sources of catholic dogma 700-800

700  The fifth sacrament is extreme unction, whose matter is the olive oil blessed by the bishop. This sacrament should be given only to the sick of whose death there is fear; and he should be anointed in the following places: on the eyes because of sight, on the ears because of hearing, on the nostrils because of smell, on the mouth because of taste and speech, on the hands because of touch, on the feet because of gait, on the loins because of the delight that flourishes there. The form of this sacrament is the following: Per istam sanctam unctionem et suam piissimam misericordiam indulgeat tibi Dominus, quidquid per visum, etc. (Through this holy anointing and his most kind mercy may the Lord forgive you whatever through it, etc.). And similarly on the other members. The minister of this sacrament is the priest. Now the effect is the healing of the mind and, moreover, in so far as it is expedient, of the body itself also. On this sacrament blessed James, the Apostle says: "Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man; and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him" [Jas. 5:14, 15].

701 The sixth sacrament is that of order, the matter of which is that through whose transmission the order is conferred: * just as the priesthood is transmitted through the offering of the chalice with wine and of the paten with bread; the diaconate, however, by the giving of the book of the Gospels; but the subdiaconate by the giving of the empty chalice with the empty paten superimposed; and similarly with regard to the others by allotment of things pertaining to their ministry. The form of such priesthood is: Accipe potestatem offerendi sacrificium in ecclesia pro vivis et mortuis, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.And thus with regard to the forms of the other orders, as is contained extensively in the Roman pontifical. The ordinary minister of this sacrament is the bishop. The effect is increase of grace, so that the one ordained be a worthy minister.

702  The seventh is the sacrament of matrimony, which is the sign of the joining of Christ and the Church according to the Apostle who says: "This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the church" [Eph. 5:32]. The efficient cause of matrimony is regularly mutual consent expressed by words in person. Moreover, there is allotted a threefold good on the part of matrimony. First, the progeny is to be accepted and brought up for the worship of God. Second, there is faith which one of the spouses ought to keep for the other. Third, there is the indivisibility of marriage, because it signifies the indivisible union of Christ and the Church. Although, moreover, there may be a separation of the marriage couch by reason of fornication, nevertheless, it is not permitted to contract another marriage, since the bond of a marriage legitimately contracted is perpetual.

A Decree in Behalf of the Jacobites * 

[From the Bull "Cantata Domino," February 4, Florentine style,

1441, modern, 1442]

703 The sacrosanct Roman Church, founded by the voice of our Lord and Savior, firmly believes, professes, and preaches one true God omnipotent, unchangeable, and eternal, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; one in essence, three in persons; Father unborn, Son born of the Father, Holy Spirit proceeding from Father and Son; that the Father is not Son or Holy Spirit, that Son is not Father or Holy Spirit; that Holy Spirit is not Father or Son; but Father alone is Father, Son alone is Son, Holy Spirit alone is Holy Spirit. The Father alone begot the Son of His own substance; the Son alone was begotten of the Father alone; the Holy Spirit alone proceeds at the same time from the Father and Son. These three persons are one God, and not three gods, because the three have one substance, one essence, one nature, one divinity, one immensity, one eternity, and all these things are one where no opposition of relationship interferes . * 

704  "Because of this unity the Father is entire in the Son, entire in the Holy Spirit; the Son is entire in the Father, entire in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is entire in the Father, entire in the Son. No one either excels another in eternity, or exceeds in magnitude, or is superior in power. For the fact that the Son is of the Father is eternal and without beginning. and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son is eternal and without beginning.''*Whatever the Father is or has, He does not have from another, but from Himself; and He is the principle without principle. Whatever the Son is or has, He has from the Father, and is the principle from a principle. Whatever the Holy Spirit is or has, He has simultaneously from the Father and the Son. But the Father and the Son are not two principles of the Holy Spirit, but one principle, just as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of the creature, but one principle.

705  Whoever, therefore, have adverse and contrary opinions the Church disapproves and anathematizes and declares to be foreign to the Christian body which is the Church. Hence it condemns Sabellius who confuses the persons and completely takes away their real distinction. It condemns the Arians, the Eunomians, the Macedonians who say that only the Father is the true God, but put the Son and the Holy Spirit in the order of creatures. It condemns also any others whatsoever who place grades or inequality in the Trinity. 

706 Most strongly it believes, professes, and declares that the one true God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, is the creator of all things visible and invisible, who, when He wished, out of His goodness created all creatures, spiritual as well as corporal; good indeed, since they were made by the highest good, but changeable, since they were made from nothing, and it asserts that nature is not evil, since all nature, in so far as it is nature, is good. It professes one and the same God as the author of the Old and New Testament, that is, of the Law and the Prophets and the Gospel, since the saints of both Testaments have spoken with the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, whose books, which are contained under the following titles it accepts and venerates. [The books of the canon follow, cf.n. 784; EB n. 32]. 

707 Besides it anathematizes the madness of the Manichaeans, who have established two first principles, one of the visible, and another of the invisible; and they have said that there is one God of the New Testament, another God of the Old Testament.

708 It believe, professes, and proclaims that one person of the Trinity, true God, Son of God born from the Father, consubstantial and coeternal with the Father, in the plenitude of time which the inscrutable depth of divine counsel has disposed for the salvation of the human race, assumed true and complete human nature from the immaculate womb of the Virgin Mary, and joined with itself in the unity of person, with such unity that whatever is of God there, is not separated from man, and whatever is of man, is not divided from the Godhead; He is one and the same undivided, both natures, God and man, remaining in their own peculiar properties, God and man, Son of God and Son of man, equal to the Father according to divinity, less than the Father according to humanity, immortal and eternal from the nature of divinity, passible and temporal from the condition of assumed humanity. 

709 It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that the Son of God in the assumed humanity was truly born of the Virgin, truly suffered, truly died and was buried, truly rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father, and will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead.

710 It, moreover, anathematizes, execrates, and condemns every heresy that suggests contrary things. And first it condemns Ebion, Cerinthus, Marcion, Paul of Samosata, Photinus, and all similar blasphemers, who, being unable to accept the personal union of humanity with the Word, denied that our Lord Jesus Christ was true God, proclaiming Him pure man, who was called divine man by reason of a greater participation in divine grace, which He had received by merit of a more holy life. It anathematizes also Manichaeus with his followers, who, thinking vainly that the Son of God had assumed not a true but an ephemeral body, entirely do away with the truth of the humanity in Christ. And also Valentinus who asserts that the Son of God took nothing from the Virgin Mary, but assumed a heavenly body and passed through the womb of the Virgin just as water flows and runs through an aqueduct. Arius also, who asserted that the body assumed from the Virgin lacked a soul, and would have the Godhead in place of the soul. Also Apollinaris, who, understanding that there was no true humanity if in Christ the soul is denied as giving the body form, posited only a sensitive soul, but held that the Godhead of the Word took the place of a rational soul. It also anathematizes Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius who assert that humanity was united with the Son of God through grace, and hence there are two persons in Christ, just as they confess that there are two natures, since they were unable to understand that the union of humanity with the Word was hypostatic, and so refused to accept the subsistence of God. For according to this blasphemy, the Word was not made flesh, but the Word through grace lived in the flesh; that is, He was made not the Son of God, but rather the Son of God lived in man. It anathematizes also, execrates, and condemns Eutyches the archimandrite; since he believed according to the blasphemy of Nestorius that the truth of the Incarnation is excluded, and therefore it is fitting that humanity was so united to the Word of God that the person of the Godhead and of humanity were one and the same, and also, he could not grasp the unity of person as long as a plurality of natures existed, just as he established that there was one person of the Godhead and humanity in Christ, so he asserted that there was one nature, meaning that before the union there was a duality of natures, but in the assumption they passed over into one nature, with the greatest blasphemy and impiety granting either that humanity was turned into Godhead, or Godhead into humanity. It also anathematizes, execrates, and condemns Macarius of Antioch and all who hold similar views; although he had a correct understanding of the duality of natures and the unity of person, yet he erred greatly concerning the operations of Christ when he said that in Christ there was one operation and one will on the part of both natures. All these, together with their heresies, the Holy Roman Church anathematizes, affirming that there are two wills and two operations in Christ.

711  It firmly believes, professes, and teaches that no one conceived of man and woman was ever freed of the domination of the Devil, except through the merit of the mediator between God and men, our Lord Jesus Christ; He who was conceived without sin, was born and died, through His death alone laid low the enemy of the human race by destroying our sins, and opened the entrance to the kingdom of heaven, which the first man by his own sin had lost with all succession; and that He would come sometime, all the sacred rites of the Old Testament, sacrifices, sacraments, and ceremonies disclosed.

712 It firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosiac law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to the divine worship at that time, after our Lord's coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. Yet it does not deny that after the passion of Christ up to the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been observed until they were believed to be in no way necessary for salvation; but after the promulgation of the Gospel it asserts that they cannot be observed without the loss of eternal salvation. All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors. Therefore, it commands all who glory in the name of Christian, at whatever time, before or after baptism' to cease entirely from circumcision, since, whether or not one places hope in it, it cannot be observed at all without the loss of eternal salvation. Regarding children, indeed, because of danger of death, which can often take place, when no help can be brought to them by another remedy than through the sacrament of baptism, through which they are snatched from the domination of the Devil and adopted among the sons of God, it advises that holy baptism ought not to be deferred for forty or eighty days, or any time according to the observance of certain people, but it should be conferred as soon as it can be done conveniently, but so that, when danger of death is imminent, they be baptized in the form of the Church, early without delay, even by a layman or woman, if a priest should be lacking, just as is contained more fully in the decree of the Armenians [[n.. 696].

713  It believes firmly, professes, and proclaims that "every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving" [ 1 Tim. 4:4], since, according to the word of the Lord [ Matt.. 15: 11 ], "not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man"; and it asserts that the indifference of clean and unclean foods of the Mosiac law pertains to the ceremonials which, with the rise of the Gospel passed out of existence and ceased to be efficacious.. And it says also that the prohibition of theapostles "from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood and from things strangled [ Acts 15:29] befitted that time in which one Church arose from the Jews and the Gentiles, who before lived according to different ceremonies and customs, so that even the Gentiles observed some things in common with the Jews, and occasion was furnished for coming together into one worship of God and one faith, and ground for dissension was removed; since to the Jews, by reason of an ancient custom, blood and things strangled seemed abominable, and they could think that the Gentiles would return to idolatry because of the eating of things sacrificed. But when the Christian religion is so propagated that no carnal Jew appears in it, but all passing over to the Church, join in the same rites and ceremonies of the Gospel, believing "all things clean to the clean" [Tit. 1:15], with the ending of the cause for this apostolic prohibition, the effect also ended. Thus it declares that the nature of no food, which society admits, is to be condemned, and no distinction is to be made by anyone at all, whether man or woman, between animals, and by whatever kind of death they meet their end; although for the health of body, for the exercise of virtue, for regular and ecclesiastical discipline many things not denied should be given up, since, according to the Apostle, "all things are lawful, but all things are not expedient" [1 Cor.. 6:12; 10:22].

714 It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church. *

(The decrees forGreeksand Armenians of the ecumenical

Synod accepted by the Roman Church follow.)

715 But since in the above written decree of the Armenians the form of the words, which in the consecration of the body and blood of the Lord the holy Roman Church confirmed by the teaching and authority of the Apostles had always been accustomed to use, was not set forth, we have thought that it ought to be inserted here. In the consecration of the body the Church uses this form of the words: "For this is my body"; but in the consecration of the blood, it uses the following form of the words: "For this is the chalice of my blood, the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which will be poured forth for you and many for the remission of sins." But it makes no difference at all whether the wheaten bread in which the sacrament is effected was cooked on that day or before; for, provided that the substance of bread remains, there can be no doubt but that after the aforesaid words of the consecration of the body have been uttered with the intention of effecting, it will be changed immediately into the substance of the true body of Christ.

The decrees for the Syrians, Chaldeans, Meronites

contain nothing new


NICHOLAS V 1447 - 1455


Usury and Contract for Rent *

[From the Constitution ""Regimini universalis," May 6, 1455]

716 A petition recently addressed to us proposed the following matter: For a very long time, and with nothing in memory running to the contrary, in various parts of Germany, for the common advantage of society, there has been implanted among the inhabitants of those parts and maintained up to this time through constant observance, a certain custom. By this custom, these inhabitants--or, at least, those among them, who in the light of their condition and indemnities, seemed likely to profit from the arrangement--encumber their goods, their houses, their fields, their farms, their possessions, and inheritances, selling the revenues or annual rents in marks, florins, or groats (according as this or that coin is current in those particular regions), and for each mark, florin, or groat in question, from those who have bought those coins, whether as revenues or as rents, have been in the habit of receiving a certain price appropriately fixed as to size according to the character of the particular circumstances, in conformity with the agreements made in respect of the relevant properties between themselves and the buyers. As guarantee for the payment of the aforesaid revenues and rents they mortgage those of the aforesaid houses, lands, fields, farms, possessions, and inheritances that have been expressly named * in the relevant contracts. In the favor of the sellers it is added to the contract that in proportion as they have, in whole or in part, returned to the said buyers the money thus received, they are entirely quit and free of the obligation to pay the revenues and rents corresponding to the sum returned. But the buyers, on the other hand, even though the said goods, houses, lands, fields, possessions, and inheritances might by the passage of time be reduced to utter destruction and desolation, would not be empowered to recover even in respect of the price paid.

 Now, by some a certain doubt and hesitation is entertained as to whether contracts of this kind are to be considered licit. Consequently, certain debtors, pretending these contracts would be usurious, seek to find thereby an occasion for the nonpayment of revenues and rents owed by them in this way. . . . We, therefore, ... in order to remove every doubt springing from these hesitations, by our Apostolic authority, do declare by these present letters that the aforesaid contracts are licit and in agreement with law, and that the said sellers, yielding all opposition, are effectively bound to the payment of the rents and revenues in conformity with the terms of the said contracts. [The reader is referred to the discussion of this text given by L. Choupin A.Vacant-E Mangenot, Dict. de theol. cash. 2 (Paris, 1905) 1351-1362 (art.'Calliste III,' sec. ii). The Translator.]

PIUS II 1458-1464

Appeal to the General Council *

[From the Bull "Exsecrabilis,"* Jan. 18; in the ancient Roman opinion 1459; that of today 1460]

717 The execrable and hitherto unheard of abuse has grown up in our day, that certain persons, imbued with the spirit of rebellion, and not from a desire to secure a better judgment, but to escape the punishment of some offense which they have committed, presume to appeal to a future council from the Roman Pontiff, the vicar of Jesus Christ, to whom in the person of the blessed PETER was said: "Feed my sheep" [John 21:17], and, "Whatever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven" [Matt. 16:19]. . . . Wishing therefore to expel this pestiferous poison far from the Church of Christ and to care for the salvation of the flock entrusted to us, and to remove every cause of offense from the fold of our Savior . . . we condemn all such appeals and disprove them as erroneous and detestable.

Errors of Zanini de Solcia *

[Condemned in the letter "Cum sicut," Nov. 14, 1459]

717a (1) That the world should be naturally destroyed and ended by the heat of the sun consuming the humidity of the land and the air in such a way that the elements are set on fire.

717b (2) That all Christians are to be saved.

717c (3) That God created another world than this one, and that in its time many other men and women existed and that consequently Adam was not the first man.

717d (4) Likewise, that Jesus Christ suffered and died not for the redemption because of His love of the human race, but by the law of the stars.

717e  (5) Likewise, that Jesus Christ, Moses, and Mohammed ruled the world by the pleasure of their wills.

717f  (6) And that the same Lord our Jesus is illegitimate, and that He exists in the consecrated hosts not with respect to His humanity but with respect to His divinity only.

717g (7) That wantonness outside of matrimony is not a sin, unless by the prohibition of positive laws, and that these have not disposed of the matter well, and are checked by ecclesiastical prohibition only from following the opinion of Epicurus as true.

717h  (8) Moreover that the taking away of another's property is not a mortal sin, even though against the will of the master.

717i  (a) Finally that the Christian law through the succession of another law is about to have an end, just as the law of Moses has been terminated by the law of Christ.

 Zaninus, Canon of Pergamum, is said to have presumed to Affirm these propositions"in a sacrilegious attempt against the dogmas of the holy Fathers and later to assert them rashly with polluted lips,"but afterwards to have freely renounced "these aforesaid errors."

The Blood of Christ * 

[From the Bull "Ineffabilis summi providentia Patris," Aug. 1, 1464]

718 . . . By apostolic authority by the tenor of these presents we state and ordain that none of the aforesaid Brethren (Minors and Preachers) hereafter be allowed to dispute, to preach, to make a statement either publicly or privately, concerning the above mentioned doubt, or to persuade others, that it may be heretical or a sin to hold or to believe that the most sacred blood itself (as is set before us) in the three days of the passion of the same Lord Jesus Christ from the divinity Himself was or was not divided or separated in some way, until beyond a question of a doubt of this kind what must be held has been defined by us and the Apostolic See.

PAUL II 1464-1471

SIXTUS IV 1471-1484

Errors of Peter de Rivo (concerning the Truth of Future Contingencies) *

[Condemned in the Bull "Ad Christi vicarii,'' Jan. 3, 1474]

719 (1) When Elizabeth spoke to the Blessed Virgin Mary saying: "Blessed art thou that hast believed because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord" [Luke 1:45], she seemed to intimate that those propositions, namely: "Thou shalt bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus: He shall be great, etc." [Luke 1:31],do not yet contain truth.

720 (2) Likewise, when Christ after His resurrection said: "All things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms concerning me" [ Luke 24:44] seems to have implied that such propositions were devoid of truth.

721 (3) Likewise, when the Apostle said: "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of things [ Heb. 10:1], he seems to imply that the propositions of the Old Law which concerned the future, did not yet contain the prescribed truth.

722 (4) Likewise, that it does not suffice for the truth of the proposition concerning the future, that the thing will be, but there is required that it will be without impediment.

723 (5) Likewise, it is necessary to say one of two things, either that in the articles of faith concerning the future actual truth is not present, or that what is signified in them through divine power could not have been hindered.

 They were condemnedas "scandalous and deviating from the path of Catholic faith";they were revoked by the written word of Peter himself.

Indulgence for the Dead 

[From the Bull in favor of the Church of St. Peter

of Xancto, Aug. 3, 1476] * 


723a In order that the salvation of souls may be procured rather at that time when they need the prayers of others more, and when they can be of benefit to themselves less, by Apostolic authority from the treasure of the Church wishing to come to the aid of the souls who departed from the life united with Christ through charity, and who, while they lived, merited that they be favored by such indulgence; desiring this with paternal selection, in so far as with God's help we can, confident in the mercy of God and in the plenitude of His power, we both concede and grant that, if any parents, friends, or other faithful of Christ, moved in behalf of these souls who are exposed to purgatorial fire for the expiation of punishments due them according to divine justice, during the aforementioned ten year period give a certain sum of money for the repair of the church of Xancto, or a value according to an arrangement with the dean or overseer of said church, or our collector by visiting said church or send it during said ten year period through messengers delegated by the same, we grant as a suffrage a plenary remission to assist and intercede for the souls in purgatory, in whose behalf they paid the said sum of money or the value, as mentioned above, for the remission of punishments.


Errors of Peter de Osma (the Sacrament of Penance) * 

[Condemned in the Bull "Licet ea," August 9, 1479]

724 (1) That the confession of sins in species will be found really in a statute of the universal Church, not in divine law;

725 (2) that mortal sins with respect to blame and punishment of the other world are abolished without confession, by contrition of heart only;

726  (3) moreover, bad thoughts are forgiven by displeasure only;

727  (4) that it is not demanded of necessity that confession be secret; *

728 (5) that those who confess should not be absolved, if penance has not been done;

729   (6) that the Roman Pontiff cannot remit the punishment of purgatory;*

731 (7) cannot dispense with respect to what the universal Church has established;

732 (8) also that the sacrament of penance, as far as concerns the accumulation of grace, is of nature, but not of the institution of the New or Old Testament.

733 On these propositions we read in the Bull, Sect. 6: . . We declare each and all the above mentioned propositions to be false, contrary to the holy Catholic faith, erroneous, and scandalous, and entirely at variance with the truth of the Gospels, also contrary to the decrees of the holy Fathers and other apostolic constitutions and to contain manifest heresy.

The Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. *

[From the Constitution "Cum praeexcelsa," Feb. 28, 1476]

734 While in an examination of devout deliberation we are thoroughly investigating the distinguished marks of merit, by which the Queen of Heaven, the glorious Virgin Mother of God, is preferred to all in the heavenly courts; just as among the stars the morning star foretells the dawn, we consider it just, even a duty, that all the faithful of Christ for the miraculous conception of this immaculate Virgin, give praise and thanks to Almighty God (whose providence beholding from all eternity the humility of this same Virgin, to reconcile with its author human nature exposed to eternal death because of the fall of the first man, by the preparation of the Holy Spirit constituted her the habitation of His Only-begotten Son, from whom He took on the flesh of our mortality for the redemption of His people, and the Virgin remained immaculate even after childbirth), and therefore that they say Masses and other divine offices instituted in the Church of God, and that they attend them to ask by indulgences and by the remission of sins to become more worthy of divine grace by the merits of and by the intercession of this same Virgin.

[From the Constitution "Grave nimis," Sept. 4, 1483]

735 Although the Holy Roman Church solemnly celebrates the public feast of the conception of the immaculate Mary ever Virgin, and has ordained a special and proper office for this feast, some preachers of different orders, as we have heard, in their sermons to the people in public throughout different cities and lands have not been ashamed to affirm up to this time, and daily cease not to affirm, that all those who hold orassert that the same glorious and immaculate mother of God was conceived without the stain of original sin, sin mortally, or that they are heretical' who celebrate the office of this same immaculate conception, and that those who listen to the sermons of those who affirm that she was conceived without this sin, sin grievously. . . .

 We reprove and condemn assertions of this kind as false and erroneous and far removed from the truth, and also by apostolic authority and the tenor of these present [letters] we condemn and disapprove on this point published books which contain it . . . [but these also we reprehend] who have dared to assert that those holding the contrary opinion, namely, that the glorious Virgin Mary was conceived with original sin are guilty of the crime of heresy and of mortal sin, since up to this time there has been no decision made by the Roman Church and the Apostolic See.

  INNOCENT VIII 1484-1492  PIUS III 1503

  ALEXANDER VI 1492-1503   JULIUS 1503-1513

LEO X 1513-1521


Ecumenical XVIII (The Reform of the Church)

The Human Soul (against the Neo-Aristoteliars) *

[From the Bull "Apostolic) Regiminis" (Session VIII),Dec. 19, 1513]

738 Since in our days (and we painfully bring this up) the sower of cockle, ancient enemy of the human race, has dared to disseminate and advance in the field of the Lord a number of pernicious errors, always rejected by the faithful, especially concerning the nature of the rational soul, namely, that it is mortal, or one in all men, and some rashly philosophizing affirmed that this is true at least according to philosophy, in our desire to offer suitable remedies against a plague of this kind, with the approval of this holy Council, we condemn and reject all who assert that the intellectual soul is mortal, or is one in all men, and those who cast doubt on these truths, since it [the soul] is not only truly in itself and essentially the form of the human body, as was defined in the canon of Pope CLEMENT V our predecessor of happy memory published in the (yen eral) Council of VIENNE [n. 481] but it is also multiple according to the multitude of bodies into which it is infused, multiplied, and to be multiplied. . . . And since truth never contradicts truth, we declare [see n. 1797] every assertion contrary to the truth of illumined faith to be altogether false; and, that it may not be permitted to dogmatize otherwise, we strictly forbid it, and we decree that all who adhere to errors of this kind are to be shunned and to be punished as detestable and abominable infidels who disseminate most damnable heresies and who weaken the Catholic faith.

"Mountains of Piety" and Usury *

[From the Bull "Inter multiplices," April 28

(Session X, May 4), 1515]

739 With the approval of the holy Council, we declare and define that the aforesaid "Mountains of piety" established by the civil authorities and thus far approved and confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See, in which a moderate rate of interest is received exclusively for the expenses of the officials and for other things pertaining to their keeping, as is set forth, for an indemnity of these as far as this matter is concerned, beyond the capital without a profit for these same Mountains, neither offer any species of evil, nor furnish an incentive to sin, nor in any way are condemned, nay rather that such a loan is worthwhile and is to be praised and approved, and least of all to be considered usury. . . . Moreover, we declare that all religious and ecclesiastics as well as secular persons, who henceforth shall dare to preach or dispute in word or in writing against the form of the present declaration and sanction, incur the penalty of excommunication of a sentence [automatically] imposed [latae sententiae],a privilege of any nature whatsoever notwithstanding.

The Relation Between the Pope and the Councils *

[From the Bull "Pastor Aeternus" (Session Xl) Dec. 19, 1516]

740 Nor should this move us, that the sanction [pragmatic] itself, and the things contained in it were proclaimed in the Council of Basle . . .. since all these acts were made after the translation of that same Council of Basle from the place of the assembly at Basle, and therefore could have no weight, since it is clearly established that the Roman Pontiff alone, possessing as it were authority over all Councils, has full right and power Of proclaiming Councils, or transferring and dissolving them, not only according to the testimony of Sacred Scripture, from the words of the holy Fathers and even of other Roman Pontiffs, of our predecessors, and from the decrees of the holy canons, but also from the particular acknowledgment of these same Councils.


Indulgences *

[From the Bull "Cum postquam" to the Legate Cajetan

de Vio, Nov. 9, 1518]

740a  And lest in the future anyone should allege ignorance of the doctrine of the Roman Church concerning such indulgences and their ellicacy, or excuse himself under pretext of such ignorance, or aid himself by pretended protestations, but that these same persons may be convicted as guilty of notorious lying and be justly condemned, we have decided that you should be informed by these presents that the Roman Church, which the other churches are bound to follow as their mother, has decreed that the Roman Pontiff, the successor of PETER the key bearer, and the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, by the power of the keys, to which it belongs to open the kingdom of heaven, by removing the obstacles in the faithful of Christ (namely the fault and punishment due to actual sins, the fault by means of the sacrament of penance, but the temporal punishment due for actual sins according to divine justice by means of the indulgence of the Church), for the same reasonable causes can concede indulgences from the superabundant merits of Christ and the saints to these same faithful of Christ, who belong to Christ by the charity that joins the members, whether they be in this life or in purgatory; and by granting an indulgence by apostolic authority to the living as well as to the dead, has been accustomed to dispense from the treasury of the merits of Jesus Christ and the saints, and by means of absolution to confer that same indugence or to transfer it by means of suffrage. And for that reason that all, the living as well as the dead, who have truly gained such indulgences, are freed from such temporal punishment due for their actual sins according to divine justice, as is equivalent to the indulgence granted and acquired. And thus by apostolic authority in accordance with the tenor of these letters we decree that it should be held by all and be preached under punishment of excommunication, of a sentence [automatically] imposed [latae sententiae]. . . . .

 Leo X sent this Bull to the Swiss in the year 1519 withaletter dated April 30, 1519, in which he concluded as follows concerning the doctrine of the Bull: 

740b  You will be solicitous about a thorough consideration and preservation of the power of the Roman Pontiff in the granting of such indulgences according to the true definition of the Roman Church, which we have commanded should be observed and preached by all . . . according to these letters which we are ordering to be delivered to you . . . You will firmly abide by the true decision of the Holy Roman Church and to this Holy See, which does not permit errors.

Errors of Martin Luther * 

[Condemned in the Bull "Exsurge Domine," June 15, 1520]

741 I. It is an heretical opinion, but a common one, that the sacraments of the New Law give pardoning grace to those who do not set up an obstacle. 

742 2. To deny that in a child after baptism sin remains is to treat with contempt both Paul and Christ.

743 3. The inflammable sources [ fomes] of sin, even if there be no actual sin, delays a soul departing from the body from entrance into heaven.

 4. To one on the point of death imperfect charity necessarily brings 

744 with it great fear, which in itself alone is enough to produce the punishment of purgatory, and impedes entrance into the kingdom.

 5. That there are three parts to penance: contrition, confession, and

745 satisfaction, has no foundation in Sacred Scripture nor in the ancient sacred Christian doctors.

 6. Contrition, which is acquired through discussion, collection, and

746  detestation of sins, by which one reflects upon his years in the bitterness of his soul, by pondering over the gravity of sins, their number, their baseness, the loss of eternal beatitude, and the acquisition of eternal damnation, this contrition makes him a hypocrite, indeed more a sinner.

747  7. It is a most truthful proverb and the doctrine concerning the contrition given thus far is the more remarkable: "Not to do so in the future is the highest penance; the best penance, a new life."

748  8. By no means may you presume to confess venial sins, nor even all mortal sins, because it is impossible that you know all mortal sins. Hence in the primitive Church only manifest mortal sins were confessed.

749 9. As long as we wish to confess all sins without exception, we are doing nothing else than to wish to leave nothing to God's mercy for pardon.

750 10. Sins are not forgiven to anyone, unless when the priest forgives them he believes they are forgiven; on the contrary the sin would remain unless he believed it was forgiven; for indeed the remission of sin and the granting of grace does not suffice, but it is necessary also to believe that there has been forgiveness.

751  11. By no means can you have reassurance of being absolved because of your contrition, but because of the word of Christ: "Whatsoever you shall loose, etc." [Matt. 16:19]. Hence, I say, trust confidently, if you have obtained the absolution of the priest, and firmly believe yourself to have been absolved, and you will truly be absolved, whatever there may be of contrition.

752  12. If through an impossibility he who confessed was not contrite, orthe priest did not absolve seriously, but in a jocose manner, if nevertheless he believes that he has been absolved, he is most truly absolved.

753 13. In the sacrament of penance and the remission of sin the pope or the bishop does no more than the lowest priest; indeed, where there is no priest, any Christian, even if a woman or child, may equally do as much.

754 14. No one ought to answer a priest that he is contrite, nor should the priest inquire.

755 15. Great is the error of those who approach the sacrament of the Eucharist relying on this, that they have confessed, that they are not conscious of any mortal sin, that they have sent their prayers on ahead and made preparations; all these eat and drink judgment to themselves. But if they believe and trust that they will attain grace, then this faith alone makes them pure and worthy.

756 16. It seems to have been decided that the Church in common Council established that the laity should communicate under both species; the Bohemians who communicate under both species are not heretics, but schismatics.

757 17. The treasures of the Church, from which the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints.

758 18. Indulgences are pious frauds of the faithful, and remissions of good works; and they are among the number of those things which are allowed, and not of the number of those which are advantageous.

759   19. Indulgences are of no avail to those who truly gain them, for the remission of the penalty due to actual sin in the sight of divine justice.

760  20. They are seduced who believe that indulgences are salutary and useful for the fruit of the spirit.

761   21. Indulgences are necessary only for public crimes, and are properly conceded only to the harsh and impatient.

762  22. For six kinds of men indulgences are neither necessary nor useful. namely, for the dead and those about to die, the infirm, those legitimately hindered, and those who have not committed crimes, and those who have committed crimes, but not public ones, and those who devote themselves to better things.

763  23. Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church.

764  24. Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them.

765 25. The Roman Pontiff, the successor of PETER, is not the vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world, instituted by Christ Himself in blessed PETER.

766 26. The word of Christ to PETER:"Whatsoever you shall loose on earth, etc."(Matt. 16) is extended merely to those things bound by Peter himself.

767 27. It is certain that it is not in the power of the Church or the pope to decide upon the articles of faith, and much less concerning the laws for morals or for good works.

768 28. If the pope with a great part of the Church thought so and so, he would not err; still it is not a sin or heresy to think the contrary, especially in a matter not necessary for salvation, until one alternative is condemned and another approved by a general Council.

769 29. A way has been made for us for weakening the authority of Councils, and for freely contradicting their actions, and judging their decrees, and boldly confessing whatever seems true, whether it has been approved, or disapproved by any Council whatsoever. 

770  30. Some articles of John Hus, condemned in the Council of CONSTANCE, are most Christian, wholly true and evangelical; these the universal Church could not condemn.

771  31. In every good work the just man sins.

772  32. A good work done very well is a venial sin.

773  33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.

774 34. To go to war against the Turks is to resist God who punishes our iniquities through them.

775 35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally; because of the most hidden vice of pride. 

776 36. Free will after sin is a matter of title only; and as long as one does what is in him, one sins mortally.

777 37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture, which is in the canon.

778 38. The souls in purgatory are not sure of their salvation, at least not all; nor is it proved by any arguments or by the Scriptures that they are beyond the state of meriting or of increasing in charity.

779 39. The souls in purgatory sin without intermission, as long as they seek rest and abhor punishments.

780 40. The souls freed from purgatory by the suffrages of the living are less happy than if they had made satisfactions by themselves.

781 41. Ecclesiastical prelates and secular princes would not act badly if they destroyed all of the money-bags of beggary.

 Censure of the Holy Pontiff:"All and each of the above mentioned articles or errors, so to speak, as set before you, we condemn, disapprove, and entirely reject as respectively heretical, or scandalous, or false, or offensive to pious ears, or seductive of simple minds, and in opposition to Catholic truth.


Hadrian VI 1522 - 1523   Clement VII 1523 - 1534

PAUL III 1534-1549


Ecumenical XIX (Contra Novatores 16 cent.)

SESSION III (Feb.4, 1546)

The Creed of the Catholic Faith is Accepted *

782 This sacred and holy ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, with the three legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, in consideration of the magnitude of the matters to be transacted, especially those which are comprised under these two heads, the extirpation of heresies and the reform of morals, because of which chiefly the Synod was convoked . . ., has proposed that the creed of faith, which the Holy Roman Church utilizes, inasmuch as it is that principle, wherein all who profess the faith of Christ necessarily agree, and is the firm and sole foundation, against which the "gates of Hell shall never prevail" [Matt. 16:18], be expressed in the very same words in which it is read in all the churches. This creed is as follows:

[The Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed follows, see n. 86.]

Session IV (April 8, 1546)

The Sacred Books and the Traditions of the Apostles are Accepted *

783   The sacred and holy ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, with the same three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, keeping this constantly in view, that with the abolishing of errors, the purity itself of the Gospel is preserved in the Church, which promised before through the Prophets in the Holy Scriptures our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded "to be preached" by His apostles "to every creature" as the source of every saving truth and of instruction in morals [Matt. 28:19ff., Mark 16:15], and [the Synod] clearly perceiving that this truth and instruction are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which have been received by the apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the apostles themselves, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit, have come down even to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand, [the Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and holds in veneration with an equal affection of piety and reverence all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament, since one God is the author or both, and also the traditions themselves, those that appertain both to faith and to morals, as having been dictated either by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. And so that no doubt may arise in anyone's mind as to which are the books that are accepted by this Synod, it has decreed that a list of the Sacred books be added to this decree.

784  They are written here below:

 Books of the Old Testament:The five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Josue, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, the first book of Esdras, and the second which is called Nehemias, Tobias, Judith, Esther, Job, the Psalter of David consisting of 150 psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Jeremias with Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, the twelve minor Prophets, that is Osee, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Michaeas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; two books of the Machabees, the first and the second.

  Books of the New Testament:the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke the Evangelist, fourteen epistles of Paul the Apostle, to the Romans, to the Corinthians two, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, to Titus, to Phi lemon, to the Hebrews; two of Peter the Apostle, three of John the Apostle, one of the Apostle James, one of the Apostle Jude, and the Apocalypse of John the Apostle. If anyone, however, should not accept the said books as sacred and canonical, entire with all their parts, as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate edition, and if both knowingly and deliberately he should condemn the aforesaid traditions let him be anathema. Let all, therefore, understand in what order and in what manner the said Synod, after having laid the foundation of the confession of Faith, will proceed, and what testimonies and authorities it will mainly use in confirming dogmas, and in restoring morals in the Church.

The Vulgate Edition of the Bible is Accepted and the 

Method is Prescribed for the Interpretation

of (Sacred) Scripture, etc. *

785  Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod taking into consideration that no small benefit can accrue to the Church of God, if it be made known which one of all the Latin editions of the sacred books which are in circulation is to be considered authentic, has decided and declares that the said old Vulgate edition, which has been approved by the Church itself through long usage for so many centuries in public lectures, disputations, sermons, and expositions, be considered authentic, and that no one under any pretext whatsoever dare or presume to reject it.

786 Furthermore, in order to curb impudent clever persons, the synod decrees that no one who relies on his own judgment in matters of faith and morals, which pertain to the building up of Christian doctrine, and that no one who distorts the Sacred Scripture according to his own opinions, shall dare to interpret the said Sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which is held by holy mother Church, whose duty it is to judge regarding the true sense and interpretation of holy Scriptures, or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers, even though interpretations of this kind were never intended to be brought to light. Let those who shall oppose this be reported by their ordinaries and be punished with the penalties prescribed by law. . . . [Then laws are listed concerning the printing and approbation of books, for which among other matters the decree is:] that henceforth the Sacred Scripture, especially the aforesaid old and Vulgate edition, be printed as correctly as possible, and that no one be allowed either to print or cause to be printed any books whatever concerning sacred matters without the name of the author, nor to sell them in the future or even to keep them, unless they have been first examined and approved by the ordinary. . .

Session v (June 17, 1546)

Decree On Original Sin *

787 That our Catholic faith, "without which it is impossible to please God"[Heb. 11:16] may after the purging of errors continue in its own perfect and spotless purity, and that the Christian people may not be "carried about with every wind of doctrine" [Eph. 4:14], since that old serpent, the perpetual enemy of the human race, among the very many evils with which the Church of God in these our times is troubled, has stirred up not only new, but even old dissensions concerning original sin and its remedy, the sacred ecumenical and general Synod of Trent lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit with the same three legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, wishing now to proceed to the recalling of the erring and to the confirming of the wavering, and following the testimonies of the Holy Scriptures and of the holy Fathers and of the most approved Councils, as well as the judgment and the unanimity of the Church itself, has established, confesses, and declares the following concerning original sin:

788 I. If anyone does not confess that the first man Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost his holiness and the justice in which he had been established, and that he incurred through the offense of that prevarication the wrath and indignation of God and hence the death with which God had previously threatened him, and with death captivity under his power, who thenceforth "had the empire of death" [Heb. 2:14], that is of the devil, and that through that offense of prevarication the entire Adam was transformed in body and soul for the worse [see n. 174], let him be anathema.

789 2. If anyone asserts that the transgression of Adam has harmed him alone and not his posterity, and that the sanctity and justice, received from God, which he lost, he has lost for himself alone and not for us also; or that he having been defiled by the sin of disobedience has transfused only death "and the punishments of the body into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul," let him be anathema, since he contradicts the Apostle who says: "By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned" [Rom. 5:12; see n. 175].

790 3. If anyone asserts that this sin of Adam, which is one in origin and transmitted to all is in each one as his own by propagation, not by imitation, is taken away either by the forces of human nature, or by any remedy other than the merit of the one mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ [see n. 711], who has reconciled us to God in his own blood, "made unto us justice, sanctification, and redemption" [1 Cor. 1:30]; or if he denies that that merit of Jesus Christ is applied to adults as well as to infants by the sacrament of baptism, rightly administered in the form of the Church: let him be anathema. "For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved . . ." [Acts 4:12]. Whence that word: "Behold the lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sins of the world" [John 1:29]. And that other: "As many of you as have been baptized, have put on Christ" [Gal. 3:27].

791 4. "If anyone denies that infants newly born from their mothers' wombs are to be baptized," even though they be born of baptized parents, "or says they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which must be expiated by the laver of regeneration" for the attainment of life everlasting, whence it follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins is understood to be not true, but false: let him be anathema. For what the Apostle has said: "By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned" [Rom. 5:12], is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For by reason of this rule of faith from a tradition of the apostles even infants, who could not as yet commit any sins of themselves, are for this reason truly baptized for the remission of sins, so that in them there may be washed away by regeneration, what they have contracted by generation, [see n. 102]. "For unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" [John 3:5].

792 5. If anyone denies that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted, or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away, but says that it is only touched in person or is not imputed, let him be anathema. For in those who are born again, God hates nothing, because "there is no condemnation, to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism unto death" [Rom. 6:4], who do not "walk according to the flesh" [Rom. 8:1], but putting off "the old man" and putting on the "new, who is created according to God" [Eph. 4:22 ff.; Col. 3:9 ff.], are made innocent, immaculate, pure, guiltless and beloved sons of God, "heirs indeed of God, but co-heirs with Christ" [Rom.8:17], SO that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven. But this holy Synod confesses and perceives that there remains in the baptized concupiscence of an inclination, although this is left to be wrestled with, it cannot harm those who do not consent, but manfully resist by the grace of Jesus Christ. Nay, indeed, "he who shall have striven lawfully, shall be crowned" [2 Tim. 2:5]. This concupiscence, which at times the Apostle calls sin [Rom. 6:12 ff.] the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood to be called sin, as truly and properly sin in those born again, but because it is from sin and inclines to sin. But if anyone is of the contrary opinion, let him be anathema.

 6. This holy Synod declares nevertheless that it is not its intention to include in this decree, where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary mother of God, but that the constitutions of Pope SIXTUS IV of happy memory are to be observed, under the penalties contained in these constitutions, which it renews [see n. 734 ff:].

SESSION VI (Jan. 13, 1547)

Decree On Justification *


792a  Since at this time not without the loss of many souls and grave detriment to the unity of the Church there is disseminated a certain erroneous doctrine concerning justification, the holy ecumenical and general synod of Trent lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, the Most Reverends John Maria, Bishop of Praeneste, de Monte, and Marcellus, priest of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, cardinals of the Holy Roman Church and apostolic legates a latere, presiding therein in the name of our Most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, Paul, the third Pope by the providence of God, for the praise and glory of Almighty God, for the tranquillity of the Church and the salvation of souls, purpose to expound to all the faithful of Christ the true and salutary doctrine of justification, which the "son of justice" [Mal. 4:2], Christ Jesus, "the author and finisher of our faith" [Heb. 12:2] taught, the apostles transmitted and the Catholic Church, under the instigation of the Holy Spirit, has always retained, strictly forbidding that anyone henceforth may presume to believe, preach or teach, otherwise than is defined and declared by this present decree.

Chap. 1. On the Inability of Nature and of the Law to Justify Man

793 The holy Synod decrees first that for a correct and sound understanding of the doctrine of justification it is necessary that each one recognize and confess that, whereas all men had lost their innocence in the prevarication of Adam [Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22: see n. 130], "having become unclean" [Isa. 64:6], and (as the Apostle says), "by nature children of wrath" [Eph. 2:3], as it (the Synod) has set forth in the decree on original sin, to that extent were they the servants of sin [Rom. 5:20], and under the power of the devil and of death, that not only the gentiles by the force of nature [can. 1], but not even the Jews by the very letter of the law of Moses were able to be liberated or to rise therefrom, although free will was not extinguished in them [can. 5], however weakened and debased in its powers [see n. 81].

Chap. 2. On the Dispensation and Mystery of the Advent of Christ

794 Whereby it came to pass that the heavenly Father, "the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort" [2 Cor. 1:3], when that "blessed fullness of time" was come [Eph. 1:10; Gal. 4:4] sent to men Christ Jesus [can. 1], his Son, who had been announced and promised [cf. Gen. 49:10, 18], both before the Law and at the time of the Law to many holy Fathers, that He might both redeem the Jews, who were under the Law, and the "gentiles, who did not follow after justice, might attain to justice" [Rom. 9:30], and that all men "might receive the adoption of sons" [Gal. 4:5]. "Him God has proposed as a propitiator through faith in his blood, for our sins" [Rom. 3:25], and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world [1 John 2:2].

Chap. 3. Who are Justifed Through Christ

795 But although Christ died for all [2 Cor. 5:15], yet not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated. For, as indeed men would not be born unjust, if they were not born through propagation of the seed of Adam, since by that propagation they contract through him, in conception, injustice as their own, so unless they were born again in Christ, they never would be justified [can. 2 and 10], since in that new birth through the merit of His passion, the grace, whereby they are made just, is bestowed upon them. For this benefit the Apostle exhorts us always to "give thanks to the Father who has made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light" [Col. 1:12], "and has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption and remission of sins [Col. 1:13 ff.].

Chap. 4. A Description of the Justification of the Sinner, and Its

Mode in the State of Grace is Recommended

796 In these words a description of the justification of a sinner is given as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of the "adoption of the sons" [Rom. 8:15] of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior; and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected except through the laver of regeneration [can. 5 de bapt.], or a desire for it, as it is written: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" [John 3:5].

Chap. 5. On the Necessity of Preparation for Justification of

Adults, and Whence it Proceeds

797 It [the Synod] furthermore declares that in adults the beginning of that justification must be derived from the predisposing grace [can. 3] of God through Jesus Christ, that is, from his vocation, whereby without any existing merits on their part they are called, so that they who by sin were turned away from God, through His stimulating and assisting grace are disposed to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and cooperating with the same grace [can. 4 and 5], in such wise that, while God touches the heart of man through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself receiving that inspiration does not do nothing at all inasmuch as he can indeed reject it, nor on the other hand can he [can. 3] of his own free will without the grace of God move himself to justice before Him. Hence, when it is said in the Sacred Writings: "Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you" [Zach. 1:3], we are reminded of our liberty; when we reply: "Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted" [Lam. 5:21], we confess that we are anticipated by the grace of God.

Chap. 6. The Manner of Preparation

798 Now they are disposed to that justice [can. 7 and 9] when, aroused and assisted by divine grace, receiving faith "by hearing" [Rom. 10:17], they are freely moved toward God, believing that to be true which has been divinely revealed and promised [can. 12 and 14], and this especially, that the sinner is justified by God through his grace, "through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" [Rom. 3:24], and when knowing that they are sinners, turning themselves away from the fear of divine justice, by which they are profitably aroused [can. 8], to a consideration of the mercy of God, they are raised to hope, trusting that God will be merciful to them for the sake of Christ, and they begin to love him as the source of all justice and are therefore moved against sins by a certain hatred and detestation [can. 9], that is, by that repentance, which must be performed before baptism [Acts 2:38]; and finally when they resolve to receive baptism, to begin a new life and to keep the commandments of God. Concerning this disposition it is written: "He that cometh to God must believe, that he is and is a rewarder to them that seek him" [Heb. 11:6], and, "Be of good faith, son, thy sins are forgiven thee" [Matt. 9:2; Mark 2:5], and, "The fear of the Lord driveth out sin" [Sirach. 1:27], and, "Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the Holy Spirit" [Acts 2:38], and, "Going therefore teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" [Matt. 28:19], and finally, "Prepare your hearts unto the Lord" [1 Samuel 7:3].

Chap. 7. In What the Justification of the Sinner Consists, and

What are its Causes

799 Justification itself follows this disposition or preparation, which is not merely remission of sins [can. II], but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts, whereby an unjust man becomes a just man, and from being an enemy becomes a friend, that he may be "an heir according to hope of life everlasting" [Tit. 3:7]. The causes of this justification are: the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Christ and life eternal; the efficient cause is truly a merciful God who gratuitously "washes and sanctifies" [1 Cor. 6:11], "signing and anointing with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance" [Eph. 1:13f.]; but the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, "who when we were enemies" [cf. Rom. 5:10], "for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us" [Eph. 2:4], merited justification for us [can. 10] by His most holy passion on the wood of the Cross, and made satisfaction for us to God the Father; the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the "sacrament of faith,''* without which no one is ever justified. Finally the unique formal cause is the "justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but by which He makes us just" * [can. 10 and 11], that, namely, by which, when we are endowed with it by him, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and not only are we reputed, but we are truly called and are just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the "Holy Spirit distributes to everyone as he wills" [1. Cor. 12:11], and according to each one's own disposition and cooperation. 

800 For although no one can be just but he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet this does take place in this justification of the ungodly when by the merit of that same most holy passion "the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Spirit in the hearts" [Rom. 5:5] of those who are justified, and inheres in them [can. II]. Hence man through Jesus Christ, into whom he is ingrafted, receives in the said justification together with the remission of sins all these [gifts] infused at the same time: faith, hope, and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added to it, neither unites one perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of his body. For this reason it is most truly said that "faith without works is dead" [Jas.2:17],and is of no profit [can. 19], and "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith, which worketh by charity" [Gal. 5:6; 6:15]. This faith, in accordance with apostolic tradition, catechumens beg of the Church before the sacrament of baptism, when they ask for "faith which bestows life eternal,''* which without hope and charity faith cannot bestow. Thence also they hear immediately the word of Christ: "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" [Matt. 19:17; can. 18-20]. Therefore, when receiving true and Christian justice, they are commanded immediately on being reborn, to preserve it pure and spotless as the "first robe" [Luke 15:22] given to them through Christ Jesus in place of that which Adam by his disobedience lost for himself and for us, so that they may bear it before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ and have life eternal. *