A year after he persuaded the 1870 Vatican Council to declare the infallibility
of Roman Catholic popes, Pope Pius IX, published his "Syllabus of Errors" (of everyone who disagreed with him and his church)
[ Translated from the Latin by Joseph McCabe, Haldeman- Julius Publications, Girard, Kansas ]
It takes some effort, while reading these words, to keep in mind that although published by this pope, they are all positions with which he vehemently disagrees!
- "There is no supreme, omniscient, all foreseeing Deity distinct from the universe. God is the same thing as Nature and therefore subject to change. He becomes God in the world and man; all things are God and have the very substance of God. God is one and the same thing as the world; therefore spirit is the same thing as matter, necessity the same thing as liberty, truth the same as falseness, good the same is evil, justice the same as injustice.
- That God acts upon man and the world is to be denied.
- Human reason is the sole judge of truth and falseness, good and evil. It is a law unto itself and suffices, by its natural resources, to promote the welfare of nations.
- All truths of religion have their origin in the natural use of human reason. Hence reason is the chief means by which we can and ought to acquire a knowledge of all truth.
- Divine revelation is imperfect and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress, and this corresponds to the advance of human reason.
- The faith of Christ is opposed to human reason, and divine revelation is not merely useless but injurious to man's interests.
- The prophesies and miracles that are contained in Holy Writ are poetic fiction, and the mysteries of the Christian faith are the outcome of philosophic inquiries; the contents of both Old and New Testaments are fiction, and Jesus Christ himself is a mythical figure.
- Since human reason is as valuable as religion, theological matters are to be treated in the same way as philosophy.
- All the dogmas, without exception, of the Christian religion are the subject of natural science or philosophy. Human reason can in the course of time be so developed that by its natural force and principles it can attain all knowledge, even the more profound, provided that these dogmas have been submitted to reason as its subject.
- Since the philosopher is one thing and philosophy another, the former has the right and the duty to submit to authority which he believes to be sound, but philosophy neither can nor ought to bow to authority.
- The Church not only must never pass judgment on philosophy but must tolerate its errors and leave it to correct them itself.
- The decrees of the Apostolic See and the Roman Congregations are an impediment to the free advance of science.
- The methods and principle which the older Scholastic doctors used in studying theology are not in the least in harmony with the needs of our time and the progress of the sciences.
- Philosophy must be studied without regard to supernatural revelation.
- Every man is free to adopt and profess any religion which, under the guidance of reason, he believes to be true.
- Men can find the way to eternal salvation and attain it in any religion.
- At least we have good ground to hope for the eternal salvation of men who do not belong to the true Church of Christ.
- Protestantism is only another form of the one true Christian religion, and God is just as pleased for men to join it as to join the Catholic Church.
- The Church is not a true, perfect, and entirely free body, and it cannot decide in virtue of the rights conferred upon it by its divine founder what are the limited times within which it can exercise its rights, but must leave this decision to the civil power.
- Ecclesiastical authority must not use its powers without the permission and consent of the civil government.
- The Church has no power to lay down dogmatically that the religion of the Catholic Church is the one true religion.
- The obligations which strictly bind Catholic teachers and writers are confined to matters which have been declared by the infallible judgment of the Church to be dogmas of the faith to be believed by everybody.
- Roman Pontiffs and Ecumenical Councils have exceeded their powers, usurped the rights of princes, and erred even in defining questions of faith and morals.
- The Church has no power to use force or any temporal power, direct or indirect.
- Apart from the authority which is inherent in the office of bishop, any secular power is conferred upon him expressly or tacitly by the civil power and may therefore be withdrawn by that power when it pleases.
- The Church has no native and legitimate right to acquire and hold property.
- The sacred ministry of the Church and the Roman Pontiff must be entirely excluded from concern about ownership and secular things.
- Bishops cannot be allowed to publish even the Pope's letters without permission of the government.
- Privileges conferred by the Roman Pontiff must be regarded as null unless they were asked for through the government.
- The immunity of the Church and of ecclesiastical persons has its origin in civil law.
- The ecclesiastical court for hearing secular charges, either civil or criminal, against clerics must be entirely abolished, without consulting or even against the protest of the Apostolic see.
- The personal immunity from the duty of military service which clerics enjoy may be revoked without any violation of national law and equality, and this revocation is necessary for social progress, especially in countries with a more liberal constitution.
- It is not the exclusive right of ecclesiastical jurisdiction to regulate the teaching of theological matters.
- The idea that the Roman Pontiff may be compared to a free prince acting in the universal Church is medieval.
- There is no reason why the Supreme Pontificate should not be transferred by the decision of a General Council or the action of all nations from the Bishop of the city of Rome to some other bishop and city.
- The decision of a National Congress is not subject to further discussion, and the civil administration may demand this.
- It is lawful to establish National Churches that are not subject to the authority of the Roman Pontiff and are, in fact, entirely separated.
- The arbitrary action of the Roman Pontiffs is in part responsible for the division of the Church into Eastern and Western.
- A republic, as the origin and power of all rights, has an unlimited power.
- The teaching of the Catholic Church is opposed to the welfare of human society.
- The civil power, even if the ruler be an infidel, has an indirect negative right to interfere in sacred things, and it therefore had the right which is called exequatur (permission to carry out an ecclesiastical order) and what is called the right to appeal against abuses.
- In a conflict of law between the two powers the civil law takes precedence.
- The lay government has the power to rescind or to declare null and void the solemn agreements usually called Concordats about the use of rights pertaining to ecclesiastical immunity entered upon with the Apostolic See without the consent or even against the protest of Rome.
- The civil authority may intervene in matters that refer to religion, morals and the spiritual order. Hence it has the right to criticise the instructions which the Church gives to priests for the guidance of consciences and even to lay down rules for the administration of the divine sacraments or the disposition required for receiving them.
- Public schools in which the youth of a republic are trained with the exception of episcopal seminaries to some extent, are and ought to be controlled by the civil authority; and to such an extent that no other authority has the right to interfere in the curriculum, the discipline, the awarding of degrees, or in the choice and approval of masters.
- Even in seminaries for the priesthood the arrangement of the studies is subject to the civil authority.
- The best interests of society demand that public schools, which are open to all children of every class, and public institutions generally that give higher education and train youths, shall be free from all clerical authority, control, or interference and shall be left entirely to the dictates of the civil political authority as the rulers and the general opinion of the public shall decide.
- Catholic men may approve of a kind of education that is separated from the Catholic faith and the power of the Church and that looks only, or at least primarily, to the interests of the natural sciences and the social welfare.
- The civil authority may prevent prelates and the Catholic laity from communicating freely with the Roman Pontiff.
- The secular authority has the intrinsic right of appointing bishops and it may demand of them that they visit their dioceses before they themselves receive canonical institution and Letters from the Holy See.
"Holy See" ?
Isn't it amusing how English-speaking Catholic churchmen insist on translating the Latin "Sancta Sedes" into the meaningless "Holy See", instead of the correct, but silly sounding "Holy Seat"?
a papal throne
- Moreover the secular government has the right to deprive Bishops of the exercise of their pastoral ministry and is not bound to obey the Roman Pontiff in matters concerning the office of bishops.
- The government has the right to change the age fixed by the Church for entering the religious orders of both men and women; and to forbid these orders to admit anybody to take the solemn vows without its permission.
- Laws that protect the status of religious communities and relate to their rights and duties should be abrogated; the secular government may assist all who wish to abandon the religious life and break their solemn vows; it may suppress religious communities as well as collegiate and parish churches and hand over their property and revenue to the administration and disposal of the secular authority.
- Kings and princes are not only exempt from the jurisdiction of the Church but in deciding questions of jurisdiction they are above the Church.
- The Church must be separated from the State and the State from the Church.
- Moral law does not need a divine sanction, it is not at all necessary that human laws should conform to the Law of Nature or derive their binding force from God.
- Philosophy, the science of ethics, and human laws may or ought to be independent of divine and ecclesiastical authority.
- No forces are to be recognized which are not inherent in matter, and all moral and decent effort ought to be expended in accumulating wealth and procuring, pleasure in any way.
- Right consists of a material fact, 'duties of man' is an empty phrase, and all man's acts have the force of right.
- Authority is merely the sum of numbers and material forces.
- A fortunate outcome of an unjust act does no harm to the sanctity of right.
- The principle of Non-intervention is to be recommended and observed.
- It is lawful to refuse to obey and even rebel against legitimate princes."