Life of Pope Pius IX – Ch 6: Counter-Revolution and the Syllabus of Errors

 By John R. G. Hassard

Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX as he was represented and revered in his time.


Here is the sixth instalment of the 1878 Life of Pius IX by John R. G. Hassard – another old Nineteenth Century Catholic book in our Tridentine Catholicism Archive.  (For more about this, see our introduction to the first instalment here.)

Hassard’s book appears here in nine chapters:

In this instalment, we have to do with Pope’s mighty articulation of Counter-Revolutionary sentiment – which expressed itself most famously in his 1864 Syllabus of Errors.

One might say that with the Syllabus, Pope Pius IX secures his position in the forgotten Nineteenth Century history of thought and writing dedicated to Counter-Revolution.

He joins figures like Joseph De Maistre, Louis Veuillot and Cardinal Pie among others with whom we are concerned at this website.

And in preceding instalments of this series, we have seen why. For the revolutionary movements of that time were far – very far!- from being simply progress towards liberty, equality and fraternity.

Rather they were bloody affairs aimed at the destruction of Christianity, as Hassard makes clear in earlier sections of his book. For example, his report of the Roman Revolution in our fourth chapter (here) included events like the following:

The Convent of S. Calisto, in the Trastevere, became a slaughter house … The pillage of private houses and the wanton destruction of public monuments were among the lesser outrages of this reign of anarchy.

And the official proceedings of the Government matched the lawless violence of the populace.

Ecclesiastical property was seized, convents were suppressed. The confessionals were taken to make barricades. … The shrines and altars were stripped bare. The palaces of the cardinals were sacked.

Profane rites were celebrated in St. Peter’s at Easter under the auspices of the Government, and a suspended priest gave a travesty of the papal benediction from the balcony.

The canons of St. Peter’s were fined for refusing to participate in such sacrilegious proceedings, and the provost of the cathedral of Sinigaglia was put to death for declining to hail the republic by a Te Deum.

Today, such things tend to be forgotten. And the idea that they were instigated by secret societies of a masonic nature is likewise scorned.

Thus the Syllabus of Errors is commonly regarded as notoriously anti-liberal – and nothing else!

For people have been deprived of the proper context with which to regard the Syllabus.

This fact is lamentable. Here at this website, we would make the argument that tragic figures like the murdered King of France Louis XVI and Pope Pius IX were in train of making changes towards greater equality and liberty – as was happening everywhere throughout the Nineteenth Century – often peacefully.

But it seems to us that murderous, even genocidal (as in the French Vendee) forces were at work that did not seek simply liberalisation  – but nothing less than the annihilation of Christianity.

This is the terrible danger that Pope Pius IX confronted – with a heart that burned with compassion for those being robbed of Christianity.

We hope that republishing Hassard’s book at this website can help, in some small way, to clarify these issues.

In saying this, however, we cannot claim to know that everything Hassard says is true or not. As I wrote before in regards to Hassard on the secret societies:

Hassard, like countless others of his time, believes that the Risorgimento was only possible through the skulduggery of masonic groups such as the Carbonari and the Illuminati.

How true is this understanding?

To truly answer this question is beyond almost any man, except perhaps the most diligent, competent and unbiased of historians and researchers. Alas! An unbiased historian is the rarest of creatures!

I can only offer my own opinion, dear Reader – with my own biases.

I think the conspiracy claims of Hassard are worth listening to. That is why we publish them here.

However, ‘worth listening to’ is not the same as as a full endorsement of everything Hassard says in these (web) pages. Again, I myself am far, far from competent to judge these matters.

I only know that today’s liberal sceptical historians – usually hostile to Catholicism – are also far from competent to judge these matters.

Again, all we can easily say, dear Reader, is that we find Hassard well-worth listening in regards to Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Nineteenth Century Europe.

We are also including below the Pope’s vigourous assertion of traditional Catholicism in the form of the encyclical Quanta Cura and the Syllabus of Errors that was attached to it.

And now we continue our serialisation of Hassard’s book – RB.

A Pope of Counter-Revolution

Pope Pius You Know Who.

The magnificent firmness, the holy courage of Pius IX were never grander than in these critical days. Denouncing the iniquities of the new Italian kingdom, the spoliation of churches, the suppression of convents, the abolition of seminaries and pious schools, the license of an immoral press, or exposing the tricks and falsehoods of the French emperor, or castigating the czar for his atrocious persecution of the Poles, or waging ceaseless war upon the atheistic revolution, he was indeed ‘ every inch a pope.’

‘Rome is a city of wonders,’ said a French bishop, ‘but the wonder of Rome is Pius IX.’

To the French Government, which had urged him to come to an understanding with the Italians, he replied through Cardinal Antonelli:

‘ It is not true that there is discord between the Sovereign Pontiff and Italy. If the Holy Father has broken with the cabinet of Turin, he maintains an excellent understanding, nevertheless, with Italy. An Italian himself, and the first of Italians, he suffers in her sufferings, and shares in the cruel trials which afflict the Italian Church.

‘ As for agreeing with the despoilers, we will never do it. I can only repeat that any transaction on that basis is impossible. With whatever reserves it might be accom panied, with whatever adroitness of phrase it might be disguised, the moment we accepted we should appear to s.mction it. The Sovereign Pontiff before his exaltation, and the cardinals at the lime of their nomination, bind themselves by oath not to yield up any part of the terri tory of the Church.

The Holy Father, therefore, will make no concession of this nature;  a conclave would have no right to do it;  a new Pontiff could not do it;  his successors, from generation to generation, would be equally unable to do it.’

And a little later he said to the same faithless adviser at the Tuileries:

 ‘The Holy Father can consent to nothing which directly or indirectly sanctions in any manner whatever the spoliations of which he has been the victim. He cannot Menate, either directly or indirectly, any parcel of the territory which constitutes the property of the Church and of all Catholicity. His conscience forbids;  and he is resolved to keep it pure before God and before man.’

Asserting the Traditional Catholic Perspective

Traditional Catholic commemoration of the Pope of Counter-Revolution

Here was the famous answer Non possumus, which became a byword and a symbol of the unconquerable opposition between the everlasting principles of God s Church and the evil tendencies of modern society. It had been stiil more plainly stated, perhaps, in the allocution Jamdudum cernimus of March 18, 1861:

For a long time, venerable brothers, we have witnessed a lamentable struggle, begotten of the irreconcilable antagonism between truth and falsehood, virtue and vice, light and darkness, which, in our time, disturbs and convulses society.

Some maintain what they call the ideas of modern civilization;  others defend the cause of justice and of our holy religion.

The former call upon the Roman Pontiff to reconcile and ally himself to what they call progress and liberalism and the new civilization. They profess to be true and sin cere friends of religion;  we would gladly believe them, but the sad events which daily occur under the eyes of all men bear witness to the contrary.

And as for those who invite us for the good of religion to join hands with modern civilization, we ask them how it is possible for him whom Christ has made his vicar on earth, and charged to keep his heavenly doctrine pure and to feed and strengthen his flock, to ally himself in good con science and without scandal with that modern civilisation which begets such lamentable evils, such abominable opinions, so many errors and doctrines opposed to the Catholic religion and its teachings?

‘This modern civilization favors every form of worship that is not Catholic, while it denounces religious communities, pious correlations for the direction of Catholic education, ecclesiastics of every rank, even the highest, many of whorrt are now imprisoned or banished, and illustrious laymen who, in their devotion to our person and to the Holy See, have zealously defended the cause of religion and justice.

This civilisation is prodigal of support to non-Catholic institutions and persons, while it strips the Catholic Church of her lawful property, and labours incessantly to destroy her wholesome influence.

It gives full liberty to those who, by speech or writing, attack the Church and her defenders;  it inspires and fosters unbridled license;  and while it is lenient towards those who assail virtuous books, it is harsh in its treatment of religious writers, and pursues them with the utmost rigour if they chance to transgress in the slightest degree the bounds of moderation.

‘ Is it possible for the Sovereign Pontiff to become the friend and ally of such a civilization as this?

Let us call things again by their right names, and it will be seen that this Holy See is always consistent with itself. It has always been the patron and the nurse of true civi lization.

But with a pretended civilization which aims at weakening and even destroying the Church of Christ, never, certainly, can the Holy See and the Roman Pontiff come to an agreement. For what participation, cries the Apostle, hath justice with injustice?  Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?  ‘

After briefly reviewing the course of the revolution in the Roman States, and the persecution of the Church which invariably followed the Sardinian-Piedmontese occupation, he continued :

‘ After they have thus insulted the religion which they hypocritically invite to reconcile itself with modern civilization, they do not hesitate, with equal hypocrisy, to urge us to reconcile ourselves with Italy.

That is to say, after we have been stripped of nearly our whole principality, and compelled to meet the heavy cost of the temporal and spiritual government by the generous offering of our pious and loving children;  after we have been made without an) cause the object of the hate and malice of the very men who demand this reconciliation, they ask us, besides, to yield formally to the despoilers the title to the property which they have usurped.

By which audacious and unheard-of demand they ask the Apostolic See, which always has been and always will be the bulwark of truth and justice, to sanction the peaceable possession by an unjust aggressor of pro perty which he has acquired by wicked violence, and to establish the false principle that a successful wrong is no infringement of the sanctity of right.’

It was in the heat of the warfare against the temporal power, and of attempts in France, in Italy, in Germany, in Spanish America, in vari ous other countries of the Old World and the New, to undermine the authority of the Holy See, to separate the bishops from their head, and destroy the attachment of Catholic peoples for the centre of Catholic life, that Pius IX called forth the most signal demonstrations of the perfect unity of the episcopate, and made the most memorable assertions of the supreme teaching power of the vicar of Christ.

Gathering at Rome

Traditional Catholic Tiara
Mosaic of Papal Tiara in St. Peters. Photo courtesy of Fr. Lawrence Lew OP

Striking as had been the manifestation of the Catholicity of the Church on the occasion of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, there was a still more remarkable gathering in Rome in May and June, 1862, when, at the invitation of the Holy Father, an enormous multitude of bishops, priests, and pilgrims from the four quarters of the earth came together at St. Peter’s for the canonization of twenty-six missionaries crucified more than two and a half centuries ago in Japan.

Two hundred and sixty-five cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops, four thousand priests, and a hundred thousand lay visi said to have witnessed the solemnities, and nearly eighty bishops of Italy protested against the violence of the Italian Government, which would not permit them to join the throng.

Traversing the crowded streets from one sanctuary to another, answering the cheers which rose from devout and excited multitudes as he passed among them, receiving deputations with his unfailing benig nity, borne aloft across the splendid basilica and blessing the close ranks which knelt before him, presiding over magnificent ceremonies, addressing the bishops and clergy, Pius IX was the radiant centre of a grand religious movement which inflamed the imagination of even the sceptical and profoundly stirred every faithful heart.

From Ascension to Pentecost, Rome was filled with the splendor of a festival. On the 6th of June the Pope preached, in Latin and French, to four thousand priests, who completely filled the Sistine Chapel.

After the benediction, one of the listeners, on the impulse of the moment, intoned the prayer for the Pope, Oremus pro Pontijlce nostro Fio, and three times the whole assembly, as if with one voice, responded with the invocation. The formalities of the canonization were celebrated in St. Peter s on the feast of Pentecost, June 8, and the next day the Holy Father delivered an allocution to the Sacred College in the presence of all the bishops then at Rome.

He denounced the prevalent errors of the day errors in religion, errors in philosophy, errors in politics;  he censured the license of the anti-Christian press; he exhorted the guardian's of Christ s flock to watch carefully over the training of the young.

But the most significant document of all the prolonged solemnities was an address to the Holy Father read by the dean of the Sacred Col lege on the 8th of June, and signed by all the bishops in Rome, both of the Latin, Greek, and Oriental rites.

It expressed in unmistakable terms the belief of the entire episcopate in the plenitude of the Pontiff’s teaching authority :

For you are to us the teacher of sound doctrine, the centre of unity, the unfailing light to the nations, kindled by divine wisdom. You are the Rock, the foundation of the Church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. When you speak we hear Peter’s voice;  when you decide we obey the authority of Christ.’

It declared the sense of the whole Church to be that the temporal power was necessary to the Supreme Pontiff s, and an institution of providential origin.

Finally, it proclaimed in eloquent terms the close union of faith and sympathy between the universal Church and the holy Roman See.

We condemn the errors which you have condemned;  we detest the new and strange doctrines which are taught to the injury of the Church of Jesus Christ; we denounce and condemn the sacrileges, spoliations, violations of ecclesiastical immunities, and other outrages which have been committed against the Church and the See of Peter.

Pope Pius IX, Russia and Poland

We have seen how Pius IX combated the attempts of unfaithful Catholic governments to build up national churches within their respective territories and make them the servants of the civil power.

The tyranny of a schismatic government over its Catholic subjects aroused no less his in dignant resistance. A rising in unhappy Poland, provoked by the intolerable harshness of the Russian Government, was followed by redoubled cruel ties. Identifying the religious sentiment with the sentiment of Polish nationality, the czar undertook to crush the Catholic faith throughout the kingdom. The churches were closed, the bishops were imprisoned or exiled, hundreds of priests were transported to Siberia, and families were compelled to choose between apostasy and banishment.

The Holy Father remonstrated with the czar in the most eloquent and sympathetic language, and, failing in these representations, he sent a special envoy to Vienna to beg the intervention of the Austrian emperor.

His tender heart seemed breaking with sorrow when he heard the sad story of the Polish martyrs; his holy anger was like a consuming fire when he hurled his reproaches at their persecutors. He ordered public prayers for Poland, and he took part personally in an extraordinary devotional sol emnity, when a vast multitude of the Roman peo ple, moved by his ringing voice, knelt with him at the basilica of St. Mary Major to beg the divine interposition.

‘The blood of the weak and the innocent,’ exclaimed he, in an address delivered at the Propaganda in April, 1864:

cries to the throne of the Eternal for vengeance against those who spill it. This potentate, who falsely calls him self an Oriental Catholic, whereas he is only a schismatic rejected from the bosom of the true Church this potentate persecutes and kills his Catholic subjects and drives them to revolt by his ferocious cruelty.

Under pretext of repressing this insurrection he is extirpating Catholicism; he ;s transporting whole populations to frozen regiors where they are deprived of all religious succor, an i he is replacing them with schismatical ad venturer 1 . He is tearing the priests from their flocks, and send ing them into exile, or condemning them to penal servitude and other infamous punishments. Happy are those who have been able to flee, and who now wander homeless in a strange land!

This potentate, heterodox and schismatic as he is, arrogates to himself a power which even the vicar of Jesus Christ does not possess;  for he presumes to depose a bishop whom we have instituted.

Insensate man! He does not know that a Catholic bishop, in his see or in the catacombs, is always the same, and that his character is indelible. And let no one say that in lifting up our voice against such transactions we are fomenting the European revo lution. We know how to distinguish between the socialist revolution and the legitimate rights of a nation struggling for its independence and its reli gious faith.

The apostolic courage of this rebuke to a mighty empire, made at a moment when the revolution was fast closing around the papal throne, and all the powers of Europe were either in league against it or indifferent to its fate, extorted a cry of admiration even from the enemies of the Papacy.

Sig. Brofferio exclaimed in the Chamber of Deputies at Turin, amidst the applause of the radical members :

What a spectacle is that old man, worn, sick, without resources, without an army, on the edge of the grave, cursing a potentate who slays a people! It stirs me to the very depth of my being;  I fancy myself carried back to the days of Gregory VII.;  I bow my head and applaud !’

Some time afterward, Pius IX gave audience to the Russian charge d’affaires, M. de Meyendorf, and spoke to him about the unhappy condition of Poland. M. de Meyendorf denied everything, even the most notorious facts, and declared, more over, that the Catholics were everywhere accomplices with the rebels. ‘ There is nothing astonishing in that,’ he added: ‘Catholicism and revolution are the same thing.’

‘Begone!’ exclaimed Pius IX  ‘I must believe, monsieur, that the emperor, your master, is ignorant of the greater part of the wrongs under which Poland suffers;  I honor and esteem your emperor, therefore; but I cannot say as much for his representative who comes to insult me in my own palace.’

The persecution has not ceased to this day.

Encouraging and consoling the Polish bishops, and instructing them as to their conduct in these trying circumstances; correcting the dangerous tendencies of a party of Catholic theologians at Munich;  gently rebuking the over-moderate policy of the illustrious Archbishop of Paris; addressing to the Bishop of Fribourg a memorable letter on the paramount necessity of religious education;  censuring the spoliation of church property in Mexico, alike by Juarez and by Maximilian; sending missionaries into Dahomey, and hastening to gather the first converts in the newly-opened empire of Japan; always cheering and guiding the long-suffering bishops of Italy this extraordinary Pope was literally the teacher of the whole world. His activity had no parallel, and seemed to be broken by no repose.

Pope Pius IX Promulgates the Syllabus of Errors

It was at the close of the year 1864, just after France and Italy by the convention of Turin had divided his estate between them and made a more formal declaration than ever of the exclusion of religion from the sphere of civil society, that Pius published his great declaration of Catholic doctrine with respect to the politico-ecclesiastical controversies of the time, which will always be reckoned among the chief works of his pontificate.

Certainly, if there is an irreconcilable conflict between the Church and the world, it is no less important to one side than to the other that the line of division should be marked with the utmost clearness.

All the points in controversy had been covered from time to time by Pius himself and his immediate predecessor;  but even Catholic writers here and there seemed to have forgotten the true spirit of Catholic teaching, and to have been captivated by the specious phrases which a false liberalism has imposed upon mankind in lieu of philosophical principles.

Hence the encyclical Quanta Cura of December 8, 1864, with the accompanying index, or Syllabus, of condemned propositions. It taught no new doctrine, but it brought together in one comprehensive letter of censure a whole catalogue of errors against which the Pontiff had been protesting ever since he came to the throne.

Treating first of the relations between the Church and the state, the encyclical reminds the bishops that the principle of ‘naturalism’ in politics, which makes no account of religion in the regulation of civil society, is contrary to Catholic doctrine; the modern idea that the best government is one which treats true and false creeds alike, and leaves to all men not only complete liberty of conscience and worship but the unrestricted privilege of propagating whatever opinions they please, is a dangerous error.

‘The will of the people’ does not constitute a supreme law independent of all divine and human right.

‘Accomplished facts,’ by the mere circumstance of their being accomplished, have not the force of right; and human society, released from the ties of religion and justice, has no other sanction than material force, no other aim than selfish interests.

Separated from civil society, religion will next be abolished in the family and in private life; thus already the communistic doctrine is taught that domestic society derives its reason of existence from the civil law, and the state consequently arrogates to itself the right to define the parental authority and to control the education of the young;  and to this false principle are traceable the incessant efforts of the party of disorder to remove children from the influence of the Church and drive the clergy from the schools.

Treating more particularly of conflicts, actual or possible, between the civil and ecclesiastical law, the encyclical declares that the authority of the Church is not subordinate to the civil authority;  that its decrees do not require the sanction of the civil power; that it is entirely independent of the secular authority;  that it may extend to secular concerns, and its scope is not confined to dogmas of faith and morals, but binds the conscience even when it refers to other matters connected with the general welfare of the Church.

In the Syllabus the various errors against which the encyclical is directed will be found still more exactly defined. Eighty condemned propositions are enumerated, and classified under ten heads, namely :

1. Pantheism, naturalism, and absolute rationalism.

2. Moderate rationalism.

3. Indifferentism and latitudinarianism.

4. Socialism, communism, secret societies, Biblical societies, and clerico-liberal societies.

5. Errors concerning the Church and her rights.

6. Errors concerning civil society con sidered both in itself and in its relation to the Church.

7. Errors concerning natural and Christian ethics.

8. Errors concerning Christian mar riage.

9. Errors concerning the civil power of the Sovereign Pontiff.

10. Errors concerning modern liberalism.

Many of the ‘errors of our time ‘ censured in this catalogue are abstract doctrines;  but the greater part concern Christian morals and the relations between Church and state, and not a few will be found formally set forth in the acts of the Italian Government and other European powers which nevertheless profess to be Catholic.

This is not the place to discuss the teachings of the encyclical, but it may not be amiss to quote a few of the propositions which provoked the bitterest criticism from the anti- Catholic world, and gave rise to the cry that Pius IX had set himself against the course of modern civilization and enlightenment. Here, then, are some of the popular errors which the Syllabus condemns :

23. Roman Pontiffs and ecumenical councils have wandered outside the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in denning matters of faith and morals.

24. The Church has not the power of using force; nor has she any temporal power, direct or indirect.

27. The Roman Pontiff and the sacred ministers of the Church are to be absolutely excluded from every charge and dominion over temporal affairs.

30. The immunity of the Church and of ecclesiastical persons derived its origin from civil law.

 42. In the case of conflicting laws enacted by the two powers the civil law prevails.

45. The entire government of public schools . . . ought to appertain to the civil power. . . .

48. Catholics may approve of a system of educating youth unconnected with Catholic faith and the power of the Church, and which regards the knowledge of merely natural things, and only, or at least primarily, the ends of earthly social life.

55. The Church ought to be separated from the state, and the state from the Church.

63. It is lawful to refuse obedience to legitimate princes, and even to rebel against them.

67. By the law of nature the marriage tie is not in dissoluble, and in many cases divorce properly so-called may be decreed by the civil authority.

74. Matrimonial causes and espousals belong by their nature to civil tribunals.

76. The abolition of the temporal power of which the Apostolic See is possessed would contribute in the greatest degree to the liberty and prosperity of the Church.

77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.

80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself and come to terms with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization.’

If there is ever to be a re-establishment of true Christian society, Pius IX has traced out the foundations upon which it must rest.

The world was filled with rage at these declarations, but the world and the Church are at war, and it was a grand deed to demonstrate that in this conflict the Church stands exactly where she has stood from the be ginning and will stand to the end.

There are few more magnificent examples of fortitude in all history than the spectacle of the aged and persecuted Pontiff who will neither compromise, nor temporize, nor even be silent, but only lifts his standard higher as his enemies press around him.

A Protestant writer (Mr. Trollope), whose remarks are not always fair or true, or even decent, says of the publication of the encyclical and Syllabus:

In doing this Pius has placed himself on his true ground. We may meet him on it. We may take part with the world, and fight him and his, inch by inch; but we cannot insist that he has no locus standt. We must, if we take our stand with the world against the Church, do so avowedly and knowingly.

Pius IX has done a great thing! He has brought his generation unmistakably to the forking of the ways. He could not be let to be a great king, so he determined to be a great Pope;  and he has become a greater Pope than almost any one of his predecessors.

Quanta Cura & The Syllabus of Errors

Here we depart from Hassard's manuscript to present the full text of Quanta Cura and The Syllabus of Errors.

We will return to Hassard in our next instalment on Ultramontanism and the First Vatican Council


Quanta Cura & The Syllabus of Errors


Condemning Current Errors

December 8,1864

Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius IX

Quanta Cura  Condemning Current Errors

December, 8, 1864

To Our Venerable Brethren, all Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops having Favor and Communion of the Holy See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

1 . It it well known unto all men, and especially to You, Venerable Brothers, with what great care and pastoral vigilance Our Predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs, have discharged the Office entrusted by Christ Our Lord to them, in the Person of the Most Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, have unremittingly discharged the duty of feeding the lambs and the sheep, and have diligently nourished the Lord's entire flock with the words of faith, imbued it with salutary doctrine, and guarded it from poi soned pastures. And those Our Predecessors, who were the assertors and Champions of the august Catholic Religion, of truth and justice, being as they were chiefly solicitous for the salvation of souls, held nothing to be of so great importance as the duty of exposing and condem ing, in their most wise Letters and Constitutions, all heresies and errors which are hostile to moral honesty and to the eternal salvation of mankind, and which have frequently stirred up terrible commotions and have damaged both the Christian and civil commonwealths in a disastrous manner.

Wherefore those Our Predecessors have, with Apostolic fortitude, continually resisted the machinations of those evil men, who, ‘foaming out their own confusion, like the raging waves of the sea,’ and ‘promising liberty, while they are themselves the slaves of corruption,’ endeavoured by their fallacious opinions and most wicked writings to subvert the foundations of Reli- gion and of civil Society, to remove from our midst all virtue and justice, to deprave the hearts and minds of all, to turn away from right discipline of morals the incautious, and especially inexperienced youth, miserably corrupting them, leading them into the nets of error, and finally withdrawing them from the bosom of the Catholic Church.

2. And now, Venerable Brothers, as is also very well known to yon, scarcely had We (by the secret Dispensation of Divine Providence, certainly by no merit of Our own) been called to this Chair of Peter, when We, to the extreme grief of Our soul, beheld a horrible tempest stirred up by so many erroneous opinions, and the dreadful and never enough to be lamented mischiefs which redound to Christian people from such errors; and We then, in discharge of Our Apostolic Ministerial Office, imitating the example of Our illustrious Predecessors, raised Our voice, and in several published Encyclical Letters, and in Allocutions delivered in Consistory, and in other Apostolic Letters, We condemned the prominent, most grievous errors of the age, and We stirred up your excellent episcopal vigilance, and again and again did We admonish and exhort all the sons of the Catholic Church, who are most dear to Us, that they should abhor and shun all the said errors, as they would the contagion of a fatal pestilence.

Especially in Our first Encyclical Letter, written to You on the 9th of November, A.D. 1846, and in two Allocutions, one of which was delivered by Us in Consistory on the 9th of December, A.D. 1854, and the other on the 9th of June, A.D. 1862, We condemned the monstrous and portentous opinions, which prevail especially in the present age, to the very great loss of souls, and even to the detriment of civil society, and which are in the highest degree hostile, not only to the Catholic Church, and to her salutary doctrine and venerable laws, but also to the everlasting law of nature engraven by God Upon the hearts of all men, and to right reason; and out of which almost all errors originate.

3. Now although hitherto We have not omitted to denounce and reprove the chief errors of this kind, yet the cause of the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls committed to Us by God, and even the interests of human society absolutely demand, that once again We should stir up Your pastoral solicitude, to drive away other erroneous opinions which flow from those errors above specified, as their source. These false and perverse opin- ions are so much the more detestable, by as much as they have chiefly for their object to hinder and banish that salutary influence which the Catholic Church, by the institution and command of her Divine Author, ought freely to exercise, even to the consummation of the world, not only over individual men, but nations, peoples, and sovereigns, and to abolish that mutual cooperation and agreement of counsels between the Priesthood and Governments, which has always been propitious and conducive to the welfare both of Church and State. (Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari Vos, Aug. 15, 1852).

For you know well, Venerable Brethren, that at this time there are found not a few who, applying to civil intercourse the impious and absurd principles of what they call Naturalism, dare teach ‘that the best form of Society, and the exigencies of civil progress, absolutely require human society to be con- stituted and governed without any regard whatsoever to Religion, as if this [Religion] did not even exist, or at least without making any distinction between true and false religions.’ Contrary to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, these persons do not hesitate to assert, that ‘the best condition of human society is that wherein no duty is recognized by the Government of correcting, by enacted penalties, the violators of the Catholic Religion, except when the maintenance of the public peace requires it.’

From this totally false notion of social government, they fear not to uphold that erroneous opinion most pernicious to the Catholic Church, and to the salvation of souls, which was called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI (lately quoted) the insanity [deliraiueutimi] (Ibid.): namely, ‘that the liberty of conscience and of worship is the peculiar (or inalienable) right of every man, which should be pro- claimed by law, and that citizens have the right to all kinds of liberty, to be restrained by no law, whether ecclesiastical or civil, by which they may be enabled to manifest openly and publicly their ideas, by word of mouth, through the press, or by any other means.’ But whilst these men make these rash assertions, they do not reflect, or consider, that they preach the liberty of perdition (St. Augustine, Epistle 105, al. 166), and that, ‘if it is always free to human arguments to discuss, men will never be wanting who will dare to resist the truth, and to rely upon the loquacity of human wisdom, when we know from the command of Our Lord Jesus Christ, how faith and Christian wisdom ought to avoid this most mischievous vanity.’ (St. Leo, Epistle 164, al. 133. sec 2. Boll, ed.)

4. And since Religion has been excluded from civil Society, and the doctrine and authority of divine Revela- tion, or the true and germane notion of justice and hu- man right have been obscured and lost, and material or brute force substituted in the place of true justice and legitimate right, it is easy to perceive why some persons, forgetting and trampling upon the most certain principles of sound reason, dare ciy out together, ‘that the will of the people, manifested by what they call public opinion, or in any other way, constitutes the supreme law, independent of all divine and human right, and that, in the political order, accomplished facts, by the mere fact of having been accomplished, have the force of right.’

But who does not see and plainly understand, that the Society of man, freed from the bonds of Religion and of true justice, can certainly have no other purpose than the effort to obtain and accumulate wealth, and that in its actions it follows no other law than that of the uncurbed cupidity, which seeks to secure its own pleasures and comforts?

For this reason, also, these same men persecute with such bitter hatred the Religious Orders, who have de- served so well of Religion, civil Society, and Letters; they loudly declare that these Orders have no right to exist, and, in so doing, make common cause with the false- hoods of the heretics. For, as was most wisely taught by Our Predecessor of illustrious memory, Pius VI, ‘the abolition of Religious Orders injures the state of public profession of the Evangelical Counsels; injures a mode of life recommended by the Church, as in conformity with Apostolic doctrine; does wrong to the illustrious founders whom we venerate upon our altars, and who constituted these societies under the inspiration of God.’ (Epistle to Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld, March 10, 1791.)

And these same persons also impiously pretend that citizens should be deprived of the liberty of publicly be- stowing on the Church their alms for the sake of Christian charity, and that the law forbidding ‘senile labour on account of Divine worship’ upon certain fixed days should be abolished, upon the most fallacious pretext that such liberty and such law are contrary to the principles of po- litical economy.

Not content with abolishing Religion in public Society, they desire further to banish it from families and private life. Teaching and professing these most fatal errors of Socialism and Communism, they declare ‘that domestic society, or the family, derives all its reason of existence solely from civil law, whence it is to be concluded that from civil law descend and depend all the rights of parents over their children, and, above all, the right of instructing and educating them.’

By such impious opinions and machinations, do these most false teach- ers endeavor to eliminate the salutary teaching and influ- ence of the Catholic Church from the instruction and education of youth, and miserably to infect and deprave by every pernicious error and vice the tender and pliant minds of youth.

All those who endeavor to throw into confusion both religious and political affairs, to destroy the good order of society, and to annihilate all Divine and human rights, have always exerted all their criminal schemes, attention, and efforts upon the manner in which they might, above all, deprave and delude unthinking youth, as We have already shown: it is upon the corruption of youth that they place all their hopes.

Thus they never cease to attack by every method the Clergy; both secular and regular, from whom, as testify to us in so con- spicuous a manner the most certain records of history, such considerable benefits have been bestowed in abundance upon Christian and Civil Society and upon the republic of Letters; asserting of the Clergy in general, that they are the enemies of the useful sciences, of progress, and of civilization, and that they ought to be deprived of all participation in the work of teaching and training the young.

5. Others, reviving the depraved fictions of innovators, errors many times condemned, presume, with extraordinary impudence, to subordinate the authority of the Church and of this Apostolic See, conferred upon it by Christ our Lord, to the judgment of civil authority, and to deny to all the rights of this same Church and this See with regard to those things which appertain to the secular order. For these persons do not blush to affirm ‘that the laws of the Church do not bind the conscience, if they are not promulgated by the civil power; that the acts and decrees of the Roman Pontiffs concerning religion and the Church require the sanction and approbation, or at least the assent of the civil power; and that the Apostolic Constitutions (Clement XII, In Eminent; Benedict XIV, Proiidas Roinanoruin; Pius VII, Ecclesiam; Leo XII, Quo Giaiiora) condemning secret societies, whether these exact or do not exact an oath of secrecy, and branding with anathema their followers and parti- sans, have no force in those countries of the world where such associations are tolerated by the civil Government.’

It is likewise affirmed ‘that the excommunications launched by the Council of Trent and the Roman Pontiffs against those who invade and usurp the possessions of the Church and its rights, strive, by confounding the spiritual and temporal orders, to attain solely a mere earthly end; that the Church can decide nothing which may bind the consciences of the faithful in the temporal order of things; the right of the Church is not competent to restrain with temporal penalties the violators of her laws; and that it is in accordance with the principles of theology and of public law for the civil Government to appropriate property possessed by the churches, the Religious Orders, and other pious establishments.’

And they have no shame in avowing openly and publicly the he- retical statement and principle, from which have ema- nated so many errors and perverse opinions, ‘that the ecclesiastical power is not, by the law  of God, made distinct from and independent of the civil power, and that no distinction, no independence of this kind can be maintained without the Church invading and usurping the essential rights of the civil power.’ Neither can We pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, assert that ‘the judgments and decrees of the Holy See, the object of which is declared to concern the general welfare of the Church, its rights, and its discipline, do not claim acquiescence and obedience, under pain of sin and loss of the Catholic profession, if they do not treat of the dogmas of Faith and of morals.’

How contrary is this doctrine to the Catholic dogma, of the plenary power divinely conferred on the Sovereign Pontiff by Our Lord Jesus Christ, to guide, to supervise and to govern the Universal Church, no one can fail to see and understand, clearly and evidently.

6. Amid so great a perversity of depraved opinions. We, remembering Our Apostolic duty, and solicitous before all things for Our most holy Religion, for sound doc- trine, for the salvation of the souls confided to Us, and for the welfare of human Society itself, have considered the moment opportune to raise anew Our Apostolic voice. Therefore do We, by our Apostolic authority, reprobate, denounce, and condemn generally and particularly all the evil opinions and doctrines specially mentioned in this Letter, and We wish that they may be held as reprobated, denounced, and condemned by all the children of the Catholic Church.

7. But You know further, Venerable Brothers, that in Our time the haters of all truth and justice and violent enemies of our Religion have spread abroad other impious doctrines, by means of pestilent books, pamphlets, and journals, which, distributed over the surface of the earth, deceive the people and wickedly lie. You are not ignorant that in our day men are found who, animated and excited by the spirit of Satan, have arrived at that excess of impiety as not to fear to deny Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, and to attack His Divinity with scandalous persistence. And here We cannot abstain from awarding You well-merited praise. Venerable Brothers, for all the care and zeal, with which You have raised Your episcopal voice against so great an impiety.

8. And therefore in this present Letter, We speak to You with all affection: to You who, called to partake of Our cares, are Our greatest support in the midst of Our very great grief; Our joy and consolation, by reason of the excellent piety of which You give proof in maintaining Religion, and the marvelous love, faith, and discipline with which, united by the strongest and most affec- tionate ties to Us and this Apostolic See. You strive valiantly and accurately to fulfill Your most weighty episcopal ministry.

We do then expect, from Your excellent pas- toral zeal, that, taking the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and strengthened by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, You will watch with redoubled care that the faithful committed to Your charge ‘abstain from evil pasturage, which Jesus Christ doth not till, because His Father hath not planted it.’ (St. Ignatius, M. ad. Phihdelph., St Leo, Epist. 156, al. 125.)

Never cease, then, to inculcate on the faithful that all true happiness for mankind proceeds from our august Religion, from its doctrine and practice, and that that people is happy who have the Lord for their God (Psalm 143).

Teach them ‘that kingdoms rest upon the foundation of the Catholic faith (St. Celest, Epist. 22 ad. Syn. Eph.), and that nothing is so deadly, nothing so certain to engender eveiy ill, nothing so exposed to danger, as for men to believe that they stand in need of nothing else than the freewill which we received at birth, if we ask nothing further from the Lord; that is to say, if, forgetting our Author, we abjure His power to show that we are free’ (St. Innocent I, epistle 29 ad Episc. Cone. Carthag. apud Coust., p. 891).

And do not omit to teach, ‘that the royal power has been es- tablished, not only to exercise the government of the world, but, above all, for the protection of the Church (St. Leo, Epist. 156, al. 125); and that there is nothing more profitable and more glorious for the Sovereigns of States, and Kings, than to leave the Catholic Church to exercise her laws, and not to permit any to curtail her liberty’; as Our most wise and courageous Predecessor, St. Felix, wrote to the Emperor Zeno. ‘It iscertain that it is advantageous for Sovereigns, when the cause of God is in question, to submit their Royal will, according to his ordinance, to the Priests of Jesus Christ, and not to pre- fer it before them’ (Pius VII, Encyclical Diu Satis, May 15,1800).

9. And if always, so especially at present, Venerable Brothers, in the midst of the numerous calamities of the Church and of civil Society, in view also of the terrible conspiracy of our adversaries against the Catholic Church and this Apostolic See, and the great accumulation of er- rors, it is before all things necessary to go with faith to the Throne of Grace, to obtain mercy and find Grace in timely aid.

We have therefore judged it right to excite the piety of all the faithful, in order that, with Us and with You all, they may pray without ceasing to the Father of lights and of mercies, supplicating and beseeching Him fervently and humbly, and in the plenitude of their faith they may seek refuge in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us to God with his blood, that by their earnest and continual prayers, they may obtain from that most dear Heart, victim of burning charity for us, that it would draw all to Himself by the bonds of His love, that all men being inflamed by His holy love may live according to His heart, pleasing God in all things, and being fruitful in all good works.

But, as there is no doubt that the prayers most agreeable to God are those of men who approach Him with a heart pure from all stain, We have thought it good to open to Christians, with Apostolic liberality, the heavenly treasures of the Church confided to Our dispensation, so that the faithful, more strongly drawn towards true piety, and purified from the stain of their sins by the Sacrament of Penance, may more confidently offer up their prayers to God and obtain His mercy and grace.

10. By these Letters therefore, emanating from Our Apostolic authority, We grant to all and each of the faith- ful of both sexes throughout the Catholic world a Plenary Indulgence, in the manner of a Jubilee, during one month, up to the end of the coming year 1865, and not longer, to be carried into effect by You, Venerable Brethren, and the other legitimate local Ordinaries, in the form and manner laid down at die commencement of Our Sovereign Pontificate by Our Apostolic Letters in form of a Brief, dated the 20th of November, A.D. 1846, and sent to the whole Episcopate of the world, commencing with the words, ‘Arcano Dhinae Providentiae concilio’ and with the faculties given by Us in those same Letters. We desire, however, that all the prescriptions of Our Letters shall be observed, saving the exceptions We have declared are to be made. And we have granted this, notwithstanding all which might make to the contrary, even those worthy of special and individual mention and derogation; and in order that every doubt and difficulty may be removed, We have ordered that copies of those Letters should again be forwarded to You.

11. Let us implore, Venerable Brethren, from our in- most hearts, and with all our souls, the mercy of God. He has encouraged us so to do, by saying: ‘I will not withdraw My mercy from them.’

‘Let us ask and We shall receive; and if there is slowness or delay in the reception, because we have grievously offended, let us knock, be- cause to him that knocketh it shall be opened; if our prayers, groans, and tears, in which We must persist and be obstinate, knock at the door: and if our prayers be united; let each one pray to God not for himself alone, but for all his brethren, as the Lord hath taught us to pray’ (St. Cyprian, Epistle 11).

But, in order that God may accede more easily to Our and Your prayers, and to those of all His faithful servants, let us employ in all confidence, as our Mediatrix, with Him, the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who has destroyed all heresies through- out the world, and who, the most loving Mother of us all, is ‘very gracious . . . and full of mercy, . . . allows herself to be entreated by all, shows herself most clement towards all, and takes under her pitying care all our necessities with a most ample affection’ (St. Bernard, Serm. de duodechn praerogathis B. V.M. in verbis Apocalyp) , and, ‘sitting as queen at the right hand of her only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in a golden vestment clothed around with various adornments,’ there is nothing which she cannot obtain from him. Let us implore also the intervention of the Blessed Peter, Chief of the Apostles, and his co-Apostle Paul, and of all those Saints of heaven, who, having already become the friends of God, have been admitted into the celestial kingdom, where they are crowned and bear palms in their hands; and who, henceforth certain of their' own immortality, are solicitous for our salvation.

12. In conclusion, We ask of God from Our inmost soul the abundance of all His celestial benefits for you, and We bestow upon You, Venerable Brethren, and upon all the faithful Clergy, and Laity committed to Your care, Our Apostolic Benediction from the most loving depths of Our heart, in token of our Charity toward You.

PIUS, PP. IX. Given at Rome, from St. Peter's this 8th day of De- cember, 1864, the tenth anniversary of the dogmatic Defi- nition of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the nineteenth year of Our Pontifi- cate. [D-1688-1 780]


Syllabus of the principal errors of our time, which are censured in the consistorial Allocutions, Encyclical and odier Apostolic Letters of our Most Holy Lord. Pope Pius IX


1 . There exists no Supreme, all-wise, all-provident Divine Being, distinct from the universe, and God is identical with the nature of tilings, and is, therefore, subject to changes. In effect, God is produced in man and in the world, and all things are God and have the very substance of God, and God is one and the same thing with the world, and, therefore, spirit with matter, necessity with liberty, good with evil, justice with injustice.— Allocution Maxima Quidem, June 9, 1862.

2. All action of God upon man and the world is to be denied.— Ibid.

3. Human reason, without any reference whatsoever to God, is the sole arbiter of truth and falsehood, and of good and evil; it is law to itself, and suffices, by its natural force, to secure the welfare of men and of nations. — Ibid.

4. All the truths of religion proceed from the innate strength of human reason; hence reason is the ultimate standard by which man can and ought to arrive at the knowledge of all truths of every kind.— Ibid., and Encyc- lical QiiiPimibusNoY. 9, 1846, etc.

5. Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore sub- ject to a continual and indefinite progress, correspond- ing with the advancement of human reason.— Ibid.

6. The faith of Christ is in opposition to human rea- son, and divine revelation not only is not useful, but is even hurtful to the perfection of man.— Ibid.

7. The prophecies and miracles set forth and recorded in the Sacred Scriptures are the fiction of poets, and the mysteries of the Christian faith the result of philosophical investigations. In the books of the Old and the New Testament there are contained mythical inventions, and Jesus Christ is Himself a myth— Ibid.


8. As human reason is placed on a level with religion itself, so theological [sciences] must be treated in the same manner as philosophical sciences.— Allocution Singiilari Quadain, Dec. 9. 1854.

9. All the dogmas of the Christian religion are indis- criminately the object of natural science or philosophy; and human reason, enlightened solely in an historical way, is able, by its own natural strength and principles, to at- tain to the true science of even the most abstruse dog- mas; provided only that such dogmas be proposed to rea- son itself as its object.— Letters to the Arehbishop of Munich, Giaiisshnas Inter, Dec. 11, 1862, and Tuas Ubentei; Dec. 21, 1863.

10. As the philosopher is one thing, and philosophy another, so it is the right and duty of the philosopher to subject himself to the authority which he shall have proved to be true; but philosophy neither can nor ought to sub- mit to any such authority.— Ibid., Dec. 11,1862.

1 1 . The Church not only ought never to pass judg- ment on philosophy, but ought to tolerate the errors of philosophy, leaving it to correct itself.— Ibid., Dec. 21, 1863.

12. The decrees of the Apostolic See and of the Ro- man congregations impede the true progress of science.— Ibid.

13. The method and principles by which the old scho- lastic doctors cultivated theology are no longer suitable to the demands of our times and to the progress of the sciences .—Ibid.

14. Philosophy is to be treated without taking any account of supernatural revelation.— Ibid.

N.B. To the rationalistic system belong in great part the errors of Anthony Gunthcr, condemned in the letter to the Cardinal Archbishop of Cologne. Exiuiiain Tuain, June 15, 1857, and in that to the Bishop of Breslau, Dolore Haud Mediocn, April 30, 1860.


15. Eveiy man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.— Allocution Maxima Quidem , June 9,1862; Damnatio Multiplices Inter June 10, 1851.

16. Man may, in the observance of any religion what- ever, lind the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eter- nal salvation.— Encyclical Qui Pluiibus, Nov. 9, 1846.

17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ .—Encyclical Quanto Conliciainui; Aug, 10, 1863, etc.

18. Protestantism is nothing more than another foini of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church- Encyclical Noscitis. Dec. 8, 1849.


Pests of this kind are frequently reprobated in the se- verest terms in the Encyclical Qui Pluiibus, Nov. 9, 1846, Allocution Quibus Quantisque, April 20, 1 849, Encycli- cal Noscitis et Nobiscuin, Dec. 8, 1849, Allocution Singulaii Quadain, Dec. 9, 1854, Encyclical Quanto Conliciainui; Aug. 10, 1863.


19. The Church is not a true and perfect society, en- tirely free; nor is she endowed with proper and perpetual rights of her own, conferred upon her by her Divine Founder; but it appertains to the civil power to define what are the rights of the Church, and the limits within which she may exercise those rights.— Allocution Singulaii Quadain, Dec. 9, 1854, etc.

20. The ecclesiastical power ought not to exercise its authority without the permission and assent of the civil government.— Allocution Meuiiiiit Unusquisque, Sept. 30, 1861.

21 . The Church has not the power of defining dog- matically that the religion of the Catholic Church is the only true religion.— Damnatio Multiplices Inter, June 10, 1851.

22. The obligation by which Catholic teachers and authors are strictly bound is confined to those things only which are proposed to universal belief as dogmas of faith by the infallible judgment of the Church.— Letter to the Archbishop of Munich, Tuas Libentei; Dec. 21, 1863.

23. Roman pontiffs and ecumenical councils have wandered outside the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in denning matters of faith and morals.— Damnatio Multiplices In- ter June 10, 1851.

24. The Church has not the power of using force, nor has she any temporal power, direct or indirect.— Apostolic Letter A d Apostolicae, Aug. 22, 1851.

25. Besides the power inherent in the episcopate, other temporal power has been attributed to it by the civil au- thority, granted either explicitly or tacitly, which on that account is revocable by the civil authority whenever it thinks hi.— Ibid.

26. The Church has no innate and legitimate right of acquiring and possessing property.— Allocution Nuiiquani Fore, Dec. 15, 1856; Encyclical Incredibili, Sept. 7, 1863.

27. The sacred ministers of the Church and the Ro- man pontiff are to be absolutely excluded from every charge and dominion over temporal affairs.— Allocution Maxima Qiiidem, June 9, 1862.

28. It is not lawful for bishops to publish even letters Apostolic without the permission of Government.— Al- locution Nunquani Fore, Dec. 15, 1856.

29. Favors granted by the Roman pontiff ought to be considered null, unless they have been sought for through the civil government.— Ibid.

30. The immunity of the Church and of ecclesiastical persons derived its origin from civil law.— Damnatio Miiltiplices Inter, June 10, 1851.

31 . The ecclesiastical forum or tribunal for the tem- poral causes, whether civil or criminal, of clerics, ought by all means to be abolished, even without consulting and against the protest of the Holy See.— Allocution Nun- quain Fore, Dec. 15, 1856; Allocution Acerbisshnuin, Sept. 27, 1852.

32. The personal immunity by which clerics are ex- onerated from military conscription and service in the army may be abolished without violation cither of natu- ral right or equity. Its abolition is called for by civil progress, especially in a society framed on the model of a liberal government.— Letter to the Bishop of [Montreal] , Singidmis Nobisque, Sept. 29, 1864.

33. It docs not appertain exclusively to the power of ecclesiastical jurisdiction by right, proper and innate, to direct the teaching of theological questions.— Letter to the Archbishop of Munich, Tuas libentei; Dec. 21, 1863.

34. The teaching of those who compare the Sovereign Pontiff to a prince, free and acting in the universal Church, is a doctrine which prevailed in the Middle Ages.— Apostolic Letter Ad Apostolicae, Aug. 22, 1851.

35. There is nothing to prevent the decree of a general council, or the act of all peoples, from transferring the supreme pontificate from the bishop and city of Rome to another bishop and another city.— Ibid.

36. The definition of a national council does not ad- mit of any subsequent discussion, and the civil authority can assume this principle as the basis of its act?,.— Ibid.

37. National churches, withdrawn from the authority of the Roman pontiff and altogether separated, can be established.— Allocution Miiltis Gimibusque, Dec. 17, 1860.

38. The Roman pontiffs have, by their too arbitrary conduct, contributed to the division of the Church into Eastern and Western. — Apostolic Letter Ad Apostolicae Aug. 22. 1851.


39. The State, as being the origin and source of all rights, is endowed with a certain right not circumscribed by any limits.— Allocution Maxima Quidem June 9, 1862.

40. The teaching of the Catholic Church is hostile to the well-being and interests of society.— Encyclical Qui Pluiibus, Nov. 9, 1846; Allocution Qiiibus Quaiitisque, April 20, 1849.

41. The civil government, even when in the hands of an infidel sovereign, has a right to an indirect negative power over religious affairs. It therefore possesses not only the right called that of exsequatui; but also that of appeal, called appellatio ab abusu.— Apostolic Letter Ad Apostolicae, Aug. 22, 1851.

42. In the case of conflicting laws enacted by the two powers, the civil law prevails.— Ibid.

43. The secular power has authority to rescind, de- clare and render null, solemn conventions, commonly called concordats, entered into with the Apostolic See, regarding the use of rights appertaining to ecclesiastical immunity, without the consent of the Apostolic See, and even in spite of its protest.— Allocution Multis Graiibusque, Dec. 17. 1860; Allocution In Consistoriali, Nov. 1, 1850.

44. The civil authority may interfere in matters relat- ing to religion, morality and spiritual government: hence, it can pass judgment on the instructions issued for the guidance of consciences, conformably with their mission, by the pastors of the Church. Further, it has the right to make enactments regarding the administration of the divine sacraments, and the dispositions necessary for re- ceiving them.— Allocutions In Consistoriali, Nov. 1, 1850, and Maxima Quidem, June 9,1862.

45. The entile government of public schools in which the youth of a Christian state is educated, except (to a certain extent) in the case of episcopal seminaries, may and ought to appertain to the civil power, and belong to it so far that no other authority whatsoever shall be rec- ognized as having any right to interfere in the discipline of the schools, the arrangement of the studies, the con- ferring of degrees, in the choice or approval of the teachers.— Allocutions Qiiibus Luctuosissiuiis, Sept. 5, 1851, and In Consistoriali, Nov. 1, 1850.

46. Moreover, even in ecclesiastical seminaries, the method of studies to be adopted is subject to the civil authority.— Allocution Nuiiquain Fore, Dec. 15, 1856.

47. The best theory of civil society requires that popu- lar schools open to children of every class of the people, and, generally, all public institutes intended for instruc- tion in letters and philosophical sciences and for carrying on the education of youth, should be freed from all eccle- siastical authority, control and interference, and should be fully subjected to the civil and political power at the pleasure of the rulers, and according to the standard of the prevalent opinions of the age.— Epistle to the Arch- bishop of Freiburg, Ciun Non Sine, July 14, 1864.

48. Catholics may approve of the system of educat- ing youth unconnected with Catholic faith and the power of the Church, and which regards the knowledge of merely natural things, and only, or at least primarily, the ends of earthly social Me.— Ibid.

49. The civil power may prevent the prelates of the Church and the faithful from communicating freely and mutually with the Roman pontiff— Allocution Maxima Qiiidem, June 9, 1862.

50. Lay authority possesses of itself the right of presenting bishops, and may require of them to undertake the administration of the diocese before they receive ca- nonical institution, and the Letters Apostolic from the Holy See.— Allocution Nuiiquain Fore, Dec. 15, 1856.

51 . And, further, the lay government has the right of deposing bishops from their pastoral functions, and is not bound to obey the Roman pontiff in those things which relate to the institution of bishoprics and the ap- pointment of bishops.— Allocution Acerbissiinuin, Sept. 27, 1852; Damnatio Multiplices Inter, June 10, 1851.

52. Government can, by its own right, alter the age prescribed by the Church for the religious profession of women and men; and may require of all religious orders to admit no person to take solemn vows without its permission.— Allocution Nunquain Fore, Dec. 15, 1856.

53. The laws enacted for the protection of religious orders and regarding their rights and duties ought to be abolished; nay, more, civil Government may lend its as- sistance to all who desire to renounce the obligation which they have undertaken of a religious life, and to break their vows. Government may also suppress the said religious orders, as likewise collegiate churches and simple ben- efices, even those of advowson, and subject their property and revenues to the administration and pleasure of the civil power— Allocutions Acerbisshnuin, Sept. 27, 1852; Probe Meuiineritis, Jan. 22, 1855; Cum Saepe, July 26,1855.

54. Kings and princes are not only exempt from the jurisdiction of the Church, but are superior to the Church in deciding questions of jurisdiction.— Damnatio Multiplices Inter, June 10, 1851.

55. The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.— Allocution Acerbissinuun, Sept. 27, 1852.


56. Moral laws do not stand in need of the divine sanction and it is not at all necessary that human laws should be made conformable to the laws of nature, and receive their power of binding from God.— Allocution Maxima Quideni, June 9, 1862.

57. The science of philosophical things and morals and also civil laws may and ought to keep aloof from divine and ecclesiastical authority.— Ibid.

58. No other forces are to be recognized except those which reside in matter, and all the rectitude and excel- lence of morality ought to be placed in the accumulation and increase of riches by every possible means, and the gratification of pleasure.— Ibid.; Encyclical Quaiito Coiificiainui; Aug. 10, 1863.

59. Right consists in the material fact. All human duties are an empty word, and all human facts have the force of right.— Allocution Maxima Qiiidem, June 9, 1862.

60. Authority is nothing else but numbers and the sum total of material forces.— Ibid.

61 . The injustice of an act when successful inflicts no injury on the sanctity of right.— Allocution Jaindudimi Ceniiinus, March 18, 1861.

62. The principle of non-intervention, as it is called, ought to be proclaimed and observed.— Allocution Novos etAiite, Sept. 28, 1860.

63. It is lawful to refuse obedience to legitimate princes, and even to rebel against them.— Encyclical Qui Pluiibus, Nov. 9, 1864; Allocution Quibusque Vestnun, Oct. 4, 1847; Noscitis et Nobiscimi, Dec. 8, 1849; Letter Apostolic Cwn Catliolica.

64. The violation of any solemn oath, as well as any wicked and flagitious action repugnant to the eternal law, is not only not blamable but is altogether lawful and worthy of the highest praise when done through love of country.— Allocution Qiiibus Quantisque, April 20, 1849.


65. The doctrine that Christ has raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament cannot be at all tolerated.— Apostolic Letter Ad Apostolicae, Aug. 22, 1851,

66. The Sacrament of Marriage is only a something accessory to the contract and separate from it, and the sacrament itself consists in the nuptial benediction alone.— Ibid.

67. By the law of nature, the marriage tie is not indis- soluble, and in many cases divorce properly so called may be decreed by the civil authority.— Ibid.; Allocution Acerbissimum, Sept. 27, 1852.

68. The Church has not the power of establishing diriment impediments of marriage, but such a power be- longs to the civil authority by which existing impediments are to be removed.— Damnatio Multiplices Inter, June 10, 1851.

69- In the dark ages the Church began to establish diriment impediments, not by her own right, but using a power borrowed from the State.— Apostolic Letter Ad Apostolicae, Aug. 22, 1851.

70. The canons of the Council ofTrent, which anathematize those who dare to deny to the Church the right of establishing diriment impediments, either are not dog- matic, or must be understood as referring to such bor- rowed power.— Ibid.

71 . The form of solemnizing marriage prescribed by the Council of Trent, under pain of nullity, does not bind in cases where the civil law lays down another form, and declares that when this new form is used the marriage shall be valid.— Ibid.

72. Boniface VIII was the first who declared that the vow of chastity taken at ordination renders marriage void.— Ibid.

73. In force of a merely civil contract there may exist between Christians a real marriage, and it is false to say either that the marriage contract between Christians is always a sacrament, or that there is no contract if the sacrament be excluded.— Ibid. Letter to the King of Sardinia, Sept. 9, 1852; Allocutions Acerbissiuumi, Sept. 27, 1852; Multis Gravibusque, Dec. 17, 1860.

74. Matrimonial causes and espousals belong by their nature to civil tribunals — Encyclical Qui Pluiibus, Nov. 9,1846; Damnatio Multiplices Inter, June 10,1851; Ad Apostolicae, Aug. 22, 1851; Allocution Acerbissiuuun, Sept. 27, 1852.

N.B.— To the preceding questions may be referred two other errors regarding the celibacy of priests and the preference due to the state of marriage over that of virginity. These have been stigmatized: the first in the En- cyclical Qui Pluiibus, Nov. 9, 1846; the second, in the Letter Apostolic Multiplices Inter, June 10, 1851.


75. The children of the Christian and Catholic Church are divided amongst themselves about the com- patibility of the temporal with the spiritual power.— Ad Apostolicae, Aug. 22, 1851.

76. The abolition of the temporal power of which the Apostolic See is possessed would contribute in the greatest degree to the liberty and prosperity of the Church.— Allocutions Qiiibus Quaiitisque, April 20, 1849, Si Semper Antea, May 20, 1850.

N.B.— Besides these errors, explicitly censured, very many others are implicitly condemned by the doctrine propounded and established, which all Catholics are bound most firmly to hold touching the temporal sover- eignty of the Roman pontiff. This doctrine is clearly stated in the Allocutions Quibus Quaiitisque, April 20, 1 849, and Si Semper Antea, May 20, 1850; Letter Apostolic Cum Cathotica Ecciesia, Mar eh 26, 1860; Allocutions, Novos et Ante, Sept. 28, 1560; Jamdudum Cernimus, March 18, 1861; Maxima Quidem, June 9, 1862.


77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of wor- ship.— Allocution Nemo Vestrum, July 26, 1855.

78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar wor- ship.— Allocution A cerbissimum, Sept. 27, 1852.

79. Moreover, it is false that the civil liberty of every form of worship, and the full power, given to all, of evenly and publicly manifesting any opinions whatsoever and thoughts, conduce more easily to corrupt the morals and minds of the people, and to propagate the pest of indif- ferentism.— Allocution Nunquam Fore, Dec. 15, 1856.

80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism arid modern civilization.— Allocution Jamduduin Cernimus, March 18, 1861.

Translation from version accompanying pastoral letter of Archbishop Spalding, Baltimore, 1870.


1. Gregory XVI, encyclical epistle "Mirari vos," 15 August 1832.

2. Ibid.

3. St. Augustine, epistle 105 (166).

4. St. Leo, epistle 14 (133), sect. 2, edit. Ball.

5. Epistle to Cardinal De la Rochefoucault, 10 March 1791.

6. Clement XII, "In eminenti;" Benedict XIV, "Providas Romanorum;" Pius VII, "Ecclesiam;" Leo XII, "Quo graviora."

7. St. Ignatius M. to the Philadelphians, 3.

8. Ps 143.

9. St. Celestine, epistle 22 to Synod. Ephes. apud Const., p. 1200.

10. St. Innocent. 1, epistle 29 ad Episc. conc. Carthage. apud Coust., p. 891.

11. St. Leo, epistle 156 (125).

12. Pius VII, encyclical epistle "Diu satis," 15 May 1800.

13. St. Cyprian, epist. 11.

14. St. Bernard, Serm. "de duodecim praerogativis B. M. V. ex verbis Apocalyp."

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