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Pius IX on the deposing power (interprets Unam Sanctam)
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Author:  John Lane [ Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Pius IX on the deposing power (interprets Unam Sanctam)

Here is a text of Pope Pius IX, published in Civilta Cattolica, August, 1871, p. 485. Translation and citation given by Dom Cuthbert Butler, The Vatican Council, vol. I, p.21 (I do not recommend this work - Butler was a clear liberal, and a minimiser of papal infallibility, using amongst other techniques the suppression of the detail of various men's views so as to enable him to characterise them as he chose. It's a horrible work but has some valuable texts).

Quote:
There are many errors regarding infallibility, but the most malicious of all is that which would include in the doctrine the right of deposing sovereigns and declaring the people free from their duty of allegiance. This right was, indeed, exercised at times by Popes in extreme cases; but neither the claim to it nor the use of it have anything to do with papal infallibility. Its source was not papal infallibility, but papal authority. That authority, according to the public law then in force and by the agreement of Christian nations, which revered in the Pope the supreme judge of Christendom, included the judging, even in temporal matters, of princes and states.

But present conditions are altogether different from this, and only malice could confuse things and times so different; as if an infallible judgement concerning a principle of revealed truth had any affinity with a right which the Popes, solicited by the desire of the peoples, had to exercise when the common good demanded it. It is very clear why currency is now being given to such an absurd idea, that no one any more thinks of, and least of all the Supreme Pontiff. They seek for pretexts, even the most frivolous and the most untrue, to stir up Princes against the Church.

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