sources of catholic dogma 400-500


Ecumenical XI (against the Albigenses)

Simony *

400 Chap. 10. Let monks not be received in the monastery at a price. . . If anyone, however, on being solicited gives anything for his reception, let him not advance to sacred orders. Let him, however, who accepts (a price) be punished by the taking away of his office.*

Heresies that Must be Avoided *

401 Chap. 27. As Blessed Leo * says: "Although ecclesiastical discipline, content with sacerdotal judgment, does not employ bloody punishments, it is nevertheless helped by the constitutions of Catholic rulers, so that men often seek a salutary remedy, when they fear that corporal punishment is coming upon them." For this reason, since in Gascony, in Albegesium, and in parts of Tolosa and in other places, the cursed perversity of the heretics whom some call Cathari, others Patareni, others Publicani, others by different names, has so increased that now they exercise their wickedness not as some in secret, but manifest their error publicly and win over the simple and weak to their opinion, we resolve to cast them, their defenders and receivers under anathema, and we forbid under anathema that anyone presume to hold or to help these in their homes or on their land or to do business with them. *

LUCIUS III 1181-1185


The Sacraments (against the Albigenses) *

[From the decree "Ad abolendum" against the heretics]

402 All who, regarding the sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, or regarding baptism or the confession of sins, matrimony or the other ecclesiastical sacraments, do not fear to think or to teach otherwise than the most holy Roman Church teaches and observes; and in general, whomsoever the same Roman Church or individual bishops through their dioceses with the advice of the clergy or the clergy themselves, if the episcopal see is vacant, with the advice if it is necessary of neighboring bishops, shall judge as heretics, we bind with a like bond of perpetual anathema.

 URBAN III 1185-1187

Usury *

[From the epistle "Consuluit nos" to a certain priest of Brescia]

403 Your loyalty asks us whether or not in the judgment of souls he ought to be judged as a usurer who, not otherwise ready to deliver by loan, loans his money on this proposition that without any agreement he nevertheless receive more by lot; and whether he is involved in that same state of guilt who, as it is commonly said, does not otherwise grant a similar oath, until, although without payment, he receives some gain from him; whether or not that negotiator ought to be condemned with a like punishment, who offers his wares at a price far greater, if an extension of the already extended time be asked for making the payment, than if the price should be paid to him at once. But since what one must hold in these cases is clearly learned from the Gospel of Luke in which is said: "Give mutually, hoping nothing thereby" [cf. Luke 6:35], men of this kind must be judged to act wrongly on account of the intention of gain which they have, since every usury and superabundance are prohibited by law, and they must be effectively induced in the judgment of souls to restore those things which have been thus received.



INNOCENT III 1198-1216

The Form of the Sacrament of Matrimony *

[From the letter, "Cum apud sedem" to Humbert,

Archbishop of Arles, July 15, 1198]

404 You have asked us whether the dumb and the deaf can be united to each other in marriage. To this question we respond to your brotherhood thus: Since the edict of prohibition concerning the contracting of marriage is that whoever is not prohibited, is consequently permitted, and only the consent of those concerning whose marriages we are speaking is sufficient for marriage, it seems that, if such a one wishes to contract (a marriage), it cannot and it ought not to be denied him, since what he cannot declare by words he can declare by signs.

[From the letter to the Bishop of Mutina, in the year 1200] *

 Besides in the contracting of marriages we wish you to observe this: when, as in the present case legitimate agreement exists between legitimate persons, which is sufficient in such cases according to canonical sanctions, and if this alone is lacking, other things are made void, even if sexual intercourse itself has taken place, if persons legitimately married afterwards actually contract (marriage) with others, what before had been done according to law cannot be annulled.

On the Bond of Marriage and the

Pauline Privilege * 

[From the letter "Quanto te magis" to Hugo, Bishop

of Ferrara, May 1, 1199]


405   Your brotherhood has announced that with one of the spouses passing over to heresy the one who is left desires to rush into second vows and to procreate children, and you have thought that we ought to be consulted through your letter as to whether this can be done under the law. We, therefore, responding to your inquiry regarding the common advice of our brothers make a distinction, although indeed our predecessor seems to have thought otherwise, whether of two unbelievers one is converted to the Catholic Faith, or of two believers one lapses into heresy or falls into the error of paganism. For if one of the unbelieving spouses is converted to the Catholic faith, while the other either is by no means willing to live with him or at least not without blaspheming the divine name or so as to drag him into mortal sin, the one who is left, if he wishes, will pass over to second vows. And in this case we understand what the Apostle says: "If the unbeliever depart, let him depart: for the brother or sister is not subject to servitude in (cases) of this kind" [1 Cor. 7:15]. And likewise (we understand) the canon in which it is said that "insult to the Creator dissolves the law of marriage for him who is left." *

406 But if one of the believing spouses either slip into heresy or lapse into the error of paganism, we do not believe that in this case he who is left, as long as the other is living, can enter into a second marriage; although in this case a greater insult to the Creator is evident. Although indeed true matrimony exists between unbelievers, yet it is not ratified; between believers, however, a true and ratified marriage exists, because the sacrament of faith, which once was admitted, is never lost, but makes the sacrament of marriage ratified so that it itself lasts between married persons as long as the sacrament of faith endures.

Marriages of Pagans and the Pauline Privilege *

[From the letter "Gaudemus in Domino" to the Bishop

of Tiberias, in the beginning of 1201]

407 You have asked to be shown through Apostolic writings whether pagans receiving wives in the second, third, or further degree ought, thus united, to remain after their conversion with the wives united to them or ought to be separated from them. Regarding this we reply to your brotherhood thus, that, since the sacrament of marriage exists between believing and unbelieving spouses as the Apostle points out when he says: "If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she consents to live with him, let him not put her away" [1 Cor. 7:12], and since in the aforesaid degree matrimony is lawfully contracted with respect to them by pagans who are not restricted by canonical constitutions, ("For what is it to me?" according to the same Apostle, "to judge concerning those which are outside?" [ 1 Cor. 5:12]; in favor especially of the Christian religion and faith, from receiving which many fearing to be deserted by their wives can easily be restrained, such believers, having been joined in marriage, can freely and licitly remain united, since through the sacrament of baptism marriages are not dissolved but sins are forgiven.

408 But since pagans divide their conjugal affection among many women at the same time, it is rightly doubted whether after conversion all or which one of all they can retain. But this (practice) seems to be in disagreement with and inimical to the Christian Faith, since in the beginning one rib was changed into one woman, and Divine Scripture testifies that "on account of this, man shall leave father and mother and shall cling to his wife and they shall be two in one flesh" [ Eph. 5:31; Gen. 2:24; cf.Matt. 19:5]; it does not say "three or more" buttwo; nor did it say "he will cling to wives" butto a wife.Never is it permitted to anyone to have several wives at one time except to whom it was granted by divine revelation. This custom existed at one time, sometimes was even regarded as lawful, by which, as Jacob from a lie, the Israelites from theft, and Samson from homicide, so also the Patriarchs and other just men, who we read had many wives at the same time, were ex-used from adultery. Certainly this opinion is proved true also by the witness of Truth, which testifies in the Gospel: "Whosoever puts away his wife (except) on account of fornication, and marries another commits adultery," [ Matt. 19:9; cf.Mark 10:11]. If, therefore, when the wife has been dismissed, another cannot be married according to law, all the more she herself cannot be retained; through this it clearly appears that regarding marriage plurality in either sex-since they are not judged unequallymust be condemned. Moreover, he who according to his rite puts away a lawful wife, since Truth in the Gospel has condemned such a repudiation, never while she lives, even after being converted to the faith of Christ, can he have another wife, unless after his conversion she refuses to live with him, or even if she should consent, yet not without insult to the Creator, or so as to lead him into mortal sin. In this case to the one seeking restitution, although it be established regarding unjust spoliation, restitution would be denied, because according to the Apostle: "A brother or sister is not subject to servitude in (cases) of this kind" [ 1 Cor 7,12]. But if her conversion should follow his conversion to faith, before, on account of the above mentioned causes, he would marry a legitimate wife, he would be compelled to take her back again. Although, too, according to the Evangelical truth, "he who marries one put aside is guilty of adultery" [Matt. 19:9], yet the one doing the dismissing will not be able to upbraid the one dismissed with fornication because he married her after the repudiation, unless she shall otherwise have committed fornication.

The Dissolubility of Valid Marriage by Religious Profession * 

[From the letter "Ex parte tua" to Andrew, the

Archbishop of Lyons, Jan. 12, 1206]


409 Unwilling to depart suddenly on this point from the footsteps of our predecessors who, on being consulted, responded that before marriage has been consummated by sexual intercourse, it is permitted for one of the parties, even without consulting the remaining one, to pass over to religion, so that the one left can henceforth legitimately marry another; we advise you that this must be observed.


The Effect of Baptism (and the Character) * 


410   (For) they assert that baptism is conferred uselessly on children. . . . We respond that baptism has taken the place of circumcision. . . . Therefore as "the soul of the circumcised did not perish from the people" [Gen. 17:4], so "he who has been reborn from water and the Holy Spirit will obtain entrance to the kingdom of heaven" [ John 3:5]. . . .Although original sin was remitted by the mystery of circumcision, and the danger of damnation was avoided, nevertheless there was no arriving at the kingdom of heaven, which up to the death of Christ was barred to all. But through the sacrament of baptism the guilt of one made red by the blood of Christ is remitted, and to the kingdom of heaven one also arrives, whose gate the blood of Christ has mercifully opened for His faithful. For God forbid that all children of whom daily so great a multitude die, would perish, but that also for these the merciful God who wishes no one to perish has procured some remedy unto salvation. . . . As to what opponents say, (namely), that faith or love or other virtues are not infused in children, inasmuch as they do not consent, is absolutely not granted by most. . . . some asserting that by the power of baptism guilt indeed is remitted to little ones but grace is not conferred; and some indeed saying both that sin is forgiven and that virtues are infused in them as they hold virtues as a possession not as a function, until they arrive at adult age. . . . We say that a distinction must be made, that sin is twofold: namely, original and actual: original, which is contracted without consent; and actual which is committed with consent. Original, therefore, which is committed without consent, is remitted without consent through the power of the sacrament; but actual, which is contracted with consent, is not mitigated in the slightest without consent. . . . The punishment of original sin is deprivation of the vision of God, but the punishment of actual sin is the torments of everlasting hell. . . .

411 This is contrary to the Christian religion, that anyone always unwilling and interiorly objecting be compelled to receive and to observe Christianity. On this account some absurdly do not distinguish between unwilling and unwilling, and forced and forced, because he who is violently forced by terrors and punishments, and, lest he incur harm, receives the sacrament of baptism, such a one also as he who under pretense approaches baptism, receives the impressed sign of Christianity, and he himself, just as he willed conditionally although not absolutely, must be forced to the observance of Christian Faith. . . . But he who never consents, but inwardly contradicts, receives neither the matter nor the sign of the sacrament, because to contradict expressly is more than not to agree. . . . The sleeping, moreover, and the weak-minded, if before they incurred weak-mindedness, or before they went to sleep persisted in contradiction, because in these the idea of contradiction is understood to endure, although they have been so immersed, they do not receive the sign of the sacrament; not so, however, if they had first lived as catechumens and had the intention of being baptized; therefore, the Church has been accustomed to baptize such in a time of necessity. Thus, then the sacramental operation impresses the sign, when it does not meet the resisting obstacle of a contrary will.


The Matter of Baptism *

[From the letter "Non ut apponeres" to Thorias

Archbishop of Nidaros] * 

412 You have asked whether children ought to be regarded as Christians whom, when in danger of death, on account of the scarcity of water and the absence of a priest, the simplicity of some has anointed on the head and the breast, and between the shoulders with a sprinkling of saliva for baptism. We answer that since in baptism two things always, that is, "the word and the element,"* are required by necessity, according to which Truth says concerning the word: "Going into the world etc." [Luke 16:15; cf. Matt. 28:19

], and the same concerning the element says: "Unless anyone etc." [John 3:5 ] you ought not to doubt that those do not have true baptism in which not only both of the above mentioned (requirements) but one of them is missing.

The Minister of Baptism and the Baptism of Spirit* 

[From the letter "Debitum pastoralis officii" to Berthold,

the Bishop of Metz, August 28, 1206]

413  You have, to be sure, intimated that a certain Jew, when at the point of death, since he lived only among Jews, immersed himself in water while saying: "I baptize myself in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen."

 We respond that, since there should be a distinction between the one baptizing and the one baptized, as is clearly gathered from the words of the Lord, when he says to the Apostles: "Go baptize all nations in the name etc." [cf. Matt. 28:19], the Jew mentioned must be baptized again by another, that it may be shown that he who is baptized is one person, and he who baptizes another. . . . If, however, such a one had died immediately, he would have rushed to his heavenly home without delay because of the faith of the sacrament, although not because of the sacrament of faith.

The Form of the Eucharistic Sacrament and its Elements *

[From the letter "Cum Marthae circa" to a certain

John, Archbishop of Lyons, Nov. 29, 1202]

414 You have asked (indeed) who has added to the form of the words which Christ Himself expressed when He changed the bread and wine into the body and blood, that in the Canon of the Mass which the general Church uses, which none of the Evangelists is read to have expressed. . . . In the Canon of the Mass that expression, "mysterium fidei,"is found interposed among His words. . . . Surely we find many such things omitted from the words as well as from the deeds of the Lord by the Evangelists, which the Apostles are read to have supplied by word or to have expressed by deed. . . . From the expression, moreover, concerning which your brotherhood raised the question, namely "mysterium fidei," certain people have thought to draw a protection against error, saying that in the sacrament of the altar the truth of the body and blood of Christ does not exist, but only the image and species and figure, inasmuch as Scripture sometimes mentions that what is received at the altar is sacrament and mystery and example. But such run into a snare of error, by reason of the fact that they neither properly understand the authority of Scripture, nor do they reverently receive the sacraments of God, equally "ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God" [Matt. 22:29]. . . . Yet "mysterium fidei" is mentioned, since something is believed there other than what is perceived; and something is perceived other than is believed. For the species of bread and wine is perceived there, and the truth of the body and blood of Christ is believed and the power of unity and of love. . . .

415 We must, however, distinguish accurately between three things which are different in this sacrament, namely, the visible form, the truth of the body, and the spiritual power. The form is of the bread and wine; the truth, of the flesh and blood; the power, of unity and of charity. The first is the "sacrament and not reality." The second is "the sacrament and reality." The third is "the reality and not the sacrament." But the first is the sacrament of a twofold reality. The second, however, is a sacrament of one and the reality (is) of the other. But the third is the reality of a twofold sacrament. Therefore, we believe that the form of words, as is found in, the Canon, the Apostles received from Christ, and their successors from them. . . .


Water Mixed w ith Wine in the Sacrifice of the Mass *

[From the same letter to John, Nov. 29, 1202]

416 You have asked (also) whether the water with the wine is changed into the blood. Regarding this, however, opinions among the scholastics vary. For it seems to some that, since from the side of Christ two special sacraments flowed-of the redemption in the blood and of regeneration in the water-into those two the wine and water, which are mixed in the chalice, are changed by divine power. . . . But others hold that the water with the wine is transubstantiated into the blood; when mixed with the wine, it passes over into the wine. . . . Besides it can be said that water does not pass over into blood but remains surrounded by the accidents of the original wine. . . . This, however, is wrong to think, which some have presumed to say, namely, that water is changed into phlegm. . . . But among the opinions mentioned that is judged the more probable which asserts that the water with the wine is changed into blood.

[From the letter "In quadam nostra" to Hugo,

Bishop of Ferrara, March 5, 1209] 

417 You say that you have read in a certain decretal letter of ours that it is wrong to think what certain ones have presumed to say, namely, that the water of the Eucharist is changed into phlegm, for they say falsely that from the side of Christ not water but a watery liquid came forth. Moreover, although you recall that great and authentic men have thought this, whose opinions in speech and in writings up to this time you have followed, from whose (opinions), however, we differ, you are compelled to agree with our opinion. . . . For if it had not been water but phlegm which flowed from the side of the Savior, he who saw and gave testimonyto the truth [cf. John 19:35] certainly would not have said water but phlegm. . . . It remains, therefore, that of whatever nature that water was, whether natural, or miraculous, or created anew by divine power, or resolved in some measure of component parts, without doubt it was true water.


The Feigned Celebration of Mass * 

[From the letter "De homine qui" to the rectors of the

Roman brotherhood, September 22, 1208]

418 (For) you have asked us what we think about the careless priest who, when he knows that he is in mortal sin, hesitates because of the consciousness of his guilt to celebrate the solemnity of the Mass, which he however, cannot omit on account of necessity . . . and, when the other details have been accomplished, pretends to celebrate Mass; and after suppressing the words by which the body of Christ is effected, he merely takes up the bread and wine. . . . Since, therefore, false remedies must be cast aside, which are more serious than true dangers, it is proper that he who regards himself unworthy on account of the consciousness of his own crime ought reverently to abstain from a sacrament of this kind, and so he sins seriously if he brings himself irreverently to it; yet without a doubt he seems to offend more gravely who so fraudently presumes to feign (the sacrifice of the Mass); since the one by avoiding sin, as long as he acts, falls into the hands of the merciful God alone; but the other by committing sin, as long as he lives, places himself under obligation not only to God whom he does not fear to mock, but also to the people whom he deceives.


The Minister of Confirmation * 

[From the letter "Cum venisset" to Basil, Archbishop of Tirnova, Feb. 25, 1204]


419 The imposition of the hands is designated by the anointing of the forehead which by another name is called confirmation, because through it the Holy Spirit is given for an increase (of grace) and strength. There,fore, although a simple priest or presbyter is able to give other anointings, this one, only the highest priest, that is the bishop, ought to confer, because we read concerning the Apostles alone, whose successors the bishops are, that through the imposition of the hands they gave the Holy Spirit [cf. Acts 8:14 ff.].


Profession of Faith Prescribed for Durand of Osca and His

Waldensian Companions* 

[From the letter "Fitts exemplo" to the Archbishop of

Terraco, Dec. 18, 1208]


420  By the heart we believe, by faith we understand, by the mouth we confess, and by simple words we affirm that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three Persons, one God, and entire Trinity, co-essential and consubstantial and co-eternal and omnipotent, and each single Person in the Trinity complete God as is contained in "Credo in Deum, " [see n. 2] in "Credo in unum Deum" [see n. 86], and in "Quicumque vult" [see n. 39 ].

421  By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess that the Father also and the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, concerning whom we are speaking, is the creator, the maker, the ruler, and the dispenser of all things corporal and spiritual, visible and invisible. We believe that God is the one and same author of the Old and the New Testament, who existing in the Trinity, as it is said, created all things from nothing; and that John the Baptist, sent by Him, was holy and just, and in the womb of his mother was filled with the Holy Spirit.

422  By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess that the Incarnation of the Divinity took place neither in the Father, nor in the Holy Spirit, but in the Son only; so that He who was in the Divinity the Son of God the Father, true God from the Father, was in the humanity the son of man, true man from a mother, having true flesh from the womb of his mother and a human rational soul; at the same time of each nature, that is God and man, one Person, one Son, one Christ, one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the author and ruler of all, born from the Virgin Mary in a true birth of the flesh; He ate and drank, He slept and, tired out from a journey, He rested, He suffered in the true passion of His flesh; He died in the true death of His body, and He arose again in the true resurrection of His flesh and in the true restoration of His soul to the body in which, after He ate and drank, He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and in the same will come to judge the living and the dead.

423  By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic (Church) outside which we believe that no one is saved.

424 The sacraments also which are celebrated in it with the inestimable and invisible power of the Holy Spirit cooperating, although they may be administered by a priest who is a sinner, as long as the Church accepts him, in no way do we reprove nor from ecclesiastical offices or blessings celebrated by him do we withdraw; but we receive with a kind mind as from the most just, because the wickedness of a bishop or priest does no harm to the baptism of an infant, nor to consecrating the Eucharist, nor to the other ecclesiastical duties celebrated for subjects. We approve, therefore, the baptism of infants, who, if they died after baptism, before they commit sins, we confess and believe are saved; and in baptism all sins, that original sin which was contracted as well as those which voluntarily have been committed, we believe are forgiven. We decree that confirmation performed by a bishop, that is, by the imposition of hands, is holy and must be received reverently. Firmly and without doubt with a pure heart we believe and simply in faithful words we affirm that the sacrifice, that is, the bread and wine [Other texts: in the sacrifice of the Eucharist those things which before consecration were bread and wine] after the consecration is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which we believe nothing more by a good nor less by a bad priest is accomplished because it is accomplished not in the merits of the one who consecrates but in the word of the Creator and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we firmly believe and we confess that however honest, religious, holy, and prudent anyone may be, he cannot nor ought he to consecrate the Eucharist nor to perform the sacrifice of the altar unless he be a priest, regularly ordained by a visible and perceptible bishop. And to this office three things are necessary, as we believe: namely, a certain person, that is a priest as we said above, properly established by a bishop for that office; and those solemn words which have been expressed by the holy Fathers in the canon; and the faithful intention of the one who offers himself; and so we firmly believe and declare that whosoever without the preceding episcopal ordination, as we said above, believes and contends that he can offer the sacrifice of the Eucharist is a heretic and is a participant and companion of the perdition of Core and his followers, and he must be segregated from the entire holy Roman Church. To sinners truly penitent, we believe that forgiveness is granted by God, and with them we communicate most gladly. We venerate the anointing of the sick with the consecrated oil. According to the Apostle [cf.1 Cor. 7 ] we do not deny that carnal unions should be formed, but ordinarily we forbid absolutely the breaking of the contracts. Man also with his wife we believe and confess are saved, and we do not even condemn second or later marriages.


425 We do not at all censure the receiving of the flesh. Nor do we condemn an oath; on the contrary, we believe with a pure heart that with truth and judgment and justice it is permissible to swear. [In the year 1210, the following sentence was added:] Concerning secular power we declare that without mortal sin it is possible to exercise a judgment of blood as long as one proceeds to bring punishment not in hatred but in judgment, not incautiously but advisedly.

426  We believe that preaching is exceedingly necessary and praiseworthy, yet that it must be exercised by the authority or license of the Supreme Pontiff or by the permission of prelates. But in all places where manifest heretics remain and renounce and blaspheme God and the faith of the holy Roman Church, we believe that, by disputing and exhorting in all ways according to God, we should confound them, and even unto death oppose them openly with the word of God as adversaries of Christ and the Church. But ecclesiastical orders and everything which in the holy Roman Church is read or sung as holy, we humbly praise and faithfully venerate.

427  We believe that the devil was made evil not through creation but through will. We sincerely believe and with our mouth we confess the resurrection of this flesh which we bear and not of another. We firmly believe and affirm also that judgment by Jesus Christ will be individually for those who have lived in this flesh, and that they will receive either punishment or rewards. We believe that alms, sacrifice, and other benefits can be of help to the dead. We believe and confess that those who remain in the world and possess their own wealth, by practicing alms, and other benefits from their possessions, and by keeping the commands of the Lord are saved. We believe that tithes and first fruits and oblations should be paid to the clergy according to the Lord's command.


Ecumenical XII (against the Albigensians, Joachim, Waldensians etc.

The Trinity, Sacraments, Canonical Mission, etc.*

Chap. 1. The Catholic Faith

(Definition directed against the Albigensians and other heretics]

428 Firmly we believe and we confess simply that the true God is one alone, eternal, immense, and unchangeable, incomprehensible, omnipotent and ineffable, Father and Son and Holy Spirit: indeed three Persons but one essence, substance, or nature entirely simple. The Father from no one, the Son from the Father only, and the Holy Spirit equally from both; without beginning, always, and without end; the Father generating, the Son being born, and the Holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial and coequal and omnipotent and coeternal; one beginning of all, creator of all visible and invisible things, of the spiritual and of the corporal; who by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual, and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human, constituted as it were, alike of the spirit and the body. For the devil and other demons were created by God good in nature, but they themselves through themselves have become wicked. But man sinned at the suggestion of the devil. This Holy Trinity according to common essence undivided, and according to personal properties distinct, granted the doctrine of salvation to the human race, first through Moses and the holy prophets and his other servants according to the most methodical disposition of the time.

429 And finally the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, incarnate by the whole Trinity in common, conceived of Mary ever Virgin with the Holy Spirit cooperating, made true man, formed of a rational soul and human flesh, one Person in two natures, clearly pointed out the way of life. And although He according to divinity is immortal and impassible, the very same according to humanity was made passible and mortal, who, for the salvation of the human race, having suffered on the wood of the Cross and died, descended into hell, arose from the dead and ascended into heaven. But He descended in soul, and He arose in the flesh, and He ascended equally in both, to come at the end of time, to judge the living and the dead, and to render to each according to his works, to the wicked as well as to the elect, all of whom will rise with their bodies which they now bear, that they may receive according to their works, whether these works have been good or evil, the latter everlasting punishment with the devil, and the former everlasting glory with Christ.

430 One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved, * in which the priest himself is the sacrifice, Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine; the bread (changed) into His body by the divine power of transubstantiation, and the wine into the blood, so that to accomplish the mystery of unity we ourselves receive from His (nature) what He Himself received from ours. And surely no one can accomplish this sacrament except a priest who has been rightly ordained according to the keys of the Church which Jesus Christ Himself conceded to the Apostles and to their successors. But the sacrament of baptism (which at the invocation of God and the indivisible Trinity, namely, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, is solemnized in water) rightly conferred by anyone in the form of the Church is useful unto salvation for little ones and for adults. And if, after the reception of baptism, anyone shall have lapsed into sin, through true penance he can always be restored. Moreover, not only virgins and the continent but also married persons pleasing to God through right faith and good work merit to arrive at a blessed eternity.


Chap.2.The Error of Abbot Joachim *

431 We condemn, therefore, and we disapprove of the treatise or tract which Abbot Joachim published against Master Peter Lombard on the unity or essence of the Trinity, calling him heretical and senseless because in hisSentenceshe said: "Since it is a most excellent reality-the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and it is not generating, nor generated, nor proceeding." * Thus he (Joachim) declares that Peter Lombard implies not so much a Trinity as a quaternity in God, namely the three Persons and that common essence as a fourth, openly protesting that there is no matter which is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; neither is there essence, nor substance, nor nature, although he concedes that the Father, and the Son. and the Holy Spirit are one essence, one substance, and one nature. But he says that unity of this kind is not true and proper, but is something collective and similar, as many men are called one people, and many faithful, one Church, according to the following: "Of the multitude believing there was one heart and one mind" [ Acts 4:32]; and, "He who clings to God is one spirit with him" [ 1 Cor. 6:17]; likewise, "He who . . . plants and he who waters are one" [ 1 Cor. 3:8]; and, "we are all one body in Christ" [ Rom. 12:5]; again in the Book of Kings [Ruth]: "My people and your people are one" [Ruth 1:16]. Moreover, to add to this opinion of his he brings the following most powerful expression, that Christ spoke in the Gospel about the faithful: "I will, Father, that they are one in us as we are one, so that they may be perfected in unity" [John 17:22 f.]. For not, (as he says), are the faithful of Christ one, that is, a certain one matter which is common to all, but in this way are they one, that is, one Church because of the unity of the Catholic faith; and finally one kingdom, because of the union of indissoluble love, as in the canonical letter of John the Apostle we read: "For there are three that give testimony in heaven, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one" [ 1 John 5:7], and immediately is added: "And there are three who give testimony on earth, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and these three are one" [ 1 John 5:8 ], as is found in certain texts.

432 We, however, with the approval of the sacred Council, believe and confess with Peter Lombard that there exists a most excellent reality, incomprehensible indeed and ineffable, which truly is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at the same time three Persons, and anyone of the same individually; and so in God there is Trinity only, not a quaternity; because any one of the three Persons is that reality, namely, substance, essence or divine nature, which alone is the beginning of all things, beyond which nothing else can be found, and that reality is not generating, nor generated, nor proceeding, but it is the Father who generates, the Son who is generated, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds, so that distinctions are in Persons and unity in nature. Therefore, although "one is the Father, another the Son, and another the Holy Spirit, yet they are not different" * but what is the Father is the Son and the Holy Spirit entirely the same, so that according to the true and Catholic Faith they are believed to be consubstantial. For the Father from eternity by generating the Son gave His substance to Him according to which He Himself testifies: "That which the Father has given to me is greater than all things" [John 10:29]. But it cannot be said that He (the Father) has given a part of His substance to Him (the Son), and retained a part for Himself, since the substance of the Father is indivisible, namely, simple. But neither can it be said that the Father has transferred His substance to the Son in generating, as if He had given that to the Son which he did not retain for Himself; otherwise the substance would have ceased to exist. It is clear, therefore, that the Son in being born without any diminution received the substance of the Father, and thus the Father and the Son have the same substance, and so this same reality is the Father and the Son and also the Holy Spirit proceeding from both. But when Truth prays to the Father for His faithful saying: "I will that they may be one in us, as we also are one" [ John 17:22]: this word "one" indeed is accepted for the faithful in such a way that a union of charity in grace is understood, for the divine Persons in such a way that a unity of identity in nature is considered, as elsewhere Truth says: "Be . . . perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect" [Matt. 5:48 ], as if He said more clearly, "Be perfect" in the perfection of grace "as your heavenly Father is perfect" in the perfection of grace, that is, each in his own manner, because between the Creator and the creature so great a likeness cannot be noted without the necessity of noting a greater dissimilarity between them. If anyone, therefore, shall presume to defend or approve the opinion or doctrine of the above mentioned Joachim, let him be refuted as a heretic by all.

433 Yet on this account we do not wish to detract from the monastery in Florence (whose founder is Joachim himself), since both the institution there is regular and the observance salutary, especially since Joachim himself has ordered all his writings to be assigned to us, to be approved or even corrected by the judgment of the Apostolic See, dictating a letter which he signed with his own hand in which he firmly confesses that he holds that Faith which the Roman Church, which (the Lord disposing) is the mother and master of all the faithful, holds. We reprove also and we condemn that very perverse dogma of the impious Almaricus, whose mind the father of lies has so blinded that his doctrine must be considered not so heretical as insane.


Chap. 3 . The Heretics[ Waldensian] * 

[The necessity of a canonical mission]

434  Because some indeed "under the pretext of piety, denying his power" (according to what the Apostle says) [2 Tim. 3:5], assume to themselves the authority of preaching, when the same Apostle says: "How . . . shall they preach, unless they are sent?" [Rom. 10:15 ], let all who, being prohibited or not sent, without having received authority from the Apostolic See, or from the Catholic bishop of the place, shall presume publicly or privately to usurp the duty of preaching * be marked by the bond of excommunication; and unless they recover their senses, the sooner the better, let them be punished with another fitting penalty.


Chap. 4. The Pride of the Greeks Against the Latins * 


435 Although we wish to cherish and honor the Greeks who in our days are returning to the obedience of the Apostolic See, by sustaining their customs and rites in as far as we are able with the Lord, yet we do not wish nor are we able to defer to them in these things which engender danger to souls and which detract from ecclesiastical honor. For when the church of the Greeks with certain accomplices and their protectors withdrew itself from the obedience of the Apostolic See, the Greeks began to detest the Latins so much that among other things which they impiously committed to their dishonor, if at any time Latin priests celebrated Mass on their altars, they themselves were unwilling to sacrifice on these (altars), before they washed them, as if defiled on account of this (sacrifice by the Latin priests); these same Greeks presumed with indiscreet boldness to rebaptize those baptized by the Latins, and up to this time, as we have learned, certain ones do not fear to do this. Therefore, wishing to remove such scandal from the Church, on the recommendation of the Sacred Council, we strictly command that they do not presume such things in the future, conforming themselves as obedient sons to the holy Roman Church, their mother, so that there may be "one flock and one shepherd" [John 10:16]. If anyone, however, shall presume any such thing, struck by the sword of excommunication, let him be deposed from every office and ecclesiastical favor.

Chap. 5. The Dignity of the Patriarchs * 

436 Renewing the ancient privilege of the patriarchal sees, with the approval of the sacred universal synod, we sanction that after the Roman Church, which by the ordering of the Lord before all others holds the first place of ordinary power as the mother and teacher of all the faithful of Christ, the (Church of) Constantinople holds the first, Alexandria the second, Antioch the third, and Jerusalem the fourth place.

Chap. 21.The Obligation of Making Confession and of its not 

being Revealed by the Priest, and the Obligation of Receiving 

the Sacrament at leastin Paschal Time.* 


437 Let everyone of the faithful of both sexes, after he has arrived at the years of discretion, alone faithfully confess all his sins at least once a year to his own priest, and let him strive to fulfill with all his power the penance enjoined upon him, receiving reverently the sacrament of the Eucharist at least in Paschal time, unless by chance on the advice of his own priest for some reasonable cause it shall be decided that he must abstain from the precept temporarily; otherwise both while living let him be barred from entrance to the church, and when dying let him be deprived of Christian burial. Therefore, let this salutary law be published frequently in the churches, lest anyone assume a pretext of excuse in the blindness of ignorance. Moreover if anyone from a just cause shall wish to confess his sins to another priest, let him first ask and obtain permission from his own priest, since otherwise that one (the other priest) cannot absolve or bind him. Let the priest, however, be discreet and cautious, so that skilled by practice "he may pour wine and oil" [ Luke 10:34] on the wounds of the wounded, diligently inquiring into both the circumstances of the sinner and the sin, by which prudently he may understand what kind of advice he ought to give to him, and, using various experiments to save the sick, what kind of a remedy he ought to apply.

438  Moreover, let him constantly take care, lest by word or sign or any other way whatsoever he may at any time betray the sinner; but if he should need more prudent counsel, he should seek it cautiously without any mention of the person, since he who shall presume to reveal a sin entrusted to him in confession, we decree not only must be deposed from priestly office but must also be thrust into a strict monastery to do perpetual penance.

Chap. 41.The Continuation of Good Faith in Every Precept *

439 Since "everything . . . which is not from faith is a sin" [ Rom. 14:23 ], by synodal judgment we define that no precept either canonical or civil without good faith has any value, since that which cannot be observed without mortal sin must in general be rejected by every constitution and custom. Therefore, it is necessary that he who lay down a rule at no time be conscious of anything wrong.

Chap. 62 . The Relics of the Saints * 


440 Since, because certain ones expose the relics of saints for sale and exhibit them at random, the Christian religion has often suffered detraction; so that it may not suffer detraction in the future, we have ordered by the present decree that from now on ancient relics may by no means be exhibited or exposed for sale outside a case. Moreover let no one presume that newly found relics be venerated publicly, unless first they have been approved by the authority of the Roman Pontiff 

HONORIUS III 1216-1227

The Matter of the Eucharist *

[From the letter "Perniciosus valde" to Olaus, Archbishop

of Upsala Dec. 13, 1220]

441 An exceedingly pernicious abuse, as we have heard, has arisen in your area, namely, that in the sacrifice water is being used in greater measure than wine; when according to the reasonable custom of the general Church more of wine than of water should be used. And so to your brotherhood through the apostolic writings we order that in the future you do not do this, and that you do not allow it to be done in your province.

GREGORY IX 1227-1241

The Necessity of Preserving Theological Terminology and Tradition *

[From the letter "Ab Aegyptiis" to the theologians of Paris, July 7, 1228]

442 "Touched inwardly with sorrow of heart" [Gen. 6:6], "we are filled with the bitterness of wormwood" [cf. Lam. 3:15], because as it has been brought to our attention, certain ones among you, distended like a skin by the spirit of vanity, are working with profane novelty to pass beyond the boundaries which thy fathers have set [cf. Prov. 22:28], the understanding of the heavenly page limited by the fixed boundaries of expositions in the studies of the Holy Fathers by inclining toward the philosophical doctrine of natural things, which it is not only rash but even profane to transgress; (they are doing this) for a show of knowledge, not for any profit to their hearers; so that they seem to be not taught of God or speakers of God, but rather revealed as God. For, although they ought to explain theology according to the approved traditions of the saints and not with carnal weapons, "yet with (weapons) powerful for God to destroy every height exalting itself against the knowledge of God and to lead back into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ" [cf. 2 Cor. 10:4 f.], they themselves "led away by various and strange doctrines" [cf.Heb. 13:9] reduce the "head to the tail" [cf. Deut. 28:13, 44] and they force the queen to be servant to the handmaid, that is, by earthly documents attributing the heavenly, which is of grace, to nature. Indeed relying on the knowledge of natural things more than they ought, returning "to the weak and needy elements" of the world, which they served while they were "little" and "serving them again" [ Gal. 4:9] as foolish in Christ they feed on "milk and not solid food" [ Heb. 5:12 f.], and they seem by no means to have established "the heart in grace" [cf. Heb. 13:9]; and so despoiled of their rewards "plundered and wounded by their natural possessions * they do not reduce to memory that (saying) of the Apostle which we believe they have already frequently read: "Avoiding the profane novelties of words, and the oppositions of knowledge falsely so called, which some seeking have erred concerning the faith" [cf.1 Tim. 6:20 f.]. "O foolish and slow of heart in all things" which the protectors of divine grace, namely "the prophets" the evangelists and the apostles "have spoken" [cf.Luke 24:25], since nature in itself cannot (work) anything for salvation unless it is helped by grace [see n. 105, 138]. Let presumers of this kind speak, who embracing the doctrine of natural things offer the leaves and not the fruit of words to their hearers, whose minds as if fed with husks remain empty and vacant; and their soul cannot be "delighted in fatness" [ Is. 55:2], because thirsty and dry it cannot drink "from the waters of Siloe running with silence" [cf.Is. 8:6] but rather from those which are drawn from the philosophical torrents, of which it is said: "The more they are drunk, the more the waters are thirsted for, because they do not bring satiety, but rather anxiety and labor. And while by extorted, nay rather distorted, expositions they turn the sacred words divinely inspired to the sense of the doctrine of philosophers who are ignorant of God, "do they not place the ark of the covenant by Dagon" [ 1 Samuel 5:2], and set up the image of Antiochus to be adored in the temple of the Lord? And while they try to add to faith by natural reason more than they ought, do they not render it in a certain way useless and empty since "faith does not have merit for one to whom human reason furnishes proof?" * Finally, nature believes what is understood, but faith by its freely given power comprehends what is believed by the intelligence, and bold and daring it penetrates where natural intellect is not able to reach. Will such followers of the things of nature, in whose eyes grace seems to be proscribed, say that "the Word which was in the beginning with God, was made flesh, and dwelt in us" [John 1] is of grace or of nature? As for the rest, God forbid that a "most beautiful woman" [ Song. 5:9], with "eyes painted with stiblic" [ 2 Kings 9:30] by presumers, be adorned with false colors, and that she who "girded with clothes" [ Ps. 44:10] and "adorned with jewels" [ Is. 61:10 ] proceeds splendid as a queen, be clothed with stitched semi-girdles of philosophers, sordid apparel. God forbid that "cows ill favored" and consumed with leanness, which "give no mark of being full would devour the beautiful" [Gen. 41:18 ff.] and consume the fat.

443 Therefore, lest a rash and perverse dogma of this kind "as a canker spreads" [ 2 Tim. 2:17], and infects many and makes it necessary that "Rachel bewail her lost sons" [Jer. 31:15], we order and strictly command by the authority of those present that, entirely forsaking the poison mentioned above, without the leaven of worldly knowledge, that you teach theological purity, not "adulterating the word of God" [2 Cor. 2:17] by the creations of philosophers, lest around the altar of God you seem to wish to plant a grove contrary to the teaching of the Lord, and by a commingling of honey to cause the sacrifice of doctrine to ferment which is to be presented "with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" [ 1 Cor. 5:8]. But content with the terminology established by the Fathers, you should feed the minds of your listeners with the fruit of heavenly words, so that after the leaves of the words have been removed, "they may draw from the fountains of the Savior" [ Is. 12:3 ]; the clear and limpid waters which tend principally to this, that they may build up faith or fashion morals, and refreshed by these they may be delighted with internal richness. * 


Condemnation of Various Heretics * 

[From the form of anathema published Aug. 20, I229 MI


444 "We excommunicate and anathematize... all heretics": the Cathari, the Patareni, the Pauperes of Lyons, the Passagini, the Josephini, the Arnoldistac, the Speronistae, and others, "by whatever names they may be known; having different faces indeed, but "tails coupled to each other" [ Judg. 15:4 ], because from vanity they come together at the same point." * 

The Matter and Form of Ordination * 

[From the letter to Olaus, Bishop of Lyons, Dec. 9, 1232]

445 When a priest and deacon are ordained, they receive the imposition of a hand by corporal touch, by the rite introduced by the Apostles; and if this shall be omitted, it must not be partially repeated, but at an established time for conferring orders of this kind, what through error was omitted must be carefully supplied. Moreover, the suspension of hands over the head must be made, when the prayer of ordination is uttered over the head.


The Invalidity of Marriage Subject to Conditions * 

[From fragments of the Decrees n. 104, about the years 1227-1234]

446 If conditions contrary to the nature of marriage are inserted, for example, if one says to the other: "I contract marriage with you, if you avoid the generation of children," or "until I find another more worthy by reason of reputation or riches," or, "if you surrender yourself to adultery for money," the marriage contract, however favorable it may be, is lacking in effect; although some conditions appended in matrimony, if they are disgraceful or impossible, because of its esteem, are to be considered as not added.


The Matter of Baptism *

[From the letter "Cum, sicut ex" to Sigurd, Archbishop

of Nidaros, * July 8, 1241]

447  Since as we have learned from your report, it sometimes happens because of the scarcity of water, that infants of your lands are baptized in beer, we reply to you in the tenor of those present that, since according to evangelical doctrine it is necessary "to be reborn from water and the Holy Spirit" [ John 3:5] they are not to be considered rightly baptized who are baptized in beer.

Usury * 

[From a letter to brother R. in fragments of Decree

n. 69, of uncertain date]


448  He who loans a sum of money to one sailing or going to market, since he has assumed upon himself a risk, is [not] to be considered a usurer who will receive something beyond his lot. He also who gives ten solidi, so that at another time just as many measures of grain, wine, and oil may be payed back to him, and although these are worth more at the present time, it is probably doubtful whether at the time of payment they will be worth more or less, for this reason should not be considered a usurer. By reason of this doubt he also is excused, who sells clothing, grain, wine, oil, or other wares so that at a set time he receives for them more than they are worth at that time, if, however, he had not intended so to sell them at the time of the contract.



INNOCENT IV 1243-1254


Ecumenical XIII (against Frederick II)

He did not send out dogmatic decrees.

The Rites of the Greeks *

[From the letter "Sub Catholicae" to the Bishop of

Tusculum, of the Legation of the Apostolic

See among the Greeks, March 6, 1254]

449 1. And so concerning these matters our deliberation has resulted thus, that Greeks of the same kingdom in the anointings, which are made with respect to baptism, should hold to and observe the custom of the Roman Church.--2. But the rite or custom which they are said to have, of anointing completely the bodies of those to be baptized may be tolerated, if it cannot be given up or be removed without scandal, since, whether or not it be done, it makes no great difference with regard to the efficacy or effect of baptism.--3. Also it makes no difference whether they baptize in cold or in hot water, since they are said to affirm that baptism has equal power and effect in each.

450 4. Moreover, let bishops alone mark the baptized on the forehead with chrism, because this anointing is not to be given except by bishops, since the apostles alone, whose places the bishops take, are read to have imparted the Holy Spirit by the imposition of the hand, which confirmation, or the anointing of the forehead represents.--5. Also all bishops individually in their own churches on the day of the Lord's Supper can, according to the form of the Church, prepare chrism from balsam and olive oil. For the gift of the Holy Spirit is given in the anointing with chrism. And particularly the dove, which signifies the Spirit Himself, is read to have brought the olive branch to the ark. But if the Greeks should wish rather to preserve their own ancient rite in this, namely, that the patriarch together with the archbishops and bishops, his suffragans and the archbishops with their suffragans, prepare chrism at the same time, let them be tolerated in such a custom of theirs.

451 6. Moreover no one may merely be anointed with some unction by priests or confessors for satisfaction of penance--7. But upon the sick according to the word of James the Apostle [ Jas. 5:4] let extreme unction be conferred.

452 8. Furthermore in the application of water, whether cold or hot or tepid, in the sacrifice of the altar, let the Greeks follow their own custom if they wish, as long as they believe and declare that, when the form of the canon has been preserved, it is accomplished equally by each (kind of water).--9. But let them not preserve the Eucharist consecrated on the day of the Lord's Supper for a year on the pretext of the sick, that with it they may obviously communicate themselves. It may be permitted them, however, in behalf of the sick themselves, to consecrate the body of Christ and to preserve it for fifteen days, but not for a longer period of time, lest through its long preservation, perchance by a change in the species, it be rendered less suitable to receive, although the truth and its efficacy always remain entirely the same, and never by any length of time or the mutability of time do they grow weak.--10. But in the celebration of solemn and other Masses, and concerning the hour of celebrating these, as long as in the preparation and in the consecration they observe the form of words expressed and handed down by the Lord, and (as long as) in celebrating they do not pass the ninth hour, let them be permitted to follow their own custom.

453  18. Moreover concerning fornication which an unmarried man commits with an unmarried woman, there must not be any doubt at all that it is a mortal sin, since the Apostle declares that "fornicators as adulterers are cast out from the kingdom of God" [ 1 Cor. 6:9].

454  19. In addition to this we wish and we expressly command that the Greek bishops in the future confer the seven orders according to the custom of the Roman Church, since they are said to have neglected or to have hitherto omitted three of the minor ones with respect to those to be ordained. But let those who already have been so ordained by them, because of their exceedingly great number, be kept in the orders thus received.

455  20. Because according to the Apostle "a woman if her husband is dead is freed from the law of her husband" so "that she has the free power of marrying whom she will in the Lord" [cf. Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:39], let the Greeks in no measure reprehend second or third or even later marriages; nor should they condemn but rather approve them between persons who otherwise can licitly be united to one another in marriage. Priests, however, should not by any means bless those who marry a second time.

456  23. Finally, since Truth in the Gospel asserts that "if anyone shall utter blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, neither in this life nor in the future will it be forgiven him" [cf. Matt. 12:32], by this it is granted that certain sins of the present be understood which, however, are forgiven in the future life, and since the Apostle says that "fire will test the work of each one, of what kind it is," and " if any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire" [ 1 Cor 3:13,15], and since these same Greeks truly and undoubtedly are said to believe and to affirm that the souls of those who after a penance has been received yet not performed, or who, without mortal sin yet die with venial and slight sin, can be cleansed after death and can be helped by the suffrages of the Church, we, since they say a place of purgation of this kind has not been indicated to them with a certain and proper name by their teachers, we indeed, calling it purgatory according to the traditions and authority of the Holy Fathers, wish that in the future it be called by that name in their area. For in that transitory fire certainly sins, though not criminal or capital, which before have not been remitted through penance but were small and minor sins, are cleansed, and these weigh heavily even after death, if they have been forgiven in this life.

457 24. Moreover, if anyone without repentance dies in mortal sin, without a doubt he is tortured forever by the flames of eternal hell.--25. But the souls of children after the cleansing of baptism, and of adults also who depart in charity and who are bound neither by sin nor unto any satisfaction for sin itself, at once pass quickly to their eternal fatherland.

ALEXANDER IV 1254-1261

Errors of William of St.. Amour (concerning Mendicants) *

[From Constit. "Romanus Pontifex," October 5, 1256]

458 They have published, I say, and they have rushed forth into wicked falsehoods out of an excessive passion of soul, rashly composing an exceedingly pernicious and detestable treatise. After this treatise was carefully read, and opportunely and rigidly examined, and a complete report concerning it was made to us by these, because in it (there are) some perverse and wicked things: against the power and authority of the Roman Pontiff and of his bishops; some against those who overcome the world with its riches by voluntary indigence, and for the sake of God beg in very strict poverty; others even against those who, ardently zealous for the salvation of souls and caring for sacred interests, bring about much spiritual progress in the Church of God and make much fruit there; 

459 moreover, certain statements against the salutary state of the poor or religious mendicants, as are the beloved sons, the Brother Preachers and Minor, who in the vigor of spirit after abandoning the world with its riches, aspire to their heavenly fatherland alone with all effort; and because also we find many other disagreements, certainly worthy of confutation and lasting confusion clearly contained; and because, too, this same treatise was a festering center of great scandal and matter of much disturbance, and induced a loss of souls, since it distracted the faithful from ordinary devotion and the customary giving of alms and from conversion and entrance into religion,

 We by the advice of our Brethren, by Apostolic authority have thought that this same book which begins thus: "Behold seeing they will cry from abroad," and which according to its title is called "a brief tract concerning the dangers of most recent times" as something wicked, criminal, and detestable, and the rules and documents handed down in it as wicked, false, and impious, must be rejected, and must be condemned forever, and we rigidly command that whoever has that treatise will take care to burn it and entirely destroy it immediately in whole and in any of its parts within eight days from the time at which he shall know of such a rejection and condemnation of ours.

URBAN IV 1261-1264  CLEMENT IV 1265-1268

GREGORY X 1271-1276


Ecumenical XIV (concerning the union of the Greeks)

Declaration Concerning the Procession of the Holy Spirit *

[The Most Exalted Trinity and the Catholic Faith]

460 In faithful and devout profession we declare that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two beginnings, but from one beginning, not from two breathings but from one breathing. The most holy Roman Church, the mother and teacher of all the faithful, has up to this time professed, preached, and taught this; this she firmly holds, preaches, declares, and teaches; the unchangeable and true opinion of the orthodox Fathers and Doctors, Latin as well as Greek, holds this. But because some through ignorance of the irresistible aforesaid truth have slipped into various errors, we in our desire to close the way to errors of this kind, with the approval of the sacred Council, condemn and reject (those) who presume to deny that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son; as well as (those) who with rash boldness presume to declare that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from two beginnings, and not as from one.

Profession of Faith of Michael Palaeologus *

461 We believe that the Holy Trinity, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is one God omnipotent and entire Deity in the Trinity, coessential and consubstantial, coeternal and co-omnipotent, of one will, power, and majesty, the creator of all creatures, from whom are all things, in whom are all things, through whom all things which are in the heavens and on the earth, visible, invisible, corporal, and spiritual. We believe that each individual Person in the Trinity is one true God, complete and perfect.

462  We believe that the same Son of God, the Word of God, is eternally born from the Father, consubstantial, co-omnipotent, and equal through all things to the Father in divinity, temporally born from the Holy Spirit and Mary ever Virgin with a rational soul; having two births, one eternal birth from the Father, the other temporal from the mother; true God and true man, proper and perfect in each nature, not adopted nor phantastic, but the one and only Son of God, in two and from two natures, that is divine and human, in the singleness of one person impassible and immortal in divinity, but in humanity for us and for our salvation having suffered in the true passion of the flesh, died, and was buried, descended to hell, and on the third day arose again from the dead in the true resurrection of the flesh, on the fortieth day after the resurrection with the flesh in which He arose and with His soul ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father, whence

463 He will come to judge the living and the dead, and will return to each one according to his works whether they were good or evil. We believe also that the Holy Spirit is complete and perfect and true God, proceeding from the Father and the Son, coequal and consubstantial, co-omnipotent, and coeternal through all things with the Father and the Son. We believe that this holy Trinity is not three Gods but one God, omnipotent, eternal, invisible, and unchangeable.

Variant Readings

464  We believe that the true Church is holy, Catholic, apostolic, and one, in which is given one holy baptism and true remission of all sins. We believe also in the true resurrection of this flesh, which now we bear, and in eternal life. We believe also that the one author of the New and the Old Testament, of the Law, and of the Prophets and the Apostles is the omnipotent God and Lord. This is the true Catholic Faith, and this in the above mentioned articles the most holy Roman Church holds and teaches. But because of diverse errors introduced by some through ignorance and by others from evil, it (the Church) says and teaches that those who after baptism slip into sin must not be rebaptized, but by true penance attain forgiveness of their sins. Because if they die truly repentant in charity before they have made satisfaction by worthy fruits of penance for (sins) committed and omitted, their souls are cleansed after death by purgatorical or purifying punishments, as Brother John * has explained to us. And to relieve punishments of this kind, the offerings of the living faithful are of advantage to these, namely, the sacrifices of Masses, prayers, alms, and other duties of piety, which have customarily been performed by the faithful for the other faithful according to the regulations of the Church. However, the souls of those who after having received holy baptism have incurred no stain of sin whatever, also those souls who, after contracting the stain of sin, either while remaining in their bodies or being divested of them, have been cleansed, as we have said above, are received immediately into heaven. The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, yet to be punished with different punishments. The same most holy Roman Church firmly believes and firmly declares that nevertheless on the day of judgment "all" men will be brought together with their bodies "before the tribunal of Christ" "to render an account" of their own deeds [Rom. 14:10 ].

465 The same holy Roman Church also holds and teaches that the ecclesiastical sacraments are seven: namely, one is baptism, concerning which we have spoken above; another is the sacrament of confirmation which the bishops confer through the imposition of hands when anointing the reborn; another is penance; another the Eucharist; another the sacrament of orders; another is matrimony; another extreme unction, which according to the doctrine of St. James is given to the sick. The same Roman Church prepares the sacrament of the Eucharist from unleavened bread, holding and teaching that in the same sacrament the bread is changed into the body, and the wine into the blood of Jesus Christ. But concerning matrimony it holds that neither one man is permitted to have many wives nor one woman many husbands at the same time. But she (the Church) says that second and * third marriages successively are permissible for one freed from a legitimate marriage through the death of the other party, if another canonical impediment for some reason is not an obstacle.

466  Also this same holy Roman Church holds the highest and complete primacy and spiritual power over the universal Catholic Church which she truly and humbly recognizes herself to have received with fullness of power from the Lord Himself in Blessed Peter, the chief or head of the Apostles whose successor is the Roman Pontiff. And just as to defend the truth of Faith she is held before all other things, so if any questions shall arise regarding faith they ought to be defined by her judgment. And to her anyone burdened with affairs pertaining to the ecclesiastical world can appeal; and in all cases looking forward to an ecclesiastical examination, recourse can be had to her judgment, and all churches are subject to her; their prelates give obedience and reverence to her. In her, moreover, such a plentitude of power rests that she receives the other churches to a share of her solicitude, of which many patriarchal churches the same Roman Church has honored in a special way by different privileges-its own prerogative always being observed and preserved both in general Councils and in other places.

  INNOCENT V 1276  MARTIN IV 1281-1285

  HADRIAN V 1276  HONORIUS IV 1285-1287

  JOHN XXI 1276-1277  NICHOLAS IV 1288-1292

  NICHOLAS III 1277-1280  ST. CELESTINE V 1294-(l295)


Indulgences *

[From the jubilee Bull "Antiquorum habet" Feb. 22, 1300]

467 A faithful report of the ancients holds that to those approaching the honorable Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles are granted great remissions of sins and indulgences. We..... confirm and by apostolic authority approve all such remissions and indulgences, holding them all and individually valid and pleasing . . . .

The Unity and Power of the Church * 

[From the Bull "Unam Sanctam" November 18, 1302]

468 With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this (Church) outside which there is no salvation nor remission of sin, the Spouse in the Canticle proclaiming: "One is my dove, my perfect one. One she is of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her" [ Song. 6:8]; which represents the one mystical body whose head is Christ, of Christ indeed, as God. And in this, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" [Eph. 4:5]. Certainly Noah had one ark at the time of the flood, prefiguring one Church which perfect on one cubit had one ruler and guide, namely Noah outside which we read all living things on the earth were destroyed. Moreover this we venerate and this alone, the Lord in the prophet saying: "Deliver, 0 God, my soul from the sword; my only one from the hand of the dog" [ Ps. 21:21]. For in behalf of the soul, that is, in behalf of himself, the head itself and the body he prayed at the same time, which body he called the "Only one" namely, the Church, because of the unity of the spouse, the faith, the sacraments, and the charity of the Church. This is that "seamless tunic" of the Lord [ John 19:23], which was not cut, but came forth by chance. Therefore, of the one and only Church (there is) one body, one head, not two heads as a monster, namely, Christ and Peter, the Vicar of Christ and the successor of Peter, the Lord Himself saying to Peter: "Feed my sheep" [ John 21:17]. He said "My," and generally, not individually these or those, through which it is understood that He entrusted all to him. If, therefore, the Greeks or others say that they were not entrusted to Peter and his successors, of necessity let them confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ, since the Lord says in John, "to be one flock and one Shepherd" [John 10:16].

469 And we are taught by evangelical words that in this power of his are two swords, namely spiritual and temporal. . . . Therefore, each is in the power of the Church, that is, a spiritual and a material sword. But the latter, indeed, must be exercised for the Church, the former by the Church. The former (by the hand) of the priest, the latter by the hand of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest. For it is necessary that a sword be under a sword and that temporal authority be subject to spiritual power. . . . It is necessary that we confess the more clearly that spiritual power precedes any earthly power both in dignity and nobility, as spiritual matters themselves excel the temporal. . . . For, as truth testifies, spiritual power has to establish earthly power, and to judge if it was not good. . . . Therefore, if earthly power deviates, it will be judged by spiritual power; but if a lesser spiritual deviates, by its superior; but if the supreme (spiritual power deviates), it can be judged by God alone, not by man, as the Apostle testifies: "The spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is judged by no one" [1 Cor. 2:15]. But this authority, although it is given to man and is exercised by man, is not human, but rather divine, and has been given by the divine Word to Peter himself and to his successors in him, whom the Lord acknowledged an established rock, when he said to Peter himself: "Whatsoever you shall bind" etc. [ Matt. 16:19]. Therefore, "whosoever resists this power so ordained by God, resists the order of God" [cf.Rom. 13:2], unless as a Manichaean he imagines that there are two beginnings, which we judge false and heretical, because, as Moses testifies, not "in the beginnings" but "in the beginning God created the heaven and earth" [cf. Gen. 1:1]. Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.

BENEDICT XI 1303-1304

The Repeated Confession of Sins *

[From the order "Inter cunctas sollicitudines" Feb. 17, 1304]

470 . . . Although . . . it is not necessary to confess the same sins a second time, nevertheless, because of the shame which is a large part of repentance, we consider it of benefit to repeat the confession of the same sins, we strongly enjoin the Brothers [Preachers and Minors] carefully to advise those confessing, and in their sermons exhort that they confess to their own priests at least once in a year, declaring that without doubt this pertains to the advancement of souls.

CLEMENT V 1305-1314


Ecumenical XV (abolition of the Templars)

The Errors of the Beghards and the Beguines (the State

of Perfection) *

471 1. That man in the present life can acquire so great and such a degree of perfection that he will be rendered inwardly sinless, and that he will not be able to advance farther in grace; for, as they say, if anyone could always advance, he could become more perfect than Christ.

472  2. That it is not necessary for man to fast or to pray, after he has attained a degree of such perfection; because then his sensuality is so perfectly subject to the spirit and to reason that man can freely grant to the body whatever it pleases.

473  3. That those who are in the aforementioned degree of perfection and in that spirit of liberty are not subject to human obedience, nor are they bound to any precepts of the Church, because (as they assert) "where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [2 Cor. 3:17].

474  4. That man can so attain final beatitude according to every degree of perfection in the present life, as he will obtain it in the blessed life.

475 5. That any intellectual nature in its own self is naturally blessed, and that the soul does not need the light of glory raising it to see God and to enjoy Him beatifically.

476 6. That it is characteristic of the imperfect man to exercise himself in acts of virtue, and the perfect soul gives off virtues by itself.

477 7. That a woman's kiss, since nature does not incline to this, is a mortal sin; but the carnal act, since nature inclines to this, is not a sin, especially when the one exercising it is tempted.

478 8. That in the elevation of the body of Jesus Christ they ought not to arise nor to show reverence to it, declaring that it would be characteristic of the imperfection in them, if from the purity and depth of their contemplations they should descend to such a degree as to think about other things regarding the minister [other text, mystery] or the sacrament of the Eucharist or the passion of the humanity of Christ.

 A judgment: We with the approval of the Sacred Council condemn and disapprove completely that sect together with its past errors, restraining more strictly lest anyone in the future hold, approve, or defend them.

Usury *

[From the edict "Ex gravi ad nos"]

479 If anyone shall fall into that error, so that he obstinately presumes to declare that it is not a sin to exercise usury, we decree that he must be punished as a heretic.

The Errors of Peter John Olivi (The Wounds of Christ,

the Union of the Soul and Body,. and Baptism *) 

[From the edict "De Summa Trinitate et fide catholica"]


480 (The incarnation). Clinging firmly to the "foundation" of the Catholic faith "against which," as the Apostle testifies "no one is able to place anything different" [cf. 1 Cor. 3:11], we openly acknowledge with holy mother Church that the only begotten Son of God in all these things in which God the Father is, existing eternally together with the Father, parts of our nature as well as unity, from which He Himself existing as true God in Himself became true man, namely, a human body capable of suffering and an intellective or rational soul, forming the body by Himself and essentially, assumed it temporarily in the Virginal womb unto the unity of its substance and person. And that the same Word of God in this assumed nature, for working out the salvation of all, wished not only to be fastened to the Cross and to die on it, but also, after His Spirit had been given up, permitted His side to be pierced with a lance, that in the streams of water and blood which flowed from it there might be formed the one and only immaculate virgin, holy Mother Church, the Spouse of Christ, just as from the side of the first man asleep Eve was formed into a marriage with him, that so truth should respond to a certain figure of the first and ancient Adam "who," according to the Apostle, "is formed for the future" [cf.Rom. 5:14], in our new Adam, that, is, Christ. That is, I say, the truth, made strong by the testimony of that very great eagle which the prophet Ezechiel saw flying around the other evangelical animals, namely of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, who narrating in his Gospel the condition and order of this sacrament said: "But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it has given testimony and his testimony is true. And he knows that he speaks the truth, that you [also] may believe" [John 19:33-35]. We, therefore, turning our attention to such remarkable testimony and to the common opinion of apostolic reflection of the Holy Fathers and the Doctors in accord with which alone it is proper to declare these things, with the approval of the sacred council we declare that the above mentioned Apostle and Evangelist John had kept the right order of the deed accomplished in the aforesaid, when he said that Christ "already dead, one of the soldiers opened His side with a lance."

481 [The soul as a form of the body]. Furthermore, with the approval of the above mentioned sacred council we reprove as erroneous and inimical to the Catholic faith every doctrine or position rashly asserting or turning to doubt that the substance of the rational or intellective soul truly and in itself is not a form of the human body, defining, so that the truth of sincere faith may be known to all, and the approach to all errors may be cut off, lest they steal in upon us, that whoever shall obstinately presume in turn to assert, define, or hold that the rational or intellective soul is not the form of the human body in itself and essentially must be regarded as a heretic.

482 Besides, one baptism which regenerates all who are baptized in Christ must be faithfully confessed by all just as "one God and one faith" [Eph. 4:5], which celebrated in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit we believe to be commonly the perfect remedy for salvation for adults as for children.

483 But because certain theological doctors are found to have contrary opinions as to how great the effect of baptism (is) in the case of children, certain of these saying that through the power of baptism indeed sin is remitted to children, but grace is not conferred, others asserting on the contrary that sin is remitted for them in baptism and virtues and forming grace are infused as a habit [see n. 410], although not for them at the time as a function, we, however, considering the general efficacy of the death of Christ, which through baptism is applied equally to all the baptized, with the approval of the sacred council, consider the second opinion to be preferred, which says that forming grace and virtue are conferred on children as on adults, as more probable, more consonant and more in agreement with the words of the saints and the modern doctors of theology.

JOHN XXII 1316-1334

The Errors of the Fraticelli (the Church and the Sacraments) *

[Condemned in the law "Gloriosam Ecclesiarn," January 23, 1318]

484 As a report worthy of faith holds, the sons of the above mentioned rashness and impiety have been driven to this weakness of mind, that they think impiously in opposition to the most renowned and salutary truth of the Christian faith; they contemn the sacraments of the Church which should be venerated, and in an attack of blind fury they who should be crushed by it, press against the glorious primacy of the Roman Church, saying that it ought to be overthrown by all nations. 

485 (1) Thus, the first error which breaks forth from their dark workshop invents two churches, the one carnal, packed with riches, overflowing with riches [others, luxuries], stained with crimes which they declare the Roman prefect and other inferior prelates dominate; the other spiritual, cleansed by frugality, beautiful in virtue, bound by poverty, in which they only and their companions are held, and which they, because of the merit of their spiritual life, if any faith should be applied to lies, rule.

486 (2) The second error, by which the conscience of the above mentioned insolent is stained, cries out that the venerable priests of the Church and other ministers of jurisdiction and order' are so devoid of authority that they cannot pass sentences, nor perform the sacraments nor instruct nor teach the subject people, imagining that these have been deprived of all ecclesiastical power, whom they see are free of their own heresy; because only in themselves (as they themselves vainly think), just as the sanctity of a spiritual life, so authority remains; and in this matter they are following the error of the Donatists. . . .

487 (3) The third error of these men conspires with the error of the Waldensians, since both declare that an oath was to be taken in no case, propounding that who happen to be bound by the sacredness of an oath are defiled by the contagion of mortal sin and are bound by punishment. 

488  (4) The fourth blasphemy of such wicked men, breaking forth from the poisoned fount of the Waldensian teachings pretends that priests rightly and even legitimately ordained according to the form of the Church, yet weighed down by any sins cannot consecrate or confer the ecclesiastical sacraments. . . .

489  (5) The fifth error so blinds the minds of these that they declare that the Gospel of Christ has been fulfilled in them alone at this time, because up to now (as they foolishly think) it has been concealed or indeed entirely extinct. . . .

490 There are many other things which these very presumptuous men are said to babble against the venerable sacrament of matrimony; many things which they foolishly believe concerning the course of time and the end of time; many things which they propagate with lamentable vanity concerning the coming of the Antichrist which they declare even now to be close at hand. All these things, because we recognize them as partly heretical, partly senseless, partly fabulous, we decree must be condemned together with their authors rather than pursued or refuted with a pen. . . .


The Errors of John of Pouilly ("Confession and the Church") * 

[Examined and condemned in the edict "Vas electionis," July 21, 1321]


491  (1). That they who have confessed to brothers having the general permission of hearing confessions are bound to confess again those same sins which have been confessed, to their own priest.

492 (2). That under the existing law "everyone of each sex" published in the General Council [Later. IV. see n. 437] the Roman Pontiff cannot bring it about that parishioners be not bound to confess all their sins once a year to their own priest, who, it says, is the parish curate; indeed neither could God do this, because, as it says, this involves contradiction.

493  (3). That the Pope cannot give the general power of hearing confessions, indeed neither can God, without the one who has confessed to one having general power being bound to confess these same sins again to his own priest, who, it says, as we have already indicated, is the parish curate. . . .

 All the above mentioned articles and each one of them we, by apostolic authority, condemn and reprove as false and erroneous and deviating from sound authority . . . . declaring that the true and Catholic doctrine is contrary to them.

Hell and Limbo(?)*

[From the letter "Nequaquam sine dolore" to the Armenians,

Nov. 21, 1321]

493a It (The Roman Church) teaches. . . . . that the souls . . . . . of those who die in mortal sin, or with only original sin descend immediately into hell; however, to be punished with different penalties and in different places.

The Poverty of Christ*

[From the edict "Cum inter nonnullos," Nov. 13, 1323]

494 Since among some learned men it often happens that doubt is again raised as to whether should be branded as heretical to affirm persistently that our Redeemer and Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles did not possess anything either in particular or even in common, even though there are different and adverse opinions on that question, we, in a desire to put an end to this controversy, declare on the advice of our brethren by this perpetual edict that a persistent assertion of this kind shall henceforth be branded as erroneous and heretical, since it expressly contradicts Sacred Scripture, which in many passages asserts that they did have some possessions; and since with regard to the aforementioned it openly submits that Sacred Scripture itself, by which surely the articles of orthodox faith are approved, contains a ferment of falsehood and consequently, in so far as in it lies, completely voiding the faith of Scripture it renders the Catholic faith, by destroying its approval, doubtful and uncertain. Moreover, in the future to affirm persistently that the right to use these same possessions which Sacred Scripture testifies that they had was by no means appropriate to our aforesaid Redeemer and His apostles, and that they did not have the right to sell or to donate them or to acquire others by means of them, which, nevertheless, Sacred Scripture testifies that they did according to the aforesaid or submits expressly that they could have done, since such an assertion evidently includes use and deeds on their part, in the aforesaid, it is not just; since surely it is wicked, contrary to Sacred Scripture, and to Catholic doctrine about the use, actions, or deeds on the part of our Redeemer, the Son of God, we declare on the advice of our brethren that the persistent assertion shall henceforth be worthily branded as erroneous and heretical.


Errors of Marsilius of Padua and John of Jandun

(The Constitution of the Church) * 

[Examined and condemned in the edict "Licet iuxta

doctrinam" Oct. 23, 1327]

495 (1) That what we read about Christ in the Gospel of St. Matthew, that He Himself paid tribute to Caesar, when He ordered the stater which had been taken from the mouth of the fish [cf.Matt. 17:26] to be given to those who sought a drachma, He did this not with condescension out of liberality or piety, but forced by necessity.

 [ Thence according to the Bull they concluded ]:

 That all temporal affairs of the Church are subject to the emperor and he can accept these things as his own.

496 (2) That blessed Peter the Apostle had no more authority than the other Apostles had nor was he the head of the other apostles. Likewise that God did not send forth any head of the Church, nor did He make anyone His vicar.

497  (3) That it pertains to the emperor to correct, to appoint, to depose, and to punish the pope.

498 (4) That all priests, whether the pope or archbishop or a simple priest, are by the institution of Christ equal in authority and jurisdiction. (5) That the whole Church joined together can punish no man by 499 forced punishment, unless the emperor permits this.

500 We declare by sentence the above mentioned articles..... to be contrary to Sacred Scripture and enemies of the Catholic faith, heretics, or heretical and erroneous,and also that the above mentioned Marsilius and John, will be heretics-rather they will be manifest and notorious archheretics.