Denzinger EN 2285

INNOCENT XII 1691-1700

Errors Concerning the Most Pure Love of God *

[Condemned in the brief "Cum alias," March 12, 1699]

2351 Dz 1327 1. There is an habitual state of the love of God, which is pure charity and without any admixture of the motive of one's personal interest. Neither fear of punishment nor desire of reward any longer has a share in it. God is no longer loved for the sake of merit, nor because of one's own perfection, nor because of the happiness to be found in loving Him.

2352 Dz 1328 2. In the state of the contemplative or unitive life, every interested motive of fear and hope is lost.

2353 Dz 1329 3. That which is essential in the direction of a soul is to do nothing else than to follow grace, step by step with infinite patience, precaution, and subtlety. One should restrain himself within these limits so that God may be permitted to act, and he should never aspire to pure love, except when God by an interior unction begins to open the heart to this word, which is so hard for souls heretofore attached to self, and can therefore scandalize them or cause them confusion.

2354 Dz 1330 4. In the state of holy indifference, a soul no longer has voluntary and deliberate desires for its own interest, with the exception of those occasions on which it does not faithfully cooperate with the whole of its grace

2355 Dz 1331 5. In the same state of holy indifference we wish nothing for ourselves, all for God. We do not wish that we be perfect and happy for self interest, but we wish all perfection and happiness only in so far as it pleases God to bring it about that we wish for these states by the impression of His grace.

2356 Dz 1332 6. In this state of holy indifference we no longer seek salvation as our own salvation, as our eternal liberation, as a reward of our merits, nor as the greatest of all our interests, but we wish it with our whole will as the glory and good pleasure of God, as the thing which He wishes, and which He wishes us to wish for His sake.

2357 Dz 1333 7. Dereliction is nothing else than the abnegation or renunciation of oneself, which Jesus Christ requires of us in the Gospel, after we have left all external things. This denial of ourselves is only with regard to our own interest. . . . The extreme trials in which this abnegation or dereliction of self must be exercised are the temptations by means of which a jealous God seeks to purify love, by holding out to it no refuge, nor any hope for its welfare, even eternal.

2358 Dz 1334 8. All sacrifices, which are wont to be made by souls who are as disinterested as possible about their eternal happiness, are conditional. . . . But this sacrifice cannot be absolute in the ordinary state. Only in the case of extreme trials does this sacrifice become in some manner absolute.

2359 Dz 1335 9. In extreme trials a soul can be invincibly persuaded by a reflex persuasion (and this is not the deep foundation of conscience) that it has been justly rejected by God.

2360 Dz 1336 10. Then a soul separated from itself expires with Christ on the Cross, saying: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Mt 27,46). In this involuntary expression of despair there is completed the absolute sacrifice of one's own interest in so far as eternity is concerned.

2361 Dz 1337 11. In this state a soul loses all hope of its own interest; but never does it lose in its higher part, that is in its direct and inner acts, a perfect hope, which is a disinterested longing for the promises.

2362 Dz 1338 12. Then a director can permit this soul to acquiesce simply in the loss of its own interest, and in the just condemnation which it believes has been enjoined on it by God.

2363 Dz 1339
13. The inferior part of Christ on the Cross did not communicate his involuntary disturbances to his superior part.

2364 Dz 1340 14. In the extreme trials for the purification of love there takes place a certain separation of the upper part of the soul from the lower. . . . In that separation the acts of the lower part flow from a completely blind and involuntary disturbance, for, whatever is voluntary and intellectual is of the higher part.

2365 Dz 1341 15. Meditation consists of discursive acts which are easily distinguished from one another. . . . The putting together of the discursive and reflex acts is the proper exercise of an interested love.

2366 Dz 1342 16. There is a state of contemplation so sublime and so perfect that it becomes habitual; so that, as often as a soul actually prays, its prayer is contemplative, not discursive. Then it no longer needs to return to meditation and to its methodical acts.

2367 Dz 1343 17. Contemplative souls are deprived of a distinct, sensible, and reflex vision of Jesus Christ at two different times: first, in the newborn fervor of their contemplation; secondly, when the soul loses the vision of Jesus Christ in extreme trials.

2368 Dz 1344 18. In the passive state all the distinct virtues are exercised without any thought that they are virtues. At every moment no other thought is in the mind than to do that which God wishes, and a zealous love likewise brings it about that no one any longer desires virtue for himself nor is he ever so endowed with virtue as when he is no longer attached to virtue.

2369 Dz 1345 19. In this sense it can be said that a soul in a passive and disinterested state no longer wishes even love itself, in so far as it is its perfection and its happiness, but only in so far as it is that which God wishes of us.

2370 Dz 1346 20. In confession transformed souls must detest their sins and condemn themselves, and desire the remission of their sins not as a personal purification and liberation, but as the thing which God wills and which He wills us to will because of His glory.

2371 Dz 1347 21. Holy mystics have excluded from the state of transformed souls the practices of virtues.

2372 Dz 1348 22. Although this doctrine (about pure love) was designated a pure and simple evangelical perfection in universal tradition, the ancient pastors did not propose it indiscriminately to the multitude of the just, unless the practice of their interested love was proportionate to their grace.

2373 Dz 1349 23. Pure love itself alone constitutes the whole interior life; and thence arises the only principle and the only motive of all acts which are deliberate and meritorious.

Condemned and rejected as, either in the obvious sense of these words, or in the extended meaning of the thoughts, rash, scandalous, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, pernicious, and likewise erroneous in practice.

CLEMENT XI 1700-1721

Concerning Truths which Necessarily Must be Explicitly Believed *

[Response of the Sacred Office to the Bishop of Quebec, Jan. 25, 1703]

2380 1349a Whether a minister is bound, before baptism is conferred on an adult, to explain to him all the mysteries of our faith, especially if he is at the point of death, because this might disturb his mind. Or, whether it is sufficient, if the one at the point of death will promise that when he recovers from the illness, he will take care to be instructed, so that he may put into practice what has been commanded him.

Resp.A promise is not sufficient, but a missionary is bound to explain to an adult, even a dying one who is not entirely incapacitated, the mysteries of faith which are necessary by a necessity of means, as are especially the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation.

[Response of the Sacred Office, May 10, 1703]

2381 1349b Whether it is possible for a crude and uneducated adult, as it might be with a barbarian, to be baptized, if there were given to him only an understanding of God and some of His attributes, especially His justice in rewarding and in punishing, according to this remark of the Apostle "He that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder'; (He 11,23), from which it is inferred that a barbarian adult, in a certain case of urgent necessity, can be baptized although he does not believe explicitly in Jesus Christ.

Resp. A missionary should not baptize one who does not believe explicitly in the Lord Jesus Christ, but is bound to instruct him about all those matters which are necessary, by a necessity of means, in accordance with the capacity of the one to be baptized.

An Obsequious Silence in Regard to Dogmatic Facts *

[From the Constitution, "Vineam Domini Sabaoth," July 16. 1705]

2390 Dz 1350 (Sec. 6 or 25) In order that, for the future, every occasion of error may be prevented, and that all sons of the Catholic Church may learn to listen to the Church herself, not in silence only (for, "even the wicked are silent in darkness" (1S 2,9)), but with an interior obedience, which is the true obedience of an orthodox man, let it be known that by this constitution of ours, to be valid forever, the obedience which is due to the aforesaid apostolic constitutions is not satisfied by any obsequious silence; but the sense of that book of Jansen which has been condemned in the five propositions (see n. 1092 ff.) mentioned above, and whose meaning the words of those propositions express clearly, must be rejected and condemned as heretical by all the faithful of Christ, not only by word of mouth but also in heart; and one may not lawfully subscribe to the above formula with any other mind, heart, or belief, so that all who hold or preach or teach or assert by word or writing anything contrary to what all these propositions mean, and to what each single one means we declare, decree, state, and ordain, with this same apostolic authority, that all, as transgressors of the aforementioned apostolic constitutions, come under each and every individual censure and penalty of those constitutions.

Errors of Paschasius Quesnel *

[Condemned in the dogmatic Constitution, "Unigenitus," * Sept. 8, 1713]

2401 Dz 1351 (Sec. 3) 1. What else remains for the soul that has lost God and His grace except sin and the consequences of sin, a proud poverty and a slothful indigence, that is, a general impotence for labor, for prayer, and for every good work?

2402 Dz 1352 2. The grace of Jesus Christ, which is the efficacious principle of every kind of good, is necessary for every good work; without it, not only is nothing done, but nothing can be done.

2403 Dz 1353 3. In vain, O Lord, do You command, if You do not give what you command.

2404 Dz 1354 4. Thus, O Lord, all things are possible to him for whom You make all things possible by effecting those same things in him.

2405 Dz 1355 5. When God does not soften a heart by the interior unction of His grace, exterior exhortations and graces are of no service except to harden it the more.

2406 Dz 1356 6. The difference between the Judaic dispensation and the Christian is this, that in the former God demanded flight from sin and a fulfillment of the Law by the sinner, leaving him in his own weakness; but in the latter, God gives the sinner what He commands, by purifying him with His grace.

2407 Dz 1357 7. What advantage was there for a man in the old covenant, in which God left him to his own weakness, by imposing on him His law? But what happiness is it not to be admitted to a convenant in which God gives us what He asks of us?

2408 Dz 1358 8. But we do not b long to the new covenant, except in so far as we are participators in that new grace which works in us that which God commands us.

2409 Dz 1359 9. The grace of Christ is a supreme grace, without which we can never confess Christ, and with which we never deny Him.

2410 Dz 1360 10. Grace is the working of the omnipotent hand of God, which nothing can hinder or retard.

2411 Dz 1361 11. Grace is nothing else than the omnipotent Will of God, ordering and doing what He orders.

2412 Dz 1362 12. When God wishes to save a soul, at whatever time and at whatever place, the undoubted effect follows the Will of God.

2413 Dz 1363 13. When God wishes to save a soul and touches it with the interior hand of His grace, no human will resists Him.

2414 Dz 1364 14. Howsoever remote from salvation an obstinate sinner is, when Jesus presents Himself to be seen by him in the salutary light of His grace, the sinner is forced to surrender himself, to have recourse to Him, and to humble himself, and to adore his Savior.

2415 Dz 1365 15. When God accompanies His commandment and His eternal exhortation by the unction of His Spirit and by the interior force of His grace, He works that obedience in the heart that He is seeking.

2416 Dz 1366 16. There are no attractions which do not yield to the attractions of grace, because nothing resists the Almighty.

2417 Dz 1367 17. Grace is that voice of the Father which teaches men interiorly and makes them come to Jesus Christ; whoever does not come to Him, after he has heard the exterior voice of the Son, is in no wise taught by the Father.

2418 Dz 1368 18. The seed of the word, which the hand of God nourishes, always brings forth its fruit.

2419 Dz 1369 19. The grace of God is nothing else than His omnipotent Will; this is the idea which God Himself gives us in all His Scriptures.

1420 Dz 1370 20. The true idea of grace is that God wishes Himself to be obeyed by us and He is obeyed; He commands, and all things are done; He speaks as the Lord, and all things are obedient to Him.

1421 Dz 1371 21. The grace of Jesus Christ is a strong, powerful, supreme, invincible grace, that is, the operation of the omnipotent Will, the consequence and imitation of the operation of God causing the incarnation and the resurrection of His Son.

2422 Dz 1372 22. The harmony of the all powerful operation of God in the heart of man with the free consent of man's will is demonstrated, therefore, to us in the Incarnation, as in the fount and archetype of all other operations of mercy and grace, all of which are as gratuitous and as dependent on God as the original operation itself.

2423 Dz 1373 23. God Himself has taught us the idea of the omnipotent working of His grace, signifying it by that operation which produces creatures from nothing and which restores life to the dead.

2424 Dz 1374 24. The right idea which the centurion had about the omnipotence of God and of Jesus Christ in healing bodies by a single act of His will, (Mt 8,8) is an image of the idea we should have about the omnipotence of His grace in healing souls from cupidity.

2425 Dz 1375 25. God illumines the soul, and heals it, as well as the body, by His will only; He gives orders and He is obeyed.

2426 Dz 1376 26. No graces are granted except through faith.

2427 Dz 1377 27. Faith is the first grace and the source of all others.

2428 Dz 1378 28. The first grace which God grants to the sinner Is the remission of sin.

2429 Dz 1379 29. Outside of the Church, no grace is granted.

2430 Dz 1380 30. All whom God wishes to save through Christ, are infallibly saved.

2431 Dz 1381 31. The desires of Christ always have their effect; He brings peace to the depth of hearts when He desires it for them.

2432 Dz 1382 32. Jesus Christ surrendered Himself to death to free forever from the hand of the exterminating angel, by His blood, the first born, that is, the elect.

2433 Dz 1383 33. Ah, how much one ought to renounce earthly goods and himself for this, that he may have the confidence of appropriating, so to speak, Christ Jesus to himself, His love, death, and mysteries, as St. Paul does, when he says: "He who loved me, and delivered Himself for me" (Ga 2,20).

2434 Dz 1384 34. The grace of Adam produced nothing except human merit.

2435 Dz 1385 35. The grace of Adam is a consequence of creation and was due to his whole and sound nature.

2436 Dz 1386 36. The essential difference between the grace of Adam and of his state of innocence and Christian grace, is that each one would have received the first in his own person, but the second is not received except in the person of the risen Jesus Christ to whom we are united.

2437 Dz 1387 37. The grace of Adam by sanctifying him in himself was proportionate to him; Christian grace, by sanctifying us in Jesus Christ, is omnipotent, and worthy of the Son of God.

2438 Dz 1388 38. Without the grace of the Liberator, the sinner is not free except to do evil.

2439 Dz 1389 39. The will, which grace does not anticipate, has no light except for straying, no eagerness except to put itself in danger, no strength except to wound itself, and is capable of all evil and incapable of all good.

2440 Dz 1390 40. Without grace we can love nothing except to our own condemnation.

2441 Dz 1391 41. All knowledge of God, even natural knowledge, even in the pagan philosophers, cannot come except from God; and without grace knowledge produces nothing but presumption, vanity, and opposition to God Himself, instead of the affections of adoration, gratitude, and love.

2442 Dz 1392 42. The grace of Christ alone renders a man fit for the sacrifice of faith; without this there is nothing but impurity, nothing but unworthiness.

2443 Dz 1393 43. The first effect of baptismal grace is to make us die to sin so that our spirit, heart, and senses have no more life for sin than a dead man has for the things of the world.

2444 Dz 1394 44. There are but two loves, from which all our volitions and actions arise: love of God, which does all things because of God and which God rewards; and the love with which we love ourselves and the world, which does not refer to God what ought to be referred to Him, and therefore becomes evil.

2445 Dz 1395 45. When love of God no longer reigns in the heart of sinners, it needs must be that carnal desire reign in it and corrupt all of its actions.

2446 Dz 1396 46. Cupidity or charity makes the use of the senses good or evil.

2447 Dz 1397 47. Obedience to the law ought to flow from the source, and this source is charity. When the love of God is the interior principle of obedience and the glory of God is its end, then that is pure which appears externally; otherwise, it is but hypocrisy and false justice.

2448 Dz 1398 48. What else can we be except darkness, except aberration, and except sin, without the light of faith, without Christ, and without charity?

2449 Dz 1399 49. As there is no sin without love of ourselves, so there is no good work without love of God.

2450 Dz 1400 50. In vain we cry out to God: My Father, if it is not the spirit of charity which cries out.

2451 Dz 1401 51. Faith justifies when it operates, but it does not operate except through charity.

2452 Dz 1402 52. All other means of salvation are contained in faith as in their own germ and seed; but this faith does not exist apart from love and confidence.

2453 Dz 1403 53. Only charity in the Christian way makes (Christian actions) through a relation to God and to Jesus Christ.

2454 Dz 1404 54. It is charity alone that speaks to God; it alone that God hears.

2455 Dz 1405 55. God crowns nothing except charity; he who runs through any other incentive or any other motive, runs in vain.

2456 Dz 1406 56. God rewards nothing but charity; for charity alone honors God.

2457 Dz 1407 57. All fails a sinner, when hope fails him; and there is no hope in God, when there is no love of God.

2458 Dz 1408 58. Neither God nor religion exists where there is no charity.

2459 Dz 1409 59. The prayer of the impious is a new sin; and what God grants to them is a new judgment against them.

2460 Dz 1410 60. If fear of punishment alone animates penance, the more intense this is, the more it leads to despair.

2461 Dz 1411 61. Fear restrains nothing but the hand, but the heart is addicted to the sin as long as it is not guided by a love of justice.

2462 Dz 1412 62. He who does not refrain from evil except through fear of punishment, commits that evil in his heart, and is already guilty before God.

2463 Dz 1413 63. A baptized person is still under the law as a Jew, if he does not fulfill the law, or if he fulfills it from fear alone.

2464 Dz 1414 64. Good is never done under the condemnation of the law, because one sins either by doing evil or by avoiding it only through fear.

2465 Dz 1415 65. Moses, the prophets, priests, and doctors of the Law died without having given any son to God, since they produced only slaves through fear.

2466 Dz 1416 66. He who wishes to approach to God, should not come to Him with brutal passions, nor be led to Him by natural instinct, or through fear as animals, but through faith and love, as sons.

2467 Dz 1417 67. Servile fear does not represent God to itself except as a stern imperious, unjust, unyielding master.

2468 Dz 1418 68. The goodness of God has shortened the road to salvation, by enclosing all in faith and in prayers.

2469 Dz 1419 69. Faith, practice of it, increase, and reward of faith, all are a gift of the pure liberality of God.

2470 Dz 1420 70. Never does God afflict the innocent; and afflictions always serve either to punish the sin or to purify the sinner.

2471 Dz 1421 71. For the preservation of himself man can dispense himself from that law which God established for his use.

2472 Dz 1422 72. A mark of the Christian Church is that it is catholic, embracing all the angels of heaven, all the elect and the just on earth, and of all times.

2473 Dz 1423 73. What is the Church except an assembly of the sons of God abiding in His bosom, adopted in Christ, subsisting in His person, redeemed by His blood, living in His spirit, acting through His grace, and awaiting the grace of the future life?

2474 Dz 1424 74. The Church or the whole Christ has the Incarnate Word as head, but all the saints as members.

2475 Dz 1425 75. The Church is one single man composed of many members, of which Christ is the head, the life, the subsistence and the person; it is one single Christ composed of many saints, of whom He is the sanctifier

2476 Dz 1426 76. There is nothing more spacious than the Church of God; because all the elect and the just of all ages comprise it.

2477 Dz 1427 77. He who does not lead a life worthy of a son of God and a member of Christ, ceases interiorly to have God as a Father and Christ as a head.

2478 Dz 1428 78. One is separated from the chosen people, whose figure was the Jewish people, and whose head is Jesus Christ, both by not living according to the Gospel and by not believing in the Gospel.

2479 Dz 1429 79. It is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture.

2480 Dz 1430 80. The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all.

2481 Dz 1431 81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it.

2482 Dz 1432
82. The Lord's Day ought to be sanctified by Christians with readings of pious works and above all of the Holy Scriptures. It is harmful for a Christian to wish to withdraw from this reading.

2483 Dz 1433 83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred Scriptures. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of men has arisen the abuse of the Scriptures, and have heresies been born.

2484 Dz 1434 84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ.

2485 Dz 1435 85. To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a kind of excommunication.

2486 Dz 1436 86. To snatch from the simple people this consolation of joining their voice to the voice of the whole Church is a custom contrary to the apostolic practice and to the intention of God.

2487 Dz 1437 87. A method full of wisdom, light, and charity is to give souls time for bearing with humility, and for experiencing their state of sin, for seeking the spirit of penance and contrition, and for beginning at least to satisfy the justice of God, before they are reconciled.

2488 Dz 1438 88. We are ignorant of what sin is and of what true penance is, when we wish to be restored at once to the possession of the goods of which sin has despoiled us, and when we refuse to endure the confusion of that separation.

2489 Dz 1439 89. The fourteenth step in the conversion of a sinner is that, after he has already been reconciled, he has the right of assisting at the Sacrifice of the Church.

2490 Dz 1440 90. The Church has the authority to excommunicate, so that it may exercise it through the first pastors with the consent, at least presumed, of the whole body.

2491 Dz 1441 91. The fear of an unjust excommunication should never hinder us from fulfilling our duty; never are we separated from the Church, even when by the wickedness of men we seem to be expelled from it, aslong as we are attached to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Church herself by charity.

2492 Dz 1442 92. To suffer in peace an excommunication and an unjust anathema rather than betray truth, is to imitate St. Paul; far be it from rebelling against authority or of destroying unity.

2493 Dz 1443 93. Jesus sometimes heals the wounds which the precipitous haste of the first pastors inflicted without His command. Jesus restored what they, with inconsidered zeal, cut off.

2494 Dz 1444 94. Nothing engenders a worse opinion of the Church among her enemies than to see exercised there an absolute rule over the faith of the faithful, and to see divisions fostered because of matters which do not violate faith or morals.

2495 Dz 1445 95. Truths have descended to this, that they are, as it were, a foreign tongue to most Christians, and the manner of preaching them is, as it were, an unknown idiom, so remote is the manner of preaching from the simplicity of the apostles, and so much above the common grasp of the faithful; nor is there sufficient advertence to the fact that this defect is one of the greatest visible signs of the weakening of the Church and of the wrath of God on His sons.

2496 Dz 1446 96. God permits that all powers be opposed to the preachers of truth, so that its victory cannot be attributed to anyone except to divine grace.

2497 Dz 1447 97. Too often it happens that those members, who are united to the Church more holily and more strictly, are looked down upon, and treated as if they were unworthy of being in the Church, or as if they were separated from Her; but, "the just man liveth by faith" (Rm 1,17), and not by the opinion of men.

2498 Dz 1448 98. The state of persecution and of punishment which anyone endures as a disgraceful and impious heretic, is generally the final trial and is especially meritorious, inasmuch as it makes a man more conformable to Jesus Christ.

2499 Dz 1449 99. Stubbornness, investigation, and obstinacy in being unwilling either to examine something or to acknowledge that one has been deceived, daily changes into an odor, as it were, of death, for many people, that which God has placed in His Church to be an odor of life within it, for instance, good books, instructions, holy examples, etc.

2500 Dz 1450 100 Deplorable is the time in which God is believed to be honored by persecution of the truth and its disciples! This time has come. . . . To be considered and treated by the ministers of religion as impious and unworthy of all commerce with God, as a putrid member capable of corrupting everything in the society of saints, is to pious men a more terrible death than the death of the body. In vain does anyone flatter himself on the purity of his intentions and on a certain zeal for religion, when he persecutes honest men with fire and sword, if he is blinded by his own passion or carried away by that of another on account of which he does not want to examine anything. We frequently believe that we are sacrificing an impious man to God, when we are sacrificing a servant of God to the devil.

2501 Dz 1451
101. Nothing is more opposed to the spirit of God and to the doctrine of Jesus Christ than to swear common oaths in Church, because this is to multiply occasions of perjury, to lay snares for the weak and inexperienced, and to cause the name and truth of God to serve sometimes the plan of the wicked.

Declared and condemnedas false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers, seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have been condemned.



CLEMENT XII 1730-1740

BENEDICT XIV 1740-1758

Clandestine Marriages in Belgium (and Holland) *

[From the Declaration, "Matrimonia, quae in locis," Nov. 4, 1741]

2515 Dz 1452 Marriages which are wont to be entered into in places subject to the dominion of the Federated Orders in Belgium, whether between heretics on both sides, or between an heretical man on one side and a Catholic woman on the other, or, viceversa, without having observed the form prescribed by the Sacred Council of Trent, whether such marriages are valid or not has been for a long time greatly disputed in the minds of men, and there are divided and diverse opinions; a situation which has furnished a rather fruitful source of anxiety and the seed of danger for many years, especially since bishops, parish priests, and missionaries of these regions have no certainty in regard to the matter and do not dare to decree and to declare anything without consulting the Holy See. .

2516 Dz 1453 (1) Our Most Holy Father, having taken time to ponder the matter, recently enjoined that this declaration and instruction be set down, which should be employed hereafter as a definite rule and norm by all Belgian bishops, priests, and missionaries of these regions, and vicars apostolic, in matters of this kind.

2517 Dz 1454 (2) Namely, first, in regard to marriages celebrated between heretics in places subject to the authority of the Federated Orders, which did not observe the form prescribed by Trent, although His Holiness knows that at other times, in certain particular cases and in circumstances attendant and explained at the time, the Sacred Congregation of the Council has said that they are invalid; nevertheless, His Holiness, being equally certain that nothing has been generally or universally defined by the Apostolic See regarding marriages of this kind, and, on the other hand, that, in order to furnish advice to all the faithful residing in those places and to avert more grave disorders, he ought to declare what must be generally held regarding such marriages, after giving mature consideration to the matter, and sedulously balancing all the weighty reasons pro and con, has declared and decreed that marriages which have been contracted up to now, and which will be contracted hereafter in the said federated provinces of Belgium between heretics, even if the form prescribed by Trent shall not have been observed in their celebration, provided no other canonical impediment interferes, are to be considered as valid, and furthermore, if it should happen that each spouse be received into the bosom of the Catholic Church, they are held bound by the same conjugal tie as before, even if their mutual consent is not renewed before the Catholic priest; but, if only one of the spouses, either man or woman, should be converted, neither can, as long as the other is living, enter into another marriage.

2518 Dz 1455 (3) Now as regards those marriages which likewise in the same federated provinces of Belgium are contracted by Catholics with heretics without the form established by Trent, whether a Catholic man takes an heretical woman in marriage, or a Catholic woman marries an heretical man; grieving very much that there are among Catholics those who, becoming shamefully deranged by a mad love, do not wholeheartedly abhor and think that they should refrain from these detestable marriages which Holy Mother Church has continually condemned and interdicted, and praising greatly the zeal of those bishops, who, by proposing severe penalties, endeavor to restrain Catholics from uniting themselves to heretics in this sacrilegious bond, His Holiness encourages, exhorts, and advises seriously and gravely all bishops, vicars apostolic, parish priests, missionaries, and every other faithful minister of God and of the Church who reside in those regions, to deter, in so far as they can, Catholics of both sexes from entering into marriages of this kind to the destruction of their own souls, and to make it their business to avert in every good way and efficaciously to hinder these same marriages. But if by chance some marriage of this sort, without observing the Tridentine form, has already been contracted there, or may be contracted in the future (which God forbid!), His Holiness declares that such a marriage, provided that no other canonical impediment exists, must be considered valid, and that neither of the spouses, as long as the other one lives, can in any way enter into a new marriage under the pretext that the prescribed form was not observed; that the Catholic spouse, whether man or woman, should especially bear this in mind, that in proportion to the very grave fault he has committed he should do penance and ask pardon from God, and should try, in proportion to his strength, to draw the other spouse, who is straying from the true faith, back to the bosom of the Catholic Church, and to win her or his soul, which indeed would be a very excellent means of obtaining pardon for the crime committed, knowing besides, as has just been said, that he will be perpetually bound by the bond of that marriage.

2519 Dz 1456 (4) In addition, the Holy See declares that whatever up to now has been sanctioned and pronounced about marriages, either between heretics or between Catholics and heretics, in those regions subject to the rule of the Federated Orders in Belgium, is likewise sanctioned and pronounced for similar marriages contracted outside the limits of the dominion of these same Federated Orders by those who have been assigned to the legions, or military forces which are customarily sent by these same Federated Orders to guard and to defend the frontier parts commonly called di Barriera; so that, indeed, marriages entered into there without the Tridentine form between heretics on both sides, or between Catholics and heretics, retain their validity, provided the spouse in each case belongs to these same military forces or legions; and His Holiness wishes this declaration to include also the city of Mosa Traiectensis, which is possessed by the Commonwealth of the Federated Orders, not, however, by right of dominion, but only under the name of a pledge, as they say.

2520 Dz 1457 (5) Finally, in regard to marriages which are contracted either in the regions of Catholic princes by those who have a domicile in the federated provinces, or in the federated provinces by those who have a domicile in the regions of Catholic princes, His Holiness has thought that nothing new should be decreed and declared, wishing that whenever a dispute arises concerning them, they be decided according to the canonical principles of the common law, and by the resolution approved in similar cases at other times and published by the Sacred Congregation of the Council, and so he has declared and decreed and commanded that it be observed by all for the future.

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