source of catholic dogma 1900-2000


1900 10. Virtual and limitless being is the first and most simple of all entities, so that any other entity is composite, and among its components is always and necessarily virtual being.--It is the essential part of absolutely all entities, according as they are divided by reason.

1901 11. The quiddity (that which a thing is) of a finite being does not consist of that which it has of the positive, but of its limits. The quiddity of an infinite being consists of its entity, and is positive; but the quiddity of a finite being consists of the limits of its entity, and is negative.

1902  12. There is no finite reality, but God causes it to exist by adding limitation to infinite reality.--Initial being becomes the essence of every real being.--Being which actuates finite natures, and is joined with them, is cut off by God.

1903  13. The difference between absolute being and relative being is not that which intervenes between substance and substance, but something much greater; for one is being absolutely, the other nonbeing absolutely, and this other is being relatively. But when relative being is posited, being absolutely is not multiplied; hence, absolute and relative (being) absolutely are not one substance, but one being; and in this sense no diversity is being, rather oneness is held as being.

1904  14. By divine abstraction initial being is produced, the first element of finite beings; but by divine imagination the finite real (being) or allrealities are produced, of which the world consists.

1905 15. The third operation of absolute being creating the world is divine synthesis, that is the union of two elements, which are initial being, the common beginning of all finite beings, and finite reality, or rather different finite realities, the different ends of the same initial being. By this union finite beings are created.

1906 16. Initial being through divine synthesis referred by intelligence, not as an intelligible but merely as essence, to the real finite ends, causes the finite beings to exist subjectively and really.

1907  17. This alone God effects by creating, that He posits the entire act wholly as the being of creatures; this act then is properly not made but posited.

1908 18. The love, by which God loves Himself even in creatures, and which is the reason why He determines Himself to create, constitutes a moral necessity, which in the most perfect being always induces the effect; for such necessity in many imperfect beings only leaves the whole freedom bilateral.

1909  19 The Word is that unseen material, from which, as it is said in Wisdom 11:18, all things of the universe were created.

1910 20. It is not inconsistent that the human soul, in order that it may be multiplied by human generation, may thus be conceived, proceed from the imperfect, namely from the sensitive grade, to the perfect, namely to the intellectual grade.

1911 21. When being is capable of being intued by the sensitive principle, by this influence alone, by this union with itself, only sensing this first, but now, at the same time understanding, it is brought to a more noble state, it changes its nature, and becomes understanding, subsisting, and immortal.

1912 22. It is not impossible to think that it can become a divine power, so that the intellectual soul is separated from the animate body, and it itself (being) still remains soulful; surely there would remain in it, as the basis of the purely soulful, the soulful principle, which before was in it as an appendage.

1913 23. The soul of the deceased exists in a natural state, as if it did not exist; since it cannot exercise any reflection upon itself, or have any consciousness of itself, its condition can be said to be like the state of the perpetual shades and eternal sleep.

1914  24. The substantial form of the body is rather the effect of the soul and the interior terminus of the operation itself; therefore, the substantial form of the body is not the soul itself.--The union of the soul and the body properly consists in immanent perception, by which the subject viewing the idea, affirms the sensible, after it has viewed its essence in this (idea).

1915 25. When the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity has been revealed, its existence can be demonstrated by merely speculative arguments, negative indeed, and indirect; yet such that through them the truth is brought to philosophic studies, and the proposition becomes scientific like the rest; for if it were denied, the theosophic doctrine of pure reason would not only remain incomplete, but would also be annihilated, teeming with absurdities on every side.

1916 26. If the three highest forms of being, namely, subjectivity, objec- tivity, sanctity; or, reality, ideality, and morality, are transferred to absolute being, they cannot be conceived otherwise than as subsisting and living persons.--The Word, insofar as it is the loved object, and insofar as it is the Word, that is the object subsisting in itself, known by itself, is the person of the Holy Spirit.

1917 27. In the humanity of Christ the human will was so taken up by the Holy Spirit in order to cling to objective Being, that is to the Word, that it (the will) gave over the rule of man wholly to Him, and assumed the Word personally, thus uniting with itself human nature. Hence, the human will ceased to be personal in man, and, although person is in other men, it remained nature in Christ.

1918 28. In Christian doctrine, the Word, the sign and configuration of God, is impressed on the souls of those who receive the baptism of Christ with faith.--The Word, that is the sign, impressed on the soul in Christian doctrine, is real Being (infinite) manifest by itself, which we thereupon recognize to be the second person of the Most Blessed Trinity.

1919 29. We think that the following conjecture is by no means at variance with Catholic doctrine, which alone is truth: In the Eucharistic sacrament the substance of bread and wine becomes the true flesh and true blood of Christ, when Christ makes it the terminus of His sentient principle, and vivifies it with His life; almost in that way by which bread and wine truly are transubstantiated into our flesh and blood, because they become the terminus of our sentient principle.

1920  30. When transubstantiation has been accomplished, it can be understood that to the glorious body of Christ some part is added, incorporated in it, undivided, and equally glorious.

1921 31. In the sacrament of the Eucharist by the power of words the body and blood of Christ are present only in that measure which corresponds (a quel tanto) to the substance of the bread and wine, which are transubstantiated; the rest of the body of Christ is there through concomitance.

1922 32. Since he who does not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink of His blood, does not have life in him [cf. John 6:54], and nevertheless those who die with the baptism of water, of blood, or of desire, certainly attain eternal life, it must be said that these who have not eaten of the body and blood of Christ, are administered this heavenly food in the future life, at the very moment of death.--Hence, also to the saints of the Old Testament Christ was able by descending into hell to communicate Himself under the appearances of bread and wine, in order to make them ready for the vision of God.

1923 33. Since the demons possessed the fruit, they thought that they would enter into man, if he should eat of it; for, when the food was turned into the animated body of man, they themselves were able freely to enter the animality, i.e., into the subjective life of this being, and so to dispose of it as they had proposed.

1924 34. To preserve the Blessed Virgin Mary from the taint of origin, it was enough for the slightest seed in man to remain uncorrupted, neglected perchance by the demon himself, from which uncorrupted seed transfused from generation to generation the Virgin Mary might arise in her time.

1925 35. The more the order of justification in man is considered, the more appropriate appears the Scriptural way of saying that God covers and does not reckon certain sins.--According to the Psalmist [cf. Ps. 31:1] there is a difference between iniquities which are forgiven, and sins which arc covered; the former, as it seems, are actual and willing faults; but the latter are willing sins on the part of those who pertain to the people of God; to whom on this account they bring no harm.

1926 36. The supernatural order is established by the manifestation of being in the fullness of its real form; the effect of this communication or manifestation is a deiform sense, which begun in this life establishes the light of faith and of grace; completed in the other life establishes the light of glory.

1927 37. The first light rendering the soul intelligent is ideal being; the other first light is also being, not merely ideal, but subsisting and living; that concealing its personality shows only its objectivity; but he who sees the other (which is the Word), even through a reflection or in enigma, sees God.

1928 38. God is the object of the beatific vision, insofar as He is the author of works outwardly.

1929 39. The traces of wisdom and goodness which shine out in creatures are necessary for possessors (of God); for they are collected in the eternal exemplar as that part of Him which can be seen by them (creatures), and they furnish material for the praises which the Blessed sing forever to God.

1930 40. Since God cannot, not even by the light of glory, communicate Himself wholly to finite beings, He was not able to reveal and communicate His essence to possessors (of God), except in that way which is accommodated to finite intelligences; that is, God manifests Himself to them, insofar as He has relations with them, as their creator, provider, redeemer, sanctifier.

1930a The judgment: The Holy Office "has decided that these propositions, in the author's own sense, are to be disproved and proscribed, according as it does disprove, condemn, and proscribe by this general decree. . . . His Holiness has approved, confirmed, and ordered that the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers be observed by all."

Bounds of Liberty, and Human Action *

[From the Encyclical, "Libertas, praestantissimum," 20th of June, 1888]

1931 [Finally] many do not approve the separation of Church and state but yet think that the Church ought to yield to the times, and adapt and accommodate herself to what the prudence of the day in administering governments demands. The opinion of these is good, if this is understood of some equitable plan which can be consistent with truth and justice, namely, such that the Church, exploring the hope of some great good, would show herself indulgent and bestow upon the times that which she can, while preserving the sanctity of her office.--But this is not so in matters and doctrines which a change of morals and a fallacious judgment have unlawfully introduced . . . 

1932 And so from what has been said it follows that it is by no means lawful to demand, to defend, and to grant indiscriminate freedom of thought, writing, teaching, and likewise of belief, as if so many rights which nature has given to man. For if nature had truly given these, it would be right to reject God's power, and human liberty could be restrained by no law.--Similarly it follows that these kinds of freedom can indeed be tolerated, if there are just reasons, yet with definite moderation, lest they degenerate into caprice and indulgence.

1933 Whenever domination presses or impends such as to hold the state in subjection by an unjust force, or to force the Church to lack due freedom, it is right to seek some tempering of the government in which it is permitted to act with freedom; for in this case that immoderate and vicious freedom is not demanded, but some relief is sought for the good of all, and this only is a concern, that, where license for evil deeds is granted, there opportunity for doing right be not impeded.

1934 And furthermore it is not of itself contrary to one's duty to prefer a form of government regulated by the popular class, provided Catholic doctrine as to the origin and administration of public power be maintained. Of the various kinds of government, the Church indeed rejects none, provided they are suited of themselves to care for the welfare of citizens; but she wishes, what nature clearly demands likewise, that each be constituted without injury to anyone, and especially with the preservation of the rights of the Church.

1935 To engage in the affairs of public administration is honorable, unless somewhere because of a special condition of circumstances and the times it be deemed best otherwise; the Church by all means approves of every one contributing his services to the common interest, and, insofar as everyone can, guarding, preserving, and advancing the state.

1936 Nor does the Church condemn this: to seek to free one's people from serving a foreign or despotic power, provided it can be done while preserving justice. Finally she does not censure those who wish to have their government live according to its own laws; and their fellow citizens enjoy all possible means for increasing prosperity. The Church has always been a supporter of civic liberties without intemperance, and to this the Italian states especially attest; witness the prosperity, wealth, and glory of their name obtained by municipal law, at a time when the salutary power of the Church had spread to all parts of the state without any opposition.

Love for Church and Fatherland *

[From the Encyclical, "Sapientiae christianae," January 10, 1890]

1936a It cannot be doubted that in daily life the duties of Catholics are more numerous and more serious than those of such as are either little aware of the Catholic faith or entirely inexperienced in it. . . . The man who has embraced the Christian faith as he ought, by that very fact is subject to the Church as if born of her, and becomes a participant in her worldwide and most holy society, which it is the proper duty of the Roman Pontiff to rule with supreme power, under the invisible head, Jesus Christ.--Now indeed, if we are bidden by the law of nature especially to love and protect the land in which we were brought forth and raised into this light, so that the good citizen does not hesitate even to encounter death for the fatherland, it is a far greater duty for Christians ever to be affected in similar wise toward the Church. For the Church is the holy land of the living God, born of God himself, and established by the same Author, who indeed is on a pilgrimage in the land; calling men, and training and leading them to eternal happiness in heaven. Therefore, the fatherland must be loved, from which we receive the enjoyment of mortal life; but we must love the Church more to whom we owe the love of the soul which will last forever, because it is right to hold the blessings of the spirit above the blessings of the body, and the duties toward God are much more sacred than those toward man.

1936b But, if we wish to judge rightly, the supernatural love of the Church and the natural love of the fatherland are twin loves coming from the same eternal principle, since God himself is the author and the cause of both; therefore, it follows that one duty cannot be in conflict with the other. . . . Nevertheless, the order of these duties, either because of the troubles of the times or the more perverse will of men, is sometimes destroyed. Instances, to be sure, occur when the state seems to demand one thing from men as citizens, and religion another from men as Christians; and this, clearly, for no other reason than that the rulers of the state either hold the sacred power of the Church as of no account, or wish it to be subject to them. . . . If the laws of the state are openly at variance with divine right, if they impose any injury upon the Church, or oppose those duties which are of religion, or violate the authority of Jesus Christ in the Supreme Pontiff, then indeed to resist is a duty, to obey a crime; and this is bound with injury to the state itself, since whatever is an offense in religion is a sin against the state.

The Apostolate of the Laity *

[From the same Encyclical]

1936c And there is no reason for anyone to object that Jesus Christ, the guardian and champion of the Church, by no means needs the help of men. For, not because of any lack of strength, but because of the magnitude of His goodness does He wish that some effort be contributed by us toward obtaining and acquiring the fruits of the salvation which He Himself has procured.

 The most important features of this duty are: to profess Catholic doctrine openly and firmly, and to propagate it as much as each one can. . . . Surely the duty of preaching, that is of teaching, belongs by divine right to the masters whom "the Holy Ghost hath placed as bishops to rule the Church of God" [cf. Acts 20:28], and especially to the Roman Pontiff, vicar of Jesus Christ, placed with supreme power over the whole Church, the master of all that is to be believed and to be practiced. Nevertheless, let no one think that private persons are prohibited from taking any active part in teaching, especially those to whom God has granted the ability of mind with a zeal for meritorious service. These, as often as circumstances demand, can well take upon themselves the role not indeed of teacher, but they can impart to others what they themselves have received, resounding like an echo with the voice of their masters. Indeed, this work of the private person has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council to be so opportune and fruitful that they have decided furthermore to invite it: "Let all the faithful of Christ contribute their efforts" [See n. 1819].--Moreover, let everyone remember that he can and ought to sow the Catholic faith by the authority of his example, and to preach it by continual profession.--In the duties, then, that bind us to God and to the Church, this especially-should be numbered, that the industry of everyone should be exercised, insofar as possible, in propagating Christian truth and in repelling errors.

The Material of the Eucharist (Wine) *

[From the Response of the Holy Office, May 8th, 1887; and July 30, 1890]

1937 Two remedies are proposed by the Bishop of Carcassum to guard against the danger of the spoiling of wine:

 1. Let a small quantity of eau de vie be added to the natural wine.

 2. Let the wine be boiled to the extent of sixty-five degrees.

 To the question whether these remedies are lawful in the case of wine: for the sacrifice of the Mass, and which is to be preferred,

 The answer is:

 The wine is to be preferred as is set forth in the second place.

1938 The Bishop of Marseilles explains and asks:

 In many parts of France, especially in those located toward the south, the white wine which does service at the bloodless sacrifice of the Mass is so weak and impotent that it cannot be kept for long, unless a quantity of the spirit of wine (spirits of alcohol) is mixed with the same.

 1. Is a mixture of this kind lawful?

 2. And if so, what quantity of such extraneous matter may be added to the wine?

 3. In case of an affirmative answer, is it required to extract the spirit of wine from pure wine or from the fruit of the vine?

The answer is:

 Provided that the spirit (alcohol) has been extracted from the fruit of the vine, and the quantity of alcohol added to that which the wine in question naturally contains does not exceed a proportion of twelve percent, and the mixture is made when the wine is very new, there is no objection to this wine being used in the sacrifice of the Mass.*

The Right of Private Property, Just Reward for Labor,and the Right of Entering Private Unions *

[From the Encyclical, "Rerum novarum," May 15, 1891]

1938a The right to possess private property as one's own is granted man by nature. . . . Nor is there any reason why the providence of the state should be introduced; for man is older than the state, and therefore he should have had by nature, before any state had come into existence, the right to care for life and body. . . . For those things which are required to preserve life, and especially to make life complete, the earth, to be sure, pours forth in great abundance; but it could not pour it from itself with out its cultivation and care by man. Now, when a man applies the activity of his mind and the strength of his body to procuring the goods of nature, by this very act he attaches to himself that part of corporeal nature which he has cultivated, on which he leaves impressed a kind of form as it were, of his personality; so that it should by all means be right for him to possess this part as his own; and by no means should anyone be permitted to violate this right of his.--So obvious is the force of these arguments that it seems amazing that certain ones who would restore obsolete opinions should disagree with them; these, to be sure, concede to the private person the use of the soil and the various fruits of estates, but they deny openly that it is right that either the soil on which he has built, or the estate which he has cultivated be owned by him. . . . 

 Indeed, rights of this kind which belong to men individually are understood to be much stronger, if they are looked upon as appropriate to and connected with his duties in domestic and social life. . . . This right of property, then, which we have demonstrated to have been assigned to an individual person by nature, through which he is the head of the family, ought to be transferred to man; rather, that right is so much the stronger, as the human person embraces more responsibilities in domestic and social society. The most holy law of nature is that the father of a family provide with training and livelihood all whom he has begotten; and, likewise, it is deduced from nature herself that he seek to acquire and prepare for his children, who bear and continue in a way the father's personality, that by which they can honorably protect themselves from a wretched fate in this uncertain course of life. But this he cannot effect in any way other than by the possession of lucrative property to transmit by inheritance to his children. . . . To wish, therefore, that the civil government at its own option penetrate even to the intimate affairs of the home is a great and pernicious error. . . . The power of the father is such that it can neither be destroyed nor absorbed by the state. . . . Therefore, when the alleviation of the masses is sought, let this be enduring, that it must be held as fundamental that private property is to be inviolable.

1938b The just possession of money is distinguished from the just use of money. To possess goods privately, as we have seen above, is a natural right of man; and to exercise this right, especially in the society of life, is not only lawful but clearly necessary. . . . But, if indeed this is asked, of what nature must the use of goods be, the Church answers without hesitation: As far as this is concerned, man ought not to hold his exterior possessions as his own, but as common, so that one may easily share them in the need of others. Therefore, the Apostle says: "Charge the rich of this world . . . to give easily, to communicate" [1 Tim. 6:17 f.]. * No one, certainly, is ordered to give assistance to others from that which pertains to his own use and that of the members of his family; nor also to give over to others what he himself needs to preserve what befits his person, and what is proper. . . . But when sufficient care has been given to necessity and decorum, it is a duty to assist the indigent from what remains: "That which remaineth, give alms," [Luke 11:41]. These are not duties of justice, except in extreme cases, but of Christian charity, which of course it is not right to seek by legal action. But the law and judgment of Christ are above the laws and judgments of men, and He in many ways urges the practice of almsgiving . . . and He will judge a kindness conferred upon or denied to the poor as conferred upon or denied to Himself [cf. Matt. 25:34 f.].

1938c Labor by nature has, as it were, placed two marks upon man, namely, that it is personal, because the driving force inheres in the person and is entirely his own by whom it is exercised, and comes into being for his advantage; then, that it is necessary, for this reason, because the fruit of labor is needed by man to guard life; moreover, the nature of things bids (us) to guard life, and especially must we obey nature. Now, if labor is considered only from this viewpoint, that it is personal, there is no doubt but that it is sound for the worker to prescribe a smaller rate of pay; for just as he offers his services of his free will, so, too, of his free will he can be content with a slight pay for his services, or even no pay at all. But the case is to be judged much differently, if with the reason of personality is joined the reason of necessity, separable from the former, to be sure, in theory, not in fact. Actually to continue in life is the common duty of every individual, for whom to lack this persistence is a crime. Therefore, the right to discover that by which life is sustained is born of necessity, and the means to obtain this is supplied to all the poor only by the pay for his labor which is in demand. So, granted that the workman and employer freely agree on the contract, as well as specifically on the rate of pay, yet there is always underlying this something from natural justice, and this greater and more ancient than the will of those who make the contract, namely, that the pay must by no means be inadequate to support the worker, who indeed is frugal and of good character. But if the worker, forced by necessity, or moved by fear of a worse evil, accepts the harder condition, which, even if he does not wish it, must be accepted because it is imposed by the employer or the contractor, this certainly is to submit to force, against which justice cries out. . . . If the worker obtains sufficient pay, so as by it to be able to sustain himself, wife, and children comfortably, he will without difficulty apply himself to thrift, if he is wise, and he will bring it about, as nature herself seems to urge, that, after expenses are deducted, some be left over whereby he may attain a moderate estate. For we have seen that the case which is being discussed cannot be solved by effective reasoning except by this assumption and principle: that the right to private property must be held sacred. . . Nevertheless, these benefits cannot be attained except by the enormity of contributions and taxes. For, since the right to possess private property is granted not by the laws of man but by nature, the authority of the state cannot abolish it, but only temper its practice, and order it to the common good. Therefore, it would act unjustly and inhumanely, if it should detract from private property more than is just, under the name of taxes. . . . 

1938d It is comforting to observe that societies of this kind are being formed generally, either composed entirely of workers, or from both classes; moreover, it is to be desired that they grow in number and in effective influence. . . . For, it is permitted man by the right of nature to enter private societies; moreover, the state is established for the protection of natural right, not for its destruction; and so, if it forbids the formation of associations of citizens, it clearly acts at odds with itself, since it itself, as well as private associations, come into existence from a single principle, that men are by nature social.--Occasions sometimes arise when it is just for laws to forbid such societies, namely, if they deliberately aim at something which is clearly at variance with probity, justice, and the welfare of the state. *

The Duel *

From the Letter, 'Pastoralis Officii," to the Bishops of Germany and Austria, Sept. 12, 1891]

1939 The two divine laws, that which is promulgated by the light of natural reason, and that by letters written under divine inspiration, strictly forbid the killing or wounding of anyone outside a public cause, unless forced by necessity to defend his own safety. But those who provoke to a private struggle, or accept a challenge do this; they lend their minds and their strength to this, although bound by no necessity, to take the life, or at least to inflict a wound on an adversary. Furthermore, the two divine laws forbid anyone rashly casting aside his own life, subjecting it to grave and manifest danger, when no reason of duty, or of magnanimous charity urges it; but this blind rashness, contemner of life, is clearly in the nature of a duel. Therefore, it can be obscure and doubtful to no one that upon those who engage in individual combat privately, fall both crimes, that of another's destruction, and of voluntarily endangering his own life. Finally, there is scarcely any affliction which is more at variance with the good order of civil life, than the license permitted a citizen to be his own individual defender of the law by private force, and the avenger of honor which he thinks has been violated.

1940 Nor do those who accept combat when it is offered have fear as a just excuse, because they dread to be held cowards in public if they decline battle. For, if the duties of men were to be measured by the false opinions of the public, there would be no natural and true distinction according to an eternal norm of right and justice between honest actions and shameful deeds. Even the pagan philosophers knew and taught that the false judgments of the public are to be spurned by a strong and stable man. Rather is the fear just and sacred, which turns a man away from unjust slaughter, and makes him sollicitous of his own safety and that of his brothers. Surely, he who spurns the valid judgments of the public, who prefers to undergo the scourges of contumely than to abandon duty in any matter, this man, surely, is of a far greater and higher mind than he who when annoyed by an injury rushes to arms. Yes, indeed, if there is a desire for right judgment, he is the one in whom stout fortitude shines, that fortitude, I say, which is truly called a virtue and whose companion is glory, not counterfeited and not false. For virtue consists in a good in accord with reason, and all glory is foolish except that which depends on the judgment of God who approves.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of Graces *

[The Encyclical, "Octobri mense," on the Rosary, Sept. 22, 1891]

1940a The eternal Son of God, when He wished to assume the nature of man for the redemption and glory of man, and for this reason was about to enter upon a kind of mystic marriage with the entire human race, did not do this before He received the wholly free consent of His designated mother, who, in a way, played the part of the human race itself, according to that famous and truthful opinion of Aquinas: "Through the Annunciation the Virgin's consent was looked for in place of all human nature." * Therefore, no less truly and properly may it be affirmed that nothing at all of the very great treasure of every grace, which the Lord confers, since "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" [John 1:17], nothing is imparted to us except through Mary, God so willing; so, just as no one can approach the highest Father except through the Son, so no one can approach Christ except through His Mother.

[From the Encyclical, "Fidentem," on the Rosary, Sept. 20, 1896] *

 For, surely, no one person can be conceived who has ever made, or at any time will make an equal contribution as Mary to the reconciliation of men with God. Surely, she it was who brought the Savior to man as he was rushing into eternal destruction, at that very time when, with wonderful assent, she received "in place of all human nature" * the message of the peace making sacrament brought to earth by the Angel; she it is "of whom was born Jesus" [Matt. 1:16], namely, His true Mother, and for this reason she is worthy and quite acceptable as the mediatrix to the Mediator.

The Study of Holy Scripture *

[From the Encyclical, "Providentissimus Deus," Nov., 1893]

1941 Since there is need of a definite method of carrying on interpretation profitably, let the prudent teacher avoid either of two mistakes, that of those who give a cursory glance to each book, and that of those who delay too long over a certain part of one. . . . [The teacher] in this [work] will take as his text the Vulgate version, which the Council of Trent decreed [see n. 785] should be considered as authentic in public lectures, disputations, sermons, and expositions, and which the daily custom of the Church commends. Yet account will have to be taken of the remaining versions which Christian antiquity has commended and used, especially of the very ancient manuscripts. For although, as far as the heart of the matter is concerned, the meaning of the Hebrew and the Greek is well elucidated in the expressions of the Vulgate, yet if anything is set forth therein with ambiguity, or if without accuracy "an examination of the preceding language" will be profitable, as Augustine advises.*

1942 . . . The Synod of the Vatican adopted the teaching of the Fathers, when, as it renewed the decree of Trent on the interpretation of the divine Word, it declared this to be its mind, that in matters of faith and morals, which pertain to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be held as the true sense of Holy Scripture which Mother Church has held and holds, whose prerogative it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of Scripture; and, therefore, it is permitted to no one to interpret the Holy Scripture against this sense, or even against the unanimous agreement of the Fathers [see n. 786, 1788]. By this very wise law the Church by no means retards or blocks the investigations of Biblical science, but rather keeps it free of error, and aids it very much in true progress. For, to every private teacher a large field is open in which along safe paths, by his industry in interpretation, he may labor efficaciously and profitably for the Church. Indeed, in those passages of divine Scripture which still lack certain and definite exposition, it can be so effected by the kindly counsel of a provident God, that by a prepared study the judgment of the Church may be expedited; but in passages which have been explained the private teacher can be of equal help, if he sets these forth very clearly among the masses of the people, and more skillfully among the learned, or defends them more eminently against adversaries. . . . 

1943 In the other passages the analogy of faith must be followed, and Catholic doctrine, as received on the authority of the Church, must be employed as the highest norm. . . . Wherefore, it is clear that that interpretation must be rejected as senseless and false, which either makes inspired authors in some manner quarrel among themselves, or opposes the teaching of the Church. . . . 

1944 Now, the authority of the Fathers, by whom after the apostles, the growing Church was disseminated, watered, built, protected, and nurtured,* is the highest authority, as often as they all in one and the same way interpret a Biblical text, as pertaining to the doctrine of faith and morals.

1945 The authority of the other Catholic interpreters is, indeed, less; yet, since Biblical studies have had a certain continuous progress in the Church, their own honor must likewise be allotted to their commentaries, and much can be sought opportunely from these to refute contrary opinion and to solve the more difficult problems. But, it is entirely unfitting that anyone should ignore and look down upon the works which our own have left in abundance, and prefer the books of the heterodox; and to the immediate danger to sound doctrine and not rarely to the damage of faith seek from these, explanations of passages to which Catholics have long and very successfully directed their geniuses and labors.

1946 . . . The first [aid to interpretation] is in the study of the ancient Oriental languages, and in the science which is called criticism.* Therefore, it is necessary for teachers of Sacred Scripture and proper for theologians to have learned those languages in which the canonical books were originally written by the sacred writers. . . . These, moreover, for the same reason should be more learned and skilled in the field of the true science of criticism; for to the detriment of religion there has falsely been introduced an artifice, dignified by the name of higher criticism, by which from internal evidence alone, as they say, the origin, integrity, and authority of any book emerge as settled. On the other hand it is very clear that in historical questions, such as the origin and preservation of books, the evidences of history are of more value than the rest, and should be gathered and investigated very carefully; moreover, that the methods of internal criticism are not of such value that they can be applied to a case except for a kind of confirmation. . . . This same method of higher criticism, which is extolled, will finally result in everyone following his own enthusiasm and prejudiced opinion when interpreting.

1947 Knowledge of the natural sciences will be of great help to the teacher of Sacred Scripture, by which he can more easily discover and refute fallacious arguments of this kind drawn up against the Sacred Books.-- Indeed there should be no real disagreement between the theologian and the physicist, provided that each confines himself within his own territory, watching out for this, according to St. Augustine's * warning, "not to make rash assertions, and to declare the unknown as known." But, if they should disagree, a summary rule as to how a theologian should conduct himself is offered by the same author.* "Whatever," he says, "they can demonstrate by genuine proofs regarding the nature of things, let us show that it is not contrary to our Scriptures; but whatever they set forth in their volumes contrary to our Scriptures, that is to Catholic faith, let us show by some means, or let us believe without any hesitation to be most false." As to the equity of this rule let us consider, first, that the sacred writers or more truly "the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, did not wish to teach men these things (namely, the innermost constitution of the visible universe) as being of no profit to salvation"; * that, therefore, they do not carry an explanation of nature scientifically, but rather sometimes describe and treat the facts themselves, either in a figurative manner, or in the common language of their times, as today in many matters of daily life is true among most learned men themselves. Moreover, when these things which fall under the senses, are set forth first and properly, the sacred writer (and the Angelic Doctor also advised it) "describes what is obvious to the senses," * or what God Himself, when addressing men, signified in a human way, according to their capacity.

1948 Because the defense of Holy Scripture must be carried on vigorously, all the opinions which the individual Fathers or the recent interpreters have set forth in explaining it need not be maintained equally. For they, in interpreting passages where physical matters are concerned have made judgments according to the opinions of the age, and thus not always according to truth, so that they have made statements which today are not approved. Therefore, we must carefully discern what they hand down which really pertains to faith or is intimately connected with it, and what they hand down with unanimous consent; for "in those matters which are not under the obligation of faith, the saints were free to have different opinions, just as we are," * according to the opinion of St. Thomas. In another passage he most prudently holds: "It seems to me to be safer that such opinions as the philosophers have expressed in common and are not repugnant to our faith should not be asserted as dogmas of the faith, even if they are introduced some times under the names of philosophers, nor should they thus be denied as contrary to faith, lest an opportunity be afforded to the philosophers of this world to belittle the teachings of the faith." *

 Of course, although the interpreter should show that what scientists have affirmed by certain arguments to be now certain in no way opposes * the Scriptures rightly explained, let it not escape his notice that it sometimes has happened that what they have given out as certain has later been brought into uncertainty and repudiated. But, if writers on physics transgressing the boundaries of their science, invade the province of the philosophers with perverse opinions, let the theological interpreter hand these opinions over to the philosophers for refutation.

1949 Then these very principles will with profit be transferred to related sciences, especially to history. For, it must regretfully be stated that there are many who examine and publish the monuments of antiquity, the customs and institutions of peoples, and evidences of similar things, but more often with this purpose, that they may detect lapses of error in the sacred books, as the result of which their authority may even be shaken and totter. And some do this with a very hostile mind, and with no truly just judgment; for they have such confidence in the pagan works and the documents of the ancient past as to believe not even a suspicion of error is present in them; but to the books of Holy Scripture, for only a presumed appearance of error, without proper discussion, they deny even a little faith.

1950 It can happen, indeed, that transcribers in copying manuscripts do so incorrectly. This is to be considered carefully and is not to be admitted readily, except in those passages where it has been properly demonstrated; it can also happen that the true sense of some passage remains ambiguous; the best rules of interpretation will contribute much toward the solution of this problem; but it would be entirely wrong either to confine inspiration only to some parts of Sacred Scripture, or to concede that the sacred author himself has erred. For the method of those is not to be tolerated, who extricated themselves from these difficulties by readily granting that divine inspiration pertains to matters of faith and morals, and nothing more.

1951 The books, all and entire, which the Church accepts as sacred and canonical, with all their parts, have been written at the dictation of the Holy Spirit; so far is it from the possibility of any error being present to divine inspiration, that it itself of itself not only excludes all error, but excludes it and rejects it as necessarily as it is necessary that God, the highest Truth, be the author of no error whatsoever.

1952 This is the ancient and uniform faith of the Church, defined also by solemn opinion at the Councils of Florence [see n. 706] and of Trent [see n. 783 ff.], finally confirmed and more expressly declared at the Vatican Council, by which it was absolutely declared: "The books of the Old and New Testament . . . have God as their author" [see n. 1787]. Therefore, it matters not at all that the Holy Spirit took men as instruments for the writing, as if anything false might have slipped, not indeed from the first Author, but from the inspired writers. For, by supernatural power He so roused and moved them to write, He stood so near them, that they rightly grasped in mind all those things, and those only, which He Himself ordered, and willed faithfully to write them down, and expressed them properly with infallible truth; otherwise, He Himself would not be the author of all Sacred Scripture. . . . And so utterly convinced were all the Fathers and Doctors that the holy works, which were published by the hagiographers, are free of every error, that they were very eager, no less skillfully than reverently, to arrange and reconcile those not infrequent passages which seemed to offer something contrary and at variance (they are almost the very passages which are now thrown up to us under the name of the new science); and they professed unanimously that these books, both in whole and in part, were equally of divine inspiration, and that God Himself, speaking through the sacred authors, could have set down nothing at all at variance with the truth.

 Let what the same Augustine wrote to Jerome sum this up: ". . . If I shall meet anything in these works which seems contrary to truth, I shall not hesitate to believe anything other than that the text is false, or that the translator did not understand what was said, or that I did not in the least understand." *

1953 . . . For many objections from every kind of teaching have for long been persistently hurled against Scripture, which now, quite dead, have fallen into disuse; likewise, at times not a few interpretations have been placed on certain passages of Scripture (not properly pertinent to the rule of faith and morals) in which a more careful investigation has seen the meaning more accurately. For, surely, time destroys the falsities of opinions, but "truth remaineth and groweth stronger forever and ever." *

The Unity of the Church *

[From the Encyclical, "Satis cognitum," June A, 1896]

1954 Surely, it is so well established among all according to clear and manifold testimony that the true Church of Jesus Christ is one, that no Christian dare contradict it. But in judging and establishing the nature of this unity various errors have led off the true way. Indeed, not only the rise of the Church, but its entire establishment pertain to that class of things effected by free choice. Therefore, the entire judgment must be called back to that which was actually done, and we must not of course examine how the Church can be one, but how He who founded it wished it to be one.

1955 Now, if we look at what was done, Jesus Christ did not arrange and organize such a Church as would embrace several communities similar in kind, but distinct, and not bound together by those bonds that make the Church indivisible and unique after that manner clearly in which we profess in the symbol of faith, "l believe in one Church." . . . Now, Jesus Christ when He was speaking of such a mystical edifice, spoke only of one Church which He called His own: "I will build my Church" [Matt. 16:18]. Whatever other church is under consideration than this one, since it was not founded by Jesus Christ, cannot be the true Church of Christ. . . . And so the Church is bound to spread among all men the salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ, and all the blessings that proceed therefrom, and to propagate them through the ages. Therefore, according to the will of its Author the Church must be alone in all lands in the perpetuity of time. . . . The Church of Christ, therefore, is one and perpetual; whoever go apart (from it) wander away from the will and prescription of Christ the Lord and, leaving the way of salvation, digress to destruction.

1956 But He who founded the only Church, likewise founded it as one; namely, in such a way that whoever are to be in it, would be held bound together by the closest bonds, so much so that they form one people, one kingdom, one body: "One body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling" [Eph. 4:4]. . . . Agreement and union of minds are the necessary foundation of so great and so absolute a concord among men, from which a concurrence of wills and a similarity of action naturally arise. . . . Therefore, to unite the minds of men, and to effect and preserve the union of their minds, granted the existence of Holy Writ, there was great need of a certain other principle. . . . 

1957 Therefore, Jesus Christ instituted in the Church a living, authentic, and likewise permanent magisterium, which He strengthened by His own power, taught by the Spirit of Truth, and confirmed by miracles. The precepts of its doctrines He willed and most seriously commanded to be accepted equally with His own. . . . This, then, is without any doubt the office of the Church, to watch over Christian doctrine and to propagate it soundly and without corruption. . . . 

1958 But, just as heavenly doctrine was never left to the judgment and mind of individuals, but in the beginning was handed down by Jesus, then committed separately to that magisterium which has been mentioned, so, also, was the faculty of performing and administering the divine mysteries, together with the power of ruling and governing divinely, granted not to individuals [generally] of the Christian people but to certain of the elect. . . . 

1959 Therefore, Jesus Christ called upon all mortals, as many as were, and as many as were to be, to follow Him as their leader, and likewise their Savior, not only separately one by one, but also associated and united alike in fact and in mind; one in faith, end, and the means proper to that end, and subject to one and the same power. . . . Therefore, the Church is a society divine in origin, supernatural in its end, and in the means which bring us closest to that end; but inasmuch as it unites with men, it is a human community.

1960 When the divine Founder decreed that the Church be one in faith, and in government, and in communion, He chose Peter and his successors in whom should be the principle and as it were the center of unity. . . . But, order of bishops, as Christ commanded, is to be regarded as joined with Peter, if it be subject to Peter and obey him; otherwise it necessarily descends into a confused and disorderly crowd. For the proper preservation of faith and the unity of mutual participation, it is not enough to hold higher offices for the sake of honor, nor to have general supervision, but there is absolute need of true authority and a supreme authority which the entire community should obey. . . . Hence those special expressions of the ancients regarding St. Peter, which brilliantly proclaim him as placed in the highest degree of dignity and authority. They everywhere called him prince of the assembly of disciples, prince of the holy apostles, leader of that choir, mouthpiece of all the apostles, head of that family, superintendent of the whole world, first among the apostles, pillar of the Church. . . . 

1961 But it is far from the truth and openly opposed to the divine constitution, to hold that it is right for individual bishops to be subordinate to the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiffs, but not for all taken together. . . . Now this power, about which we speak, over the college of bishops, which Holy Writ clearly discloses, the Church has at no time ceased to acknowledge and attest. . . . For these reasons in the decree of the Vatican Council [see n. 1826 ff.], regarding the power and authority of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, no new opinion is introduced, but the old and uniform faith of all ages is asserted. Nor, indeed, does the fact that the same (bishops) are subordinate to a twofold power cause any confusion in administration. In the first place, we are prohibited from suspecting any such thing by God's wisdom, by whose counsel that very form of government was established. Secondly, we should note that the order of things and their mutual relations are confused, if there are two magistrates of the same rank among the people, neither of them responsible to the other. But the power of the Roman Pontiff is supreme, universal, and definitely peculiar to itself; but that of the bishops is circumscribed by definite limits, and definitely peculiar to themselves. . . . 

1962 But Roman Pontiffs, mindful of their office, wish most of all that whatever is divinely instituted in the Church be preserved; therefore, as they watch with all proper care and vigilance their own power, so they have always seen to it that their authority be preserved for the bishops. Rather, whatever honor is paid the bishops, whatever obedience, all this they attribute as paid themselves.

Anglican Orders *

[From the Letter, "Apostolicae curae," Sept. 13, 1896]

1963 In the rite of conferring and administering any sacrament one rightly distinguishes between the ceremonial part and the essential part, which is customarily called the matter and form. And all know that the sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and efficient signs of invisible grace, ought both to signify the grace which they effect, and effect the grace which they signify [see n. 695, 849]. Although this signification should be found in the whole essential rite, namely, in matter and form, yet it pertains especially to form, since the matter is the part not determined by itself, but determined by form. And this appears more clearly in the sacrament of orders, for the conferring of which the matter, insofar as it presents itself for consideration in this case, is the imposition of hands. This, of course, by itself signifies nothing, and is employed for certain

1964 orders, and for confirmation. Now, the words which until recent times were everywhere held by the Anglicans as the proper form of priestly ordination, namely, "Receive the Holy Spirit," certainly do not in the least signify definitely the order of priesthood, or its grace and power, which is especially the power "of consecrating and of offering the true body and blood of the Lord," in that sacrifice which is no "nude commemoration of the sacrifice offered on the Cross" [see n. 950]. Such a form was indeed afterwards lengthened by these words, "for the office and work of a priest"; but this rather convinces one that the Anglicans themselves saw that this first form was defective, and not appropriate to the matter. But the same addition, if perchance indeed it could have placed legitimate significance on the form, was introduced too late, since a century had elapsed after the adoption of the Edwardine Ordinal; since, moreover, with the extinction of the hierarchy, there was now no power for ordaining.

1965 The same is true in regard to episcopal consecration. For to the formula "Receive the Holy Ghost" were not only added later the words "for the office and work of a bishop," but also, as regards these very words, as we shall soon see, a different sense is to be understood than in the Catholic rite. Nor is it any advantage in the matter to bring up the prayer of the preface, "Almighty God," since this likewise has been stripped of the words which bespeak the summum sacerdotium. It is, of course, not relevant to examine here whether the episcopate is a complement of the priesthood, or an order distinct from it; or whether when conferred, as they say, per saltum, that is, on a man who is not a priest, it has its effect or not. But the episcopate without doubt, from institution of Christ, most truly pertains to the sacrament of orders, and is a priesthood of a pre-eminent grade, that which in the words of the Fathers and in the custom of our ritual is, of course, called "summum sacerdotium," "sacri ministerii summa." Therefore, it happens that since the sacrament of orders and the true sacerdo~ium of Christ have been utterly thrust out of the Anglican rite, and so in the consecration of a bishop of this same rite the sacerdotium is by no means conferred; likewise, by no means can the episcopacy be truly and validly conferred; and this is all the more true because among the first duties of the episcopacy is this, namely, of ordaining ministers for the Holy Eucharist and the sacrifice. . . . 

1966 So with this inherent defect of form is joined the defect of intention, which it must have with equal necessity that it be a sacrament. . . . And so, assenting entirely to the decrees of all the departed Pontiffs in this case, and confirming them most fully and, as it were, renewing them by Our authority, of Our own inspiration and certain knowledge We pronounce and declare that ordinations enacted according to the Anglican rite have hitherto been and are invalid and entirely void. . . . 

The Faith and Intention Required for Baptism *

[Response of the Holy Of lice, March 30th, 1898]

1966a Whether a missionary can confer baptism on an adult Mohammedan at the point of death, who in his errors is supposed to be in good faith:

 1. If he still has his full faculties, only by exhorting him to sorrow and confidence, not by speaking about our mysteries, for fear that he will not believe them.

 2. Whatever of his faculties he has, by saying nothing to him, since on the one hand, he is not supposed to be wanting in contrition, and on the other, it is supposed to be imprudent to speak with him about our mysteries.

 3. If now he has lost his faculties, by saying nothing further to him.

 Reply to I and 2: in the negative, i.e., it is not permitted to administer baptism absolutely or conditionally to such Mohammedans; and these decrees of the Holy Office were given to the Bishop of Quebec on the 25th of January, and the 10th of May, 1703 [see n. 1349 a f.].

 To 3: regarding Mohammedans who are dying and already deprived of their senses, we must rely as in the decree of the Holy Office, Sept. 18, 1850, to the Bishop of Pertois, that is: "If they have formerly given indications that they wish to be baptized, or in their present state either by a nod or any other manner have shown the same disposition, they can be baptized conditionally; but where the missionary after examining all collateral circumstances so judges it wise," . . . His Holiness has approved.

Americanism *

[From the Letter, "Testem benevolentiae," to Cardinal Gibbons, January 22, 1899]

1967 The basis of the new opinions which we have mentioned is established as essentially this: In order that those who dissent may more easily be brought over to Catholic wisdom, the Church should come closer to the civilization of this advanced age, and relaxing its old severity show indulgence to those opinions and theories of the people which have recently been introduced. Moreover, many think that this should be understood not only with regard to the standard of living, but even with regard to the doctrines in which the deposit of faith is contained. For, they contend that it is opportune to win over those who are in disagreement, if certain topics of doctrine are passed over as of lesser importance, or are so softened that they do not retain the same sense as the Church has always held.--Now there is no need of a long discussion to show with what a reprehensible purpose this has been thought out, if only the character and origin of the teaching which the Church hands down are considered. On this subject the Vatican Synod says: "For there is to be no receding. . . . " [see n. 1800].

1968 Now the history of all past ages is witness that this Apostolic See, to which not only the office of teaching, but also the supreme government of the whole Church were assigned, has indeed continually adhered "to the same doctrine, in the same sense, and in the same mind" [Cone. Vatic., see n. 1800]; that it has always been accustomed to modify the rule of life so as never to overlook the manners and customs of the various peoples which it embraces, while keeping the divine law unimpaired. If the safety of souls demands this, who will doubt that it will do so now?-- This, however, is not to be determined by the decision of private individuals 

1969 who are quite deceived by the appearance of right; but it should be the judgment of the Church. . . . But in the case about which we are speaking, Our Beloved Son, more danger is involved, and that advice is more inimical to Catholic doctrine and discipline, according to which the followers of new ideas think that a certain liberty should be introduced into the Church so that, in a way checking the force of its power and vigilance, the faithful may indulge somewhat more freely each one his own mind and actual capacity.

1970 The entire external teaching office is rejected by those who wish to strive for the acquisition of Christian perfection, as superfluous, nay even as useless; they say that the Holy Spirit now pours forth into the souls of the faithful more and richer gifts than in times past, and, with no intermediary, by a kind of hidden instinct teaches and moves them. . . . 

1971 Yet, to one who examines the matter very thoroughly, when any external guide is removed, it is not apparent in the thinking of the innovators to what end that more abundant influx of the Holy Spirit should tend, which they extol so much.--Surely, it is especially in the cultivation of virtues that there is absolute need of the assistance of the Holy Spirit; but those who are eager to pursue new things extol the natural virtues beyond measure, as if they correspond better with the way of life and needs of the present day, and as if it were advantageous to be endowed with these, since they make a man better prepared and more strenuous for action.--It is indeed difficult to believe that those who are imbued with Christian knowledge can hold the natural above the supernatural virtues, and attribute to them greater efficacy and fruitfulness. . . . 

1972 With this opinion about the natural virtues another is closely connected, according to which all Christian virtues are divided into two kinds, as it were, passive as they say, and active; and they add that the former were better suited for times past, that the latter are more in keeping with the present. . . . Moreover, he who would wish that the Christian virtues be accommodated some to one time and some to another, has not retained the words of the Apostle: "Whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be made conformable to the image of His Son" [Rom. 8: 29]. The master and exemplar of all sanctity is Christ, to whose rule all, as many as wish to be admitted to the seats of the blessed, must conform. Surely, Christ by no means changes as the ages go on, but is "yesterday, and today; and the same forever" [Heb. 13:8]. Therefore, to the men of all ages does the following apply: "Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart" [Matt. 11:23]; and at all times Christ shows himself to us "becoming obedient unto death" [Phil. 2:8]; and in every age the judgment of the Apostle holds: "And they that are Christ's have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences" [Gal. 5:24].

1973 From this contempt, as it were, of the evangelical virtues, which are wrongly called passive, it easily followed that their minds were gradually imbued with a contempt even for the religious life. And that this is common among the advocates of the new opinions we conclude from certain opinions of theirs about the vows which religious orders pronounce. For, they say that these vows are at very great variance with the spirit of our age, and that they are suited to weak rather than to strong minds; and that they are quite without value for Christian perfection and the good of human society, but rather obstruct and interfere with both.--But it is clearly evident how false these statements are from the practice and teaching of the Church, by which the religious way of life has always been especially approved. . . . Moreover, as for what they add, that the religious way of life is of no or of little help to the Church, besides being odious to religious orders, will surely be believed by no one who has studied the annals of the Church. . . . 

1974 Finally, not to delay too long, the way and the plan which Catholics have thus far employed to bring back those who disagree with them are proclaimed to be abandoned and to be replaced by another for the future. --But if of the different ways of preaching the word of God that seems to be preferred sometimes by which those who dissent from us are addressed not in temples, but in any private and honorable place, not in disputation but in a friendly conference, the matter lacks any cause for adverse criticism, provided, however, that those are assigned to this duty by the authority of the bishops, who have beforehand given proof to the bishops of their knowledge and integrity. . . . 

1975 Therefore, from what We have said thus far it is clear, Our Beloved Son, that those opinions cannot be approved by us, the sum total of which some indicate by the name of Americanism. . . . For it raises a suspicion that there are those among you who envision and desire a Church in America other than that which is in all the rest of the world.

1976 One in unity of doctrine as in unity of government and this Catholic, such is the Church; and since God has established that its center and foundation be in the Chair of Peter, it is rightly called Roman; for "where Peter is, there is the Church." * Therefore, whoever wishes to be called by the name of Catholic, ought truly to heed the words of Jerome to Pope Damasus: "I who follow no one as first except Christ, associate myself in communion with your Beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter; upon that Rock, I know the Church is built [Matt. 16:18]; . . . whoever gathereth not with thee scattereth" * [Matt. 12:30].

The Matter of Baptism *

[From a Decree of the Holy Office, August 21, 1901]

 The Archbishop of Utrecht * relates:

1977 "Many medical doctors in hospitals and elsewhere in cases of necessity are accustomed to baptize infants in their mother's wombs with water mixed with hydrargyrus bichloratus corrosives (in French: chloride de mercure). This water is compounded approximately of a solution of one part of this chloretus hydrargicus in a thousand parts of water, and with this solution of water the potion is poisonous. Now the reason why they use this mixture is that the womb of the mother may not be infected with disease."

 Therefore the questions:

 I. Is a baptism administered with such water certainly or dubiously valid ?

 II. Is it permitted to avoid all danger of disease to administer the sacrament of baptism with such water?

 III. Is it permitted also to use this water when pure water can be applied without any danger of disease?

 The answers are (with the approbation of Leo Xlll):

 To I. This will be answered in. II

 To II. It is permitted when real danger of disease is present.

 To III. No.

The Use of the Most Blessed Eucharist *

[From the Encyclical, "Mirae caritatis," May 28, 1902]

1978 Away then with that widespread and most pernicious error on the part of those who express the opinion that the reception of the Eucharist is for the most part assigned to those who, free of cares and narrow in mind, decide to rest at ease in some kind of a more religious life. For this sacrament (and there is none certainly more excellent or more conducive to salvation than this) pertains to absolutely all, of whatever office or pre-eminence they are, as many as wish (and no one ought not to wish this) to foster within themselves that life of divine grace, whose final end is the attainment of the blessed life with God.

PIUS X 1903-1914

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of Graces *

[From the Encyclical, "Ad diem," February 2, 1904]

1978a As the result of this participation between Mary and Christ in the sorrows and the will, she deserved most worthily to be made the restorer of the lost world," * and so the dispenser of all the gifts which Jesus procured for us by His death and blood. . . . Since she excels all in sanctity, and by her union with Christ and by her adoption by Christ for the work of man's salvation, she merited for us de congruo, as they say, what Christ merited de condigno, and is the first minister of the graces to be bestowed.

"Implicit Citations" in Holy Scripture *

[From the Response of the Biblical Commission, February 13, 1905]

 The question:

1979 Whether to solve difficulties that occur in some texts of Holy Scripture, which seem to present historical facts, it is permitted the Catholic exegete to state that it is a matter in these texts of the tacit or implicit citation of a document written by an author who was not inspired, all the assertions of which the inspired author does not at all intend to approve or to make his own, and which therefore cannot be held to be immune from errors?

 The answer (with the approbation of Pius X):

 In the negative, except in the case where, preserving the sense and judgment of the Church, it is proved by strong arguments: I) that the sacred writer really is citing the words or documents of another, and 2) that he does not approve the same nor make them his own, so that it is rightly decided that he is not speaking in his own name.

The Historical Nature of Sacred Scripture * 

[From the reply of the Biblical Commission, June 23, 1905]

 The question:

1980 Whether the opinion can be admitted as aprinciple of sound exegesis, which holds that the books of Sacred Scripture which are held to be historical, either in whole or in part sometimes do not narrate history properly so called and truly objective, but present an appearance of history only, to signify something different from the properly literal and historical significance of the words?

  The answer(with the approbation of Pius X) :

 In the negative, except in the case, however, not readily or rashly to be admitted, where without opposing the sense of the Church and preserving its judgment, it is proved with strong arguments that the sacred writer did not wish to put down true history, and history properly socalled, but to set forth, under the appearance and form of history a parable, an allegory, or some meaning removed from the properly literal or historical significance of the words.


The Daily Partaking of the Most Holy Eucharist *

[From the Decree of the Congregation of the Holy Council, approved by Pius X December 20th, 1905]

1981 The desire (indeed) of Jesus Christ and of the Church, that all the faithful of Christ approach the sacred banquet daily, is especially important in this, that the faithful of Christ being joined with God through the sacrament may receive strength from it to restrain wantonness, to wash away the little faults that occur daily, and to guard against more grievous sins to which human frailty is subject; but not principally that consideration be given to the honor and veneration of God, nor that this be for those who partake of it a reward or recompense for their virtues. Therefore, the Sacred Council of Trent calls the Eucharist, "an antidote, by which we are freed from daily faults and are preserved from mortal sins" [see n. 875 ]

1982 Because of the plague of Jansenism, which raged on all sides, disputes began to arise regarding the dispositions with which frequent and daily communion should be approached, and some more than others demanded greater and more difficult dispositions as necessary. Such discussions brought it about that very few were held worthy to partake daily of the most blessed Eucharist, and to draw the fuller effects from so saving a sacrament, the rest being content to be renewed either once a year or every month, or at most once a week. Such a point of severity was reached that entire groups were excluded from frequenting the heavenly table, for example, merchants, or thosewho had been joined in matrimony. 

1983  In these matters the Holy See was not remiss in its proper duty [see n. 1147 ff. and1313]. . . . Nevertheless, the poison of Jansenism, which had infected even the souls of the good, under the appearance of honor and veneration due to the Eucharist, has by no means entirely disappeared. The question about the dispositions for frequenting communion rightly and lawfully has survived the declarations of the Holy See, as a result of which it has happened that some theologians even of good name rarely, and after laying down many conditions, have decided that daily communion can be permitted the faithful.

1984   . . . But His Holiness, since it is especially dear to him that the Christian people be invited to the sacred banquet very frequently and even daily, and so gain possession of its most ample fruits, has committed the aforesaid question to this sacred Order to be examined and defined.

[Hence the Congregation of the Holy Council on the 16th day of December, 1905] made the following decisions and declarations: 

1985 I. Let frequent and daily communion . . . be available to all Christians of every order or condition, so that no one, who is in the state of grace and approaches the sacred table with a right and pious mind, may be prevented from this.

1986 2. Moreover, right mind is in this, that he who approaches the sacred table, indulges not through habit, or vanity, or human reasonings, but wishes to satisfy the pleasure of God, to be joined with Him more closely in charity and to oppose his infirmities and defects with that divine remedy.

1987 3. Although it is especially expedient that those who practice frequent and daily communion be free from venial sins, at least those completely deliberate, and of their effect, it is enough, nevertheless, that they be free from mortal sins, with the resolution that they will never sin in the future. . . . 

1988 4. . . Care must be taken that careful preparation for Holy Communion precede, and that actions befitting the graces follow thereafter according to the strength, condition, and duties of each one.

1989 5. . . Let the counsel of the confessor intercede. Yet let confessors beware lest they turn anyone away from frequent or daily communion, who is found in the state of grace and approaches (it) with a right mind. . . .

1990  9. . . Finally, after the promulgation of this decree, let all ecclesiastical writers abstain from any contentious disputation about dispositions for frequent and daily communion. 


The Tridentine Law of Clandestinity *

[From the Decree of Pius X, "Provide sapientique," Jan. 18, 1906]


1991 1. In the entire German Empire today let the chapter, Tametsi, ofthe Council of Trent [see n. 990 ff.], although in many places it has not yet been definitely promulgated and introduced by manifest publication or by lawful observance, nevertheless henceforth from the feast day of Easter (i.e., from the 15th day of April) of this year 1906, bind all Catholics, even those up to now immune from observing the Tridentine form, so that they cannot celebrate a valid marriage between one another except in the presence of the parish priest and two or three witnesses [cf. n. 2066 ff.].

1992 2. Mixed marriages, which are contracted by Catholics with heretics or schismatics, are and remain firmly prohibited, unless, when a just and weighty canonical reason is added, and lawful cautions have been given on both sides, honestly and formally, a dispensation has been duly obtained from the impediment of the mixed religion by the Catholic party. These marriages, to be sure, although a dispensation has been procured, are by all means to be celebrated in the sight of the Church, in the presence of a priest and two or three witnesses, so much so that they sin gravely who contract them in the presence of a non-Catholic minister, or in the presence of only a civil magistrate, or in any clandestine manner. Moreover, if any Catholics in celebrating these marriages seek and accept the service of a non-Catholic minister, they commit another sin and are subject to canonical censures.

1993  Nevertheless, mixed marriages in certain provinces and localities of the German Empire, even in those which according to the decisions of the Roman Congregations have thus far been subject to the definitely invalidating force of the chapter Tametsi,already contracted without preserving the Tridentine form or (and, may God forbid this) to be contracted in the future, provided no other canonical impediment stands in the way, and no decision of nullity because of the impediment of clan destinity has been lawfully passed before the feast day of Easter of this year, and the mutual consent of the spouses has persevered up to the said day, these mixed marriages we wish to be upheld as entirely valid, and We declare, define, and decree this expressly.

1994 3. Moreover, that a safe norm may be at hand for ecclesiastical judges, We declare, decide, and decree this same (pronouncement), and under the same conditions and restrictions, with regard to non-Catholic marriages, whether of heretics or of schismatics, thus far contracted between themselves in the same regions without preserving the Tridentine formula, or hereafter to be contracted; so that, if one or both of the non Catholic spouses should be converted to the Catholic faith, or controversy should occur in an ecclesiastical court regarding the validity of the marriage of two non-Catholics, which is bound up with the question of the validity of the marriage contracted or to be contracted by some Catholic, these same marriages, all other things being equal, are similarly to be held as entirely valid.

The Separation of Church and State*

[From the Encyclical, "Vehementer nos.,, to the clergy and people of France, February 11, 1906]


1995 We, in accord with the supreme authority which We hold from God, disprove and condemn the established law which separates the French state from the Church, for those reasons which We have set forth: because it inflicts the greatest injury upon God whom it solemnly rejects, declaring in the beginning that the state is devoid of any religious worship; because it violates the natural law, international law, and public trust in treaties; because it is contrary to the divine constitution of the Church and to her essential rights and liberty; because it overturns justice, by suppressing the right of ownership lawfully acquired by manifold titles and by the Concordat itself; because it gravely offends the dignity of the Apostolic See and Our own person, the ranks of bishops, the clergy, and the Catholics of France. Consequently, We protest most vehemently against the proposal of the law, its passage, and promulgation; and We attest that there is nothing at all of importance in it to weaken the laws of the Church, which cannot be changed by the force and rashness of men. * 


The Shortest Form of Extreme Unction *

[From the Decree of the Holy Office, April 25, 1906]

1996 It has been decreed that in the case of true necessity this form suffices: "By this holy unction may the Lord forgive you whatever you have sinned. Amen."


The Mosaic Authenticity of the Pentateuch*

[From the Response of the Commission on Biblical Studies, June 27, 1906]

1997  Question 1.Whether the arguments accumulated by critics to impugn the Mosaic authenticity of the Sacred Books, which are designated by the name of Pentateuch, are of such weight that, in spite of the very many indications of both Testaments taken together, the continuous conviction of the Jewish people, also the unbroken tradition of the Church in addition to the internal evidences drawn from the text itself, they justify affirming that these books were not written by Moses, but were composed for the most part from sources later than the time of Moses?Reply:No.

1998  Question 2. Whether the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch necessarily demands such a redaction of the whole work that it must be held absolutely that Moses wrote all and each book with his own hand, or dictated them to copyists; or, whether also the hypothesis can be permitted of those who think that the work was conceived by him under the influence of divine inspiration, and was committed to another or several to be put into writing, but in such manner that they rendered his thought faithfully, wrote nothing contrary to his wish, omitted nothing; and, finally, when the work was composed in this way, approved by Moses as its chief and inspired author, it was published under his name. Reply: No, for the first part; yes, for the second.

1999 Question 3.Whether without prejudice to the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch it can be granted that Moses for the composition of the work made use of sources, namely written documents or oral tradition, from which, according to the peculiar goal set before him, and under -the influence of divine inspiration, he made some borrowings, and these, arranged for word according to sense or amplified, he inserted into the work itself? Reply:Yes.