Fifth Council of Lateran - Bull against exempt persons, in which are included some points regarding ecclesiastical liberty and episcopal dignity
Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Among the anxieties resting on our shoulders we come back with constant thought to how we can bring back to the path of truth those going astray, and gain them for God (by his grace working in us). This is what we truly seek after with eagerness; to this we unremittingly direct our mind's desires; and over this we watch with anxious earnestness.
It is certainly possible to obtain without difficulty some learning by reading books. The skill of book-printing has been invented, or rather improved and perfected, with God's assistance, particularly in our time. Without doubt it has brought many benefits to men and women since, at small expense, it is possible to possess a great number of books. These permit minds to devote themselves very readily to scholarly studies. Thus there can easily result, particularly among Catholics, men competent in all kinds of languages; and we desire to see in the Roman church, in good supply, men of this type who are capable of instructing even unbelievers in the holy commandments, and of gathering them for their salvation into the body of the faithful by the teaching of the christian faith. Complaints from many persons, however, have reached our ears and those of the apostolic see. In fact, some printers have the boldness to print and sell to the public, in different parts of the world, books -- some translated into Latin from Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and Chaldean as well as some issued directly in Latin or a vernacular language -- containing errors opposed to the faith as well as pernicious views contrary to the christian religion and to the reputation of prominent persons of rank. The readers are not edified. Indeed, they lapse into very great errors not only in the realm of faith but also in that of life and morals. This has often given rise to various scandals, as experience has taught, and there is daily the fear that even greater scandals are developing.
That is why, to prevent what has been a healthy discovery for the glory of God, the advance of the faith, and the propagation of good skills, from being misused for the opposite purposes and becoming an obstacle to the salvation of Christians, we have judged that our care must be exercised over the printing of books, precisely so that thorns do not grow up with the good seed or poisons become mixed with medicines. It is our desire to provide a suitable remedy for this danger, with the approval of this sacred council, so that the business of book-printing may go ahead with greater satisfaction the more that there is employed in the future, with greater zeal and prudence, a more attentive supervision. We therefore establish and ordain that henceforth, for all future time, no one may dare to print or have printed any book or other writing of whatever kind in Rome or in any other cities and dioceses, without the book or writings having first been closely examined, at Rome by our vicar and the master of the sacred palace, in other cities and dioceses by the bishop or some other person who knows about the printing of books and writings of this kind and who has been delegated to this office by the bishop in question, and also by the inquisitor of heresy for the city or diocese where the said printing is to take place, and unless the books or writings have been approved by a warrant signed in their own hand, which must be given, under pain of excommunication, freely and without delay.
In addition to the printed books being seized and publicly burnt, payment of a hundred ducats to the fabric of the basilica of the prince of the apostles in Rome, without hope of relief, and suspension for a whole year from the possibility of engaging in printing, there is to be imposed upon anyone presuming to act otherwise the sentence of excommunication. Finally, if the offender's contumacy increases, he is to be punished with all the sanctions of the law, by his bishop or by our vicar, in such a way that others will have no incentive to try to follow his example. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however...
24. Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Among other matters to be carried through in this sacred council, we especially desire to make known and proclaim what must be decided and announced concerning the sanction called the Pragmatic, which was issued by a number of leaders of the French nation, both clerics and laymen as well as nobles and others supporting them. This is in accordance with the wishes of our predecessor pope Julius II, of happy memory, who summoned this council. The prelates and other clergy and the aforesaid laity have been summoned on several occasions to appear before both our said predecessor, Julius, and ourself; and their obstinacy has quite often been alleged or been the subject of accusations in the said council.$$It was subsequently alleged on behalf of the prelates, clerics and laymen, including nobles, and their said supporters, who were legitimately summoned (as just stated) for this purpose, that there was no route which would allow them to travel in safety to the said council. In order that they may not be able to make this excuse, we have taken measures for a comprehensive safe-conduct to be granted and conveyed to them by the Genoans, through whose territory they can travel in safety to the Roman curia, so that they may be able to bring forward the views which they may wish to present in defence of this Pragmatic Sanction.
To prevent them being able to bring up some further point against what has been set out and to claim a legitimate ignorance, and in order that their obstinacy may be overcome, we once again, with the approval of the sacred council, give notice and warning, regarding a final and definitive dead-line, to the clergy and laity, including nobles, prelates and their supporters, and to colleges of clerics and of seculars, that they must lawfully assemble (putting aside every excuse and delaying action) before 1 October next. We are extending the dead-line, for the aforesaid reasons and in order to remove all excuses, to the said 1 October, by way of a final postponement; and we grant and assign this anew. Once the dead-line has passed, however, proceedings will go forward at the next session to other matters and to the conclusion of the said business, even by means of a definitive sentence, notwithstanding their obstinacy and refusal to appear. This next eleventh session we summon for these and many other useful matters, with the approval of the sacred council, for 14 December after the next feast day of St Lucy. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however ... On preaching, the Pragmatic Sanction, and religious
Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Under the protection of the supreme majesty by whose ineffable providence things in heaven and on earth are guided, as we carry out the office of watchman over the Lord's flock committed to us, insofar as this is granted to our weakness, we reflect within ourselves in great depth that, among many other important matters, the office of preaching is also our concern. Preaching is of the first importance, very necessary and of great effect and utility in the church, so long as it is being exercised rightly, from genuine charity towards God and our neighbour, and according to the precepts and examples of the holy fathers, who contributed a great deal to the church by publicly professing such things at the time of the establishment and propagation of the faith. For, our redeemer first did and taught, and by his command and example, the college of twelve apostles -- the heavens alike proclaiming the glory of the true God through all the earth -- led back from darkness the whole human race, which was held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin, and guided it to the light of eternal salvation. The apostles and then their successors propagated far and wide and rooted deeply the word itself through all the earth and unto the ends of the world. Therefore those who are now carrying this burden ought to remember and frequently reflect that they in turn, with respect to this office of preaching, are entering into and maintaining that succession of the author and founder of this office, Jesus Christ our most holy redeemer, of Peter and Paul, and of the other apostles and disciples of the Lord.
We have learnt from trustworthy sources that some preachers in our times (we record this with sorrow) do not attend to the fact that they are carrying out the office of those we have named, of the holy doctors of the church and of others professing sacred theology, who, ever standing by Christians and confronting false prophets striving to overturn the faith, have shown that the church militant remains unimpaired by her very nature; and that they ought to adopt only what the people who flock to their sermons will find useful, by means of reflection and practical application, for rooting out vices, praising virtues and saving the souls of the faithful. Reliable report has it, rather, that they are preaching many and various things contrary to the teachings and examples which we have mentioned, sometimes with scandal to the people. This fact influences our attitude very deeply when we reflect within ourself that these preachers, unmindful of their duty, are striving in their sermons not for the benefit of the hearers but rather for their own self-display. They flatter the idle ears of some people who seem to have already reached a state that would make true the words of the Apostle writing to Timothy: For, a time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but, having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. These preachers make no attempt whatever to lead back the deceived and empty minds of such people to the path of right and truth. Indeed, they involve them in even greater errors. Without any reverence for the testimony of canon law, indeed contrary to canonical censures, twisting the sense of scripture in many places, often giving it rash and false interpretations, they preach what is false; they threaten, describe and assert to be present, totally unsupported by legitimate proofs and merely following their own private interpretation, various terrors, menaces and many other evils, which they say are about to arrive and are already growing; they very often introduce to their congregations certain futile and worthless ideas and other matters of this nature; and, what is more appalling, they dare to claim that they possess this information from the light of eternity and by the guidance and grace of the holy Spirit.
When these preachers spread this medley of fraud and error, backed by the false testimony of alleged miracles, the congregations whom they ought to be carefully instructing in the gospel message, and retaining and preserving in the true faith, are withdrawn by their sermons from the teaching and commands of the universal church. When they turn aside from the official sacred teachings, which they ought particularly to follow, they separate and move far from salvation those who listen to them. For, as a result of these and similar activities, the less educated people, as being more exposed to deceit, are very easily led into manifold errors, as they wander from the path of salvation and from obedience to the Roman church. Gregory, therefore, who was outstanding in this task, moved by the warmth of his charity, gave a strong exhortation and warning to preachers that, when about to speak, they approach the people with prudence and caution lest, caught up in the enthusiasm of their oratory, they entangle the hearts of their hearers with verbal errors as if with nooses, and while perhaps they wish to appear wise, in their delusion they foolishly tear asunder the sinews of the hoped-for virtue. For, the meaning of words is often lost when the hearts of the audience are bruised by too urgent and careless forms of speech.
Indeed, in no other way do these preachers cause greater harm and scandal to the less educated than when they preach on what should be left unspoken or when they introduce error by teaching what is false and useless. Since such things are known to be totally opposed to this holy and divinely instituted religion, as being novelties and foreign to it, it is surely just for them to be examined seriously and carefully, lest they cause scandal for the christian people and ruin for the souls of their authors and of others. We therefore desire, in accord with the word of the prophet, Who makes harmony dwell in the house, to restore that uniformity which has lost esteem, and to preserve such as remains, insofar as we can with God's help, in the holy church of God, which by divine providence we preside over and which is indeed one, preaches and worships one God and firmly and sincerely professes one faith. We wish that those who preach the word of God to the people be such that God's church suffers no scandal from their preaching. If they are amenable to correction, let them abstain in future from these matters into which they have recently ventured. For it is clear that, in addition to the points which we have mentioned, a number of them are no longer preaching the way of the Lord in virtue and are not expounding the gospel, as is their duty, but rather invented miracles, new and false prophecies and other frivolities hardly distinguishable from old wives' tales. Such things give rise to great scandal since no account is taken of devotion and authority and of its condemnations and rejections. There are those who make attempts to impress and win support by bawling everywhere, not sparing even those who are honoured with pontifical rank and other prelates of the church, to whom they should rather be showing honour and reverence. They attack their persons and their state of life, boldly and without discrimination, and commit other acts of this kind. Our aim is that so dangerous and contagious an evil and so mortal a disease may be thoroughly wiped out and that its consequences may be so completely swept away that not even its memory remains.
We decree and ordain, with the approval of the sacred council, that nobody -whether a secular cleric or a member of any of the mendicant orders or someone with the right to preach by law or custom or privilege or otherwise -- may be admitted to carry out this office unless he has first been examined with due care by his superior, which is a responsibility that we lay on the superior's conscience, and unless he is found to be fit and suitable for the task by his upright behaviour, age, doctrine, honesty, prudence and exemplary life. Wherever he goes to preach, he must provide a guarantee to the bishop and other local ordinaries concerning his examination and competence, by means of the original or other letters from the person who examined and approved him. We command all who undertake this task of preaching, or will later undertake it, to preach and expound the gospel truth and holy scripture in accordance with the exposition, interpretation and commentaries that the church or long use has approved and has accepted for teaching until now, and will accept in the future, without any addition contrary to its true meaning or in conflict with it. They are always to insist on the meanings which are in harmony with the words of sacred scripture and with the interpretations, properly and wisely understood, of the doctors mentioned above. They are in no way to presume to preach or declare a fixed time for future evils, the coming of antichrist or the precise day of judgment; for Truth says, it is not for us to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. Let it be known that those who have hitherto dared to declare such things are liars, and that because of them not a little authority has been taken away from those who preach the truth.
We are placing a restriction on each and all of the said clerics, secular and regular and others, of whatever status, rank or order, who undertake this task. In their public sermons they are not to keep on predicting some future events as based on the sacred writings, nor presume to declare that they know them from the holy Spirit or from divine revelation, nor that strange and empty predictions are matters which must be firmly asserted or held in some other way. Rather, at the command of the divine word, let them expound and proclaim the gospel to every creature, rejecting vices and commending virtues. Fostering everywhere the peace and mutual love so much commended by our Redeemer, let them not rend the seamless garment of Christ and let them refrain from any scandalous detraction of bishops, prelates and other superiors and of their state of life. Yet these they rebuke and hurt before people generally, including the laity, not only heedlessly and extravagantly but also by open and plain reproof, with the names of the evildoers sometimes being stated by them.
Finally, we decree that the constitution of pope Clement of happy memory beginning Religiosi, which we renew and approve by this present decree, must be observed by preachers without alteration, so that, preaching in these terms for the people's advantage and winning them for the Lord, they may deserve to gain interest on the talent received from him and to win his grace and glory. But if the Lord reveals to certain of them, by some inspiration, some future events in the church of God, as he promises by the prophet Amos and as the apostle Paul, the chief of preachers, says, Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, we have no wish for them to be counted with the other group of story-tellers and liars or to be otherwise hindered. For, as Ambrose bears witness, the grace of the Spirit himself is being extinguished if fervour in those beginning to speak is quietened by contradiction. In that case, a wrong is certainly done to the holy Spirit. The matter is important inasmuch as credence must not be easily given to every spirit and, as the Apostle states, the spirits have to be tested to see whether they come from God. It is therefore our will that as from now, by common law, alleged inspirations of this kind, before they are published, or preached to the people, are to be understood as reserved for examination by the apostolic see. If it is impossible to do this without danger of delay, or some pressing need suggests other action, then, keeping the same arrangement, notice is to be given to the local ordinary so that, after he has summoned three or four knowledgeable and serious men and carefully examined the matter with them, they may grant permission if this seems to them to be appropriate. We lay the responsibility for this decision on their consciences.
If any persons dare to carry through anything contrary to any of the above, it is our will that, in addition to the punishments set down against such persons by law, they incur the penalty of excommunication from which, except at the imminent approach of death, they can be absolved only by the Roman pontiff. In order that others may not be urged on by their example to try similar acts, we decree that the office of preaching is forbidden to such persons for ever; notwithstanding constitutions, ordinances, privileges, indults and apostolic letters for religious orders and the aforesaid persons, including those mentioned in Mare magnum, even if perchance they have been approved, renewed or even granted anew by us, none of which in this matter do we wish to support at any point in their favour. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however ...
Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. In accord with the dispensation of the divine mercy by which kings reign and princes rule, established as we are despite our lack of merit in the lofty watch-tower of the apostolate and set over nations and kingdoms, we ponder how permanent force and effect may be given to the things which have been granted, carried out, established, ordained, decreed and done by our praiseworthy and prudent arrangement, in union with our venerable brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, for the wholesome and peaceful government of kingdoms and for the peace and justice of peoples, especially with regard to rulers who are well-deserving of the catholic faith, the christian state and the apostolic see. Nevertheless, we sometimes add the force of our renewed approval to such things, with the approval of the sacred council, so that these things may persist with greater steadiness in an undamaged state the more often they are strengthened by our authority as well as by the protection of a general council. We readily supply effective care for the preservation of such things in order that the kings and peoples of the kingdoms in question, full of gladness in the Lord because of such concessions, privileges, statutes and regulations, may rest together in the sweetness of peace, quiet and delight and may persevere more fervently in their accustomed devotion to the same see.
Recently, in order that the church, our spouse, might be kept in a holy union and use might be made by Christ's faithful of the sacred canons issued by Roman pontiffs and general councils, we ordained and decreed, with the unanimous advice and consent of our said brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church certain constitutions that had been treated with our dearly beloved son in Christ, Francis, the most christian king of France, while we were at Bologna with our curia, and which were to take the place of the Pragmatic Sanction and the things contained in it for the sake of peace and harmony in the kingdom of France and for the general and public advantage of the kingdom. These constitutions were carefully examined by our said brothers, agreed upon with the said king on their advice, and accepted by a legitimate procurator of the king. Their contents are contained rather fully in our letter which follows, Primitiva illa ecclesia . . .
27. The letter has been published chiefly in order that continuing charity and unbroken peace may abide in the mystical body, the church, and that any dissenting members may be regrafted into the body in a convenient way. The letter will be better observed according as it is more clearly established that it has been approved and renewed by us, after mature and healthy consideration, with the approval of the said Lateran council. Although there is no need of another approval for the validity and reality of the same letter, however, to provide an ampler surety so that observance may be firmer and abolition more difficult, greater strength will be given to it by the approval of so many fathers. Therefore, with the approval of the sacred Lateran council, by apostolic authority and fullness of power, we approve and renew, and order to be observed and maintained in their totality and without change, the said letter together with each and every statute, ordinance, decree, explanation, agreement, compact, promise, wish, penalty, restraint and clause contained in it; especially the clause by which it was our will that if the said king of France does not approve and ratify the aforesaid letter, and each and every thing contained in it, within six months from the date of this present letter, and does not arrange for the contents to be read, published, sworn to and registered, like all other royal constitutions in his kingdom and in all other places and lordships of the said kingdom, for all future time without limit, by all the prelates and other ecclesiastical persons and courts of parlements, and if he does not convey to us, within the said six months, letters patent or authentic written documents concerning each and all of the aforesaid matters about the acceptance, reading, publication, oath and registration referred to, or does not deliver them to our nuncio attached to the$$king, in order to be passed on by him to us, and does not subsequently arrange for the letter to be read each year and effectively observed without alteration exactly as other binding constitutions and ordinances of the king of France have to be observed, then the letter itself and whatever follows from it are null and void and of no force or value.
28. We decree and declare that the enduring effect only continues in the event of the said ratification and approval, and not otherwise or in any other way, and that all who are included in the said letter, regarding the observance of the actual letter and of each and every thing set down in it, are bound and obliged by the censures and penalties and other things contained in it, in accordance with the$$meaning and form of the same letter. This is notwithstanding apostolic constitutions and ordinances, all those things which we did not wish to oppose in the and any other things of any kind to the contrary. Let nobody ... If anyone however ...
Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. The eternal Father, who will never abandon his flock up to the close of the age, so loved obedience, as the Apostle testifies, that to make expiation for the sin of disobedience of the first parent, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death. Moreover, when he was about to depart from the world to the Father, he established Peter and his successors as his own representatives on the firmness of a rock. It is necessary to obey them as the book of the Kings testifies, so that whoever does not obey, incurs death. As we read in another place, the person who abandons the teaching of the Roman pontiff cannot be within the church; for, on the authority of Augustine and Gregory, obedience alone is the mother and protector of all virtues, it alone possessing the reward of faith. Therefore, on the teaching of the same Peter, we ought to be careful that what has been introduced in due season and for sound reasons by our predecessors the Roman pontiffs, especially in sacred councils, for the defence of obedience of this kind, of ecclesiastical authority and freedom, and of the apostolic see, should be duly discharged by our effort, devotion and diligence and be brought to the desired conclusion. The souls of the simple, of whom we shall have to render an account to God, are to be freed from the deceits and snares of the prince of darkness. Indeed, our predecessor of happy memory, pope Julius II, summoned the sacred Lateran council for lawful reasons which were then made clear, on the advice and with the consent of his venerable brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, among whom we were then numbered. Together with the same sacred Lateran council, he pondered on the fact that the corruption of the kingdom of France at Bourges, which they call the Pragmatic Sanction, had been strong in the past and was still vigorous, resulting in very great danger and scandal to souls, and a loss and cheapening of respect for the apostolic see. He therefore entrusted discussion of the Pragmatic Sanction to specifically named cardinals and to the prelates of a certain congregation.
Although the aforesaid sanction should clearly be subject to nullity on many counts, and was supporting and preserving open schism, and therefore it could have been declared to be essentially of no effect, null and invalid, without the need for any preceding formal citation, yet, from a great sense of caution, our same predecessor Julius, by a public edict -- which was to be fixed to the church doors of Milan, Asti and Pavia, since there was then no safe access to France -- gave warning and summoned the prelates of France, the chapters of churches and monasteries, the parlements and the layfolk supporting them and making use of the said sanction, and each and all of the rest who were thinking that there was some advantage for them in the foregoing individually or collectively, to appear before him and the said council within a fixed period, which was then clearly stated, and to declare the reasons why the aforesaid sanction, and its corruptive and abusive effect in matters touching on the authority of the Roman church and the sacred canons, and on the violation of ecclesiastical liberty should not be declared null and invalid. During the lifetime of the said Julius our predecessor, various obstacles made it impossible to implement the summons or to discuss fully the business of the abrogation, as had been his intention. After his death, however, the summons, in full lawful form, was again brought forward by the promoter of the sacred council, the procurator fiscal. Those summoned and not presenting themselves were accused of obstinacy and the request was made for matters to be taken further. At the time we, who have been brought to the highest peak of the apostolate by the favour of the divine mercy after duly considering the whole situation, gave no response to the request, for definite reasons. Later, when a variety of impediments were being alleged by the said persons who had been warned and summoned, as to why they had been unable to present themselves at the appointed time (as stated above), we postponed, several times at several sessions, with the approval of the sacred council the date fixed by the said summons and warning to later dates, which have now long gone past, so that all occasion for just excuse and complaint might be taken away from them.
30. Although all obstacles have been removed and all dead-lines have passed nevertheless the aforesaid persons, despite being warned and summoned, have not appeared before us and the said council, nor taken any steps to appear, in order to bring forward a reason why the said sanction should not be declared null. There is therefore no longer room for any excuse. They can justly be regarded as obstinate; as indeed, by the demands of justice, we reckoned them to be. We are therefore thinking seriously about this Pragmatic Sanction, or rather corruption, as has been stated, which was issued at the time of the schism by those who did not have the necessary power, and which is not at all in accord with the rest of the christian state or with God's holy church. It was revoked, made void and abolished by the most christian king of France, Louis XI, of distinguished memory. It damages and lessens the authority, liberty and dignity of the apostolic see. It completely removes the power of the Roman pontiff to provide both cardinals of the holy Roman church, who work earnestly on behalf of the universal church, and learned men, with churches, monasteries and other benefices, in accordance with the demands of their status, even though such persons are numerous in the curia and it is by their counsel that the authority and power of the apostolic see, the Roman pontiff and the whole church is kept safe and its affairs guided and promoted into a prosperous state. Thus it offers excuses to church prelates of the aforesaid faction for breaking and violating the sacred nerve of obedience to ecclesiastical discipline and for setting up opposition against us and the apostolic see, their mother, and it opens the way for them to attempt such things. Clearly it is subject to nullity and is to be supported by no prop except of a temporary nature, or rather, of a kind of tolerance. Our predecessors as Roman pontiffs, for all their high hopes expressed in their own days, may have seemed to have tolerated this corruption and abuse, not being able to confront it completely either because of the evil nature of the times or because they were providing for it in some other way. We remember, however, that almost seventy years have passed since the$$publication of this sanction of Bourges, and that no council has been lawfully held within this time except the present Lateran council. Since we have been placed in this council by the Lord's disposition, we therefore judge and resolve, with Augustine as our witness, that we cannot refrain or desist from the eradication and total annulment of the same vile sanction if we are to avoid disgrace to ourself and to the many fathers assembled in the present council as well as to avoid danger to our own soul and those of the above-mentioned persons using it.
Just as pope Leo I, our predecessor of holy memory, whose footsteps we readily follow insofar as we can, gave orders and brought to pass that the measures which had been rashly carried out at the second synod of Ephesus, contrary to justice and the catholic faith, were later revoked at the council of Chalcedon, for the sake of the constancy of the same faith, so we too judge that we cannot, or ought not to, withdraw from or abandon the revocation of so evil a sanction and its contents if we are to preserve our own honour, and that of the church, with a safe conscience. The fact that the sanction and its contents were published at the council of Basel and, at the instance of the same council, were received and recognised by the meeting at Bourges, ought not to influence us since all those happenings after the transfer of the same council of Basel took place -- the transfer being made by pope Eugenius IV, our predecessor of happy memory -- have remained the deeds of the quasi-council, or rather the conventicle, of Basel. For, especially after that transfer, it did not deserve to be called a council any more and therefore its acts could not have any force. For it is clearly established that only the contemporary Roman pontiff, as holding authority over all councils, has the full right and power to summon, transfer and dissolve councils. This we know not only from the witness of holy scripture, the statements of holy fathers and our predecessors as Roman pontiffs, and the decisions of the sacred canons, but also from the declarations of the same councils. Some of this evidence we have decided to repeat, and some to pass over in silence as being sufficiently well known.
Thus we read that the synod of Alexandria, at which Athanasius was present, wrote to Felix, bishop of Rome, that the council of Nicaea had decided that councils ought not to be celebrated without the authority of the Roman pontiff. Pope Leo I transferred the second council of Ephesus to Chalcedon. Pope Martin V authorised his presidents at the council of Siena to transfer the council with no mention being made of the council's consent. The greatest respect was shown to our predecessors as Roman pontiffs: to Celestine by the first synod of Ephesus; to the said Leo by the synod of Chalcedon; to Agatho by the sixth synod; to Hadrian by the seventh synod; and to Nicholas and Hadrian by the eighth synod, of Constantinople. These councils submitted with reverence and humility to the instructions and commands of the same pontiffs which had been composed and issued by them in the sacred councils. Moreover, pope Damasus and the other bishops assembled at Rome, writing to the bishops at Illyricum about the council at Rimini, pointed out that the number of bishops assembled at Rimini counted for nothing since it was known that the Roman pontiff, whose decrees were to be preferred before all others, had not given his consent to their meeting. It appears that pope Leo I said the same when writing to all the bishops of Sicily. It was customary for the fathers of the ancient councils humbly to ask for and obtain a warrant and approbation from the Roman pontiff in order to corroborate the matters dealt with in their councils . This is clear from the synods and their acts held at Nicaea, Ephesus, Chalcedon, the sixth synod at Constantinople, the seventh at Nicaea, the Roman synod under Symmachus and the synods in Haimar's book. We would certainly be without these recent troubles if the fathers at Bourges and Basel had followed this laudable custom, which it is known that the fathers at Constance also finally adopted.
We desire this matter to be brought to its proper conclusion. We are proceeding on the strength of the many citations issued by us and our said predecessor Julius, and of the other things mentioned above which are so notorious that they cannot be hidden by any excuses or evasions, as well as in virtue of our pastoral office. We are supplying for each and every defect, both of law and of fact, if perchance any happen to exist in the above. We judge and declare, from our certain knowledge and from the fullness of apostolic power, with the approval of the same sacred council, by the contents of the present document, that the aforesaid Pragmatic Sanction or corruption, and its approbations however issued, and each and every decree, chapter, statute, constitution or ordinance that is included, or even inserted, in any way in the same and has been published by others, as well as the customs, expressions and uses, or rather abuses, in any way resulting from it and observed until the present, have been and are of no force or value. In addition, for a more extensive safeguard, we revoke, make void, abrogate, quash, annul and condemn that same sanction or corruption of Bourges and its approval, whether expressed or tacit, as said above, as well as each and every thing of whatever nature included or even inserted in it, and we judge, declare and will them to be considered as of no effect, revoked, made void, abrogated, quashed, annulled and condemned. Moreover, since subjection to the Roman pontiff is necessary for salvation for all Christ's faithful, as we are taught by the testimony of both sacred scripture and the holy fathers, and as is declared by the constitution of pope Boniface VIII of happy memory, also our predecessor, which begins Unam sanctam, we therefore, with the approval of the present sacred council, for the salvation of the souls of the same faithful, for the supreme authority of the Roman pontiff and of this holy see, and for the unity and power of the church, his spouse, renew and give our approval to that constitution, but without prejudice to the declaration of pope Clement V of holy memory, which begins Meruit.
In virtue of holy obedience and under the penalties and censures to be declared below, we forbid each and all of Christ's faithful, both laity and secular clergy, and regulars of whatever order including mendicants, and other persons without restriction, of no matter what status, rank or condition they may be, including cardinals of the holy Roman church, patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, and any others distinguished by ecclesiastical or worldly or any other honour, and each and all other prelates, clerics, chapters, secular convents, regulars of the aforesaid orders, including abbots and priors of monasteries, dukes, counts, princes, barons, parlements, royal officials, judges, advocates, notaries and scribes, both ecclesiastical and secular, and any other regular or secular ecclesiastics in any high office, as said above, who are now or shall be living in the said kingdom of France and the Dauphine and wherever the said Pragmatic has been in force directly or indirectly, silently or openly, to presume to make use of the aforesaid Pragmatic Sanction, or rather corruption, in any way or for any reason, by keeping silence or by clear speech, directly or indirectly, or by any other excuse or clever evasion, in any judicial or extrajudicial acts, or even to appeal to it or make judgments on its terms, or to quash, by themselves or through another or others, any judicial or extra-judicial acts on the grounds of the general meaning of the said sanction or of parts of it, and they may not permit or order these things to be done by means of others. They are not to keep the aforesaid Pragmatic Sanction, or sections or decrees contained in it, in their own houses or in other public or private places. Indeed, they are to destroy it, or have it destroyed, in archives, including royal and capitular ones, and in the above-mentioned places within six months from the date of this present letter.
The penalties to be incurred, automatically and without the need for any further declaration, for each and all of the aforesaid persons, if they act to the contrary (though may they not!.), are immediate major excommunication, the incapacity for all and singular legal acts of any kind, being branded as infamous, and the penalties expressed in the law of treason; in addition for the aforesaid ecclesiastical and religious persons, the loss of all patriarchal, metropolitan and other cathedral churches, of all monasteries, priories and convents, and of all secular dignities and ecclesiastical benefices, as well as the inability to hold them in the future; and in addition for secular persons, the loss of any fiefs held for any reason from the Roman or some other church, and the inability to hold them in the future. They cannot be absolved from these penalties by any faculty or by clauses contained in privileges regarding the hearing of confessions, no matter by what persons or verbal formulae they may have been granted. Except when at the point of death, they can only be absolved by the Roman pontiff acting canonically or by someone else having a faculty from him specifically for that purpose.
By the knowledge, power and statements mentioned above we expressly and specifically repeal anything to the contrary. This is notwithstanding anything mentioned above as well as constitutions, ordinances, decrees and statutes, however they may have been published and granted, and frequently renewed, repeated, confirmed and approved, as enduring in their force, by apostolic or any other authority, even conciliar authority and even by our certain knowledge and fullness of apostolic power, the tenor of all of which we regard as sufficiently expressed and included, for the purposes of the above, as if they had been inserted herein word for word; notwithstanding if the apostolic see has granted to any communities and universities, and any individual persons mentioned above, even if they are the aforesaid cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, marquises and dukes, or any others, whether individually or communally, that they cannot be interdicted, suspended, excommunicated, deprived or incapacitated by apostolic letters which do not make full and express mention, word for word, of the indult in question; and notwithstanding any other general or special privileges, indulgences and apostolic letters, of whatever tenor they may be, by means of which, because they are not expressed or included in whole in the present letter, the effect of the above might be impeded or deferred in any way, since special mention of their contents is to be regarded as included, word for word, in this our letter. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however ...
Fifth Council of Lateran - Bull against exempt persons, in which are included some points regarding ecclesiastical liberty and episcopal dignity