PIUS IX 1846-1878

The False Doctrine of Anton Guenther*


[From the Brief, “Eximiam tuam” to Cardinal de Geissel, Archbishop of Cologne, June 15, 1857]


1655 Not without sorrow are We especially aware that in these books that erroneous and most dangerous system of rationalism, often condemned by this Apostolic See, is particularly dominant; and likewise we know that in the same books these items among many others are found, which are not a little at variance with the Catholic Faith and with the true explanation of the unity of the divine substance in three distinct, eternal Persons. Likewise, we have found that neither better nor more accurate are the statements made about the mystery of the Incarnate Word, and about the unity of the divine Person of the Word in two natures, divine and human. We know that in the same books there is harm to the Catholic opinion and teaching concerning man, who is so composed of body and soul that the soul, and that rational, may of itself be the true and immediate form of the body. * And we are not unaware that in the same books those teachings are stated and defended which are plainly opposed to the Catholic doctrine about the supreme liberty of God, who l is free from any necessity whatsoever in creating things.


1656 And also that extremely wicked and condemned doctrine which in Guenther’s books rashly attributes the rights of a master both to human reason and philosophy, whereas they should be wholly handmaids, not masters in religious matters; and therefore all those things are disturbed which should remain most stable, not only concerning the distinction between science and faith, but also concerning the eternal immutability of faith, which is always one and the same, while philosophy and human studies are not always consistent, and are not immune to a multiple variety of errors.


1657 In addition, the Holy Fathers are not held in that reverence which the canons of the Councils prescribe, and which these splendid lights of the Catholic Church so altogether deserve, nor does he refrain from the slurring remarks against Catholic Schools, which Our predecessor of cherished memory, PIUS VI, solemnly condemned [see n.1576].


1658 Nor shall we pass over in silence that in Guenther’s books “the sound form of speaking” is completely outraged, as if it were lawful to forget the words of the Apostle Paul [2 Tim. 1:13], or those which Augustine most earnestly advised: “It is right for us to speak according to a fixed rule, lest liberty with words give birth to an impious opinion, even about the things which are signified by them”* [see n.1714a].

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