opposite of the aforesaid should be arrested and punished as heretics or as suspected of heresy.

669 19. Likewise, whether he believes that a Christian who rejects the reception of the sacraments of confirmation, or extreme unction, or the solemnization of marriage sins mortally.

670 20. Likewise, whether he believes that a Christian in addition to contrition of heart is obligated out of necessity for salvation to confess to a priest only (the priest having the proper faculties), and not to a layman or laymen however good and devout.

671  21. Likewise, whether he believes, that the priest in cases permitted to him can absolve from sins a sinner who has confessed and become contrite' end enjoin a penance upon him.

672 22. Likewise, whether he believes that a bad priest, employing the proper matter and form and having the intention of doing what the Church does, truly consecrates, truly absolves, truly baptizes, truly confers the other sacraments.

673  23. Likewise, whether he believes that blessed Peter was the vicar of Christ, possessing the power of binding and loosing on earth.

674 24. Likewise, whether he believes that the pope canonically elected, who lived for a time, after having expressed his own name, is the successor of the blessed Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God.

675 25. Likewise, whether he believes that the authority of jurisdiction of the pope, archbishop, and bishop in loosing and binding is greater than the authority of the simple priest, even if he has the care of souls.

676   26. Likewise, whether he believes that the pope, for a pious and just reason, especially to those who visit holy places and to those who extend their helping hands can grant indulgences for the remission of sins to all Christians truly contrite and having confessed.

677 27. And whether he believes that from such a concession they who visit these very churches and they who lend helping hands can gain indulgences of this kind.

678 28. Likewise, whether he believes that individual bishops can grant indulgences of this kind to their subjects according to the limitation of the sacred canons.

679   29. Likewise, whether he believes or maintains that it is lawful that the relics and images of the saints be venerated by the faithful of Christ.

680 30. Likewise, whether he believes that objects of religious veneration approved by the Church were duly and reasonably introduced by the holy Fathers.

681 31. Likewise, whether he believes that a pope or another prelate, the proper titles of the pope for the time having been expressed, or whether their vicars can excommunicate their ecclesiastical or secular subject for disobedience or contumacy, so that such a one should be considered as excommunicated.

682 32. Likewise, whether he believes that with the growing disobedience or contumacy of the excommunicated, the prelates or their vicars in spiritual matters have the power of oppressing and of oppressing him again, of imposing interdict and of invoking the secular arm; and that these censures must be obeyed by his inferiors.

683 33. Likewise, whether he believes that the pope and other prelates and their vicars in spiritual matters have the power of excommunicating priests and disobedient and contumacious lay men and of suspending them from office, benefaction, entrance to a church, and the administration of the sacraments of the Church.

684 34. Likewise, whether he believes that it is permissible for ecclesiastical personages to hold possessions and temporal goods of this world without sin.

685 35. Likewise, whether he believes that it is not permissible for the laity to take away these temporal goods by their own power; that on the contrary, if they do take them away, seize, and lay hold on these ecclesiastical goods, they are to be punished as sacrilegious persons, even if the ecclesiastical personages possessing goods of this kind were living bad lives.

686 36. Likewise, whether he believes that a seizure and an attack of this kind thoughtlessly or violently committed or wrought against any priest whatsoever, even though living an evil life, leads to sacrilege.

687 37. Likewise, whether he believes that it is permissible for the laity of both sexes, namely men and women, freely to preach the word of God.

688 38. Likewise, whether he believes that it be freely permitted to individual priests to preach the word of God, wheresoever, and whenever, and to whomsoever it may be pleasing, even though they are not sent.

689 39. Likewise, whether he believes that all mortal sins, particularly manifest, should be publicly corrected and eradicated.

Condemnation of the Proposition Concerning Tyrannicide*

690 The holy Synod, July 6, 1415 declares and defines this opinion: "Any tyrant can lawfully and meritoriously be killed and ought so to be killed by any vassal or subject of his, even by secret plots, and subtle flattery and adulation, regardless of any oath of fealty or any pact made with him,without waiting for an opinion or command of any judge whatsoever", . . . is erroneous in faith and morals, and it (the Synod) condemns and rejects it as heretical, scandalous, and as offering a way to frauds, deceptions, lies, treasons, and false oaths. In addition it declares decrees, and defines that those who persistently sow this most pernicious doctrine are heretics . . . .


EUGENIUS IV 1431-1447


Ecumenical XVII (Union with the Greeks, Armenians, Jacobites)

Decree for the Greeks *

[From the Bull "Laetentur coeli," July 6, 1439]

691 [The procession of the Holy Spirit] In the name of the Holy Trinity, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, with the approbation of this holy general Council of Florence we define that this truth of faith be believed and accepted by all Christians, and that all likewise profess that the Holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son and has His essence and His subsistent being both from the Father and the Son, and proceeds from both eternally as from one principle and one spiration; we declare that what the holy Doctors and Fathers say, namely, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, tends to this meaning, that by this it is signified that the Son also is the cause, according to the Greeks, and according to the Latins, the principle of the subsistence of the Holy Spirit, as is the Father also. And since all that the Father has, the Father himself, in begetting, has given to His only begotten Son, with the exception of Fatherhood, the very fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, the Son himself has from the Father eternally, by whom He was begotten also eternally. We define in addition that the explanation of words "Filioque" for the sake of declaring the truth and also because imminent necessity has been lawfully and reasonably added to the Creed.

692 We have likewise defined that the body of Christ is truly effected in and unleavened or leavened wheaten bread; and that priests ought to effect the body of our Lord in either one of these, and each one namely according to the custom of his Church whether that of the West or of the East

693 [ De novissimis] * It has likewise defined, that, if those truly penitent have departed in the love of God, before they have made satisfaction by the worthy fruits of penance for sins of commission and omission, the souls of these are cleansed after death by purgatorial punishments; and so that they may be released from punishments of this kind, the suffrages of the living faithful are of advantage to them, namely, the sacrifices of Masses, prayers, and almsgiving, and other works of piety, which are customarily performed by the faithful for other faithful according to the institutions of the Church. And that the souls of those, who after the reception of baptism have incurred no stain of sin at all, and also those, who after the contraction of the stain of sin whether in their bodies, or when released from the same bodies, as we have said before, are purged, are immediately received into heaven, and see clearly the one and triune God Himself just as He is, yet according to the diversity of merits, one more perfectly than another. Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds [see n.464].

694 We likewise define that the holy Apostolic See, and the Roman Pontiff, hold the primacy throughout the entire world; and that the Roman Pontiff himself is the successor of blessed Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and the true vicar of Christ, and that he is the head of the entire Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and that full power was given to him in blessed Peter by our Lord Jesus Christ, to feed, rule, and govern the universal Church; just as is contained in the acts of the ecumenical Councils and in the sacred canons.

Decree for the Armenians *

[From the Bull "Exultate Deo," Nov. 22, 1439]

695 In the fifth place we have reduced under this very brief formula the truth of the sacraments of the Church for the sake of an easier instruction of the Armenians, the present as well as the future. There are seven sacraments of the new Law: namely, baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony, which differ a great deal from the sacraments of the Old Law. For those of the Old Law did not effect grace, but only pronounced that it should be given through the passion of Christ; these sacraments of ours contain grace, and confer it upon those who receive them worthily. Of these the five first ones are ordained for the spiritual perfection of each and every one in himself, the last two for the government and increase of the entire Church. For, through baptism we are spiritually reborn; through confirmation we increase in grace, and are made strong in faith; reborn, however, we are strengthened and nourished by the divine sustenance of the Eucharist. But if through sin we incur the disease of the soul, through penance we are spiritually healed; spiritually and corporally, according as is expedient to the soul, through extreme unction; through orders the Church is truly governed and spiritually propagated; through matrimony corporally increased. All these sacraments are dispensed in three ways, namely, by things as the matter, by words as the form, and by the person of the minister conferring the sacrament with the intention of doing as the Church does; if any of these is lacking the sacrament is not fulfilled. Among these sacraments there are three, baptism, confirmation, and orders, which imprint an indelible sign on the soul, that is, a certain character distinctive from the others. Hence they should not be repeated in the same person. The remaining four do not imprint a sign and admit of repetition.

696  Holy baptism, which is the gateway to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church. And since death entered into the universe through the first man, "unless we are born of water and the Spirit, we cannot," as the Truth says, "enter into the kingdom of heaven" (cf.John 3:5). The matter of this sacrament is real and natural water; it makes no difference whether cold or warm. The form is:I baptize thee i n the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.Yet we do not deny that through these words: Such a(this) servant of Christ is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Holy Ghost* or:Such a one is baptized by my hands in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,a true baptism is administered since the principal causes, from which baptism has its power is the Holy Trinity; the instrumental cause, however, is the minister, who bestows the sacrament externally; if the act which is performed through the minister himself, is expressed with the invocation of the Holy Trinity, the sacrament is effected. The minister of this sacrament is a priest, who is competent by office to baptize. In case of necessity, however, not only a priest or a deacon, but even a layman or a woman, yes even a pagan and a heretic can baptize, so long as he preserves the form of the Church and has the intention of doing as the Church does. The effect of this sacrament is the remission of every sin, original and actual, also of every punishment which is due to the sin itself. Therefore, no satisfaction must be enjoined for past sins upon those who immediately attain to the kingdom of heaven and the vision of God.

697 The second sacrament is confirmation; its matter is the chrism prepared from the oil, which signifies the excellence of conscience, and from the balsam, which signifies the fragrance of a good reputation, and is blessed by a bishop. The form is:I sign thee with the sign of the cross and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.The ordinary minister is a bishop. And although a simple priest has the power in regard to other anointings only a bishop can confer this sacrament, because according to the apostles, whose place the bishops hold, we read that through the imposition of hands they conferred the Holy Spirit, just as the lesson of the Acts of the Apostles reveals: "Now, when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that the Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For He was not as yet come upon any of them: but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them; and they received the Holy Ghost" [Acts 8:14 ff.]. But in the Church confirmation is given in place of this imposition of hands. Nevertheless we read that at one time, by dispensation of the Apostolic See for a reasonable and urgent cause, a simple priest administered this sacrament of confirmation after the chrism had been prepared by the bishop. The effect of this sacrament, because in it the Holy Spirit is given for strength, was thus given to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, so that the Christian might boldly confess the name of Christ. The one to be confirmed, therefore, must be anointed on the forehead, which is the seat of reverence, so that he may not be ashamed to confess the name of Christ and especially His Cross, which is indeed a "stumbling block to the Jews and unto the Gentiles foolishness" [cf.1 Cor. 1:23] according to the Apostle; for which reason one is signed with the sign of the Cross.

698  The third is the sacrament of the Eucharist, its matter is wheat bread and wine of grape, with which before consecration a very slight amount of water should be mixed. Now it is mixed with water because according to the testimonies of the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church in a disputation made public long ago, it is the opinion that the Lord Himself instituted this sacrament in wine mixed with water; and, moreover, this befits the representation of the Lord's passion. For blessed Alexander, * the fifth Pope after blessed Peter, says: "In the offerings of the sacraments which are offered to the Lord within the solemnities of Masses, let only bread and wine mixed with water be offered as a sacrifice. For either wine alone or water alone must not be offered in the chalice of the Lord, but both mixed, because it is read that both, that is, blood and water, flowed from the side of Christ." Then also, because it is fitting to signify the effect of this sacrament, which is the union of the Christian people with Christ. For water signifies the people, according to the passage in the Apocalypse: "the many waters . . . are many people" [cf.Rev. 17:15]. And Julius, * the second Pope after blessed Sylvester, says: "The chalice of the Lord according to the precept of the canons, mixed with wine and water, ought to be offered, because we see that in water the people are understood' but in wine the blood of Christ is shown. Therefore, when wine and water are mixed in the chalice the people are made one with Christ, and the multitude of the faithful is joined and connected with Him in whom it believes." Since, therefore, the holy Roman Church taught by the most blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, as well as all the rest of the churches of the Latins and the Greeks, in which the lights of all sanctity and doctrine have shown, have so preserved this from the beginning of the nascent church and are now preserving it, it seems very unfitting that any other region differ from this universal and reasonable observance. We order, therefore, that the Armenians themselves also conform with all the Christian world, and that their priests mix a little water with the wine in the offering of the chalice, as has been said. The words of the Savior, by which He instituted this sacrament, are the form of this sacrament; for the priest speaking in the person of Christ effects this sacrament. For by the power of the very words the substance of the bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the substance of the wine into the blood; yet in such a way that Christ is contained entire under the species of bread, and entire under the species of wine. Under any part also of the consecrated host and consecrated wine, although a separation has taken place, Christ is entire. The effect of this sacrament which He operates in the soul of him who takes it worthily is the union of man with Christ. And since through grace man is incorporated with Christ and is united with His members, it follows that through this sacrament grace is increased among those who receive it worthily; and every effect that material food and drink accomplish as they carry on corporal life, by sustaining, increasing, restoring, and delighting, this the sacrament does as it carries on spiritual life, in which, as Pope Urban says, we renew the happy memory of our Savior, are withdrawn from evil, are greatly strengthened in good, and proceed to an increase of the virtues and the graces.

699 The fourth sacrament is penance, the matter of which is, as it were, the acts of the penitent, which are divided into three parts. The first of these is contrition of heart, to which pertains grief for a sin committed together with a resolution not to sin in the future. The second is oral confession, to which pertains that the sinner confess integrally to his priest all sins of which he has recollection. The third is satisfaction for sins according to the decision of the priest, which is accomplished chiefly by prayer, fasting, and alms. The words of absolution which the priest utters when he says: Ego te absolvoetc., are the form of this sacrament, and the minister of this sacrament is the priest who has either ordinary authority for absolving or has it by the commission of a superior. The effect of this sacrament is absolution from sins.

700  The fifth sacrament is extreme unction, whose matter is the olive oil blessed by the bishop. This sacrament should be given only to the sick of whose death there is fear; and he should be anointed in the following places: on the eyes because of sight, on the ears because of hearing, on the nostrils because of smell, on the mouth because of taste and speech, on the hands because of touch, on the feet because of gait, on the loins because of the delight that flourishes there. The form of this sacrament is the following: Per istam sanctam unctionem et suam piissimam misericordiam indulgeat tibi Dominus, quidquid per visum, etc. (Through this holy anointing and his most kind mercy may the Lord forgive you whatever through it, etc.). And similarly on the other members. The minister of this sacrament is the priest. Now the effect is the healing of the mind and, moreover, in so far as it is expedient, of the body itself also. On this sacrament blessed James, the Apostle says: "Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man; and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him" [Jas. 5:14, 15].

701 The sixth sacrament is that of order, the matter of which is that through whose transmission the order is conferred: * just as the priesthood is transmitted through the offering of the chalice with wine and of the paten with bread; the diaconate, however, by the giving of the book of the Gospels; but the subdiaconate by the giving of the empty chalice with the empty paten superimposed; and similarly with regard to the others by allotment of things pertaining to their ministry. The form of such priesthood is: Accipe potestatem offerendi sacrificium in ecclesia pro vivis et mortuis, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.And thus with regard to the forms of the other orders, as is contained extensively in the Roman pontifical. The ordinary minister of this sacrament is the bishop. The effect is increase of grace, so that the one ordained be a worthy minister.

702  The seventh is the sacrament of matrimony, which is the sign of the joining of Christ and the Church according to the Apostle who says: "This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the church" [Eph. 5:32]. The efficient cause of matrimony is regularly mutual consent expressed by words in person. Moreover, there is allotted a threefold good on the part of matrimony. First, the progeny is to be accepted and brought up for the worship of God. Second, there is faith which one of the spouses ought to keep for the other. Third, there is the indivisibility of marriage, because it signifies the indivisible union of Christ and the Church. Although, moreover, there may be a separation of the marriage couch by reason of fornication, nevertheless, it is not permitted to contract another marriage, since the bond of a marriage legitimately contracted is perpetual.

A Decree in Behalf of the Jacobites *

[From the Bull "Cantata Domino," February 4, Florentine style,

1441, modern, 1442]

703 The sacrosanct Roman Church, founded by the voice of our Lord and Savior, firmly believes, professes, and preaches one true God omnipotent, unchangeable, and eternal, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; one in essence, three in persons; Father unborn, Son born of the Father, Holy Spirit proceeding from Father and Son; that the Father is not Son or Holy Spirit, that Son is not Father or Holy Spirit; that Holy Spirit is not Father or Son; but Father alone is Father, Son alone is Son, Holy Spirit alone is Holy Spirit. The Father alone begot the Son of His own substance; the Son alone was begotten of the Father alone; the Holy Spirit alone proceeds at the same time from the Father and Son. These three persons are one God, and not three gods, because the three have one substance, one essence, one nature, one divinity, one immensity, one eternity, and all these things are one where no opposition of relationship interferes . *

704  "Because of this unity the Father is entire in the Son, entire in the Holy Spirit; the Son is entire in the Father, entire in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is entire in the Father, entire in the Son. No one either excels another in eternity, or exceeds in magnitude, or is superior in power. For the fact that the Son is of the Father is eternal and without beginning. and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son is eternal and without beginning.''*Whatever the Father is or has, He does not have from another, but from Himself; and He is the principle without principle. Whatever the Son is or has, He has from the Father, and is the principle from a principle. Whatever the Holy Spirit is or has, He has simultaneously from the Father and the Son. But the Father and the Son are not two principles of the Holy Spirit, but one principle, just as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of the creature, but one principle.

705  Whoever, therefore, have adverse and contrary opinions the Church disapproves and anathematizes and declares to be foreign to the Christian body which is the Church. Hence it condemns Sabellius who confuses the persons and completely takes away their real distinction. It condemns the Arians, the Eunomians, the Macedonians who say that only the Father is the true God, but put the Son and the Holy Spirit in the order of creatures. It condemns also any others whatsoever who place grades or inequality in the Trinity.

706 Most strongly it believes, professes, and declares that the one true God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, is the creator of all things visible and invisible, who, when He wished, out of His goodness created all creatures, spiritual as well as corporal; good indeed, since they were made by the highest good, but changeable, since they were made from nothing, and it asserts that nature is not evil, since all nature, in so far as it is nature, is good. It professes one and the same God as the author of the Old and New Testament, that is, of the Law and the Prophets and the Gospel, since the saints of both Testaments have spoken with the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, whose books, which are contained under the following titles it accepts and venerates. [The books of the canon follow, cf.n. 784; EB n. 32].

707 Besides it anathematizes the madness of the Manichaeans, who have established two first principles, one of the visible, and another of the invisible; and they have said that there is one God of the New Testament, another God of the Old Testament.

708 It believe, professes, and proclaims that one person of the Trinity, true God, Son of God born from the Father, consubstantial and coeternal with the Father, in the plenitude of time which the inscrutable depth of divine counsel has disposed for the salvation of the human race, assumed true and complete human nature from the immaculate womb of the Virgin Mary, and joined with itself in the unity of person, with such unity that whatever is of God there, is not separated from man, and whatever is of man, is not divided from the Godhead; He is one and the same undivided, both natures, God and man, remaining in their own peculiar properties, God and man, Son of God and Son of man, equal to the Father according to divinity, less than the Father according to humanity, immortal and eternal from the nature of divinity, passible and temporal from the condition of assumed humanity.

709 It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that the Son of God in the assumed humanity was truly born of the Virgin, truly suffered, truly died and was buried, truly rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father, and will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead.

710 It, moreover, anathematizes, execrates, and condemns every heresy that suggests contrary things. And first it condemns Ebion, Cerinthus, Marcion, Paul of Samosata, Photinus, and all similar blasphemers, who, being unable to accept the personal union of humanity with the Word, denied that our Lord Jesus Christ was true God, proclaiming Him pure man, who was called divine man by reason of a greater participation in divine grace, which He had received by merit of a more holy life. It anathematizes also Manichaeus with his followers, who, thinking vainly that the Son of God had assumed not a true but an ephemeral body, entirely do away with the truth of the humanity in Christ. And also Valentinus who asserts that the Son of God took nothing from the Virgin Mary, but assumed a heavenly body and passed through the womb of the Virgin just as water flows and runs through an aqueduct. Arius also, who asserted that the body assumed from the Virgin lacked a soul, and would have the Godhead in place of the soul. Also Apollinaris, who, understanding that there was no true humanity if in Christ the soul is denied as giving the body form, posited only a sensitive soul, but held that the Godhead of the Word took the place of a rational soul. It also anathematizes Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius who assert that humanity was united with the Son of God through grace, and hence there are two persons in Christ, just as they confess that there are two natures, since they were unable to understand that the union of humanity with the Word was hypostatic, and so refused to accept the subsistence of God. For according to this blasphemy, the Word was not made flesh, but the Word through grace lived in the flesh; that is, He was made not the Son of God, but rather the Son of God lived in man. It anathematizes also, execrates, and condemns Eutyches the archimandrite; since he believed according to the blasphemy of Nestorius that the truth of the Incarnation is excluded, and therefore it is fitting that humanity was so united to the Word of God that the person of the Godhead and of humanity were one and the same, and also, he could not grasp the unity of person as long as a plurality of natures existed, just as he established that there was one person of the Godhead and humanity in Christ, so he asserted that there was one nature, meaning that before the union there was a duality of natures, but in the assumption they passed over into one nature, with the greatest blasphemy and impiety granting either that humanity was turned into Godhead, or Godhead into humanity. It also anathematizes, execrates, and condemns Macarius of Antioch and all who hold similar views; although he had a correct understanding of the duality of natures and the unity of person, yet he erred greatly concerning the operations of Christ when he said that in Christ there was one operation and one will on the part of both natures. All these, together with their heresies, the Holy Roman Church anathematizes, affirming that there are two wills and two operations in Christ.

711  It firmly believes, professes, and teaches that no one conceived of man and woman was ever freed of the domination of the Devil, except through the merit of the mediator between God and men, our Lord Jesus Christ; He who was conceived without sin, was born and died, through His death alone laid low the enemy of the human race by destroying our sins, and opened the entrance to the kingdom of heaven, which the first man by his own sin had lost with all succession; and that He would come sometime, all the sacred rites of the Old Testament, sacrifices, sacraments, and ceremonies disclosed.

712 It firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosiac law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to the divine worship at that time, after our Lord's coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. Yet it does not deny that after the passion of Christ up to the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been observed until they were believed to be in no way necessary for salvation; but after the promulgation of the Gospel it asserts that they cannot be observed without the loss of eternal salvation. All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors. Therefore, it commands all who glory in the name of Christian, at whatever time, before or after baptism' to cease entirely from circumcision, since, whether or not one places hope in it, it cannot be observed at all without the loss of eternal salvation. Regarding children, indeed, because of danger of death, which can often take place, when no help can be brought to them by another remedy than through the sacrament of baptism, through which they are snatched from the domination of the Devil and adopted among the sons of God, it advises that holy baptism ought not to be deferred for forty or eighty days, or any time according to the observance of certain people, but it should be conferred as soon as it can be done conveniently, but so that, when danger of death is imminent, they be baptized in the form of the Church, early without delay, even by a layman or woman, if a priest should be lacking, just as is contained more fully in the decree of the Armenians [[n.. 696].

713  It believes firmly, professes, and proclaims that "every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving" [ 1 Tim. 4:4], since, according to the word of the Lord [ Matt.. 15: 11 ], "not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man"; and it asserts that the indifference of clean and unclean foods of the Mosiac law pertains to the ceremonials which, with the rise of the Gospel passed out of existence and ceased to be efficacious.. And it says also that the prohibition of theapostles "from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood and from things strangled [ Acts 15:29] befitted that time in which one Church arose from the Jews and the Gentiles, who before lived according to different ceremonies and customs, so that even the Gentiles observed some things in common with the Jews, and occasion was furnished for coming together into one worship of God and one faith, and ground for dissension was removed; since to the Jews, by reason of an ancient custom, blood and things strangled seemed abominable, and they could think that the Gentiles would return to idolatry because of the eating of things sacrificed. But when the Christian religion is so propagated that no carnal Jew appears in it, but all passing over to the Church, join in the same rites and ceremonies of the Gospel, believing "all things clean to the clean" [Tit. 1:15], with the ending of the cause for this apostolic prohibition, the effect also ended. Thus it declares that the nature of no food, which society admits, is to be condemned, and no distinction is to be made by anyone at all, whether man or woman, between animals, and by whatever kind of death they meet their end; although for the health of body, for the exercise of virtue, for regular and ecclesiastical discipline many things not denied should be given up, since, according to the Apostle, "all things are lawful, but all things are not expedient" [1 Cor.. 6:12; 10:22].

714 It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church. *

(The decrees forGreeksand Armenians of the ecumenical

Synod accepted by the Roman Church follow.)

715 But since in the above written decree of the Armenians the form of the words, which in the consecration of the body and blood of the Lord the holy Roman Church confirmed by the teaching and authority of the Apostles had always been accustomed to use, was not set forth, we have thought that it ought to be inserted here. In the consecration of the body the Church uses this form of the words: "For this is my body"; but in the consecration of the blood, it uses the following form of the words: "For this is the chalice of my blood, the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which will be poured forth for you and many for the remission of sins." But it makes no difference at all whether the wheaten bread in which the sacrament is effected was cooked on that day or before; for, provided that the substance of bread remains, there can be no doubt but that after the aforesaid words of the consecration of the body have been uttered with the intention of effecting, it will be changed immediately into the substance of the true body of Christ.

The decrees for the Syrians, Chaldeans, Meronites

contain nothing new


NICHOLAS V 1447 - 1455


Usury and Contract for Rent *

[From the Constitution ""Regimini universalis," May 6, 1455]

716 A petition recently addressed to us proposed the following matter: For a very long time, and with nothing in memory running to the contrary, in various parts of Germany, for the common advantage of society, there has been implanted among the inhabitants of those parts and maintained up to this time through constant observance, a certain custom. By this custom, these inhabitants--or, at least, those among them, who in the light of their condition and indemnities, seemed likely to profit from the arrangement--encumber their goods, their houses, their fields, their farms, their possessions, and inheritances, selling the revenues or annual rents in marks, florins, or groats (according as this or that coin is current in those particular regions), and for each mark, florin, or groat in question, from those who have bought those coins, whether as revenues or as rents, have been in the habit of receiving a certain price appropriately fixed as to size according to the character of the particular circumstances, in conformity with the agreements made in respect of the relevant properties between themselves and the buyers. As guarantee for the payment of the aforesaid revenues and rents they mortgage those of the aforesaid houses, lands, fields, farms, possessions, and inheritances that have been expressly named * in the relevant contracts. In the favor of the sellers it is added to the contract that in proportion as they have, in whole or in part, returned to the said buyers the money thus received, they are entirely quit and free of the obligation to pay the revenues and rents corresponding to the sum returned. But the buyers, on the other hand, even though the said goods, houses, lands, fields, possessions, and inheritances might by the passage of time be reduced to utter destruction and desolation, would not be empowered to recover even in respect of the price paid.

 Now, by some a certain doubt and hesitation is entertained as to whether contracts of this kind are to be considered licit. Consequently, certain debtors, pretending these contracts would be usurious, seek to find thereby an occasion for the nonpayment of revenues and rents owed by them in this way. . . . We, therefore, ... in order to remove every doubt springing from these hesitations, by our Apostolic authority, do declare by these present letters that the aforesaid contracts are licit and in agreement with law, and that the said sellers, yielding all opposition, are effectively bound to the payment of the rents and revenues in conformity with the terms of the said contracts. [The reader is referred to the discussion of this text given by L. Choupin A.Vacant-E Mangenot, Dict. de theol. cash. 2 (Paris, 1905) 1351-1362 (art.'Calliste III,' sec. ii). The Translator.]

PIUS II 1458-1464

Appeal to the General Council *

[From the Bull "Exsecrabilis,"* Jan. 18; in the ancient Roman opinion 1459; that of today 1460]

717 The execrable and hitherto unheard of abuse has grown up in our day, that certain persons, imbued with the spirit of rebellion, and not from a desire to secure a better judgment, but to escape the punishment of some offense which they have committed, presume to appeal to a future council from the Roman Pontiff, the vicar of Jesus Christ, to whom in the person of the blessed PETER was said: "Feed my sheep" [John 21:17], and, "Whatever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven" [Matt. 16:19]. . . . Wishing therefore to expel this pestiferous poison far from the Church of Christ and to care for the salvation of the flock entrusted to us, and to remove every cause of offense from the fold of our Savior . . . we condemn all such appeals and disprove them as erroneous and detestable.

Errors of Zanini de Solcia *

[Condemned in the letter "Cum sicut," Nov. 14, 1459]

717a (1) That the world should be naturally destroyed and ended by the heat of the sun consuming the humidity of the land and the air in such a way that the elements are set on fire.

717b (2) That all Christians are to be saved.

717c (3) That God created another world than this one, and that in its time many other men and women existed and that consequently Adam was not the first man.

717d (4) Likewise, that Jesus Christ suffered and died not for the redemption because of His love of the human race, but by the law of the stars.

717e  (5) Likewise, that Jesus Christ, Moses, and Mohammed ruled the world by the pleasure of their wills.

717f  (6) And that the same Lord our Jesus is illegitimate, and that He exists in the consecrated hosts not with respect to His humanity but with respect to His divinity only.

717g (7) That wantonness outside of matrimony is not a sin, unless by the prohibition of positive laws, and that these have not disposed of the matter well, and are checked by ecclesiastical prohibition only from following the opinion of Epicurus as true.

717h  (8) Moreover that the taking away of another's property is not a mortal sin, even though against the will of the master.

717i  (a) Finally that the Christian law through the succession of another law is about to have an end, just as the law of Moses has been terminated by the law of Christ.

 Zaninus, Canon of Pergamum, is said to have presumed to Affirm these propositions"in a sacrilegious attempt against the dogmas of the holy Fathers and later to assert them rashly with polluted lips,"but afterwards to have freely renounced "these aforesaid errors."

The Blood of Christ *

[From the Bull "Ineffabilis summi providentia Patris," Aug. 1, 1464]

718 . . . By apostolic authority by the tenor of these presents we state and ordain that none of the aforesaid Brethren (Minors and Preachers) hereafter be allowed to dispute, to preach, to make a statement either publicly or privately, concerning the above mentioned doubt, or to persuade others, that it may be heretical or a sin to hold or to believe that the most sacred blood itself (as is set before us) in the three days of the passion of the same Lord Jesus Christ from the divinity Himself was or was not divided or separated in some way, until beyond a question of a doubt of this kind what must be held has been defined by us and the Apostolic See.

PAUL II 1464-1471

SIXTUS IV 1471-1484

Errors of Peter de Rivo (concerning the Truth of Future Contingencies) *

[Condemned in the Bull "Ad Christi vicarii,'' Jan. 3, 1474]

719 (1) When Elizabeth spoke to the Blessed Virgin Mary saying: "Blessed art thou that hast believed because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord" [Luke 1:45], she seemed to intimate that those propositions, namely: "Thou shalt bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus: He shall be great, etc." [Luke 1:31],do not yet contain truth.

720 (2) Likewise, when Christ after His resurrection said: "All things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms concerning me" [ Luke 24:44] seems to have implied that such propositions were devoid of truth.

721 (3) Likewise, when the Apostle said: "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of things [ Heb. 10:1], he seems to imply that the propositions of the Old Law which concerned the future, did not yet contain the prescribed truth.

722 (4) Likewise, that it does not suffice for the truth of the proposition concerning the future, that the thing will be, but there is required that it will be without impediment.

723 (5) Likewise, it is necessary to say one of two things, either that in the articles of faith concerning the future actual truth is not present, or that what is signified in them through divine power could not have been hindered.

 They were condemnedas "scandalous and deviating from the path of Catholic faith";they were revoked by the written word of Peter himself.

Indulgence for the Dead

[From the Bull in favor of the Church of St. Peter

of Xancto, Aug. 3, 1476] *


723a In order that the salvation of souls may be procured rather at that time when they need the prayers of others more, and when they can be of benefit to themselves less, by Apostolic authority from the treasure of the Church wishing to come to the aid of the souls who departed from the life united with Christ through charity, and who, while they lived, merited that they be favored by such indulgence; desiring this with paternal selection, in so far as with God's help we can, confident in the mercy of God and in the plenitude of His power, we both concede and grant that, if any parents, friends, or other faithful of Christ, moved in behalf of these souls who are exposed to purgatorial fire for the expiation of punishments due them according to divine justice, during the aforementioned ten year period give a certain sum of money for the repair of the church of Xancto, or a value according to an arrangement with the dean or overseer of said church, or our collector by visiting said church or send it during said ten year period through messengers delegated by the same, we grant as a suffrage a plenary remission to assist and intercede for the souls in purgatory, in whose behalf they paid the said sum of money or the value, as mentioned above, for the remission of punishments.


Errors of Peter de Osma (the Sacrament of Penance) *

[Condemned in the Bull "Licet ea," August 9, 1479]

724 (1) That the confession of sins in species will be found really in a statute of the universal Church, not in divine law;

725 (2) that mortal sins with respect to blame and punishment of the other world are abolished without confession, by contrition of heart only;

726  (3) moreover, bad thoughts are forgiven by displeasure only;

727  (4) that it is not demanded of necessity that confession be secret; *

728 (5) that those who confess should not be absolved, if penance has not been done;

729   (6) that the Roman Pontiff cannot remit the punishment of purgatory;*

731 (7) cannot dispense with respect to what the universal Church has established;

732 (8) also that the sacrament of penance, as far as concerns the accumulation of grace, is of nature, but not of the institution of the New or Old Testament.

733 On these propositions we read in the Bull, Sect. 6: . . We declare each and all the above mentioned propositions to be false, contrary to the holy Catholic faith, erroneous, and scandalous, and entirely at variance with the truth of the Gospels, also contrary to the decrees of the holy Fathers and other apostolic constitutions and to contain manifest heresy.

The Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. *

[From the Constitution "Cum praeexcelsa," Feb. 28, 1476]

734 While in an examination of devout deliberation we are thoroughly investigating the distinguished marks of merit, by which the Queen of Heaven, the glorious Virgin Mother of God, is preferred to all in the heavenly courts; just as among the stars the morning star foretells the dawn, we consider it just, even a duty, that all the faithful of Christ for the miraculous conception of this immaculate Virgin, give praise and thanks to Almighty God (whose providence beholding from all eternity the humility of this same Virgin, to reconcile with its author human nature exposed to eternal death because of the fall of the first man, by the preparation of the Holy Spirit constituted her the habitation of His Only-begotten Son, from whom He took on the flesh of our mortality for the redemption of His people, and the Virgin remained immaculate even after childbirth), and therefore that they say Masses and other divine offices instituted in the Church of God, and that they attend them to ask by indulgences and by the remission of sins to become more worthy of divine grace by the merits of and by the intercession of this same Virgin.

[From the Constitution "Grave nimis," Sept. 4, 1483]

735 Although the Holy Roman Church solemnly celebrates the public feast of the conception of the immaculate Mary ever Virgin, and has ordained a special and proper office for this feast, some preachers of different orders, as we have heard, in their sermons to the people in public throughout different cities and lands have not been ashamed to affirm up to this time, and daily cease not to affirm, that all those who hold orassert that the same glorious and immaculate mother of God was conceived without the stain of original sin, sin mortally, or that they are heretical' who celebrate the office of this same immaculate conception, and that those who listen to the sermons of those who affirm that she was conceived without this sin, sin grievously. . . .

 We reprove and condemn assertions of this kind as false and erroneous and far removed from the truth, and also by apostolic authority and the tenor of these present [letters] we condemn and disapprove on this point published books which contain it . . . [but these also we reprehend] who have dared to assert that those holding the contrary opinion, namely, that the glorious Virgin Mary was conceived with original sin are guilty of the crime of heresy and of mortal sin, since up to this time there has been no decision made by the Roman Church and the Apostolic See.

  INNOCENT VIII 1484-1492  PIUS III 1503

  ALEXANDER VI 1492-1503   JULIUS 1503-1513

LEO X 1513-1521


Ecumenical XVIII (The Reform of the Church)

The Human Soul (against the Neo-Aristoteliars) *

[From the Bull "Apostolic) Regiminis" (Session VIII),Dec. 19, 1513]

738 Since in our days (and we painfully bring this up) the sower of cockle, ancient enemy of the human race, has dared to disseminate and advance in the field of the Lord a number of pernicious errors, always rejected by the faithful, especially concerning the nature of the rational soul, namely, that it is mortal, or one in all men, and some rashly philosophizing affirmed that this is true at least according to philosophy, in our desire to offer suitable remedies against a plague of this kind, with the approval of this holy Council, we condemn and reject all who assert that the intellectual soul is mortal, or is one in all men, and those who cast doubt on these truths, since it [the soul] is not only truly in itself and essentially the form of the human body, as was defined in the canon of Pope CLEMENT V our predecessor of happy memory published in the (yen eral) Council of VIENNE [n. 481] but it is also multiple according to the multitude of bodies into which it is infused, multiplied, and to be multiplied. . . . And since truth never contradicts truth, we declare [see n. 1797] every assertion contrary to the truth of illumined faith to be altogether false; and, that it may not be permitted to dogmatize otherwise, we strictly forbid it, and we decree that all who adhere to errors of this kind are to be shunned and to be punished as detestable and abominable infidels who disseminate most damnable heresies and who weaken the Catholic faith.

"Mountains of Piety" and Usury *

[From the Bull "Inter multiplices," April 28

(Session X, May 4), 1515]

739 With the approval of the holy Council, we declare and define that the aforesaid "Mountains of piety" established by the civil authorities and thus far approved and confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See, in which a moderate rate of interest is received exclusively for the expenses of the officials and for other things pertaining to their keeping, as is set forth, for an indemnity of these as far as this matter is concerned, beyond the capital without a profit for these same Mountains, neither offer any species of evil, nor furnish an incentive to sin, nor in any way are condemned, nay rather that such a loan is worthwhile and is to be praised and approved, and least of all to be considered usury. . . . Moreover, we declare that all religious and ecclesiastics as well as secular persons, who henceforth shall dare to preach or dispute in word or in writing against the form of the present declaration and sanction, incur the penalty of excommunication of a sentence [automatically] imposed [latae sententiae],a privilege of any nature whatsoever notwithstanding.

The Relation Between the Pope and the Councils *

[From the Bull "Pastor Aeternus" (Session Xl) Dec. 19, 1516]

740 Nor should this move us, that the sanction [pragmatic] itself, and the things contained in it were proclaimed in the Council of Basle . . .. since all these acts were made after the translation of that same Council of Basle from the place of the assembly at Basle, and therefore could have no weight, since it is clearly established that the Roman Pontiff alone, possessing as it were authority over all Councils, has full right and power Of proclaiming Councils, or transferring and dissolving them, not only according to the testimony of Sacred Scripture, from the words of the holy Fathers and even of other Roman Pontiffs, of our predecessors, and from the decrees of the holy canons, but also from the particular acknowledgment of these same Councils.


Indulgences *

[From the Bull "Cum postquam" to the Legate Cajetan

de Vio, Nov. 9, 1518]

740a  And lest in the future anyone should allege ignorance of the doctrine of the Roman Church concerning such indulgences and their ellicacy, or excuse himself under pretext of such ignorance, or aid himself by pretended protestations, but that these same persons may be convicted as guilty of notorious lying and be justly condemned, we have decided that you should be informed by these presents that the Roman Church, which the other churches are bound to follow as their mother, has decreed that the Roman Pontiff, the successor of PETER the key bearer, and the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, by the power of the keys, to which it belongs to open the kingdom of heaven, by removing the obstacles in the faithful of Christ (namely the fault and punishment due to actual sins, the fault by means of the sacrament of penance, but the temporal punishment due for actual sins according to divine justice by means of the indulgence of the Church), for the same reasonable causes can concede indulgences from the superabundant merits of Christ and the saints to these same faithful of Christ, who belong to Christ by the charity that joins the members, whether they be in this life or in purgatory; and by granting an indulgence by apostolic authority to the living as well as to the dead, has been accustomed to dispense from the treasury of the merits of Jesus Christ and the saints, and by means of absolution to confer that same indugence or to transfer it by means of suffrage. And for that reason that all, the living as well as the dead, who have truly gained such indulgences, are freed from such temporal punishment due for their actual sins according to divine justice, as is equivalent to the indulgence granted and acquired. And thus by apostolic authority in accordance with the tenor of these letters we decree that it should be held by all and be preached under punishment of excommunication, of a sentence [automatically] imposed [latae sententiae]. . . . .

 Leo X sent this Bull to the Swiss in the year 1519 withaletter dated April 30, 1519, in which he concluded as follows concerning the doctrine of the Bull:

740b  You will be solicitous about a thorough consideration and preservation of the power of the Roman Pontiff in the granting of such indulgences according to the true definition of the Roman Church, which we have commanded should be observed and preached by all . . . according to these letters which we are ordering to be delivered to you . . . You will firmly abide by the true decision of the Holy Roman Church and to this Holy See, which does not permit errors.

Errors of Martin Luther *

[Condemned in the Bull "Exsurge Domine," June 15, 1520]

741 I. It is an 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.

742 2. To deny that in a child after baptism sin remains is to treat with contempt both Paul and Christ.

743 3. The inflammable sources [ fomes] of sin, even if there be no actual sin, delays a soul departing from the body from entrance into heaven.

 4. To one on the point of death imperfect charity necessarily brings

744 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

745 satisfaction, has no foundation in Sacred Scripture nor in the ancient sacred Christian doctors.

 6. Contrition, which is acquired through discussion, collection, and

746  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.

747  7. It is a most truthful proverb and the doctrine concerning the contrition given thus far is the more remarkable: "Not to do so in the future is the highest penance; the best penance, a new life."

748  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.

749 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.

750 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.

751  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." [Matt. 16:19]. 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.

752  12. If through an impossibility he who confessed was not contrite, orthe priest did not absolve seriously, but in a jocose manner, if nevertheless he believes that he has been absolved, he is most truly absolved.

753 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.

754 14. No one ought to answer a priest that he is contrite, nor should the priest inquire.

755 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.

756 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.

757 17. The treasures of the Church, from which the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints.

758 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.

759   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.

760  20. They are seduced who believe that indulgences are salutary and useful for the fruit of the spirit.

761   21. Indulgences are necessary only for public crimes, and are properly conceded only to the harsh and impatient.

762  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.

763  23. Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church.

764  24. Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them.

765 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.

766 26. The word of Christ to PETER:"Whatsoever you shall loose on earth, etc."(Matt. 16) is extended merely to those things bound by Peter himself.

767 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.

768 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.

769 29. A way has been 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.

770  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.

771  31. In every good work the just man sins.

772  32. A good work done very well is a venial sin.

773  33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.

774 34. To go to war against the Turks is to resist God who punishes our iniquities through them.

775 35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally; because of the most hidden vice of pride.

776 36. Free will after sin is a matter of title only; and as long as one does what is in him, one sins mortally.

777 37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture, which is in the canon.

778 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.

779 39. The souls in purgatory sin without intermission, as long as they seek rest and abhor punishments.

780 40. The souls freed from purgatory by the suffrages of the living are less happy than if they had made satisfactions by themselves.

781 41. Ecclesiastical prelates and secular princes would not act badly if they destroyed all of the money-bags of beggary.

 Censure of the Holy Pontiff:"All and each of the above mentioned articles or errors, so to speak, as set before you, we condemn, disapprove, and entirely reject as respectively heretical, or scandalous, or false, or offensive to pious ears, or seductive of simple minds, and in opposition to Catholic truth.


Hadrian VI 1522 - 1523   Clement VII 1523 - 1534

PAUL III 1534-1549


Ecumenical XIX (Contra Novatores 16 cent.)

SESSION III (Feb.4, 1546)

The Creed of the Catholic Faith is Accepted *

782 This sacred and holy ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, with the three legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, in consideration of the magnitude of the matters to be transacted, especially those which are comprised under these two heads, the extirpation of heresies and the reform of morals, because of which chiefly the Synod was convoked . . ., has proposed that the creed of faith, which the Holy Roman Church utilizes, inasmuch as it is that principle, wherein all who profess the faith of Christ necessarily agree, and is the firm and sole foundation, against which the "gates of Hell shall never prevail" [Matt. 16:18], be expressed in the very same words in which it is read in all the churches. This creed is as follows:

[The Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed follows, see n. 86.]

Session IV (April 8, 1546)

The Sacred Books and the Traditions of the Apostles are Accepted *

783   The sacred and holy ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, with the same three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, keeping this constantly in view, that with the abolishing of errors, the purity itself of the Gospel is preserved in the Church, which promised before through the Prophets in the Holy Scriptures our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded "to be preached" by His apostles "to every creature" as the source of every saving truth and of instruction in morals [Matt. 28:19ff., Mark 16:15], and [the Synod] clearly perceiving that this truth and instruction are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which have been received by the apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the apostles themselves, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit, have come down even to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand, [the Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and holds in veneration with an equal affection of piety and reverence all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament, since one God is the author or both, and also the traditions themselves, those that appertain both to faith and to morals, as having been dictated either by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. And so that no doubt may arise in anyone's mind as to which are the books that are accepted by this Synod, it has decreed that a list of the Sacred books be added to this decree.

784  They are written here below:

 Books of the Old Testament:The five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Josue, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, the first book of Esdras, and the second which is called Nehemias, Tobias, Judith, Esther, Job, the Psalter of David consisting of 150 psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Jeremias with Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, the twelve minor Prophets, that is Osee, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Michaeas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; two books of the Machabees, the first and the second.

  Books of the New Testament:the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke the Evangelist, fourteen epistles of Paul the Apostle, to the Romans, to the Corinthians two, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, to Titus, to Phi lemon, to the Hebrews; two of Peter the Apostle, three of John the Apostle, one of the Apostle James, one of the Apostle Jude, and the Apocalypse of John the Apostle. If anyone, however, should not accept the said books as sacred and canonical, entire with all their parts, as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate edition, and if both knowingly and deliberately he should condemn the aforesaid traditions let him be anathema. Let all, therefore, understand in what order and in what manner the said Synod, after having laid the foundation of the confession of Faith, will proceed, and what testimonies and authorities it will mainly use in confirming dogmas, and in restoring morals in the Church.

The Vulgate Edition of the Bible is Accepted and the

Method is Prescribed for the Interpretation

of (Sacred) Scripture, etc. *

785  Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod taking into consideration that no small benefit can accrue to the Church of God, if it be made known which one of all the Latin editions of the sacred books which are in circulation is to be considered authentic, has decided and declares that the said old Vulgate edition, which has been approved by the Church itself through long usage for so many centuries in public lectures, disputations, sermons, and expositions, be considered authentic, and that no one under any pretext whatsoever dare or presume to reject it.

786 Furthermore, in order to curb impudent clever persons, the synod decrees that no one who relies on his own judgment in matters of faith and morals, which pertain to the building up of Christian doctrine, and that no one who distorts the Sacred Scripture according to his own opinions, shall dare to interpret the said Sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which is held by holy mother Church, whose duty it is to judge regarding the true sense and interpretation of holy Scriptures, or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers, even though interpretations of this kind were never intended to be brought to light. Let those who shall oppose this be reported by their ordinaries and be punished with the penalties prescribed by law. . . . [Then laws are listed concerning the printing and approbation of books, for which among other matters the decree is:] that henceforth the Sacred Scripture, especially the aforesaid old and Vulgate edition, be printed as correctly as possible, and that no one be allowed either to print or cause to be printed any books whatever concerning sacred matters without the name of the author, nor to sell them in the future or even to keep them, unless they have been first examined and approved by the ordinary. . .

Session v (June 17, 1546)

Decree On Original Sin *

787 That our Catholic faith, "without which it is impossible to please God"[Heb. 11:16] may after the purging of errors continue in its own perfect and spotless purity, and that the Christian people may not be "carried about with every wind of doctrine" [Eph. 4:14], since that old serpent, the perpetual enemy of the human race, among the very many evils with which the Church of God in these our times is troubled, has stirred up not only new, but even old dissensions concerning original sin and its remedy, the sacred ecumenical and general Synod of Trent lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit with the same three legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, wishing now to proceed to the recalling of the erring and to the confirming of the wavering, and following the testimonies of the Holy Scriptures and of the holy Fathers and of the most approved Councils, as well as the judgment and the unanimity of the Church itself, has established, confesses, and declares the following concerning original sin:

788 I. If anyone does not confess that the first man Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost his holiness and the justice in which he had been established, and that he incurred through the offense of that prevarication the wrath and indignation of God and hence the death with which God had previously threatened him, and with death captivity under his power, who thenceforth "had the empire of death" [Heb. 2:14], that is of the devil, and that through that offense of prevarication the entire Adam was transformed in body and soul for the worse [see n. 174], let him be anathema.

789 2. If anyone asserts that the transgression of Adam has harmed him alone and not his posterity, and that the sanctity and justice, received from God, which he lost, he has lost for himself alone and not for us also; or that he having been defiled by the sin of disobedience has transfused only death "and the punishments of the body into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul," let him be anathema, since he contradicts the Apostle who says: "By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned" [Rom. 5:12; see n. 175].

790 3. If anyone asserts that this sin of Adam, which is one in origin and transmitted to all is in each one as his own by propagation, not by imitation, is taken away either by the forces of human nature, or by any remedy other than the merit of the one mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ [see n. 711], who has reconciled us to God in his own blood, "made unto us justice, sanctification, and redemption" [1 Cor. 1:30]; or if he denies that that merit of Jesus Christ is applied to adults as well as to infants by the sacrament of baptism, rightly administered in the form of the Church: let him be anathema. "For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved . . ." [Acts 4:12]. Whence that word: "Behold the lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sins of the world" [John 1:29]. And that other: "As many of you as have been baptized, have put on Christ" [Gal. 3:27].

791 4. "If anyone denies that infants newly born from their mothers' wombs are to be baptized," even though they be born of baptized parents, "or says they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which must be expiated by the laver of regeneration" for the attainment of life everlasting, whence it follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins is understood to be not true, but false: let him be anathema. For what the Apostle has said: "By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned" [Rom. 5:12], is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For by reason of this rule of faith from a tradition of the apostles even infants, who could not as yet commit any sins of themselves, are for this reason truly baptized for the remission of sins, so that in them there may be washed away by regeneration, what they have contracted by generation, [see n. 102]. "For unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" [John 3:5].

792 5. If anyone denies that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted, or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away, but says that it is only touched in person or is not imputed, let him be anathema. For in those who are born again, God hates nothing, because "there is no condemnation, to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism unto death" [Rom. 6:4], who do not "walk according to the flesh" [Rom. 8:1], but putting off "the old man" and putting on the "new, who is created according to God" [Eph. 4:22 ff.; Col. 3:9 ff.], are made innocent, immaculate, pure, guiltless and beloved sons of God, "heirs indeed of God, but co-heirs with Christ" [Rom.8:17], SO that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven. But this holy Synod confesses and perceives that there remains in the baptized concupiscence of an inclination, although this is left to be wrestled with, it cannot harm those who do not consent, but manfully resist by the grace of Jesus Christ. Nay, indeed, "he who shall have striven lawfully, shall be crowned" [2 Tim. 2:5]. This concupiscence, which at times the Apostle calls sin [Rom. 6:12 ff.] the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood to be called sin, as truly and properly sin in those born again, but because it is from sin and inclines to sin. But if anyone is of the contrary opinion, let him be anathema.

 6. This holy Synod declares nevertheless that it is not its intention to include in this decree, where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary mother of God, but that the constitutions of Pope SIXTUS IV of happy memory are to be observed, under the penalties contained in these constitutions, which it renews [see n. 734 ff:].

SESSION VI (Jan. 13, 1547)

Decree On Justification *


792a  Since at this time not without the loss of many souls and grave detriment to the unity of the Church there is disseminated a certain erroneous doctrine concerning justification, the holy ecumenical and general synod of Trent lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, the Most Reverends John Maria, Bishop of Praeneste, de Monte, and Marcellus, priest of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, cardinals of the Holy Roman Church and apostolic legates a latere, presiding therein in the name of our Most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, Paul, the third Pope by the providence of God, for the praise and glory of Almighty God, for the tranquillity of the Church and the salvation of souls, purpose to expound to all the faithful of Christ the true and salutary doctrine of justification, which the "son of justice" [Mal. 4:2], Christ Jesus, "the author and finisher of our faith" [Heb. 12:2] taught, the apostles transmitted and the Catholic Church, under the instigation of the Holy Spirit, has always retained, strictly forbidding that anyone henceforth may presume to believe, preach or teach, otherwise than is defined and declared by this present decree.

Chap. 1. On the Inability of Nature and of the Law to Justify Man

793 The holy Synod decrees first that for a correct and sound understanding of the doctrine of justification it is necessary that each one recognize and confess that, whereas all men had lost their innocence in the prevarication of Adam [Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22: see n. 130], "having become unclean" [Isa. 64:6], and (as the Apostle says), "by nature children of wrath" [Eph. 2:3], as it (the Synod) has set forth in the decree on original sin, to that extent were they the servants of sin [Rom. 5:20], and under the power of the devil and of death, that not only the gentiles by the force of nature [can. 1], but not even the Jews by the very letter of the law of Moses were able to be liberated or to rise therefrom, although free will was not extinguished in them [can. 5], however weakened and debased in its powers [see n. 81].

Chap. 2. On the Dispensation and Mystery of the Advent of Christ

794 Whereby it came to pass that the heavenly Father, "the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort" [2 Cor. 1:3], when that "blessed fullness of time" was come [Eph. 1:10; Gal. 4:4] sent to men Christ Jesus [can. 1], his Son, who had been announced and promised [cf. Gen. 49:10, 18], both before the Law and at the time of the Law to many holy Fathers, that He might both redeem the Jews, who were under the Law, and the "gentiles, who did not follow after justice, might attain to justice" [Rom. 9:30], and that all men "might receive the adoption of sons" [Gal. 4:5]. "Him God has proposed as a propitiator through faith in his blood, for our sins" [Rom. 3:25], and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world [1 John 2:2].

Chap. 3. Who are Justifed Through Christ

795 But although Christ died for all [2 Cor. 5:15], yet not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated. For, as indeed men would not be born unjust, if they were not born through propagation of the seed of Adam, since by that propagation they contract through him, in conception, injustice as their own, so unless they were born again in Christ, they never would be justified [can. 2 and 10], since in that new birth through the merit of His passion, the grace, whereby they are made just, is bestowed upon them. For this benefit the Apostle exhorts us always to "give thanks to the Father who has made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light" [Col. 1:12], "and has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption and remission of sins [Col. 1:13 ff.].

Chap. 4. A Description of the Justification of the Sinner, and Its

Mode in the State of Grace is Recommended

796 In these words a description of the justification of a sinner is given as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of the "adoption of the sons" [Rom. 8:15] of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior; and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected except through the laver of regeneration [can. 5 de bapt.], or a desire for it, as it is written: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" [John 3:5].

Chap. 5. On the Necessity of Preparation for Justification of

Adults, and Whence it Proceeds

797 It [the Synod] furthermore declares that in adults the beginning of that justification must be derived from the predisposing grace [can. 3] of God through Jesus Christ, that is, from his vocation, whereby without any existing merits on their part they are called, so that they who by sin were turned away from God, through His stimulating and assisting grace are disposed to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and cooperating with the same grace [can. 4 and 5], in such wise that, while God touches the heart of man through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself receiving that inspiration does not do nothing at all inasmuch as he can indeed reject it, nor on the other hand can he [can. 3] of his own free will without the grace of God move himself to justice before Him. Hence, when it is said in the Sacred Writings: "Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you" [Zach. 1:3], we are reminded of our liberty; when we reply: "Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted" [Lam. 5:21], we confess that we are anticipated by the grace of God.

Chap. 6. The Manner of Preparation

798 Now they are disposed to that justice [can. 7 and 9] when, aroused and assisted by divine grace, receiving faith "by hearing" [Rom. 10:17], they are freely moved toward God, believing that to be true which has been divinely revealed and promised [can. 12 and 14], and this especially, that the sinner is justified by God through his grace, "through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" [Rom. 3:24], and when knowing that they are sinners, turning themselves away from the fear of divine justice, by which they are profitably aroused [can. 8], to a consideration of the mercy of God, they are raised to hope, trusting that God will be merciful to them for the sake of Christ, and they begin to love him as the source of all justice and are therefore moved against sins by a certain hatred and detestation [can. 9], that is, by that repentance, which must be performed before baptism [Acts 2:38]; and finally when they resolve to receive baptism, to begin a new life and to keep the commandments of God. Concerning this disposition it is written: "He that cometh to God must believe, that he is and is a rewarder to them that seek him" [Heb. 11:6], and, "Be of good faith, son, thy sins are forgiven thee" [Matt. 9:2; Mark 2:5], and, "The fear of the Lord driveth out sin" [Sirach. 1:27], and, "Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the Holy Spirit" [Acts 2:38], and, "Going therefore teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" [Matt. 28:19], and finally, "Prepare your hearts unto the Lord" [1 Samuel 7:3].

Chap. 7. In What the Justification of the Sinner Consists, and

What are its Causes

799 Justification itself follows this disposition or preparation, which is not merely remission of sins [can. II], but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts, whereby an unjust man becomes a just man, and from being an enemy becomes a friend, that he may be "an heir according to hope of life everlasting" [Tit. 3:7]. The causes of this justification are: the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Christ and life eternal; the efficient cause is truly a merciful God who gratuitously "washes and sanctifies" [1 Cor. 6:11], "signing and anointing with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance" [Eph. 1:13f.]; but the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, "who when we were enemies" [cf. Rom. 5:10], "for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us" [Eph. 2:4], merited justification for us [can. 10] by His most holy passion on the wood of the Cross, and made satisfaction for us to God the Father; the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the "sacrament of faith,''* without which no one is ever justified. Finally the unique formal cause is the "justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but by which He makes us just" * [can. 10 and 11], that, namely, by which, when we are endowed with it by him, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and not only are we reputed, but we are truly called and are just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the "Holy Spirit distributes to everyone as he wills" [1. Cor. 12:11], and according to each one's own disposition and cooperation.

800 For although no one can be just but he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet this does take place in this justification of the ungodly when by the merit of that same most holy passion "the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Spirit in the hearts" [Rom. 5:5] of those who are justified, and inheres in them [can. II]. Hence man through Jesus Christ, into whom he is ingrafted, receives in the said justification together with the remission of sins all these [gifts] infused at the same time: faith, hope, and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added to it, neither unites one perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of his body. For this reason it is most truly said that "faith without works is dead" [Jas.2:17],and is of no profit [can. 19], and "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith, which worketh by charity" [Gal. 5:6; 6:15]. This faith, in accordance with apostolic tradition, catechumens beg of the Church before the sacrament of baptism, when they ask for "faith which bestows life eternal,''* which without hope and charity faith cannot bestow. Thence also they hear immediately the word of Christ: "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" [Matt. 19:17; can. 18-20]. Therefore, when receiving true and Christian justice, they are commanded immediately on being reborn, to preserve it pure and spotless as the "first robe" [Luke 15:22] given to them through Christ Jesus in place of that which Adam by his disobedience lost for himself and for us, so that they may bear it before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ and have life eternal. *

Chap. 8. How One is to Understand the Gratuitous Justification of a Sinner by Faith

801 But when the Apostle says that man is justified "by faith" [can. 9] and "freely" [Rom. 3:22, 24], these words must be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted consent of the Catholic Church has held and expressed, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because "faith is the beginning of human salvation," * the foundation and root of all justification, "without which it is impossible to please God" [Heb. 11 :6] and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and are, therefore, said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things which precede justification, whether faith, or works merit the grace itself of justification; for, "if it is a grace, it is not now by reason of works; otherwise (as the same Apostle says) grace is no more grace" [Rom.11:6].

Chap. 9. Against the Vain Confidence of Heretics

802 Although it is necessary to believe that sins are neither forgiven, nor ever have been forgiven, except gratuitously by divine mercy for Christ's sake, yet it must not be said that sins are forgiven or have been forgiven to anyone who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the forgiveness of his sins and rests on that alone, since among heretics and schismatics this vain confidence, remote from all piety [can. 12], may exist, indeed in our own troubled times does exist, and is preached against the Catholic Church with vigorous opposition. But neither is this to be asserted, that they who are truly justified without any doubt whatever should decide for themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and is justified, except him who believes with certainty that he is absolved and justified, and that by this faith alone are absolution and justification effected [can. 14], as if he who does not believe this is doubtful of the promises of God and of the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For, just as no pious person should doubt the mercy of God, the merit of Christ, and the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, so every one, when he considers himself and his own weakness and indisposition, may entertain fear and apprehension as to his own grace [can. 13], since no one can know with the certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.

Chap. 10. Concerning the Increase of Justification Received

803 Having, therefore, been thus justified and having been made the "friends of God" and "his domestics" [John 15:15; Eph. 2:19], "advancing from virtue to virtue" [Ps. 83:8], "they are renewed" (as the Apostle says) "from day to day" [2 Cor. 4:16], that is, by mortifying the members of their flesh [Col. 3:5], and by "presenting them as instruments of justice" [Rom. 6:13, 19], unto sanctification through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church; in this justice received through the grace of Christ "faith cooperating with good works" [Jas. 2:22], they increase and are further justified [can. 24 and 32], as it is written: "He that is just, let him be justified still" [Rev. 22:11], and again: "Be not afraid to be justified even to death" [Sirach. 18:22], and again: "You see, that by works a man is justified and not by faith only" [Jas. 2:24]. And this increase of justice Holy Church begs for, when she prays: "Give unto us, O Lord, an increase of faith, hope and charity" [13th Sun. after Pent.].

Chap. II. The Observance of the Commandments, and the Necessity and Possibility thereof

804 But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments [can. 20]; no one should make use of that rash statement forbidden under an anathema by the Fathers, that the commandments of God are impossible to observe for a man who is justified [can. 18 and 22: cf. n. 200]. "For God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes you both to do what you can do, and to pray for what you cannot do, and assists you that you may be able"; * "whose commandments are not heavy" [1 John 5:3], "whose yoke is sweet and whose burden is light" [Matt. 11:30]. For they who are the sons of God, love Christ: "but they who love him, (as He Himself testifies) keep his words" [John 14:23], which indeed with the divine help they can do. For although in this mortal life men however holy and just fall at times into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial [can. 23], they do not for that reason cease to be just. For that word of the just, "Forgive us our trespasses" [Matt. 6:12; cf. n.107], is both humble and true. Thus it follows that the just ought to feel themselves more bound to walk in the way of justice, in that having been now "freed from sin and made servants of God" [Rom. 6:22], "living soberly and justly and piously" [Tit. 2:12], they can proceed onwards through Christ Jesus, through whom they "have access unto this grace" [Rom. 5:2]. For God "does not forsake those who have once been justified by His grace, unless He be first forsaken by them." * And so no one should flatter himself because of faith alone [can. 9, 19, 20], thinking that by faith alone he is made an heir and will obtain the inheritance, even though he suffer not with Christ "that he may be also glorified" [Rom. 8:17]. For even Christ Himself (as the Apostle says), "whereas he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered and being made perfect he was made to all who obey him the cause of eternal salvation" [Heb. 5:8 ff.] For this reason the Apostle himself admonishes those justified saying: "Know you not, that they who run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that you may obtain. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty, I so fight, not as one beating the air, but I chastise my body and bring it under subjection, lest perhaps when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway" [1 Cor. 9:24ff.]. So also the chief of the Apostles, Peter: "Labor the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election; for doing these things, you shall not sin at any time" [2 Pet. 1:10]. Thence it is clear that they are opposed to the teaching of orthodox religion who say that the just man sins at least venially in every good work [can. 25], or (what is more intolerable) that he merits eternal punishments; and that they also who declare that the just sin in all works, if in those works, in order to stimulate their own sloth and to encourage themselves to run in the race, with this (in view), that above all God may be glorified, they have in view also the eternal reward [can. 26, 31], since it is written: "I have inclined my heart to do thy justifications on account of the reward" [Ps. 118:112], and of Moses the Apostle says, that he "looked to the reward" [Heb. 11:26].

Chap. 12. Rash Presumption of Predestination is to be Avoided

805 No one moreover, so long as he lives in this mortal state, ought so far to presume concerning the secret mystery of divine predestination, as to decide for certain that he is assuredly in the number of the predestined [can. 15], as if it were true that he who is justified either cannot sin any more [can. 23], or if he shall have sinned, that he ought to promise himself an assured reformation. For except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God has chosen for Himself [can. 16].

Chap. 13. The Gift of Perseverance

806 So also as regards the gift of perseverance [can. 16] of which it is written: He that "shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved" [Matt. 10:22; 24:13] (which gift cannot be obtained from anyone except from Him, "who is able to make him, who stands, stand" [Rom. 14:4], that he may stand perseveringly, and to raise him, who falls), let no one promise himself anything as certain with absolute certitude, although all ought to place and repose a very firm hope in God's help. For God, unless men be wanting in His grace, as He has begun a good work, so will He perfect it, "working to will and to accomplish" [Phil. 2:13; can. 22]. * Nevertheless, let those "who think themselves to stand, take heed lest they fall" [1 Cor. 10:12], and "with fear and trembling work out their salvation" [Phil. 2:12] in labors, in watchings, in almsdeeds, in prayers and oblations, in fastings and chastity [cf. 2 Cor. 6:3 ff.]. For they ought to fear, knowing that they are born again "unto the hope of glory" [cf. 1 Rom. Pet. 1:3], and not as yet unto glory in the combat that yet remains with the flesh, with the world, with the devil, in which they cannot be victors, unless with God's grace they obey the Apostle saying: "We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die. But if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live" [Rom. 8:12 ff.].

Chap. 14. The Fallen and Their Restoration

807 Those who by sin have fallen away from the received grace of justification, will again be able to be justified [can. 29] when, roused by God through the sacrament of penance, they by the merit of Christ shall have attended to the recovery of the grace lost. For this manner of justification is the reparation of one fallen, which the holy Fathers * have aptly called a second plank after the shipwreck of lost grace. For on behalf of those who after baptism fall into sin, Christ Jesus instituted the sacrament of penance, when He said: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" [John 20:22, 23]. Hence it must be taught that the repentance of a Christian after his fall is very different from that at his baptism, and that it includes not only a cessation from sins, and a detestation of them, or "a contrite and humble heart" [Ps. 50:19], but also the sacramental confession of the same, at least in desire and to be made in its season, and sacerdotal absolution, as well as satisfaction by fasting, almsgiving, prayers, and other devout exercises of the spiritual life, not indeed for the eternal punishment, which is remitted together with the guilt either by the sacrament or the desire of the sacrament, but for the temporal punishment [can. 30], which (as the Sacred Writings teach) is not always wholly remitted, as is done in baptism, to those who ungrateful to the grace of God which they have received, "have grieved the Holy Spirit" [cf. Eph. 4:30], and have not feared to "violate the temple of God" [1 Cor. 3:17]. Of this repentance it is written: "Be mindful, whence thou art fallen, do penance, and do the first works" [Rev. 2:5], and again: "The sorrow which is according to God, worketh penance steadfast unto salvation" [2 Cor. 7:10], and again: "Do penance" [Matt. 3:2; 4:17], and, "Bring forth fruits worthy of penance" [Matt. 3:8].

Chap. 15. By Every Mortal Sin Grace is Lost, but not Faith

808 Against the crafty genius of certain men also, who "by pleasing speeches and good words seduce the hearts of the innocent" [Rom. 16:18], it must be maintained that the grace of justification, although received, is lost not only by infidelity [can. 27], whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin, although faith be not lost [can. 28], thereby defending the doctrine of the divine law which excludes from the kingdom of God not only the unbelievers, but also the faithful who are "fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liers with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners" [1 Cor. 6:9 ff.], and all others who commit deadly sins, from which with the assistance of divine grace they can refrain and for which they are separated from the grace of God [can. 27].

Chap. 16. The Fruit of Justipration, that is, the Merit of Good

Works, and the Reasonableness of that Merit

809 To men, therefore, who have been justified in this respect, whether they have preserved uninterruptedly the grace received, or have recovered it when lost, the words of the Apostle are to be submitted: "Abound in every good work, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" [1 Cor. 15:58]; "for God is not unjust, that he should forget your work and the love, which you have shown in his name" [Heb. 6:10], and: "Do not lose your confidence, which has a great reward" [Heb. 10:35]. And therefore to those who work well "unto the end" [Matt. 10:22], and who trust in God, life eternal is to be proposed, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Christ Jesus, "and as a recompense" * which is according to the promise of God Himself to be faithfully given to their good works and merits [can. 26 and 32]. For this is that "crown of justice which after his fight and course" the Apostle declared "was laid up for him, to be rendered to him by the just judge and not only to him, but also to all that love his coming" [2 Tim. 4:7ff.]. For since Christ Jesus Himself as the "head into the members" [Eph. 4:15], and "as the vine into the branches" [John 15:5] continually infuses His virtue into the said justified, a virtue which always precedes their good works, and which accompanies and follows them, and without which they could in no wise be pleasing and meritorious before God [can. 2], we must believe that to those justified nothing more is wanting from being considered [can. 32] as having satisfied the divine law by those works which have been done in God according to the state of this life, and as having truly merited eternal life to be obtained in its own time (if they shall have departed this life in grace [Rev. 14:13]), since Christ our Lord says: "If anyone shall drink of the water, that I will give him, he shall not thirst forever, but it shall become in him a fountain of water springing up unto life everlasting" [John 4:14]. Thus neither is "our own justice established as our own" from ourselves, nor is the justice of God [Rom. 10:3] "ignored" or repudiated; for that justice which is called ours, because we are justified [can. 10 and 11] through its inherence in us, that same is (the justice) of God, because it is infused into us by God through the merit of Christ.

810 Nor indeed is this to be omitted, that although in the sacred Writings so much is ascribed to good works, that even "he that shall give a drink of cold water to one of his least ones" Christ promises "shall not lose his reward" [Matt. 10:42], and the Apostle testifies "that that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory" [2 Cor. 4:17]; nevertheless far be it that a Christian should either trust or "glory" in himself and not "in the Lord" [cf. 1 Cor. 1:31; 2 Cor. 10:17], whose goodness towards all men is so great that He wishes the things which are His gifts [see n. 141] to be their own merits [can. 32]. And whereas "in many things we all offend" [Jas. 3:2; can. 23], each one should have before his eyes the severity and judgment as well as mercy and goodness; neither ought anyone to judge himself, even though he be "not conscious to himself of anything," since the whole life of men must be judged and examined not by the judgment of men, but of God, who "will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise from God" [1 Cor.4:4ff.], "who," as it is written, "will render to every man according to his works" [Rom. 2:6].

 After this Catholic doctrine of justification [can. 33]--which, unless he faithfully and firmly accepts it, no one can be justified--it seemed good to the holy Synod to add these canons, so that all may know, not only what they must hold and follow, but also what they ought to shun and avoid.

Canons On Justification *

811 Can. I. If anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done either by his own natural powers, or through the teaching of the Law, and without divine grace through Christ Jesus: let him be anathema [cf. n. 793 ff.].

812 Can. 2. If anyone shall say that divine grace through Christ Jesus is given for this only, that man may more easily be able to live justly and merit eternal life, as if by free will without grace he were able to do both, though with difficulty and hardship: let him be anathema [cf. n. 795, 809].

813 Can. 3. If anyone shall say that without the anticipatory inspiration of the Holy Spirit and without His assistance man can believe, hope, and love or be repentant, as he ought, so that the grace of justification may be conferred upon him: let him be anathema [cf. n. 797].

814 Can. 4. If anyone shall say that man's free will moved and aroused by God does not cooperate by assenting to God who rouses and calls, whereby it disposes and prepares itself to obtain the grace of justification, and that it cannot dissent, if it wishes, but that like something inanimate it does nothing at all and is merely in a passive state: let him be anathema [cf. n. 797].

815 Can. 5. If anyone shall say that after the sin of Adam man's free will was lost and destroyed, or that it is a thing in name only, indeed a title without a reality, a fiction, moreover, brought into the Church by Satan: let him be anathema [cf. n. 793, 797].

816 Can. 6. If anyone shall say that it is not in the power of man to make his ways evil, but that God produces the evil as well as the good works, not only by permission, but also properly and of Himself, so that the betrayal of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul: let him be anathema.

817 Can. 7. If anyone shall say that all works that are done before justification, in whatever manner they have been done, are truly sins or deserving of the hatred of God, or that the more earnestly anyone strives to dispose himself for grace, so much the more grievously does he sin: let him be anathema [cf. n. 798].

818 Can. 8. If anyone shall say that the fear of hell, whereby by grieving for sins we flee to the mercy of God or refrain from sinning, is a sin or makes sinners worse: let him be anathema [cf. n. 798].

819 Can. 9. If anyone shall say that by faith alone the sinner is justified, so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will: let him be anathema [cf. n. 798, 801, 804].

820 Can. 10. If anyone shall say that men are justified without the justice of Christ by which He merited for us, or that by that justice itself they are formally just: let him be anathema [cf. n. 798, 799].

821 Can. 11. If anyone shall say that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of grace and charity, which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and remains in them, or even that the grace by which we are justified is only the favor of God: let him be anathema [cf. n. 799ff., 809].

822 Can. 12. If anyone shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this confidence alone by which we are justified: let him be anathema [cf. n. 798, 802].

823 Can. 13. If anyone shall say that it is necessary for every man in order to obtain the remission of sins to believe for certain and without any hesitation due to his own weakness and indisposition that his sins are forgiven him: let him be anathema [cf. n. 802].

824 Can. 14. If anyone shall say that man is absolved from his sins and justified, because he believes for certain that he is absolved and justified, or that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified, and that by this faith alone absolution and justification are perfected: let him be anathema [cf. n. 802].

825 Can. 15. If anyone shall say that a man who is born again and justified is bound by faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestined: let him be anathema [cf. n. 805].

826 Can. 16. If anyone shall say that he will for certain with an absolute and infallible certainty have that great gift of perseverance up to the end, unless he shall have learned this by a special revelation: let him be anathema [cf. n.805ff.].

827 Can. 17. If anyone shall say that the grace of justification is attained by those only who are predestined unto life, but that all others, who are called, are called indeed, but do not receive grace, as if they are by divine power predestined to evil: let him be anathema [cf. n. 800].

828 Can. 18. If anyone shall say that the commandments of God are even for a man who is justified and confirmed in grace impossible to observe: let him be anathema [cf. n. 804].

829 Can. 19. If anyone shall say that nothing except faith is commanded in the Gospel, that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor prohibited, but free, or that the ten commandments in no way pertain to Christians: let him be anathema [cf. n. 800].

830 Can. 20. If anyone shall say that a man who is justified and ever so perfect is not bound to observe the commandments of God and the Church, but only to believe, as if indeed the Gospel were a mere absolute promise of eternal life, without the condition of observation of the commandments: let him be anathema [cf. n. 804].

831 Can. 21. If anyone shall say that Christ Jesus has been given by God to men as a Redeemer in whom they should trust, and not also as a legislator, whom they should obey: let him be anathema.

832 Can. 22. If anyone shall say that he who is justified can either persevere in the justice received without the special assistance of God, or that with that [assistance] he cannot: let him be anathema [cf. n. 804, 806].

833 Can. 23. If anyone shall say that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he who falls and sins was never truly justified; or, on the contrary, that throughout his whole life he can avoid all sins even venial sins, except by a special privilege of God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin: let him be anathema [cf. n. 805, 810].

834 Can. 24. If anyone shall say, that justice received is not preserved and also not increased in the sight of God through good works but that those same works are only the fruits and signs of justification received, but not a cause of its increase: let him be anathema [cf. n. 803].

835 Can. 25. If anyone shall say that in every good work the just one sins at least venially, or (what is more intolerable) mortally, and therefore deserves eternal punishments, and that it is only because God does not impute those works unto damnation that he is not damned, let him be anathema [cf. n. 804].

836 Can. 26. If anyone shall say that the just ought not to expect and hope for an eternal recompense from God and the merit of Jesus Christ for the good works which have been performed in trod, if by doing well and in keeping the divine commandments they persevere even to the end: let him be anathema [cf. n. 809].

837 Can. 27. If anyone shall say that there is no mortal sin except that of infidelity, or that grace once received is not lost by any other sin however grievous and enormous, except the sin of infidelity: let him be anathema [cf. n. 808].

838 Can. 28. If anyone shall say that together with the loss of grace by sin faith also is always lost, or that the faith that remains is not a true faith, though it be not a living one, or that he, who has faith without charity, is not a Christian: let him be anathema [cf. n. 808].

839 Can. 29. If anyone shall say that he who has fallen after baptism cannot by the grace of God rise again; or that he can indeed recover lost justice, but by faith alone without the sacrament of penance, contrary to what the holy Roman and universal Church, taught by Christ the Lord and His apostles, has hitherto professed, observed, and taught: let him be anathema [cf. n. 807].

840 Can. 30. If anyone shall say that after the reception of the grace of justification, to every penitent sinner the guilt is so remitted and the penalty of eternal punishment so blotted out that no penalty of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in the world to come in purgatory before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened: let him be anathema [cf. n. 807].

841 Can.31. If anyone shall say that the one justified sins, when he performs good works with a view to an eternal reward: let him be anathema [cf. n. 804]

842 Can. 32. If anyone shall say that the good works of the man justified are in such a way the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him who is justified, or that the one justified by the good works, which are done by him through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ (whose living member he is), does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life (if he should die in grace), and also an increase of glory: let him be anathema [cf. n. 803and 809].

843 Can. 33. If anyone shall say that because of this Catholic doctrine of justification as set forth by the holy Synod in this present decree, there is in some degree a detraction from the glory of God or from the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that the truth of our faith, and in fact the glory of God and of Jesus Christ are not rather rendered illustrious: let him be anathema [cf. n. 810]

SESSION Vll (March 3, 1547)

Foreword *

843a For the completion of the salutary doctrine of justification, which was a promulgated in the last session with the unanimous consent of the Fathers, it has seemed fitting to treat of the most holy sacraments of the Church, through which all true justice either begins, or being begun is increased or being lost is restored. Therefore the holy, ecumenical, and general Synod of Trent lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit with the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein, in order to destroy the errors, and to uproot the heresies concerning these most holy sacraments, which in this stormy period of ours have been both revived from the heresies previously condemned by our Fathers, and also have been invented anew, which are exceedingly detrimental to the purity of the Catholic Church and to the salvation of souls; this Synod in adhering to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, to the apostolic traditions and to the unanimous opinion of other councils and of the Fathers, has thought it proper to establish and decree these present canons, intending (with the assistance of the divine Spirit) to publish later the remaining which are wanting for the completion of the work begun.

Canons on the Sacraments in General

844 Can. I. If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, or that there are more or less than seven, namely baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, order, and matrimony, or even that anyone of these seven is not truly and strictly speaking a sacrament: let him be anathema.

845 Can. 2. If anyone shall say that these same sacraments of the new Law do not differ from the sacraments of the Old Law, except that the ceremonies are different and the outward rites are different: let him be anathema.

846 Can. 3. If anyone shall say that these seven sacraments are equal to each other in such a way that one is not for any reason more worthy than the other: let him be anathema.

847 Can. 4. If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that, although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification; let him be anathema.

848 Can. 5. If anyone shall say that these sacraments have been instituted for the nourishing of faith alone: let him be anathema.

849 Can. 6. If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law do not contain the grace which they signify, or that they do not confer that grace on those who do not place an obstacle in the way, as-though they were only outward signs of grace or justice, received through faith, and certain marks of the Christian profession by which the faithful among men are distinguished from the unbelievers: let him be anathema.

850 Can. 7. If anyone shall say that grace, as far as concerns God's part, is not given through the sacraments always and to all men, even though they receive them rightly, but only sometimes and to some persons: let him be anathema.

851 Can. 8. If anyone shall say that by the said sacraments of the New Law, grace is not conferred from the work which has been worked [ex opere operato], but that faith alone in the divine promise suffices to obtain grace: let him be anathema.

852 Can. 9. If anyone shall say that in the three sacraments, namely, baptism, confirmation, and orders, there is not imprinted on the soul a sign, that is, a certain spiritual and indelible mark, on account of which they cannot be repeated: let him be anathema.

853 Can. 10. If anyone shall say that all Christians have power to administer the word and all the sacraments: let him be anathema.

854 Can. 11. If anyone shall say that in ministers, when they effect and confer the sacraments, the intention at least of doing what the Church does is not required: let him be anathema.

855 Can. 12. If anyone shall say that a minister who is in mortal sin, although he observes all the essentials which pertain to the performance or conferring of the sacrament, neither performs nor confers the sacrament: let him be anathema.

856 Can. 13. If anyone shall say that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church accustomed to be used in the solemn administration of the sacraments may be disdained or omitted by the minister without sin and at pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches to other new ones: let him be anathema.

Canons on the Sacrament of Baptism *

857 Can. 1. If anyone shall say that the baptism of John had the same force as the baptism of Christ: let him be anathema.

858 Can. 2. If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit" (John 3:5), are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema.

859 Can. 3. If anyone shall say that in the Roman Church (which is the mother and the teacher of all churches) there is not the true doctrine concerning the sacrament of baptism: let him be anathema.

860  Can. 4. If anyone shall say that the baptism, which is also given by heretics in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, with the intention of doing what the Church does, is not true baptism: let him be anathema.

861 Can. 5. If anyone shall say that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation: let him be anathema [cf. n.796 ].

862 Can. 6. If anyone shall say that one who is baptized cannot, even if he wishes, lose grace, however much he may sin, unless he is unwilling to believe: let him be anathema [cf. n. 808].

863 Can. 7. If anyone shall say that those who are baptized are by baptism itself made debtors to faith alone, and not to the observance of the whole law of Christ: let him be anathema [cf. n. 802].

864 Can. 8. If anyone shall say that those baptized are free from all precepts of the holy Church, which are either written or handed down, so that they are not bound to observe them, unless they of their own accord should wish to submit themselves to them: let him be anathema.

865 Can. 9. If anyone shall say that men are to be so recalled to the remembrance of the baptism which they have received, that they understand that all the vows which have been taken after baptism are void by virtue of the promise already made in baptism itself, as if by them they detracted from the faith which they professed, and from the baptism itself: let him be anathema.

866  Can. 10. If anyone shall say that all sins which are committed after baptism are either remitted or made venial by the mere remembrance and the faith of the baptism received: let him be anathema.

867 Can. 11. If anyone shall say that baptism truly and rightly administered must be repeated for him who has denied the faith of Christ among infidels, when he is converted to repentance: let him be anathema.

868 Can. 12. If anyone shall say that no one is to be baptized except at that age at which Christ was baptized, or when at the very point of death, let him be anathema.

869 Can. 13. If anyone shall say that infants, because they have not actual faith, after having received baptism are not to be numbered among the faithful, and therefore, when they have reached the years of discretion, are to be rebaptized, or that it is better that their baptism be omitted than that they, while not believing, by their own act be baptized in the faith of the Church alone: let him be anathema.

870 Can. 14. If anyone shall say that those who have been baptized in this.manner as infants, when they have grown up, are to be questioned whether they wish to ratify what the sponsors promised in their name, when they were baptized, and if they should answer that they are not willing, that they must be left to their own will, and that they are not to be forced to a Christian life in the meantime by any other penalty, except that they be excluded from the reception of the Eucharist and of the other sacraments until they repent: let him be anathema.

Canons on the Sacrament of Confirmation*


871 Can. I. If anyone shall say that the confirmation of those baptized is an empty ceremony and not rather a true and proper sacrament, or that in former times it was nothing more than a kind of catechism, by which those approaching adolescence gave an account of their faith before the Church: let him be anathema.

872 Can. 2. If anyone shall say that they who ascribe any power to the sacred chrism of confirmation offer an outrage to the Holy Spirit: let him be anathema.

873 Can. 3. If anyone shall say that the ordinary minister of holy confirmation is not the bishop alone, but any simple priest: let him be anathema.


JULIUS III 1550-1555


SESSION XIII (Oct. II, 1551)

Decree On the Most Holy Eucharist *

873a The sacred and holy ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully a assembled in the Holy Spirit with the same legates and nuncios of the Apostolic See presiding therein, although it has convened for this purpose not without the special guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, namely to publish the true and ancient doctrine concerning faith and the sacraments, and to provide a remedy for all the heresies and other very serious troubles by which the Church of God is at present wretchedly agitated and torn into many different factions, yet from the beginning has had this especially among its desires, to uproot the "cockles" of execrable errors and schisms, which the enemy in these troubled times of our has "sown" [Matt. 13:25ff.], in the doctrine of the faith, in the use and worship of the sacred Eucharist, which our Savior, moreover, left in His Church as a symbol of that unity and charity with which He wished all Christians to be mutually bound and united. Therefore, this same sacred and holy synod, transmitting that sound and genuine doctrine of this venerable and divine sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Catholic Church, instructed by our Lord Jesus Christ himself and by his Apostles, and taught by the "Holy Spirit who day by day brings to her all truth" [John 14:26], has always held and will preserve even to the end of time, forbids all the faithful of Christ hereafter to venture to believe, teach, or preach concerning the Most Holy Eucharist otherwise than is explained and defined in this present decree.

Chap. 1. The Real Presence of our Lord Jesus in the Most

Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist

874 First of all the holy Synod teaches and openly and simply professes that in the nourishing sacrament of the Holy Eucharist after the consecration of the bread and wine our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially [can. I] contained under the species of those sensible things. For these things are not mutually contradictory, that our Savior Himself is always seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven according to the natural mode of existing, and yet that in many other places sacramentally He is present to us in His own substance by that manner of existence which, although we can scarcely express it in words, yet we can, however, by our understanding illuminated by faith, conceive to be possible to God, and which we ought most steadfastly to believe. For thus all our forefathers, as many as were in the true Church of Christ, who have discussed this most holy sacrament, have most openly professed that our Redeemer instituted this so wonderful a sacrament at the Last Supper, when after the blessing of the bread and wine He testified in clear and definite words that He gave them His own body and His own blood; and those words which are recorded [Matt. 26:26ff.; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19 ff.] by the holy Evangelists, and afterwards repeated by St. Paul [1 Cor. 11:23 ff.], since they contain within themselves that proper and very clear meaning in which they were understood by the Fathers, it is a most disgraceful thing for some contentious and wicked men to distort into fictitious and imaginary figures of speech, by which the real nature of the flesh and blood of Christ is denied, contrary to the universal sense of the Church, which, recognizing with an ever grateful and recollecting mind this most excellent benefit of Christ, as the pillar and ground of truth [1 Tim. 3:15], has detested these falsehoods, devised by impious men, as satanical.

Chap. 2. The Reason for the Institution of this

Most Holy Sacrament

875 Our Savior, therefore, when about to depart from this world to the Father, instituted this sacrament in which He poured forth, as it were, the riches of His divine love for men, "making a remembrance of his wonderful works" [Ps. 110:4], and He commanded us in the consuming of it to cherish His "memory" [1 Cor. 11:24], and "to show forth his death until He come" to judge the world [1 Cor. 11:23]. But He wished that this sacrament be received as the spiritual food of souls [Matt. 26:26], by which they may be nourished and strengthened [can. 5], living by the life of Him who said: "He who eateth me, the same also shall live by me" [John 6:58], and as an antidote, whereby we may be freed from daily faults and be preserved from mortal sins. He wished, furthermore, that this be a pledge of our future glory and of everlasting happiness, and thus be a symbol of that one "body" of which He Himself is the "head" [1 Cor. 11:23; Eph. 5:23], and to which He wished us to be united, as members, by the closest bond of faith, hope, and charity, that we might "all speak the same thing and there might be no schisms among us" [cf. 1 Cor. 1:10].

Chap. 3. The Excellence of the Most Holy Eucharist

Over the Other Sacraments

876  This, indeed, the most Holy Eucharist has in common with the other sacraments, that it is a "symbol of a sacred thing and a visible * form of an invisible grace"; but this excellent and peculiar thing is found in it, that the other sacraments first have the power of sanctifying, when one uses them, but in the Eucharist there is the Author of sanctity Himself before it is used [can. 4]. For the apostles had not yet received the Eucharist from the hand of the Lord [ Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22] when He Himself truly said that what He was offering was His body; and this belief has always been in the Church of God, that immediately after the consecration the true body of our Lord and His true blood together with His soul and divinity exist under the species of bread and wine; but the body indeed under the species of bread, and the blood under the species of wine by the force of the words, but the body itself under both by force of that natural connection and concomitance by which the parts of Christ the Lord, "who hath now risen from the dead to die no more" [ Rom. 6:9], are mutually united, the divinity also because of that admirable hypostatic union [can. I and 3] with His body and soul. Therefore, it is very true that as much is contained under either species as under both. For Christ whole and entire exists under the species of bread and under any part whatsoever of that species, likewise the whole (Christ) is present under the species of wine and under its parts [can. 3].

Chap. 4. Transubstantiation


877 But since Christ, our Redeemer, has said that that is truly His own body which He offered under the species of bread [cf. Matt. 26:26ff.; Mark 14:22ff.; Luke 22:19 ff.; 1 Cor. 11:23 ff.], it has always been a matter of conviction in the Church of God, and now this holy Synod declares it again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine a conversion takes place of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood. This conversion is appropriately and properly called transubstantiation by the Catholic Church [can. 2].

Chap. 5. The Worship and Veneration to be Shown to this

Most Holy Sacrament

878  There is, therefore, no room left for doubt that all the faithful of Christ in accordance with a custom always received in the Catholic Church offer in veneration [can. 6] the worship of latriawhich is due to the true God, to this most Holy Sacrament. For it is not less to be adored because it was instituted by Christ the Lord to be received [cf. Matt. 26:26 ff.]. For we believe that same God to be present therein, of whom the eternal Father when introducing Him into the world says: "And let all the Angels of God adore Him" [Heb. 1:6; Ps. 96:7], whom the Magi "falling down adored" [cf. Matt. 2:11], who finally, as the Scripture testifies [cf. Matt. 28:17], was adored by the apostles in Galilee. The holy Synod declares, moreover, that this custom was piously and religiously introduced into the Church of God, so that this sublime and venerable sacrament was celebrated every year on a special feast day with extraordinary veneration and solemnity, and was borne reverently and with honor in processions through the streets and public places. For it is most proper that some holy days be established when all Christians may testify, with an extraordinary and unusual expression, that their minds are grateful to and mindful of their common Lord and Redeemer for such an ineffable and truly divine a favor whereby the victory and triumph of His death is represented. And thus, indeed, ought victorious truth to celebrate a triumph over falsehood and heresy, that her adversaries, placed in view of so much splendor and amid such deep joy of the universal Church, may either vanish weakened and broken, or overcome and confounded by shame may some day recover their senses.

Chap. 6. The Reservation of the Sacrament of the

Holy Eucharist and Bearing it to the Sick


879 The custom of reserving the Holy Eucharist in a holy place is so ancient that even the age of the NICENE Council recognized it. Moreover, the injunction that the sacred Eucharist be carried to the sick, and be carefully reserved for this purpose in the churches, besides being in conformity with the greatest equity and reason, is also found in many councils, and has been observed according to a very ancient custom of the Catholic Church. Therefore this holy Synod decrees that this salutary and necessary custom be by all means retained [can. 7].

Chap. 7. The Preparation that Must be Employed to Receive

the Holy Eucharist Worthily

880  If it is not becoming for anyone to approach any of the sacred functions except solemnly, certainly, the more the holiness and the divinity of this heavenly sacrament is understood by a Christian, the more diligently ought he to take heed lest he approach to receive it without great reverence and holiness [can. 2], especially when we read in the Apostle those words full of terror: "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself not discerning the body of the Lord" [1 Cor. 11 :29 ]. Therefore, the precept, "Let a man prove himself" [1 Cor. 11:28], must be recalled to mind by him who wishes to communicate. Now ecclesiastical usage declares that this examination is necessary, that no one conscious of mortal sin, however contrite he may seem to himself, should approach the Holy Eucharist without a previous sacramental confession. This, the holy Synod has decreed, is always to be observed by all Christians, even by those priests on whom by their office it may be incumbent to celebrate, provided the recourses of a confessor be not lacking to them. But if in an urgent necessity a priest should celebrate without previous confession, let him confess as soon as possible [see n. 1138 ff.].


Chap. 8. The Use of the Admirable Sacrament

881  As to its use our Fathers have rightly and wisely distinguished three ways of receiving this Holy Sacrament. For they have taught that some receive it sacramentally only, as sinners; others only spiritually, namely those who eating with desire the heavenly bread set before them, by a living faith, "which worketh by charity" [ Gal. 5:6], perceive its fruit and usefulness; while the third receive it both sacramentally and spiritually [can. 8]; and these are they who so prove and prepare themselves previously that "clothed with the wedding garment" [ Matt. 22:11, ff.], they approach this divine table. Now as to the reception of the sacrament it has always been the custom in the Church of God for the laity to receive communion from the priests, but that the priests when celebrating should communicate themselves [can. 10]; this custom proceeding from an apostolical tradition should with reason and justice be retained.

882  And finally this holy Synod with paternal affection admonishes, exhorts, entreats, and beseeches, "through the bowels of the mercy of our God" [Luke 1 :78 ], that each and all, who are classed under the Christian name, will now finally agree and be of the same opinion in this "sign of unity," in this "bond of charity,'' * in this symbol of concord, and that mindful of so great a majesty and such boundless love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His own beloved soul as the price of our salvation, and gave us His "own flesh to eat" [John 6:48 ff.], they may believe and venerate these sacred mysteries of His body and blood with that constancy and firmness of faith, with that devotion of soul, that piety and worship, as to be able to receive frequently that "supersubstantial bread" [ Matt. 6:11], and that it may be to them truly the life of the soul and the perpetual health of mind, that being invigorated by the strength thereof [ 1Samuel 19:8], after the journey of this miserable pilgrimage, they may be able to arrive in their heavenly country to eat without any veil that same bread of angelsPs. 77:25 ] which they now eat under the sacred veils.

 But whereas it is not enough to declare the truth, unless errors be exposed and repudiated, it has seemed good to the holy Synod to subjoin these canons, so that all, now that the Catholic doctrine has been made known, may also understand what heresies are to be avoided and guarded against.

Canons on the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist *


883 Can. 1. If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist there are truly, really, and substantially contained the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ, but shall say that He is in it as by a sign or figure, or force, let him be anathema [cf. n. 874,876 ].

884 Can. 2. If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist there remains the substance of bread and wine together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the entire substance of the wine into the blood, the species of the bread and wine only remaining, a change which the Catholic Church most fittingly calls transubstantiation: let him be anathema [cf. n. 887 ]

885 Can 3. If anyone denies that the whole Christ is contained in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist under each species and under every part of each species, when the separation has been made: let him be anathema [cf. n. 876 ].

886 Can. 4. If anyone says that after the completion of the consecration that the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is not in the marvelous sacrament of the Eucharist, but only in use, while it is taken, not however before or after, and that in the hosts or consecrated particles, which are reserved or remain after communion, the true body of the Lord does not remain: let him be anathema [cf. n. 876 ].

887 Can. 5. If anyone says that the special fruit of the most Holy Eucharist is the remission of sins, or that from it no other fruits are produced: let him be anathema [cf. 875].

888  Can. 6: If anyone says that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the only-begotten Son of God is not to be adored even outwardly with the worship of latria(the act of adoration), and therefore not to be venerated with a special festive celebration, nor to be borne about in procession according to the praiseworthy and universal rite and custom of the holy Church, or is not to be set before the people publicly to be adored, and that the adorers of it are idolaters: let him be anathema [cf. n. 878]

889 Can. 7. If anyone says that it is not lawful that the Holy Eucharist be reserved in a sacred place, but must necessarily be distributed immediately after the consecration among those present; or that it is not permitted to bring it to the sick with honor: let him be anathema [cf. n. 879].

890  Can. 8. If anyone says that Christ received in the Eucharist is received only spiritually, and not also sacramentally and in reality: let him be anathema [cf.n. 881].

891   Can. 9. If anyone denies that all and each of the faithful of Christ of both sexes, when they have reached the years of discretion, are bound every year to communicate at least at Easter according to the precept of holy mother Church: let him be anathema [cf. n. 437].

892  Can. 10. If anyone says that it is not lawful for a priest celebrating to communicate himself: let him be anathema [cf. n. 881].

893  Can. 11. If anyone says that faith alone is sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist: let him be anathema. And that so great a Sacrament may not be unworthily received, and therefore unto death and condemnation, this holy Council ordains and declares that sacramental confession must necessarily be made beforehand by those whose conscience is burdened by mortal sin, however contrite they may consider themselves. If anyone moreover teaches the contrary or preaches or obstinately asserts, or even publicly by disputation shall presume to defend the contrary, by that fact itself he is excommunicated


SESSION XIV (NOV. 25, 1551)

Doctrine on the Sacrament of Penance*

893a  The holy ecumenical and general council of Trent, lawfully assembled a in the Holy Spirit with the same delegate and nuncios of the Holy Apostolic See presiding, although for a necessary reason much discussion on the sacrament of penance has been introduced in the decree on justification [see n. 807, 839], because of the kindred nature of the subjects, nevertheless so great is the number of errors of various kinds about this sacrament in this our age that it will be no small public advantage to have handed down a more exact and fuller definition, in which, after all errors have been displayed and refuted, Catholic truth should become clear and manifest; and this truth which this holy synod now proposes is to be preserved for all time by all Christians.

Chap. 1. The Necessity and Institution of the

Sacrament of Penance

894  If in all who have been regenerated, there were this gratitude toward God, so that they would constantly safeguard the justice received in baptism by His bounty and His grace, there would have been no need to institute [can. 2] another sacrament besides baptism for the remission of sins. But "since God, rich in mercy" [ Eph. 2:4] "knoweth our frame" Ps. 102:14], He offers a remedy of life even to those who may afterwards have delivered themselves to the servitude of sin, and to the power of Satan, namely, the sacrament of penance [can. 1], by which the benefit of the death of Christ is applied to those who have fallen after baptism. Penance has indeed been necessary for all men, who at any time whatever have stained themselves with mortal sin, in order to attain grace and justice, even for those who have desired to be cleansed by the sacrament of baptism, so that their perversity being renounced and amended, they might detest so great an offense against God with a hatred of sin and a sincere sorrow of heart. Therefore, the Prophet says: "Be converted and do penance for all your iniquities; and iniquity shall not be your ruin" [ Ezech. 18:30]. The Lord also said: "Except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish" [Luke 13:3]. And the prince of the apostles, Peter, recommending penance to sinners about to receive baptism said: "Do penance and be baptized every one of you" [Acts 2:38 ]. Moreover, neither before the coming of Christ was penance a sacrament, nor is it after His coming to anyone before baptism. But the Lord instituted the sacrament of penance then especially, when after His resurrection from the dead He breathed upon His disciples, saying: "Receive ye the Holy Spirit: whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" [ John 20:22]. In this act so significant and by words so clear, the consensus of all the Fathers has always recognized that the power of forgiving and retaining sins had been communicated to the apostles and their legitimate successors for reconciling the faithful who have fallen after baptism [can. 37], and that with good reason the Catholic Church has repudiated and condemned as heretics the Nova. tians, at one time stubbornly denying the power of forgiveness. Therefore, this holy Council, approving and receiving this true meaning of these words of the Lord, condemns the false interpretations of those who, contrary to the institution of this sacrament, falsely distort those words to the power of preaching the word of God and of announcing the Gospel of Christ.

Chap.2. The Difference Between the Sacrament of Penance and

that of Baptism

895  Moreover, it is clear that this sacrament differs in many respects from baptism [can. 2]- For aside from the fact that in the matter and form, by which the essence of a sacrament is effected, it differs very widely, it is certainly clear that the minister of baptism need not be a judge, since the Church exercises judgment on no one who has not first entered it through the gateway of baptism. "For what have I to do," says St. Paul, "to judge them that are without?" [ 1 Cor. 5:12]. It is otherwise with those of the household of the faith, whom Christ the Lord by the laver of "baptism" has once made "members of his own body" [1 Cor. 12:13]. For these, if they should afterwards have defiled themselves by somecrime, He did not now wish to have cleansed by the repetition of baptism, since that is in no way permitted in the Catholic Church, but to be placed, as it were, as culprits before the tribunal, so that by the sentence of the priests they may be freed not only once, but as often as they, repentant for the sins committed, have had recourse to Him. Furthermore,the fruit of baptism is one thing; that of penance is another thing. For by putting on Christ by baptism [Gal. 3:27], we are made an entirely new creature in Him, obtaining a full and complete remission of all sins, to which newness and integrity, however, we can in no way arrive by thesacrament of penance without many tears and labors on our part, for divine justice demands this, so that penance has justly been called by the holy Fathers, "a laborious kind of baptism." This sacrament of penance, moreover, is necessary for the salvation of those who have fallen after baptism, as baptism itself is for those as yet not regenerated [can. 6].

Chap. 3. The Parts and Fruits of the Sacrament of Penance

896  Furthermore, the holy Council teaches that the form of the sacrament of penance, in which its force chiefly consists, is set down in these words of the minister: "I absolve thee, etc."; to which indeed certain prayers are laudably added according to the custom of holy Church; yet in no way do they pertain to the essence of this form, nor are they necessary for the administration of the sacrament. The matter, as it were, of this sacrament, on the other hand, consists in the acts of the penitent himself, namely contrition, confession, and satisfaction [can. 4]. These, inasmuch as by the institution of God they are required in the penitent for the integrity of the sacrament for the full and perfect remission of sins, are for this reason called the parts of penance. The reality and effectusof this sacrament, however, so far as concerns its force and efficacy, is reconciliation with God, which at times in pious persons and in those who receive this sacrament with devotion is wont to be followed by peace of conscience and serenity with an exceedingly great consolation of spirit. The holy Council, while recording these matters regarding the parts and effect of this sacrament, condemns the opinions of those who maintain that the parts of penance are the terrors of conscience and faith [can. 4].

Chap. 4. Contrition

897 Contrition, which has the first place among the aforementioned acts of the penitent, is a sorrow of the soul and a detestation of sin committed, with a determination of not sinning in the future. This feeling of contrition is, moreover, necessary at all times to obtain the forgiveness of sins, and thus for a person who has fallen after baptism it especially prepares for the remission of sins, if it is united with trust in divine mercy and with the desire of performing the other things required to receive this sacrament correctly. The holy Synod, therefore, declares that this contrition includes not only cessation from sin and a resolution and a beginning of a new life, but also hatred of the old, according to this statement: "Cast away from you all your transgressions, by which you have transgressed, and make to yourselves a new heart and a new spirit" [Ezech. 18:31 ]. And certainly, he who has considered those lamentations of the saints: "To Thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before Thee" Ps. 50:6]; "I have labored in my groanings; I shall wash my bed every night" Ps. 6:7]; "I will recount to Thee all my years in the bitterness of my soul" [Isa. 38:15], and others of this kind, will readily understand that they emanate from a certain vehement hatred of past life and from a profound detestation of sins.

898  The Council teaches, furthermore, that though it sometimes happens that this contrition is perfect because of charity and reconciles man to God, before this sacrament is actually received, this reconciliation nevertheless must not be ascribed to the contrition itself without the desire of the sacrament which is included in it. That imperfect contrition [can. 5] which is called attrition, since it commonly arises either from the consideration of the baseness of sin or from fear of hell and its punishments, if it renounces the desire of sinning with the hope of pardon, the Synod declares, not only does not make a person a hypocrite and a greater sinner' but is even a gift of God and an impulse of the Holy Spirit, not indeed as already dwelling in the penitent, but only maying him, assisted by which the penitent prepares a way for himself unto justice. And though without the sacrament of penance it cannotperselead the sinner to justification, nevertheless it does dispose him to obtain the grace of God in the sacrament of penance. For the Ninivites, struck in a salutary way by this fear in consequence of the preaching of Jonas which was full of terror, did penance and obtained mercy from the Lord [cf.Jonas 3]. For this reason, therefore, do some falsely accuse Catholic writers, as if they taught that the sacrament of penance confers grace without any pious endeavor on the part of those who receive it, a thing which the Church of God has never taught or pronounced. Moreover, they also falsely teach that contrition is extorted and forced, and that it is not free and voluntary [can. 5]

JULIUS III 1550-1555


SESSION XIII (Oct. II, 1551)

Decree On the Most Holy Eucharist *

Chap. 5. Confession

899 From the institution of the sacrament of penance as already explained the universal Church has always understood that the complete confession of sins was also instituted by our Lord, [Jas. 5:16; John 1:9; (Luke 17:14)], and by divine law is necessary for all who have fallen after baptism [can. 7], because our Lord Jesus Christ, when about to ascend from earth to heaven, left behind Him priests as His own vicars [ Matt. 16:19; 18:18; John 20:23], as rulers and judges, to whom all the mortal sins into which the faithful of Christ may have fallen should be brought, so that they in virtue of the power of the keys may pronounce the sentence of remission or retention of sins. For it is evident that priests could not have exercised this judgment without a knowledge of the matter, nor could they indeed have observed justice in imposing penalties, if the faithful had declared their sins in general only, and not specifically and one by one. From this it is gathered that all mortal sins of which they have knowledge after a careful self-examination must be enumerated in confession by the penitents, even though they are most secret and have been committed only against the two last precepts of the decalogue [ Exo d. 20:17; Matt. 5:28], sins which sometimes wound the soul more grievously, and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly. For venial sins, by which we are not excluded from the grace of God and into which we fall more frequently, although they may rightly and profitably and without any presumption be declared in confession [can. 7], as the practice of pious persons indicates, may be passed over in silence without guilt and may be expiated by many other remedies But since all mortal sins, even those of thought, make men children of wrath [ Eph. 2:3] and enemies of God, it is necessary to ask pardon for all of them from God by an open and humble confession. While, therefore, the faithful of Christ strive to confess all sins which occur to their memory, they undoubtedly lay all of them before the divine mercy to be forgiven [can. 7]. While those who do otherwise and knowingly conceal certain sins, lay nothing before the divine bounty for forgiveness by the priest. "For if one who is ill is ashamed to make known his wound to the physician, the physician does not remedy what he does not know."* Furthermore, it is gathered that those circumstances also must be explained in confession, which alter the species of the sin, [can. 7], because without them the sins themselves are neither honestly revealed by the penitents, nor are they known to the judges, and it would not be possible for them to judge rightly the gravity of the crimes and to impose the punishment which is proper to those penitents. Hence it is unreasonable to teach that these circumstances have been conjured up by idle men. or that one circumstance only must be confessed, namely up by idle men, or that one circumstance only must be confessed, namely to have sinned against a brother.

900 But it is also impious to say that a confession, which is ordered to be made in this manner [can. 8] is impossible, or to call it a torture of conscience; for it is clear that in the Church nothing else is exacted of the penitents than that each one, after he has carefully examined himself and searched all the nooks and recesses of his conscience, confess those sins by which he recalls that he has mortally offended his Lord and God; moreover, the other sins which do not occur to him after diligent thought, are understood to be included in a general way in the same confession; for these sins we trustingly say with the Prophet: "From my hidden sins cleanse me, O Lord" Ps. 18:13]. But, truly, the difficulty of such confession and the shame of disclosing the sins might appear a burdensome matter indeed, if it were not alleviated by so many and such great advantages and consolations which are most certainly bestowed by absolution upon all those who approach this sacrament worthily.

901 Moreover, as regards the manner of confessing secretly to a priest alone, although Christ has not prohibited that one confess sins publicly in expiation for his crimes and for his own humiliation, and as an example to others, as well as for the edification of the Church offended, yet this is not commanded by divine precept, nor would it be advisedly enjoined by any human law that offenses, especially secret ones, be disclosed by a public confession [can. 6]. Therefore, since secret sacramental confession, which the holy Church has used from the beginning and which she still uses, has always been recommended by the most holy and most ancient Fathers in emphatic and unanimous agreement, the empty calumny of those who do not fear to teach that this is foreign to the divine mandate and is a human invention, and that it had its origin in the Fathers assembled in the Lateran Council [can. 8] is manifestly disproved; for neither did the Church through the Lateran Council decree that the faithful of Christ should confess, a matter which she recognized was necessary and instituted by divine law, but that the precept of confession should be fulfilled at least once a year by each and all, when they have reached the years of discretion. Hence, this salutary custom of confessing to the great benefit of souls is now observed in the whole Church during that sacred and especially acceptable time of Lent, a custom which this holy Council completely approves and sanctions as pious and worthy to be retained [can. 8; see n. 427 f.].


Chap. 6. The Minister of this Sacrament and Absolution

902 With regard to the minister of this sacrament the holy Synod declares false and entirely foreign to the truth of the Gospel all doctrines which perniciously extend the ministry of the keys to any other men besides bishops and priests [can. 10], believing that those words of the Lord: "Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven" [ Matt. 18:18; and "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" [ John 20:23], were indifferently and indiscriminately addressed to all the faithful of Christ contrary to the institution of this sacrament, so that anyone may have the power of remitting sins, public sins by way of rebuke, if the rebuked acquiesces, and secret ones through a voluntary confession made to anyone. It also teaches that even priests who are bound by mortal sin exercise as ministers of Christ the office of forgiving sins by virtue of the Holy Spirit conferred in ordination, and that they are of an erroneous opinion who contend that this power does not exist in bad priests. However, although the absolution of the priest is the dispensation of the benefaction of another, yet it is not a bare ministry only, either of announcing the Gospel or declaring the forgiveness of sins, but it is equivalent to a judicial act, by which sentence is pronounced by him as if by a judge [can. 9]. And, therefore, the penitent should not so flatter-himself on his own faith as to think that even though he have no contrition, and that the intention of acting earnestly and absolving effectively be wanting in the priest, nevertheless he is truly and before God absolved by reason of his faith alone. For faith without penance effects no remission of sins, and he would be most negligent of his own salvation, who would know that a priest was absolving him in a jesting manner, and would not earnestly consult another who would act seriously.

Chap. 7. The Reservation of Cases

903  Therefore, since the nature and essence of a judgment require that the sentence be imposed only on subjects, there has always been the conviction in the Church of God, and this Synod confirms it as most true, that this absolution which the priest pronounces upon one over whom he has no ordinary or delegated jurisdiction has no value. It seemed to be a matter of very great importance to our most holy Fathers for the discipline of the Christian people that certain more atrocious and grave crimes should be absolved not by anyone indiscriminately, but only by the highest priests. Hence the sovereign Pontiffs, by virtue of the supreme power given them in the universal Church, could right fully reserve to their own exclusive judgment certain more serious cases of crimes. Neither should it be a matter of doubt, since all things which are from God are well ordered, that the same may lawfully be done by all bishops each in his own diocese, "to edification," however, "not to destruction" [2 Cor. 13:10], by virtue of the authority over their subjects given to them above other priests inferior in rank, especially with regard to those crimes to which the censure of excommunication is at- i tached. That this reservation of crimes has force not only in external administration, but also in the sight of God is in accord with divine authority [can. 11]. But lest anyone perish on this account, it has always been piously observed in the same Church of God that there be no reservation at the moment of death, and that all priests, therefore, may in that case absolve all penitents from any sins and censures whatsoever; and since outside this moment priests have no power in reserved cases, let them strive to persuade penitents to this one thing, that they approach their superiors and lawful judges for the benefit of absolution.


Chap. 8. The Necessity and Fruit of Satisfaction


904  Finally with regard to satisfaction, which of all the parts of penance has been recommended by our Fathers to the Christian people in all ages, and which is especially assailed in our day under the pretext of piety by those who "have an appearance of piety, but who have denied the power thereof" [ 2 Tim. 3:51], the holy Synod declares that it is absolutely false and contrary to the word of God that the guilt is never forgiven by the Lord without the entire punishment also being remitted [can. 12, 15]. For clear and illustrious examples are found in the Sacred Writings [cf.Gen. 3:16 f.;Num. 12:14 f.; 20:11 f.;2 Samuel 12:13]. f., etc.], besides which divine tradition refutes this error with all possible clarity. Indeed the nature of divine justice seems to demand that those who have sinned through ignorance before baptism may be received into grace in one manner, and in another those who at one time freed from the servitude of sin and the devil, and on receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, did not fear to "violate the temple of God knowingly" [1 Cor. 3:17], "and to grieve the Holy Spirit" [ Eph. 4:30]. And it befits divine clemency that sins be not thus pardoned us without any satisfaction, lest, seizing the occasion [ Rom. 7:8], and considering sins trivial, we, offering injury and "affront to the Holy Spirit" [Heb. 10:29], fall into graver ones, "treasuring up to ourselves wrath against the day of wrath" [ Rom. 2:5; Jas. 5:3]. For, without doubt, these satisfactions greatly restrain from sin, and as by a kind of rein act as a check, and make penitents more cautious and vigilant in the future; they also remove the remnants Of sin, and destroy vicious habits acquired by living evilly through acts contrary to virtue. Neither was there ever in the Church of God any way considered more secure for warding off impending punishment by the Lord than that men perform these works of penance [ Matt. 3:28;4:17;11:21 etc.] with true sorrow of soul. Add to this that, while we suffer by making satisfaction for our sins, we are made conformable to Christ Jesus, "who made satisfaction for our sins" [Rom. 5:10 ;1 John 2:1 f.], from whom is all our sufficiency [ 2 Cor. 3:5], having also a most certain pledge from Him that "if we suffer with Him, we shall also be glorified" [cf. Rom. 8:17]. Neither is this satisfaction which we discharge for our sins so much our own as it is through Jesus Christ; for we who can do nothing of ourselves, as if of ourselves, with the cooperation "of Him who" comforts us, "we can do all things." Thus man has not wherein to glory; but all "our glorying" [cf.1 Cor. 1:31 2 Cor. 10:17; Gal. 6:14] is in Christ, "in whom we live, in whom we move" [cf. Acts 17:28], in whom we make satisfaction, "bringing forth fruits worthy of penance" [ Luke 3:8] which have their efficacy from Him, by Him are offered to the Father, and through Him are accepted by the Father [can. 13 f.].

905  The priests of the Lord ought, therefore, so far as the spirit and pru- dence suggest, to enjoin salutary and suitable satisfactions, in keeping with the nature of the crimes and the ability of the penitents, lest, if they should connive at sins and deal too leniently with penitents, by the imposition of certain very light works for grave offenses, they might become participators in the crimes of others [cf.1 Tim. 5:22]. Moreover, let them keep before their eyes that the satisfaction which they impose be not only for the safeguarding of a new life and a remedy against infirmity, but also for the atonement and chastisement of past sins; for the ancient Fathers both believe and teach that the keys of the priests were bestowed not only to loose, but also to bind [cf. Matt. 16:19; John 20:23 ; can. 15]. Nor did they therefore think that the sacrament of penance is a tribunal of wrath or of punishments; as no Catholic ever understood that from our satisfactions of this kind the nature of the merit and satisfaction of our Lord Jesus Christ is either obscured or in any way diminished; when the Innovators wish to observe this, they teach that the best penance is a new life, in order to take away all force and practice of satisfaction [can. 13].

Chap. 9. The Works of Satisfaction

906  It teaches furthermore that so great is the liberality of the divine munificence that not only by punishments voluntarily undertaken by us in atonement for sin can we make satisfaction to God the Father through Jesus Christ, or by punishments imposed by the judgment of the priest according to the measure of our offense, but also, (and this is the greatest proof of love) by the temporal afflictions imposed by God and patiently borne by us [can. 13].

The Doctrine of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction *


907  It has seemed fit to the holy Synod to add to the preceding doctrine on penance the following matters concerning the sacrament of extreme unction, which was considered by the Fathers * the consummation not only of penance, but also of the whole Christian life which should be a perpetual penance. In the first place, therefore, as regards its institution it declares and teaches that our most clement Redeemer, who wished that a provision be made for salutary remedies at all times for His servants against all the weapons of all enemies, just as He made provision for the greatest aids in other sacraments by which Christians, as long as they live, can preserve themselves free from every very grave spiritual injury, so He fortified the end of life with, as it were, the most powerful defense, by the sacrament of extreme unction [can. 1 ]. For, although "our adversary seeks" and seizes throughout our entire life occasions "to devour" [1 Pet. 5:8] our souls in every manner, yet there is no time when he directs more earnestly all the strength of his cunning to ruin us completely, and if possible to drive us also from faith in the divine mercy, than when he sees that the end of life is upon us.


Chap. 1. The Institution of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction


908  This sacred unction for the sick, however, was instituted by Christ our Lord as truly and properly a sacrament of the New Testament, alluded to in Mark [ Mark 6:13], indeed, but recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the Apostle and brother of the Lord [can. 1]. "Is any man," he says, "sick among you?" "Let him bring in the priestsof the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him" [Jas. 5:14, 15]. In these words, as the Church has learned from apostolic tradition transmitted from hand to hand, he teaches the matter, form, proper ministration, and effect of this salutary sacrament. For the Church has understood that the matter is the oil blessed by the bishop, since the unction very appropriately represents the grace of the Holy Spirit, with which the soul of the sick person is visibly anointed; and that these words are the form: "By this anointing, etc."

Chap.2. The Effect of the Sacrament

909  Furthermore, the significance and effect of this sacrament are explained in these words: "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he be in sins they shall be forgiven him" [ Jas. 5:15]. For the thing signified is the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose anointing wipes away sins, if there be any still to be expiated, and the remains of sin, and relieves, and strengthens the soul of the sick person [can. 2] by exciting in him great confidence in divine mercy, supported by which the sick person bears more lightly the miseries and pains of his illness, and resists more easily the temptations of the evil spirit who "lies in wait for his heel" [ Gen. 3:15], and sometimes attains bodily health, when it is expedient for the salvation of the soul.

Chap. 3. The Minister of this Sacrament and the Time

When it Should be Administered

910  And now, as regards the prescribing of those who can receive and administer this sacrament, this, too, was clearly expressed in the words above. For it is also indicated there that the proper ministers of this sacrament are the presbyters of the Church [can. 4], under which name in that place are to be understood not the elders by age or the foremost in rank among the people, but either bishops or priests duly ordained by them with the "imposition of the hands of the priesthood" [1 Tim. 4:14; can. 4]. It is also declared that this unction is to be applied to the infirm, but especially to those who are so dangerously ill that they seem to be facing the end of life, for which reason it is also called the sacrament of the dying. But if the sick should recover after the reception of this sacrament of extreme unction, they can with the aid of this sacrament be strengthened again, when they fall into another similar crisis of life. Therefore, under no condition are they to be listened to, who contrary to so open and clear a statement of the Apostle James [ Jas. 5:14] teach that this unction is either a figment of the imagination or a rite received from the Fathers, having neither a command of God nor a promise of grace [can. 1]; and likewise those who assert that this has now ceased, as though it were to be referred to the grace of healing only in the primitive Church; and those who maintain that the rite and practice which t e holy Roman Church observes in the administration of this sacrament are opposed to the thought of James the Apostle, and therefore ought to be changed to another; and finally, those who affirm that this extreme unction may be contemned by the faithful without sin [can. 3] or all these things very manifestly disagree with the clear words of this great Apostle. Nor, indeed, does the Roman Church, the mother and teacher of all others, observe anything else in the administration of this unction with reference to those matters which constitute the substance of this sacrament than what the blessed James has prescribed. Nor, indeed, could there be contempt for so great a sacrament without grievous sin and offense to the Holy Spirit.

 These are the things which this sacred ecumenical Synod professes and teaches concerning the sacraments of penance and extreme unction, and it sets them forth to be believed and held by all the faithful of Christ. Moreover, the following canons, it says, must be inviolately observed, and it condemns and anathematizes forever those who assert the contrary.


Canons On the Sacrament of Penance *


911  Can. 1. If anyone says that in the Catholic Church penance is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ our Lord to reconcile the faithful, as often as they fall into sin after baptism: let him be anathema [cf. n. 894].

912 Can. 2. If anyone, confusing the sacraments, says that baptism itself is the sacrament of penance, as though these two sacraments are not distinct, and that therefore penance is not rightly called "a second plank after shipwreck": let him be anathema [cf.n. 894 ].

913 Can. 3. If anyone says that those words of the Lord Savior: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins ye shall retain, they are retained" [John 20:22 f.], are not to be understood of the power of remitting and retaining sins in the sacrament of penance, as the Catholic Church has always understood from the beginning, but, contrary to the institution of this sacrament, distorts them to an authority for preaching the Gospel: let him be anathema [cf.n. 894 ].

914 Can. 4. If anyone denies that for the full and perfect remission of sins there are three acts required on the part of the penitent, as it were, the matter of the sacrament of penance, namely contrition, confession, and satisfaction, which are called the three parts of penance; or says, that there are only two parts of penance, namely the terrors of a troubled conscience because of the consciousness of sin, and the faith received rom the Gospel or from absolution, by which one believes that his sins ave been forgiven him through Christ: let him be anathema [cf. n. 896 ].

915 Can. 5. If anyone says that this contrition, which is evoked by examination, recollection, and hatred of sins "whereby one recalls his years in the bitterness of his soul" [ Isa. 38:15], by pondering on the gravity of one's sins, the multitude, the baseness, the loss of eternal happiness, and the incurring of eternal damnation, together with the purpose of a better life, is not a true and a beneficial sorrow, and does not prepare for grace, but makes a man a hypocrite, and a greater sinner; finally that this sorrow is forced and not free and voluntary: let him be anathema [cf. n. 898].

916   Can. 6. If anyone denies that sacramental confession was either instituted by divine law or is necessary for salvation; or says that the manner of secretly confessing to a priest alone, which the Catholic Church has always observed from the beginning and still observes, is alien to the institution and the mandate of Christ, and is a human invention: let him be anathema [cf.n. 899 f.].

917 Can. 7. If anyone says that in the sacrament of penance it is not necessary by divine law for the remission of sins to confess each and all mortal sins, of which one has remembrance after a due and diligent examination, even secret ones and those which are against the two last precepts of the decalogue, and the circumstances which alter the nature of sin; but that this confession is useful only for the instruction and consolation of the penitent, and formerly was observed only for imposing a canonical satisfaction; or says, that they who desire to confess all their sins wish to leave nothing to be pardoned by divine mercy; or, finally, that it is not lawful to confess venial sins: let him be anathema [cf. n. 899-901 ]

918  Can. 8. If anyone says that the confession of all sins as the Church observes is impossible, and is a human tradition to be abolished by the pious, or that each and all of the faithful of Christ of either sex are not bound to it once a year, according to the constitution of the great Lateran Council, and for this reason the faithful of Christ must be persuaded not to confess during the Lenten season; let him be anathema [cf.n. 900 f.].

919 Can. 9. If anyone says that the sacramental absolution of the priest is not a judicial act, but an empty service of pronouncing and declaring to the one confessing that his sins are forgiven, provided only that he believes that he has been absolved, or * even if the priest does not absolve seriously, but in jest; or says that the confession of the penitent is not required, so that the priest may be able to absolve him: let him be anathema [cf.n 902 ].

920  Can. 10. If anyone says that priests who are in mortal sin do not have the power of binding and loosing, or, that not only priests are the ministers of absolution, but that these words were spoken also to each and all of the faithful: "Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed in heaven" [Matt. 18:18; and, "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" [John 20:23 ], that by virtue of these words anyone can absolve sins, public sins indeed by reproof only, if the one reproved accepts correction, secret sins by voluntary confession: let him be anathema [cf. n. 902].

921   Can. 11. If anyone says that bishops do not have the right of reserving cases to themselves, except those of external administration, and that on this account the reservation of cases does not prohibit a priest from truly absolving from reserved cases: let him be anathema [cf. n. 903].

922  Can. 12. If anyone says that the whole punishment, together with the guilt, is always pardoned by God, and that the satisfaction of penitents is nothing other than faith, by which they perceive that Christ has made satisfaction for them: let him be anathema [cf. n. 904 ].

923  Can. 13. If anyone says that for sins, as far as temporal punishment is concerned, there is very little satisfaction made to God through the merits of Christ by the punishments inflicted by Him and patiently borne, or by those enjoined by the priest, but voluntarily undertaken, as by fasts, prayers, almsgiving, or also by other works of piety, and that therefore the best penance is only a new life: let him be anathema [cf. n. 904 ff.].

924  Can. 14. If anyone says that the satisfactions by which penitents atone for their sins through Jesus Christ are not a worship of God, but the traditions of men, obscuring the doctrine of grace, the true worship of God, and the very beneficence of the death of Christ: let him be anathema * [cf.n. 905 ].

925 Can. 15. If anyone says that the keys have been given to the Church only to loose, and not also to bind, and that therefore priests, by imposing penalties on those who confess, act contrary to the institution of Christ; and that it is fiction that, after eternal punishment has been remitted by virtue of the keys, there usually remains a temporal punishment to be discharged: let him be anathema [cf. n. 904].

Canons on Extreme Unction *


926 Can. 1 If anyone says that extreme unction is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ [cf.Mark 6:13 ], and promulgated by blessed James the Apostle [ Jas. 5:14], but is only a rite accepted by the Fathers, or a human fiction: let him be anathema [cf. n. 907 ff].

927  Can. 2. If anyone says that the sacred anointing of the sick does not confer grace nor remit sins, nor alleviate the sick, but that it has already ceased, as if it had at one time only been a healing grace: let him be anathema [cf. n. 909].

928  Can. 3. If anyone says that the rite of extreme unction and its practice, which the holy Roman Church observes, is opposed to the statement of the blessed Apostle James, and that it is therefore to be changed, and can be contemned without sin by Christians: let him be anathema [cf. n. 910].

929  Can. 4. If anyone says that the priests of the Church, whom blessed James exhorts to be brought to anoint the sick, are not the priests ordained by a bishop, but the elders by age in each community, and that for this reason a priest alone is not the proper minister of extreme unction let him be anathema [cf. n. 910].

MARCELLUS II    PAULUS IV 1555 - 1559*

PIUS IV 1559-1565

COUNCIL OF TRENT, conclusion

SESSION XXI (July 16, 1562)

The Doctrine on Communion under both

Species and that of Little Children *


929a The holy, ecumenical, and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit with the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding has decreed that those things which relate to communion under both species, and to that of little children are to be explained here, since in different places various monstrous errors concerning the tremendous an most holy sacrament of the Eucharist are being circulated by the wiles of the evil spirit; and for this reason in some provinces many seem to have fallen away from the faith and from obedience to the Catholic Church. Therefore, it warns all the faithful of Christ not to venture to believe' teach, or preach hereafter about those matters, otherwise than is explained or defined in these decrees.

Chap. 1. That Laymen and Clerics who not Of Bring Mass are not

Bound by Divine Law to Communion under Both Species

930 Thus, the holy Synod itself, instructed by the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and piety, [Isa. 11:2]. and following the judgment and custom of the Church itself, declares and teaches that laymen and clerics not officiating are bound by no divine law to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both species, and that without injury to the faith there can be no doubt at all that communion under either species suffices for them for salvation. For although Christ the Lord at the Last Supper instituted and delivered to the apostles this venerable sacrament under the species of bread and wine [cf. Matt. 26:26 f.; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19;1 Cor. 11:23], f.], yet, that institution and tradition do not contend that all the faithful of Christ by an enactment of the Lord are bound [can. 1, 2] to receive under both species [can. 1, 2]. But neither is it rightly inferred from that sixth discourse in John that communion under both forms was commanded by the Lord [can. 3], whatever the understanding may be according to the various interpretations of the holy Fathers and Doctors. For, He who said: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you" [ John 6:54], also said: "If anyone eat of this bread, he shall live forever" [ John 6:52]. And He who said: "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood hath life everlasting" [ John 6:55] also said: "The bread, which I shall give, is my flesh for the life of the world" [ John 6:52]: and finally, He who said: "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in him" [ John 6:57], said nevertheless: "He that eateth this bread, shall live forever" [ John 6:58].

Chap.2.The Power of the Church Concerning

the Administration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist

931 It [the Council] declares furthermore that this power has always been in the Church, that in the administration of the sacraments, preserving their substance, she may determine or change whatever she may judge to be more expedient for the benefit of those who receive them or for the veneration of the sacraments, according to the variety of circumstances, times, and places. Moreover, the Apostle seems to have intimated this in no obscure manner, when he said: "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God" [ 1 Cor. 4:1]; and that he himself used this power is quite manifest in this sacrament as well as in many other things, not only in this sacrament itself, but also in some things set down-with regard to its use, he says: "The rest I will set in order when I come" [ 1 Cor. 11:23]. Therefore holy mother Church, cognizant of her authority in the administration of the sacraments, although from the beginning of the Christian religion the use of both species was not infrequent, nevertheless, since that custom in the progress of time has been already widely changed, induced by weighty and just reasons, has approved this custom of communicating under either species, and has decreed that it be considered as a law, which may not be repudiated or be changed at will without the authority of the Church [can. 2].

Chap. 3. Christ Whole and Entire and a True Sacrament is

Received under Either Species

932  Moreover, it declares that although our Redeemer, as has been said before, at that Last Supper instituted this sacrament and gave it to the apostles under two species, yet it must be confessed that Christ whole and entire and a true sacrament is received even under either species alone, and that on that account, as far as regards its fruit, those who receive only one species are not to be deprived of any grace which is necessary for salvation [can. 3].

Chap. 4. Little Children are not

Bound to Sacramental Communion

933  Finally, the same holy Synod teaches that little children without the use of reason are not bound by any necessity to the sacramental communion of the Eucharist [can. 4.], since having been "regenerated" through "the laver" of baptism [ Tit. 3:5], and having been incorporated with Christ they cannot at that age lose the grace of the children of God which has already been attained; Nor is antiquity, therefore, to be condemned, if at one time it observed this custom in some places. For, just as those most holy Fathers had good reason for an observance of that period, so certainly it is to be believed without controversy that they did this under no necessity for salvation.

Canons on Communion Under Both Species

and that of Little Children *


934  Can. 1. If anyone says that each and every one of the faithful of Christ ought by a precept of God, or by necessity for salvation to receive both species of the most holy Sacrament: let him be anathema [cf. n. 930 ].

935 Can. 2. If anyone says that the holy Catholic Church has not been influenced by just causes and reasons to give communion under the form of bread only to layman and even to clerics when not consecrating, or that she has erred in this: let him be anathema [cf. n.931 ].

936  Can. 3. If anyone denies that Christ whole and entire, who is the fountain and author of all graces, is received under the one species of bread, because, as some falsely assert, He is not received according to the institution of Christ Himself under both species: let him be anathema [cf. n. 930,932 ].

937  Can. 4. If anyone says that for small children, before they have attained the years of discretion, communion of the Eucharist is necessary: let him be anathema [cf. n.933 ].


SESSION XXII (Sept. 17, 1562)

The Doctrine on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass*

937a The holy, ecumenical, and general Synod of Trent lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit with the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding, has decreed that the faith and doctrine concerning the great mystery of the Eucharist in the holy Catholic Church, complete and perfect in every way, should be retained and, after the errors and heresies have been repudiated, should be preserved as of old in its purity; concerning this doctrine, since it is the true and the only sacrifice, the holy Council, instructed by the light of the Holy Spirit, teaches these matters which follow, and declares that they be preached to the faithful.


Chap. 1.[ The Institution of the Most Holy

Sacrifice of the Mass ] *

938 Since under the former Testament (as the Apostle Paul bears witness) there was no consummation because of the weakness of the Levitical priesthood, it was necessary (God the Father of mercies ordaining it thus) that another priest according to the order of Melchisedech [ Gen. 14:18 ;Ps. 109:4;Heb. 7:11] arise, our Lord Jesus Christ, who could perfect [ Heb. 10:14] all who were to be sanctified, and lead them to perfection. He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once to God the Father upon the altar of the Cross by the mediation of death, so that He might accomplish an eternal redemption for them [edd.: illic,there], nevertheless, that His sacerdotal office might not come to an end with His death [Heb. 7:24, 27] at the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, so that He might leave to His beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice [can. 1] (as the nature of man demands), whereby that bloody sacrifice once to be completed on the Cross might be represented, and the memory of it remain even to the end of the world [ 1 Cor. 11:23 ff.] and its saving grace be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit, declaring Himself constituted "a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech" Ps. 109:4; offered to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine, and under the symbols of those same things gave to the apostles (whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament), so that they might partake, and He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood in these words to make offering: "Do this in commemoration of me, etc." [ Luke 22:19;1 Cor. 11:23], as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught [can. 2]. For, after He had celebrated the ancient feast of the Passover, which the multitude of the children of Israel sacrificed [Exod. 12:1 ff.] in memory of their exodus from Egypt, He instituted a new Passover, Himself to be immolated under visible signs by the Church through the priests, in memory of His own passage from this world to the Father, when by the shedding of His blood He redeemed us and "delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into His kingdom [Col. 1:13 ].

939 And this, indeed, is that "clean oblation" which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness or malice on the part of those who offer it; which the Lord foretold through Malachias must be offered in every place as a clean oblation [Mal. 1:11 ] to His name, which would be great among the gentiles, and which the Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians has clearly indicated, when he says that they who are defiled by participation of the "table of the devils" cannot become partakers of the table of the Lord [ 1 Cor. 10:21], understanding by table in each case, the altar. It is finally that [sacrifice] which was prefigured by various types of sacrifices, in the period of nature and the Law [ Gen. 4:4;8:20;12:8;22; Ex: passim], inasmuch as it comprises all good things signified by them, as being the consummation and perfection of them all.

Chap.2. [ The Sacrifice is a Visible Propitiation

for the Living and the Dead ]

940 And since in this divine sacrifice, which is celebrated in the Mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner, who on the altar of the Cross "once offered Himself" in a bloody manner [ Heb. 9:27], the holy Synod teaches that this is truly propitiatory [can. 3], and has this effect, that if contrite and penitent we approach God with a sincere heart and right faith, with fear and reverence, "we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid" [ Heb. 4:16]. For, appeased by this oblation, the Lord, granting the grace and gift of penitence, pardons crimes and even great sins. For, it is one and the same Victim, the same one now offering by the ministry of the priests as He who then offered Himself on the Cross, the manner of offering alone being different. The fruits of that oblation (bloody, that is) are received most abundantly through this unbloody one; so far is the latter from being derogatory in any way to Him [can. 4]. Therefore, it is offered rightly according to the tradition of the apostles [can. 3], not only for the sins of the faithful living, for their punishments and other necessities, but also for the dead in Christ not yet fully purged.

Chap. 3.[Masses in Honor of the Saints ]


941  And though the Church has been accustomed to celebrate some Masses now and then in honor and in memory of the saints, yet she does not teach that the sacrifice is offered to them, but to God alone, who has crowned them [can. 5]. Thence the priest is not accustomed to say: "I offer sacrifice to you, Peter and Paul,'' * but giving thanks to God for their victories, he implores their patronage, so that "they themselves may deign to intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate on earth" [Missal].


Chap. 4. [ The Canon of the Mass ]


942 And since it is fitting that holy things be administered in a holy manner, and this sacrifice is of all things the most holy, the Catholic Church, that it might be worthily and reverently offered and received, instituted the sacred canon many centuries ago, so free from all error [can. 6], that it contains nothing in it which does not especially diffuse a certain sanctity and piety and raise up to God the minds of those who offer it. For this consists both of the words of God, and of the traditions of the apostles, and also of pious instructions of the holy Pontiffs.


Chap. 5.[ The Solemn Ceremonies of the sacrifice of the Mass ]

943 And since such is the nature of man that he cannot easily without external means be raised to meditation on divine things, on that account holy mother Church has instituted certain rites, namely, that certain things be pronounced in a subdued tone [can. 9] in the Mass, and others in a louder tone; she has likewise [can. 7] made use of ceremonies such as mystical blessings, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind in accordance with apostolic teaching and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be commended, and the minds of the faithful excited by these visible signs of religion and piety to the contemplation of the most sublime matters which lie hidden in this sacrifice.


Chap. 6.[ The Mass in which the Priest Alone Communicates]

944 The holy Synod would wish indeed that at every Mass the faithful present receive communion not only by spiritual desire, but also by the sacramentalreception of the Eucharist, so that a more abundant fruit of this most holy Sacrifice may be brought forth in them; yet if that is not always done, on that account it does not condemn [can. 8], those Masses in which the priest alone communicates sacramentally, as private and illicit, but rather approves and commends them, since indeed these Masses should also be considered as truly common, partly because at these Masses the people communicate spiritually, and partly, too, because they are celebrated by a public minister of the Church not only for himself, but for all the faithful who belong to the Body of Christ.


Chap. 7.[ The Water to be Mixed with Wine

to be Offered in the Chalice ]

945  The holy Synod then admonishes priests that it has been prescribed by the Church to mix water with the wine to be offered in the chalice [can. 9], not only because the belief is that Christ the Lord did so, but also because there came from His side water together with blood [ John 19:34], since by this mixture the sacrament is recalled. And since in the Apocalypse of the blessed John the peoples are called waters [Rev. 17:1, 15 ], the union of the faithful people with Christ, their head, is represented.


Chap. 8. [The Mass not to be Celebrated in the Vernacular,

and its Mysteries to be Explained to the People]

946   Although the Mass contains much instruction for the faithful, it has nevertheless not seemed expedient to the Fathers that it be celebrated everywhere in the vernacular [can. 9]. For this reason, since the ancient rite of each church has been approved by the holy Roman Church, the mother and teacher of all churches, and has been retained everywhere, lest the sheep of Christ suffer hunger, and "little ones ask for bread and there is none to break it unto them" [cf. Lam. 4:4], the holy Synod commands pastors and everyone who has the care of souls to explain frequently during the celebration of the Masses, either themselves or through others, some of the things which are read in the Mass, and among other things to expound some mystery of this most holy Sacrifice, especially on Sundays and feast days.

Chap. 9.[ Preliminary Remarks on the Following Canons ]

947  Because various errors have been disseminated at this time, and many things are being taught and discussions carried on by many against this ancient faith founded on the holy Gospel, on the traditions of the apostles, and on the doctrine of the holy Fathers, the holy Synod, after long and grave deliberations over these matters, has resolved by the unanimous consent of all the fathers, to condemn and to eliminate from the holy Church by means of the following canons whatever is opposed to this most pure faith and to this sacred doctrine.

Canons on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass *


948 Can. 1. If anyone says that in the Mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God, or that the act of offering is nothing else than Christ being given to us to eat: let him be anathema [cf. n. 938 ].

949 Can. 2. If anyone says that by these words: "Do this for a commemoration of me" [ Luke 22:19;1 Cor. 11:24], Christ did not make the apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests might offer His own body and blood: let him be anathema [cf. n. 938 ].

950 Can. 3. If anyone says that the sacrifice of the Mass is only one of praise and thanksgiving, or that it is a mere commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the Cross, but not one of propitiation; or that it is of profit to him alone who receives; or that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead, for sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities: let him be anathema [cf. n. 940 ].

951  Can. 4. If anyone says that blasphemy is cast upon the most holy sacrifice of Christ consummated on the Cross through the sacrifice of the Mass, or that by it He is disparaged: let him be anathema [cf. n. 940 ].

952 Can. 5. If anyone says that it is a deception for Masses to be celebrated in honor of the saints and to obtain their intercession with God, as the Church intends: let him be anathema [cf. n. 941 ].

953  Can. 6. If anyone says that the canon of the Mass contains errors, and should therefore be abrogated: let him be anathema [cf. n. 942].

954 Can. 7. If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than the services of piety: let him be anathema [cf. n.943 ].

955 Can. 8. If anyone says that Masses in which the priest alone communicates sacramentally, are illicit and are therefore to be abrogated: let him be anathema [cf. n. 944].

956 Can. 9. If anyone says that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned, or that the Mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular only, or that water should not be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice because it is contrary to the institution of Christ: let him be anathema [cf. n. 943, 945 f.].

SESSION XXIII (July 15, 1563)

956 a   The Doctrine on the Sacra ment of Orders

Chap. 1.[The Institution of the Priesthood of the New Law]


957  Sacrifice and priesthood are so united by the ordinance of God that both have existed in every law. Since, therefore, in the New Testament the Catholic Church has received from the institution of the Lord the holy, visible sacrifice of the Eucharist, it must also be confessed that there is in this Church a new visible and external priesthood [can. 1], into which the old has been translated [Heb. 7:12]. Moreover, that this was instituted by that same Lord our Savior [can. 3], and that to the apostles and their successors in the priesthood was handed down the power of consecrating, of offering and administering His body and blood, and also of forgiving and retaining sins, the Sacred Scriptures show and the tradition of the Catholic Church has always taught [can. 1].

Chap.2. [The Seven Orders]

958 Moreover, since the ministry of this holy priesthood is a divine thing, it was proper that it should be exercised more worthily and with deeper veneration, that in the most well ordered arrangement of the Church, there should be different orders of ministers [ Matt. 16:19; Luke 22:19;John 20:22 f.], who by virtue of their office should administer to the priesthood, so distributed that those who already had the clerical tonsure should ascend through the minor to the major orders [can. 2]. For the Sacred Scriptures make distinct mention not only of the priests, but also of the deacons [Acts 6:5 ; 1 Tim. 3:8 f.; Phil. 1:1], and teach in the most impressive words what is especially to be observed in their ordination; and from the very beginning of the Church the names of the following orders and the duties proper to each one are known to have been in use, namely those of the subdeacon, acolyte, exorcist, rector, and porter, though not of equal rank; for the subdiaconate is classed among the major orders by the Fathers and the sacred Councils, in which we also read very frequently of other inferior orders.

Chap. 3.[The Order of the Priesthood is Truly a Sacrament]

959 Since from the testimony of Scripture, apostolic tradition, and the un- animous consensus of opinion of the Fathers it is evident that by sacred ordination, which is performed by words and outward signs, grace is conferred, no one can doubt that order is truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the Church [can. 3 ]. For the Apostle says: "I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sobriety" [2 Tim. 1:6, 7 ; cf. 1 Tim. 4: 14].

Chap. 4.[ The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy and Ordination]

960  But since in the sacrament of orders, as also in baptism and in confirmation, a sign is imprinted [can. 4], which can neither be effaced nor taken away, justly does the holy Synod condemn the opinion of those who assert that the priests of the New Testament have only a temporary power, and that those at one time rightly ordained can again become laymen, if they do not exercise the ministry of the word of God [can. 1 ]. But if anyone should affirm that all Christians without distinction are priests of the New Testament, or that they are all endowed among themselves with an equal spiritual power, he seems to do nothing else than disarrange [can. 6] the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is "as an army set in array" [cf. Song. 6:3], just as if, contrary to the teaching of blessed Paul, all were apostles, all prophets, all evangelists, all pastors, all doctors [cf. 1 Cor. 12:29; Eph. 4:11]. Accordingly, the holy Synod declares that besides the other ecclesiastical grades, the bishops who have succeeded the Apostles, belong in a special way to this hierarchial order, and have been "placed (as the same Apostle says) by the Holy Spirit to rule the Church of God" [Acts 20:29], and that they are superior to priests, and administer the sacrament of confirmation, ordain ministers of the Church, and can perform many other offices over which those of an inferior order have no power [can. 7]. The holy Synod teaches, furthermore, that in the ordination of bishops, priests, and of other orders, the consent, or call, or authority of the people, or of any secular power or magistrate is not so required for the validity of the ordination; but rather it decrees that those who are called and instituted only by the people, or by the civil power or magistrate and proceed to exercise these offices, and that those who by their own temerity take these offices upon themselves, are not ministers of the Church, but are to be regarded as "thieves and robbers, who have not entered by the door" [cf. John 10:1; can. 8]. These are the matters which in general it seemed well to the sacred Council to teach to the faithful of Christ regarding the sacrament of order. It has, however, resolved to condemn the contrary in definite and appropriate canons in the following manner, so that all, making use of the rule of faith, with the assistance of Christ, may be able to recognize more easily the Catholic truth in the midst of the darkness of so many errors, and may adhere to it.


Canons on the Sacrament of Order *

961 Can. 1. If anyone says that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood, or that there is no power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord, and of forgiving and retaining sins, but only the office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel, or that those who do not preach are not priests at all: let him be anathema [cf. n.957 960].

962  Can. 2. If anyone says that besides the priesthood there are in the Catholic Church no other orders, both major and minor, by which as by certain grades, there is an advance to the priesthood: let him be anathema [cf. n. 958].

963  Can. 3. If anyone says that order or sacred ordination is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord, or that it is some human contrivance, devised by men unskilled in ecclesiastical matters, or that it is only a certain rite for selecting ministers of the word of God and of the sacraments: let him be anathema [cf. n. 957, 959 ].

964  Can. 4. If anyone says that by sacred ordination the Holy Spirit is not imparted, and that therefore the bishops say in vain: "Receive ye the Holy Spirit"; or that by it a character is not imprinted or that he who has once been a priest can again become a layman: let him be anathema [cf. n. 852].

965  Can. 5. If anyone says that the sacred unction which the Church uses in holy ordination, is not only not required, but is to be contemned and is pernicious as also are the other ceremonies of order: let him be anathema [cf. n. 856].

966   Can. 6. If anyone says that in the Catholic Church a hierarchy has not been instituted by divine ordinance, which consists of the bishops, priests, and ministers: let him be anathema [cf. n. 960].

967  Can. 7. If anyone says that the bishops are not superior to priests; or that they do not have the power to confirm and to ordain, or, that the power which they have is common to them and to the priests; or that orders conferred by them without the consent or call of the people or of the secular power are invalid, or, that those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from a different source, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments: let him be anathema [cf. n. 960].

968   Can. 8. If anyone says that the bishops who are chosen by the authority of the Roman Pontiff are not true and legitimate bishops, but a human invention: let him be anathema [cf. n. 960 ].

SESSION XXIV (NOV. 11, 1563)

Doctrine (Concerning the Sacrament of Matrimony) *

969  The first parent of the human race expressed the perpetual and indissoluble bond of matrimony under the influence of the divine Spirit, when he said: "This now is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife' and they shall be two in one flesh" [ Gen. 2:23 f.; cf.Eph. 5:31].

 But that by this bond two only are united and joined together, Christ the Lord taught more openly, when referring to those last words, as having been uttered by God, He said: "Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh" [Matt. 19:6 ], and immediately ratified the strength of this same bond, pronounced by Adam so long ago in these words: "What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder" [ Matt. 19:6; Mark10:9].

 But the grace which was to perfect that natural love, and confirm the indissoluble union, and sanctify those united in marriage, Christ Himself, institutor and perfecter of the venerable sacraments, merited for us by His passion. The Apostle Paul intimates this, when he says: "Men, love your wives as Christ loved the Church, and delivered himself up for it" [Eph. 5:25], directly adding: "This is a great Sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the Church" [Eph. 5:32].

970 Since, therefore, matrimony in the evangelical law, by grace through Christ, excels the ancient marriages, our holy Fathers, the Councils, and the tradition of the universal Church have with good reason always taught that it is to be classed among the sacraments of the New Law; and, since impious men of this age, madly raging against this teaching, have not only formed false judgments concerning this venerable sacrament, but according to their custom, introducing under the pretext of the Gospel a carnal liberty, have in writing and in word asserted many things foreign to the mind of the Catholic Church and to the general opinion approved! from the time of the apostles, not without great loss of the faithful of Christ, this holy and general Synod wishing to block their temerity has decided, lest their pernicious contagion attract more, that the more prominent heresies and errors of the aforesaid schismatics are to be destroyed, decreeing anathemas against these heretics and their errors.

971  Can. 1. If anyone says that matrimony is not truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the evangelical Law, instituted by Christ the Lord,. but that it has been invented by men in the Church, and does not confer grace: let him be anathema [cf. n. 969 f.].

972  Can. 2. If anyone says that it is lawful for Christians to have several) wives at the same time, and that it is not forbidden by any divine law [ Matt. 19:4 f.]: let him be anathema [cf. n.969 f.].

973  Can. 3. If anyone says that only those degrees of consanguinity and, affinity which are expressed in Leviticus [18:6 f.] can be impediments to' the contract of matrimony and can dissolve it when contracted, and that the Church can dispense in some of these, or establish more to impede or;invalidate: let him be anathema [cf. n.1550 f.].

974 Can. 4. If anyone says that the Church could not establish impediments invalidating marriage [cf. Matt.16:19]; or that she has erred in establishing them: let him be anathema.

975 Can. 5. If anyone says that the bond of matrimony can be dissolved because of heresy, or grievous cohabitation, or voluntary absence from the spouse: let him be anathema.

976 Can. 6. If anyone says that matrimony contracted, but not consummated, is not dissolved by a solemn religious profession of either one of the married persons: let him be anathema.

977  Can. 7. If anyone says that the Church errs, * inasmuch as she has taught and still teaches that in accordance with evangelical and apostolic doctrine [ Matt. 10: 1 1Cor. 7] the bond of matrimony cannot be dissolved because of adultery of one of the married persons, and that both, or even the innocent one, who has given no occasion for adultery, cannot during the lifetime of the other contract another marriage, and that he, who after the dismissal of the adulteress shall marry another, is guilty of adultery, and that she also, who after the dismissal of the adulterer shall marry another: let him be anathema.

978  Can. 8. If anyone says that the Church errs, when she decrees that for many reasons a separation may take place between husband and wife with regard to bed, and with regard to cohabitation, for a determined or indetermined time: let him be anathema.

979 Can. 9. If anyone says that clerics constituted in sacred orders, or regulars who have solemnly professed chastity, can contract marriage, and that such marriage is valid, notwithstanding the ecclesiastical law or the vow, and that the contrary is nothing else than a condemnation of marriage, and that all who feel that they have not the gift of chastity (even though they have vowed it) can contract marriage: let him be anathema. Since God does not refuse that gift to those who seek it rightly, "neither does he suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able" [ 1 Cor. 10:13 ].

980  Can. 10. If anyone says that the married state is to be preferred to the state of virginity or celibacy, and that it is not better and happier to remain in virginity or celibacy than to be united in matrimony [cf. Matt. 19:11 f.;1 Cor. 7:25 f.;28-40]: let him be anathema.

981  Can. 11. If anyone says that the prohibition of the solemnization of marriages at certain times of the year is a tyrannical superstition, derived from the superstition of the heathen, or condemns the benedictions and other ceremonies which the Church makes use of in them: let him be anathema.

982 Can. 12. If anyone says that matrimonial causes do not belong to ecclesiastical judges: let him be anathema [see n.1500a , 1559 f.].

SESSION XXV (Dec. 3 and 4, 1563)

Decree Concerning Purgatory *

983 Since the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Spirit, in conformitywith the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers in sacred councils, and very recently in this ecumenical Synod, has taught that there is a purgatory [see n. 940,950], and that the souls detained there are assisted by the suffrages of the faithful, and especially by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar, the holy Synod commands the bishops that they insist that the sound doctrine of purgatory, which has been transmitted by the holy Fathers and holy Councils, be believed by the faithful of Christ, be maintained, taught, and everywhere preached. Let the more difficult and subtle "questions," however, and those which do not make for "edification" [cf.1 Tim. 1:4], and from which there is very often no increase in piety, be excluded from popular discourses to uneducated people. Likewise, let them not permit uncertain matters, or those that have the appearance of falsehood, to be brought out and discussed publicly. Those matters on the contrary, which tend to a certain curiosity or superstition, or that savor of filthy lucre, let them prohibit as scandals and stumbling blocks to the faithful


Invocation, Veneration and Relics of Saints, and on Sacred Images *


984 The holy Synod commands all bishops and others who hold the office of teaching and its administration, that in accordance with the usage of the Catholic and apostolic Church, received from primeval times of the Christian religion, and with the consensus of opinion of the holy Fathers and the decrees of sacred Councils, they above all diligently instruct the faithful on the intercession and invocation of the saints, the veneration of relics, and the legitimate use of images, teaching them that the saints, who reign together with Christ, offer up their prayers to God for men; and that it is good and useful to invoke them suppliantly and, in order to obtain favors from God through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who alone is our Redeemer and Savior, to have recourse to their prayers, assistance, and support; and that they who deny that those saints who enjoy eternal happiness in heaven are to be invoked, think impiously, or who assert that they do not pray for men, or that our invocation of them, to intercede for each of us individually, is idolatry, or that it is opposed to the word of God, and inconsistent with the honor of the "one mediator of God and men Jesus Christ" [cf.1 Tim. 2:5], or that it is foolish to pray vocally or mentally to those who reign in heaven.

985 That the holy bodies of the saints and also of the martyrs and of others living with Christ, who were the living "members of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit" [cf.1 Cor. 3:16;6:19 ;2 Cor. 6:16], which are to be awakened by Him to eternal life and to be glorified, are to be venerated by the faithful, through which many benefits are bestowed by God on men, so that those who affirm that veneration and honor are not due to the relics of the saints, or that these and other memorials are honored by the faithful without profit, and that the places dedicated to the memory of the saints for the purpose of obtaining their help are visited in vain, let these be altogether condemned, just as the Church has for a long time condemned and now condemns them again.

986 Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the other saints, are to be placed and retained especially in the churches, and that due honor and veneration be extended to them, not that any divinity or virtue is believed to be in them, for which they are to be venerated, or that anything is to be petitioned from them, or that trust is to be placed in images, as at one time was done by the gentiles, who placed their hope in idols [cf. Ps. 134:15 f.], but because the honor which is shown them, is referred to the prototypes which they represent, so that by means of the images, which we kiss and before which we bare the head and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ, and venerate the saints, whose likeness they bear. This is what was sanctioned by the decrees of the councils, especially that of the second council of NICEA, against the opponents of images [see n. 302 ff.].

987 Indeed let the bishops diligently teach this, that by the accounts of the mysteries of our redemption, portrayed in pictures or in other representations, the people are instructed and confirmed in the articles of faith which should be kept in mind and constantly pondered over; then, too, that from all sacred images great profit is derived not only because the people are reminded of the benefits and gifts, which are bestowed upon them by Christ, but also, because through the saints the miracles of God and salutary examples are set before the eyes of the faithful, so that they may give thanks to God for those things, may fashion their own lives and conduct in imitation of the saints, and be stimulated to adore and love God, and to cultivate piety. But if anyone should teach or maintain anything contrary to these decrees, let him be anathema.

988 If any abuses shall creep into these holy and salutary observances, the holy Synod earnestly desires that they be entirely abolished, so that no representations of false dogma and those offering occasion of dangerous error to uneducated persons be exhibited. And if at times it happens that the accounts and narratives of the Holy Scripture, when this is of benefit to the uneducated people, are portrayed and exhibited, let the people be instructed that not for that reason is the divinity represented, as if it can be seen with bodily eyes, or expressed in colors and figures. . .

Decree Concerning Indulgences *

989 Since the power of granting indulgences was conferred by Christ on the Church, and she has made use of such power divinely given to her, [cf.Matt. 16:19; 18:18] even in the earliest times, the holy Synod teaches and commands that the use of indulgences, most salutary to a Christian people and approved by the authority of the sacred Councils, is to be retained in the Church, and it condemns those with anathema who assert that they are useless or deny that there is in the Church the power of granting them. . . .


Clandestinity Invalidating Matrimony *

[From Session XXIX Chap. (1) "Tametsi" on the reformation of matrimony]

990  Although it is not to be doubted that clandestine marriages made with the free consent of the contracting parties, are valid and true marriages, so long as the Church has not declared them invalid; and consequently that they are justly to be condemned, as the holy Synod condemns those with anathema, who deny that they are true and valid, and those also who falsely affirm that marriages contracted by minors without the consent of parents are invalid, and that parents can make them sanctioned or void, nevertheless the holy Church of God for very just reasons has always detested and forbidden them. But while the holy Synod recognizes that those prohibitions by reason of man's disobedience are no longer of any use, and considers the grave sins which have their origin in such clandes tine marriage, especially, indeed, the sins of those who remain in the state of damnation, after abandoning the first wife, with whom they made a secret contract, while they publicly contract another, and live with her in continual adultery, since the Church, which does not judge what is hidden, cannot correct this evil, unless a more efficacious remedy be applied, therefore by continuing in the footsteps of the holy Lateran Council [IV] proclaimed under INNOCENT III, it commands that in the future, before a marriage is contracted, public announcement be made three times on three consecutive feast days in the Church during the celebration of the Masses, by the proper pastor of the contracting parties between whom the marriage is to be contracted; after these publications have been made, if no legitimate impediment is put in the way, one can proceed with the celebration of the marriage in the open church, where the parish priest, after the man and woman have been questioned, and their mutual consent has been ascertained, shall either say: "I join you together in matrimony, in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," or use other words, according to the accepted rite of each province.

991 But if at some time there should be a probable suspicion that a marriage m can be maliciously hindered, if so many publications precede it, then either one publication only may be made, or the marriage may be celebrated at once in the presence of the parish priest and of two or three witnesses; then before its consummation the publications should be made in the church, so that, if any impediments exist, they may the more easily be detected, unless the ordinary himself may judge it advisable that the publications be dispensed with, which the holy Synod leaves to his prudence and judgment.

992 Those who shall attempt to contract marriage otherwise than in the presence of the parish priest, or of another priest with the authorization of the parish priest or the ordinary, in the presence of two or three witnesses, the holy Synod renders absolutely incapable of thus contracting marriage, and declares that contracts of this kind are invalid and nil, inasmuch as by the present decree it invalidates and annuls them.

The Trinity and the Incarnation (against the Unitarians) *

[From the ordinance of Paul IV, "Cum quorundam,"* Aug. 7, 1555]


993 Since the depravity and iniquity of certain men have reached such a point in our time that, of those who wander and deviate from the Catholic faith, very many indeed not only presume to profess different heresies but also to deny the foundations of the faith itself, and by their example lead many away to the destruction of their souls, we, in accord with our pastoral office and charity, desiring, in so far as we are able with God, to call such men away from so grave and destructive an error, and with paternal severity to warn the rest, lest they fall into such impiety, all and each who have hitherto asserted, claimed or believed that Almighty God was not three in persons and of an entirely uncomposedand undivided unity of substance and one single simple essence of divinity; or that our Lord is not true God of the same substance in every way with the Father and the Holy Spirit, or that He was not conceived of the Holy Spirit according to the flesh in the womb of the most blessed and ever Virgin Mary, but from the seed of Joseph just as the rest of men; or that the same Lord and our God, Jesus Christ, did not submit to the most cruel death of the Cross to redeem us from sins and from eternal death, and to reunite us with the Father unto eternal life; or that the same most blessed Virgin Mary was not the true mother of God, and did not always persist in the integrity of virginity, namely, before bringing forth, at bringing forth, and always after bringing forth, on the part of the omnipotent God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, with apostolic authority we demand and advise, etc.

The Profession of Faith of the Council of Trent *

[From the Bull of Pius IV, "Iniunctum nobis," Nov. 13, 1565]

994 I, N., with firm faith believe and profess all and everything which is contained in the creed of faith, which the holy Roman Church uses, namely: I believe * in one God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation descended from heaven, and became incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; he was also crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; and he rose on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven; he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end; and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified; who spoke through the prophets; and in one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins, and I await the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

995  The apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same Church I most firmly admit and embrace. I likewise accept Holy Scripture according to that sense which our holy Mother Church has held and does hold, whose [office] it is to judge of the true meaning and interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures; I shall never accept nor interpret it otherwise than in accordance with the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

996   I also profess that there are truly and properly seven sacraments of the New Law instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, and necessary for the salvation of mankind, although not all are necessary for each individual; these sacraments are baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, order, and matrimony; and [I profess] that the- confer grace, and that of these baptism, confirmation, and order cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also receive and admit the accepted and approved rites of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of all the aforesaid sacraments. I embrace and accept each and everything that has been defined and declared by the holy Synod of Trent concerning original sin and justification.

997  I also profess that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, proper sacrifice of propitiation for the living and the dead, and that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there is truly, really, and substantially present the body and blood together with the soul and the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that there takes place a conversion of the whole substance of bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood; and this conversion the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation. I also acknowledge that under one species alone the whole and entire Christ and the true sacrament are taken.

998   I steadfastly hold that a purgatory exists, and that the souls there detained are aided by the prayers of the faithful; likewise that the saints reigning together with Christ should be venerated and invoked, and that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics should be venerated. I firmly assert that the images of Christ and of the Mother of God ever Virgin, and also of the other saints should be kept and retained, and that due honor and veneration should be paid to them; I also affirm that the power of indulgences has been left in the Church by Christ, and that the use of them is especially salutary for the Christian people.

999 I acknowledge the holy Catholic and apostolic Roman Church as the mother and teacher of all churches; and to the Roman Pontiff, the successor of the blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles and vicar of Jesus Christ, I promise and swear true obedience.

1000 Also all other things taught, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and ecumenical Councils, and especially by the sacred and holy Synod of Trent, (and by the ecumenical Council of the Vatican, *particularly concerning the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his infallible teaching), I without hesitation accept and profess; and at the same time all things contrary thereto, and whatever heresies have been condemned, and rejected, and anathematized by the Church, I likewise condemn, reject, and anathematize. This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved, (and) which of my own accord I now profess and truly hold, I, N., do promise, vow, and swear that I will, with the help of God, most faithfully retain and profess the same to the last breath of life as pure and inviolable, and that I will take care as far as lies in my power that it be held, taught, and preached by my subjects or by those over whom by virtue of my office I have charge, so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God.

ST. PIUS V 1566-1572

Errors of Michael du Bay (BAII) *

[Condemned in the Bull "Ex omnibus afflictionibus," Oct. 1, 1567]

1001 1. Neither the merits of an angel nor of the first man still in the state of integrity are called grace.

1002 2. Just as an evil work by its nature is deserving of eternal death, so a good work by its own nature is meritorious of eternal life.

1003 3. Felicity would be the reward, and not grace both for the good angels and for the first man, if he had persevered in that state even to the end of his life.

1004 4. Eternal life was promised to integral man and to the angel in view of good works, and good works in themselves from the law of nature suffice for attaining it.

1005 5. In the promise made both to the angel and to the first man is contained the disposition of natural justice, whereby for good works without any other regard eternal life is promised to the just.

1006 6. By the natural law it has been ordained for man that, if he would persevere in obedience, he would attain to that life, in which he could not die.

1007 7. The merits of the first integral man were the gifts of the first creation, but according to the manner of speech in Sacred Scripture they are not rightly called grace; for this reason they should be called merits only, not also grace.

1008 8. In the redeemed through the grace of Christ no good merit can be found, which may not be freely bestowed upon one who is unworthy.

1009 9. Gifts bestowed upon integral man and to an angel, perhaps not to be condemned by reason, can be called grace; but, according to the use of Sacred Scripture, these gifts which were bestowed through Jesus Christ upon those badly meriting and unworthy of them are understood only by the name of grace; therefore, neither the merits nor the reward, which is rendered to them, should be called grace.

1010 10. The remission of temporal punishment, which often remains after the forgiveness of sin, and the resurrection of the body must properly be ascribed only to the merits of Christ.

1011 11. The fact that having lived piously and justly in this mortal life even to the end of life we attain eternal life, should not be imputed to the grace of God, but to the natural order instantly ordained in the beginning of creation by the just judgment of God; neither in this recompense of goods is regard paid to the merit of Christ, but only to the first institution of the human race, in which it is ordained by the natural law that by the just judgment of God eternal life is paid for obedience to His mandates.

1012 12. The opinion of Pelagius is: A good work performed without the grace of adoption, is not meritorious of the heavenly kingdom.

1013 13. Good works, performed by the sons of adoption, do not receive a consideration of merit from the fact that they are done through the spirit of adoption which lives in the hearts of the sons of God, but only from the fact that they are conformable to law, and because through them obedience is preferred to law.

1014 14. The good works of the just do not receive on the day of the last judgment a fuller reward than they deserve to receive by the just judgment of God.

1015 15. The reason of merit does not consist in this, that he who works well should have grace and the indwelling Holy Spirit, but in this only, that he obeys the divine law.

1016 16. That is not true obedience of the law, which is done without charity.

1017 17. They are in agreement with Pelagius who say that it is necessary for reason of merit, that man through the grace of adoption be lifted up to a deified state.

1018 18. The works of the catechumens, as faith and penance performed before the remission of sins, are merits for eternal life; and they will not attain this life, unless the impediments of preceding faults are first taken away.

1019 19. The works of justice and temperance which Christ performed, have not obtained greater value from the dignity of the person operating.

1020 20. No sin is venial by its own nature, but every sin deserves eternal punishment.

1021 21. The sublimation and exaltation of human nature in participation with the divine nature has been due to the integrity of the first condition, and hence must be called natural, and not supernatural.

1022 22. They agree with Pelagius who understand the text of the Apostle to the Romans: "The nations, who do not have a law, do naturally the things, which are of the law" [Rom. 2:14], concerning nations who do not possess the grace of faith.

1023 23. Absurd is the opinion of those who say that man from the beginning, by a certain supernatural and gratuitous gift, was raised above the condition of his nature, so that by faith, hope, and charity he cherished God supernaturally.

1024 24. By vain and idle men, in keeping with the folly of philosophers, is the opinion devised which must be referred to Pelagianism, that man was so constituted from the beginning that through gifts added upon nature by the bounty of the Creator he was raised and adopted into the sonship of God.

1025 25. All works of infidels are sins, and the virtues of philosophers are vices.

1026 26. The integrity of the first creation was not the undeserved exaltation of human nature, but its natural condition.

1027 27. Free will, without the help of God's grace, has only power for sin.

1028 28. It is a Pelagian error to say that free will has the power to avoid any sin.

1029 29. Not only are they "thieves" and "robbers" who deny that Christ is the way and "the door" of the truth and life, but also whoever teaches that there can be ascent [cf. John 10:1; to the way of justice (that is to any justice) otherwise than through Him,

1030 30. or, that man can resist any temptation without the help of His grace, so that he may not be led into it and not be overcome by it.

1031 31. Perfect and sincere charity, which is from a "pure heart and good conscience and a faith not feigned" [1 Tim. 1:5], can be in catechumens as well as in penitents without the remission of sins.

1032 32. That charity which is the fullness of the law is not always connected with the remission of sins.

1033 33. A catechumen lives justly and rightly and holily, and observes the commandments of God, and fulfills the law through charity, which is only received in the laver of baptism, before the remission of sins has been obtained.

1034 34. That distinction of a twofold love, namely a natural one, by which God is loved as the author of nature, and of a gratuitous love, by which God is loved as one who blesses, is vain and false and devised to ridicule the sacred literature and most of the testimonies of the ancients.

1035 35. Every action which a sinner, or a slave of sin performs is a sin.

1036 36. Natural love which arises from the force of nature, is defended by some doctors according to philosophy alone through the pride of human presumption with injury to the Cross of Christ.

1037 37. He agrees with Pelagius, who acknowledges anything as a natural good, that is, whatever he thinks has arisen from the forces of nature alone.

1038 38. All love of a rational creature is either vicious cupidity, by which the world is loved, which is prohibited by John; or that praiseworthy charity by which "when poured forth" by the Holy Spirit in our heart [Rom. 5:5], God is loved.

1039 39. What is voluntarily done, even though it be done by necessity, is nevertheless freely done.

1040 40. In all his actions a sinner serves his ruling passion.

1041 41. This measure of freedom, which is of necessity, is not found in the Scriptures under the name of freedom, but is merely the name for freedom from sin.

1042 42. Justice, by which an impious person is justified by faith, consists formally in the obedience of mandates, which is the justice of works; not however in any grace [habitual] infused into the soul, by which man is adopted into the sonship of God and renewed according to the interior man and made a sharer of the divine nature, so that, thus renewed through the Holy Spirit, he can in turn live well and obey the mandates of God.

1043 43. In persons who are penitent before the sacrament of absolution, and in catechumens before baptism, there is true justification, yet separated from the remission of sin.

1044 44. In most good works performed by the faithful, simply to obey the mandates of God, such as obedience to parents, paying a trust, abstain ing from homicide, theft, fornication, certain men are justified, because these are obedience to the law and the true justice of the law; and yet they do not obtain for them the increments of the virtues.

1045 45. The sacrifice of the Mass is a sacrifice for no other reason than for that general one by which "every work is performed that man may be closely connected with God in holy association." *

1046 46. Voluntariness does not pertain to the essence and definition of sin, nor is it a question of definition, but of cause and origin, whether every sin is bound to be voluntary.

1047 47. Therefore original sin truly has the essence of sin without any relation and respect to will, from which it had its origin.

1048 48. Original sin is voluntary in the habitual will of a child and habitually dominates the child, in this, that a child does not act contrary to the freedom of the will.

1049 49. And from an habitually dominating will it comes to pass that a small child, dying without the sacrament of regeneration, when he has attained the use of reason actually holds God in hatred, blasphemes God, and resists the law of God.

1050 50. Bad desires, to which reason does not consent, and which man unwillingly suffers, are prohibited by the precept: "Thou shalt not covet" [cf. Exod. 20:17].

1051 51. Concupiscence, whether the law of the members, and its depraved desires which men experience against their will, are the true disobediences of the law.

1052 52. Every crime is of this nature, that it can corrupt its author and all posterity in the way in which the first transgression corrupted.

1053 53. As much as arises from the force of transgression, so much of merited evils do they contract from the one generating, those who are born with lesser faults as well as those who are born with greater ones.

1054 54. This definitive opinion, that God has given no impossible commands to man, is falsely attributed to Augustine, whereas it belongs to Pelagius.

1055 55. God would not have had the power from the beginning to create such a man as is born now.

1056 56. There are two things in sin, an act and guilt; when, however, the act has passed, nothing remains except the guilt and the obligation to pay the penalty.

1057 57. Therefore, in the sacrament of baptism or in the absolution of the priest the guilt of the sin only is taken away, and the ministry of the priests frees from guilt alone.

1058 58. A penitent sinner is not vivified by the ministry of a priest who absolves, but by God alone, who by suggesting and inspiring penance, vivifies and brings him back to life; however, by the ministry of the priest on the other hand, the guilt alone is taken away.

1059 59. When by almsgiving and other works of penance we make satis- faction to God for temporal punishments, we do not offer a worthy price to God for our sins, as some erring persons affirm (for otherwise, at least in some part, we should be redeemers); but we do something, in view of which the satisfaction of Christ is applied and communicated to us.

1060 60. Through the sufferings of the saints communicated in indulgences, our sins are not properly atoned for; but through a communion of charity their sufferings are communicated to us, that we, who were freed by the price of the blood of Christ from punishments due to sins, may be worthy.

1061 61. That famous distinction of the doctors, that the mandates of the divine law are fulfilled in two ways: in one way, in so far as pertains to the substance of the works alone; in the other way, in so far as pertains to a definite manner, namely, according to which they can guide the doer to eternal life (that is in the meritorious manner), is fabricated and should be rejected.

1062 62. That distinction also by which a work is called good in two ways, either because it is right and good from its object and all its circumstances (which is usually termed moral), or because it is meritorious of the eternal kingdom, in so far as it proceeds from a living member of Christ the Spirit of charity, must be rejected.

1063 63. Moreover that distinction of a twofold justice, one which is brought to pass through the indwelling Spirit of charity, the other which arises from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit exciting the heart to penance, but not yet dwelling in the heart and diffusing charity in it, by which the justification of the divine law may be fulfilled, is similarly condemned.

1064 64. And likewise that distinction of a twofold vivification, the one, by which a sinner is vivified, when the resolution to penance and the beginning of a new life through the grace of God inspire him; the other, by which he is vivified who is truly justified and is made a living branch on the vine for Christ, is equally deceitful and in no way consonant with the Scriptures.

1065 65. Some good, or at least not bad use of free will can be admitted only by a Pelagian error; and he who knows and teaches this, does injury to the grace of Christ.

1066 66. Violence alone repels the natural liberty of man.

1067 67. Man sins, even to damnation, in what he does by necessity.

1068 68. Purely negative infidelity in those among whom Christ has not been preached, is a sin.

1069 69. The justification of a wicked man takes place formally through obedience to the law, not, however, through the hidden communication and the inspiration of grace, which makes those justified by it fulfill the law.

1070 70. Man existing in the state of mortal sin, or under the penalty of eternal damnation can have true charity; and even perfect charity can exist along with the guilt of eternal damnation.

1071 71. Through contrition even when joined with perfect charity and with the desire to receive the sacrament, a crime is not remitted without the actual reception of the sacrament, except in case of necessity, or of martyrdom.

1072 72. All afflictions of the just are punishments for sins themselves, therefore, both Job and the martyrs suffered what they suffered on account of sins.

1073 73. No one except Christ is free from original sin; hence, the Blessed Virgin died because of sin contracted from Adam, and all of her afflictions in this life as well as those of other just persons were the punishments for actual sin, or for original sin.

1074 74. Concupiscence in the regenerated who have fallen back into mortal sin, and in those in whom it dominates, is a sin, as also are other bad habits.

1075 75. The bad impulses of concupiscence in the state of depraved man are prohibited by the precept: "Thou shalt not covet" [Exod. 20:17]. hence, a man aware of these and not consenting, transgresses the precept: "Thou shalt not covet," although the transgression is not to be classed as a sin.

1076 76. As long as there is something of carnal concupiscence in one who loves, he does not fulfill the precept: "Thou shalt love the Lord with thy whole heart" [Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37].

1077 77. Laborious satisfactions of those who are justified are of no avail to expiate condignly the temporal punishments remaining after the fault has been remitted.

1078 78. The immortality of the first man was not a benefit of grace, but a natural condition.

1079 79. The opinion of the doctors that the first man could have been created by God and established without natural justice, is false.

1080 These opinions have been carefully considered and examined before us; although some of them could be maintained in some way,* yet in the strict and proper sense intended by those asserting them, we condemn them respectively as heretical, erroneous, suspect, rash, scandalous, and as giving offense to pious ears.

Exchanges (i.e., Exchanging of Money, Promissory Notes) *

[From the ordinance "In earn pro nostro," Jan 28, 1571]

1081 First (then) we condemn all those exchanges which are called fictitious, (elsewhere, dry), and are so devised that the contracting parties at certain market places or at other localities pretend to solemnize exchanges; at which places those who receive money, actually hand over their letters of exchange, but they are not sent, or they are so sent that, when the time has passed they are brought back void, whence they had set out; or, even when no letters of this kind were handed over, the money is finally demanded with interest, where the contract had been solemnized; for between givers and receivers even from the beginning it had been so decided, or surely such was the intention, and there is no one who in the marketplaces or the above mentioned places makes payment, when such letters are received. And similar to this evil is also that, when money or deposits or by another name fictitious exchanges are handed over so that afterwards in the same place or elsewhere they are paid back with interest.

1082 But even in the exchanges which are called real, sometimes, as it is reported to me, bankers put off the prescribed term of payment, when a profit has been received according to tacit or expressed agreement or even only a promise. All these things we declare to be usurious, and strictly prohibit their being done.

 GREGORY XIII 1572-1585

Profession of Faith Prescribed for the Greeks *

[From the acts concerning the union of the Greco-Russian church, 1575]

1083  I, N., in firm faith believe and profess each and every thing which is contained in the Creed of faith, which the holy Roman Church uses, namely: I believe in one God [as in the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed, n. 86, 994].

1084 I also believe, and I accept and profess all the things which the holy ecumenical Synod of FLORENCE defined and declared concerning the union of the western and eastern Church, namely that the Holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son; and that He has His essence and His subsistent being from the Father and from the Son together; and that He proceeds from both eternally, as from one principle and by a single procession, since what the holy Doctors and Fathers say comes to mean the same thing, that from the Father through the Son the Holy Spirit proceeds, and that the Son, according to the Greeks, is also the cause, and according to the Latins, indeed the principle of the subsistence of the Holy Spirit, as is the Father. All things, however, which are of the Father, the Father Himself has given to His only-begotten Son in generation, outside of being the Father; the very fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, the Son himself eternally has from the Father, by whom He has also been eternally begotten. And that the explanation of these words, "Filioque," for the sake of declaring the truth, and because of imminent necessity, has lawfully and reasonably been added to the Creed. . . . The text follows from the decrees of the union of the Greeks. Council of FLORENCE.

1085 Besides, I profess and accept all the other things which the holy Roman and Apostolic Church, according to the decrees of the holy ecumenical general Synod of TRENT, proposed and prescribed should be professed and accepted, as well as the contents in the above mentioned creeds of faith, as follows:

 Apostolic . . . and all the rest, as in the profession of faith of TRENT [n.995 ff.].


  SIXTUS V 1585 - 1590 GREGORY XIV 1590 - 1591


CLEMENT VIII 1592-1605

The Faculty of Blessing Sacred Oils *

[From the Instruction concerning the rites of the Italo-Greeks, August 30, 1595]

1086 (3) . . . Greek priests are not to be forced to accept the holy oils, except the chrism from the Latin diocesan bishops, since oils of this kind are produced and blessed by them in the furnishing of the oils and the presensation of the sacraments according to the ancient rite. . . . Let them be forced to accept chrism, however, which, even according to their rite, cannot be blessed except by a bishop.

Ordination of Schismatics

[From the same Instruction] *

1087 (4) Those ordained by schismatic bishops, who have been otherwise duly ordained, the due form having been observed, receive, indeed, ordination, but not jurisdiction.

Absolution of One in absentia *

[From the Decree of the Holy Office, June 20, 1602]

1088   His Holiness . . . condemned and forbade as false, rash, and scandalous the proposition, namely, "that it is lawful through letters or through a messenger to confess sins sacramentally to an absent confessor, and to receive absolution from that same absent confessor," and orders in turn that that proposition thereafter not be taught in public or private gatherings, assemblies, and congresses; and that it never in any case be defended as probable, be given the stamp of approval, or be reduced in any way to practice.

1089  According to an opinion of the Holy Office, published repeatedly (especially on June 7, 1603, and January 24, 1522) under Clement VIII and Paul V, this decree also in a divided sense, i.e., on confession and on absolution separately, is sound; to the decree of the Holy Office a reply was made on July 14. 1605: "The most holy has decreed that the mentioned interpretation of P. Suarez on the above mentioned decree [namely, on the divided sense] is not adequate," and, according to a decree of the Congregation of the Fathers Theologians on June 7, 1603, it cannot be supported "from that case, when upon only signs of repentance being given and reported to a priest who is present, absolution is given one on the very point of death after confession of sins was made to an absent priest, since it contains an entirely conflicting difficulty." This decree, "by the aforesaid Supreme Pontiffs" is said to have been approved in a decree published on January 24, 1622, by a cardinal, one of the Inquisitors, together with some theologians, and is published a second time: according infants in Italy and adjacent islands, since this was expressly forbidden [see n. 1459] them by Clement Vlll in the year 1595. to a decree of January 24, 1622, "from the case of that sick person, to whomon the very point of death upon petitioning for confession and after signs of repentance were given, and reported to a priest who is coming, absolution is given, although (the circumstances) contain conflicting reason, no controversy can arise over the spoken decree of Clement VIII.'' *

LEO XI 1605

PAUL V   1605-1621

The Aids or Efficacy of Grace *

[From the formula for ending disputes sent to the superior generals of the Order of Preachers and of theSociety of Jesus, Sept. 5, 1607]

1090 In the matter of aids [de auxiliis] the right is granted by the Supreme Pontiff not only to the disputants but also to the consultors of returning to their countries and their homes; and it is added that this will be so that His Holiness may promulgate at an opportune time the declaration and conclusion which were awaited. But it was most seriously forbidden by the same Most Holy Lordship that in treating this question anyone either qualify the position opposite his own or note it with any censure. Even more he desires that they in turn abstain from harsh words indicating bitterness of mind. *

GREGORY XV 1621 - 1623    URBAN VIII 1623 - 1644

INNOCENT X 1644-1655

Error of the Dual Head of the Church (or the Primacy of R. P.) *

[From the decree of the Sacred Office, Jan. 24, 1647]

1091  The most holy . . . has decreed and declared hereticalthis proposition so presented that it established an exact equality between St. PETER and St. Paul, without subordination and subjection of St. Paul to St. Peter in supreme power, and in the rule of the universal Church: "St. PETER and St. Paul are the two princes of the Church who form one head, or: there are two Catholic heads and supreme leaders Of the Catholic Church, joined in highest unity between themselves"; or, "the head Of the Catholic Church consists of two who are most divinely united into one"; or, "there are two supreme pastors and guardians of the Church, who form one head only."

Errors (5) of Cornelius Jansen *

[Excerpts from "Augustinus" and condemned in the Constitutions

"Cum occasione," May 31. 1658]

1092 I. Some of God's precepts are impossible to the just, who wish and strive to keep them, according to the present powers which they have; the grace, by which they are made possible, is also wanting.

 Declared and condemned as rash, impious, blasphemous, condemned by anathema, and heretical.

1093 2. In the state of fallen nature one never resists interior grace.

 Declared and condemned as heret ical.

1094 3. In order to merit or demerit in the state of fallen nature, freedom from necessity is not required in man, but freedom from external compulsion is sufficient.

 Declared and condemned as heretical.

1095 4. The Semipelagians admitted the necessity of a prevenient interior grace for each act, even for the beginning of faith; and in this they were heretics, because they wished this grace to be such that the human will could either resist or obey.

 Declared and condemned a s false and heretical.

1096 5. It is Semipelagian to say that Christ died or shed His blood for all men without exception.

 Declared and condemned as false, rash, scandalous, and intended in this sense, that Christ died for the salvation of the predestined, impious, blasphemous, contumelious, dishonoring todivinepiety, and heretical.

The Aids or Efficacy of Grace *

[From the decree against the Jansenists, April 23, 1654]

1097 But, since at Rome as well as elsewhere there are being circulated certain assertions, acts, manuscripts, and, perchance, printed documents of the Congregations held in the presence of most happily reigning Clement VIII and Paul V on the question of "Aids of Divine Grace," both under the name of Francis Payne, once Dean of the Roman Rota, and under the name of Fr. Thomas of Lemos, O.P., and of other prelates and theologians, who, as it is asserted, were present at the aforementioned Congregations, besides a certain autograph or exemplar of the Constitution of the same Paul V on the definition of the aforesaid questionOn Aids,and of the condemnation of the opinion or opinions of Louis Molina, S.J., His Holiness by the present decree declares and decrees that no trust at all is to be placed in the above-mentioned assertions, acts, on behalf of the opinion of the Brothers, O.S.D., as well as of Louis Molina and of the other religious, S.J., and in the autograph or exemplar of the above mentioned Constitution of Paul V; and that nothing can or ought to be alleged by either side or by anyone whatsoever; but that on this aforesaid question the decrees of Paul V and Urban VIII, their predecessors, are to be observed. *



The Meaning of the Words of Cornelius Jansen *

[From the Constitution "Ad sacram beati PETRI Sedem," Oct. 16, 1656]

1098 (6) We declare and define that these five propositions have been taken from the book of the aforementioned Cornelius Jansen, Bishop of Ypres, entitled AUGUSTINUS, and in the sense understood by that same Cornelius condemned.

Formulary of Submission Proposed for the Jansenists *

[From the Constitution, "Regiminis apostolicis," Feb. 15. 1665]


1099 "I, N., submit to the apostolic Constitution of INNOCENT X, dated May 31. 1653, and to the Constitution of ALEXANDER VII, dated Oct. 16. 1656, Supreme Pontiffs, and I reject and condemn with a sincere heart, just as the Apostolic See has condemned them by the said Constitutions, the five propositions taken from the book of Cornelius Jansen, entitled Augustinus, and in the sense understood by that same author, and so I swear: So help me God, and this holy gospel of God." *

The Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. *

[From the Bull "Sollicitudo omnium eccl.," Dec. 8, 1661]

1100  (1) The devotion to the most blessed Virgin Mary is indeed of long standing among the faithful of Christ who believe that her soul, from the first instant of its creation and infusion into her body, was preserved immune by a special grace and privilege of God from the stain of original sin, in view of the merits of her Son, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of our human race, and who, in this sense, esteem and solemnly celebrate the festivity of her conception; the number of these has increased (after the Constitutions of SIXTUS IV renewed by the Council of Trent, note 734 f., 792.) ... so that ... now almost all Catholics embrace it. . . . (4) We renew the Constitutions and decrees published by Roman Pontiffs in favor of the opinion that asserts that the soul of the blessed Virgin Mary at its creation, and at its infusion into her body, was blessed by the grace of the Holy Spirit and was preserved from original sin.


Various Errors on Moral Matters *

[Condemned in decrees of Sept. 24, 1665, and of March 18.1666

A. On the 24th Day of September, 1665

1101  1. A man is not bound at any time at all in his life to utter an act of faith, hope, and charity by the force of the divine precepts pertaining tothese virtues.

1102  2. A man belonging to the orders of Knights when challenged to a duel can accept this, lest he incur the mark of cowardice among others.

1103 3. That opinion which asserts that the Bull "Coenae" prohibits absolution of heresy and other crimes only when they are public and that this does not diminish the power of Trent, in which there is a discussion of secret crimes, in the year1629,July 18th, in the Consistory of the Sacred Congregation of the Most Eminent Cardinals, was seen and sustained.

1104 4. Regular prelates can in the court of conscience absolve any seculars at all of hidden heresy and of excommunication incurred by it.

1105  5. Although it is evidently established by you that Peter is a heretic, you are not bound to denounce [him], if you cannot prove it.

1106 6. A confessor who in sacramental confession gives the penitent a paper to be read afterwards, in which he incites to lust, is not considered to have solicited in the confessional, and therefore is not to be denounced.

1107  7. A way to avoid the obligation of denouncing solicitation exists if the one solicited confesses with the solicitor; the latter can absolve that one without the burden of denouncing.

1108 8. A priest can lawfully accept a twofold stipend for the same Mass by applying to the petitioner even the most special part of the proceeds appropriated to the celebrant himself, and this after the decree of Urban VIII. *

1109 9. After the decree of Urban, * a priest, to whom Masses are given to be celebrated, can give satisfaction through another, by paying a smaller stipend to him and retaining the other part of the stipend for himself.

1110   10. It is not contrary to justice to accept a stipend for several sacrifices and to offer one sacrifice. Nor, is it contrary to fidelity if I promise, with a promise confirmed also by an oath, to him who gives a stipend, what I offer for no one else.

1111  11 We are not bound to express in a subsequent confession sins omitted in confession or forgotten because of the imminent danger of death or for some other reason.

1112 12. Mendicants can absolve from cases reserved for bishops, when the faculty of the bishop was not obtained for this.

1113  13. He satisfies the precept of an annual confession, who confesses to a regular, presented to a bishop, but unjustly reproved by him.

1114 14. He who makes no confession voluntarily, satisfies the precept of the Church.

1115 15. A penitent by his own authority can substitute another for himself, to fulfill the penance in his place.

1116 16. Those who have provided a benefice can select as confessor for themselves a simple priest not approved by the ordinary.

1117 17. It is permitted a religious or a cleric to kill a calumniator who threatens to spread grave crimes about him or his order, when no other means of defense is at hand; as it seems not to be, if a calumniator be ready to spread the aforesaid about the religious himself or his order publicly or among people of importance, unless he be killed.

1118 18. It is permitted to kill a false accuser, false witnesses, and even a judge, from whom an unjust sentence threatens with certainty, if the innocent can avoid harm in no other way.

1119  19. A husband does not sin by killing on his own authority a wife caught in adultery.

1120 20. The restitution imposed by Pius V* upon those who have received benefits but not reciting [the Divine Office in fulfillment of their obligation] is not due in conscience before the declaratory sentence of the judge, because it is a penalty.

1121  21. He who has a collective chaplaincy, or any other ecclesiastical benefit, if he is busy with the study of letters, satisfies his obligation, if he recites the office through another.

1122 22. It is not contrary to justice not to confer ecclesiastical benefits gratuitously, because the contributor who contributes those ecclesiastical benefits with money intervening does not exact that money for the contribution of the benefit, but for a temporal profit, which he was not bound to contribute to you.

1123 23. He who breaks a fast of the Church to which he is bound, does not sin mortally, unless he does this out of contempt and disobedience, e.g., because he does not wish to subject himself to a precept.

1124  24. Voluptuousness, sodomy, and bestiality are sins of the same ultimate species, and so it is enough to say in confession that one has procured a pollution.

1125   25. He who has had intercourse with an unmarried woman satisfies the precept of confession by saying: "I committed a grievous sin against chastity with an unmarried woman," without mentioning the intercourse.

1126 26. When litigants have equally probable opinions in their defense, the judge can accept money to bring a sentence in favor of one over the other.

1127 27. If a book is published by a younger or modern person, its opinion should be considered as probable, since it is not established that it has been rejected by the Holy See as improbable.

1128 28. A nation does not sin, even if without any cause it does not accept a law promulgated by the ruler.

B. On the 18th day of March, 1666

1129  29. On a day of fasting, he who eats a moderate amount frequently, even if in the end he has eaten a considerable quantity, does not break the fast.

1130  30. All officials who labor physically in the state are excused from the obligation of fasting, and need not make certain whether the labor is compatible with fasting.

1131 31. All those are entirely excused from fasting, who make a journey by riding, under whatever circumstances they make the journey, even if it is not necessary and even if they make a journey of a single day.

1132  32. It is not evident that the custom of not eating eggs and cheese in Lent is binding.

1133 33. Restitution of income because of the omission of stipends can be supplied through any alms that a beneficiary has previously made from the income of his service.

1134  34. By reciting the paschal office on the day of Palms one satisfies the precept.

1135 35. By a single office anyone can satisfy a twofold precept, for the present day and tomorrow.

1136 36. Regulars can in the forum of conscience use their privileges which were expressly revoked by the Council of Trent.

1137 37. Indulgences conceded to regulars and revoked by Paul V are today revalidated.

1138 38. The mandate of the Council of Trent, made for the priest who of necessity performs the Sacrifice while in mortal sin, to confess as soon as possible [see note 880], is a recommendation, not a precept.

1139 39. The expression "quamprimum" is understood to be when the priest will confess in his own time.

1140 40. It is a probable opinion which states that a kiss is only venial when performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible * delight which arises from the kiss, if danger of further consent and pollution is excluded.

1141 41. One living in concubinage is not bound to dismiss the concubine, if she is very useful for the pleasure of him so living (in the vernacular, "regalo")provided that if she [another reading: he] were missing, he would carry on life with very great difficulty, and other food would affect him living in concubinage with great loathing, and another maid servant would be found with very great difficulty.

1142 42. It is permitted one who borrows money to exact something beyond the principal, if he obligates himself not to seek the principal until a certain time.

1143 43. An annual legacy left for the soul does not bind for more than ten years.

1144 44. So far as the forum of conscience is concerned, when the guilty has been corrected and the contumacy ceases, the censures cease.

1145 45. Books prohibited "until they are expurgated" can be retained until they are corrected by the application of diligence.

All these are condemned and prohibited, at least as scandalous.

Perfect and Imperfect Contrition *

[From the decree of the Sacred Office, May 5, 1667]

1146  Concerning the controversy:Whether that attrition, which is inspired by the fear of hell, excluding the will to sin, with the hope of pardon, to obtain grace in the sacrament of penance requires in addition some act of love of God, to some asserting this, and to others denying it, and in turn censuring the opposite opinion: . . . His Holiness . . . orders . . . that if they later write about the matter of the aforementioned attrition, or publish books or writings or teach or preach or in any manner whatever instruct penitents or students and others, let them not dare change either opinion with a note of any theological censure or contumely, whether it be that of denying the necessity of any love of God in the aforementioned attrition inspired by the fear of hell, which seems to be the more common opinion among scholastics today, or whether that of asserting the necessity of this love, until something has been defined by the Holy See concerning this matter.

CLEMENT IX 1667 - 1669    CLEMENT X 1670-1676

INNOCENT XI 1676-1689

Frequent and Daily Communion *

[From the Decree C. S. Conc., Feb. 12. 1679]

1147 Although the daily and frequent use of the most holy Eucharist has always been approved by the holy Fathers of the Church, yet never have they appointed certain days either for receiving it more often or certain days of the weeks and months for abstaining from it, which the Council of Trent did not prescribe; but, as if it considered the frailty of human nature, although making no command, it merely indicated what it would prefer when it said: "The Holy Council would indeed wish that at every Mass the faithful present would communicate by the sacramental reception of the Eucharist" [see n.944 ]. And this not without cause, for there are very many secret recesses of conscience, various diversions because of the occupations of the spirit, likewise many graces and gifts of God granted to children, and since we cannot scrutinize these with human eyes, nothing can be established concerning the worthiness or integrity of anyone, and consequently nothing concerning the more frequent or daily partaking of the bread of life.

 And thus, as far as concerns tradesmen themselves, frequent approach to the receiving of the holy sustenance is to be left to the judgment of the confessors who explore the secrets of the heart, who from the purity of consciences and from the fruit of frequency and from the progress in piety in the case of laity, tradesmen, and married men, will be obliged to provide for them whatever they see will be of benefit to their salvatlon.

 In the case of married persons, however, let them seriously consider this, since the blessed Apostle does not wish them to "defraud one another, except perhaps by consent for a time, that they may give themselves to prayer" [cf. 1 Cor. 7:5], let them advise these seriously that they should give themselves more to continence, because of reverence for the most holy Eucharist, and that they should come together for communion in the heavenly banquet with a purer mind.

1148  In this, then, will the diligence of pastors be especially alert, not that some may not be deterred from frequent or daily partaking of holy communion by a single formula of precept, or that days for partaking be established generally, but rather let it be decided what should be permitted to each, or should be decided for themselves by themselves, or by the priests or confessors; and let this be prohibited entirely: that no one be repelled from the sacred banquet, whether he approach it frequently or daily, and yet let it attend that everyone taste of the sweetness of the body of the Lord more rarely or more frequently according to his measure of devotion and preparation.

1149 Similarly nuns who desire holy communion daily will have to be advised to receive communion on the days established by the rule of their order; if some, however, are distinguished by purity of mind and are so enkindled by fervor of spirit that they seem worthy of more frequent or daily reception of the most holy Sacrament, let this be permitted them by the superiors.

 It will be of benefit, too, besides the diligence of priests and confessors, to make use also of the services of preachers and to have an agreement with them, that, when the faithful have become used * to frequenting the most holy Sacrament (which they should do), they preach a sermon on the great preparation for undertaking that, and show in general that those who by devout zeal are stirred to a more frequent or daily partaking of the health bringing Food, whether lay tradesmen, or married people, or any others, ought to understand their own weakness, so that because of the dignity of the Sacrament and the fear of the divine judgment they may learn to revere the celestial table on which is Christ; and if at any time they should feel themselves not prepared, to abstain from it and to gird themselves for a greater preparation.

 But let bishops, in whose dioceses such devotion towards the most Blessed Sacrament flourishes, give thanks to God for this, and they should nurture it by applying to it the proper measure of prudence and judgment, and on their part they will especially prevail upon themselves that no labor or diligence must be spared to do away with every suspicion of irreverence and scandal in the reception of the true and immaculate lamb, and to increase virtues and gifts in those who partake of it; and this will happen abundantly, if those, who are bound by such devoted zeal, by surpassing divine grace, and who desire to be refreshed more frequently by the most holy bread, become accustomed to expend their strength and to prove themselves with reverence and love. . . .

1150 Furthermore, let bishops and priests or confessors refute those who hold that daily communion is of divine right, . . . Let them not permit that a confession of venial sins be made to a simple priest without the approbation of a bishop or ordinary.

Various Errors on Moral Subjects (II) *

[Condemned in a decree of the Holy Office, March 4, 1679]

1151  1. It is not illicit in conferring sacraments to follow a probable opinion regarding the value of the sacrament, the safer opinion being abandoned, unless the law forbids it, convention or the danger of incurring grave harm. Therefore, one should not make use of probable opinions only in conferring baptism, sacerdotal or episcopal orders.

1152  2. I think that probably a judge can pass judgment according to opinion, even the less probable.

1153 3. In general, when we do something confidently according to probability whether intrinsic or extrinsic, however slight, provided there is no departure from the bounds of probability, we always act prudently. *

1154  4. An infidel who does not believe will be excused of infidelity, since l he is guided by a less probable opinion.

1155  5. Even though one sins mortally, we dare not condemn him who uttered an act of love of God only once in his life.

1156 6. It is probable that the precept of love for God is of itself not of grave obligation even once every five years.

1157 7. Then only is it obligatory when we are bound to be justified, and we have no other way by which we can be justified.

1158 8. Eating and drinking even to satiety for pleasure only, are not sinful, provided this does not stand in the way of health, since any natural appetite can licitly enjoy its own actions.

1159 9. The act of marriage exercised for pleasure only is entirely free of all 1. fault and venial defect.

1160  10. We are not bound to love our neighbor by an internal and formal act

1161  11. We can satisfy the precept of loving neighbor by external acts only.

1162  12. Scarcely will you find among seculars, even among kings, a superfluity for [his] state of life. And so, scarcely anyone is bound to give alms from what is superfluous to [his] state of life.

1163  13. If you act with due moderation, you can without mortal sin be sad about the moral life of someone and rejoice about his natural death, seek it with ineffectual desire and long for it, not indeed from dissatisfaction with the person but because of some temporal emolument.

1164 14. It is licit with an absolute desire to wish for the death of a father, not indeed as an evil to the father, but as a good to him who desires it, for a rich inheritance will surely come his way.

1165 15. It is licit for a son to rejoice over the parricide of his parent perpetrated by himself in drunkenness, because of the great riches that came from it by inheritance.

1166 16. Faith is not considered to fall under a special precept and by itself.

1167 17. It is enough to utter an act of faith once during life.

1168 18. If anyone is questioned by a public power, I advise him to confess his faith to a noble person as to God and (to be) proud of his faith; I do not condemn silence as sinful of itself.

1169 19. The will cannot effect that assent to faith in itself be stronger than the weight of reasons impelling toward assent.

1170 20. Hence, anyone can prudently repudiate the supernatural assent which he had.

1171 21. Assent to faith is supernatural and useful to salvation with only the probable knowledge of revelation, even with the fear by which one fears lest God has not spoken.

1172 22. Only faith in one God seems necessary by a necessity of means, not, however, the explicit (faith) in a Rewarder.

1173  23. Faith widely so called according to the testimony of creature or by a similar reason suffices for justification.

1174  24. To call upon God as a witness to a slight lie is not a great irreverence, because of which God wishes or can condemn man.

1175 25. With cause it is licit to swear without the intention of swearing, whether the matter be light or serious.

1176 26. If anyone swears, either alone or in the presence of others, whether questioned or of his own will, whether for sake of recreation or for some other purpose, that he did not do something, which in fact he did, understanding within himself something else which he did not do, or another way than that by which he did it, or some other added truth, in fact does not lie and is no perjurer.

1177 27. A just reason for using these ambiguous words exists, as often as it is necessary or useful to guard the well-being of the body, honor, property, or for any other act of virtue, so that the concealing of the truth is then regarded as expedient and zealous.

1178 28. He who has been promoted to a magistracy or a public office by means of a recommendation or a gift can utter with mental reservation the oath which is customarily exacted of similar persons by order of the king, without regard for the intent of the one exacting it, because he is not bound to confess a concealed crime.

1179  29. A grave, pressing fear is a just cause for pretending the administration of sacraments.

1180 30. It is right for an honorable man to kill an attacker who tries to indict calumny upon him, if this ignominy cannot be avoided otherwise; the same also must be said if anyone slaps him with his hand or strikes with a club and runs away after the slap of the hand or the blow of the club.

1181 31. I can properly kill a thief to save a single gold piece.

1182  32. It is not only permitted to defend, with a fatal defense, these things we possess actually, but also those things to which we have a partial right, and which we hope to possess.

1183 33. It is permitted an heir as well as a legatee to defend himself against one who unjustly prevents either an inheritance being assumed, or legacies being paid, just as it is permitted him who has a right to a chair or a benefice against one who unjustly impedes his possession of them.

1184 34. It is permitted to bring about an abortion before the animation of the foetus, lest the girl found pregnant be killed or defamed.

1185   35. It seems probable that every foetus (as long as it is in the womb) lacks a rational soul and begins to have the same at the time that it is born; and consequently it will have to be said that no homicide is committed in any abortion.

1186  36. It is permitted to steal not only in extreme, but in grave necessity.

1187  37. Male and female domestic servants can secretly steal from their masters to gain compensation for their work which they judge of greater worth than the salary which they receive.

1188  38. No one is bound under the pain of mortal sin to restore what has been taken away by small thefts, however great the sum total may be.

1189  39. Whoever moves or induces another to bring a serious loss upon a third party is not bound to a restitution of that loss incurred.

1190  40. A usurious contract is permitted even with respect to the same person, and with a contract to sell back previously entered upon with the intention of gain.

1191  41. Since ready cash is more valuable than that to be paid, and since there is no one who does not consider ready cash of greater worth than future cash, a creditor can demand something beyond the principal from the borrower, and for this reason be excused from usury.

1192  42. There is no usury when something is exacted beyond the principal as due because of a kindness and by way of gratitude, but only if it is exacted as due according to justice.

1193  43. What is it but venial sin if one detract authority by a false charge to prevent great harm to himself?

1194  44. It is probable that he does not sin mortally who imposes a false charge on someone, that he may defend his own justice and honor. And if this is not probable, there is scarcely any probable opinion in theology.

1195  45. To give the temporal for the spiritual is not simony, when the temporal is not given for a price, but only as a motive for conferring and effecting the spiritual, or even because the temporal is only a gratuitous compensation for the spiritual, or vice versa.

1196  46. And this also is admissable, even if the temporal is the principal motive for giving the spiritual; furthermore, even if it be the end of the spiritual thing itself, so that it is considered of greater value than the spiritual thing.

1197  47. When the Council of: Trent says that they sin mortally by sharing the sins of others who do not promote to the churches those whom they themselves judge to be more worthy and more useful for the Church, the Council either first seems to mean to signify by "more worthy" nothing else than the worthiness of being selected, using the comparative rather than the positive; or secondly, in a less proper expression takes "more worthy" to exclude the unworthy, but not the worthy, or finally, and thirdly, it is speaking of what occurs during an assembly.

1198  48. Thus it seems clear that fornication by its nature involves no malice, and that it is evil only because it is forbidden, so that the contrary seems entirely in disagreement with reason.

1199  49. Voluptuousness is not prohibited by the law of nature. Therefore, if God had not forbidden it, it would be good, and sometimes obligatory under pain of mortal sin.

1200  50. Intercourse with a married woman, with the consent of her husband, is not adultery, and so it is enough to say in confession that one had committed fornication.

1201  51. A male servant who knowingly by offering his shoulders assists his master to ascend through windows to ravage a virgin, and many times serves the same by carrying a ladder, by opening a door, or by cooperating in something similar, does not commit a mortal sin, if he does this through fear of considerable damage, for example, lest he be treated wickedly by his master, lest he be looked upon with savage eyes, or, lest he be expelled from the house.

1202 52. The precept of keeping feast days is not obligatory under pain of mortal sin, aside from scandal, if contempt be absent.

1203  53. He satisfies the precept of the Church of hearing the Holy Sacrifice, who hears two of its parts, even four simultaneously by different celebrants.

1204 54. He who cannot recite Matins and Lauds, but can the remaining hours, is held to nothing, since the great part brings the lesser to it.

1205 55. He satisfies the precept of annual communion by the sacrilegious eating of the Lord.

1206 56. Frequent confession and communion, even in those who live like pagans, is a mark of predestination.

1207 57. It is probable that natural but honest imperfect sorrow for sins suffices.

1208 58. We are not bound to confess to a confessor who asks us about the habit of some sin.

1209 59. It is permitted to absolve sacramentally those who confess only half, by reason of a great crowd of penitents, such as for example can happen on a day of great festivity or indulgence.

1210 60. The penitent who has the habit of sinning against the law of God, of nature, or of the Church, even if there appears no hope of amendment, is not to be denied absolution or to be put off, provided he professes orally that he is sorry and proposes amendment.

1211  61. He can sometimes be absolved, who remains in a proximate occasion of sinning, which he can and does not wish to omit, but rather directly and professedly seeks or enters into.

1212  62. The proximate occasion for sinning is not to be shunned when some useful and honorable cause for not shunning it occurs.

1213  63. It is permitted to seek directly the proximate occasion for sinning for a spiritual or temporal good of our own or of a neighbor.

1214  64. A person is fit for absolution, however much he labors under an ignorance of the mysteries of the faith, and even if through negligence, even culpable, he does not know the mystery of the most blessed Trinity, and of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1215  65. It is enough to have believed the mysteries once.

All condemned and prohibited, as they are here expressed,

at least as scandalous and in practice pernicious.

 The Holy Pontiff concludes the decree with these words:

1216 Finally, in order that doctors, whether scholastics or any others whatsoever, may refrain from injurious contentions in the future, and that there be deliberations for peace and charity, the same Holy Pontiff commands them in virtue of holy obedience, to be on their guard in printing books and manuscripts, as well as theses, disputations, and sermons against any censure and note, and likewise violent railings against such propositions which are still being carried on among Catholics here and there, until the matter has been considered, and a judgment is rendered * by the Holy See upon these same propositions.

Errors on "donated omnipotence"*

[Condemned in the decree of the Holy Office, Nov. 23, 1679]

1217 1. God gives us His omnipotence, that we may use it, just as someone gives another a villa or a book.

1218  2. God submits His omnipotence to us.

They are prohibited asat least rash andnovel.

Moral Systems *

[Decree of the Holy Office, June 26, 1680]

1219 In a report of the contents of the letters of Father Gonzales Thirsus directed to His Holiness through Father Laurea of the Society of Jesus, their most blessed Eminences said that the Secretary of State had written to the Apostolic Nuncio of the Spaniards, asking that he inform the said Father Thirsus what His Holiness commanded, after the letter was kindly received and read not without praise; that he himself freely and boldly preach, teach, and defend with his pen the more probable opinion, and not vigorously attack the opinion of those who assert that in the conflict of the less probable opinion with the more probable so recognized and judged, it is lawful to follow the less probable opinion; and to inform him that whatever he shall do and write in favor of the more probable will be pleasing to His Holiness. Let it be enjoined on the Father General of the Society concerning this order of His Holiness, that he not only permit the Fathers of the Society of Jesus to write in defense of the opinion of the more probable and to oppose the opinion of those who assert that in the controversy of the less probable opinion with the more probable so understood and judged, it is allowed to follow the less probable; but, moreover, let him also write to all the universities of the Society that it is the mind of His Holiness that anyone who will may freely write as he pleases in behalf of the more probable opinion and may attack the contrary opinion above mentioned; and let him order them to submit themselves in all things to the orders of His Holiness. *

Error Concerning the Seal of. Confession *

[Condemned in the decree of the Holy Office, Nov. 18, 1862]


1220 Concerning the proposition:"It is lawful to use knowledge obtained in confession, provided it is done without any direct or indirect revelation, and without burden upon the penitent, unless some much greater evil follows from its nonuse, in comparison with which the first would be rightly held of little account," an explanation or limitation then being added, that it is to be understood concerning the use of the knowledge obtained from confession with burden to the penitent, any revelation whatsoever being excluded, and in the case in which a much greater burden to the same penitent would follow from its nonuse,

  it is decided: "that the stated proposition, as far as it admits the use of said knowledge with the burden upon the penitent, must be altogether prohibited, even with the aforesaid explanation or limitation."


Errors of Michael of Molinos*

[Condemned in the decree of the Sacred Office, August 28, and in the Constitutions "Coelestis Pastor," Nov. 20, 1687]


1221 1. It is necessary that man reduce his own powers to nothingness, and this is the interior way.

1222  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.

1223  3. Vows about doing something are impediments to perfection.

1224 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.

1225  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.

1226  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.

1227  7. A soul ought to consider neither the reward, nor punishment, nor paradise, nor hell, nor death, nor eternity.

1228 8. He ought not to wish to know whether he is progressing with 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.

1229 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.

1230 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, and not to be able to reflect upon one's own defects, is a grace of God.

1231 11. It is not necessary to reflect upon doubts whether one is proceeding rightly or not.

1232 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.

1233 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.

1234 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 you shall find" [John 16:24], 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.

1235 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.

1236 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.

1237 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 resistence 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.

1238 18. He who in his prayer uses images, figures, pretension, and his own conceptions, does not adore God "in spirit and in truth" [John 4:23].

1239  19. He who loves God in the way which reason points out or the intellect comprehends, does not love the true God.

1240 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.

1241 21. In prayer it is necessary to remain m 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.

1242 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.

1243  23. The mystics with Saint Bernard in theScala 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.

1244 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 make it more perfect, because the soul then remains more resigned to the divine will.

1245 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.

1246 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.

1247 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.

1248 28. Weariness for spiritual matters is good, if indeed by it one's own love is purified

1249  29. As long as the interior soul disdains discourses about God, and disdains the virtues, and remains cold, feeling no fervor in himself, it is a good sign.

1250  30. Everything sensible which we experience in the spiritual life, is abominable, base, and unclean.

1251   31. No meditative person exercises true interior virtues; these should not be recognized by the senses. It is necessary to abandon the virtues.

1252  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.

1253  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.

1254  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., the Our Father.

1255  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.

1256  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.

1257  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.

1258  38. The voluntary cross of mortifications is a heavy weight and fruitless, and therefore to be dismissed.

1259  39. The more holy works and penances, which the saints performed, are not enough to remove from the soul even a single tie.

1260  4o. 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.

1261  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 (Viva: quiahis,because with these) the consent is not present.

1262 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.

1263 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, brings it about thatthey despise themselves the more and annihilate and resign themselves to God.

1264 44. Job blasphemed, and yet he did not sin with his lips because it was the result of the violence of the devil.

1265 45. Saint Paul suffered such violences of the devil in his body; thus he has written: "For the good that I will I do not do; but the evil which I will not, that I do" [ Rom. 7:19].

1266 46. Things of this kind contrary to the will are the more proportionate medium for annihilating the soul, and for leading [Viva: et eam]it to true transformation and union, nor is there any other way; and this is the easier and safer way.

1267 47. When things of this kind contrary to the will occur, it is proper to allow Satan to operate, by applying no effort and making no real attempt, but man should persist in his own nothingness; and even if pollutions follow and obscene acts by one's own hands, and even worse, there is no need to disquiet oneself [Viva:inquietari],but scruples must be banished, as well as doubts and fears, because the mind becomes more enlightened, more confirmed, and more candid, and holy liberty is acquired. And above all there is no need to confess these matters, and one acts in a most saintly way by not confessing, because the devil is overcome by this agreement, and the treasure of peace is acquired.

1268 48. Satan, who produces violences of this kind contrary to the will, afterwards persuades that they are grave sins, so that the mind disturbsitself, lest it progress further in the interior way; hence for weakening his powers it is better not to confess them, because they are not sins, not even venial.

1269   49. Job from the violence of the devil polluted himself with his own hands at the same time as "he offered pure prayer to God" (thus interpreting the passage from chapter 16. Job) [cf. Job. 16:18 ].

1270 50. David, Jeremias, and many of the holy Prophets suffered violence of this kind, of these impure external operations contrary to the will.

1271 51. In Sacred Scripture there are many examples of violence to the will unto external sinful acts, as that of Samson, who by violence killed himself with the Philistines [ Judg. 16:29 f.], entered a marriage with a foreigner [Judg. 14:1 ff.], and committed fornication with the harlot Dalila [Judg. 16:4 ff.], which in other times were prohibited and would have been sins; that of Judith, who had lied to Holofernes, [ Judith. 2:4 ff.]; that of Elisaeus, who cursed children [ 2 Kings 2:24 ]; that of Elias, who burned the leaders with the troops of King Achab [cf. 2 Kings 1:10 ff.]. But whether violence was immediately executed by God, or by the minister of the demons, as it happens in some souls, is left in doubt.

1272  52. When such things contrary to the will, even impure, happen without confusion of the mind, then the soul can be united to God, and de factois always the more united.

1273 53. To recognize in practice, whether an operation has been violence in some persons, the rule which I have for this is not the protestations of those souls which protest that they have not consented to the said violences or cannot swear that they have consented, and cannot see that they are the souls who make progress in the interior life, but I would adopt a rule from a certain light which is superior to actual human and theological cognition, that makes me recognize for certain, with internal certitude, that such operation is violence; and I am certain that this light proceeds from God, because it comes to me joined with certitude that it comes forth from God, and it leaves in me no shadow of doubt to the contrary, in that way by which it sometimes happens that God in revealing something reassures the soul at the same time that it is He who reveals it, and the soul cannot doubt to the contrary.

1274  54. Persons who lead ordinary spiritual lives, in the hour of death will find themselves deluded and confused with all the passions to be purged in the other world.

1275 55. Through this interior life one reaches the point, although with much suffering, of purging and extinguishing all passions, so that he feels nothing more, nothing, nothing; nor is any disquietude felt, just as if the body were dead, nor does the soul permit itself to be moved any more.

1276 56. Two laws and two desires (the one of the soul, the other of self-love) endure as long as self-love endures; wherefore, when this is purged and dead, as happens through the interior way, those two laws and two desires are no longer present; nor, is any lapse incurred further, nor, is anything felt more, not even venial sin.

1277 57. Through acquired contemplation one comes to the state of not committing any more sins, neither mortal nor venial.

1278 58. One arrives at such a state by no longer reflecting on his own actions, because defects arise from reflection.

1279  59. The interior way is separated from confession, from those who confess, and from cases of conscience, from theology and from philosophy.

1280  60. For advanced souls, who begin to die from reflections, and who even arrive at the point that they are dead, God sometimes makes confession impossible, and He Himself supplies it with such great preserving grace as they receive in the sacrament; and therefore for such souls it is not good in such a case to approach the sacrament of penance, because it is impossible for them.

1281  61. When the soul arrives at mystical death, it cannot wish for anything more than what God desires, because it does no longer have a will, since God has taken it away from it.

1282  62. By the interior way it arrives at a continuous, immobile state in an imperturbable peace.

1283 63. By the internal way one even arrives at the death of the senses; moreover, it is a sign that one remains in a state of nothingness, that is, of mystical death, if the exterior senses no longer represent sensible things (from which they are) as if they did not exist, because they do not succeed in making the intellect apply itself to them.

1284 64. A theologian is less disposed than an ignorant man for the contemplative state; in the first place, because he does not have such pure faith; secondly, because he is not so humble; thirdly, because he does not care so much for his own salvation; fourthly, because he has a head full of phantasms, images, opinions, and speculations, and cannot enter into that true light.

1285 65. One must obey directors in the exterior life, and the latitude of the vow of obedience of religious extends only to the external. In the interior life the matter is different, because only God and the director enter.

1286 66. A certain new doctrine in the Church of God is worthy of ridicule, that the soul should be governed as far as its interior is concerned by a bishop; but if the bishop is not capable, the soul should go to him with his director. I speak a new doctrine; because neither Sacred Scripture, nor councils, nor bulls, nor saints, nor authors have ever transmitted it, nor can transmit it, because the Church does not judge about hidden matters, and the soul has its faculty of choosing whatsoever shall seem good to it [Viva: anima ins habet eligendi quaecumque sibi bene visums].

1287 67. To say that the interior must be manifested to the exterior tribunal of directors, and that it is a sin not to do so, is a manifest deception, because the Church does not pass judgment on hidden matters, and they prejudge their own souls by these deceptions and hypocrisies.

1288 68. In the world there is neither faculty nor jurisdiction for commanding that the letters of a director, as far as the interior direction of a soul is concerned, should be made manifest; therefore, it is necessary to assert that it is an insult of Satan, etc.

  Condemnedas heretical, suspect, erroneous, scandalous, blasphemous, offensive to pious ears, rash, of relaxed Christian discipline, subversive, and seditious respectively.


Errors Concerning the Goodness of an Act and Concerning

Philosophic Sin *

[Condemned in the Decr. S. Off., Aug. 24, 1690]

1289 1. Objective goodness consists in the agreement of an object with rational nature; but formal goodness consists in the conformity of an act with the rule of morals. For this it is sufficient that the moral act tend toward its ultimate end interpretatively. Man is not obliged to love this end, neither in the beginning nor in the course of his moral life.

  Declared and condemnedas heretical.

1290  2. Philosophic or moral sin is a human act not in conformity with rational nature and right reason; but theological and mortal sin is a free transgression of the divine law. A philosophic sin, however grave, in a man who either is ignorant of God or does not think about God during the act, is a grave sin, but is not an offense against God, neither a mortal sin dissolving the friendship of God, nor one worthy of eternal punishment.

 Declared and condemnedas scandalous, rash, an offense to pious ears, and erroneous. *


Errors of the Jansenists *

[Condemned in a Decr. of the Holy Office, Dec. 7, 1690]


1291  1. In the state of fallen nature, for mortal [Viva: formale] sin and for demerit that liberty is sufficient by which the mortal sin or demerit was voluntary and free in its cause, namely, in original sin and in the will of Adam sinning.

1292 2. Although there is such a thing as invincible ignorance of the law of nature, this, in the state of fallen nature, does not excuse from formal sin anyone acting out of ignorance.

1293  3. It is not permitted to follow a (probable) opinion or among the probables the most probable.*

1294  4. Christ gave Himself for us as an oblation to God, not for the elect only, but for all the faithful only.

1295 5. Pagans, Jews, heretics, and others of this kind do not receive in any way any influence from Jesus Christ, and so you will rightly infer from this that in them there is a bare and weak will without any sufficient grace.

1296  6. Grace sufficient for our state is not so much useful as pernicious, so that we can justly pray: From sufficient grace deliver us, O Lord.

1297 7. Every human act is a deliberate choice of God or of the world; if of God, it is love of the Father; if of the world, it is concupiscence of the flesh, that is, it is evil.

1298 8. Of necessity, an infidel sins in every act.

1299 9. In truth he sins who hates sin merely because of its vileness and its inconsistency with nature, without any reference to the offense to God.

1300 10. The intention with which anyone detests evil and follows after good, merely that he may obtain heavenly glory, is not right nor pleasing to God.

1301 11. Everything which is not in accordance with supernatural Christian faith, which works through charity, is a sin.

1302 12. When in great sinners all love is lacking, faith also is lacking; and even if they seem to believe, their faith is not divine but human.

1303 13. Whoever serves God even in view of an eternal reward, if he lacks charity, is not free from fault, as often as he acts even in view of his eternal reward.

1304 14. Fear of hell is not supernatural.

1305   15. Attrition, which is conceived through a fear of hell and punishments, with a love of benevolence for God in Himself, is not a good and supernatural motive.

1306 16. Neither the policy nor institution of the Church has introduced the order of placing satisfaction before absolution, but the law and prescription of Christ, since the nature of the thing in a way demands that very order.

1307  17. By that practice of absolving first the order of penance is inverted.

1308 18. The modern custom as regards the administration of the sacrament of penance, even if the authority of many men sustains it and long duration confirms it, is nevertheless not considered by the Church as a usage but as an abuse.

1309   19 Man ought to do penance during his whole life for original sin.

1310 20. Confessions made to religious are generally either sacrilegious or invalid.

1311 21. The parish priest can suspect mendicants who live on common alms, of imposing too light and unsuitable a penance or satisfaction because of the advantage or gain of some temporal aid.

1312 22. They are to be judged sacrilegious who claim the right to receive Communion before they have done worthy penance for their sins.

1313 23. Similarly, they must be prevented from Holy Communion, who have not yet a pure love of God, without any admixture.

1314 24. The oblation in the Temple, which was made by the Blessed Virgin Mary on the day of her purification by means of two turtle doves, one for a holocaust and the other for sins, sufficiently testifies that she was in need of purification, and that her Son (who was being offered) was also stained with the stain of His mother, according to the words of the law.

1315 25. It is unlawful to place in a Christian temple an image of God the Father [Viva: sedentis, sitting].

1316  26. Praise which is offered to Mary, as Mary, is vain.

1317 27. Sometimes baptism is valid when conferred under this form: "In the name of the Father, etc. . . . ," omitting these words: "I baptize thee."

1318 28. Baptism is valid when conferred by a minister who observes all the external rite and form of baptizing, but within his heart resolves, I do not intend what the Church does.

1319 29. Futile and many times refuted is the assertion about the authority of the Roman Pontiff being superior to that of an ecumenical Council and about his infallibility in deciding questions of faith.

1320 30. When anyone finds a doctrine clearly established in Augustine, he can absolutely hold and teach it, disregarding any bull of the pope.

1321 31. The Bull of Urban VIII, "In Eminenti," is false.*

 Condemned and prohibited asrash, scandalous, evil-sounding, injurious, close to heresy, smacking of heresy, erroneous, schismatic, and heretical respectively.

Articles (Erroneous) of the Gallican Clergy

(about the Power of the Roman Pontiff) *

[Declared void in Constit., "Inter multiplices," Aug. 4, 1690]

1322 1.To blessed Peter and his successors the vicars of Christ, and to the Church herself power over spiritual things and over those pertaining to eternal salvation has been given by God, but not power over civil and temporal affairs, since the Lord said: "My Kingdom is not of this world" [John 18:36], and again: "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" [Luke 20:25], and hence the statement of the Apostle: "Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God" [ Rom. 13:1 f.]. Therefore, by the command of God, kings and princes cannot be subject to ecclesiastical power in temporal affairs, nor can they be deposed by the authority of the keys of the Church, either directly or indirectly; nor can their subjects be released from loyalty and obedience and be freed from fulfilling their oath of allegiance; and this opinion, which is necessary for public tranquillity, and vhich is no less useful to the Church than to the Empire, must by every means be retained as being in harmony with the Word of God, the tradition of the Fathers, and the examples of the saints.*

1323 2. So there is in the Apostolic See and in the successors of Peter, the vicars of Christ, such full power over spiritual things that the decree concerning the authority of the General Councils which are contained* in the fourth and fifth sessions of the sacred ecumenical Council of Constance are valid, and at the same time always remain unchanged, since these decrees have been approved by the Apostolic See and confirmed by the use of the Roman Pontiffs themselves, and by the whole Church and have been observed by the Gallican Church in continuous religious worship; and they are not to be approved by the Gallican Church who destroy the force of these decrees, as if they were of doubtful authority or have been less approved, or who distort the words of the Council in accordance only with the time of the schism.

1324 3. Hence the use of the apostolic power must be moderated by the canons which have been established by the Spirit of God and consecrated by the reverence of the whole world; likewise, the rules, customs, and institutes accepted by the kingdom and the Gallican Church are valid, and the limitations of the Fathers remain unshaken; and this pertains to the fullness of the Apostolic See, namely, that these statutes and customs, confirmed by the consent of both so great a See and of the Churches, retain their proper stability.

1325 4. In questions of faith also, the duties of the Supreme Pontiff are principal ones, and his decrees pertain to all and individual churches, and yet this judgment is not unalterable unless the consent of the Church has been added to it.

 Concernig these statements Alexander VIII decreed as follows:

1326  "Each and everything that was considered and decreed in the above mentioned assemblies of the Gallican clergy held in the year 1682, both in regard to the extension of the right ofregaliaand the declaration concerning the ecclesiastical power and the four propositions contained in that declaration, with all and individual mandates, judgments, and confirmations, declarations, epistles, edicts, and decrees edited and published by whatsoever persons, ecclesiastical or lay, in whatever way qualified, and no matter what authority and power they enjoy, even the power which requires individual mention,--all these acts, we declare, by the tenor of these letters, to have been from the very beginning, to be now, and always to be, by right itself, null and void, invalid, useless, entirely and wholly lacking in strength and effectiveness, and that no one is bound to their observance or to the observance of any one of them, even if they have been reinforced by an oath."

INNOCENT XII 1691-1700

Errors Concerning the Most Pure Love of God *

[Condemned in the brief "Cum alias," March 12, 1699]

1327 1. There is an habitual state of the love of God, which is pure charity and without any admixture of the motive of one's personal interest. Neither fear of punishment nor desire of reward any longer has a share in it. God is no longer loved for the sake of merit, nor because of one's own perfection, nor because of the happiness to be found in loving Him.

1328 2. In the state of the contemplative or unitive life, every interested motive of fear and hope is lost.

1329 3. That which is essential in the direction of a soul is to do nothing else than to follow grace, step by step with infinite patience, precaution, and subtlety. One should restrain himself within these limits so that God may be permitted to act, and he should never aspire to pure love, except when God by an interior unction begins to open the heart to this word, which is so hard for souls heretofore attached to self, and can therefore scandalize them or cause them confusion.

1330 4. In the state of holy indifference, a soul no longer has voluntary and deliberate desires for its own interest, with the exception of those occasions on which it does not faithfully cooperate with the whole of its grace

1331 5. In the same state of holy indifference we wish nothing for ourselves, all for God. We do not wish that we be perfect and happy for self interest, but we wish all perfection and happiness only in so far as it pleases God to bring it about that we wish for these states by the impression of His grace.

1332 6. In this state of holy indifference we no longer seek salvation as our own salvation, as our eternal liberation, as a reward of our merits, nor as the greatest of all our interests, but we wish it with our whole will as the glory and good pleasure of God, as the thing which He wishes, and which He wishes us to wish for His sake.

1333 7. Dereliction is nothing else than the abnegation or renunciation of oneself, which Jesus Christ requires of us in the Gospel, after we have left all external things. This denial of ourselves is only with regard to our own interest. . . . The extreme trials in which this abnegation or dereliction of self must be exercised are the temptations by means of which a jealous God seeks to purify love, by holding out to it no refuge, nor any hope for its welfare, even eternal.

1334 8. All sacrifices, which are wont to be made by souls who are as disinterested as possible about their eternal happiness, are conditional. . . . But this sacrifice cannot be absolute in the ordinary state. Only in the case of extreme trials does this sacrifice become in some manner absolute.

1335 9. In extreme trials a soul can be invincibly persuaded by a reflex persuasion (and this is not the deep foundation of conscience) that it has been justly rejected by God.

1336 10. Then a soul separated from itself expires with Christ on the Cross, saying: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" [Matt. 27:46]. In this involuntary expression of despair there is completed the absolute sacrifice of one's own interest in so far as eternity is concerned.

1337  11. In this state a soul loses all hope of its own interest; but never does it lose in its higher part, that is in its direct and inner acts, a perfect hope, which is a disinterested longing for the promises.

1338  12. Then a director can permit this soul to acquiesce simply in the loss of its own interest, and in the just condemnation which it believes has been enjoined on it by God.

1339  13. The inferior part of Christ on the Cross did not communicate his involuntary disturbances to his superior part.

1340  14. In the extreme trials for the purification of love there takes place a certain separation of the upper part of the soul from the lower. . . . In that separation the acts of the lower part flow from a completely blind and involuntary disturbance, for, whatever is voluntary and intellectual is of the higher part.

1341 15. Meditation consists of discursive acts which are easily distinguished from one another. . . . The putting together of the discursive and reflex acts is the proper exercise of an interested love.

1342 16. There is a state of contemplation so sublime and so perfect that it becomes habitual; so that, as often as a soul actually prays, its prayer is contemplative, not discursive. Then it no longer needs to return to meditation and to its methodical acts.

1343 17. Contemplative souls are deprived of a distinct, sensible, and reflex vision of Jesus Christ at two different times: first, in the newborn fervor of their contemplation; secondly, when the soul loses the vision of Jesus Christ in extreme trials.

1344 18. In the passive state all the distinct virtues are exercised without any thought that they are virtues. At every moment no other thought is in the mind than to do that which God wishes, and a zealous love likewise brings it about that no one any longer desires virtue for himself nor is he ever so endowed with virtue as when he is no longer attached to virtue.

1345 19.In this sense it can be said that a soul in a passive and disinterested state no longer wishes even love itself, in so far as it is its perfection and its happiness, but only in so far as it is that which God wishes of us.

1346 20. In confession transformed souls must detest their sins and condemn themselves, and desire the remission of their sins not as a personal purification and liberation, but as the thing which God wills and which He wills us to will because of His glory.

1347  21. Holy mystics have excluded from the state of transformed souls the practices of virtues.

1348  22. Although this doctrine (about pure love) was designated a pure and simple evangelical perfection in universal tradition, the ancient pastors did not propose it indiscriminately to the multitude of the just, unless the practice of their interested love was proportionate to their grace.

1349  23. Pure love itself alone constitutes the whole interior life; and thence arises the only principle and the only motive of all acts which are deliberate and meritorious.

 Condemned and rejected as, either in the obvious sense of these words, or in the extended meaning of the thoughts, rash, scandalous, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, pernicious, and likewise erroneous in practice.

CLEMENT XI 1700-1721

Concerning Truths which Necessarily Must be Explicitly Believed *

[Response of the Sacred Office to the Bishop of

Quebec, Jan. 25, 1703]

1349a Whether a minister is bound, before baptism is conferred on an adult, to explain to him all the mysteries of our faith, especially if he is at the point of death, because this might disturb his mind. Or, whether it is sufficient, if the one at the point of death will promise that when he recovers from the illness, he will take care to be instructed, so that he may put into practice what has been commanded him.

  Resp.A promise is not sufficient, but a missionary is bound to explain to an adult, even a dying one who is not entirely incapacitated, the mysteries of faith which are necessary by a necessity of means, as are especially the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation.


[Response of the Sacred Office, May 10, 1703]

1349b Whether it is possible for a crude and uneducated adult, as it might be with a barbarian, to be baptized, if there were given to him only an understanding of God and some of His attributes, especially His justice in rewarding and in punishing, according to this remark of the Apostle "He that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder'; [Heb . 11:23], from which it is inferred that a barbarian adult, in a certain case of urgent necessity, can be baptized although he does not believe explicitly in Jesus Christ.

  Resp. Amissionary should not baptize one who does not believe explicitly in the Lord Jesus Christ, but is bound to instruct him about all those matters which are necessary, by a necessity of means, in accordance with the capacity of the one to be baptized.

An Obsequious Silence in Regard to Dogmatic Facts *

[From the Constitution, "Vineam Domini Sabaoth," July 16. 1705]

1350 (Sec. 6 or 25) In order that, for the future, every occasion of error may be prevented, and that all sons of the Catholic Church may learn to listen to the Church herself, not in silence only (for, "even the wicked are silent in darkness"[ 1 Samuel 2:9]), but with an interior obedience, which is the true obedience of an orthodox man, let it be known that by this constitution of ours, to be valid forever, the obedience which is due to the aforesaid apostolic constitutions is not satisfied by any obsequious silence; but the sense of that book of Jansen which has been condemned in the five propositions (see n. 1092 ff.) mentioned above, and whose meaning the words of those propositions express clearly, must be rejected and condemned as heretical by all the faithful of Christ, not only by word of mouth but also in heart; and one may not lawfully subscribe to the above formula with any other mind, heart, or belief, so that all who hold or preach or teach or assert by word or writing anything contrary to what all these propositions mean, and to what each single one means we declare, decree, state, and ordain, with this same apostolic authority, that all, as transgressors of the aforementioned apostolic constitutions, come under each and every individual censure and penalty of those constitutions.

Errors of Paschasius Quesnel *


[Condemned in the dogmatic Constitution, "Unigenitus," * Sept. 8, 1713]

1351  (Sec. 3) 1. What else remains for the soul that has lost God and His grace except sin and the consequences of sin, a proud poverty and a slothful indigence, that is, a general impotence for labor, for prayer, and for every good work?

1352  2. The grace of Jesus Christ, which is the efficacious principle of every kind of good, is necessary for every good work; without it, not only is nothing done, but nothing can be done.

1353 3. In vain, O Lord, do You command, if You do not give what you command.

1354 4. Thus, O Lord, all things are possible to him for whom You make all things possible by effecting those same things in him.

1355  5. When God does not soften a heart by the interior unction of His grace, exterior exhortations and graces are of no service except to harden it the more.

1356  6. The difference between the Judaic dispensation and the Christian is this, that in the former God demanded flight from sin and a fulfillment of the Law by the sinner, leaving him in his own weakness; but in the latter, God gives the sinner what He commands, by purifying him with His grace.

1357 7. What advantage was there for a man in the old covenant, in which God left him to his own weakness, by imposing on him His law? But what happiness is it not to be admitted to a convenant in which God gives us what He asks of us?

1358  8. But we do not b long to the new covenant, except in so far as we are participators in that new grace which works in us that which God commands us.

1359 9. The grace of Christ is a supreme grace, without which we can never confess Christ, and with which we never deny Him.

1360 10. Grace is the working of the omnipotent hand of God, which nothing can hinder or retard.

1361 11. Grace is nothing else than the omnipotent Will of God, ordering and doing what He orders.

1362 12. When God wishes to save a soul, at whatever time and at whatever place, the undoubted effect follows the Will of God.

1363 13. When God wishes to save a soul and touches it with the interior hand of His grace, no human will resists Him.

1364  14. Howsoever remote from salvation an obstinate sinner is, when Jesus presents Himself to be seen by him in the salutary light of His grace, the sinner is forced to surrender himself, to have recourse to Him, and to humble himself, and to adore his Savior.

1365 15. When God accompanies His commandment and His eternal exhortation by the unction of His Spirit and by the interior force of His grace, He works that obedience in the heart that He is seeking.

1366 16. There are no attractions which do not yield to the attractions of grace, because nothing resists the Almighty.

1367 17. Grace is that voice of the Father which teaches men interiorly and makes them come to Jesus Christ; whoever does not come to Him, after he has heard the exterior voice of the Son, is in no wise taught by the Father.

1368 18. The seed of the word, which the hand of God nourishes, always brings forth its fruit.

1369 19. The grace of God is nothing else than His omnipotent Will; this is the idea which God Himself gives us in all His Scriptures.

1370 20. The true idea of grace is that God wishes Himself to be obeyed by us and He is obeyed; He commands, and all things are done; He speaks as the Lord, and all things are obedient to Him.

1371 21. The grace of Jesus Christ is a strong, powerful, supreme, invincible grace, that is, the operation of the omnipotent Will, the consequence and imitation of the operation of God causing the incarnation and the resurrection of His Son.

1372 22. The harmony of the all powerful operation of God in the heart of man with the free consent of man's will is demonstrated, therefore, to us in the Incarnation, as in the fount and archetype of all other operations of mercy and grace, all of which are as gratuitous and as dependent on God as the original operation itself.

1373 23. God Himself has taught us the idea of the omnipotent working of His grace, signifying it by that operation which produces creatures from nothing and which restores life to the dead.

1374 24. The right idea which the centurion had about the omnipotence of God and of Jesus Christ in healing bodies by a single act of His will, [Matt. 8:8] is an image of the idea we should have about the omnipotence of His grace in healing souls from cupidity.

1375   25. God illumines the soul, and heals it, as well as the body, by His will only; He gives orders and He is obeyed.

1376 26. No graces are granted except through faith.

1377 27. Faith is the first grace and the source of all others.

1378   28. The first grace which God grants to the sinner Is the remission of sin.

1379 29. Outside of the Church, no grace is granted.

1380 30. All whom God wishes to save through Christ, are infallibly saved.

1381 31. The desires of Christ always have their effect; He brings peace to the depth of hearts when He desires it for them.

1382 32. Jesus Christ surrendered Himself to death to free forever from the hand of the exterminating angel, by His blood, the first born, that is, the elect.

1383  33. Ah, how much one ought to renounce earthly goods and himself for this, that he may have the confidence of appropriating, so to speak, Christ Jesus to himself, His love, death, and mysteries, as St. Paul does, when he says: "He who loved me, and delivered Himself for me" [Gal.2:20].

1384 34. The grace of Adam produced nothing except human merit.

1385 35. The grace of Adam is a consequence of creation and was due to his whole and sound nature.

1386 36. The essential difference between the grace of Adam and of his state of innocence and Christian grace, is that each one would have received the first in his own person, but the second is not received except in the person of the risen Jesus Christ to whom we are united.

1387 37. The grace of Adam by sanctifying him in himself was proportionate to him; Christian grace, by sanctifying us in Jesus Christ, is omnipotent, and worthy of the Son of God.

1388 38. Without the grace of the Liberator, the sinner is not free except to do evil.

1389 39. The will, which grace does not anticipate, has no light except for straying, no eagerness except to put itself in danger, no strength except to wound itself, and is capable of all evil and incapable of all good.

1390 40. Without grace we can love nothing except to our own condemnation.

1391  41. All knowledge of God, even natural knowledge, even in the pagan philosophers, cannot come except from God; and without grace knowledge produces nothing but presumption, vanity, and opposition to God Himself, instead of the affections of adoration, gratitude, and love.

1392 42. The grace of Christ alone renders a man fit for the sacrifice of faith; without this there is nothing but impurity, nothing but unworthiness.

1393 43. The first effect of baptismal grace is to make us die to sin so that our spirit, heart, and senses have no more life for sin than a dead man has for the things of the world.

1394 44. There are but two loves, from which all our volitions and actions arise: love of God, which does all things because of God and which God rewards; and the love with which we love ourselves and the world, which does not refer to God what ought to be referred to Him, and therefore becomes evil.

1395 45. When love of God no longer reigns in the heart of sinners, it needs must be that carnal desire reign in it and corrupt all of its actions.

1396 46. Cupidity or charity makes the use of the senses good or evil.

1397 47. Obedience to the law ought to flow from the source, and this source is charity. When the love of God is the interior principle of obedience and the glory of God is its end, then that is pure which appears externally; otherwise, it is but hypocrisy and false justice.

1398 48. What else can we be except darkness, except aberration, and except sin, without the light of faith, without Christ, and without charity?

1399 49. As there is no sin without love of ourselves, so there is no good work without love of God.

1400 50. In vain we cry out to God: MyFather,if it is not the spirit of charity which cries out.

1401 51. Faith justifies when it operates, but it does not operate except through charity.

1402 52. All other means of salvation are contained in faith as in their own germ and seed; but this faith does not exist apart from love and confidence.

1403 53. Only charity in the Christian way makes (Christian actions) through a relation to God and to Jesus Christ.

1404 54. It is charity alone that speaks to God; it alone that God hears.

1405   55. God crowns nothing except charity; he who runs through any other incentive or any other motive, runs in vain.

1406 56. God rewards nothing but charity; for charity alone honors God.

1407 57. All fails a sinner, when hope fails him; and there is no hope in God, when there is no love of God.

1408 58. Neither God nor religion exists where there is no charity.

1409  59. The prayer of the impious is a new sin; and what God grants to them is a new judgment against them.

1410 60. If fear of punishment alone animates penance, the more intense this is, the more it leads to despair.

1411 61. Fear restrains nothing but the hand, but the heart is addicted to the sin as long as it is not guided by a love of justice.

1412 62. He who does not refrain from evil except through fear of punishment, commits that evil in his heart, and is already guilty before God.

1413 63. A baptized person is still under the law as a Jew, if he does not fulfill the law, or if he fulfills it from fear alone.

1414 64. Good is never done under the condemnation of the law, because one sins either by doing evil or by avoiding it only through fear.

1415 65. Moses, the prophets, priests, and doctors of the Law died without having given any son to God, since they produced only slaves through fear.

1416 66. He who wishes to approach to God, should not come to Him with brutal passions, nor be led to Him by natural instinct, or through fear as animals, but through faith and love, as sons.

1417 67. Servile fear does not represent God to itself except as a stern imperious, unjust, unyielding master.

1418 68. The goodness of God has shortened the road to salvation, by enclosing all in faith and in prayers.

1419 69. Faith, practice of it, increase, and reward of faith, all are a gift of the pure liberality of God.

1420 70. Never does God afflict the innocent; and afflictions always serve either to punish the sin or to purify the sinner.

1421 71. For the preservation of himself man can dispense himself from that law which God established for his use.

1422 72. A mark of the Christian Church is that it is catholic, embracing all the angels of heaven, all the elect and the just on earth, and of all times.

1423 73. What is the Church except an assembly of the sons of God abiding in His bosom, adopted in Christ, subsisting in His person, redeemed by His blood, living in His spirit, acting through His grace, and awaiting the grace of the future life?

1424 74. The Church or the whole Christ has the Incarnate Word as head, but all the saints as members.

1425  75. The Church is one single man composed of many members, of which Christ is the head, the life, the subsistence and the person; it is one single Christ composed of many saints, of whom He is the sanctifier

1426  76. There is nothing more spacious than the Church of God; because all the elect and the just of all ages comprise it.

1427  77. He who does not lead a life worthy of a son of God and a member of Christ, ceases interiorly to have God as a Father and Christ as a head.

1428  78. One is separated from the chosen people, whose figure was the Jewish people, and whose head is Jesus Christ, both by not living according to the Gospel and by not believing in the Gospel.

1429 79. It is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture.

1430  80. The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all.

1431 81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it.

1432 82. The Lord's Day ought to be sanctified by Christians with readings of pious works and above all of the Holy Scriptures. It is harmful for a Christian to wish to withdraw from this reading.

1433 83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred Scriptures. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of men has arisen the abuse of the Scriptures, and have heresies been born.

1434 84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ.

1435 85. To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a kind of excommunication.

1436 86. To snatch from the simple people this consolation of joining their voice to the voice of the whole Church is a custom contrary to the apostolic practice and to the intention of God.

1437 87. A method full of wisdom, light, and charity is to give souls time for bearing with humility, and for experiencing their state of sin, for seeking the spirit of penance and contrition, and for beginning at least to satisfy the justice of God, before they are reconciled.

1438 88. We are ignorant of what sin is and of what true penance is, when we wish to be restored at once to the possession of the goods of which sin has despoiled us, and when we refuse to endure the confusion of that separation.

1439 89. The fourteenth step in the conversion of a sinner is that, after he has already been reconciled, he has the right of assisting at the Sacrifice of the Church.

1440 90. The Church has the authority to excommunicate, so that it may exercise it through the first pastors with the consent, at least presumed, of the whole body.

1441 91. The fear of an unjust excommunication should never hinder us from fulfilling our duty; never are we separated from the Church, even when by the wickedness of men we seem to be expelled from it, aslong as we are attached to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Church herself by charity.

1442 92. To suffer in peace an excommunication and an unjust anathema rather than betray truth, is to imitate St. Paul; far be it from rebelling against authority or of destroying unity.

1443   93. Jesus sometimes heals the wounds which the precipitous haste of the first pastors inflicted without His command. Jesus restored what they, with inconsidered zeal, cut off.

1444 94. Nothing engenders a worse opinion of the Church among her enemies than to see exercised there an absolute rule over the faith of the faithful, and to see divisions fostered because of matters which do not violate faith or morals.

1445 95. Truths have descended to this, that they are, as it were, a foreign tongue to most Christians, and the manner of preaching them is, as it were, an unknown idiom, so remote is the manner of preaching from the simplicity of the apostles, and so much above the common grasp of the faithful; nor is there sufficient advertence to the fact that this defect is one of the greatest visible signs of the weakening of the Church and of the wrath of God on His sons.

1446 96. God permits that all powers be opposed to the preachers of truth, so that its victory cannot be attributed to anyone except to divine grace.

1447 97. Too often it happens that those members, who are united to the Church more holily and more strictly, are looked down upon, and treated as if they were unworthy of being in the Church, or as if they were separated from Her; but, "the just man liveth by faith" [Rom. 1:17], and not by the opinion of men.

1448 98. The state of persecution and of punishment which anyone endures as a disgraceful and impious heretic, is generally the final trial and is especially meritorious, inasmuch as it makes a man more conformable to Jesus Christ.

1449 99. Stubbornness, investigation, and obstinacy in being unwilling either to examine something or to acknowledge that one has been deceived, daily changes into an odor, as it were, of death, for many people, that which God has placed in His Church to be an odor of life within it, for instance, good books, instructions, holy examples, etc.

1450 100 Deplorable is the time in which God is believed to be honored by persecution of the truth and its disciples! This time has come. . . . To be considered and treated by the ministers of religion as impious and unworthy of all commerce with God, as a putrid member capable of corrupting everything in the society of saints, is to pious men a more terrible death than the death of the body. In vain does anyone flatter himself on the purity of his intentions and on a certain zeal for religion, when he persecutes honest men with fire and sword, if he is blinded by his own passion or carried away by that of another on account of which he does not want to examine anything. We frequently believe that we are sacrificing an impious man to God, when we are sacrificing a servant of God to the devil.

1451  101. Nothing is more opposed to the spirit of God and to the doctrine of Jesus Christ than to swear common oaths in Church, because this is to multiply occasions of perjury, to lay snares for the weak and inexperienced, and to cause the name and truth of God to serve sometimes the plan of the wicked.

 Declared and condemnedas false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers, seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have been condemned.


INNOCENT XIII 1721-1724  BENEDICT XIII 1724-1730

CLEMENT XII 1730-1740

BENEDICT XIV 1740-1758

Clandestine Marriages in Belgium (and Holland) *

[From the Declaration, "Matrimonia, quae in locis," Nov. 4, 1741]

1452  Marriages which are wont to be entered into in places subject to the dominion of the Federated Orders in Belgium, whether between heretics on both sides, or between an heretical man on one side and a Catholic woman on the other, or, viceversa, without having observed the form prescribed by the Sacred Council of Trent, whether such marriages are valid or not has been for a long time greatly disputed in the minds of men, and there are divided and diverse opinions; a situation which has furnished a rather fruitful source of anxiety and the seed of danger for many years, especially since bishops, parish priests, and missionaries of these regions have no certainty in regard to the matter and do not dare to decree and to declare anything without consulting the Holy See. .

1453 (1) Our Most Holy Father, having taken time to ponder the matter, recently enjoined that this declaration and instruction be set down, which should be employed hereafter as a definite rule and norm by all Belgian bishops, priests, and missionaries of these regions, and vicars apostolic, in matters of this kind.

1454 (2) Namely, first, in regard to marriages celebrated between heretics in places subject to the authority of the Federated Orders, which did not observe the form prescribed by Trent, although His Holiness knows that at other times, in certain particular cases and in circumstances attendant and explained at the time, the Sacred Congregation of the Council has said that they are invalid; nevertheless, His Holiness, being equally certain that nothing has been generally or universally defined by the Apostolic See regarding marriages of this kind, and, on the other hand, that, in order to furnish advice to all the faithful residing in those places and to avert more grave disorders, he ought to declare what must be generally held regarding such marriages, after giving mature consideration to the matter, and sedulously balancing all the weighty reasons pro and con, has declared and decreed that marriages which have been contracted up to now, and which will be contracted hereafter in the said federated provinces of Belgium between heretics, even if the form prescribed by Trent shall not have been observed in their celebration, provided no other canonical impediment interferes, are to be considered as valid, and furthermore, if it should happen that each spouse be received into the bosom of the Catholic Church, they are held bound by the same conjugal tie as before, even if their mutual consent is not renewed before the Catholic priest; but, if only one of the spouses, either man or woman, should be converted, neither can, as long as the other is living, enter into another marriage.

1455  (3) Now as regards those marriages which likewise in the same federated provinces of Belgium are contracted by Catholics with heretics without the form established by Trent, whether a Catholic man takes an heretical woman in marriage, or a Catholic woman marries an heretical man; grieving very much that there are among Catholics those who, becoming shamefully deranged by a mad love, do not wholeheartedly abhor and think that they should refrain from these detestable marriages which Holy Mother Church has continually condemned and interdicted, and praising greatly the zeal of those bishops, who, by proposing severe penalties, endeavor to restrain Catholics from uniting themselves to heretics in this sacrilegious bond, His Holiness encourages, exhorts, and advises seriously and gravely all bishops, vicars apostolic, parish priests, missionaries, and every other faithful minister of God and of the Church who reside in those regions, to deter, in so far as they can, Catholics of both sexes from entering into marriages of this kind to the destruction of their own souls, and to make it their business to avert in every good way and efficaciously to hinder these same marriages. But if by chance some marriage of this sort, without observing the Tridentine form, has already been contracted there, or may be contracted in the future (which God forbid!), His Holiness declares that such a marriage, provided that no other canonical impediment exists, must be considered valid, and that neither of the spouses, as long as the other one lives, can in any way enter into a new marriage under the pretext that the prescribed form was not observed; that the Catholic spouse, whether man or woman, should especially bear this in mind, that in proportion to the very grave fault he has committed he should do penance and ask pardon from God, and should try, in proportion to his strength, to draw the other spouse, who is straying from the true faith, back to the bosom of the Catholic Church, and to win her or his soul, which indeed would be a very excellent means of obtaining pardon for the crime committed, knowing besides, as has just been said, that he will be perpetually bound by the bond of that marriage.

1456  (4) In addition, the Holy See declares that whatever up to now has been sanctioned and pronounced about marriages, either between heretics or between Catholics and heretics, in those regions subject to the rule of the Federated Orders in Belgium, is likewise sanctioned and pronounced for similar marriages contracted outside the limits of the dominion of these same Federated Orders by those who have been assigned to the legions, or military forces which are customarily sent by these same Federated Orders to guard and to defend the frontier parts commonly called diBarriera; sothat, indeed, marriages entered into there without the Tridentine form between heretics on both sides, or between Catholics and heretics, retain their validity, provided the spouse in each case belongs to these same military forces or legions; and His Holiness wishes this declaration to include also the city of Mosa Traiectensis, which is possessed by the Commonwealth of the Federated Orders, not, however, by right of dominion, but only under the name of a pledge, as they say.

1457  (5) Finally, in regard to marriages which are contracted either in the regions of Catholic princes by those who have a domicile in the federated provinces, or in the federated provinces by those who have a domicile in the regions of Catholic princes, His Holiness has thought that nothing new should be decreed and declared, wishing that whenever a dispute arises concerning them, they be decided according to the canonical principles of the common law, and by the resolution approved in similar cases at other times and published by the Sacred Congregation of the Council, and so he has declared and decreed and commanded that it be observed by all for the future.

The Minister of Confirmation *

[From the Constitution, "Etsi Pastoralis," for Italian-Greeks, May 26, 1742]

1458 (3) Let Latin bishops unconditionally confirm infants or others bapsized in their dioceses and signed on the forehead with chrism by Greek priests, since neither by our predecessors nor by us has the faculty been granted, nor is it granted to Greek priests in Italy and the adjacent islands to confer the sacrament of confirmation on baptized infants. . . . *

Profession of Faith which Is Prescribed for Orientals (Maronites)*

[From the Constitution, "Nuper ad nos.,, March 16. 1743]


1459 5. . . . I, N., with firm faith, etc. I believe in one, etc., [as in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed, see n. 86, 994].

1460 I revere also and accept the universal Synods as follows, namely; The first Nicean [see n. 54 ], and I profess what has been defined in it against Arius of execrable memory, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the only-begotten Son of the Father, who is born of the substance of the Father, not made, that He is consubstantial with the Father, that those impious statements have been rightly condemned in the same Synod, such as: "That at some time He did not exist," or, "that He was made of those things which are not, or of some other substance or essence," or, "that the Son of God is mutable or changeable."

1461 The first Constantinople, second in order [see n. 85 f.], and I profess that which was defined in it against Macedonius of execrable memory that the Holy Spirit is not a servant but Lord, not a creature but God, and possessing the one divinity with the Father and the Son.

1462 The first Ephesian [see n. III a f.], third in order, and I profess that which was defined against Nestorius of execrable memory, that divinity and humanity by an ineffable and incomprehensible union in the one person of the Son of God have constituted for us one Jesus Christ, and that for this reason the most Blessed Virgin is truly the Mother of God.

1463 Chalcedon [see n. 148], fourth in order, and I profess that which was defined against Eutyches and Dioscorus, both of execrable memory, that the one and same Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, was perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, true God and true man consisting of rational soul and body, consubstantial with the Father in regard to His divinity, and consubstantial with us in regard to His humanity, in all things similar to us, without sin; that before time He was born of the Father according to divinity, but that in these latter days the same One, for us and for our salvation, was born of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, according to humanity, and that the one same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten must be recognized in the two natures without confusion, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably, never removing the difference of the natures because of their union, and preserving the peculiar character of each nature joined in one Person and substance; that this same Lord is not separated and divided into two persons, but is one and the same Son and Only-begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ: likewise that the divinity of our same Lord Jesus Christ, according to which He is consubstantial with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is impassible and immortal; moreover, the same Lord was crucified and died only in the flesh, as was also defined in the said Synod and in the letter of St. Leo, the Roman Pontiff [cf. n.143 f.], by whose mouth, the Fathers in the same Synod declared that Blessed Peter the Apostle spoke, and by this definition there is condemned also that impious heresy of those who, when the Trisagion transmitted by the angels was being sung in the aforementioned Synod of Chalcedon: "Holy God, strong God, immortal God, have mercy on us," added these words: "Who was crucified for us," and thereby asserted that the divine nature of the three Persons was passible and mortal.

1464 Second Council of Constantinople [see n. 212 ff.], fifth in order, in which the definition of the aforementioned Synod of Chalcedon was renewed.

1465 Third Council of Constantinople [see n.289 ff.], sixth in order, and I profess what was defined in it against the Monothelites, that in our one same Lord, Jesus Christ, there are two natural wills and two natural operations without division, change, separation, or confusion, and that His human will is not contrary to, but subject to His divine and omnipotent will.

1466  Second Nicean Council [see n. 302 ff.], seventh in order, and I profess what was defined in it against the Iconoclasts, that images of Christ and of the Virgin Mother of God, as well as of other saints, should be kept and retained, and that due honor and veneration should be them

1467  The fourth of Constantinople [see n. 336 ff.], eighth in order, and I profess that in it Photius was rightly condemned, and that Saint Ignatius, the Patriarch, was rightly reinstated (restored).

1468 I venerate also and accept all the other universal Synods which have been lawfully held and confirmed by the authority of the Roman Pontiff, and especially the Synod of Florence; [there follows what is gathered and excerpted as far as the meaning goes from the decree on the union of the Greeks (namely, n.691-693), and from the decree for the Armenians (see n. 712 f.), of the Council of Florence]. . . .

1469 Likewise, I revere and accept the Council of Trent [see n. 782 ff.], and I profess what was defined and declared in it, and especially that there is offered to God in the Mass a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice, for the living and the dead, and that in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, in accordance with the faith that had always been in the Church of God, there is contained truly, really, and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and hence the whole Christ, and that there is made a change of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood, which change the Catholic Church most fittingly calls transubstantiation, and that under each species and in each single part of each species, when a division is made, the whole Christ is contained.

1470 Likewise, I profess that there are seven sacraments of the New Law instituted by Christ, our Lord, for the salvation of the human race, although not all of them are necessary for each individual: namely, baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony; and (I profess) that these confer grace, and that of these, baptism, confirmation, and orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. Likewise (I profess) that baptism is necessary for salvation, and hence, if there is imminent danger of death, it should be conferred at once and without delay, and that it is valid if conferred with the right matter and form and intention by anyone, and at any time. Likewise (I profess) that the bond of the sacrament of matrimony is indissoluble, and that, although a separation of bed and board may be possible between the Spouses because of adultery, heresy, and some other causes, nevertheless it is not lawful for them to contract another marriage

1471  Likewise, (I profess) that the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions must be accepted and revered; also, that power of granting indulgences has been left to the Church of Christ, and that their use is very salutary for Christian people.

1472 Likewise, I accept and profess what was defined in the aforesaid Synod of Trent about original sin, about justification, about the list and interpretation of the sacred books of both the New Testament and the Old [cf. n. 787 ff., 783 ff.]

1473  Likewise, all other things I accept and profess, which the Holy Roman Church accepts and professes, and I likewise condemn, reject, and anathematize, at the same time all contrary things, both schisms and heresies, which have been condemned, rejected, and anathematized by the same Church. In addition, I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Blessed Peter, the prince of the Apostles and the vicar of Jesus Christ. And that this faith of the Catholic Church, without which no one can be saved, etc. . . . [as in the Tridentine profession of faith, see n. 1000 ].

About not Demanding the Name of an Accomplice*

[From the Brief, "Supreme omnium Ecclesiarum sollicitudo,"July 7, 1745]


1474 (1) For it came to our attention not so long ago that some confessors of those parts, allowing themselves to be seduced by a false idea of zeal, but straying far from the zeal "according to knowledge" [cf. Rom. 10:2], have begun to bring in and to introduce a certain evil and pernicious practice in hearing the confessions of the faithful of Christ, and in administering the very saving sacrament of penance: namely, that if by chance they should happen upon penitents who have an associate in their sin, they demand at times from these penitents the name of such an accomplice or companion, and they attempt to induce them to reveal this to them not only by persuasion, but what is more detestable, they directly force and compel them to reveal it, under a threat of denying them sacramental absolution; nay more, they demand that not only the name of the accomplice be made known but also the place of residence, and this intolerable imprudence they do not hesitate to disguise by the specious pretext of procuring the correction of the accomplice and of accomplishing other good effects, nor to defend it by falsifying the opinions of learned men, when, in truth, by following false and erroneous opinions of this sort, or by making a bad application of true and sound principles, they bring destruction not only to their own souls but also to those of their penitents, and, besides, they render themselves guilty before God, the eternal judge, of many serious evils which they ought to have foreseen would easily follow from their action. . . . (3) Moreover, in order that we may not seem to be lacking in our apostolic ministry to any degree in so great a danger to souls, and so that we may not permit our mind on this matter to be obscure or ambiguous to you, we wish you to know that the practice mentioned above must be entirely repudiated, and this same practice is reproved and condemned by Us through our present letters in the form of a brief, as scandalous and dangerous, and as harmful to the reputation of one's neighbor as it is to the sacrament itself, and tending to the violation of the most sacred sacramental seal and alienating the faithful from so advantageous and necessary a use of this same sacrament of penance.


[From the Encyclical "Vix pervenit" to the bishops of Italy, Nov. 1, 1745]

1475 (Sec. 3), T. That species of sin which is called usury, and which has its proper seat and place in a contract of lending, consists in this: that someone, from the loan itself, which of its very nature demands that only as much be returned as was received, wishes more to be returned to him than was received, and therefore contends that some profit beyond the principal, by reason of the lending, is due to him. Therefore, all profit of this sort, which surpasses the principal, is unlawful and is usurious.

1476 2. Nor may any defense be summoned to justify that guilt, either from this fact, that the gain is not excessive and over much, but moderate, is not great but meager; or from this, that he from whom that profit is asked, because of the loan itself, is not a poor man but rich, who is not going to leave the sum given to him as a loan idle but is going to spend it advantageously to increase his fortune either by buying new estates or by transacting profitable business. Indeed, that person is convicted of acting contrary to the law of lending, which necessarily is concerned with the equality of what is given and returned, who, although that same equality has already once been rendered, does not fear to demand something more from someone, by reason of the lending itself, for which satisfaction has already been made on equal terms; and hence, if he should receive it, he will be obligated to restitution by reason of his obligation in justice, which they call commutative justice, and whose purpose it is both to preserve inviolably in human contracts the equality proper to each one, and to repair it exactly when it is not observed.

1477  3. But by this it is not at all denied that sometimes there can perhaps occur certain other titles, as they say, together with the contract of lend ing, and these not at all innate or intrinsic in general to the nature of a loan, from which titles there arises a just and entirely legitimate cause of rightly demanding something more above the principal than is due from the loan. Likewise, it is not denied that many times one's own money can be rightly invested and expended in other contracts of a different nature from the nature of lending, either to secure an annual income for oneself, or also to practice legitimate commerce and business, and thus procure an honest profit.

1478 4. But, just as in so many different kinds of contracts of this nature, it is well known that if the equality of each one is not observed, whatever is received more than is just, pertains, if not to usury (for the reason that there is no loan either open or secret), certainly does pertain to some other real injustice carrying likewise the burden of retribution; so, also, if all things are rightly transacted and carried out according to the scale of justice, there is no doubt that in these same contracts there occurs a multifold lawful manner and method of maintaining and carrying on human commerce and profitable business itself for the common good. For, far be it from Christian minds that they should think that, by making use of usury or similar harmful injustices, there could flourish a profitable commerce; since, on the contrary, we should learn from the divine proverb that "justice exalteth a nation, but sin maketh nations miserable" [ Prov. 14:34].

1479 5. But this must be diligently borne in mind, that one would falsely and certainly rashly persuade himself that there is always found and is everywhere present, either some legitimate titles together with a loan, or, even excluding a loan, other just contracts, by the aid of which titles or contracts, it is permitted, as often as money, grain, or something of that kind is lent to another, just so often to receive a moderate increase beyond the whole and sound principal. And so, if anyone thinks in this manner, he will without any doubt be in opposition not only to the divine Scriptures and to the judgment of the Catholic Church about usury, but even to human common sense itself, and to natural reason. For, this at least cannot escape anyone, that in many cases a man is bound to succor another with a pure and simple act of lending, especially when Christ the Lord teaches: "From him that would borrow of thee, turn not away" [ Matt. 5:42]; and that, similarly, in many circumstances, besides the loan itself, there can be place for no other just and true contract. Whoever, therefore, is willing to consult his conscience, ought first to inquire whether, with a loan there is truly any other just title, or, apart from a loan there is a just contract, by reason of which the profit which he seeks may be returned immune and free of all guilt.

The Baptism of Jewish Children *

[From the epistle "Postremo menses to the Viceregent in the City, Feb. 28, 1747]

1480 3. . . . The first point to be considered is whether Hebrew children can be lawfully baptized, if the parents are unwilling and reluctant. Secondly, if we say that this is unlawful, then we must consider whether any case might occur, in which this could not only be done, but would be even lawful and clearly fitting. Thirdly, we must consider whether the baptism bestowed on Hebrew children at a time when it is now lawful, should be considered valid or invalid. Fourthly, we must consider what must be done when Hebrew children are brought to be baptized, or when it is discovered that they have been admitted to sacred baptism; finally, how it can be proved that these same children have already been purified by the saving waters.

1481 If there is any discussion of the first chapter of the first part, whether Hebrew children can be baptized if the parents object, we openly assert that this has already been defined in three places by St. Thomas, namely, in Quodl. 2, a. 7; in II-II ae, q. 10, a. 12. where, recalling for examination the question proposed in the Quodlibeta: "Whether the children of Jews and of other unbelievers should be baptized against the will of the parents," he answered thus: "I reply that it must be said that the custom of the Church has great authority, which should always be followed in all things, etc. Moreover, the usage of the Church never held that the children of Jews should be baptized against their parents' wishes. . . ," and in addition he says this in III a, q. 68, a. 10: "I reply that it must be said that children, sons of unbelievers. . ., if they do not yet have the use of free will, are, according to the natural law, under the care of their parents, as long as they cannot provide for themselves. . ., and, therefore, it would be against natural justice, if such children were baptized without the parents' consent; just as if someone having the use of reason should be baptized against his will. It would even be dangerous. . .

1482 Scotus in 4 Sent. dist. 4, q. 9, n. 2, and in questions related to n. 2, thought that a prince could laudably command that small children of Hebrews and unbelievers be baptized, even against the will of the parents, provided one could prudently see to it that these same children were not killed by the parents. . . . Nevertheless, the opinion of St. Thomas prevailed in courts . . . and is more widespread among theologians and those skilled in canon law *. . . .

1483 7. Therefore, this having been established, that it is unlawful to baptize Hebrew children against the will of their parents, now, following the order proposed in the beginning, we must take up the second part: namely, whether any occasion could ever occur in which that would be lawful and fitting. . .

1484 8. . . . Since this may happen, that a child of Hebrew parentage be found by some Christian to be close to death, he will certainly perform a deed which I think is praiseworthy and pleasing to God, if he furnishes the child with eternal salvation by the purifying water. . . .

1485 9. If, likewise, it should happen that any Hebrew child had been cast out and abandoned by its parents, it is the common opinion of all and has also been confirmed by many decisions, that the child ought to be baptized, even if the parents protest against this and demand the child back. . . .

1486  After we have explained the most obvious cases in which this rule of ours prohibits the baptizing of Hebrew children against the wishes of their parents, we add some other declarations pertaining to this rule, the first of which is this: If parents are lacking, but the infants have been entrusted to the guardianship of a Hebrew, they can in no way be lawfully baptized without the assent of the guardian, since all the authority of the parents has passed to the guardians. . . . 15. The second is this, if the father should enlist in the Christian militia and order his infant son to be baptized, he should be baptized, even though the Hebrew mother protests, since the child must be considered to be, not under the power of the mother, but under that of the father. * . . . 16. The third is this, that although the mother does not have her children under her own right, nevertheless, if she belongs to the Christian faith and offers her child for baptism, although the Hebrew father protests, nevertheless, the child should be cleansed by the water of baptism. . . . 17. The fourth is that, if it is a certainty that the will of parents is necessary for the baptism of children, since under the name of parent a paternal grandfather also is included . . ., then it necessarily follows that, if the paternal grandfather has embraced the Catholic faith and brings his grandchild to the font of saving water, although the Hebrew mother objects, when the father is dead, nevertheless, the child should be baptized without hesitation. * . . .

1487  18. It is not an imaginary case that sometimes a Hebrew father says that he wants to embrace the Catholic religion and presents himself and his infant sons to be baptized, but afterwards regrets his intention and refuses to have his son baptized. This happened at Mantua. . . . The case was brought for examination in the Congregation of the Holy Office, and the Pope on the 24th day of September in the year 1699 decreed that action should be taken as follows: "His Holiness, having listened to the wishes of the Cardinals, decreed that two infant sons, one three years old, the other five, be baptized. The other children, namely a son of eight years and a daughter twelve, should be placed in the house of catechumens, if there is one at Mantua, but if not, at the home of a pious and honorable person for the purpose of finding out their will and of instructing them. . . . "

1488  19. Also some unbelievers are accustomed to bring their children to Christians to be washed with the saving waters, not however that they may merit the satisfactions of Christ, nor that the guilt of original sin may be washed from their soul, but they do this, motivated by some base superstition, namely because they think that by the benefit of baptism, these same children may be freed from malignant spirits, from infection, or some illness. . . .

1489  21. Some unbelievers, when they have represented this idea to themselves, that by the grace of baptism their children will be freed from illnesses and the persecution of the demons, are brought to such a pass of madness that they have also threatened Catholic priests with death. . . . But, in opposition to this belief, the Congregation of the Holy Office in the presence of the Pope on the 5th day of September, 1625, contested: "The Sacred Congregation of the general Inquisition held in the presence of His Holiness, having read the letters of the Bishop Antibarensis, in which he made supplication for a solution of the doubt written below: Whether, when priests are compelled by Turks to baptize their children, not that they may make them Christians, but for their bodily health, so that they may be freed from infection, epilepsy, the danger of bewitchment, and wolves, whether in such a case they could pretend to baptize them, making use of the matter of baptism without the prescribed form? He replied in the negative, because baptism is the door of the sacraments and a profession of faith, and that in no way can it be simulated. . . . "

1490 29. And so our discourse comes now to those who are presented for baptism neither by their parents nor by others who have any right over them, but by someone who has no authority. In addition, there is a question about those whose cases are not comprehended under the dispositions which permits baptism to be conferred, even if the consent of their elders is withheld. In this case, indeed, they ought not to be baptized, but be sent back to those in whose power and trust they are lawfully placed. But, if they have been already admitted to the sacrament, either they must be detained or recovered from their Hebrew parents and handed over to the faithful of Christ, so that they may be piously and religiously trained by them; for this is the effect of baptism, which,though it be unlawful, nevertheless is true and valid.


Errors Concerning Duelling *

[Condemned in the Constitution, "Detestabilem," Nov. 10, 1752]

1491  1. A military man who would be considered fearful, timid, abject, and unfit for military offices unless he offers or accepts a duel, and hence would be deprived of an office by which he supports himself and his family, or who would be perpetually deprived of the hope of promotion otherwise due him and merited by him, is free from guilt and penalty, whether he offers a duel or accepts one.

1492  2. Those who accept a duel, or even provoke a duel for the sake of protecting their honor, or of avoiding the disrepute of men, can be excused when they know for certain that the combat will not take place, inasmuch as it will be prevented by others.

1493  3. A leader or military officer who accepts a duel through grave fear of losing his reputation or his office, does not incur the ecclesiastical penalties brought by the Church against duelists.

1494 4. It is permitted in the natural state of man to accept and to offer a duel to preserve one's fortunes with honor, when their loss cannot be prevented by any other means.

1495 5. This permission, claimed for the natural state, can also be applied to the state of the commonwealth which is badly regulated, that is to say, in which justice is openly denied, either because of the negligence or the wickedness of the magistracy.

  Condemned and prohibitedas false, scandalous, and pernicious.

CLEMENT XIII 1758 -- 1769    CLEMENT XIV 1769 -- 1774

PIUS VI 1775-1799

Mixed Marriages in Belgium *

[From the Rescript of Pius Vl to Card. de Franckenberg, Archbishop of Mechlin, and to the Bishops of Belgium,July 13, 1782]

1496 . . . And therefore we must not depart from the uniform opinion of our predecessors and from ecclesiastical discipline, which do not approve marriages between parties who are both heretics, or between a Catholic on the one hand and a heretic on the other, and this much less in a case where there is need of a dispensation of some sort. . . .

1497 Passing now to that point about the requested assistance of parish priests in mixed marriages, we say that if the above named admonition to recall the Catholic party from the unlawful marriage has been fulfilled, and nevertheless he persists in his will to contract it, and it is foreseen that the marriage will inevitably follow, then the Catholic priest can lend his material presence, nevertheless in such wise that he is bound to observe the following precautions: First, that he does not assist at such a marriage in a sacred place, nor clothed in any vestment betokening a sacred function, nor will he recite over the contracting parties any prayers of the Church, and in no way shall he bless them. Secondly, that he will exact and receive from the contracting heretic a declaration in writing, in which with an oath in the presence of two witnesses, who also ought to sign their names, he obligates himself to permit his partner the free use of the Catholic religion, and to educate in it all the children who shall be born without any distinction of sex. . . . Thirdly, that the contracting Catholic make a declaration signed by himself and two witnesses, in which he promises with an oath not only never to apostatize from his Catholic religion, but to educate in it all his future offspring, and to procure effectively the conversion of the other contracting non-Catholic.

1498 Fourthly, that which concerns the proclamations commanded by the imperial decree, which the bishops hold to be civil rather than sacred acts, we answer: Since they have been preordained for the future celebration of marriage and consequently contain a positive cooperation with it, a thing which certainly exceeds the limits of simple tolerance, we cannot consent that these be made. . . .

1499 It remains now to speak about one more point, concerning which, although we have not been expressly interrogated, nevertheless we do not think it should be passed over in silence, insomuch as, in practice, it could too frequently happen; namely, this: Whether the contracting Catholic, afterwards wishing to share in the sacraments, ought to be admitted to them? To this we say that as long as he shall demonstrate that he is sorry for his sinful union, this can be granted to him, provided he shall sincerely declare before confession that he will procure the conversion of his heretical spouse, that he renews his promise of educating his children in the orthodox religion, and that he will repair the scandal he has given to the other faithful. If these conditions obtain, we are not opposed to the Catholic party receiving the sacraments.*

Concerning the Power of the Roman Pontiff

(Against Febronianism) *

[From the Brief, "Super soliditate," Nov. 28, 1786

1500  And since truly, as Augustine teaches,* God has placed the doctrine of truth in the chair of unity, that unfortunate writer on the contrary leaves nothing undone with which to harass and attack in every way this See of Peter, in which See the Fathers have taught with unanimous agreement that that chair was established, in which alone unity might be preserved by all; from which the rights of the venerable communion emanate to all the others; and to which it is necessary that every church and all the faithful everywhere come [cf. Vatican Council, n.1824]. He has not hesitated to call fanatic the crowd which he saw breaking forth into these words at the sight of the Pontiff: "He is the man who has received from God the keys of the kingdom of heaven with the power of binding and loosing, to whom no other bishop can be made equal, from whom these very bishops receive their authority as he himself received his supreme power from God; moreover, he is the vicar of Christ, the visible head of the Church, the supreme judge of the faithful." Could, therefore (a thing horrible to say), that voice of Christ have been fanatical, which promised [Matt. 16:19] Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven with the power of binding and loosing; which keys Optatus Milevitanus, following Tertullian, did not hesitate to confess that Peter alone received to be communicated to the others? Or, are so many solemn decrees of the Popes and Councils repeated so many times to be called fanatic, by which those have been condemned who denied that in blessed Peter, the prince of the Apostles, his successor, the Roman Pontiff, was established by God as the visible head of the Church and the vicar of Jesus Christ, that to him has been transmitted full power of ruling the Church, and that true obedience is due him from all who are considered Christians; and that such is the power of the primacy, which he holds by divine right, that he is superior to other bishops not only by his rank of honor but by the plenitude of his supreme power? All the more must be deplored that blind and rash temerity of the man who was eager to renew in his unfortunate book errors which have been condemned by so many decrees, who has said and insinuated indiscriminately by many ambiguities, that every bishop, no less than the pope, was called by God to govern the Church, and was endowed with no less power; that Christ gave the same power Himself to all the apostles; and that whatever some people believe is obtained and granted only by the pope, that very thing, whether it depends on consecration or ecclesiastical jurisdiction, can be obtained just as well from any bishop; that Christ wished His Church to be governed in the manner of a republic; and that, indeed, for that government there is need of a head for the good of unity, but one who does not dare to interfere in the affairs of others (bishops) who rule at the same time; nevertheless, he has the privilege of exhorting those who are negligent to the fulfillment of their duties; that the power of the primacy is contained in this one prerogative, of making up for the negligence of others, of looking after the preservation of unity by encouragement and example; that the popes have no power in another diocese except in an extraordinary case; that the pope is the head because he holds his power and strength from the Church; that the Pontiffs have made it lawful for themselves to violate the rights of bishops, to reserve to themselves absolutions, dispensations, decisions, appeals, bestowal of benefices, in a word all other duties which he enumerates one by one and derides as unjust reservations and injurious to bishops.

The Power of the One Church in the Marriage of Baptized Persons *

[From the Epistle, "Deessemus nobis," to the Bishop of Motula, Sept. 16, 1788]

1500a  It is not unknown to us that there are some, who, attributing too much to the authority of the secular princes, and captiously interpreting the words of this canon [see n. 982], have undertaken to defend this: That, since the Tridentine Fathers did not make use of this form of speaking, "to ecclesiastical judgesalone,"or,"allmatrimonial cases,"--they (the Tridentine Fathers) have left to lay judges the power of at least invest) gating matrimonial cases which are of pure fact. But we know that even this sophism and this false kind of quibbling are devoid of all foundation. For the words of the canon are so general that they embrace and comprise all cases. Moreover, the spirit or purpose of the law extends so widely that it leaves no place for exception or limitation. For if these cases pertain to the tribunal of the Church alone for no other reason than because the marriage contract is truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the evangelical law, then, just as this notion of the sacrament is common to all matrimonial cases, so all these cases ought to pertain to the ecclesiastical judges alone.

Errors of the Synod of Pistoia*

[Condemned in the Constitution, "Auctorem fidei," Aug. 28, 1794]

[A.Errors about the Church *

Obscuring of Truths in the Church

[From the Decree de Grat., sec. I]

1501  1. The proposition, which asserts "that in these later times there has been spread a general obscuring of the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings of Jesus Christ,"--heretical.


The Power Attributed to the Community of the Church,

in Order That by This the Power May Be Communicated

to the Pastors


[Episcopal Convocation]


1502 2. The proposition which states "that power has been given by God to the Church, that it might be communicated to the pastors who are its ministers for the salvation of souls"; if thus understood that the power of ecclesiastical ministry and of rule is derived from the COMMUNITY of the faithful to the pastors,--heretical.

The Name Ministerial Head Attributed to the Roman Pontiff

[ Decree de fide( on faith), sec. 8]


1503 3. In addition, the proposition which states "that the Roman Pontiff is the ministerial head," if it is so explained that the Roman Pontiff does not receive from Christ in the person of blessed Peter, but from the Church, the power of ministry, which as successor of Peter, true vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church he possesses in the universal Church,--heretical. *

The Power of the Church for the Establishing and the Sanctioning

of Exterior Discipline

[ Decree de fide, sees. 13, 14 ]


1504 4. The proposition affirming, "that it would be a misuse of the authority of the Church, when she transfers that authority beyond the limits of doctrine and of morals, and extends it to exterior matters, and demands by force that which depends on persuasion and love"; and then also, "that it pertains to it much less, to demand by force exterior obedience to its decrees"; in so far as by those undefined words, "extends to exterior matters," the proposition censures as an abuse of the authority of the Church the use of its power received from God, which the apostles themselves used in establishing and sanctioning exterior discipline--heretical.

1505 5. In that part in which the proposition insinuates that the Church "does not have authority to demand obedience to its decrees otherwise than by means which depend on persuasion; in so far as it intends that the Church has not conferred on it by God the power, not only of directing by counsel and persuasion, but also of ordering by laws, and of constraining and forcing the inconstant and stubborn by exterior judgment and salutary punishments" [from Benedict XIV in the Brief, "Ad assiduas," of the year 1755, to the Primate, Archbishops, and Bishops of the Kingdom of Poland ],--leading toward a system condemned elsewhere as heretical.


Rights Attributed to Bishops Beyond What is Lawful

[ Decree de ord., sec. 25 ]

1506 6. The doctrine of the synod by which it professes that "it is convinced that a bishop has received from Christ all necessary rights for the good government of his diocese," just as if for the good government of each diocese higher ordinances dealing either with faith and morals, or with general discipline, are not necessary, the right of which belongs to the supreme Pontiffs and the General Councils for the universal Church,--schismatic, at least erroneous.

1507 7. Likewise, in this, that it encourages a bishop "to pursue zealously a more perfect constitution of ecclesiastical discipline," and this "against all contrary customs, exemptions, reservations which are opposed to the good order of the diocese, for the greater glory of God and for the greater edification of the faithful"; in that it supposes that a bishop has the right by his own judgment and will to decree and decide contrary to customs, exemptions, reservations, whether they prevail in the universal Church or even in each province, without the consent or the intervention of a higher hierarchic power, by which these customs, etc., have been introduced or approved and have the force of law,--leading to schism and subversion of hierarchic rule, erroneous.

1508 8. Likewise, in that it says it is convinced that "the rights of a bishop received from Jesus Christ for the government of the Church cannot be altered nor hindered, and, when it has happened that the exercise of these rights has been interrupted for any reason whatsoever, a bishop can always and should return to his original rights, as often as the greater good of his church demands it"; in the fact that it intimates that the exercise of episcopal rights can be hindered and coerced by no higher power, whenever a bishop shall judge that it does not further the greater good of his church,--leading to schism, and to subversion of hierarchic government, erroneous.

The Right Incorrectly Attributed to Priests of Inferior Rank

in Decrees of Faith and Discipline

[Episcopal Convocation]

1509 9. The doctrine which states, that "the reformation of abuses in regard to ecclesiastical discipline ought equally to depend upon and be established by the bishop and the parish priests in diocesan synods, and that without the freedom of decision, obedience would not be due to the suggestions and orders of the bishops,'' * --false, rash, harmful to episcopal authority, subversive of hierarchic government, favoring the heresy of Aerius, which was renewed by Calvin [cf. Benedict XIV De Syn. dioc.(concerning diocesan synods), 13. 1].


[From the Episcopal Convocation. From the Epistle to the

Vic. For. From the Oration to the Synod, sec. 8.

From session 3.]

1510 10. Likewise, the doctrine by which parish priests and other priests gathered in a synod are declared judges of faith together with the bishop, and at the same time it is intimated that they are qualified for judgment in matters of faith by their own right and have indeed received it by ordination,--false, rash, subversive of hierarchic order, detracting from the strength of dogmatic definitions or judgments of the Church, at least erroneous.

Oration to the Synod, sec. 8 ]

1511 11. The opinion enunciating that by the long-standing practice of our ancestors, handed down even from apostolic times, preserved through the better ages of the Church, it has been accepted that "decrees, or definitions, or opinions even of the greater sees should not be accepted, unless they had been recognized and approved by the diocesan synod,"-- false, rash, derogatory, in proportion to its generality, to the obedience due to the apostolic constitutions, and also to the opinions emanating from the legitimate, superior, hierarchic power, fostering schism and heresy.


Calumnies Against Some Decisions in the Matter of Faith

Which Have Come Down from Several Centuries

[Faith, sec.12]

1512 12. The assertions of the synod, accepted as a whole concerning decisions in the matter of faith which have come down from several centuries, which it represents as decrees originating from one particular church or from a few pastors, unsupported by sufficient authority, formulated for the corruption of the purity of faith and for causing disturbance, introduced by violence, from which wounds, still too recent, have been inflicted,--false, deceitful, rash, scandalous, injurious to the Roman Pontiffs and the Church, derogatory to the obedience due to the Apostolic Constitutions, schismatic, dangerous, at least erroneous.


The So-called Peace of Clement IX

[Oration to the Synod, sec. 2 in the note ]

1513 13. The proposition reported among the acts of the synod, which intimates that Clement IX restored peace to the Church by the approval of the distinction of right and deed in the subscription to the formulary written by Alexander VII (see n. 1099 ),--false, rash, injurious to Clement IX.

1514 14. In so far as it approves that distinction by extolling its supporters with praise and by berating their opponents,--rash, pernicious, injurious to the Supreme Pontiffs, fostering schism and heresy.

The Composition of the Body of the Church

[ Appendix n.28]


1515 15. The doctrine which proposes that the Church "must be considered as one mystical body composed of Christ, the head, and the faithful, who are its members through an ineffable union, by which in a marvelous way we become with Him one sole priest, one sole victim, one sole perfect adorer of God the Father, in spirit and in truth," understood in this sense, that no one belongs to the body of the Church except the faithful, who are perfect adorers in spirit and in truth,--heretical.

[B. Errors about justification, Grace, the Virtues]

The State of Innocence

[Grace, sees. 4, 7: the sacraments in general, sec. 1;

penance, sec. 4 ]


1516  16. The doctrine of the synod about the state of happy innocence, such as it represents it in Adam before his sin, comprising not only integrity but also interior justice with an inclination toward God through love of charity, and primeval sanctity restored in some way after the fall; in so far as, understood comprehensively, it intimates that that state was a consequence of creation, due to man from the natural exigency and condition of human nature, not a gratuitous gift of God, false, elsewhere condemned in Baius [see n. 1001 ff.], and in Quesnel [see n. 1384 ff.], erroneous, favorable to the Pelagian heresy.

Immortality Viewed as a Natural Condition of Man[ Baptism, sec. 2]

1517 17. The proposition stated in these words: "Taught by the Apostle, we regard death no longer as a natural condition of man, but truly as a just penalty for original guilt," since, under the deceitful mention of the name of the Apostle, it insinuates that death, which in the present state has been inflicted as a just punishment for sin by the just withdrawal of immortality, was not a natural condition of man, as if immortality had not been a gratuitous gift, but a natural condition,--deceitful, rash, injurious to the Apostle, elsewhere condemned [see n. 1078 ].

The Condition of Man in the State of Nature

[On Grace, see.10]

1518 18. The doctrine of the synod stating that "after the fall of Adam, God announced the promise of a future Redeemer and wished to console the human race through hope of salvation, which Jesus was to bring"; nevertheless, "that God willed that the human race should pass through various states before the plenitude of time should come"; and first, that in the state of nature "man, left to his own lights, would learn to distrust his own blind reason and would move himself from his own aberrations to desire the aid of a superior light"; the doctrine, as it stands, is deceitful, and if understood concerning the desire of the aid of a superior light in relation to the salvation promised through Christ, that man is supposed to have been able to move himself to conceive this desire by his own proper lights remaining after the fall,--suspected, favorable to the Semipelagian heresy.


The Condition of Man under the Law


1519  19.Likewise, the doctrine which adds that under the Law man "became a prevaricator, since he was powerless to observe it, not indeed by the fault of the Law, which was most sacred, but by the guilt of man, who, under the Law, without grace, became more and more a prevaricator"; and it further adds, "that the Law, if it did not heal the heart of man, brought it about that he would recognize his evil, and, being convinced of his weakness, would desire the grace of a mediator"; in this part it generally intimates that man became a prevaricator through the nonobservance of the Law which he was powerless to observe, as if "He who is just could command something impossible, or He who is pious would be likely to condemn man for that which he could not avoid" (from St. Caesarius Serm. 73,in append., St. Augustine, Serm. 273,edit. Maurin; from St. August.,De nat, et "rat., e. 43; De "rat. et lib. arb., e.16,Enarr. in psalm. 56,n. I),--false scandalous, impious, condemned in Baius (see n. 1504).

1520 20. In that part in which it is to be understood that man, while under the Law and without grace, could conceive a desire for the grace of a Mediator related to the salvation promised through Christ, as if "grace itself does not effect that He be invoked by us" (from Conc. Araus. II, can. 3[ v.n.176]),--the proposition as it stands, deceitful, suspect, favorable to the Semipelagian heresy.

Illuminating and Exciting Grace

[ Grace, sec. 11 ]


1521 21. The proposition which asserts "that the light of grace, when it is alone, effects nothing but to make us aware of the unhappiness of our state and the gravity of our evil; that grace, in such a case, produces the same effect as the Law produced: therefore, it is necessary that God create in our heart a sacred love and infuse a sacred delight contrary to the love dominating in us; that this sacred love, this sacred delight is properly the grace of Jesus Christ, the inspiration of charity by which, when it is perceived, we act by a sacred love; that this is that root from which grow good works; that this is the grace of the New Testament, which frees us from the servitude of sin, makes us sons of God"; since it intimates that that alone is properly the grace of Jesus Christ, which creates in the heart a sacred love, and which impels us to act, or also, by which man, freed from the slavery of sin, is constituted a son of God; and that that grace is not also properly the grace of Jesus Christ, by which the heart of man is touched through an illumination of the Holy Spirit (TRID. sess. 6, C. 5 [see n.797 ]), and that no true interior grace of Christ is given, which is resisted,--false, deceitful, leading to the error condemned in the second proposition of Jansen as heretical, and renewing it [see n. 1093].

Faith as the First Grace

[Faith, sec. I]

1522 22. The proposition which declares that faith, "from which begins the series of graces, and through which, as the first voice, we are called to salvation and to the Church": is the very excellent virtue itself of faith by which men are called and are the faithful; just as if that grace were not prior, which "as it precedes the will, so it precedes faith also" (from St. August.,De dono persev., c.16, n. 41),---suspected of heresy, and savoring of it, elsewhere condemned in Quesnel [see n. 1377], erroneous.

The Twofold love

[Grace, sec. 8]


1523 23. The doctrine of the synod about the twofold love of dominating cupidity and of dominating charity, stating that man without grace is under the power of sin, and that in that state through the general influence of the dominating cupidity he taints and corrupts all his actions; since it insinuates that in man, while he is under the servitude or in the state of sin, destitute of that grace by which he is freed from the servitude of sin and is constituted a son of God, cupidity is so dominant that by its general influence all his actions are vitiated in themselves and corrupted; or that all his works which are done before justification, for whatsoever reason they may be done, are sins; as if in all his acts the sinner is a slave to the dominating cupidity,--false, dangerous, leading into the error condemned by the Tridentine Council as heretical, again condemned in Baius, art. 40 [see n. 817, 1040 ].

Sec. 12

1524 24. But in this part, indeed, no intermediate affections are placed between the dominating cupidity and the dominating charity, planted by nature itself and worthy of praise because of their own nature, which, together with love of the beatitude and a natural inclination to good "have remained as the last outline and traces of the image of God" (from St. August., De spirit. et litt., c. 28); just as if "between the divine love which draws us to the kingdom, and illicit human love which is condemned, there should not be given a licit human love which is not censured" (from St. August., Serm. 349 de ear., edit. Maurin),--false, elsewhere condemned [see n. 1038, 1297].

Servile Fear

[On Penance, sec. 3]

1525 25. The doctrine which in general asserts that the fear of punishment"cannot be called evil if it, at least, prevails to restrain the hand"; as if the fear itself of hell, which faith teaches must be imposed on sin, is not in itself good and useful as a supernatural gift, and a motion inspired by God preparing for the love of justice,--false, rash, dangerous, injurious to the divine gifts, elsewhere condemned [see n. 746], contrary to the doctrine of the Council of Trent [see n. 798, 898], and to the common opinion of the Fathers, namely "that there is need," according to the customary order of preparation for justice, "that fear should first enter, through which charity will come; fear is a medicine, charity is health" (from S. August., In [1] epist. Io., c. 4, tract. 9; in lo. evang., tract, 41, n. 10; Enarr. in psalm. 127, n. 7; Serm. 157 de verbis Apost, n. 13. Serm. 161 de verbis Apost., n. 8; Serm. 349 de caritate, n. 7).

The Punishment of Those Who Die with Original Sin Only

[Baptism, sec. 3]

1526 26. The doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable, that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of children) in which the souls of those departing with the sole guilt of original sin are punished with the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire, just as if, by this very fact, that these who remove the punishment of fire introduced that middle place and state free of guilt and of punishment between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation, such as that about which the Pelagians idly talk,--false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools.

[C.Errors] about the Sacraments, and First about the

Sacramental Form with a Condition Attached

[Baptism, sec. 12]

1527 27. The deliberation of the synod which, under pretext of clinging to ancient canons in the case of doubtful baptism, declares its intention of omitting mention of the conditional form,--rash, contrary to practice, to the law, to the authority of the Church.

The Partaking of the Victim in the Sacrifice of the Mass

[The Eucharist, sec. 6]

1528 28. The proposition of the synod in which, after it states that "a partaking of the victim is an essential part in the sacrifice," it adds, "nevertheless, it does not condemn as illicit those Masses in which those present do not communicate sacramentally, for the reason that they do partake of the victim, although less perfectly, by receiving it spiritually," since it insinuates that there is something lacking to the essence of the sacrifice in that sacrifice which is performed either with no one present, or with those present who partake of the victim neither sacramentally nor spiritually, and as if those Masses should be condemned as illicit, in which, with the priest alone communicating, no one is present who communicates either sacramentally or spiritually,--false, erroneous, suspected of heresy and savoring of it.

The Efficacy of the Rite of Consecration

[The Eucharist, sec. 2]

1529 29. The doctrine of the synod, in that part in which, undertaking to explain the doctrine of faith in the rite of consecration, and disregarding the scholastic questions about the manner in which Christ is in the Eucharist, from which questions it exhorts priests performing the duty of teaching to refrain, it states the doctrine in these two propositions only: I) after the consecration Christ is truly, really, substantially under the species; 2) then the whole substance of the bread and wine ceases, appearances only remaining; it (the doctrine) absolutely omits to make any mention of transubstantiation, or conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood, which the Council of Trent defined as an article of faith [see n. 877, 884], and which is contained in the solemn profession of faith [see n. 997]; since by an indiscreet and suspicious omission of this sort knowledge is taken away both of an article pertaining to faith, and also of the word consecrated by the Church to protect the profession of it, as if it were a discussion of a merely scholastic question,--dangerous, derogatory to the exposition of Catholic truth about the dogma of transubstantiation, favorable to heretics.

The Application of the Fruit of the Sacrifice

[The Eucharist, sec. 8]

1530 30. The doctrine of the synod, by which, while it professes "to believethat the oblation of the sacrifice extends itself to all, in such a way, however, that in the liturgy there can be made a special commemoration of certain individuals, both living and dead, by praying God specially for them," then it immediately adds: "Not, however, that we should believe that it is in the will of the priest to apply the fruit of the sacrifice to whom He wishes, rather we condemn this error as greatly offending the rights of God, who alone distributes the fruit of the sacrifice to whom He wishes and according to the measure which pleases Him"; and consequently, from this it derides "as false the opinion foisted on the people that they who give alms to the priest on the condition that he celebrate a Mass will receive from it special fruit"; thus understood, that besides the special commemoration and prayer a special offering itself, or application of the Sacrifice which is made by the priest does not benefit, other things being equal, those for whom it is applied more than any others, as if no special fruit would come from a special application, which the Church recommends and commands should be made for definite persons or classes of persons, especially by pastors for their flock, and which, as if coming down from a divine precept, has been clearly expressed by the sacred synod of Trent (sees. 23, c. I De reform; BENED. XIV, Constit. "Cum semper oblatas," sec. 2),--false, rash, dangerous, injurious to the Church, leading into the error elsewhere condemned in Wycliffe [see n 599].

The Suitable Order to Be Observed in Worship

[The Eucharist, sec. 5]

1531 31. The proposition of the synod enunciating that it is fitting, in accordance with the order of divine services and ancient custom that there be only one altar in each temple, and therefore, that it is pleased to restore that custom,--rash, injurious to the very ancient pious custom flourishing and approved for these many centuries in the Church, especially in the Latin Church.


1532 32. Likewise, the prescription forbidding cases of sacred relics or flowers being placed on the altar,--rash, injurious to the pious and approved custom of the Church.

Ibid., sec. 6]

1533 33. The proposition of the synod by which it shows itself eager to remove the cause through which, in part, there has been induced a forgetfulness of the principles relating to the order of the liturgy, "by recalling it (the liturgy) to a greater simplicity of rites, by expressing it in the vernacular language, by uttering it in a loud voice"; as if the present order of the liturgy, received and approved by the Church, had emanated in some part from the forgetfulness of the principles by which it should be regulated,--rash, offensive to pious ears, insulting to the Church, favorable to the charges of heretics against it.

The Order of Penance

[Penance, sec. 7]

1534 34. The declaration of the synod by which, after it previously stated that the order of canonical penance had been so established by the Church, in accord with the example of the apostles that it was common to all, and not merely for the punishment of guilt, but especially for the disposition to grace, it adds that "it (the synod) recognizes in that marvelous and venerable order the whole dignity of so necessary a sacrament, free from the subtleties which have been added to it in the course of time"; as if, through the order in which without the complete course of canonical penance this sacrament has been wont to be administered, the dignity of the sacrament had been lessened,--rash, scandalous, inducing to a contempt of the dignity of the sacrament as it has been accustomed to be administered throughout the whole Church, injurious to the Church itself.

[Penance, sec. 10, n. 4]

1535 35. The proposition conceived in these words: "If charity in the beginning is always weak, it behooves the priest, in obtaining an increase of this charity in the ordinary way, to make those acts of humiliation and penance which have been recommended in every age by the Church precede; to reduce those acts to a few prayers or to some fasting after absolution has already been conferred, seems to be a material desire of keeping for this sacrament the mere name of penance, rather than an illuminating and suitable means to increase that fervor of charity which ought to precede absolution; indeed we are far from blaming the practice of imposing penances to be fulfilled after absolution; if all our good works have our defects always joined to them, how much more ought we to fear lest we admit very many imperfections into the very difficult and very important work of our reconciliation"; since it implies that the penances which are imposed, to be fulfilled after absolution, are to be considered as a supplement for the defects admitted in the work of our reconciliation, rather than as truly sacramental penances and satisfactions for the sins confessed, as if, in order that the true reason for the sacrament, not the mere name, be preserved, it would be necessary that in the ordinary way the acts of humiliation and penance, which are imposed as a means of sacramental satisfaction, should precede absolution,-- false, rash, injurious to the common practice of the Church, leading to the error contained in the heretical note in Peter of Osma [see n. 728; cf. n. 1306 f.]

The Previous Disposition Necessary for Admitting

Penitents to Reconciliation

[Grace, sec. 15]

1536 36. The doctrine of the synod, in which, after it stated that "when there are unmistakable signs of the love of God dominating in the heart of a man, he can deservedly be considered worthy of being admitted to participation in the blood of Jesus Christ, which takes place in the sacraments," it further adds, "that false conversions, which take place through attrition (incomplete sorrow for sins), are not usually efficacious nor durable," consequently, "the shepherd of souls must insist on unmistakable signs of the dominating charity before he admits his penitents to the sacraments"; which signs, as it (the decree) then teaches (sec. 17. "a pastor can deduce from a firm cessation of sin and from fervor in good works"; and this "fervor of charity," moreover, it prescribes De poenit. sec. 10) as the disposition which "should precede absolution"; so understood that not only imperfect contrition, which is sometimes called by the name of attrition, even that which is joined with the love with which a man begins to love God as the fountain of all justice [cf. n. 798], and not only contrition formed by charity, but also the fervor of a dominating charity, and that, indeed, proved by a long continued practice through fervor in good works, is generally and absolutely required in order that a man may be admitted to the sacraments, and penitents especially be admitted to the benefit of the absolution,--false, rash, disturbing to the peace of souls, contrary to the safe and approved practice of the Church, detracting from the efficacy of the sacrament and injurious to it.

The Authority for Absolving

[Penance, sec. 10] n. 6]

1537 37. The teaching of the synod, which declares concerning the authority for absolving received through ordination that "after the institution of dioceses and parishes, it is fitting that each one exercise this judgment over those persons subject to him either by reason of territory or some personal right," because "otherwise confusion and disturbance would be introduced"; since it declares that, in order to prevent confusion, after dioceses and parishes have been instituted, it is merely fitting that the power of absolving be exercised upon subjects; so understood, as if for the valid use of this power there is no need of ordinary or delegated jurisdiction, without which the Tridentine Synod declares that absolution conferred by a priest is of no value,--false, rash, dangerous, contrary and injurious to the Tridentine Synod [see no. 903], erroneous.

[Ibid., sec. II]

1538 38. Likewise, that teaching in which, after the synod professed that "it could not but admire that very venerable discipline of antiquity, which (as it says) did not admit to penance so easily, and perhaps never, that one who, after a first sin and a first reconciliation, had relapsed into guilt," it adds, that "through fear of perpetual exclusion from communion and from peace, even in the hour of death, a great restraint will be put on those who consider too little the evil of sin and fear it less," contrary to canon 13. of the first Council of Nicea [see n. 57], to the decretal of Innocent I to Exuperius Tolos [see n. 95], and then also to the decretal of Celestine I to the Bishops of Vienne, and of the Province of Narbon [see n. III], redolent of the viciousness at which the Holy Pontiff is horrified in that decretal.

The Confession of Venial Sins.

[Penance, sec. 12]

1539 39. The declaration of the synod about the confession of venial sins, which it does not wish, it says, to be so frequently resorted to, lest confessions of this sort be rendered too contemptible,--rash, dangerous, contrary to the practice of the saints and the pious which was approved [see n. 899] by the sacred Council of Trent.


[Penance, sec. 16]

1540 40. The proposition asserting "that an indulgence, according to its precise notion, is nothing else than the remission of that part of the penance which had been established by the canons for the sinner"; as if an indulgence, in addition to the mere remission of the canonical penance, does not also have value for the remission of the temporal punishment due to the divine justice for actual sins,---false, ras,, injurious to t to the merits of Christ, already condemned in article 19. of Luther [see n. 759].


1541 41. Likewise, in this which is added, i.e., that "the scholastics, puffed up by their subtleties, introduced the poorly understood treasury of the merits of Christ and of the saints, and, for the clear notion of absolution from canonical penance, they substituted a confused and false notion of the application of merits"; as if the treasures of the Church, whence the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints,-- false, rash, injurious to the merits of Christ and of the saints, previously condemned in art. 17. of Luther [see n. 757; cf. n. 550 ff.].


1542 42. Likewise, in this which it adds, that "it is still more lamentable that that fabulous application is meant to be transferred to the dead,"-- false, rash, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Roman Pontiffs and to the practice and sense of the universal Church, leading to the error fixed [cf. n. 729] in the heretical note in Peter of Osma, again condemned in article 22 of Luther [see n. 762].


1543 43. In this, finally, that it most shamelessly inveighs against lists of indulgences, privileged altars, etc.,--rash, offensive to the ears of the pious, scandalous, abusive to the Supreme Pontiffs, and to the practice common in the whole Church.

The Reservation of Cases

[Penance, sec. 19]

1544 44. The proposition of the synod asserting that the "reservation Of cases at the present time is nothing else than an improvident bond for priests of lower rank, and a statement devoid of sense for penitents who are accustomed to pay no heed to this reservation,"--false, rash, evilsounding, dangerous, contrary to the Council of Trent [see n. 903], injurious to the hierarchic power.


1545 45. Likewise, concerning the hope which it expressed that "when the Ritual and the order of penance had been reformed, there would be no place any longer for reservations of this sort"; in so far as, considering the careful generality of the words, it intimates that, by a reformation of the Ritual and of the order of penance made by a bishop or a synod, cases can be abolished which the Tridentine Synod (sees. 14, C. 7 [n. 903]) declares the Supreme Pontiffs could reserve to their own special judgment, because of the supreme power given to them in the universal Church,--the proposition is false, rash, derogatory, and injurious to the Council of Trent and to the authority of the Supreme Pontiffs.


[Penance, sees. 20 and 22]

1546 46. The proposition asserting that "the effect of excommunication is merely exterior, because by its nature it merely excludes from exterior communion with the Church"; as if excommunication were not a spiritual punishment, binding in heaven, obligating souls (from St. August., Epistle 250 to Bishop Auxilius; Tract 50 in lo., I2),--false, dangerous, condemned in art. 23 of Luther [see n. 763], at least erroneous.

[Sees. 21. and 23]

1547 47. Likewise, the proposition which teaches that it is necessary, according to the natural and divine laws, for either excommunication or for suspension, that a personal examination should precede, and that, therefore, sentences called "ipso facto" have no other force than that of a serious threat without any actual effect,--false, rash, pernicious, injurious to the power of the Church, erroneous.

[Sec. 22]

1548 48. Likewise, the proposition which says that "useless and vain is the formula introduced some centuries ago of general absolution from excommunications into which the faithful might have fallen,"--false, rash, injurious to the practice of the Church.

[Sec. 24]

1549 49. Likewise, the proposition which condemns as null and invalid "suspensions imposed from an informed conscience,"--false, pernicious, injurious to Trent.


1550 50. Likewise, in that decree which insinuates that a bishop alone does not have the right to make use of the power which, nevertheless, Trent confers on him (sees. 14, C. I de reform.) of legitimately inflicting suspensions "from an informed conscience,"--harmful to the jurisdiction of the prelates of the Church.


[Orders, sec. 4]

1551 51. The doctrine of the synod which says that in promoting to orders this method, from the custom and rule of the ancient discipline, was accustomed to be observed, "that if any cleric was distinguished for holiness of life and was considered worthy to ascend to sacred orders, it was the custom to promote him to the diaconate, or to the priesthood, even if he had not received minor orders; and that at that time such an ordination was not called 'per saltum,' as afterwards it was so called,"--

[Sec. 5]

1552 52. Likewise, the doctrine which intimates that there was no othertitle for ordinations than appointment to some special ministry, such as was prescribed in the Council of Chalcedon; adding (Sec. 6) that, as long as the Church conformed itself to these principles in the selection of sacred ministers, the ecclesiastical order flourished; but that those happy days have passed, and new principles have been introduced later, by which the discipline in the choice of ministers for the sanctuary was corrupted;--

[Sec. 7]

1553 53. Likewise, that among these very principles of corruption it mentions the fact that there has been a departure from the old rule by which, as it says (Sec. 5) the Church, treading in the footsteps of the Apostle, had prescribed that no one should be admitted to the priesthood unless he had preserved his baptismal innocence, since it implies that discipline has been corrupted by decrees and rules:

 1) Whether by these ordinations "per saltum" have been forbidden;

 2) or by these, for the need and advantage of churches, ordination without special title of office are approved, as the ordination for the title of patrimony, specifically approved by Trent, that obedience having been assured by which those so ordained are obliged to serve the necessities of the Churches in fulfilling those duties, for which, considering the time and the place, they were ordained by the bishop, just as it was accus--tomed to be done from apostolic times in the primitive Church;

 3) or, by these a distinction was made by canon law of crimes which render the delinquents irregular; as if, by this distinction, the Church departed from the spirit of the Apostle by not excluding in general and without distinction from the ecclesiastical ministry all, whosoever they be, who have not preserved their baptismal innocence,--the doctrine is false in its several individual parts, rash, disturbing to the order intro duced for the need and advantage of the churches, injurious to the discipline approved by the canons and especially by the decrees of the Council of Trent.

[Sec. 13]

1554 54. Likewise, the doctrine which notes as a shameful abuse ever to offer alms for the celebration of Masses, and for administering the sacraments, as well as to accept any offering so-called "of the stole," and, in general, any stipend and honorarium which may be offered on the occasion of prayers or of some parochial function; as if the ministers of the Church should be charged with a shameful abuse because they use the right promulgated by the Apostle of accepting temporal aids from those to whom they furnish spiritual ministrations [Gal. 6:6],--false, rash, harmful to ecclesiastical and pastoral right, injurious to the Church and its ministers.

[Sec. 14 ]

1555 55. Likewise, the doctrine by which it professes to desire very much that some way be found of removing the lesser clergy (under which name it designates the clerics of minor orders) from cathedrals and colleges by providing otherwise, namely through approved lay people of mature age, a suitable assigned stipend for the ministry of serving at Masses and for other offices such as that of acolyte, etc., as formerly, it says, was usually done when duties of that sort had not been reduced to mere form for the receiving of major orders; inasmuch as it censures the rule by which care is taken that "the functions of minor orders are to be performed or exercised only by those who have been established in them according to rank" (Cone. prov. IV of Milan), and this also according to the intention of the Tridentine Council (sees. 23, c. 17. "that the duties of sacred orders, from the diaconate to the porter, laudably received in he Church from apostolic times and neglected for a while m many laces, should be renewed according to the sacred canons, and should not be considered useless as they are by heretics,"--a rash suggestion, offento pious ears, disturbing to the ecclesiastical ministry, lessening of the decency which should be observed as far as possible in celebrating the mysteries' injurious to the duties and functions of minor orders, as well as to the discipline approved by the canons and especially by the Tridentine Synod, favorable to the charges and calumnies of heretics against it.

[Sec. 18]

1556 56. The doctrine which states that it seems fitting that, in the case of canonical impediments which arise from crimes expressed in the law, no dispensation should ever be granted or allowed,--harmful to the canonical equity and moderation which has been approved by the sacred council of Trent, derogatory to the authority and laws of the Church.

[Ibid., sec. 22]

1557 57. The prescription of the synod which generally and indiscriminately rejects as an abuse any dispensation that more than one residential benefice be bestowed on one and the same person: likewise, in this which it adds that the synod is certain that, according to the spirit of the Church, no one could enjoy more than one benefice, even if it is a simple one,--for its generality, derogatory to the moderation of the Council of Trent (sees. 7, C. 5, and sess. 24, c. 17).

Betrothals and Matrimony

[Memorial Booklet about Betrothals, etc. sec. 8]

1558 58. The proposition which states that betrothals properly so-called contain a mere civil act which disposes for the celebrating of marriage, and that these same betrothals are altogether subject to the prescription of the civil laws. as if the act disposing for the sacrament is not, under this aspect, subject to the law of the Church,--false, harmful to the right of the Church in respect to the effects flowing even from betrothals by reason of the canonical sanctions, derogatory to the discipline established by the Church.

[Matrimony, sees. 7, 11, 12]

1559 59. The doctrine of the synod asserting that "to the supreme civil power alone originally belongs the right to apply to the contract of marriage impediments of that sort which render it null and are called nullifying": which "original right," besides, is said to be ''essentially connected with the right of dispensing": adding that "with the secret consent or connivance of the principals, the Church could justly establish impediments which nullify the very contract of marriage"; as if the Church could not and cannot always in Christian marriages, establish by its own rights impediments which not only hinder marriage, but also render it null as regards the bond, and also dispense from those impediments by which Christians are held bound even in the countries of infidels,--destructive of canons 3, 4, 9, 12 of the 24th session of the Council of Trent, heretical [see n. 973 ff.].

[Cit. Memorial Booklet about Betrothals, sec. 10]

1560 60. Likewise, the proposal of the synod to the civil power, that "it remove from the number of impediments, whose origin is found in the Collection of Justinian, spiritual relationship and also that one which is called of public honor"; then, that "it should tighten the impediment of affinity and relationship from any licit or illicit connection of birth to the fourth degree, according to the civil computation through the lateral and oblique lines, in such a way, nevertheless, that there be left no hope of obtaining a dispensation"; in so far as it attributes to the civil power the right either of abolishing or of tightening impediments which have been established and approved by the authority of the Church; likewise, where it proposes that the Church can be despoiled by the civil power of the right of dispensing from impediments established or approved by the Church,--subversive of the liberty and power of the Church, contrary to Trent, issuing from the heretical principle condemned above [see n. 973 ff.].

[D. Errors] Concerning Duties, Practices, Rules Pertaining

to Religious Worship And First, the Adoration of the Humanity of Christ.

[Faith, sec. 3]

1561 61. The proposition which asserts that "to adore directly the humanity of Christ, even any part of Him, would always be divine honor given to a creature"; in so far as, by this word "directly" it intends to reprove the worship of adoration which the faithful show to the humanity of Christ, just as if such adoration, by which the humanity and the very living flesh of Christ is adored, not indeed on account of itself as mere flesh, but because it is united to the divinity, would be divine honor imparted to a creature, and not rather the one and the same adoration with which the Incarnate Word is adored in His own proper flesh (from the 2nd council of Constantinople, 5th Ecumenical Council, canon 9 [see n. 221; cf. n. 120]),--false, deceitful, detracting from and injurious to the pious and due worship given and extended by the faithful to the humanity of Christ.

[Prayer, sec. 17]

1562 62. The doctrine which rejects devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus among the devotions which it notes as new, erroneous, or at least, dangerous; if the understanding of this devotion is of such a sort as has been approved by the Apostolic See,--false, rash, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Apostolic See.

[Prayer sec. 10, and the appendix n. 32]

1563 63. Likewise, in this that it blames the worshipers of the Heart of Jesus also for this name, because they do not note that the most sacred flesh of Christ, or any part of Him, or even the whole humanity, cannot be adored with the worship of latria when there is a separation or cutting off from the divinity; as if the faithful when they adore the Heart of Jesus, separate it or cut it off from the divinity; when they worship the Heart of Jesus it is, namely, the heart of the person of the Word, to whom it has been inseparably united in that manner in which the bloodless body of Christ during the three days of death, without separation or cutting off from divinity, was worthy of adoration in the tomb,--deceitful, injurious to the faithful worshipers of the Heart of Jesus.

The Order Prescribed in the Undertaking of Pious Exercises

[Prayer, sec. 14, Appendix n. 34]

1564 64. The doctrine which notes as universally superstitious "any efficacy which is placed in a fixed number of prayers and of pious salutations"; as if one should consider as superstitious the efficacy which is derived not from the number viewed in itself, but from the prescript of the Church appointing a certain number of prayers or of external acts for obtaining indulgences, for fulfilling penances and, in general, for the performance of sacred and religious worship in the correct order and due form,-- false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, injurious to the piety of the faithful, derogatory to the authority of the Church, erroneous.

Penance, sec. 10]

1565 65. The proposition stating that "the unregulated clamor of the new Institutions which have been called exercises or missions . . ., perhaps never, or at least very rarely, succeed in effecting an absolute conversion; and those exterior acts of encouragement which have appeared were nothing else than the transient brilliance of a natural emotion,"--rash evil-sounding, dangerous, injurious to the customs piously and salutarily practiced throughout the Church and founded on the Word of God.

The Manner of Uniting the Voice of the People with the Voice

of the Church in Public Prayers

[Prayer, sec. 24]

1566 66. The proposition asserting that "it would be against apostolic practice and the plans of God, unless easier ways were prepared for the people to unite their voice with that of the whole Church"; if understood to signify introducing of the use of popular language into the liturgical prayers,--false, rash, disturbing to the order prescribed for the celebrant tion of the mysteries, easily productive of many evils.

The Reading of Sacred Scripture

[From the note at the end of the decree on grace]

1567 67. The doctrine asserting that "only a true impotence excuses" from the reading of the Sacred Scriptures, adding, moreover, that there is produced the obscurity which arises from a neglect of this precept in regard to the primary truths of religion,--false, rash, disturbing to the peace of souls, condemned elsewhere in Quesnel [sec. 1429 ff.].

The Reading of Proscribed Books Publicly in Church

[Prayer, 29]

1568 68. The praise with which the synod very highly commends the commentaries of Quesnel on the New Testament, and some works of other writers who favor the errors of Quesnel, although they have been pros scribed; and which proposes to parish priests that they should read these same works, as if they were full of the solid principles of religion, each one in his own parish to his people after other functions,--false, rash, scandalous, seditious, injurious to the Church, fostering schism and heresy.

Sacred Images

[Prayer, sec. 17]

1569 69. The prescription which in general and without discrimination includes the images of the incomprehensible Trinity among the images to be removed from the Church, on the ground that they furnish an occasion of error to the untutored,--because of its generality, it is rash, and contrary to the pious custom common throughout the Church, as if no images of the Most Holy Trinity exist which are commonly approved and safely permitted (from the Brief "Sollicitudini nostrae" of Benedict XIV in the year 1745).

1570 70. Likewise, the doctrine and prescription condemning in general every special cult which the faithful are accustomed to attach specifically to some image, and to have recourse to, rather than to another,--rash, dangerous' injurious to the pious custom prevalent throughout the Church and also to that order of Providence, by which "God, who apportions as He wishes to each one his own proper characteristics, did not want them to be common in every commemoration of the saints (from St. Augustine, Epistle 78 to the clergy, elders, and people of the church at Hippo).

1571 71. Likewise, the teaching which forbids that images, especially of the Blessed Virgin, be distinguished by any title other than the denominations which are related to the mysteries, about which express mention is made in Holy Scripture; as if other pious titles could not be given to images which the Church indeed approves and commends in its public prayers,--rash, offensive to the ears of the pious, and especially injurious to the due veneration of the Blessed Virgin.

1572 72. Likewise, the one which would extirpate as an abuse the custom by which certain images are kept veiled,--rash, contrary to the custom prevalent in the Church and employed to foster the piety of the faithful.


[Libell. memor. for the reformation of feasts, sec. 3]

1573 73. The proposition stating that the institution of new feasts derived its origin from neglect in the observance of the older feasts, and from false notions of the nature and end of these solemnities,--false, rash, scandalous, injurious to the Church, favorable to the charges of heretics against the feast days celebrated by the Church.

[Ibid., sec. 8]

1574 74. The deliberation of the synod about transferring to Sunday feasts distributed through the year, and rightly so, because it is convinced that the bishop has power over ecclesiastical discipline in relation to purely spiritual matters, and therefore of abrogating the precept of hearing Mass on those days, on which according to the early law of the Church, even then that precept flourished; and then, also, in this statement which it (the synod) added about transferring to Advent by episcopal authority the fasts which should be kept throughout the year according to the precept of the Church; insomuch as it asserts that it is lawful for a bishop in his own right to transfer the days prescribed by the Church for celebrating feasts or fasts, or to abrogate the imposed precept of hearing class,--a false proposition, harmful to the law of the general Council and of the Supreme Pontiffs, scandalous, favorable to schism.


[Libell. memor. for the reformation of oaths, sec. 4]

1575 75. The teaching which says that in the happy days of the early church oaths seemed so foreign to the model of the divine Preceptor and the golden simplicity of the Gospel that "to take an oath without extreme and unavoidable need had been reputed to be an irreligious act Unworthy of a Christian person," further, that "the uninterrupted line of the Fathers shows that oaths by common consent have been conSidered as forbidden"; and from this doctrine proceeds to condemn the oaths which the ecclesiastical curia, having followed, as it says, the norm of feudal jurisprudence, adopted for investitures and sacred ordinations of bishops; and it decreed, therefore, that the law should be invoked by the secular power to abolish the oaths which are demanded in ecclesiastical curias when entering upon duties and offices and, in general, for any curial function,--false, injurious to the Church, harmful to ecclesiastical law, subversive of discipline imposed and approved by the Canons.

Ecclesiastical Con f erences

[Ecclesiastical Conferences, sec. I]

1576 76. The charge which the synod brings against the scholastic method as that "which opened the way for inventing new systems discordant with one another with respect to truths of a greater value and which led finally to probabilism and laxism"; in so far as it charges against the scholastic method the faults of individuals who could misuse and have misused it,-- false, rash, against very holy and learned men who, to the great good of the Catholic religion, have developed the scholastic method, injurious, favorable to the criticism of heretics who are hostile to it.


1577 77. Likewise in this which adds that "a change in the form of ecclesiaStical government, by which it was brought about that ministers of the Church became forgetful of their rights, which at the same time are their Obligations, has finally led to such a state of affairs as to cause the primitive notions of ecclesiastical ministry and pastoral solicitude to be forgotten"; as if, by a change of government consonant to the discipline established and approved in the Church, there ever could be forgotten and lost the primitive notion of ecclesiastical ministry or pastoral solicitude,--a false proposition, rash, erroneous.

[Sec. 14]

1578 78. The prescription of the synod about the order of transacting business in the conferences, in which, after it prefaced "in every article that which pertains to faith and to the essence of religion must be distinuished from that which is proper to discipline," it adds, "in this itself (discipline) there is to be distinguished what is necessary or useful to retain the faithful in spirit, from that which is useless or too burdensome for the liberty of the sons of the new Covenant to endure, but more so, from that which is dangerous or harmful, namely, leading to superstitution and materialism"; in so far as by the generality of the words it includes and submits to a prescribed examination even the discipline established and approved by the Church, as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism,--false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous.

Complaints against Some Opinions Which are Still Discussed

in "Catholic Schools"

[Oration to the Synod, sec. I]

1579 79. The assertion which attacks with slanderous charges the opinions discussed in Catholic schools about which the Apostolic See has thought that nothing yet needs to be defined or pronounced,--false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools, detracting from the obedience to the Apostolic Constitutions.

[E.Errors Concerning the Reformation of Regulars]

The "three rules" set down as fundamental by the Synod

"for the reformation of regulars"

[Libel!. memor. for the reformation of regulars, sec. 9]

1580 80. Rule I which states universally and without distinction that "the regular or monastic stem by its very nature cannot be harmonized with the care of souls and with the duties of parochial life, and therefore, cannot share in the ecclesiastical hierarchy without adversely opposing the principles of monastic life itself"--false, dangerous to the most holy Fathers and heads of the Church, who harmonized the practices of the regular life with the duties of the clerical order,--injurious, contrary to the old, pious, approved custom of the Church and to the sanctions of the Supreme Pontiff; as if "monks, whom the gravity of their manners and of their life and whom the holy institution of Faith approves,', could not be duly "entrusted with the duties of the clergy," not only without harm to religion, but even with great advantage to the Church. (From the decretal epistle of St. Siricius to Himerius of Tarraco c. 13 [see n. 90].) *

1581 81. Likewise, in that which adds that St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were so occupied in protecting Orders of Mendicants against the best of men that in their defenses less heat and greater accuracy were to be desired,--scandalous, injurious to the very holy Doctors, favorable to the impious slanders of condemned authors

1582 82. Rule II, that "the multiplicity and diversity of orders naturally produce confusion and disturbance," likewise, in that which sec. 4 sets forth, "that the founders" of regulars who, after the monastic institutions came into being, "by adding orders to orders, reforms to reforms have accomplished nothing else than to increase more and more the primary cause of evil"; if understood about the orders and institutes approved by the Holy See, as if the distinct variety of pious works to which the distinct orders are devoted should, by its nature, beget disturbance and confusion, --false, calumnious, injurious not only to the holy founders and their faithful disciples, but also to the Supreme Pontiffs themselves.

1583 83. Rule III, in which, after it stated that "a small body living within a civil society without being truly a part of the same and which forms a small monarchy in the state, is always a dangerous thing," it then charges with this accusation private monasteries which are associated by the bond of a common rule under one special head, as if they were so many special monarchies harmful and dangerous to the civic commonwealth,--false, rash, injurious to the regular institutes approved by the Holy See for the advancement of religion, favorable to the slanders and calumnies of heretics against the same institutes.

Concerning the "system" or list of ordinances drawn from rules

laid down and contained in the eight following articles "for the reformation of regulars" [Sec. 10]

1584 84. Art. I. "Concerning the one order to be retained in the Church, and concerning the selection of the rule of St. Benedict in preference to others, not only because of its excellence but also on account of the well-known merits of his order; however, with this condition that in those items which happen to be less suitable to the conditions of the times, the way of life instituted at Port-Royal * is to furnish light for discovering what it is fitting to add, what to take away;

1585 Art. II. "Those who have joined this order should not be a part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy; nor should they be promoted to Holy Orders, except one or two at the most, to be initiated as superiors, or as chaplains of the monastery, the rest remaining in the simple order of the laity;

1586 Art. III. "One monastery only should be allowed in any one city, and this should be located outside the walls of the city in the more retired and remote places;

1587 Art. IV. "Among the occupations of the monastic life, a proper proportion should be inviolably reserved for manual labor, with suitable time, nevertheless, left for devotion to the psalmody, or also, if someone wishes, for the study of letters; the psalmody should be moderate, because too much of it produces haste, weariness, and distraction; the more psalmody, orisons, and prayers are increased beyond a just proportion of the whole time, so much are the fervor and holiness of the regulars diminished;

1588 Art V. "No distinction among the monks should be allowed, whether they are devoted to choir or to services; such inequality has stirred up very grave quarrels and discords at every opportunity, and has driven out the spirit of charity from communities of regulars;

1589 Art. VI. "The vow of perpetual stability should never be allowed; the older monks did not know it, who, nevertheless, were a consolation of the Church and an ornament to Christianity; the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience should not be admitted as the common and stable rule. If anyone shall wish to make these vows, all or anyone, he will ask advice and permission from the bishop who, nevertheless, will never permit them to be perpetual, nor to exceed the limits of a year; the opportunity merely will be given of renewing them under the same conditions;

1590 Art. VII. "The bishop will conduct every investigation into their lives, studies, and advancement in piety; it will be his duty to admit and to dismiss the monks, always, however, after taking counsel with their fellow monks

1591 Art. VIII. "Regulars of orders which still survive, although they are priests, may also be received into this monastery, provided they desire to be free in silence and solitude for their own sanctification only; in which case, there might be provision for the dispensation stated in the general rule, n. II, in such a way, however, that they do not follow a rule of life different from the others, and that not more than one, or at most two Masses be celebrated each day, and that it should be satisfactory to the other priests to celebrate in common together with the community;

Likewise "for the reformation of nuns"

[Sec. II]

1592 "Perpetual vows should not be permitted before the age of 40 or 45; nuns should be devoted to solid exercises, especially to labor, turned aside from carnal spirituality by which many are distracted; consideration must also be given as to whether, so far as they are concerned, it would be more satisfactory to leave the monastery in the city,--

 The system is subversive to the discipline now flourishing and already approved and accepted in ancient times, dangerous, opposed and injurious to the Apostolic Constitutions and to the sanctions of many Councils, even general ones, and especially of the Council of Trent favorable to the vicious calumnies of heretics against monastic vows and the regular institutes devoted to the more stable profession of the evangelical counsels.

[F. Errors] About Convoking a National Council

[Libel!. memor. for convoking a national council, sec. I]

1593 85. The proposition stating that any knowledge whatsoever of ecclesiastical history is sufficient to allow anyone to assert that the convocation of a national council is one of the canonical ways by which controversies in regard to religion may be ended in the Church of the respective nations; if understood to mean that controversies in regard to faith or morals which have arisen in a Church can be ended by an irrefutable decision made in a national council; as if freedom from error in questions of faith and morals belonged to a national council,-- schismatic, heretical.

1594 Therefore, we command all the faithful of Christ of either sex not to presume to believe, to teach, or to preach anything about the said propositions and doctrines contrary to what is declared in this Constitution of ours; that whoever shall have taught, defended or published them, or anyone of them, all together or separately, except perhaps to oppose them, will be subject ipso facto and without any other declaration to ecclesiastical censures, and to the other penalties stated by law against those perpetrating similar offenses.

1595 But, by this expressed condemnation of the aforesaid propositions and doctrines, we by no means intend to approve other things contained in the same book, particularly since in it very many propositions and doctrines have been detected, related either to those which have been condemned above, or to those which show an attitude not only of rash contempt for the commonly approved doctrine and discipline, but of special hostility toward the Roman Pontiffs and the Apostolic See. Indeed, we think two must be noted especially, concerning the most august mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, sec. 2 of the decree about faith, which have issued from the synod, if not with evil intent, surely rather imprudently' which could easily drive into error especially the untutored and the incautious.

1596 The first, after it is rightly prefaced that God in His being remains one and most simple, while immediately adding that God is distinct in three persons, has erroneously departed from the common formula approved in institutions of Christian Doctrine, in which God is said to be one indeed "in three distinct persons," not "distinct in three persons"; and by the change in this formula, this risk of error crept into the meaning of the words, so that the divine essence is thought to be distinct in persons, which (essence) the Catholic faith confesses to be one in distinct persons in such a way that at the same time it confesses that it is absolutely undivided in itself.

1597 The second, which concerns the three divine Persons themselves, that they, according to their peculiar personal and incommunicable properties, are to be described and named in a more exact manner of speaking, Father, Word, and Holy Spirit; as if less proper and exact would be the name "Son," consecrated by so many passages of Scripture, by the very voice of the Father coming from the heavens and from the cloud, and by the formula of baptism prescribed by Christ, and by that famous confession in which Peter was pronounced "blessed" by Christ Himself; and as if that statement should not rather be retained which the Angelic Doctor,* having learned from Augustine, in his turn taught that "in the name of the Word the same peculiar property is meant as in the name of the Son," Augustine * truly saying: "For the same reason he is called the Word as the Son."

1598 Nor should the extraordinary and deceitful boldness of the Synod be passed over in silence, which dared to adorn not only with most ample praises the declaration (n. 1322 ff.) of the Gallican Council of the year 1682, which had long ago been condemned by the Apostolic See, but in order to win greater authority for it, dared to include it insidiously in the decree written "about faith," openly to adopt articles contained in it, and to seal it with a public and solemn profession of those articles which had been handed down here and there through this decree. Therefore, surely, not only a far graver reason for expostulating with them is afforded us by the Synod than was offered to our predecessors by the assemblies, but also no light injury is inflicted on the Gallican Church itself, because the synod thought its authority worth invoking in support of the errors with which that decree was contaminated.

1599 Therefore, as soon as the acts of the Gallican convention appeared Our predecessor, Venerable Innocent XI, by letters in the form of a Brief on the 11th day of April, in the year 1682, and afterwards, more expressly, Alexander VIII in the Constitution, "inter multiplices" on the 4th day of August, in the year 1690 (see n. 1322 ff.), by reason of their apostolic duty "condemned, rescinded, and declared them null and void"; pastoral solicitude demands much more strongly of Us that we "reject and condemn as rash and scandalous" the recent adoption of these acts tainted with so many faults, made by the synod, and, after the publication of the decrees of Our predecessors, "as especially injurious" to this Apostolic See, and we, accordingly, reject and condemn it by this present Constitution of Ours, and we wish it to be held as rejected and condemned.

PIUS VII 1800-1823

The Indissolubility of Marriage *

[From the Brief to Charles of Dalberg, Archbishop of

Mainz, November 8, 1803]

1600  "To the doubts proposed to him the Supreme Pontiff, among other remarks, responds": The decision of lay tribunals and of Catholic assemblies by which the nullity of marriages is chiefly declared, and the dissolution of their bond attempted, can have no strength and absolutely no force in the sight of the Church. . . .

1601 Those pastors who would approve these nuptials by their presence and confirm them with their blessing would commit a very grave fault and would betray their sacred ministry. For they should not be called nuptials, but rather adulterous unions. . . .

Versions of Sacred Scripture *

[From the epistle "Magno et acerbo" to the Archbishop of Mohileff, September 3, 1816]

1602  We were overcome with great and bitter sorrow when We learned that a pernicious plan, by no means the first, had been undertaken, whereby the most sacred books of the Bible are being spread everywhere in every vernacular tongue, with new interpretations which are contrary to the wholesome rules of the Church, and are skillfully turned into a distorted sense. For, from one of the versions of thissort already presented to Us we notice that such a danger exists against the sanctity Of purer doctrine, so that the faithful might easily drink a deadly poison from those fountains from which they should drain "waters of saving wisdom" [ Sirach. 15:3 ]. . . .

1603  For you should have kept before your eyes the warnings which Our predecessors have constantly given, namely, that, if the sacred books are permitted everywhere without discrimination in the vulgar tongue, more damage will arise from this than advantage. Furthermore, the Roman Church, accepting only the Vulgate edition according to the well-known prescription (see n.785 f.) of the Council of Trent, disapproves the versions in other tongues and permits only those which are edited with the explanations carefully chosen from writings of the Fathers and Catholic Doctors, so that so great a treasure may not be exposed to the corruptions of novelties, and so that the Church, spread throughout the world, may be "of one tongue and of the same speech" [Gen. 11:1].

1604 Since in vernacular speech we notice very frequent interchanges, varieties, and changes, surely by an unrestrained license of Biblical versions that changelessness which is proper to the divine testimony would be utterly destroyed, and faith itself would waver, when, especially, from the meaning of one syllable sometimes an understanding about the truth of a dogma is formed. For this purpose, then, the heretics have been accustomed to make their low and base machinations, in order that by the publication of their vernacular Bibles, (of whose strange variety and discrepancy they, nevertheless, accuse one another and wrangle) they may, each one, treacherously insert their own errors wrapped in the more holy apparatus of divine speech. "For heresies are not born," St. Augustine used to say, "except when the true Scriptures are not well understood and when what is not well understood in them is rashly and boldly asserted.'' * But, if we grieve that men renowned for piety and wisdom have, by no means rarely, failed in interpreting the Scriptures, what should we not fear if the Scriptures, translated into every vulgar tongue whatsoever, are freely handed on to be read by an inexperienced people who, for the most part, judge not with any skill but with a kind of rashness? . . .

1605 Therefore, in that famous letter of his to the faithful of the Church at Meta, Our predecessor, Innocent III, * quite wisely prescribes as follows: "In truth the secret mysteries of faith are not to be exposed to all everywhere, since they cannot be understood by all everywhere, but only by those who can grasp them with the intellect of faith. Therefore, to the more simple the Apostle says: "I gave you milk to drink as unto little ones in Christ, not meat" [ 1 Cor. 3:2]. For solid food is for the elders, as he said: "We speak wisdom . . . among the perfect" [1 Cor 2:6]; "for I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ and Him Crucified" [ 1 Cor. 2:2 ]. For so great is the depth of Divine Scripture that not only the simple and the unlettered, but even the learned and prudent are not fully able to explore the understanding of it. Therefore, Scripture says that many "searching have failed in their search" [Ps. 63:7].

1606 "So it was rightly stated of old in the divine law, that even the beast which touched the mountain should be stoned" [ Heb. 12:20 ;Exod. 19:12] lest, indeed, any simple and ignorant person should presume to reach the sublimity of Sacred Scripture, or to preach it to others. For it is written:Seek not the things that are too high for thee [ Sir 3:22 ] Therefore, the Apostle warns "not to be more wise than it behooveth to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety" [Rom. 12:3]. But, noteworthy are the Constitutions, not only of Innocent III, just mentioned, but also of Pius IV, * Clement VIII, * and Benedict XIV * in which the precaution was laid down that, if Scripture should be easily open to all, it would perhaps become cheapened and be exposed to contempt, or, if poorly understood by the mediocre, would lead to error. But, what the mind of the Church is in regard to the reading and interpretation of Scripture your fraternity may know very clearly from the excellent Constitution of another of Our predecessors, CLEMENT XI, "Unigenitus," in which those doctrines were thoroughly condemned in which it was asserted that it is useful and necessary to every age, to every place, to every type of person to know the mysteries of Sacred Scripture, the reading of which was to be open to all, and that it was harmful to withdraw Christian people from it, nay more, that the mouth of Christ was closed for the faithful when the New Testament was snatched from their hands [Propositions of Quesnel 79-85; n.1429-1435].

LEO XII 1823-1829

The Versions of Sacred Scripture *

[From the Encyclical "Ubi primum,' May 5, 1824]

1607  . . . The wickedness of our enemies is progressing to such a degree that, besides the flood of pernicious books hostile in themselves to religion' they are endeavoring to turn to the harm of religion even the Sacred Literature given to us by divine Providence for the progress of religion itself. It is not unknown to you, Venerable Brethren, that a certain "Society," commonly called "Biblical," is boldly spreading through the whole world, which, spurning the traditions of the Holy Fathers and against the well-known decree [see n. 786] of the Council of Trent, is aiming with all its strength and means toward this: to translate--or rather mistranslate--the Sacred Books into the vulgar tongue of every

1608 And to avert this plague, Our predecessors have published many Constitutions [e.g., PIUS VII; see n. 1602 ff.]. . . . We, also, in accord with our Apostolic duty, encourage you, Venerable Brothers, to be zealous in every way to remove your flock away from these poisonous pastures. "Reprove, entreat, be instant in season, out of season, in all patience and doctrine" [2 Tim. 4:2], so that your faithful people, clinging exactly to the regulations of our Congregation of the Index, may be persuaded that, "if the Sacred Books are permitted everywhere without discrimination in the vulgar tongue, more harm will arise therefrom than advantage, because of the boldness of men." Experience demonstrates the truth of this and, besides other Fathers, St. Augustine has declared in these words: "For not . . ." [see n.1604].

PIUS VIII 1829-1830

Usury *

[Response of Pius Vlll to the Bishop of Rheims,*

given in audience, August 18, 1830]

1609 The Bishop of Rheims in France explains that. . ., the confessors of his diocese do not hold the same opinion concerning the profit received from money given as a loan to business men, in order that they may be enriched thereby. There is bitter dispute over the meaning of the Encyclical Letter, "Vix pervenit" [see n. 1475ff.]. On both sides arguments are produced to defend the opinion each one has embraced, either favorable to such profit or against it. Thence come quarrels, dissensions, denial of the sacraments to many business men engaging in that method of making money, and countless damage to souls. To meet this harm to souls, some confessors think they can hold a middle course between both opinions. If anyone consults them about gain of this sort, they try to dissuade him from it. If the penitent perseveres in his plan of giving money as a loan to business men, and objects that an opinion favorable to such a loan has many patrons, and moreover, has not been condemned by the Holy See, although more than once consulted about it, then these confessors demand that the penitent promise to conform in filial obedience to the judgment of the Holy Pontiff whatever it may be, if he should intervene; and having obtained this promise, they do not deny them absolution, although they believe an opinion contrary to such a loan is more probable. If a penitent does not confess the gain from money given as a loan, and appears to be in good faith, these confessors, even if they know from other sources that gain of this sort has been taken by him and is even now being taken they absolve him, making no interrogation about the matter, because they fear that the penitent, being advised to make restitution or to refrain from such profit, will refuse.

1610  Therefore the said Bishop of Rheims inquires:

 1. Whether he can approve the method of acting on the part of these latter confessors.

 2. Whether he could encourage other more rigid confessors who come to consult him to follow the plan of action of those others until the Holy See brings out an express opinion on this question.

  Pius Vlll responded:

 To 1: They are not to be disturbed. To II: Provided for in the first.

GREGORY XVI 1831-1846

Usury *

[Declarations about a response of PIUS VIII *]

1611 A. To the doubts of the Bishop of Viviers: *

 1 "Whether the aforesaid judgment of the Most Holy Pontiff must be understood as its words sound, and aside from the title of the law of the prince, about which the Most Eminent Cardinals speak in these responses, so that it is just a matter of a loan made to business men.

 2. "Or whether the title from the law of the prince, about which the Eminent Cardinals speak, must be so understood that it is enough that the law of the prince declares that it is licit for anyone to agree about a gain made from a loan only, as happens in the civil code of the Franks, without saying that it (law of the prince) grants the right to receive such gain."

  The Congregation of the Holy Office responded August 31, 1831:This has been taken care of in the decree of Wednesday, August 18, 1830, and let the decrees be given.

1612  B. To the doubt of the Bishop of Nicea:

 "Whether penitents, who have taken a moderate gain from a loan only, under title of the law, in doubtful or bad faith, can be sacramentally absolved without the imposition of the burden of restitution, provided they are sincerely sorry for the sin committed because of doubtful or bad faith, and are ready in filial obedience to observe the commands of the Holy See."

 The Congregation of the Holy' Office responded fan. 17, 1838:

 Yes, provided they are ready to observe the commands of the Holy See. . . .*

Indifferentism (against Felicite de Lamennais) *

[From the Encyclical "Mirari vos arbitramur," Aug. 15, 1832]


1613 Now we examine another prolific cause of evils by which, we lament, the Church is at present afflicted, namely indifferentism, or that base opinion which has become prevalent everywhere through the deceit of wicked men, that eternal salvation of the soul can be acquired by any profession of faith whatsoever, if morals are conformed to the standard of the just and the honest. . . . And so from this most rotten source of indifferentism flows that absurd and erroneous opinion, or rather insanity, that liberty of conscience must be claimed and defended for anyone.

1614 Indeed, to this most unhealthy error that full and immoderate liberty of opinions which is spreading widely to the destruction of the sacred and civil welfare opens the way, with some men repeatedly asserting with supreme boldness that some advantage flows therefrom to religion itself. But "what death of the soul is worse than freedom for error?" Augustine used to say [ep. 166* ]. For, since all restraint has been removed by which men are kept on the paths of truth, since their nature inclined to evil is now plunging headlong, we say that the "bottom of the pit" has truly been opened, from which John [Rev. 9:3 ] saw "smoke arising by which the sun was darkened with locusts" coming out of it to devastate the earth. . . .

1615 Nor can we foresee more joyful omens for religion and the state from the wishes of those who desire that the Church be separated from the State, and that the mutual concord of the government with the sacred ministry be broken. For it is certain that that concord is greatly feared by lovers of this most shameless liberty, which has always been fortunate and salutary for the ecclesiastical and the civil welfare.

1616 Having embraced with paternal affection those especially who have applied their mind particularly to the sacred disciplines and to philosophic questions, encourage and support them so that they may not, by relying on the powers of their own talents alone, imprudently go astray from the path of truth into the way of the impious. Let them remember "that God is the guide of wisdom and the director of the wise" [cf.Wisd.7:15], and that it is not possible to learn to know God without God, who by means of the Word teaches men to know God. * It is characteristic of the proud, or rather of the foolish man to test the mysteries of faith "which surpasseth all understanding" [ Phil. 4:7] by human standards, and to entrust them to the reasoning of our mind, which by reason of the condition of our human nature is weak and infirm.

The False Doctrines of Felicite de Lamennais*

[From the Encyclical, "Singular) nos affecerant gaudio"

to the Bishops of France, June 25, 1834]

1617 But it is a very mournful thing, by which the ravings of human reason go to ruin when someone is eager for revolution and, against the advice of the Apostle, strives "to be more wise than it behooveth to be wise" [cf. Rom. 12:3 ], and trusting too much in himself, affirms that truth must be sought outside of the Catholic Church in which truth itself is found far from even the slightest defilement of error, and which therefore, is called and is "the pillar and ground of the truth" [1 Tim. 3 15 ]. But you well understand, Venerable Brothers, that We are here speaking in open disapproval of that false system of philosophy, not so long ago introduced, by which, because of an extended and unbridled desire of novelty, truth is not sought where it truly resides, and, with a disregard for the holy and apostolic traditions, other vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, not approved by the Church are accepted as true, on which very vain men mistakenly think that truth itself is supported and sustained.

Condemnation of the Works of George Hermes *

[From the Brief "Dum acerbissimas," Sept. 26, 1835]

1618 To increase the anxieties by which we are overwhelmed day and night because of this (namely, persecutions of the Church), the following calamitous and highly lamentable circumstance is added: Among those who strive in behalf of religion by published works some dare to intrude themselves insincerely, who likewise wish to seem and who show that they are fighting on behalf of the same religion, in order that, though retaining the appearance of religion yet despising the truth, they can the more easily seduce and pervert the incautious "by philosophy" or by their false philosophic treatises "and vain deceit" [Col. 2:8], and hence deceive the people and extend helping hands more confidently to the enemies who openly rage against it (religion). Therefore, when the impious and insidious labors of any one of these writers have become known to us, we have not delayed by means of our encyclicals and other Apostolic letters to denounce their cunning and depraved plans, and to condemn their errors, and, at the same time, to expose the deadly deceits by which they very cunningly endeavor to overthrow completely the divine constitution of the Church and ecclesiastical discipline, nay, even the whole public order itself. Indeed, it has been proved by a very sad fact that at length, laying aside the veil of pretense, they have already raised on high the banner of hostility against whatever power has been established by God.

1619 But this alone is not the most grievous cause for mourning. For in addition to those who, to the scandal of all Catholics, have given themselves over to the enemy, to add to our bitter sorrow we see some enter ing even into the study of theology who, through a desire and passion for novelty "ever learning and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth" [2 Tim. 3:7], are teachers of error, because they have not been disciples of truth. In fact, they infect sacred studies with strange and unapproved doctrines, and they do not hesitate to profane even the office of teacher, if they hold a position in the schools and academies; they are known to falsify the most sacred deposit of faith itself, while boasting that they are protecting it Among the teachers of this sort of error, because of his constant and almost universal reputation throughout Germany, George Hermes is numbered as one who boldly left the royal path, which universal tradition and the most Holy Fathers have marked out in explaining and vindicating the truths of faith; nay, even haughtily despising and condemning it, he is now building a darksome way to error of all kinds on positive doubt as a basis for all theological inquiry, and on the principle which states that reason is the chief norm and only medium whereby man can acquire knowledge of supernatural truths. . . .

1620 Therefore, we ordered that these books be handed over to the theologians most skilled in the German language to be diligently scrutinized in every part. . . . At length ... [the most Eminent Cardinal Inquisitors], weighing each and everything with great care, as the gravity of the matter demanded, judged that the author "was growing vain in his thoughts" [Rom. 1:21], and had woven into the said works many absurd ideas foreign to the teaching of the Catholic Church; but especially concerning the nature of faith and the rule of things to be believed, about Sacred Scripture, tradition, revelation, and the teaching office of the Church; about motives of credibility, about proofs by which the existence of God is wont to be established and confirmed; about the essence of God Himself, His holiness, justice, liberty, and His purpose in works which the theologians call external; and also about the necessity of grace, the distribution of it and of gifts, recompense of awards, and the infliction of penalties, about the state of our first parents, original sin, and the powers of fallen man; these same books, inasmuch as they contain doctrines and propositions respectively false, rash, captious, inducive to skepticism and indifferentism, erroneous, scandalous, injurious to Catholic schools, destructive of divine faith, suggesting heresy and other things condemned by the Church (the Most Eminent Cardinals) decree must be prohibited and condemned.

1621 And so we condemn and reject the aforesaid books wherever and in whatever idiom, in every edition or version so far published or to be published in the future, which God forbid, under tenor of these present letters, and we further command that they be placed on the Index of forbidden books.


Faith and Reason (against Louis Eugene Bautain) *

[Theses written by Bautain under order of his bishop, Sept. 8,


1622  1. Reason can prove with certitude the existence of God and the infinity of His perfections. Faith, a heavenly gift, is posterior to revelation; hence it cannot be brought forward against an atheist to prove the existence of God [cf. n.1650].

1623 2. The divinity of the Mosaic revelation is proved with certitude by the oral and written tradition of the synagogue and of Christianity.

1624  3. Proof drawn from the miracles of Jesus Christ, sensible and striking for eyewitnesses, has in no way lost its force and splendor as regards subsequent generations. We find this proof with all certitude in the authenticity of the New Testament, in the oral and written tradition of all Christians. By this double tradition we should demonstrate it (namely, revelation) to those who either reject it or, who, not having admitted it, are searching for it.

1625 4. We do not have the right to expect from an unbeliever that he admit the resurrection of our divine Savior before we shall have proposed definite proofs to him; and these proofs are deduced by reason from the same tradition.

1626 5. In regard to these various questions, reason precedes faith and should lead us to it [cf. n.1651].

1627 6. Although reason was rendered weak and obscure by original sin, yet there remained in it sufficient clarity and power to lead us with certitude to a knowledge of the existence of God, to the revelation made to the Jews by Moses, and to Christians by our adorable Man-God.*

The Matter of Extreme Unction *


[From the decree of the Sacred Office under Paul V,

Jan. 13. 1611, and Gregory XVI, Sept. 14, 1842]

1628  1. Proposition:"that without doubt the sacrament of extreme unctioncan be validly administered with oil not consecrated by episcopal blessing." The Sacred Office on fan. 13, 1611, declared:it is destructive and very close to error.

1629 2.Similarly, to the doubt:whether in a case of necessity as regards the validity of thesacrament of extreme unction, a parish priest could useoil blessed by himself.

 The Sacred Office, Sept. 14, 1842, replied:negatively, according to the form of the decree of Thursday in the presence of His Holiness, Jan. 13, 1611, which resolution Gregory XVI approved on the sameday.

Versions of Sacred Scripture*

[From the Encyclical, "Inter praecipuas," May 6, 1844]

1630  . . . Indeed, you are aware that from the first ages called Christian ,it has been the peculiar artifice of heretics that, repudiating the traditional Word of God, and rejecting the authority of the Catholic Church ,they either falsify the Scriptures at hand, or alter the explanation of the meaning. In short, you are not ignorant of how much diligence andwisdomisneeded to translate faithfully into another tongue the words of the Lord; so that, surely, nothing could happen more easily than that in the versions of these Scriptures, multiplied by the Biblical societies, very grave errors creep in from the imprudence or deceit of so many translators; further, the very multitude and variety of those versions conceal these errors for a long time to the destruction of many. However, it is of little or no interest at all to these societies whether the men likely to read these Bibles translated into the vulgar tongue, fall into some errors rather than others, provided they grow accustomed little by little to claiming free judgment for themselves with regard to the sense of the Scriptures, and also to despising the divine tradition of the Fathers which has been guarded by the teaching of the Catholic Church, and to repudiating the teaching office itself of the Church.

1631 Toward this end those same Biblical associates do not cease to slander the Church and this Holy See of PETER, as if it were attempting for these many centuries to keep the faithful people from a knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures; although, on the other hand, there are extant many very illuminating documents of remarkable learning which the Supreme Pontiffs and other Catholic bishops under their leadership, have used in these more recent times, that Catholic peoples might be educated more exactly according to the written and traditional word of God.

1632  Among those rules, which have been written by the Fathers chosen by the Council of Trent and approved by Pius IV * . . . and set in the front part of the Index of prohibited books, in the general sanction of the statutes one reads that Bibles published in a vulgar tongue were not permitted to anyone, except to those to whom the reading of them was judged to be beneficial for the increase of their faith and piety. To this same rule, limited immediately by a new caution because of the persistent deceits of heretics, this declaration was at length appended by the authority of Benedict XIV, that permission is granted for reading vernacular versions which have been approved by the Apostolic See, or have been edited with annotations drawn from the Holy Fathers of the Church or from learned Catholic men. . . . All the aforesaid Biblical societies, condemned a short time ago by our predecessors, we again condemn with Apostolic authority.

1633 Hence, let it be known to everyone that all those will be guilty of a very grave fault in the eyes of God and of the Church who persume to enroll in any one of these societies, or to adapt their work to them or to favor them in any way whatsoever.

PIUS IX 1846-1878

Faith and Reason *

[From the Encyclical, "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846]

1634 For you know, Venerable Brethren, that these hostile enemies of the Christian name, unhappily seized by a certain blind force of mad impiety, proceed with this rashness of thought that "opening their mouth unto blasphemies against God" [cf. Rev. 13:6] with a boldness utterly unknown, are not ashamed to teach openly and publicly that the most holy mysteries of our religion are the fictions and inventions of men; that the teaching of the Catholic Church is opposed [see n. 1740] to the good and to the advantage of society, and they do not fear even to abjure Christ Himself and God. And, to delude the people more easily and to deceive especially the incautious and the inexperienced, and to drag them with themselves into error, they pretend that the ways to prosperity are known to them alone; and do not hesitate to arrogate to themselves the name of philosophers, just as if philosophy, which is occupied wholly in investigating the truth of nature, ought to reject those truths which the supreme and most clement God Himself, author of all nature, deigned to manifest to men with singular kindness and mercy, in order that men might obtain true happiness and salvation.

1635 Hence, by a preposterous and deceitful kind of argumentation, they never cease to invoke the power and excellence of human reason, to proclaim it against the most sacred faith of Christ, and, what is more, they boldly prate that it (faith) is repugnant to human reason [see n. 1706]. Certainly, nothing more insane, nothing more impious, nothing more repugnant to reason itself can be imagined or thought of than this. For, even if faith is above reason, nevertheless, no true dissension or disagreement can ever be found between them, since both have their origin from one and the same font of immutable, eternal truth, the excellent and great God, and they mutually help one another so much that right reason demonstrates the truth of faith, protects it, defends it; but faith frees reason from all errors and, by a knowledge of divine things, wonderfully elucidates it, confirms, and perfects it [cf. n. 1799].

1636 And with no less deceit certainly, Venerable Brothers, those enemies of divine revelation, exalting human progress with the highest praise, with a rash and sacrilegious daring would wish to introduce it into the Catholic religion, just as if religion itself were not the work of God but of men, or were some philosophical discovery which can be perfected by human means [cf. n. 1705]. Against such unhappily raving men applies very conveniently, indeed, what Tertullian deservedly made a matter of reproach to the philosophers of his own time: "Who have produced a stoic and platonic and dialectic Christianity.''* And since, indeed, our most holy religion has not been invented by human reason but has been mercifully disclosed to men by God, thus everyone easily understands that religion itself acquires all its force from the authority of the same God speaking, and cannot ever be drawn from or be perfected by human reason.

1637 Indeed, human reason, lest it be deceived and err in a matter of so great importance, ought to search diligently for the fact of divine revelation so that it can know with certainty that God has spoken, and so render to Him, as the Apostle so wisely teaches, "a rational service" [ Rom. 12:1]. For who does not know, or cannot know that all faith is to be given to God who speaks, and that nothing is more suitable to reason itself than to acquiesce and firmly adhere to those truths which it has been established were revealed by God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived?

1638 But, how many, how wonderful, how splendid are the proofs at hand by which human reason ought to be entirely and most clearly convinced that the religion of Christ is divine, and that "every principle of our dogmas has received its root from above, from the Lord of the heavens,"* and that, therefore, nothing is more certain than our faith, nothing more secure, that there is nothing more holy and nothing which is supported on firmer principles. For, in truth, this faith is the teacher of life, the index of salvation, the expeller of all faults, and the fecund parent and nurse of virtues, confirmed by the birth, life, death, resurrection, wisdom, miracles, prophecies of its author and consummator, Christ Jesus; everywhere resplendent with the light of a supernatural teaching and enriched with the treasures of heavenly riches, especially clear and significant by the predictions of so many prophets, by the splendor of so many miracles, by the constancy of so many martyrs, by the glory of so many saints, revealing the salutary laws of Christ and acquiring greater strength every day from these most cruel persecutions, (this faith) has pervaded the whole earth by land and sea, from the rising to the setting of the sun, under the one standard of the Cross, and also, having overcome the deceits of idolaters and torn away the mist of errors and triumphed over enemies of every kind, it has illuminated with the light of divine knowledge all peoples, races, nations, howsoever barbarous in culture and different in disposition, customs, laws, and institutions; and has subjected them to the most sweet yoke of Christ Himself, "announcing peace" to all, "announcing good" [Isa. 52:7]. All of this certainly shines everywhere with so great a glory of divine wisdom and power that the mind and intelligence of each one clearly understands that the Christian Faith is the work of God.

1639 And so, human reason, knowing clearly and openly from these most splendid and equally strong proofs that God is the author of the same faith, can proceed no further; but, having completely cast aside and removed every difficulty and doubt, it should render all obedience to this faith, since it holds as certain that whatever faith itself proposes to man to be believed or to be done, has been transmitted by God.*

Civil Marriage *

[From the Allocution, "Acerbissimum vobiscum," Sept. 27, 1857]

1640 We say nothing about that other decree in which, after completely despising the mystery, dignity, and sanctity of the sacrament of matrimony; after utterly ignoring and distorting its institution and nature; and after completely spurning the power of the Church over the same sacrament, it was proposed, according to the already condemned errors of heretics, and against the teaching of the Catholic Church, that marriage should be considered as a civil contract only, and that divorce, strictly speaking, should be sanctioned in various cases (see n.1767); and that all matrimonial cases should be deferred to lay tribunals and be judged by them (see n.1774); because no Catholic is ignorant or cannot know that matrimony is truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the evangelical law, instituted by Christ the Lord, and that for that reason, there can be no marriage between the faithful without there being at one and the same time a sacrament, and that, therefore, any other union of man and woman among Christians, except the sacramental union, even if contracted under the power of any civil law, is nothing else than a disgraceful and death-bringing concubinage very frequently condemned by the Church, and, hence, that the sacrament can never be separated from the conjugal agreement (see n. 1773), and that it pertains absolutely to the power of the Church to discern those things which can pertain in any way to the same matrimony.

Definition of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. *

[From the Bull, "Ineffabilis Deus," Dec. 8, 1854]

1641  . . . To the honor of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, to the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, to the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and the increase of the Christian religion, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, and by Our own, We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine, which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary at the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in virtue of the merits of Christ Jesus, the Savior of the human race, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and on this account must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful. Wherefore, if any should presume to think in their hearts otherwise than as it has been defined by Us, which God avert, let them know and understand that they are condemned by their own judgment; that they have suffered shipwreck in regard to faith, and have revolted from the unity of the Church; and what is more, that by their own act they subject themselves to the penalties established by law, if, what they think in their heart, they should to signify by word or writing or any other external means.

Rationalism and Indifferentism*

[From the Allocution, "Singular) quadem," Dec. 9, 1854]

1642 There are, besides, Venerable Brothers, certain men pre-eminent in learning, who confess that religion is by far the most excellent gift given by God to men, who, nevertheless, hold human reason at so high a value, exalt it so much, that they very foolishly think that it is to be held equal to religion itself. Hence, according to the rash opinion of these men, theological studies should be treated in the same manner as philosophical studies [see n.1708], although, nevertheless, the former are based on the dogmas of faith, than which nothing is more fixed and certain, while the latter are explained and illustrated by human reason, than which nothing is more uncertain, inasmuch as they vary according to the variety of natural endowments and are subject to numberless errors and delusions. Therefore, the authority of the Church being rejected, a very broad field lies open to every difficult and abstract question, and human reason, trusting too freely in its own weak strength, has fallen headlong into most shameful errors, which there is neither time nor inclination to mention here; for, they are well known to you and have been examined by you, and they have brought harm, and that very great, to both religious and civil affairs. Therefore, it is necessary to show to those men who exalt more than is just the strength of human reason that it (their attitude) is definitely contrary to those true words of the Doctor of the Gentiles: "If any man think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself" [Gal. 6:3]. And so it is necessary to show them how great is their arrogance in examining the mysteries which God in His great goodness has deigned to reveal to us, and in pretending to understand and to comprehend them by the weakness and narrowness of the human mind, since those mysteries far exceed the power of our intellect which, in the words of the same Apostle, should be made captive unto the obedience of faith [cf. 2 Cor. 10:5].

1643  And so, such followers, or rather worshipers of human reason, who set up reason as a teacher of certitude, and who promise themselves that all things will be fortunate under its leadership, have certainly forgotten how grave and terrible a wound was inflicted on human nature from the fault of our first parent; for darkness has spread over the mind, and the will has been inclined to evil. For this reason, the famous philosophers of ancient times, although they wrote many things very clearly, have nevertheless contaminated their teachings with most grave errors; hence that constant struggle which we experience in ourselves, of which the Apostle says: "I see a law in my members fighting against the law of my mind" [Rom. 7 23]

1644 Now, since it is agreed that by the original sin propagated in all the posterity of Adam, the light of reason has been decreased; and since the human race has most miserably fallen from its pristine state of justice and innocence, who could think that reason is sufficient to attain to truth? Who, lest he fall and be ruined in the midst of such great dangers and in such great weakness of his powers, would deny that he needs the aid of a divine religion, and of heavenly grace for salvation? These aids, indeed, God most graciously bestows on those who ask for them by humble prayer, since it is written: "God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble" [ Jas. 4:6]. Therefore, turning toward the Father, Christ our Lord affirmed that the deepest secrets of truth have not been disclosed "to the wise and prudent of this world," who take pride in their own talents and learning, and refuse to render obedience to faith, but rather (have been revealed) to humble and simple men who rely and rest on the oracle of divine faith [cf.Matt. 11:25 ; Luke 10:21 ].

1645 You should inculcate this salutary lesson in the souls of those who exaggerate the strength of human reason to such an extent that they venture by its help to scrutinize and explain even mysteries, although nothing is more inept, nothing more foolish. Strive to withdraw them from such perversity of mind by explaining indisputably that nothing more excellent has been given by the providence of God to man than the authority of divine faith; that this is for us, as it were, a torch in the darkness, a guide which we follow to life; that this is absolutely necessary for salvation; for, "without faith . . . it is impossible to please God" [ Heb. 11:6] and "he that believeth not, shall be condemned"[Mark 16:16].

1646 Not without sorrow we have learned that another error, no less destructive, has taken possession of some parts of the Catholic world, and has taken up its abode in the souls of many Catholics who think that one should have good hope of the eternal salvation of all those who have never lived in the true Church of Christ [see n. 1717]. Therefore, they are wont to ask very often what will be the lot and condition after death of those who have not submitted in any way to the Catholic faith, and, by bringing forward most vain reasons, they make a response favorable to their false opinion. Far be it from Us, Venerable Brethren, to presume on the limits of the divine mercy which is infinite; far from Us, to wish to scrutinize the hidden counsel and "judgments of God" which are 'a great deep" [ Ps. 35:7] and cannot be penetrated by human thought. But, as is Our Apostolic duty, we wish your episcopal solicitude and vigilance to be aroused, so that you will strive as much as you can to drive from the mind of men that impious and equally fatal opinion, namely, that the way of eternal salvation can be found in any religion whatsoever. May you demonstrate with that skill and learning in which you excel, to the people entrusted to your care that the dogmas of the Catholic faith are in no wise opposed to divine mercy and justice.

1647 For, it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God. Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples, regions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things? For, in truth, when released from these corporeal chains "we shall see God as He is" [ 1 John 3:2], we shall understand perfectly by how close and beautiful a bond divine mercy and justice are united; but, as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is "one God, one faith, one baptism" [ Eph. 4:5 ]; it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry.

1648 But, just as the way of charity demands, let us pour forth continual prayers that all nations everywhere may be converted to Christ; and let us be devoted to the common salvation of men in proportion to our strength, "for the hand of the Lord is not shortened" [Isa. 9:1] and the gifts of heavenly grace will not be wanting those who sincerely wish and ask to be refreshed by this light. Truths of this sort should be deeply fixed in the minds of the faithful, lest they be corrupted by false doctrines, whose object is to foster an indifference toward religion, which we see spreading widely and growing strong for the destruction of souls.

False Traditionalism (against Augustine Bonnetty) *

[From the Decree of the S.C. of the Index, 11, (15) June, 1855]

1649  1 "Although faith is above reason, nevertheless no true dissension, no disagreement can ever be found between them, since both arise from the one same immutable source of truth, the most excellent and great God, and thus bring mutual help to each other" * [cf. n.1635 and 1799]

1650 2. Reason can prove with certitude the existence of God, the spirituality of the soul, the freedom of man. Faith is posterior to revelation, and hence it cannot be conveniently alleged to prove the existence of God to an atheist, or to prove the spirituality and the freedom of the rational soul against a follower of naturalism and fatalism [cf. n.1622,1625 ].

1651 3. The use of reason precedes faith and leads men to it by the help of revelation and of grace [cf. n. 1626 ].

1652  4. The method which St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure and other scholastics after them used does not lead to rationalism, nor has it been the reason why philosophy in today's schools is falling into naturalism and pantheism. Therefore, it is not lawful to charge as a reproach against these doctors and teachers that they made use of this method, especially since the Church approves, or at least keeps silent.*

The Misuse of Magnetism*

[From the Encyclical of the Holy Office, Aug. 4, 1856]

1653  . . Already some responses on this subject have been given by the Holy See to particular cases, in which those experiments are condemned as illicit which are arranged for a purpose not natural, not honest, and not attained by proper means; therefore, in similar cases it was decreed on Wednesday, April 21, 1841: "The use of magnetism, as it is explained, is not permitted." Similarly, the Sacred Congregation decreed that certain books stubbornly disseminating errors of this kind should be condemned. But because, aside from particular cases, the use of magnetism in general had to be considered, by way of a rule therefore it was so stated on Wednesday, July 28, 1847: "When all error, soothsaying, explicit or implicit invocation of the demon is removed, the use of magnetism, i.e., the mere act of employing physical media otherwise licit, is not morally forbidden, provided it does not tend to an illicit end or to one that is in any manner evil. However, the application of principles and purely physical means to things and effects truly supernatural, in order to explain them physically, is nothing but deception altogether illicit and heretical."

1654 Although by this general decree the lawfulness and unlawfulness in the use or misuse of magnetism were satisfactorily explained, nevertheless the wickedness of men grew to such an extent that neglecting the legitimate study of the science, pursuing rather the curious, with great loss to souls and detriment to civil society itself, they boast that they have discovered the principle of foretelling and divining. Thus, girls with the tricks of sleepwalking and of clear-gazing, as they call it, carried away by delusions and gestures not always modest, proclaim that they see the invisible, and they pretend with rash boldness to hold talks even about religion, to evoke the souls of the dead, to receive answers, to reveal the unknown and the distant, and to practice other superstitious things of that sort, intending to acquire great gain for themselves and for their masters through their divining. Therefore, in all these, whatever art or illusion they employ, since physical media are used for unnatural effects, there is deception altogether illicit and heretical, and a scandal against honesty of morals.*

The False Doctrine of Anton Guenther*

[From the Brief, "Eximiam tuam" to Cardinal de Geissel. Archbishop of Cologne, June 15, 1857]

1655 Not without sorrow are We especially aware that in these books that erroneous and most dangerous system of rationalism, often condemned by this Apostolic See, is particularly dominant; and likewise we know that in the same books these items among many others are found, which are not a little at variance with the Catholic Faith and with the true explanation of the unity of the divine substance in three distinct, eternal Persons. Likewise, we have found that neither better nor more accurate are the statements made about the mystery of the Incarnate Word, and about the unity of the divine Person of the Word in two natures, divine and human. We know that in the same books there is harm to the Catholic opinion and teaching concerning man, who is so composed of body and soul that the soul, and that rational, may of itself be the true and immediate form of the body. * And we are not unaware that in the same books those teachings are stated and defended which are plainly opposed to the Catholic doctrine about the supreme liberty of God, who l is free from any necessity whatsoever in creating things.

1656 And also that extremely wicked and condemned doctrine which in Guenther's books rashly attributes the rights of a master both to human reason and philosophy, whereas they should be wholly handmaids, not masters in religious matters; and therefore all those things are disturbed which should remain most stable, not only concerning the distinction between science and faith, but also concerning the eternal immutability of faith, which is always one and the same, while philosophy and human studies are not always consistent, and are not immune to a multiple variety of errors.

1657  In addition, the Holy Fathers are not held in that reverence which the canons of the Councils prescribe, and which these splendid lights of the Catholic Church so altogether deserve, nor does he refrain from the slurring remarks against Catholic Schools, which Our predecessor of cherished memory, PIUS VI, solemnly condemned [see n.1576].

1658 Nor shall we pass over in silence that in Guenther's books "the sound form of speaking" is completely outraged, as if it were lawful to forget the words of the Apostle Paul [2 Tim. 1:13], or those which Augustine most earnestly advised: "It is right for us to speak according to a fixed rule, lest liberty with words give birth to an impious opinion, even about the things which are signified by them''* [see n.1714a].

Errors of the Ontologists*

[From the decree of the Sacred Office, Sept. 18, 1861, "they cannot be safely taught"]

1659 1. Immediate knowledge of God, habitual at least, is essential to the human intellect, so much so that without it the intellect can know nothing, since indeed it is itself intellectual light.

1660   2. That being which is in all things and without which we understand nothing, is the divine being.

1661 3. Universals considered on the part of the thing are not really distinguished from God.

1662  4. Congenital knowledge of God as being simply involves in an eminent way all other cognition, so that by it we hold as known implicitly all being, under whatever aspect it is knowable

1663 5. All other ideas do not exist except as modifications of the idea by which God is understood as Being simply.

1664 6. Created things exist in God as a part in the whole, not indeed in the formal whole, but in the infinite whole, the most simple, which puts its parts, as it were, without any division and diminution of itself outside itself.

1665 7. Creation can be thus explained: God, by that special act by which He knows Himself, and wills Himself as distinct from a determined creature, man, for example, produces a creature.

The False Freedom of Science (against James Frohschammer) *

[From the epistle, "Gravissimas inter,', to the Archbishop of Munich-Freising,

Dec. 11, 1862]

1666 Amidst the terrible anguish by which we are pressed on all sides in the great restlessness and iniquity of these times, we are sorely grieved to learn that in various regions of Germany are found some men, even Catholics, who, betraying sacred theology as well as philosophy, do not hesitate to introduce a certain freedom of teaching and writing hitherto unheard of in the Church, and to profess openly and publicly new and altogether reprehensible opinions, and to disseminate them among the people.

1667 Hence, We were affected with no light grief, Venerable Brother, when the sad message reached Us that the priest, James Frohschammer, teacher of philosophy in the Academy at Munich, was displaying, beyond all the rest, freedom of teaching and writing in this manner, and was defending these most dangerous errors in his works that have been published. Therefore, with no delay We commanded Our Congregation appointed for censuring books to weigh with great diligence and care the particular volumes which are circulating under the name of the same priest, Frohschammer, and to report all findings to Us. These volumes written in German have the title: Introductio in Philophiam, De Libertate scientiae, Athenaeum, the first of which was