BULL OF POPE PIUS VI
Servant of the Servants of God.
Greetings and [my] apostolic blessing to all the Christian faithful.
The Apostle Paul(1) commands us, who look on Jesus as the author and finisher of the
faith, to consider diligently the nature and magnitude of the opposition against Him,
which He endured from sinners, so that at some time or other we, wearied by labors and
dangers, do not lose heart and fall almost lifeless. It is of utmost necessity that we
strengthen and refresh ourselves with this most wholesome thought when the raging heat of the dreadful and never-ending conspiracy against the very body of Christ, which is the Church,(2) takes fire, so that, strengthened in the Lord and in the might of His power, we, protected by the shield of faith, may be able to resist in the evil day and quench all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.(3)Truly in these tumultuous times, in this revolutionary upheaval, all good men must join the burdensome struggle against any and all enemies of the Christian name. The guardianship and guidance of the entire flock entrusted to our pastoral care are a more serious matter for Us, upon whom greater zeal for the Christian religion is incumbent than upon all others.(4)
But despite the heavy responsibility set upon our shoulders to bear the burden of all who are heavily laden, the more aware We are of our own frailty, the more We harbor a more robust hope: The divinely established ruling principle in the person of Blessed Peter lightens the apostolic duty, so that he, who never intended to abandon government of the Church once it has been given by Christ, might not cease to carry on his shoulders the burdens of the apostolic governance of those whom God had given to him as heirs to protect and safeguard with a perpetual succession.
And indeed in these hardships that surround us on every side, a heap of other
troubles have mounded up as it were, so that what should have been for us a source of joy is the source of a greater sadness. For in fact, when a leader of God’s holy Church, under the name of Priest, turns the very people of Christ away from the path of truth toward the peril of an erroneous belief, and when this occurs in a major city, then clearly the distress is multiplied, and a greater anxiety is in order.(5)
To be sure, this has not occurred in far-off lands, but in the full blaze of Italy,
under the eyes of the City [viz. Rome], and near the threshold of the Apostles [viz. the
tombs of Ss. Peter and Paul]. There has been a bishop, distinguished by the honor of two
Sees (Scipione de’ Ricci, formerly the bishop of Pistoia and Prato), whom we embraced
with paternal love as he approached Us to take up his pastoral duty. In the very text of the rite of his sacred ordination, he, in turn, bound himself by means of a scrupulous, solemn oath to the fidelity and obedience due to Us and to this Apostolic See. And yet, this same man in the short space of time after he had left our embrace with the kiss of peace, surrounded by the deceits of a pack of teachers of a perverse school of thought, went to the people entrusted to him. He began to apply himself, but not in the measure he should have, that is to say, by defending, nurturing, and perfecting the praiseworthy and peaceful form of Christian teaching that his predecessor bishops had already introduced long ago and almost secured. Instead, he embarked on confusing, destroying, and utterly overturning it by introducing troublesome novelties under the guise of a sham reform.
And furthermore, when at our urging he had decided upon a diocesan synod, it happened that, by his inflexible pertinacity in his own way of thinking, a more severe occasion of ruin grew out of the source from which we should have looked for some kind of remedy for the wounds. Truly, after the Synod of Pistoia emerged from the hiding places in which it lurked concealed for some time, there was no one with pious scruples and with any good sense who did not at once warn that the plan of the authors had been to unite into one whole,like a body, the seeds of the vicious teachings they had scattered beforehand through numerous pamphlets; to revive errors not long since condemned; and to detract from the faith and authority of those apostolic decrees by which they stood condemned. When we clearly perceived that the more serious problems are in themselves, the more considerably they demand the support of our pastoral care, we did not delay to focus our attention on taking those counsels that seemed more apropos, either in healing or suppressing the emergent evil. And so, first of all, being mindful of the sage advice of our predecessor St. Zosimus: to wit, Those things that are of great importance call for a weighty examination,(6)We tasked four bishops and their personal theologians from the secular clergy to examine the Synod that this bishop produced. Next we assigned a committee of several cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church and other bishops to study diligently the complete collection of [the synod’s] acts, to compare the widely scattered passages with each other, and to discuss the identified formal opinions. We personally received their decisions, both orally and in writing. They decided that the synod must be universally condemned and that very many of the propositions taken from the synod must be reproved with more or less serious censures, some indeed in and of themselves and others in connection with the formally expressed opinions. After hearing and considering their observations, We also took care that certain leading statements of wrongful teachings taken from the whole synod – ones to which the condemnable opinions spread by the synod directly or indirectly referred – were reduced to a certain order for the future, and that each one of these be subject to its own special censure.
However, in case obstinate men seize an opportunity for detraction on account of
this, notwithstanding either the very carefully conducted comparison of passages or the
investigation of the formal opinions, We have determined, in order to meet this probable
calumny, to make use of the wise counsel, duly and cautiously applied, which several of
our most holy predecessors along with highly esteemed bishops and even general
councils had left attested and recommended with notable examples when they had cause
to restrain the rise of dangerous or harmful novelties of this sort.
They knew the capacity of innovators in the art of deception. In order not to shock the
ears of Catholics, the innovators sought to hide the subtleties of their tortuous maneuvers by the use of seemingly innocuous words7
such as would allow them to insinuate error into souls in the most gentle manner. Once the truth had been compromised, they could, by means of slight changes or additions in phraseology, distort the confession of the faith that is necessary for our salvation, and lead the faithful by subtle errors to their eternal damnation. This manner of dissimulating and lying is vicious, regardless of the circumstances under which it is used. For very good reasons it can never be tolerated in a synod of which the principal glory consists above all in teaching the truth with clarity andexcluding all danger of error. Moreover, if all this is sinful, it cannot be excused in the way that one sees it being done,
under the erroneous pretext that the seemingly shocking affirmations in one place are
further developed along orthodox lines in other places, and even in yet other places
corrected; as if allowing for the possibility of either affirming or denying the statement,
or of leaving it up the personal inclinations of the individual – such has always been the
fraudulent and daring method used by innovators to establish error. It allows for both the possibility of promoting error and of excusing it. It is as if the innovators pretended that they always intended to present the alternative passages, especially to those of simple faith who eventually come to know only some part of the conclusions of such discussions, which are published in the common language for everyone’s use. Or again, as if the same faithful had the ability on examining such documents to judge such matters for themselves without getting confused and avoiding all risk of error. It is a most reprehensible technique for the insinuation of doctrinal errors and one condemned long ago by our predecessor St. Celestine8
who found it used in the writings of Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, and which he exposed in order to condemn it with the greatest possible severity. Once these texts were examined carefully, the impostor was exposed and confounded, for he expressed himself in a plethora of words, mixing true things with others that were obscure; mixing at times one with the other in such a way that he was also able to confess those things which were denied while at the same time possessing a basis for denying those very sentences which he confessed.
In order to expose such snares, something which becomes necessary with a certain
frequency in every century, no other method is required than the following: Whenever it
becomes necessary to expose statements that disguise some suspected error or danger
under the veil of ambiguity, one must denounce the perverse meaning under which the
error opposed to Catholic truth is camouflaged.
The more freely We embraced a program of complete moderation, the more we foresaw
that, in order to reconcile souls and bring them to the unity of spirit in the bond of peace
(which, we are glad to say, has by God’s favor already happily occurred in many), it
would be of enormous assistance to be prepared in case pertinacious sectarians of the
synod – if any, God forbid, still remain, – should be free in the future to bring in as allies
Catholic schools and make them partners of their own just condemnation in order to set
in motion new disturbances: They endeavor to entice to their side the clearly unwilling
and resistant schools by a kind of distorted likeness of similar terms, even though the
schools profess expressly different opinions. Then, if any previously imagined, milder
opinion about the synod has hitherto escaped the notice of these imprudent men, let every opportunity of complaining still be closed to them. If they are sound in doctrine, as they wish to seem, they cannot take it hard that the teachings identified in this manner –
teachings that exhibit errors from which they claim to be entirely distant – stand
condemned. Yet We did not think that We had sincerely proved our mildness, or more correctly, the charity that impels us toward our brother, whom we wish to assist by every means, if We may still be able.(9)Indeed, We are impelled by the charity that moved our predecessor Celestine.(10) He did not refuse to wait with a greater patience than what seemed to be called for, even against what the law demanded, for priests [=bishops] to mend their ways. For we, along with Augustine and the Fathers of Milevis, prefer and desire that men who teach perverse things be healed in the Church by pastoral care rather than be cut off from Her without hope of salvation, if necessity does not force one to act. (11) Therefore, so as it should not appear that any effort to win over a brother was
overlooked, before We progressed further, We thought to summon the aforementioned
bishop to Us by means of very cordial letters written to him at our request, promising that we would receive him with good will and that he would not be barred from freely and openly declaring what seemed to him to meet the needs of his interests. In truth, We had not lost all hope of the possibility that, if he possessed that teachable mind, which
Augustine12, following the Apostle, required above all else in a bishop, as soon as the
chief points of doctrine under dispute, which seemed worthy of greater consideration,
were proposed to him simply and candidly, without contention and rancor, then almost
beyond a doubt he could, upon reflection, more reasonably explain what had been
proposed ambiguously and openly repudiate the notions displaying manifest perversity.
And so, with his name held in high regard amid the delighted acclaim of all good men,
the turmoil aroused in the Church would be restrained as peaceably as possible by means of a much-desired correction.13 But now since he, alleging ill health, has decided not to make use of the kindness offered to him, We can no longer postpone fulfilling our apostolic duty. It is not a matter of the danger of only one or another diocese: Any novelty at all assails the Universal Church. (14) Now for a long time, from every side, the judgment of the supreme Apostolic See has not only been awaited but earnestly demanded by unremitting, repeated petitions. God forbid that the voice of Peter ever be silent in that See, where, living and presiding perpetually, he presents the truth of the faith to those in search of it.(15) A lengthier forbearance in such matters is not safe, because it is almost just as much of a crime to close one’s eyes in such cases, as it is to preach such offenses to religion.(16) Therefore, such a wound must be cut away, a wound by which not one member is hurt, but the entire body of the church is damaged.(17) And with the aid of divine piety, We must take care that, with the dissensions removed, the Catholic faith be preserved inviolate, and that those whose faith has been proved may be fortified by our authority once those who defend perverse teachings have been recalled from error.(18)
After beseeching the light of the Holy Ghost both with our own incessant public and
private prayers and also with those of the pious Christian faithful, and after considering
everything fully and seasonably, We have resolved to condemn and reprove several
propositions, doctrines, and opinions of the acts and decrees of the aforementioned
Synod, either those expressly taught or those conveyed through ambiguity, with their own
appropriate notes and censures for each of them (as was said above), just as we condemn
and reprove them in this our constitution, which will be valid in perpetuity. They are as
[The introduction ends here, and the list of condemned propositions begins. This list can be found in Henry
Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, 30th ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1957), nos. 1501-
1599 (new numbering: nos. 2601-2700), or online at http://denzinger.patristica.net at nos. 1501-1599.]
1 Hebrews 12
2 Colossians 1
3 Ephesians 6
4 Pope St. Siricius, To Himerius of Tarragona, Epistle 1 in Coustant.
5 Pope St. Celestine I, Epistle 12, in Coustant.
6 Pope St. Zosimus, Epistle 2 in Coustant.
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7 Pope St. Leo the Great, Epistle 129, in the edition of Baller. 8 Pope St. Celestine I, Epistle 13, no. 2 in Coustant.
9 Pope St. Celestine I, Epistle 14, To the Clergy and People of Constantinople, no. 8, in Coustant.
10 Epistle 13, To Nestorius, no. 9.
11 Epistle 176, no. 4; 178, no. 2 in the Maurist edition.
12 Book 4, On Baptism Against the Donatists, ch. 5, and Book 5, ch. 26.
13 Pope St. Celestine I, Epistle 16, no. 2 in Coustant.
14 Pope St. Celestine I, Epistle 21, To the Bishops of France.
15 St. Peter Chrysologus, Epistle to Eutyches.
16 Pope St. Celestine I, Epistle 12, no. 2.
17 Pope St. Celestine I, Epistle 11, To Cyril, no. 3.
18 Pope St. Leo the Great, Epistle 23, To Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople.
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This document downloaded from NovusOrdoWatch.org
This document downloaded from NovusOrdoWatch.org
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“The Chair of St. Peter at Rome (January 18) — This feast reinforces the unique role of the pope as vicar of Christ, and that as universal pastor, he cannot err when he teaches on matters of faith and morals. How then, are faithful Catholics to explain the appearance that the pope has erred since Vatican II? Here are some of the attempts that have been made over the years. Some of you old timers will no doubt remember them.
– It is the liberal bishops and not the pope who are responsible.
– The council was ambiguous and the wrong interpretation has been given.
– The real pope is being held captive and a look-alike imposter has taken over.
– The pope didn’t speak ex cathedra.
– The council was only a pastoral council.
– Nowadays it seems that it can sometimes happen that the pope teaches error. When he does, we must continue to recognize his authority, but hold fast and resist whatever erroneous teaching or evil commands he may give.
– The pope and bishops have embraced the apostasy of the new religion and have thereby lost their offices. All the seats are empty, including that of the pope and we are today without any hierarchy whatsoever.
We understand that as glaring as some of these errors may seem today, they were the best answers that were available at the time. Only in time and with further reflection, did the error of these answers become apparent. Let us consider today this last error, which many now call sedevacantism (Latin for “the see being vacant”). The popular name for this error is borrowed from the term that is used between the death of one pope and the election of a new one. Good Catholics, who believed the idea that all the seats are vacant, did so only to be faithful to the promise of Christ that the religion any pope would teach the Universal Church would be guaranteed by His own word and the power of the Holy Ghost. However, while defending this one truth of Christ, they unwittingly fell into an error contrary to another teaching of the Church, that the Hierarchy is perpetual, that it will last to the end of time, and that Peter will have perpetual successors. The pope and the Hierarchy cannot simply be gone! Therefore, this explanation must be rejected by Catholics.
The Chair of St Peter at Rome (continued) – This feast reinforces Catholic teaching that Christ has given to Peter and his successors a unique role in the Church as Universal Pastor. In this role as teacher Our Lord has promised that he who hears Peter hears Him. Recognizing this promise, the Church has infallibly taught that Peter and his successors cannot teach error to the Universal Church any more than Christ can. So Christ guarantees that Peter will never teach error and Peter has the special assistance of the Holy Ghost to carry this out.
We have considered the error of sedevacantism, which holds that there is no pope, and that there is no hierarchy. Today let us consider another error, referred to by some as “Recognize and Resist.” In a nutshell, R&R holds that sometimes the pope teaches error or imposes evil or harmful practices or laws.* When he does, we must recognize his authority but resist his erroneous teachings or evil commands. Good Catholics have mistakenly fallen into this error in their attempt to protect the teaching of the Church that the pope must have perpetual successors and that somehow there must always be a hierarchy. The R&R position cannot be held because it ignores the clear teaching of the Church that the pope cannot teach error or impose evil or harmful practices and laws by virtue of the guarantee of Our Lord and the special assistance of the Holy Ghost. If we recognize the pope’s authority to teach and rule the Church in matters of faith and morals, we have no choice but to assent and obey, for not to do so would be to fail to assent to Christ Himself, by Whose authority and in Whose name the pope speaks. So R&R cannot be the answer, and like sedevacantism, it too must be rejected.
(*Some have said that the pope taught error at the time of St. Athanasius, but a closer examination of the facts shows this not to be true.)
Chair of St. Peter at Rome … conclusion) – We have been considering the past few weeks this feast, which reinforces the teaching of the Church that the office of the Chair of St. Peter (Peter and his successors, the popes) is indefectible, that is it is always free from error and must be perpetual. Its teachings are the standard and rule of Faith, despite the worthiness or unworthiness of the successor. In light of this and what we have said before, what is a faithful Catholic to do? Join or re-join the Novus Ordo? By no means! It is a false religion and to do so would be to abandon the Catholic Faith.
We have considered some answers to the question: How is it that the New Order popes have attempted to impose on the Church erroneous teachings and harmful or evil laws or practices? We gave particular attention to two of the most widely-held erroneous explanations: sedevacantism and recognize and resist (R&R). In light of what has been said, the following become apparent:
– Contrary to the teaching of the Church: The pope can teach error sometimes and impose harmful or evil practices and laws on the Universal Church.
– Contrary to the teaching of the Church: There is no hierarchy whatsoever. (It is de fide that the hierarchy must be perpetual.)
– Contrary to the teaching of the Church: We may resist the authority of the pope.
– That since it is obvious that the Vatican II popes have imposed teachings and practices contrary to Faith and morals, it must be concluded that the infallible and indefectible teaching power promised to Peter’s successors is absent.
– It may be held that since the Vatican II popes possess a legal and valid election, they have a certain legal status as popes.
– It may be held that this legal status is sufficient to maintain the succession to Peter and the perpetuity of the hierarchy.
It would appear, then, that the Chair is not totally vacant, nor is it completely full. The new order popes possess some legal aspect as popes but lack the authority to teach and rule on matters of faith and morals. In the face of this situation, the proper response of all faithful Catholics is to believe what Catholics have always believed and to do what Catholics have always done. We cannot go wrong doing that!” (Fr. Ronald Ringrose, St. Athanasius Church Bulletins of Jan. 14, Jan. 21, Jan. 28, 2018; bold print and italics given.)
We must as Catholics believe these truths revealed by Christ and taught as dogma by the Church:
1. We know the things we are to believe from the Catholic Church. It is the pope with the bishops, through whom God speaks to us. (Baltimore Catechism #3 q. 10 also q. 157)
2. The Church (pope & bishops) certainly can never teach us falsehood because the Holy Ghost abides with it forever. (BC #3 q. 445)
3. Infallibility means that the Church (pope & bishops) cannot err when they teach faith and morals. (BC #3 q. 526)
This is all nicely summarized in a Youtube video entitled, “Archbishop Lefebvre Speaks Frankly About the Pope.”
“It is a recorded conference of the Archbishop in which he clearly states that it is impossible for a pope to impose heresy and evil practices on the Church and that he who would do so certainly cannot be pope. Look up these questions in the Baltimore Catechism for yourself and listen to the Archbishop’s own words.”(Fr. Ronald Ringrose, St. Athanasius Church Bulletin of Apr. 29, 2018; italics given)
“The leaders of the US bishops’ conference went to Rome to ask the Pope’s approval for an apostolic visitation. They came away empty-handed, and announced the steps that they would take on their own authority. Although they promise “a full investigation into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick,” the sad truth is that they can’t deliver on the promise without help from Rome. They can’t authorize an apostolic visitation. They can’t require Vatican officials to cooperate with an independent investigation. They can’t turn over the files of the nuncio in Washington, or the Congregation for Bishops.
Last week, before the American bishops spoke with the Pontiff, I explained why the meeting would reveal whether or not Pope Francis wants a full and honest investigation of the scandal – whether he wants the truth.”(https://www.lifesitenews.com/pulse/in-snubbing-us-bishops-pope-francis-proves-he-doesnt-want-the-truth)
Now we know.
Published with permission from the CatholicCulture.org.
I’m not really a Latin kind of guy. I like attending the Traditional Latin Mass (Vetus Ordo of Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) once in a while, and there was a brief time when I attended almost weekly, but to be quite honest with you, it’s not where my heart is. Anglicanism is what […]
This guy has a story similar to mine. Coming from an Anglican background, his article explains why we were both drawn to the Latin Mass; it’s not so much the Latin but the reverence and glory given to God in the old Mass.
Listen to a message from a true priest of God.
Business as usual for Francis, the dictator Pope, who has no respect for Catholic teaching or tradition.
“While the eyes of most of the faithful who follow Church news remain fixated on the near-constant drumbeat of new information about Clerical Abuse Scandal 2.0, another papal document has dropped, and in it, another likely time bomb.
This morning, Pope Francis issued the Apostolic Constitution Epicopalis Communio (EC) – “Episcopal Communion” – which aims to “reform” the synodal process. The document, available thus far only in Italian, makes changes that should be of familiar concern to anyone who paid attention to the 2014 & 2015 synods on the Family. From Chris Altieri’s commentary today at the Catholic Herald:
The role of the General Secretary appears greatly increased and his powers expanded, along with those of the General Secretariat. These expanded powers especially regard the steering of Synod Assemblies, from their early organisation, through the sessions, to the drafting and approval of final documents — all of which come to be part of the Synod Assembly proper.
Though the Synod of Bishops remains a consultative body, the new law envisions a sort of elision of the body’s teaching authority with that of the Roman Pontiff. Article 18 § 2 reads, “If expressly approved by the Roman Pontiff, the final document participates in the ordinary Magisterium of the Successor to Peter.”
Once again, we are witnessing an attempt to broaden the scope of papal authority in a dangerous way. ” This is an attempt by Bergogilo to hi-jack these synods for his own agenda of legitimizing : Homosexual life style, same sex marriage, and at the same time attacking clerical celibacy, and the inclusion of women in some level of the sacrament of Holy Orders.