sources of catholic dogma 1100-1200

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The Meaning of the Words of Cornelius Jansen *

[From the Constitution "Ad sacram beati PETRI Sedem," Oct. 16, 1656]

1098 (6) We declare and define that these five propositions have been taken from the book of the aforementioned Cornelius Jansen, Bishop of Ypres, entitled AUGUSTINUS, and in the sense understood by that same Cornelius condemned.

Formulary of Submission Proposed for the Jansenists *

[From the Constitution, "Regiminis apostolicis," Feb. 15. 1665]


1099 "I, N., submit to the apostolic Constitution of INNOCENT X, dated May 31. 1653, and to the Constitution of ALEXANDER VII, dated Oct. 16. 1656, Supreme Pontiffs, and I reject and condemn with a sincere heart, just as the Apostolic See has condemned them by the said Constitutions, the five propositions taken from the book of Cornelius Jansen, entitled Augustinus, and in the sense understood by that same author, and so I swear: So help me God, and this holy gospel of God." *

The Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. *

[From the Bull "Sollicitudo omnium eccl.," Dec. 8, 1661]

1100  (1) The devotion to the most blessed Virgin Mary is indeed of long standing among the faithful of Christ who believe that her soul, from the first instant of its creation and infusion into her body, was preserved immune by a special grace and privilege of God from the stain of original sin, in view of the merits of her Son, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of our human race, and who, in this sense, esteem and solemnly celebrate the festivity of her conception; the number of these has increased (after the Constitutions of SIXTUS IV renewed by the Council of Trent, note 734 f., 792.) ... so that ... now almost all Catholics embrace it. . . . (4) We renew the Constitutions and decrees published by Roman Pontiffs in favor of the opinion that asserts that the soul of the blessed Virgin Mary at its creation, and at its infusion into her body, was blessed by the grace of the Holy Spirit and was preserved from original sin.


Various Errors on Moral Matters *

[Condemned in decrees of Sept. 24, 1665, and of March 18.1666

A. On the 24th Day of September, 1665

1101  1. A man is not bound at any time at all in his life to utter an act of faith, hope, and charity by the force of the divine precepts pertaining tothese virtues.

1102  2. A man belonging to the orders of Knights when challenged to a duel can accept this, lest he incur the mark of cowardice among others.

1103 3. That opinion which asserts that the Bull "Coenae" prohibits absolution of heresy and other crimes only when they are public and that this does not diminish the power of Trent, in which there is a discussion of secret crimes, in the year1629,July 18th, in the Consistory of the Sacred Congregation of the Most Eminent Cardinals, was seen and sustained.

1104 4. Regular prelates can in the court of conscience absolve any seculars at all of hidden heresy and of excommunication incurred by it.

1105  5. Although it is evidently established by you that Peter is a heretic, you are not bound to denounce [him], if you cannot prove it.

1106 6. A confessor who in sacramental confession gives the penitent a paper to be read afterwards, in which he incites to lust, is not considered to have solicited in the confessional, and therefore is not to be denounced.

1107  7. A way to avoid the obligation of denouncing solicitation exists if the one solicited confesses with the solicitor; the latter can absolve that one without the burden of denouncing.

1108 8. A priest can lawfully accept a twofold stipend for the same Mass by applying to the petitioner even the most special part of the proceeds appropriated to the celebrant himself, and this after the decree of Urban VIII. *

1109 9. After the decree of Urban, * a priest, to whom Masses are given to be celebrated, can give satisfaction through another, by paying a smaller stipend to him and retaining the other part of the stipend for himself.

1110   10. It is not contrary to justice to accept a stipend for several sacrifices and to offer one sacrifice. Nor, is it contrary to fidelity if I promise, with a promise confirmed also by an oath, to him who gives a stipend, what I offer for no one else.

1111  11 We are not bound to express in a subsequent confession sins omitted in confession or forgotten because of the imminent danger of death or for some other reason.

1112 12. Mendicants can absolve from cases reserved for bishops, when the faculty of the bishop was not obtained for this.

1113  13. He satisfies the precept of an annual confession, who confesses to a regular, presented to a bishop, but unjustly reproved by him.

1114 14. He who makes no confession voluntarily, satisfies the precept of the Church.

1115 15. A penitent by his own authority can substitute another for himself, to fulfill the penance in his place.

1116 16. Those who have provided a benefice can select as confessor for themselves a simple priest not approved by the ordinary.

1117 17. It is permitted a religious or a cleric to kill a calumniator who threatens to spread grave crimes about him or his order, when no other means of defense is at hand; as it seems not to be, if a calumniator be ready to spread the aforesaid about the religious himself or his order publicly or among people of importance, unless he be killed.

1118 18. It is permitted to kill a false accuser, false witnesses, and even a judge, from whom an unjust sentence threatens with certainty, if the innocent can avoid harm in no other way.

1119  19. A husband does not sin by killing on his own authority a wife caught in adultery.

1120 20. The restitution imposed by Pius V* upon those who have received benefits but not reciting [the Divine Office in fulfillment of their obligation] is not due in conscience before the declaratory sentence of the judge, because it is a penalty.

1121  21. He who has a collective chaplaincy, or any other ecclesiastical benefit, if he is busy with the study of letters, satisfies his obligation, if he recites the office through another.

1122 22. It is not contrary to justice not to confer ecclesiastical benefits gratuitously, because the contributor who contributes those ecclesiastical benefits with money intervening does not exact that money for the contribution of the benefit, but for a temporal profit, which he was not bound to contribute to you.

1123 23. He who breaks a fast of the Church to which he is bound, does not sin mortally, unless he does this out of contempt and disobedience, e.g., because he does not wish to subject himself to a precept.

1124  24. Voluptuousness, sodomy, and bestiality are sins of the same ultimate species, and so it is enough to say in confession that one has procured a pollution.

1125   25. He who has had intercourse with an unmarried woman satisfies the precept of confession by saying: "I committed a grievous sin against chastity with an unmarried woman," without mentioning the intercourse.

1126 26. When litigants have equally probable opinions in their defense, the judge can accept money to bring a sentence in favor of one over the other.

1127 27. If a book is published by a younger or modern person, its opinion should be considered as probable, since it is not established that it has been rejected by the Holy See as improbable.

1128 28. A nation does not sin, even if without any cause it does not accept a law promulgated by the ruler.

B. On the 18th day of March, 1666

1129  29. On a day of fasting, he who eats a moderate amount frequently, even if in the end he has eaten a considerable quantity, does not break the fast.

1130  30. All officials who labor physically in the state are excused from the obligation of fasting, and need not make certain whether the labor is compatible with fasting.

1131 31. All those are entirely excused from fasting, who make a journey by riding, under whatever circumstances they make the journey, even if it is not necessary and even if they make a journey of a single day.

1132  32. It is not evident that the custom of not eating eggs and cheese in Lent is binding.

1133 33. Restitution of income because of the omission of stipends can be supplied through any alms that a beneficiary has previously made from the income of his service.

1134  34. By reciting the paschal office on the day of Palms one satisfies the precept.

1135 35. By a single office anyone can satisfy a twofold precept, for the present day and tomorrow.

1136 36. Regulars can in the forum of conscience use their privileges which were expressly revoked by the Council of Trent.

1137 37. Indulgences conceded to regulars and revoked by Paul V are today revalidated.

1138 38. The mandate of the Council of Trent, made for the priest who of necessity performs the Sacrifice while in mortal sin, to confess as soon as possible [see note 880], is a recommendation, not a precept.

1139 39. The expression "quamprimum" is understood to be when the priest will confess in his own time.

1140 40. It is a probable opinion which states that a kiss is only venial when performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible * delight which arises from the kiss, if danger of further consent and pollution is excluded.

1141 41. One living in concubinage is not bound to dismiss the concubine, if she is very useful for the pleasure of him so living (in the vernacular, "regalo")provided that if she [another reading: he] were missing, he would carry on life with very great difficulty, and other food would affect him living in concubinage with great loathing, and another maid servant would be found with very great difficulty.

1142 42. It is permitted one who borrows money to exact something beyond the principal, if he obligates himself not to seek the principal until a certain time.

1143 43. An annual legacy left for the soul does not bind for more than ten years.

1144 44. So far as the forum of conscience is concerned, when the guilty has been corrected and the contumacy ceases, the censures cease.

1145 45. Books prohibited "until they are expurgated" can be retained until they are corrected by the application of diligence.

All these are condemned and prohibited, at least as scandalous.

Perfect and Imperfect Contrition *

[From the decree of the Sacred Office, May 5, 1667]

1146  Concerning the controversy:Whether that attrition, which is inspired by the fear of hell, excluding the will to sin, with the hope of pardon, to obtain grace in the sacrament of penance requires in addition some act of love of God, to some asserting this, and to others denying it, and in turn censuring the opposite opinion: . . . His Holiness . . . orders . . . that if they later write about the matter of the aforementioned attrition, or publish books or writings or teach or preach or in any manner whatever instruct penitents or students and others, let them not dare change either opinion with a note of any theological censure or contumely, whether it be that of denying the necessity of any love of God in the aforementioned attrition inspired by the fear of hell, which seems to be the more common opinion among scholastics today, or whether that of asserting the necessity of this love, until something has been defined by the Holy See concerning this matter.

CLEMENT IX 1667 - 1669    CLEMENT X 1670-1676

INNOCENT XI 1676-1689

Frequent and Daily Communion *

[From the Decree C. S. Conc., Feb. 12. 1679]

1147 Although the daily and frequent use of the most holy Eucharist has always been approved by the holy Fathers of the Church, yet never have they appointed certain days either for receiving it more often or certain days of the weeks and months for abstaining from it, which the Council of Trent did not prescribe; but, as if it considered the frailty of human nature, although making no command, it merely indicated what it would prefer when it said: "The Holy Council would indeed wish that at every Mass the faithful present would communicate by the sacramental reception of the Eucharist" [see n.944 ]. And this not without cause, for there are very many secret recesses of conscience, various diversions because of the occupations of the spirit, likewise many graces and gifts of God granted to children, and since we cannot scrutinize these with human eyes, nothing can be established concerning the worthiness or integrity of anyone, and consequently nothing concerning the more frequent or daily partaking of the bread of life.

 And thus, as far as concerns tradesmen themselves, frequent approach to the receiving of the holy sustenance is to be left to the judgment of the confessors who explore the secrets of the heart, who from the purity of consciences and from the fruit of frequency and from the progress in piety in the case of laity, tradesmen, and married men, will be obliged to provide for them whatever they see will be of benefit to their salvatlon.

 In the case of married persons, however, let them seriously consider this, since the blessed Apostle does not wish them to "defraud one another, except perhaps by consent for a time, that they may give themselves to prayer" [cf. 1 Cor. 7:5], let them advise these seriously that they should give themselves more to continence, because of reverence for the most holy Eucharist, and that they should come together for communion in the heavenly banquet with a purer mind.

1148  In this, then, will the diligence of pastors be especially alert, not that some may not be deterred from frequent or daily partaking of holy communion by a single formula of precept, or that days for partaking be established generally, but rather let it be decided what should be permitted to each, or should be decided for themselves by themselves, or by the priests or confessors; and let this be prohibited entirely: that no one be repelled from the sacred banquet, whether he approach it frequently or daily, and yet let it attend that everyone taste of the sweetness of the body of the Lord more rarely or more frequently according to his measure of devotion and preparation.

1149 Similarly nuns who desire holy communion daily will have to be advised to receive communion on the days established by the rule of their order; if some, however, are distinguished by purity of mind and are so enkindled by fervor of spirit that they seem worthy of more frequent or daily reception of the most holy Sacrament, let this be permitted them by the superiors.

 It will be of benefit, too, besides the diligence of priests and confessors, to make use also of the services of preachers and to have an agreement with them, that, when the faithful have become used * to frequenting the most holy Sacrament (which they should do), they preach a sermon on the great preparation for undertaking that, and show in general that those who by devout zeal are stirred to a more frequent or daily partaking of the health bringing Food, whether lay tradesmen, or married people, or any others, ought to understand their own weakness, so that because of the dignity of the Sacrament and the fear of the divine judgment they may learn to revere the celestial table on which is Christ; and if at any time they should feel themselves not prepared, to abstain from it and to gird themselves for a greater preparation.

 But let bishops, in whose dioceses such devotion towards the most Blessed Sacrament flourishes, give thanks to God for this, and they should nurture it by applying to it the proper measure of prudence and judgment, and on their part they will especially prevail upon themselves that no labor or diligence must be spared to do away with every suspicion of irreverence and scandal in the reception of the true and immaculate lamb, and to increase virtues and gifts in those who partake of it; and this will happen abundantly, if those, who are bound by such devoted zeal, by surpassing divine grace, and who desire to be refreshed more frequently by the most holy bread, become accustomed to expend their strength and to prove themselves with reverence and love. . . .

1150 Furthermore, let bishops and priests or confessors refute those who hold that daily communion is of divine right, . . . Let them not permit that a confession of venial sins be made to a simple priest without the approbation of a bishop or ordinary.

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.

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