Weekly Mass Schedule:
- Sunday 8:00, 9:30 (High Mass), 11AM & 5:30PM
- Tuesday 10 AM - Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help
- Wednesday 10 AM - Devotion to St. Anthony of Padua with blessing of his relic
- Thursday 10 AM - Devotion of Divine Mercy
- Friday 6:30PM followed by Devotion to the Sacred Heart
- First Saturday at 10AM followed by prayers dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Mass for a Holy Day is generally at 6:30PM unless stated otherwise
- Confessions before every Mass
WHAT'S NEW ?
See short article below from Fr. Dwight Longnecker on Rooster Cogburn Catholicism - Old but still relevant - 2/8/2011.
First Sunday of Advent
December 1, 2013
LITURGY & DEVOTION
Oratory Rector - Rev. Canon Oliver Meney
Address is 1219 Excelsior Ave, Oakland, California 94610, (phone 510-604-0391)
Oratory Chaplain - Fr. Pedro T. Ottonello, O.A.D. (Ordo Augusteniensium Discalceatorum)
Our Chaplain makes his home in Alameda County and drives 80 miles round trip, to bring us the Mass and Sacraments. Father is a native of Genoa, Italy and a US Citizen. He spent close to 30 years as a missionary in the jungles of Ecuador working among the Indians, answering the call of our Lord, "Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" [St. Matthew, 28:19]. Father was Ordained on May 10, 1955.
Does walking into your church give you a sense of the sacred? Does it bring you closer to an encounter with the Author of time and space?
Latin Mass Community of Portland, Oregon
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Prayers After Low Mass
V. Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen. (3x)
V. Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us. And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
V. Let us pray.
O God, our Refuge and our Strength, look down with favor upon Thy people who cry to Thee: and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of St. Joseph her Spouse, of Thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, mercifully and graciously hear the prayers we pour forth for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of our holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ our Lord.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle: be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. -May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan and all the evil spirits who roam through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
V. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
R. Have mercy on us. (3x)
St. John Chrysostom on Holy Communion:
“Let us not, I beg you, slay ourselves by our irreverence, but with awe and purity draw near to It; and when you see It set before you, say to yourself: ‘Because of this Body am I no longer earth and ashes, no longer a prisoner, but free: because of This I hope for heaven, and to receive the good things therein: immortal life, the portion of angels, to converse with Christ'.”
On the Development of Character in Children
Una Voce - western Washington & Archdiocese of Seattle
Una Voce America
COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.|
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts overflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us Pray: O God, Who hast taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost: grant that, by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ Our Lord.
Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored Thy help and sought Thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother; to Thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in Thy mercy, hear and answer me.
INSTITUTE OF CHRIST THE KING
DIOCESE OF SAN JOSE
THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA (1907-1917)
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TRADITIONAL VOCATIONS blog
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” —Joshua 24:15
Apostolic Letter "Summorum Pontificum" issued Motu Proprio
On Saturday 7 July 2007 Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Letter on the celebration of the Roman Rite according to the Missal of 1962. The following text is the unofficial Vatican Information Service translation of the official Latin text.
Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church.'
Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future - to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.' (1)
Among the pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel illustrated with their lives the wise provision of their Rule that 'nothing should be placed before the work of God.' In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.
Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who, sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and 'renewed in accordance with the norms of the Fathers,' and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.
One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries, little by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent times.
"It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when necessary clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general reform.' (2) Thus our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St. Pius X (3), Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII all played a part.
In more recent times, Vatican Council II expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman pontiffs have operated to ensure that 'this kind of liturgical edifice ... should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.' (4)
But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms. These had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in 1984 the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral care of these faithful, with the special indult 'Quattuor abhinc anno," issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to use the Roman Missal published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962. Later, in the year 1988, John Paul II with the Apostolic Letter given as Motu Proprio, 'Ecclesia Dei,' exhorted bishops to make generous use of this power in favor of all the faithful who so desired.
Following the insistent prayers of these faithful, long deliberated upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and after having listened to the views of the Cardinal Fathers of the Consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these Apostolic Letters we establish the following:
Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the 'Lex orandi' (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.
It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents 'Quattuor abhinc annis' and 'Ecclesia Dei,' are substituted as follows:
Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.
Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or "community" celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.
Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may - observing all the norms of law - also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.
Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.
§ 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.
§ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.
§ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.
§ 5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.
Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.
Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 õ 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".
Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to obtain counsel and assistance.
Art. 9. § 1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it.
§ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it.
§ 3 Clerics ordained "in sacris constitutis" may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.
Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.
Art. 11. The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", erected by John Paul II in 1988 (5), continues to exercise its function. Said Commission will have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.
Art. 12. This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.
We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as "established and decreed", and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.
From Rome, at St. Peter's, 7 July 2007, third year of Our Pontificate.
(1) General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, no. 397.
(2) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," 4 December 1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
(4) St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Motu propio data, "Abhinc duos annos," 23 October 1913: AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," no. 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
(5) Cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Motu proprio data "Ecclesia Dei," 2 July 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.
Sunday, 14 July 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning,
Today our Sunday meeting for the Angelus is taking place here in Castel Gandolfo. I greet the inhabitants of this beautiful little town! Above all, I would like to thank you for your prayers, and I do this with all of you who have come here in large numbers as pilgrims.
Today’s Gospel — we are at Chapter 10 of Luke — is the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan. Who was this man? He was an ordinary person coming down from Jerusalem on his way to Jericho on the road that crosses the Judean Desert. A short time before, on that road a man had been attacked by brigands, robbed, beaten and left half dead by the wayside. Before the Samaritan arrived, a priest as well as a Levite had passed by, that is, two people associated with worship in the Lord’s Temple. They saw the poor man, but passed him by without stopping. Instead, when the Samaritan saw that man, “he had compassion” (Lk 10:33), the Gospel says. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; then he set him on his own mount, took him to an inn and paid for his board and lodging... in short, he took care of him: this is the example of love of neighbour. However, why does Jesus choose a Samaritan to play the lead in the parable? Because Samaritans were despised by Jews on account of their different religious traditions; and yet Jesus shows that the heart of that Samaritan was good and generous and that — unlike the priest and the Levite — he puts into practice the will of God who wants mercy rather than sacrifices (cf. Mk 12:33). God always wants mercy and does not condemn it in anyone. He wants heartfelt mercy because he is merciful and can understand well our misery, our difficulties and also our sins. He gives all of us this merciful heart of his! The Samaritan does precisely this: he really imitates the mercy of God, mercy for those in need.
A man who lived to the full this Gospel of the Good Samaritan is the Saint we are commemorating today: St Camillus de Lellis, Founder of the Clerks Regular Ministers to the Sick, Patron of ill people and health-care workers. St Camillus died on 14 July 1614: this very day his fourth centenary is being inaugurated and will end in a year. I greet with deep affection all the spiritual sons and daughters of St Camillus who live by his charism of charity in daily contact with the sick. Be “Good Samaritans” as he was! And I hope that doctors, nurses and all those who work in hospitals and clinics may also be inspired by the same spirit. Let us entrust this intention to the intercession of Mary Most Holy.
Moreover I would like to entrust another intention to Our Lady, together with you all. The World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro is now at hand. One can see that there are many young people here, but you are all young at heart! I shall leave in a week, but many young people will set out for Brazil even sooner. Let us therefore pray for this great pilgrimage which is beginning, that Our Lady of Aparecida, Patroness of Brazil, may guide the footsteps of the participants and open their hearts to accepting the mission that Christ will give them.
The Divine Praises
Roughly 200 years old. Most commonly prayed during Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
- Blessed be God.
- Blessed be His Holy Name.
- Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
- Blessed be the name of Jesus.
- Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
- Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
- Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the paraclete.
- Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
- Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
- Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
- Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
- Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
- Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.
Antichrist Alert! Cardinal Biffi Rouses the Church
(click on image)
First confession before first Communion
By Archbishop John C. Nienstedt
Thursday, 30 July 2009
If you have young children either in your immediate family or in your extended family, chances are good that you attended a celebration of first Holy Communion this past spring. And even if you did not attend a family member’s first Holy Communion, I would bet that you attended a parish celebration of this sacrament, as many parishes appropriately choose to celebrate the sacrament during a Sunday Mass.
Celebrating first Holy Communion in this highly public way is quite fitting, as young children are not only receiving the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus for the first time, but also solidifying their ties to the church, which is a public and communal reality.
For this very reason, the church has made it clear that the celebration of first Holy Communion on a Sunday, “the day of the Eucharist,” is the most appropriate way to celebrate the first reception of this Sacrament of Sacraments.
The church is even more clear that prior to making their first Holy Communion, children are to celebrate their first confession. This teaching was recently reiterated in “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” (paragraph 87).
In our own diocese, as early as 1973, my predecessor, Archbishop Leo Byrne, reminded every priest in this local church of the universal church’s mind on this matter in response to the experimental practice of delaying first confession until after first Holy Communion. As the archbishop pointed out at the time, such a delay is clearly not the mind of the church, and he rightly asked that it cease to be practiced in this archdiocese.
One objection to the church’s clear teaching on this matter is that children are not capable of grave sin, and therefore are not obligated to make a confession before their first Holy Communion.
Leaving aside the debatable claim that children are incapable of grave sin, while it is true that sacramental confession and absolution are the ordinary means by which mortal sin is forgiven, we don’t celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation only to have such grave sins forgiven. There is also the constant need to ask forgiveness for the small failures and little betrayals that mark our daily lives.
It is said that Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul II received the sacrament of reconciliation frequently, as many as several times a month, in fact. It is difficult to believe that either the Holy Father or Mother Teresa often fell into mortal sin. And, yet, they saw fit to come to confession regularly because they knew that they were called to be perfect, as their heavenly Father is perfect.
And quite apart from the forgiveness of actual sin, there is also the powerful grace of the sacrament — grace that is needed if we are to persevere in our daily struggles with sin and temptation, struggles that can slowly weaken us in our capacity to avoid serious sin.
Children need this grace as much as anyone else. Anyone who honestly believes that children do not do things that are wrong has not spent much time with kids.
Instilling good habits
Giving children the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation before first Holy Communion also helps to establish a habit in our young people, a habit that hopefully will last a whole lifetime.
If we have guests coming over to dinner, it is an act of love to prepare for their visit by tidying up the house and making special preparations. Even more so in the spiritual life, we must strive to prepare well for the visit of the Lord into our hearts. How well we all need to remember this fact, young and old alike.
This, of course, is not to say that every time we attend Holy Mass we are obligated to make a sacramental confession. But as St. Paul reminds us in his first letter to the Corinthians, it is, in fact, extremely important to examine our hearts before we receive our Lord in Holy Communion (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).
If we are aware of serious sin, we are obliged to make every effort to approach the fountain of mercy that is confession, so that we may partake worthily in the Banquet of the Lamb. Celebrating first confession prior to first Holy Communion helps to communicate this scriptural lesson to our young people.
I urge all of us, young and old alike, to examine ourselves before we approach the table of the Lord. May we have the courage to ask the Lord for his forgiveness before we receive him in so intimate a way as Holy Communion.
And then, with the faith of a little child, we will with clear conscience say “Amen” to that heavenly gift which is the body and blood of Jesus.
God bless you!
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live...” —Deuteronomy 30:19
O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth! For thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens. Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise, because of thy enemies, that thou mayst destroy the enemy and the avenger. For I will behold thy heavens, the works of thy fingers: the moon and the stars which thou hast founded.
What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou hast made him a little less than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honour: And hast set him over the works of thy hands. Thou hast subjected all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen: moreover the beasts also of the fields. The birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea, that pass through the paths of the sea. O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy name in all the earth!
~ 8th Psalm of David ~
The Two Great Commandments
- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, with thy whole strength, and with thy whole mind.
- Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
The Commandments of God
1. I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Keep holy the Lord’s Day.
4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
5. Thou shalt not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
10.Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH
1. To hear Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed.
3. To confess at least once a year.
4. To receive the Holy Eucharist during the Easter Time.
5. To contribute to the support of our Pastors.
6. Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are related to us within the fourth degree of kindred, nor privately without witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.
On Easter AD 792, Charlemagne discovered the relics of Saint Anne with the help of a deaf handicapped boy. It’s a wonderful tale for this feast day of Saint Anne.
Below is the account, preserved in the correspondence of Pope Saint Leo III, concerning the mysterious discovery of the relics of Saint Anne in the presence of the Emperor Charlemagne.
Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, Saint Mary Magdalen, Saint Martha, Saint Lazarus, and the others of the little band of Christians who were piled into a boat without sails or oars and pushed out to sea to perish — in the persecution of the Christians by the Jews of Jerusalem — were careful to carry with them the tenderly loved body of Our Lady’s mother. They feared lest it be profaned in the destruction, which Jesus had told them was to come upon Jerusalem. When, by the power of God, their boat sur vived and finally drifted to the shores of France, the little company of saints buried Saint Anne’s body in a cave, in a place called Apt, in the south of France. The church, which was later built over the spot, fell into decay because of wars and religious persecutions, and as the centuries passed, the place of Saint Anne’s tomb was forgotten.
The long years of peace, which Charlemagne’s wise rule gave to southern France, enabled the people to build a magnificent new church on the site of the old chapel at Apt. Extraordinary and painstaking labor went into the building of the great structure, and when the day of its consecration arrived [Easter Sunday, 792 A.D.], the beloved Charlemagne, little suspecting what was in store for him, declared himself happy indeed to have journeyed so many miles to be present for the holy occasion. At the most solemn part of the ceremonies, a boy of fourteen, blind, deaf and dumb from birth — and usually quiet and impassive — to the amaze ment of those who knew him, completely distracted the attention of the entire congrega tion by becoming suddenly tremendously excited. He rose from his seat, walked up the aisle to the altar steps, and to the consternation of the whole church, struck his stick resoundingly again and again upon a single step.
His embarrassed family tried to lead him out, but he would not budge. He continued frantically to pound the step, straining with his poor muted senses to impart a knowledge sealed hopelessly within him. The eyes of the people turned upon the emperor, and he, apparently in spired by God, took the matter into his own hands. He called for workmen to remove the steps.
A subterranean passage was revealed directly below the spot, which the boy’s stick had indicated. Into this passage the blind lad jumped, to be followed by the emperor, the priests, and the workmen.
They made their way in the dim light of candles, and when, farther along the passage, they came upon a wall that blocked further advance, the boy signed that this also should be removed. When the wall fell, there was brought to view still another long, dark corridor. At the end of this, the searchers found a crypt, upon which, to their profound wonderment, a vigil lamp, alight and burning in a little walled recess, cast a heavenly radiance.
As Charlemagne and his afflicted small guide, with their companions, stood be fore the lamp, its light went out. And at the same moment, the boy, blind and deaf and dumb from birth, felt sight and hearing and speech flood into his young eyes, his ears, and his tongue.
“It is she! It is she!” he cried out. The great emperor, not knowing what he meant, nevertheless repeated the words after him. The call was taken up by the crowds in the church above, as the people sank to their knees, bowed in the realization of the presence of something celestial and holy.
The crypt at last was opened, and a casket was found within it. In the casket was a winding sheet, and in the sheet were relics, and upon the relics was an inscription that read, “Here lies the body of Saint Anne, mother of the glorious Virgin Mary.” The winding sheet, it was noted, was of eastern design and texture.
Charlemagne, over whelmed, venerated with profound gratitude the relics of the mother of Heaven’s Queen. He remained a long time in prayer. The priests and the people, awed by the graces given them in such abundance and by the choice of their countryside for such a heavenly manifestation, for three days spoke but rarely, and then in whispers.
The emperor had an exact and detailed account of the miraculous finding drawn up by a notary and sent to Pope Saint Leo III, with an accompanying letter from himself. These documents and the pope’s reply are preserved to this day. Many papal bulls have attested, over and over again, to the genuineness of Saint Anne’s relics at Apt.
A feast of the Universal Church which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ, on the ancient Jewish festival called the "feast of weeks" or Pentecost (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10). Whitsunday is so called from the white garments which were worn by those who were baptised during the vigil; Pentecost ("Pfingsten" in German), is the Greek for "the fiftieth" (day after Easter).
- Pentecostes -
Whitsunday, as a Christian feast, dates back to the first century, although there is no evidence that it was observed, as there is in the case of Easter; the passage in I Corinthians (16:8) probably refers to the Jewish feast. This is not surprising, for the feast, originally of only one day's duration, fell on a Sunday; besides it was so closely bound up with Easter that it appears to be not much more than the termination of Paschal tide. That Whitsunday belongs to the Apostolic times is stated in the seventh of the (interpolated) fragments attributed to St. Irenæus. In Tertullian (De bapt., xix) the festival appears as already well established. The Gallic pilgrim gives a detailed account of the solemn manner in which it was observed at Jerusalem ("Peregrin. Silviæ", ed. Geyer, iv). The Apostolic Constitutions (V, xx, 17) say that Pentecost lasts one week, but in the West it was not kept with an octave until at quite a late date. It appears from Berno of Reichenau (d. 1048) that it was a debatable point in his time whether Whitsunday ought to have an octave. At present it is of equal rank with Easter Sunday. During the vigil formerly the catechumens who remained from Easter were baptized, consequently the ceremonies on Saturday are similar to those on Holy Saturday.
The office of Pentecost has only one Nocturn during the entire week. At Terce the "Veni Creator" is sung instead of the usual hymn, because at the third hour the Holy Ghost descended. The Mass has a Sequence, "Veni Sancte Spiritus" the authorship of which by some is ascribed to King Robert of France. The colour of the vestments is red, symbolic of the love of the Holy Ghost or of the tongues of fire. Formerly the law courts did not sit during the entire week, and servile work was forbidden. A Council of Constance (1094) limited this prohibition to the first three days of the week. The Sabbath rest of Tuesday was abolished in 1771, and in many missionary territories also that of Monday; the latter was abrogated for the entire Church by Pius X in 1911. Still, as at Easter, the liturgical rank of Monday and Tuesday of Pentecost week is a Double of the First Class.
In Italy it was customary to scatter rose leaves from the ceiling of the churches to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues; hence in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy Whitsunday is called Pascha rosatum. The Italian name Pascha rossa comes from the red colours of the vestments used on Whitsunday.
In France it was customary to blow trumpets during Divine service, to recall the sound of the mighty wind which accompanied the Descent of the Holy Ghost.
In England the gentry amused themselves with horse races. The Whitsun Ales or merrymakings are almost wholly obsolete in England. At these ales the Whitsun plays were performed.
At Vespers of Pentecost in the Oriental Churches the extraordinary service of genuflexion, accompanied by long poetical prayers and psalms, takes place.
(Cf. Maltzew, "Fasten-und Blumen Triodion", p. 898 where the entire Greco-Russian service is given; cf. also Baumstark, "Jacobit. Fest brevier", p. 255.)
On Pentecost the Russians carry flowers and green branches in their hands.
—Catholic Encyclopedia - 1917
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
PIUS: BISHOP OF ROME
Servant of the Servants of God
FOR AN EVERLASTING MEMORIAL
Upon our elevation to the Apostolic throne We gladly turned Our mind and energies, and directed all Our thoughts, to the matter of preserving incorrupt the public worship of the Church; and We have striven, with God’s help, by every means in Our power to achieve that purpose.
Whereas amongst other decrees of the Holy Council of Trent We were charged with revision and re-issue of the sacred books, to wit the Catechism, the Missal and the Breviary; and whereas We have with God’s consent published a Catechism for the instruction of the faithful, and thoroughly revised the Breviary for the due performance of the Divine Office, We next, in order that Missal and Breviary might be in perfect harmony, as is right and proper (considering that it is altogether fitting that there should be in the Church only one appropriate manner of Psalmody and one sole rite of celebrating Mass), deemed it necessary to give Our immediate attention to what still remained to be done, namely the re-editing of the Missal with the least possible delay.
We resolved accordingly to delegate this task to a select committee of scholars; and they, having at every stage of their work and with the utmost care collated the ancient codices in Our Vatican Library and reliable (original or amended) codices from elsewhere, and having also consulted the writing of ancient and approved authors who have bequeathed to us records relating to the said sacred rites, thus restored the Missal itself to the pristine form and rite of the holy Fathers. When this production had been subjected to close scrutiny and further amended We, after mature consideration, ordered that the final result be forthwith printed and published in Rome, so that all may enjoy the fruits of this labor: that priests may know what prayers to use, and what rites and ceremonies they are to use henceforward in the celebration of Masses.
Now therefore, in order that all everywhere may adopt and observe what has been delivered to them by the Holy Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of the other churches, it shall be unlawful henceforth and forever throughout the Christian world to sing or to read Masses according to any formula other than that of this Missal published by Us; this ordinance to apply to all churches and chapels, with or without care of souls, patriarchal, collegiate and parochial, be they secular or belonging to any religious Order whether of men (including the military Orders) or of women, in which conventual Masses are or ought to be sung aloud in choir or read privately according to the rites and customs of the Roman Church; to apply moreover even if the said churches have been in any way exempted, whether by indult of the Apostolic See, by custom, by privilege, or even by oath or Apostolic confirmation, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them in any other way whatsoever; saving only those in which the practice of saying Mass differently was granted over two hundred years ago simultaneously with the Apostolic See’s institution and confirmation of the church, and those in which there has prevailed a similar custom followed continuously for a period of not less than two hundred years; in which cases We in no wise rescind their prerogatives or customs aforesaid. Nevertheless, if this Missal which We have seen fit to publish be more agreeable to these last, We hereby permit them to celebrate Mass according to this rite, subject to the consent of their bishop or prelate, and of their whole Chapter, all else to the contrary notwithstanding. All other churches aforesaid are hereby denied the use of other missals, which are to be wholly and entirely rejected; and by this present Constitution, which shall have the force of law in perpetuity, We order and enjoin under pain of Our displeasure that nothing be added to Our newly published Missal, nothing omitted therefrom, and nothing whatsoever altered there in.
We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator and all other persons of whatsoever ecclesiastical dignity, be they even Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or, possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them by virtue of holy obedience to sing or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herein laid down by Us, and henceforward to discontinue and utterly discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, howsoever ancient, which they have been accustomed to follow, and not to presume in celebrating Mass to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.
Furthermore, by these presents and by virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We give and grant in perpetuity that for the singing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used. Nor shall bishops, administrators, canons, chaplains and other secular priests, or religious of whatsoever Order or by whatsoever title designated, be obliged to celebrate Mass otherwise than enjoined by Us. We likewise order and declare that no one whosoever shall be forced or coerced into altering this Missal; and this present Constitution can never be revoked or modified, but shall forever remain valid and have the force of law, notwithstanding previous constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the usage of the churches aforesaid established by very long and even immemorial prescription, saving only usage of more than two hundred years.
Consequently it is Our will, and by the same authority We decree, that one month after publication of this Our Constitution and Missal, priests of the Roman Curia shall be obliged to sing or to read the Mass in accordance therewith; others south of the Alps, after three months; those who live beyond the Alps, after six months or as soon as the Missal becomes available for purchase.
Furthermore, in order that the said Missal may be preserved incorrupt and kept free from defects and errors, the penalty for nonobservance in the case of all printers resident in territory directly or indirectly subject to Ourselves and the Holy Roman Church shall be forfeiture of their books and a fine of 100 gold ducats payable ipso facto to the Apostolic Treasury. In the case of those resident in other parts of the world it shall be excommunication latae sententiae and all other penalties at Our discretion; and by Our Apostolic authority and the tenor of these presents. We also decree that they must not dare or presume either to print or to publish or to sell, or in any way to take delivery of such books without Our approval and consent, or without express permission of the Apostolic Commissary in the said parts appointed by us for that purpose. Each of the said printers must receive from the aforementioned Commissary a standard Missal to serve as an exemplar for subsequent copies, which, when made, must be compared with the exemplar and agree faithfully therewith, varying in no wise from the first impression printed in Rome.
But, since it would be difficult for this present Constitution to be transmitted to all parts of the world and to come to the notice of all concerned simultaneously, We direct that it be, as usual, posted and published at the doors of the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, at those of the Apostolic Chancery, and at the end of the Campo de’Fiori; moreover We direct that printed copies of the same, signed by a notary public and authenticated with the seal of an ecclesiastical dignitary, shall possess the same unqualified and indubitable validity everywhere and in every country that would attend the display there of Our present text. Accordingly, no one whosoever is permitted to infringe or rashly contravene this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, direction, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree and prohibition. Should any person venture to do so, let him understand that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at St. Peter's, Rome, in the year of Our Lord's Incarnation, one thousand five hundred and seventy, on the fourteenth day of July of the fifth year of Our Pontificate.
H. Cumin Caesar Glorierius
SPE SALVI - On Christian Hope
Letter of Benedict XVI to the Bishops of the World to Present the "Motu Proprio" on the Use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the Reforms of 1970.
This letter of Benedict XVI was issued 7 July 2007 together with his Apostolic Letter "Summorum Pontificum" on the celebration of the Roman Rite according to the Missal of 1962. The following is the Vatican's unofficial translation of the official Latin text.
My dear Brother Bishops,
With great trust and hope, I am consigning to you as Pastors the text of a new Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The document is the fruit of much reflection, numerous consultations and prayer.
News reports and judgments made without sufficient information have created no little confusion. There have been very divergent reactions ranging from joyful acceptance to harsh opposition, about a plan whose contents were in reality unknown.
This document was most directly opposed on account of two fears, which I would like to address somewhat more closely in this letter.
In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question. This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were "two Rites". Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.
As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.
Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal; that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but appealed in a general way to the generous response of Bishops towards the "legitimate aspirations" of those members of the faithful who requested this usage of the Roman Rite. At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to assist the Society of Saint Pius X to recover full unity with the Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more painfully. Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about. Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio. On the other hand, difficulties remain concerning the use of the 1962 Missal outside of these groups, because of the lack of precise juridical norms, particularly because Bishops, in such cases, frequently feared that the authority of the Council would be called into question. Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio. The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.
In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.
It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.
I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: "Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!" (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.
There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.
In conclusion, dear Brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22: "Sacrae Liturgiae moderatio ab Ecclesiae auctoritate unice pendet quae quidem est apud Apostolicam Sedem et, ad normam iuris, apud Episcopum").
Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio.
Furthermore, I invite you, dear Brothers, to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy them can be sought.
Dear Brothers, with gratitude and trust, I entrust to your hearts as Pastors these pages and the norms of the Motu Proprio. Let us always be mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul addressed to the presbyters of Ephesus: "Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son" (Acts 20:28).
I entrust these norms to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, dear Brothers, to the parish priests of your dioceses, and to all the priests, your co-workers, as well as to all your faithful.
Given at Saint Peter’s, 7 July 2007
FIRST VATICAN COUNCIL (1869-1870)
This council was summoned by Pope Pius IX by the bull Aeterni Patris of 29 June 1868.
The first session was held in St. Peter's basilica on 8 December 1869 in the presence and
under the presidency of the Pope.
The purpose of the council was, besides the condemnation of contemporary errors, to
define the Catholic doctrine concerning the Church of Christ. In fact, in the three
following sessions, there was discussion and approval of only two constitutions: Dogmatic
Constitution On The Catholic Faith and First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of
Christ, the latter dealing with the primacy and infallibility of the bishop of Rome. The
discussion and approval of the latter constitution gave rise, particularly in Germany, to
bitter and most serious controversies which led to the withdrawal from the Church of those
known as "Old Catholics".
The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war led to the interruption of the council. It was
in fact never resumed, nor was it ever officially closed. As in other councils at which
the Pope was present and presided, the decrees were in the form of bulls, at the end of
which was the clear declaration: "with the approval of the sacred council". Very
large numbers attended this council, including, for the first time, bishops from outside
Europe and its neighboring lands. Bishops from the eastern Orthodox Churches were also
invited, but did not come.
The decrees of the council were published in various simultaneous editions. Later they
were included in volume 7 of Collectio Lacensis (1892) and in volumes 49-53 of Mansi's
collection (1923-1927). The collection which we use is that entitled Acta et decreta
sacrosancti oecumenici concilii Vaticani in quatuor prionbus sessionibus, Rome 1872.
Comparison with other editions reveals no discrepancies, indeed absolute agreement.
Session 1 : 8 December 1869
Decree of opening of the council
Pius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council,
for an everlasting record. Most reverend fathers, is it your pleasure that, to the praise
and glory of the Holy and undivided Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for the increase
and exaltation of the Catholic faith and religion, for the uprooting of current errors,
for the reformation of the clergy and the Christian people, and for the common peace and
concord of all, the holy ecumenical Vatican council should be opened, and be declared to
have been opened?
[They replied: Yes]
Pius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council,
for an everlasting record. Most reverend fathers, is it your pleasure that the next
session of the holy ecumenical Vatican council should be held on the feast of the Epiphany
of the Lord, that is 6 January 1870?
[They replied: Yes]
Session 2 : 6 January 1870
Profession of faith
1. I, Pius, bishop of the Catholic Church, with firm faith believe and profess each and
every article contained in the profession of faith which the Holy Roman Church uses,
namely: I believe in one God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things
seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ the only-begotten Son of God. Born of the
Father before all ages. God from God, light from light, true God from true God. Begotten
not made, of one substance with the Father: through whom all things were made. Who for us
humans and for our salvation came down from heaven. He was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of
the Virgin Mary: and became man. He was crucified also for us, he suffered under Pontius
Pilate and was buried. The third day he rose again according to the Scriptures. He
ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. He shall come again with
glory to judge the living and the dead, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. And in
the Holy Spirit, the lord and the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified: who spoke through the
prophets. And one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the
remission of Sins. And I look for the resurrection of the dead. And the life of the world
to come Amen.
2. Apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions
of that same Church I most firmly accept and embrace.
3. Likewise I accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy mother Church
held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the
Holy Scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the
unanimous consent of the fathers.
4. I profess also that there are seven sacraments of the new law, truly and properly so
called, instituted by our lord Jesus Christ and necessary for salvation, though each
person need not receive them all. They are:
1. baptism, 2. confirmation, 3. the Eucharist, 4. penance, 5. last anointing, 6. order
and 7. matrimony; and they confer grace. Of these baptism, confirmation and order may not
be repeated without sacrilege.
5. I likewise receive and accept the rites of the Catholic Church which have been
received and approved in the solemn administration of all the aforesaid sacraments.
6. I embrace and accept the whole and every part of what was defined and declared by
the holy Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. Likewise
7. I profess that in the mass there is offered to God a true, proper and propitiatory
sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most Holy sacrament of the
Eucharist there is truly, really and substantially the body and blood, together with the
soul and divinity, of our lord Jesus Christ; and that there takes place the conversion of
the whole substance of the bread into his body, and of the whole substance of the wine
into his blood, and this conversion the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation.
8. I confess that under either species alone the whole and complete Christ and the true
sacrament are received.
9. I firmly hold that purgatory exists, and that the souls detained there are helped by
the suffrages of the faithful. Likewise, that the saints reigning with Christ are to be
honored and prayed to, and that they offer prayers to God on our behalf, and that their
relics should be venerated.
10. I resolutely assert that images of
1. Christ and
2. the ever Virgin Mother of God, and likewise those of
3. the other saints, are to be kept and retained, and that due honor and reverence is to
be shown them.
11. I affirm that the power of indulgences was left by Christ in the Church, and that
their use is eminently beneficial to the Christian people.
12. I acknowledge the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, the mother and
mistress of all the Churches .
13. Likewise all other things which have been transmitted, defined and declared by the
sacred canons and the ecumenical councils, especially the sacred Trent, I accept
unhesitatingly and profess; in the same way whatever is to the contrary, and whatever
heresies have been condemned, rejected and anathematized by the Church, I too condemn,
reject and anathematize.
This true Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, which I now freely
profess and truly hold, is what I shall steadfastly maintain and confess, by the help of
God, in all its completeness and purity until my dying breath, and I shall do my best to
ensure  that all others do the same. This is what I, the same Pius, promise, vow and
swear. So help me God and these holy gospels of God.
Session 3 : 24 April 1870
Dogmatic constitution on the Catholic faith
Pius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the Sacred Council,
for an everlasting record.
1. The Son of God, redeemer of the human race, our lord Jesus Christ, promised, when
about to return to his heavenly Father, that he would be with this Church militant upon
earth all days even to the end of the world . Hence never at any time has he ceased to
stand by his beloved bride, assisting her when she teaches, blessing her in her labors and
bringing her help when she is in danger.
2. Now this redemptive providence appears very clearly in unnumbered benefits, but most
especially is it manifested in the advantages which have been secured for the Christian
world by ecumenical councils, among which the Council of Trent requires special mention,
celebrated though it was in evil days.
3. Thence came 1. a closer definition and more fruitful exposition of the holy dogmas
of religion and 2. the condemnation and repression of errors; thence too, 3. the
restoration and vigorous strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, 4. the advancement of
the clergy in zeal for learning and piety, 5. the founding of colleges for the training of
the young for the service of religion; and finally 6. the renewal of the moral life of the
Christian people by a more accurate instruction of the faithful, and a more frequent
reception of the sacraments. What is more, thence also came 7. a closer union of the
members with the visible head, and an increased vigor in the whole mystical body of
Christ. Thence came 8. the multiplication of religious orders and other organizations of
Christian piety; thence too 9. that determined and constant ardor for the spreading of
Christ's kingdom abroad in the world, even at the cost of shedding one's blood.
4. While we recall with grateful hearts, as is only fitting, these and other
outstanding gains, which the divine mercy has bestowed on the Church especially by means
of the last ecumenical synod, we cannot subdue the bitter grief that we feel at most
serious evils, which have largely arisen either because the authority of the sacred synod
was held in contempt by all too many, or because its wise decrees were neglected.
5. Everybody knows that those heresies, condemned by the fathers of Trent, which
rejected the divine magisterium of the Church and allowed religious questions to be a
matter for the judgment of each individual, have gradually collapsed into a multiplicity
of sects, either at variance or in agreement with one another; and by this means a good
many people have had all faith in Christ destroyed.
6. Indeed even the Holy Bible itself, which they at one time claimed to be the sole
source and judge of the Christian faith, is no longer held to be divine, but they begin to
assimilate it to the inventions of myth.
7. Thereupon there came into being and spread far and wide throughout the world that
doctrine of rationalism or naturalism,utterly opposed to the Christian religion,
since this is of supernatural origin,which spares no effort to bring it about that
Christ, who alone is our lord and savior, is shut out from the minds of people and the
moral life of nations. Thus they would establish what they call the rule of simple reason
or nature. The abandonment and rejection of the Christian religion, and the denial of God
and his Christ, has plunged the minds of many into the abyss of pantheism, materialism and
atheism, and the consequence is that they strive to destroy rational nature itself, to
deny any criterion of what is right and just, and to overthrow the very foundations of
8. With this impiety spreading in every direction, it has come about, alas, that many
even among the children of the Catholic Church have strayed from the path of genuine
piety, and as the truth was gradually diluted in them, their Catholic sensibility was
weakened. Led away by diverse and strange teachings  and confusing nature and grace,
human knowledge and divine faith, they are found to distort the genuine sense of the
dogmas which Holy mother Church holds and teaches, and to endanger the integrity and
genuineness of the faith.
9. At the sight of all this, how can the inmost being of the Church not suffer anguish?
For just as God wills all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth ,
just as Christ came to save what was lost  and to gather into one the children of God
who were scattered abroad , so the Church, appointed by God to be mother and mistress
of nations, recognizes her obligations to all and is always ready and anxious to raise the
fallen, to steady those who stumble, to embrace those who return, and to strengthen the
good and urge them on to what is better. Thus she can never cease from witnessing to the
truth of God which heals all [8 ] and from declaring it, for she knows
that these words were directed to her: My spirit which is upon you, and my words which
I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth from this time forth and for
10. And so we, following in the footsteps of our predecessors, in accordance with our
supreme apostolic office, have never left off teaching and defending Catholic truth and
condemning erroneous doctrines. But now it is our purpose to profess and declare from this
chair of Peter before all eyes the saving teaching of Christ, and, by the power given us
by God, to reject and condemn the contrary errors. This we shall do with the bishops of
the whole world as our co-assessors and fellow-judges, gathered here as they are in the
Holy Spirit by our authority in this ecumenical council, and relying on the word of God in
Scripture and tradition as we have received it, religiously preserved and authentically
expounded by the Catholic Church.
On God the creator of all things
1. The Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church believes and acknowledges that there
is one true and living God, creator and lord of heaven and earth, almighty, eternal,
immeasurable, incomprehensible, infinite in will, understanding and every perfection.
2. Since he is one, singular, completely simple and unchangeable spiritual substance,
he must be declared to be in reality and in essence, distinct from the world, supremely
happy in himself and from himself, and inexpressibly loftier than anything besides himself
which either exists or can be imagined.
3. This one true God, by his goodness and almighty power, not with the intention of
increasing his happiness, nor indeed of obtaining happiness, but in order to manifest his
perfection by the good things which he bestows on what he creates, by an absolutely free
plan, together from the beginning of time brought into being from nothing the twofold
created order, that is the spiritual and the bodily, the angelic and the earthly, and
thereafter the human which is, in a way, common to both since it is composed of spirit and
4. Everything that God has brought into being he protects and governs by his
providence, which reaches from one end of the earth to the other and orders all things
well . All things are open and laid bare to his eyes , even those which will be
brought about by the free activity of creatures.
1. The same Holy mother Church holds and teaches that God, the source and end of all
things, can be known with certainty from the consideration of created things, by the
natural power of human reason : ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature
has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.  2. It was, however,
pleasing to his wisdom and goodness to reveal himself and the eternal laws of his will to
the human race by another, and that a supernatural, way. This is how the Apostle puts it :
In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these
last days he has spoken to us by a Son .
3. It is indeed thanks to this divine revelation, that those matters concerning God
which are not of themselves beyond the scope of human reason, can, even in the present
state of the human race, be known by everyone without difficulty, with firm certitude and
with no intermingling of error.
4. It is not because of this that one must hold revelation to be absolutely necessary;
the reason is that God directed human beings to a supernatural end, that is a sharing in
the good things of God that utterly surpasses the understanding of the human mind; indeed
eye has not seen, neither has ear heard, nor has it come into our hearts to conceive what
things God has prepared for those who love him .
5. Now this supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal Church,
as declared by the sacred Council of Trent, is contained in written books and unwritten
traditions, which were received by the apostles from the lips of Christ himself, or came
to the apostles by the dictation of the Holy Spirit, and were passed on as it were from
hand to hand until they reached us .
6. The complete books of the old and the new Testament with all their parts, as they
are listed in the decree of the said Council and as they are found in the old Latin
Vulgate edition, are to be received as sacred and canonical.
7. These books the Church holds to be sacred and canonical not because she subsequently
approved them by her authority after they had been composed by unaided human skill, nor
simply because they contain revelation without error, but because, being written under the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and were as such committed
to the Church.
8. Now since the decree on the interpretation of Holy Scripture, profitably made by the
Council of Trent, with the intention of constraining rash speculation, has been wrongly
interpreted by some, we renew that decree and declare its meaning to be as follows: that
in matters of faith and morals, belonging as they do to the establishing of Christian
doctrine, that meaning of Holy Scripture must be held to be the true one, which Holy
mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true meaning and
interpretation of Holy Scripture.
9. In consequence, it is not permissible for anyone to interpret Holy Scripture in a
sense contrary to this, or indeed against the unanimous consent of the fathers.
1. Since human beings are totally dependent on God as their creator and lord, and
created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are obliged to yield to God
the revealer full submission of intellect and will by faith.
2. This faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, the Catholic Church professes
to be a supernatural virtue, by means of which, with the grace of God inspiring and
assisting us, we believe to be true what He has revealed, not because we perceive its
intrinsic truth by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God
himself, who makes the revelation and can neither deceive nor be deceived.
3. Faith, declares the Apostle, is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of
things not seen .
4. Nevertheless, in order that the submission of our faith should be in accordance with
reason, it was God's will that there should be linked to the internal assistance of the
Holy Spirit external indications of his revelation, that is to say divine acts, and first
and foremost miracles and prophecies, which clearly demonstrating as they do the
omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are the most certain signs of revelation and
are suited to the understanding of all.
5. Hence Moses and the prophets, and especially Christ our lord himself, worked many
absolutely clear miracles and delivered prophecies; while of the apostles we read: And
they went forth and preached every, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the
message by the signs that attended it . Again it is written: We have the prophetic
word made more sure; you will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a
dark place .
6. Now, although the assent of faith is by no means a blind movement of the mind, yet
no one can accept the gospel preaching in the way that is necessary for achieving
salvation without the inspiration and illumination of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all
facility in accepting and believing the truth .
7. And so faith in itself, even though it may not work through charity, is a gift of
God, and its operation is a work belonging to the order of salvation, in that a person
yields true obedience to God himself when he accepts and collaborates with his grace which
he could have rejected.
8. Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which
are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are
proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her
solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.
9. Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God  and reach the
fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve
justification without it, neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she
perseveres in it to the end.
10. So that we could fulfill our duty of embracing the true faith and of persevering
unwaveringly in it, God, through his only begotten Son, founded the Church, and he endowed
his institution with clear notes to the end that she might be recognized by all as the
guardian and teacher of the revealed word.
11. To the Catholic Church alone belong all those things, so many and so marvelous,
which have been divinely ordained to make for the manifest credibility of the Christian
12. What is more, the Church herself by reason of her astonishing propagation, her
outstanding holiness and her inexhaustible fertility in every kind of goodness, by her
Catholic unity and her unconquerable stability, is a kind of great and perpetual motive of
credibility and an incontrovertible evidence of her own divine mission.
13. So it comes about that, like a standard lifted up for the nations , she both
invites to herself those who have not yet believed, and likewise assures her sons and
daughters that the faith they profess rests on the firmest of foundations.
14. To this witness is added the effective help of power from on high. For, the kind
Lord stirs up those who go astray and helps them by his grace so that they may come to the
knowledge of the truth  ; and also confirms by his grace those whom he has translated
into his admirable light , so that they may persevere in this light, not abandoning
them unless he is first abandoned.
15. Consequently, the situation of those, who by the heavenly gift of faith have
embraced the Catholic truth, is by no means the same as that of those who, led by human
opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have accepted the faith under the
guidance of the Church can never have any just cause for changing this faith or for
calling it into question.
This being so, giving thanks to God the Father who has made us worthy to share with the
saints in light  let us not neglect so great a salvation , but looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith , let us hold the unshakable confession of our
On faith and reason
1. The perpetual agreement of the Catholic Church has maintained and maintains this
too: that there is a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards its source,
but also as regards its object.
2. With regard to the source, we know at the one level by natural reason, at the other
level by divine faith.
3. With regard to the object, besides those things to which natural reason can attain,
there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely
revealed, are incapable of being known.
Wherefore, when the Apostle, who witnesses that God was known to the gentiles from
created things , comes to treat of the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ
, he declares: We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before
the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this. God has
revealed it to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths
of God . And the Only-begotten himself, in his confession to the Father, acknowledges
that the Father has hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to the
little ones .
4. Now reason, does indeed when it seeks persistently, piously and soberly, achieve by
God's gift some understanding, and that most profitable, of the mysteries, whether by
analogy from what it knows naturally, or from the connection of these mysteries with one
another and with the final end of humanity; but reason is never rendered capable of
penetrating these mysteries in the way in which it penetrates those truths which form its
For the divine mysteries, by their very nature, so far surpass the created
understanding that, even when a revelation has been given and accepted by faith, they
remain covered by the veil of that same faith and wrapped, as it were, in a certain
obscurity, as long as in this mortal life we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith,
and not by sight .
5. Even though faith is above reason, there can never be any real disagreement between
faith and reason, since it is the same God who reveals the mysteries and infuses faith,
and who has endowed the human mind with the light of reason.
6. God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever be in opposition to truth. The
appearance of this kind of specious contradiction is chiefly due to the fact that either
the dogmas of faith are not understood and explained in accordance with the mind of the
Church, or unsound views are mistaken for the conclusions of reason.
7. Therefore we define that every assertion contrary to the truth of enlightened faith
is totally false .
8. Furthermore the Church which, together with its apostolic office of teaching, has
received the charge of preserving the deposit of faith, has by divine appointment the
right and duty of condemning what wrongly passes for knowledge, lest anyone be led astray
by philosophy and empty deceit .
9. Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions
of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith,
particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are
absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.
10. Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually
support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the
faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other
hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of
11. Hence, so far is the Church from hindering the development of human arts and
studies, that in fact she assists and promotes them in many ways. For she is neither
ignorant nor contemptuous of the advantages which derive from this source for human life,
rather she acknowledges that those things flow from God, the lord of sciences, and, if
they are properly used, lead to God by the help of his grace.
12. Nor does the Church forbid these studies to employ, each within its own area, its
own proper principles and method: but while she admits this just freedom, she takes
particular care that they do not become infected with errors by conflicting with divine
teaching, or, by going beyond their proper limits, intrude upon what belongs to faith and
13. For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some
philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine
deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly
14. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has
once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this
sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.
May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and
greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church:
but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same
sense, and the same understanding .
1. On God the creator of all things
1. If anyone denies the one true God, creator and lord of things visible and invisible:
let him be anathema.
2. If anyone is so bold as to assert that there exists nothing besides matter: let him
3. If anyone says that the substance or essence of God and that of all things are one
and the same: let him be anathema.
4. If anyone says that finite things, both corporal and spiritual, or at any rate,
spiritual, emanated from the divine substance; or that the divine essence, by the
manifestation and evolution of itself becomes all things or, finally, that God is a
universal or indefinite being which by self determination establishes the totality of
things distinct in genera, species and individuals: let him be anathema.
5. If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it,
both spiritual and material, were produced, according to their whole substance, out of
nothing by God; or holds that God did not create by his will free from all necessity, but
as necessarily as he necessarily loves himself; or denies that the world was created for
the glory of God: let him be anathema.
2. On revelation
1. If anyone says that the one, true God, our creator and lord, cannot be known with
certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let
him be anathema.
2. If anyone says that it is impossible, or not expedient, that human beings should be
taught by means of divine revelation about God and the worship that should be shown him :
let him be anathema.
3. If anyone says that a human being cannot be divinely elevated to a knowledge and
perfection which exceeds the natural, but of himself can and must reach finally the
possession of all truth and goodness by continual development: let him be anathema.
4. If anyone does not receive as sacred and canonical the complete books of Sacred
Scripture with all their parts, as the holy Council of Trent listed them, or denies that
they were divinely inspired : let him be anathema.
3. On faith
1. If anyone says that human reason is so independent that faith cannot be commanded by
God: let him be anathema.
2. If anyone says that divine faith is not to be distinguished from natural knowledge
about God and moral matters, and consequently that for divine faith it is not required
that revealed truth should be believed because of the authority of God who reveals it: let
him be anathema.
3. If anyone says that divine revelation cannot be made credible by external signs, and
that therefore men and women ought to be moved to faith only by each one's internal
experience or private inspiration: let him be anathema.
4. If anyone says that all miracles are impossible, and that therefore all reports of
them, even those contained in Sacred Scripture, are to be set aside as fables or myths; or
that miracles can never be known with certainty, nor can the divine origin of the
Christian religion be proved from them: let him be anathema.
5. If anyone says that the assent to Christian faith is not free, but is necessarily
produced by arguments of human reason; or that the grace of God is necessary only for
living faith which works by charity: let him be anathema.
6. If anyone says that the condition of the faithful and those who have not yet
attained to the only true faith is alike, so that Catholics may have a just cause for
calling in doubt, by suspending their assent, the faith which they have already received
from the teaching of the Church, until they have completed a scientific demonstration of
the credibility and truth of their faith: let him be anathema.
4. On faith and reason
1. If anyone says that in divine revelation there are contained no true mysteries
properly so-called, but that all the dogmas of the faith can be understood and
demonstrated by properly trained reason from natural principles: let him be anathema.
2. If anyone says that human studies are to be treated with such a degree of liberty
that their assertions may be maintained as true even when they are opposed to divine
revelation, and that they may not be forbidden by the Church: let him be anathema.
3. If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of
knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is
different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema.
And so in the performance of our supreme pastoral office, we beseech for the love of
Jesus Christ and we command, by the authority of him who is also our God and savior, all
faithful Christians, especially those in authority or who have the duty of teaching, that
they contribute their zeal and labor to the warding off and elimination of these errors
from the Church and to the spreading of the light of the pure faith.
But since it is not enough to avoid the contamination of heresy unless those errors are
carefully shunned which approach it in greater or less degree, we warn all of their duty
to observe the constitutions and decrees in which such wrong opinions, though not
expressly mentioned in this document, have been banned and forbidden by this Holy See.
Session 4 : 18 July 1870
First dogmatic constitution on the Church of Christ
Pius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the Sacred Council,
for an everlasting record.
1. The eternal shepherd and guardian of our souls , in order to render permanent
the saving work of redemption, determined to build a Church in which, as in the house of
the living God, all the faithful should be linked by the bond of one faith and charity.
2. Therefore, before he was glorified, he besought his Father, not for the apostles
only, but also for those who were to believe in him through their word, that they all
might be one as the Son himself and the Father are one .
3. So then, just as he sent apostles, whom he chose out of the world , even as he
had been sent by the Father , in like manner it was his will that in his Church there
should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time.
4. In order, then, that the episcopal office should be one and undivided and that, by
the union of the clergy, the whole multitude of believers should be held together in the
unity of faith and communion, he set blessed Peter over the rest of the apostles and
instituted in him the permanent principle of both unities and their visible foundation.
5. Upon the strength of this foundation was to be built the eternal temple, and the
Church whose topmost part reaches heaven was to rise upon the firmness of this foundation
6. And since the gates of hell trying, if they can, to overthrow the Church, make their
assault with a hatred that increases day by day against its divinely laid foundation, we
judge it necessary, with the approbation of the Sacred Council, and for the protection,
defense and growth of the Catholic flock, to propound the doctrine concerning the 1.
institution, 2. permanence and 3. nature of the sacred and apostolic primacy, upon which
the strength and coherence of the whole Church depends.
7. This doctrine is to be believed and held by all the faithful in accordance with the
ancient and unchanging faith of the whole Church.
8. Furthermore, we shall proscribe and condemn the contrary errors which are so harmful
to the Lord's flock.
On the institution of the apostolic primacy in blessed Peter
1. We teach and declare that, according to the gospel evidence, a primacy of
jurisdiction over the whole Church of God was immediately and directly promised to the
blessed apostle Peter and conferred on him by Christ the lord.
2. It was to Simon alone, to whom he had already said You shall be called Cephas ,
that the Lord, after his confession, You are the Christ, the son of the living God, spoke
Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but
my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build
my Church, and the gates of the underworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you
the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in
heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven  .
3. And it was to Peter alone that Jesus, after his resurrection, confided the
jurisdiction of Supreme Pastor and ruler of his whole fold, saying:
Feed my lambs, feed my sheep .
4. To this absolutely manifest teaching of the Sacred Scriptures, as it has always been
understood by the Catholic Church, are clearly opposed the distorted opinions of those who
misrepresent the form of government which Christ the lord established in his Church and
deny that Peter, in preference to the rest of the apostles, taken singly or collectively,
was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction.
5. The same may be said of those who assert that this primacy was not conferred
immediately and directly on blessed Peter himself, but rather on the Church, and that it
was through the Church that it was transmitted to him in his capacity as her minister.
6. Therefore, if anyone says that blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed by Christ
the lord as prince of all the apostles and visible head of the whole Church militant; or
that it was a primacy of honor only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction that he
directly and immediately received from our lord Jesus Christ himself: let him be anathema.
On the permanence of the primacy of blessed Peter in the Roman pontiffs
1. That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the
sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent
benefit of the Church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ's authority, in the
Church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time .
2. For no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most
blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of
the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the
savior and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and for ever he lives and
presides and exercises judgment in his successors the bishops of the Holy Roman See, which
he founded and consecrated with his blood .
3. Therefore whoever succeeds to the chair of Peter obtains by the institution of
Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole Church. So what the truth has ordained
stands firm, and blessed Peter perseveres in the rock-like strength he was granted, and
does not abandon that guidance of the Church which he once received .
4. For this reason it has always been necessary for every Church--that is to say the
faithful throughout the world--to be in agreement with the Roman Church because of its
more effective leadership. In consequence of being joined, as members to head, with that
see, from which the rights of sacred communion flow to all, they will grow together into
the structure of a single body .
5. Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the lord
himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual
successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the
successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.
On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff
1. And so, supported by the clear witness of Holy Scripture, and adhering to the
manifest and explicit decrees both of our predecessors the Roman Pontiffs and of general
councils, we promulgate anew the definition of the ecumenical Council of Florence ,
which must be believed by all faithful Christians, namely that the Apostolic See and the
Roman Pontiff hold a world-wide primacy, and that the Roman Pontiff is the successor of
blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole Church
and father and teacher of all Christian people.
To him, in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus Christ to tend,
rule and govern the universal Church.
All this is to be found in the acts of the ecumenical councils and the sacred canons.
2. Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses
a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional
power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of
whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power
by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters
concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government
of the Church throughout the world.
3. In this way, by unity with the Roman Pontiff in communion and in profession of the
same faith , the Church of Christ becomes one flock under one Supreme Shepherd .
4. This is the teaching of the Catholic truth, and no one can depart from it without
endangering his faith and salvation.
5. This power of the Supreme Pontiff by no means detracts from that ordinary and
immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, by which bishops, who have succeeded to the
place of the apostles by appointment of the Holy Spirit, tend and govern individually the
particular flocks which have been assigned to them. On the contrary, this power of theirs
is asserted, supported and defended by the Supreme and Universal Pastor; for St. Gregory
the Great says: "My honor is the honor of the whole Church. My honor is the steadfast
strength of my brethren. Then do I receive true honor, when it is denied to none of those
to whom honor is due." 
6. Furthermore, it follows from that supreme power which the Roman Pontiff has in
governing the whole Church, that he has the right, in the performance of this office of
his, to communicate freely with the pastors and flocks of the entire Church, so that they
may be taught and guided by him in the way of salvation.
7. And therefore we condemn and reject the opinions of those who hold that this
communication of the Supreme Head with pastors and flocks may be lawfully obstructed; or
that it should be dependent on the civil power, which leads them to maintain that what is
determined by the Apostolic See or by its authority concerning the government of the
Church, has no force or effect unless it is confirmed by the agreement of the civil
8. Since the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the
whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful
, and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be
had to his judgment . The sentence of the Apostolic See (than which there is no higher
authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment
thereupon . And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is
lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if
this were an authority superior to the Roman Pontiff.
9. So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision
and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church,
and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the
discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he
has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that
this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and
over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.
On the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff
1. That apostolic primacy which the Roman Pontiff possesses as successor of Peter, the
prince of the apostles, includes also the supreme power of teaching. This Holy See has
always maintained this, the constant custom of the Church demonstrates it, and the
ecumenical councils, particularly those in which East and West met in the union of faith
and charity, have declared it.
2. So the fathers of the fourth Council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of
their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: The first condition of
salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord
Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church , cannot fail
of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the Apostolic
See the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been
held in honor. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith
and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the
Apostolic See preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the Christian religion
What is more, with the approval of the second Council of Lyons, the Greeks made the
"The Holy Roman Church possesses the supreme and full primacy and principality over
the whole Catholic Church. She truly and humbly acknowledges that she received this from
the Lord himself in blessed Peter, the prince and chief of the apostles, whose successor
the Roman Pontiff is, together with the fullness of power. And since before all others she
has the duty of defending the truth of the faith, so if any questions arise concerning the
faith, it is by her judgment that they must be settled." 
Then there is the definition of the Council of Florence:
"The Roman Pontiff is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole Church and the
father and teacher of all Christians; and to him was committed in blessed Peter, by our
lord Jesus Christ, the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole Church."
3. To satisfy this pastoral office, our predecessors strove unwearyingly that the
saving teaching of Christ should be spread among all the peoples of the world; and with
equal care they made sure that it should be kept pure and uncontaminated wherever it was
4. It was for this reason that the bishops of the whole world, sometimes individually,
sometimes gathered in synods, according to the long established custom of the Churches and
the pattern of ancient usage referred to this Apostolic See those dangers especially which
arose in matters concerning the faith. This was to ensure that any damage suffered by the
faith should be repaired in that place above all where the faith can know no failing .
5. The Roman pontiffs, too, as the circumstances of the time or the state of affairs
suggested, sometimes by summoning ecumenical councils or consulting the opinion of the
Churches scattered throughout the world, sometimes by special synods, sometimes by taking
advantage of other useful means afforded by divine providence, defined as doctrines to be
held those things which, by God's help, they knew to be in keeping with Sacred Scripture
and the apostolic traditions.
6. For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might,
by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might
religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by
Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and
reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that
this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the
divine promise of our Lord and Savior to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for
you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren
7. This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter
and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the
salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from
the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine.
Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole Church is preserved in unity, and,
resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.
8. But since in this very age when the salutary effectiveness of the apostolic office
is most especially needed, not a few are to be found who disparage its authority, we judge
it absolutely necessary to affirm solemnly the prerogative which the only-begotten Son of
God was pleased to attach to the supreme pastoral office.
9. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the
Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic
religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred
Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff
speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher
of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine
concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine
assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer
willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore,
such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition
of ours: let him be anathema.
Given at Rome in public session, solemnly held in the Vatican Basilica in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy, on the eighteenth day of July, in the
twenty-fifth year of Our Pontificate.
In conformity with the original.
Joseph, Bishop of St. Polten Secretary to the Vatican Council
1 The Profession of faith of the other fathers added: and I pledge and swear true
obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of blessed Peter the Prince of the Apostles, and
Vicar of Jesus Christ
2 The profession of faith of the other fathers continues: my subjects, or those for
whom I have responsibility in virtue of my office, hold, teach and preach the same
3 See Mt 28, 20.
4 See Heb 13, 9.
5 1 Tm 2, 4.
6 Lk 19, 10.
7 Jn 11, 52.
8 See Wis 16, 12.
9 Is 59, 21.
10 See Lateran Council IV, const. 1 (see above, p. 230).
11 Wis 8, 1.
12 Heb 4, 13.
13 Rm 1, 20.
14 Heb 1, 1-2.
15 1 Cor 2, 9.
16 Council of Trent, session 4, first decree (see above p. 663).
17 Heb 11, 1.
18 Mk 16, 20.
19 2 Pt 1, 19.
20 Council of Orange II (529), canon 7 (Bruns 2, 178; Msi 8, 713).
21 Heb 11, 6.
22 Is 11, 12.
23 1 Tm 2, 4.
24 1 Pt 2, 9; Col 1, 13.
25 Col 1, 12.
26 Heb 2, 3.
27 Heb 12, 2.
28 Heb 10, 12.
29 Rm 1, 20.
30 Jn 1, 17.
31 i Cor 2, 7-8, 10.
32 Mt 11, 25.
33 2 Cor 5, 6-7.
34 See Lateran Council V, session 8 (see above p. 605).
35 See Col 2, 8.
36 Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium (Notebook), 28 (PL 50, 668).
37 1 Pt 2,25.
38 Jn 17, 20-21.
39 Jn 15, 19.
40 Jn 20, 21.
41 Leo 1, Serm. (Sermons), 4 (elsewhere 3), ch. 2 for the day of his birth (PL 54,
42 Jn 1, 42.
43 Mt 16, 16 19.
44 Jn 21, 15-17.
45 See Mt 7, 25; Lk 6, 48.
46 From the speech of Philip, the Roman legate, at the 3rd session of the Council of
Ephesus (D no. 112).
47 Leo I, Serm. (Sermons), 3 (elsewhere 2), ch. 3 (PL 54, 146).
48 Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. (Against Heresies) 1113 (PG 7, 849), Council of Aquilea
(381), to be found among: Ambrose, Epistolae (Letters), 11 (PL 16, 946).
49 Council of Florence, session 6 (see above p. 528).
50 See Jn 10, 16.
51 Ep. ad Eulog. Alexandrin. (Letter to Eulogius of Alexandria), VIII 29 (30) (MGH, Ep.
2, 31 28-30, PL 77, 933).
52 Pius VI, Letter Super soliditate dated 28 Nov. 1786.
53 From Michael Palaeologus's profession of faith which was read out at the second
Council of Lyons (D no. 466).
54 Nicholas I, Ep. ad Michaelem imp. (Letter to the emperor Michael) (PL 119, 954).
55 Mt 16, 18.
56 From Pope Hormisdas's formula of the year 517 (D no. 171), see above p. 157 n. 1.
57 From Michael Palaeologus's profession of faith which was read out at the second
Council of Lyons (D no. 466).
58 Council of Florence, session 6 (see above p. 528). S Bernard, Ep. (Letters) 190 (PL
59 Bernard, Ep. (Letters) 190 (PL 182, 1053).
60 Lk 22, 32.
The translation found here is that which appears in Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils
ed. Norman Tanner. S.J. The numbering of the canons is however found in Tanner's text.
Thanks to EWTN for this text.