INNOCENT XI 1676-1689
Various Errors on Moral Subjects (II) *
[Condemned in a decree of the Holy Office, March 4, 1679]
1151 1. It is not illicit in conferring sacraments to follow a probable opinion regarding the value of the sacrament, the safer opinion being abandoned, unless the law forbids it, convention or the danger of incurring grave harm. Therefore, one should not make use of probable opinions only in conferring baptism, sacerdotal or episcopal orders.
1152 2. I think that probably a judge can pass judgment according to opinion, even the less probable.
1153 3. In general, when we do something confidently according to probability whether intrinsic or extrinsic, however slight, provided there is no departure from the bounds of probability, we always act prudently. *
1154 4. An infidel who does not believe will be excused of infidelity, since l he is guided by a less probable opinion.
1155 5. Even though one sins mortally, we dare not condemn him who uttered an act of love of God only once in his life.
1156 6. It is probable that the precept of love for God is of itself not of grave obligation even once every five years.
1157 7. Then only is it obligatory when we are bound to be justified, and we have no other way by which we can be justified.
1158 8. Eating and drinking even to satiety for pleasure only, are not sinful, provided this does not stand in the way of health, since any natural appetite can licitly enjoy its own actions.
1159 9. The act of marriage exercised for pleasure only is entirely free of all 1. fault and venial defect.
1160 10. We are not bound to love our neighbor by an internal and formal act
1161 11. We can satisfy the precept of loving neighbor by external acts only.
1162 12. Scarcely will you find among seculars, even among kings, a superfluity for [his] state of life. And so, scarcely anyone is bound to give alms from what is superfluous to [his] state of life.
1163 13. If you act with due moderation, you can without mortal sin be sad about the moral life of someone and rejoice about his natural death, seek it with ineffectual desire and long for it, not indeed from dissatisfaction with the person but because of some temporal emolument.
1164 14. It is licit with an absolute desire to wish for the death of a father, not indeed as an evil to the father, but as a good to him who desires it, for a rich inheritance will surely come his way.
1165 15. It is licit for a son to rejoice over the parricide of his parent perpetrated by himself in drunkenness, because of the great riches that came from it by inheritance.
1166 16. Faith is not considered to fall under a special precept and by itself.
1167 17. It is enough to utter an act of faith once during life.
1168 18. If anyone is questioned by a public power, I advise him to confess his faith to a noble person as to God and (to be) proud of his faith; I do not condemn silence as sinful of itself.
1169 19. The will cannot effect that assent to faith in itself be stronger than the weight of reasons impelling toward assent.
1170 20. Hence, anyone can prudently repudiate the supernatural assent which he had.
1171 21. Assent to faith is supernatural and useful to salvation with only the probable knowledge of revelation, even with the fear by which one fears lest God has not spoken.
1172 22. Only faith in one God seems necessary by a necessity of means, not, however, the explicit (faith) in a Rewarder.
1173 23. Faith widely so called according to the testimony of creature or by a similar reason suffices for justification.
1174 24. To call upon God as a witness to a slight lie is not a great irreverence, because of which God wishes or can condemn man.
1175 25. With cause it is licit to swear without the intention of swearing, whether the matter be light or serious.
1176 26. If anyone swears, either alone or in the presence of others, whether questioned or of his own will, whether for sake of recreation or for some other purpose, that he did not do something, which in fact he did, understanding within himself something else which he did not do, or another way than that by which he did it, or some other added truth, in fact does not lie and is no perjurer.
1177 27. A just reason for using these ambiguous words exists, as often as it is necessary or useful to guard the well-being of the body, honor, property, or for any other act of virtue, so that the concealing of the truth is then regarded as expedient and zealous.
1178 28. He who has been promoted to a magistracy or a public office by means of a recommendation or a gift can utter with mental reservation the oath which is customarily exacted of similar persons by order of the king, without regard for the intent of the one exacting it, because he is not bound to confess a concealed crime.
1179 29. A grave, pressing fear is a just cause for pretending the administration of sacraments.
1180 30. It is right for an honorable man to kill an attacker who tries to indict calumny upon him, if this ignominy cannot be avoided otherwise; the same also must be said if anyone slaps him with his hand or strikes with a club and runs away after the slap of the hand or the blow of the club.
1181 31. I can properly kill a thief to save a single gold piece.
1182 32. It is not only permitted to defend, with a fatal defense, these things we possess actually, but also those things to which we have a partial right, and which we hope to possess.
1183 33. It is permitted an heir as well as a legatee to defend himself against one who unjustly prevents either an inheritance being assumed, or legacies being paid, just as it is permitted him who has a right to a chair or a benefice against one who unjustly impedes his possession of them.
1184 34. It is permitted to bring about an abortion before the animation of the foetus, lest the girl found pregnant be killed or defamed.
1185 35. It seems probable that every foetus (as long as it is in the womb) lacks a rational soul and begins to have the same at the time that it is born; and consequently it will have to be said that no homicide is committed in any abortion.
1186 36. It is permitted to steal not only in extreme, but in grave necessity.
1187 37. Male and female domestic servants can secretly steal from their masters to gain compensation for their work which they judge of greater worth than the salary which they receive.
1188 38. No one is bound under the pain of mortal sin to restore what has been taken away by small thefts, however great the sum total may be.
1189 39. Whoever moves or induces another to bring a serious loss upon a third party is not bound to a restitution of that loss incurred.
1190 40. A usurious contract is permitted even with respect to the same person, and with a contract to sell back previously entered upon with the intention of gain.
1191 41. Since ready cash is more valuable than that to be paid, and since there is no one who does not consider ready cash of greater worth than future cash, a creditor can demand something beyond the principal from the borrower, and for this reason be excused from usury.
1192 42. There is no usury when something is exacted beyond the principal as due because of a kindness and by way of gratitude, but only if it is exacted as due according to justice.
1193 43. What is it but venial sin if one detract authority by a false charge to prevent great harm to himself?
1194 44. It is probable that he does not sin mortally who imposes a false charge on someone, that he may defend his own justice and honor. And if this is not probable, there is scarcely any probable opinion in theology.
1195 45. To give the temporal for the spiritual is not simony, when the temporal is not given for a price, but only as a motive for conferring and effecting the spiritual, or even because the temporal is only a gratuitous compensation for the spiritual, or vice versa.
1196 46. And this also is admissable, even if the temporal is the principal motive for giving the spiritual; furthermore, even if it be the end of the spiritual thing itself, so that it is considered of greater value than the spiritual thing.
1197 47. When the Council of: Trent says that they sin mortally by sharing the sins of others who do not promote to the churches those whom they themselves judge to be more worthy and more useful for the Church, the Council either first seems to mean to signify by “more worthy” nothing else than the worthiness of being selected, using the comparative rather than the positive; or secondly, in a less proper expression takes “more worthy” to exclude the unworthy, but not the worthy, or finally, and thirdly, it is speaking of what occurs during an assembly.
1198 48. Thus it seems clear that fornication by its nature involves no malice, and that it is evil only because it is forbidden, so that the contrary seems entirely in disagreement with reason.
1199 49. Voluptuousness is not prohibited by the law of nature. Therefore, if God had not forbidden it, it would be good, and sometimes obligatory under pain of mortal sin.
1200 50. Intercourse with a married woman, with the consent of her husband, is not adultery, and so it is enough to say in confession that one had committed fornication.
1201 51. A male servant who knowingly by offering his shoulders assists his master to ascend through windows to ravage a virgin, and many times serves the same by carrying a ladder, by opening a door, or by cooperating in something similar, does not commit a mortal sin, if he does this through fear of considerable damage, for example, lest he be treated wickedly by his master, lest he be looked upon with savage eyes, or, lest he be expelled from the house.
1202 52. The precept of keeping feast days is not obligatory under pain of mortal sin, aside from scandal, if contempt be absent.
1203 53. He satisfies the precept of the Church of hearing the Holy Sacrifice, who hears two of its parts, even four simultaneously by different celebrants.
1204 54. He who cannot recite Matins and Lauds, but can the remaining hours, is held to nothing, since the great part brings the lesser to it.
1205 55. He satisfies the precept of annual communion by the sacrilegious eating of the Lord.
1206 56. Frequent confession and communion, even in those who live like pagans, is a mark of predestination.
1207 57. It is probable that natural but honest imperfect sorrow for sins suffices.
1208 58. We are not bound to confess to a confessor who asks us about the habit of some sin.
1209 59. It is permitted to absolve sacramentally those who confess only half, by reason of a great crowd of penitents, such as for example can happen on a day of great festivity or indulgence.
1210 60. The penitent who has the habit of sinning against the law of God, of nature, or of the Church, even if there appears no hope of amendment, is not to be denied absolution or to be put off, provided he professes orally that he is sorry and proposes amendment.
1211 61. He can sometimes be absolved, who remains in a proximate occasion of sinning, which he can and does not wish to omit, but rather directly and professedly seeks or enters into.
1212 62. The proximate occasion for sinning is not to be shunned when some useful and honorable cause for not shunning it occurs.
1213 63. It is permitted to seek directly the proximate occasion for sinning for a spiritual or temporal good of our own or of a neighbor.
1214 64. A person is fit for absolution, however much he labors under an ignorance of the mysteries of the faith, and even if through negligence, even culpable, he does not know the mystery of the most blessed Trinity, and of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1215 65. It is enough to have believed the mysteries once.
All condemned and prohibited, as they are here expressed, at least as scandalous and in practice pernicious.
The Holy Pontiff concludes the decree with these words:
1216 Finally, in order that doctors, whether scholastics or any others whatsoever, may refrain from injurious contentions in the future, and that there be deliberations for peace and charity, the same Holy Pontiff commands them in virtue of holy obedience, to be on their guard in printing books and manuscripts, as well as theses, disputations, and sermons against any censure and note, and likewise violent railings against such propositions which are still being carried on among Catholics here and there, until the matter has been considered, and a judgment is rendered * by the Holy See upon these same propositions.