source of catholic dogma 1400-1500


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.*