Lamentabili Sane, July 3, 1907
Syllabus Condemning the Errors of the Modernists
With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas.
These errors are being daily spread among the faithful. Lest they captivate the faithfuls’ minds and corrupt the purity of their faith. His Holiness, Pius X, by Divine Providence, Pope, has decided that the chief errors should be noted and condemned by the Office of this Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.
Therefore, after a very diligent investigation and consultation with the Reverend Consultors, the Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinal, the General Inquisitors in matters of faith and morals have judged the following propositions to be condemned and proscribed. In fact, by this general decree, they are condemned and proscribed.
1. The ecclesiastical law which prescribes that books concerning the Divine Scriptures are subject to previous examination does not apply to critical scholars and students of scientific exegesis of the Old and New Testament. CONDEMNED
2. The Church’s interpretation of the Sacred Books is by no means to be rejected; nevertheless, it is subject to the more accurate judgment and correction of the exegetes. CONDEMNED
3. From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures passed against free and more scientific exegesis, one can conclude that the Faith the Church proposes contradicts history and that Catholic teaching cannot really be reconciled with the true origins of the Christian religion. CONDEMNED
4. Even by dogmatic definitions the Church’s magisterium cannot determine the genuine sense of the Sacred Scriptures. CONDEMNED
5. Since the deposit of Faith contains only revealed truths, the Church has no right to pass judgment on the assertions of the human sciences. CONDEMNED
6. The “Church learning” and the “Church teaching” collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the “Church teaching” to sanction the opinions of the “Church learning.” CONDEMNED
7. In proscribing errors, the Church cannot demand any paternal assent from the faithful by which the judgments she issues are to be embraced. CONDEMNED
8. They are free from all blame who treat lightly the condemnations passed by the Sacred Congregation of the Index or by the Roman Congregations. CONDEMNED
9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the author of the Sacred Scriptures. CONDEMNED
10. The inspiration of the books of the Old Testament consists in this: The Israelite writers handed down religious doctrines under a peculiar aspect which was either little or not at all known to the Gentiles. CONDEMNED
11. Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error. CONDEMNED
12. If he wishes to apply himself usefully to Biblical studies, the exegete must first put aside all preconceived opinions about the supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture and interpret it the same as any other merely human document. CONDEMNED
13. The Evangelists themselves, as well as the Christians of the second and third generation, artificially arranged the evangelical parables. In such a way they explained the scanty fruit of the preaching of Christ among the Jews. CONDEMNED
14. In many narrations the Evangelists recorded, not so much things that are true, as things which, even though false, they judged to be more profitable for their readers. CONDEMNED
15. Until the time the canon was defined and constituted, the Gospels were increased by additions and corrections. Therefore there remained in them only a faint and uncertain trace of the doctrine of Christ. CONDEMNED
16. The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation. CONDEMNED
17. The fourth Gospel exaggerated miracles not only in order that the extraordinary might stand out but also in order that it might become more suitable for showing forth the work and glory of the Word Incarnate. CONDEMNED
18. John claims for himself the quality of witness concerning Christ. In reality, however, he is only a distinguished witness of the Christian life, or of the life of Christ in the Church at the close of the first century. CONDEMNED
19. Heterodox exegetes have expressed the true sense of the Scriptures more faithfully than Catholic exegetes. CONDEMNED
20. Revelation could be nothing else than the consciousness man acquired of his relation to God. CONDEMNED
21. Revelation, constituting the object of the Catholic faith, was not completed with the Apostles. CONDEMNED
22. The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from heaven. They are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious effort. CONDEMNED
23. Opposition may, and actually does, exist between the facts narrated in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s dogmas which rest on them. Thus the critic may reject as false facts the Church holds as most certain. CONDEMNED
24. The exegete who constructs premises from which it follows that dogmas are historically false or doubtful is not to be reproved as long as he does not directly deny the dogmas themselves. CONDEMNED
25. The assent of faith ultimately rests on a mass of probabilities. CONDEMNED
26. The dogmas of the Faith are to be held only according to their practical sense; that is to say, as preceptive norms of conduct and not as norms of believing. CONDEMNED
27. The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels. It is a dogma which the Christian conscience has derived from the notion of the Messias. CONDEMNED
28. While He was exercising His ministry, Jesus did not speak with the object of teaching He was Messias, nor did His miracles tend to prove it. CONDEMNED
29. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ Who is the object of faith. CONDEMNED
30. In all the evangelical texts the name “Son of God” is equivalent only to that of “Messias.” It does not in the least way signify that Christ is the true and natural Son of God. CONDEMNED
31. The doctrine concerning Christ taught by Paul, John, and the Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus and Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but that which the Christian conscience conceived concerning Jesus. CONDEMNED
32. It is impossible to reconcile the natural sense of the Gospel texts with the sense taught by our theologians concerning the conscience and the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ. CONDEMNED
33. Everyone who is not led by preconceived opinions can readily see that either Jesus professed an error concerning the immediate Messianic coming or the greater part of His doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute of authenticity. CONDEMNED
34. The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge without limits only on a hypothesis which cannot be historically conceived and which is repugnant to the moral sense. That hypothesis is that Christ as man possessed the knowledge of God and yet was unwilling to communicate the knowledge of a great many things to His disciples and posterity. CONDEMNED
35. Christ did not always possess the. consciousness of His Messianic dignity. CONDEMNED
36. The Resurrection of the Saviour is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts. CONDEMNED
37. In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God. CONDEMNED
38. The doctrine of the expiatory death of Christ is Pauline and not evangelical. CONDEMNED
39. The opinions concerning the origin of the Sacraments which the Fathers of Trent held and which certainly influenced their dogmatic canons are very different from those which now rightly exist among historians who examine Christianity. CONDEMNED
40. The Sacraments had their origin in the fact that the Apostles and their successors, swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of Christ. CONDEMNED
41. The Sacraments are intended merely to recall to man’s mind the ever-beneficent presence of the Creator. CONDEMNED
42. The Christian community imposed the necessity of Baptism, adopted it as a necessary rite, and added to it the obligation of the Christian profession. CONDEMNED
43. The practice of administering Baptism to infants was a disciplinary evolution, which became one of the causes why the Sacrament was divided into two, namely. Baptism and Penance. CONDEMNED
44. There is nothing to prove that the rite of the Sacrament of Confirmation was employed by the Apostles. The formal distinction of the two Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation does not pertain to the history of primitive Christianity. CONDEMNED
45. Not everything which Paul narrates concerning the institution of the Eucharist (I Cor. 11; 23-25) is, to be taken historically. CONDEMNED
46. In the primitive Church the concept of the Christian sinner reconciled by the authority of the Church did not exist. Only very slowly did the Church accustom herself to this concept. As a matter of fact, even after Penance was recognized as an institution of the Church, it was not called a Sacrament since it would be held as a disgraceful Sacrament. CONDEMNED
47. The words of the Lord, “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (John 20: 22-23), in no way refer to the Sacrament of Penance, in spite of what it pleased the Fathers of Trent to say. CONDEMNED
48. In his Epistle (Ch. 5:14-15) James did not intend to promulgate a Sacrament of Christ but only commend a pious custom. If in this custom he happens to distinguish a means of grace, it is not in that rigorous manner in which it was taken by the theologians who laid down the notion and number of the Sacraments. CONDEMNED
49. When the Christian supper gradually assumed the nature of a liturgical action those who customarily presided over the supper acquired the sacerdotal character. CONDEMNED
50. The elders who fulfilled the office of watching over the gatherings of the faithful were instituted by the Apostles as priests or bishops to provide for the necessary ordering of the increasing communities and not properly for the perpetuation of the Apostolic mission and power. CONDEMNED
51. It is impossible that Matrimony could have become a Sacrament of the new law until later in the Church since it was necessary that a full theological explication of the doctrine of grace and the Sacraments should first take place before Matrimony should be held as a Sacrament. CONDEMNED
52. It was far from the mind of Christ to found a Church as a society which would continue on earth for a long course of centuries. On the contrary, in the mind of Christ the kingdom of heaven together with the end of the world was about to come immediately. CONDEMNED
53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society, Christian society is subject to a perpetual evolution. CONDEMNED
54. Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel. CONDEMNED
55. Simon Peter never even suspected that Christ entrusted the primacy in the Church to him. CONDEMNED
56. The Roman Church became the head of all the churches, not through the ordinance of Divine Providence, but merely through political conditions. CONDEMNED
57. The Church has shown that she is hostile to the progress of the natural and theological sciences. CONDEMNED
58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him. CONDEMNED
59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places. CONDEMNED
60. Christian Doctrine was originally Judaic. Through successive evolutions it became first Pauline, then Joannine, finally Hellenic and universal. CONDEMNED
61. It may be said without paradox that there is no chapter of Scripture, from the first of Genesis to the last of the Apocalypse, which contains a doctrine absolutely identical with that which the Church teaches on the same matter. For the same reason, therefore, no chapter of Scripture has the same sense for the critic and the theologian. CONDEMNED
62. The chief articles of the Apostles’ Creed did not have the same sense for the Christians of the first ages as they have for the Christians of our time. CONDEMNED
63. The Church shows that she is incapable of effectively maintaining evangelical ethics since she obstinately clings to immutable doctrines which cannot be reconciled with modem progress. CONDEMNED
64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be readjusted. CONDEMNED
65. Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism. CONDEMNED
The following Thursday, the fourth day of the same month and year, all these matters were accurately reported to our Most Holy Lord, Pope Pius X. His Holiness approved and confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers and ordered that each and every one of the above-listed propositions be held by all as condemned and proscribed.
Notary of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition
On Rejecting Inovation and Protecting the Faith
“Our Apostolic Mandate requires from Us that We watch over the purity of the Faith and the integrity of Catholic discipline. It requires from Us that We protect the faithful from evil and error; especially so when evil and error are presented in dynamic language which, concealing vague notions and ambiguous expressions with emotional and high-sounding words, is likely to set ablaze the hearts of men in pursuit of ideals which, whilst attractive, are nonetheless nefarious.”
Pope St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique, 1910.
“. . . . it is well known that to the Church there belongs no right whatsoever to innovate anything touching on the substance of the sacraments.”
Pope St. Pius X, Ex quo, Dec. 26, 1910 as sourced from Denzinger. 2147 a
Oath Against Modernism
With the decree Lamentabili (1907) and the encyclical Pascendi (1907), the dangers of the modernist interpretation of Catholic truth had been exposed and fully expounded. Nevertheless, efforts to promote the modernist cause were continued in various countries. To eliminate the possibility of modernist error spreading through the clergy, St. Pius X (1903-14) drew up and published on September 1, 1910, the following oath against modernism and imposed it on all clergy to be advanced to major orders, on pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and on professors in philosophical and theological seminaries.
The first part of the oath is a strong affirmation of the basic Catholic truths opposed to modernism: the demonstrability of God’s existence by human reason; the value and suitability of miracles and prophecies as criteria of revelation; the historical institution of the Church by Christ; the invariable character of Catholic tradition; the reasonableness and supernaturalness of faith.
The second part of the oath is an expression of interior assent to the decree Lamentabili and the encyclical Pascendi with their contents. Particular modernist errors are singled out for censure and rejection.
I firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.
And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:20), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated:
Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.
Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.
Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.
Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our Creator and Lord.
Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality–that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm.
Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.
Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact–one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history–the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.
I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God.