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Auctorum fidei - Contra Pistoia - Part I
Errors of the Synod of Pistoia
[Condemned in the Constitution, "Auctorem fidei," Aug. 28, 1794]
[A. Errors about the Church 3]
Obscuring of Truths in the Church [From the Decree de Grat., sec. I]
1. The proposition, which asserts "that in these later times there has been spread a general obscuring of
the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings
of Jesus Christ,"—heretical.
The Power Attributed to the Community of the Church, in Order That by This the Power May Be
Communicated to the Pastors
2. The proposition which states "that power has been given by God to the Church, that it might be
communicated to the pastors who are its ministers for the salvation of souls"; if thus understood that the
power of ecclesiastical ministry and of rule is derived from the COMMUNITY of the faithful to the
The Name Ministerial Head Attributed to the Roman Pontiff
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
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
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" leading toward a system condemned elsewhere as
Rights Attributed to Bishops Beyond What is Lawful
6. The doctrine of the synod by which it professes that "it is convinced that a bishop has received from
Christ all necessary rights for the good government of his diocese," just as if for the good government
of each diocese higher ordinances dealing either with faith and morals, or with general discipline, are
not necessary, the right of which belongs to the supreme Pontiffs and the General Councils for the
universal Church,—schismatic, at least erroneous.
7. Likewise, in this, that it encourages a bishop "to pursue zealously a more perfect constitution of
ecclesiastical discipline," and this "against all contrary customs, exemptions, reservations which are
opposed to the good order of the diocese, for the greater glory of God and for the greater edification of
the faithful"; in that it supposes that a bishop has the right by his own judgment and will to decree and
decide contrary to customs, exemptions, reservations, whether they prevail in the universal Church or
even in each province, without the consent or the intervention of a higher hierarchic power, by which
these customs, etc., have been introduced or approved and have the force of law,—leading to schism
and subversion of hierarchic rule, erroneous.
8. Likewise, in that it says it is convinced that "the rights of a bishop received from Jesus Christ for the
government of the Church cannot be altered nor hindered, and, when it has happened that the exercise
of these rights has been interrupted for any reason whatsoever, a bishop can always and should return
to his original rights, as often as the greater good of his church demands it"; in the fact that it intimates
that the exercise of episcopal rights can be hindered and coerced by no higher power, whenever a
bishop shall judge that it does not further the greater good of his church,—leading to schism, and to
subversion of hierarchic government, erroneous.
The Right Incorrectly Attributed to Priests of Inferior Rank in Decrees of Faith and Discipline
9. The doctrine which states, that "the reformation of abuses in regard to ecclesiastical discipline ought
equally to depend upon and be established by the bishop and the parish priests in diocesan synods, and
that without the freedom of decision, obedience would not be due to the suggestions and orders of the
bishops," 1-false, rash, harmful to episcopal authority, subversive of hierarchic government, favoring
the heresy of Aerius, which was renewed by Calvin
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.
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
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 Pon-tiffs and the
Church, derogatory to the obedience due to the Apostolic Constitutions, schismatic, dangerous, at least
The So-called Peace of Clement IX
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. 1ogg),—false, rash, injurious to Clement IX.
14. In so far as it approves that distinction by extolling its supporters with praise and by berating their
opponents,—rash, pernicious, injurious to the Supreme Pontiffs, fostering schism and heresy.
The Composition of the Body of the Church
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," under-stood 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
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 con-sequence of creation, due to man
from the natural exigency and condition of human nature, not a gratuitous gift of God, false, elsewhere
condemned in Baius and in Quesnel, erroneous, favorable to the Pelagian heresy.
Immortality Viewed as a Natural Condition of Man
17. The proposition stated in these words: "Taught by the Apostle, we regard death no longer as a
natural condition of man, but truly as a just penalty for original guilt," since, under the deceitful
mention of the name of the Apostle, it insinuates that death, which in the present state has been inflicted
as a just punishment for sin by the just withdrawal of immortality, was not a natural condition of man,
as if immortality had not been a gratuitous gift, but a natural condition,—deceitful, rash, injurious to
the Apostle, elsewhere condemned
The Condition of Man in the State of Nature
18. The doctrine of the synod stating that "after the fall of Adam, God announced the promise of a
future Redeemer and wished to con-sole 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
19. Likewise, the doctrine which adds that under the Law man "be-came 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" 1) false scandalous, impious,
condemned in Baius.
20. In that part in which it is to be understood that man, while under the Law and without grace, could
conceive a desire for the grace of a Mediator related to the salvation promised through Christ, as if
"grace itself does not effect that He be invoked by us"]),—the proposition as it stands, deceitful,
suspect, favor-able to the Semipelagian heresy.
Illuminating and Exciting Grace
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]), and that no true interior grace of Christ is given, which is
resisted,—false, deceitful, leading to the error condemned in the second proposition of Jansen as
heretical, and renewing it.
Faith as the First Grace
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" suspected of heresy, and savoring of it, elsewhere
condemned in Quesnel, erroneous.
The Twofold Love
23. The doctrine of the synod about the twofold love of dominating cupidity and of dominating charity,
stating that man without grace is under the power of sin, and that in that state through the general
influence of the dominating cupidity he taints and corrupts all his actions; since it insinuates that in
man, while he is under the servitude or in the state of sin, destitute of that grace by which he is freed
from the servitude of sin and is constituted a son of God, cupidity is so dominant that by its general
influence all his actions are vitiated in themselves and corrupted; or that all his works which are done
before justification, for whatsoever reason they may be done, are sins; as if in all his acts the sinner is a
slave to the dominating cupidity,—false, dangerous, leading into the error condemned by the Tridentine
Council as heretical, again condemned in Baius, art. 40
24. But in this part, indeed, no intermediate affections are placed between the dominating cupidity and
the dominating charity, planted by nature itself and worthy of praise because of their own nature,
which, together with love of the beatitude and a natural inclination to good "have remained as the last
outline and traces of the image of God"; 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" false, elsewhere condemned.
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 he 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”.
The Punishment of Those Who Die with Original Sin Only
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 theSacramental Form with a Condition Attached
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
28. The proposition of the synod in which, after it states that "a par-taking 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
The Efficacy of the Rite of Consecration
29. The doctrine of the synod, in that part in which, undertaking to explain the doctrine of faith in the
rite of consecration, and disregarding the scholastic questions about the manner in which Christ is in
the Eucharist, from which questions it exhorts priests performing the duty of teaching to refrain, it
states the doctrine in these two propositions only: 1) after the consecration Christ is truly, really,
substantially under the species; 2) then the whole substance of the bread and wine ceases, appearances
only remaining; it (the doctrine) absolutely omits to make any mention of transubstantiation, or
conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine
into the blood, which the Council of Trent defined as an article of faith [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
30. The doctrine of the synod, by which, while it professes "to believe that the oblation of the sacrifice
extends itself to all, in such a way, how-ever, that in the liturgy there can be made a special
commemoration of certain individuals, both living and dead, by praying God specially for them," then
it immediately adds: "Not, however, that we should believe that it is in the will of the priest to apply the
fruit of the sacrifice to whom He wishes, rather we condemn this error as greatly offending the rights of
God, who alone distributes the fruit of the sacrifice to whom He wishes and according to the measure
which pleases Him"; and consequently, from this it derides "as false the opinion foisted on the people
that they who give alms to the priest on the condition that he celebrate a Mass will receive from it
special fruit"; thus understood, that besides the special commemoration and prayer a special offering
itself, or application of the Sacrifice which is made by the priest does not benefit, other things being
equal, those for whom it is applied more than any others, as if no special fruit would come from a
special application, which the Church recommends and commands should be made for definite persons
or classes of persons, especially by pastors for their flock, and which, as if coming down from a divine
precept, has been clearly expressed by the sacred synod of Trent (sess. 23, c. 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
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.
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.
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 forget-fulness 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
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.
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
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 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
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.
38. Likewise, that teaching in which, after the synod professed that "it could not but admire that very
venerable discipline of antiquity, which (as it says) did not admit to penance so easily, and perhaps
never, that one who, after a first sin and a first reconciliation, had relapsed into guilt," it adds, that
"through fear of perpetual exclusion from communion and from peace, even in the hour of death, a
great restraint will be put on those who consider too little the evil of sin and fear it less," contrary to
canon 13 of the first Council of Nicea, to the decretal of Innocent I to Exuperius Tolos, and then also to
the decretal of Celestine I to the Bishops of Vienne, and of the Province of Narbon, redolent of the
viciousness at which the Holy Pontiff is horrified in that decretal.
The Confession of Venial Sins
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.
40. The proposition asserting "that an indulgence, according to its precise notion, is nothing else than
the remission of that part of the penance which had been established by the canons for the sinner"; as if
an indulgence, in addition to the mere remission of the canonical penance, does not also have value for
the remission of the temporal punishment due to the divine justice for actual sins,—false, rash,
injurious to the merits of Christ, already condemned in article 19 of Luther [see n. 759].
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.].
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].
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
44. The proposition of the synod asserting that the "reservation of cases at the present time is nothing
else than an improvident bond for priests of lower rank, and a statement devoid of sense for penitents
who are accustomed to pay no heed to this reservation,"—false, rash, evil-sounding, dangerous,
contrary to the Council of Trent [see n. 903], injurious to the hierarchic power.
45. Likewise, concerning the hope which it expressed that "when the Ritual and the order of penance
had been reformed, there would be no place any longer for reservations of this sort"; in so far as,
considering the careful generality of the words, it intimates that, by a reformation of the Ritual and of
the order of penance made by a bishop or a synod, cases can be abolished which the Tridentine Synod
(sess. 14, c. 7 [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.
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,—false, dangerous, condemned in art. 23 of
Luther [see n. 763], at least erroneous.
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, there-fore, sentences called "ipso facto" have no other force than that of a serious threat without
any actual effect, false, rash, pernicious, injurious to the power of the Church, erroneous.
48. Likewise, the proposition which says that "useless and vain is the formula introduced some
centuries ago of general absolution from ex-communications into which the faithful might have
fallen,"—false, rash, injurious to the practice of the Church.
49. Likewise, the proposition which condemns as null and invalid "suspensions imposed from an
informed conscience,"—false, pernicious, injurious to Trent.
50. Likewise, in that decree which insinuates that a bishop alone does not have the right to make use of
the power which, nevertheless, Trent confers on him (sess. 14, c. I de reform.) of legitimately inflicting
suspensions "from an informed conscience,"—harmful to the jurisdiction of the prelates of the Church.
51. The doctrine of the synod which says that in promoting to orders this method, from the custom and
rule of the ancient discipline, was accustomed to be observed, "that if any cleric was distinguished for
holiness of life and was considered worthy to ascend to sacred orders, it was the custom to promote
him to the diaconate, or to the priesthood, even if he had not received minor orders; and that at that
time such an ordination was not called `per saltum,' as afterwards it was so called,"
52. Likewise, the doctrine which intimates that there was no other title for ordinations than
appointment to some special ministry, such as was prescribed in the Council of Chalcedon; adding that,
as long as the Church conformed itself to these principles in the selection of sacred ministers, the
ecclesiastical order flourished; but that those happy days have passed, and new principles have been
introduced later, by which the discipline in the choice of ministers for the sanctuary was corrupted;
53. Likewise, that among these very principles of corruption it mentions the fact that there has been a
departure from the old rule by which, as it says (Sec. 5) the Church, treading in the footsteps of the
Apostle, had prescribed that no one should be admitted to the priesthood unless he had preserved his
baptismal innocence, since it implies that discipline has been corrupted by decrees and rules:
1) Whether by these ordinations "per saltum" have been forbidden;
2) or by these, for the need and advantage of churches, ordinations without special title of office are
approved, as the ordination for the title of patrimony, specifically approved by Trent, that obedience
having been assured by which those so ordained are obliged to serve the necessities of the Churches in
fulfilling those duties, for which, considering the time and the place, they were ordained by the bishop,
just as it was accustomed to be done from apostolic times in the primitive Church;
3) or, by these a distinction was made by canon law of crimes which render the delinquents irregular; as
if, by this distinction, the Church departed from the spirit of the Apostle by not excluding in general
and without distinction from the ecclesiastical ministry all, whosoever they be, who have not preserved
their baptismal innocence,—the doctrine is false in its several individual parts, rash, disturbing to the
order introduced for the need and advantage of the churches, injurious to the discipline approved by the
canons and especially by the decrees of the Council of Trent.
54. Likewise, the doctrine which notes as a shameful abuse ever to offer alms for the celebration of
Masses, and for administering the sacraments, as well as to accept any offering so-called "of the stole,"
and, in general, any stipend and honorarium which may be offered on the occasion of prayers or of
some parochial function; as if the ministers of the Church should be charged with a shameful abuse
because they use the right promulgated by the Apostle of accepting temporal aids from those to whom
they furnish spiritual ministrations [Gal. 6: 6],—false, rash, harmful to ecclesiastical and pastoral right,
injurious to the Church and its ministers.
55. Likewise, the doctrine by which it professes to desire very much that some way be found of
removing the lesser clergy (under which name it designates the clerics of minor orders) from cathedrals
and colleges by providing otherwise, namely through approved lay people of mature age, a suitable
assigned stipend for the ministry of serving at Masses and for other offices such as that of acolyte, etc.,
as formerly, it says, was usually done when duties of that sort had not been reduced to mere form for
the receiving of major orders; inasmuch as it censures the rule by which care is taken that "the
functions of minor orders are to be performed or exercised only by those who have been established in
them according to rank" (Conc. prov. IV of Milan), and this also according to the intention of the
Tridentine Council (sess. 23, c. 17) "that the duties of sacred orders, from the diaconate to the porter,
laudably received in the Church from apostolic times and neglected for a while in many places, should
be renewed according to the sacred canons, and should not be considered useless as they are by
heretics,"—a rash suggestion, offensive to pious ears, disturbing to the ecclesiastical ministry, lessening
of the decency which should he observed as far as possible in celebrating the mysteries, injurious to the
duties and functions of minor orders, as well as to the discipline approved by the canons and especially
by the Tridentine Synod, favorable to the charges and calumnies of heretics against it.
56. The doctrine which states that it seems fitting that, in the case of canonical impediments which arise
from crimes expressed in the law, no dispensation should ever be granted or allowed,—harmful to the
canonical equity and moderation which has been approved by the sacred council of Trent, derogatory to
the authority and laws of the Church.
57. The prescription of the synod which generally and indiscriminately rejects as an abuse any
dispensation that more than one residential benefice be bestowed on one and the same person: likewise,
in this which it adds that the synod is certain that, according to the spirit of the Church, no one could
enjoy more than one benefice, even if it is a simple one,—for its generality, derogatory to the
moderation of the Council of Trent (sess. 7, c. 5, and sess. 24, c. 17).
Betrothals and Matrimony
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
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.].
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.
D. Errors Concerning Duties, Practices, Rules Pertaining to Religious Worship
And First, the Adoration of the Humanity of Christ.
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.
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.
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
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
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
66. The proposition asserting that "it would be against apostolic practice and the plans of God, unless
easier ways were prepared for the people to unite their voice with that of the whole Church"; if
understood to signify introducing of the use of popular language into the liturgical prayers,—false,
rash, disturbing to the order prescribed for the celebration of the mysteries, easily productive of many
The Reading of Sacred Scripture
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
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
pro-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.
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
70. Likewise, the doctrine and prescription condemning in general every special cult which the faithful
are accustomed to attach specifically to some image, and to have recourse to, rather than to another,—
rash, dangerous, injurious to the pious custom prevalent throughout the Church and also to that order of
Providence, by which "God, who apportions as He wishes to each one his own proper characteristics,
did not want them to be common in every commemoration of the saints (from St. Augustine, Epistle 78
to the clergy, elders, and people of the church at Hippo).
71. Likewise, the teaching which forbids that images, especially of the Blessed Virgin, be distinguished
by any title other than the denominations which are related to the mysteries, about which express
mention is made in Holy Scripture; as if other pious titles could not be given to images which the
Church indeed approves and commends in its public prayers,—rash, offensive to the ears of the pious,
and especially injurious to the due veneration of the Blessed Virgin.
72. Likewise, the one which would extirpate as an abuse the custom by which certain images are kept
veiled,—rash, contrary to the custom prevalent in the Church and employed to foster the piety of the
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.
74. The deliberation of the synod about transferring to Sunday feasts distributed through the year, and
rightly so, because it is convinced that the bishop has power over ecclesiastical discipline in relation to
purely spiritual matters, and therefore of abrogating the precept of hearing Mass on those days, on
which according to the early law of the Church, even then that precept flourished; and then, also, in this
statement which it (the synod) added about transferring to Advent by episcopal authority the fasts
which should be kept throughout the year according to the precept of the Church; insomuch as it asserts
that it is lawful for a bishop in his own right to transfer the days prescribed by the Church for
celebrating feasts or fasts, or to abrogate the imposed precept of hearing Mass,—a false proposition,
harmful to the law of the general Councils and of the Supreme Pontiffs, scandalous, favorable to