PIUS VI 1775-1799
Errors of the Synod of Pistoia*
[Condemned in the Constitution, “Auctorem fidei,” Aug. 28, 1794]
- Errors Concerning Duties, Practices, Rules Pertaining to Religious Worship And First, the Adoration of the Humanity of Christ.
[Faith, sec. 3]
1561 61. The proposition which asserts that “to adore directly the humanity of Christ, even any part of Him, would always be divine honor given to a creature”; in so far as, by this word “directly” it intends to reprove the worship of adoration which the faithful show to the humanity of Christ, just as if such adoration, by which the humanity and the very living flesh of Christ is adored, not indeed on account of itself as mere flesh, but because it is united to the divinity, would be divine honor imparted to a creature, and not rather the one and the same adoration with which the Incarnate Word is adored in His own proper flesh (from the 2nd council of Constantinople, 5th Ecumenical Council, canon 9 [see n. 221; cf. n. 120]),–false, deceitful, detracting from and injurious to the pious and due worship given and extended by the faithful to the humanity of Christ.
[Prayer, sec. 17]
1562 62. The doctrine which rejects devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus among the devotions which it notes as new, erroneous, or at least, dangerous; if the understanding of this devotion is of such a sort as has been approved by the Apostolic See,–false, rash, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Apostolic See.
[Prayer sec. 10, and the appendix n. 32]
1563 63. Likewise, in this that it blames the worshipers of the Heart of Jesus also for this name, because they do not note that the most sacred flesh of Christ, or any part of Him, or even the whole humanity, cannot be adored with the worship of latria when there is a separation or cutting off from the divinity; as if the faithful when they adore the Heart of Jesus, separate it or cut it off from the divinity; when they worship the Heart of Jesus it is, namely, the heart of the person of the Word, to whom it has been inseparably united in that manner in which the bloodless body of Christ during the three days of death, without separation or cutting off from divinity, was worthy of adoration in the tomb,–deceitful, injurious to the faithful worshipers of the Heart of Jesus.
The Order Prescribed in the Undertaking of Pious Exercises
[Prayer, sec. 14, Appendix n. 34]
1564 64. The doctrine which notes as universally superstitious “any efficacy which is placed in a fixed number of prayers and of pious salutations”; as if one should consider as superstitious the efficacy which is derived not from the number viewed in itself, but from the prescript of the Church appointing a certain number of prayers or of external acts for obtaining indulgences, for fulfilling penances and, in general, for the performance of sacred and religious worship in the correct order and due form,– false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, injurious to the piety of the faithful, derogatory to the authority of the Church, erroneous.
Penance, sec. 10]
1565 65. The proposition stating that “the unregulated clamor of the new Institutions which have been called exercises or missions . . ., perhaps never, or at least very rarely, succeed in effecting an absolute conversion; and those exterior acts of encouragement which have appeared were nothing else than the transient brilliance of a natural emotion,”–rash evil-sounding, dangerous, injurious to the customs piously and salutarily practiced throughout the Church and founded on the Word of God.
The Manner of Uniting the Voice of the People with the Voice of the Church in Public Prayers
[Prayer, sec. 24]
1566 66. The proposition asserting that “it would be against apostolic practice and the plans of God, unless easier ways were prepared for the people to unite their voice with that of the whole Church”; if understood to signify introducing of the use of popular language into the liturgical prayers,–false, rash, disturbing to the order prescribed for the celebrant tion of the mysteries, easily productive of many evils.
The Reading of Sacred Scripture
[From the note at the end of the decree on grace]
1567 67. The doctrine asserting that “only a true impotence excuses” from the reading of the Sacred Scriptures, adding, moreover, that there is produced the obscurity which arises from a neglect of this precept in regard to the primary truths of religion,–false, rash, disturbing to the peace of souls, condemned elsewhere in Quesnel [sec. 1429 ff.].
The Reading of Proscribed Books Publicly in Church
1568 68. The praise with which the synod very highly commends the commentaries of Quesnel on the New Testament, and some works of other writers who favor the errors of Quesnel, although they have been proscribed; and which proposes to parish priests that they should read these same works, as if they were full of the solid principles of religion, each one in his own parish to his people after other functions,–false, rash, scandalous, seditious, injurious to the Church, fostering schism and heresy.
[Prayer, sec. 17]
1569 69. The prescription which in general and without discrimination includes the images of the incomprehensible Trinity among the images to be removed from the Church, on the ground that they furnish an occasion of error to the untutored,–because of its generality, it is rash, and contrary to the pious custom common throughout the Church, as if no images of the Most Holy Trinity exist which are commonly approved and safely permitted (from the Brief “Sollicitudini nostrae” of Benedict XIV in the year 1745).
1570 70. Likewise, the doctrine and prescription condemning in general every special cult which the faithful are accustomed to attach specifically to some image, and to have recourse to, rather than to another,–rash, dangerous’ injurious to the pious custom prevalent throughout the Church and also to that order of Providence, by which “God, who apportions as He wishes to each one his own proper characteristics, did not want them to be common in every commemoration of the saints (from St. Augustine, Epistle 78 to the clergy, elders, and people of the church at Hippo).
1571 71. Likewise, the teaching which forbids that images, especially of the Blessed Virgin, be distinguished by any title other than the denominations which are related to the mysteries, about which express mention is made in Holy Scripture; as if other pious titles could not be given to images which the Church indeed approves and commends in its public prayers,–rash, offensive to the ears of the pious, and especially injurious to the due veneration of the Blessed Virgin.
1572 72. Likewise, the one which would extirpate as an abuse the custom by which certain images are kept veiled,–rash, contrary to the custom prevalent in the Church and employed to foster the piety of the faithful.
[Libell. memor. for the reformation of feasts, sec. 3]
1573 73. The proposition stating that the institution of new feasts derived its origin from neglect in the observance of the older feasts, and from false notions of the nature and end of these solemnities,–false, rash, scandalous, injurious to the Church, favorable to the charges of heretics against the feast days celebrated by the Church.
[Ibid., sec. 8]
1574 74. The deliberation of the synod about transferring to Sunday feasts distributed through the year, and rightly so, because it is convinced that the bishop has power over ecclesiastical discipline in relation to purely spiritual matters, and therefore of abrogating the precept of hearing Mass on those days, on which according to the early law of the Church, even then that precept flourished; and then, also, in this statement which it (the synod) added about transferring to Advent by episcopal authority the fasts which should be kept throughout the year according to the precept of the Church; insomuch as it asserts that it is lawful for a bishop in his own right to transfer the days prescribed by the Church for celebrating feasts or fasts, or to abrogate the imposed precept of hearing class,–a false proposition, harmful to the law of the general Council and of the Supreme Pontiffs, scandalous, favorable to schism.
[Libell. memor. for the reformation of oaths, sec. 4]
1575 75. The teaching which says that in the happy days of the early church oaths seemed so foreign to the model of the divine Preceptor and the golden simplicity of the Gospel that “to take an oath without extreme and unavoidable need had been reputed to be an irreligious act Unworthy of a Christian person,” further, that “the uninterrupted line of the Fathers shows that oaths by common consent have been considered as forbidden”; and from this doctrine proceeds to condemn the oaths which the ecclesiastical curia, having followed, as it says, the norm of feudal jurisprudence, adopted for investitures and sacred ordinations of bishops; and it decreed, therefore, that the law should be invoked by the secular power to abolish the oaths which are demanded in ecclesiastical curias when entering upon duties and offices and, in general, for any curial function,–false, injurious to the Church, harmful to ecclesiastical law, subversive of discipline imposed and approved by the Canons.
[Ecclesiastical Conferences, sec. I]
1576 76. The charge which the synod brings against the scholastic method as that “which opened the way for inventing new systems discordant with one another with respect to truths of a greater value and which led finally to probabilism and laxism”; in so far as it charges against the scholastic method the faults of individuals who could misuse and have misused it,– false, rash, against very holy and learned men who, to the great good of the Catholic religion, have developed the scholastic method, injurious, favorable to the criticism of heretics who are hostile to it.
1577 77. Likewise in this which adds that “a change in the form of ecclesiastical government, by which it was brought about that ministers of the Church became forgetful of their rights, which at the same time are their Obligations, has finally led to such a state of affairs as to cause the primitive notions of ecclesiastical ministry and pastoral solicitude to be forgotten”; as if, by a change of government consonant to the discipline established and approved in the Church, there ever could be forgotten and lost the primitive notion of ecclesiastical ministry or pastoral solicitude,–a false proposition, rash, erroneous.
1578 78. The prescription of the synod about the order of transacting business in the conferences, in which, after it prefaced “in every article that which pertains to faith and to the essence of religion must be distinguished from that which is proper to discipline,” it adds, “in this itself (discipline) there is to be distinguished what is necessary or useful to retain the faithful in spirit, from that which is useless or too burdensome for the liberty of the sons of the new Covenant to endure, but more so, from that which is dangerous or harmful, namely, leading to superstition and materialism”; in so far as by the generality of the words it includes and submits to a prescribed examination even the discipline established and approved by the Church, as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism,–false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous.
Complaints against Some Opinions Which are Still Discussed in “Catholic Schools”
[Oration to the Synod, sec. I]
1579 79. The assertion which attacks with slanderous charges the opinions discussed in Catholic schools about which the Apostolic See has thought that nothing yet needs to be defined or pronounced,–false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools, detracting from the obedience to the Apostolic Constitutions.