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 Auctorum fidei - Contra Pistoia - Part II 
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New post Auctorum fidei - Contra Pistoia - Part II
75. The teaching which says that in the happy days of the early Church oaths seemed so foreign to the
model of the divine Preceptor and to the golden simplicity of the Gospel that "to take an oath without
extreme and unavoidable need had been reputed to be an irreligious act, unworthy of a Christian
person," further, that "the uninterrupted line of the Fathers shows that oaths by common consent have
been considered as forbidden"; and from this doctrine proceeds to condemn the oaths which the
ecclesiastical curia, having followed, as it says, the norm of feudal jurisprudence, adopted for
investitures and sacred ordinations of bishops; and it decreed, therefore, that the law should be invoked
by the secular power to abolish the oaths which are demanded in ecclesiastical curias when entering
upon duties and offices and, in general, for any curial function,—false, injurious to the Church, harmful
to ecclesiastical law, subversive of discipline imposed and approved by the Canons.
Ecclesiastical Conferences
76. The charge which the synod brings against the scholastic method as that "which opened the way for
inventing new systems discordant with one another with respect to truths of a greater value and which
led finally to probabilism and laxism"; in so far as it charges against the scholastic method the faults of
individuals who could misuse and have misused it,—false, rash, against very holy and learned men
who, to the great good of the Catholic religion, have developed the scholastic method, injurious,
favorable to the criticism of heretics who are hostile to it.
77. Likewise in this which adds that "a change in the form of ecclesiastical government, by which it
was brought about that ministers of the Church became forgetful of their rights, which at the same time
are their obligations, has finally led to such a state of affairs as to cause the primitive notions of
ecclesiastical ministry and pastoral solicitude to be for-gotten"; 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,
78. The prescription of the synod about the order of transacting business in the conferences, in which,
after it prefaced "in every article that which pertains to faith and to the essence of religion must be
distinguished from that which is proper to discipline," it adds, "in this itself (discipline) there is to be
distinguished what is necessary or useful to retain the faithful in spirit, from that which is useless or too
burden-some 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"
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"
80. Rule I which states universally and without distinction that "the regular or monastic state by its very
nature cannot be harmonized with the care of souls and with the duties of parochial life, and therefore,
can-not 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.
81. Likewise, in that which adds that St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were so occupied in protecting
Orders of Mendicants against the best of men that in their defenses less heat and greater accuracy were
to be desired,—scandalous, injurious to the very holy Doctors, favorable to the impious slanders of
condemned authors.
82. Rule II, that "the multiplicity and diversity of orders naturally produce confusion and disturbance,"
likewise, in that which sec. 4 sets forth, "that the founders" of regulars who, after the monastic
institutions came into being, "by adding orders to orders, reforms to reforms have accomplished
nothing else than to increase more and more the primary cause of evil"; if understood about the orders
and institutes approved by the Holy See, as if the distinct variety of pious works to which the distinct
orders are devoted should, by its nature, beget disturbance and confusion, —false, calumnious,
injurious not only to the holy founders and their faithful disciples, but also to the Supreme Pontiffs
83. Rule III, in which, after it stated that "a small body living within a civil society without being truly
a part of the same and which forms a small monarchy in the state, is always a dangerous thing," it then
charges with this accusation private monasteries which are associated by the bond of a common rule
under one special head, as if they were so many special monarchies harmful and dangerous to the civic
commonwealth,—false, rash, injurious to the regular institutes approved by the Holy See for the
advancement of religion, favorable to the slanders and calumnies of heretics against the same institutes.
Concerning the "system" or list of ordinances drawn from rules laid down and contained in the eight
following articles "for the reformation of regulars"
84. Art. I. "Concerning the one order to be retained in the Church, and concerning the selection of the
rule of St. Benedict in preference to others, not only because of its excellence but also on account of the
well-known merits of his order; however, with this condition that in those items which happen to be
less suitable to the conditions of the times, the way of life instituted at Port-Royal is to furnish light for
discovering what it is fitting to add, what to take away;
Art. II. "Those who have joined this order should not be a part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy; nor
should they be promoted to Holy Orders, except one or two at the most, to be initiated as superiors, or
as chaplains of the monastery, the rest remaining in the simple order of the laity;
Art. III. "One monastery only should be allowed in any one city, and this should be located outside the
walls of the city in the more retired and remote places;
Art. IV. "Among the occupations of the monastic life, a proper pro-portion 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, be-cause 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
Art. V. "No distinction among the monks should be allowed, whether they are devoted to choir or to
services; such inequality has stirred up very grave quarrels and discords at every opportunity, and has
driven out the spirit of charity from communities of regulars;
Art. VI. "The vow of perpetual stability should never be allowed; the older monks did not know it,
who, nevertheless, were a consolation of the Church and an ornament to Christianity; the vows of
chastity, poverty, and obedience should not be admitted as the common and stable rule. If anyone shall
wish to make these vows, all or anyone, he will ask advice and permission from the bishop who,
nevertheless, will never permit them to be perpetual, nor to exceed the limits of a year; the opportunity
merely will be given of renewing them under the same conditions;
Art. VII. "The bishop will conduct every investigation into their lives, studies, and advancement in
piety; it will be his duty to admit and to dismiss the monks, always, however, after taking counsel with
their fellow monks;
Art. VIII. "Regulars of orders which still survive, although they are priests, may also be received into
this monastery, provided they desire to be free in silence and solitude for their own sanctification only;
in which case, there might be provision for the dispensation stated in the general rule, n. II, in such a
way, however, that they do not follow a rule of life different from the others, and that not more than
one, or at most two Masses be celebrated each day, and that it should be satisfactory to the other priests
to celebrate in common together with the community;
Likewise "for the reformation of nuns"
"Perpetual vows should not be permitted before the age of 40 or 45; nuns should be devoted to solid
exercises, especially to labor, turned aside from carnal spirituality by which many are distracted;
consideration must also be given as to whether, so far as they are concerned, it would be more
satisfactory to leave the monastery in the city;
The system is subversive to the discipline now flourishing and already approved and accepted in
ancient times, dangerous, opposed and injurious to the Apostolic Constitutions and to the sanctions of
many Councils, even general ones, and especially of the Council of Trent; favorable to the vicious
calumnies of heretics against monastic vows and the regular institutes devoted to the more stable
profession of the evangelical counsels.
F. Errors About Convoking a National Council
85. The proposition stating that any knowledge whatsoever of ecclesiastical history is sufficient to
allow anyone to assert that the convocation of a national council is one of the canonical ways by which
controversies in regard to religion may be ended in the Church of the respective nations; if understood
to mean that controversies in regard to faith or morals which have arisen in a Church can be ended by
an irrefutable decision made in a national council; as if freedom from error in questions of faith and
morals belonged to a national council,--schismatic, heretical.
Therefore, we command all the faithful of Christ of either sex not to presume to believe, to teach, or to
preach anything about the said propositions and doctrines contrary to what is declared in this
Constitution of ours; that whoever shall have taught, defended or published them, or anyone of them,
all together or separately, except perhaps to oppose them, will be subject ipso facto and without any
other declaration to ecclesiastical censures, and to the other penalties stated by law against those
perpetrating similar offenses.
But, by this expressed condemnation of the aforesaid propositions and doctrines, we by no means
intend to approve other things contained in the same book, particularly since in it very many
propositions and doctrines have been detected, related either to those which have been condemned
above, or to those which show an attitude not only of rash contempt for the commonly approved
doctrine and discipline, but of special hostility toward the Roman Pontiffs and the Apostolic See. Indeed,
we think two must be noted especially, concerning the most august mystery of the Most Holy
Trinity, sec. 2 of the decree about faith, which have issued from the synod, if not with evil intent, surely
rather imprudently, which could easily drive into error especially the untutored and the incautious.
The first, after it is rightly prefaced that God in His being remains one and most simple, while
immediately adding that God is distinct in three persons, has erroneously departed from the common
formula approved in institutions of Christian Doctrine, in which God is said to be one indeed "in three
distinct persons," not "distinct in three persons"; and by the change in this formula, this risk of error
crept into the meaning of the words, so that the divine essence is thought to be distinct in persons,
which (essence) the Catholic faith confesses to be one in distinct persons in such a way that at the same
time it confesses that it is absolutely undivided in itself.
The second, which concerns the three divine Persons themselves, that they, according to their peculiar
personal and incommunicable properties, are to be described and named in a more exact manner of
speaking, Father, Word, and Holy Ghost; 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 2 truly
saying: "For the same reason he is called the Word as the Son."
Nor should the extraordinary and deceitful boldness of the Synod be passed over in silence, which
dared to adorn not only with most ample praises the declaration (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.
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.

Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:43 pm
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