Rome's Syllabus of Condemned Opinions
The Last Blast of the Catholic Church's Medieval Trumpet
A number of propositions condemned by Pope Pius IX

Translated from the latin by Joseph McCabe
Haldeman-Julius Publications, Girard, Kansas

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The Syllabus of Condemned Propositions

  1. 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.

  2. That God acts upon man and the world is to be denied.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 arquire a knowledge of all truth.

  5. Divine revelation is imperfect and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress, and this corresponds to the advance of human reason.

  6. The faith of Christ is opposed to human reason, and divine revelation is not merely useless but injurious to man's interests.

  7. 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.

  8. Since human reason is as valuable as religion, theological matters are to be treated in the same way as philosophy.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. The Church not only must never pass judgment on philosophy but must tolerate its errors and leave it to correct them itself.

  12. The decrees of the Apostolic See and the Roman Congregations are an impediment to the free advance of science.

  13. 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.

  14. Philosophy must be studied without regard to supernatural revelation.

  15. Every man is free to adopt and profess any religion which, under the guidance of reason, he believes to be true.

  16. Men can find the way to eternal salvation and attain it in any religion.

  17. At least we have good ground to hope for the eternal salvation of men who do not belong to the true Church of Christ.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 divire founder what are the limited times within which it can exercise its rights, but must leave this decision to the civil power.

  20. Ecclesiastical authority must not use its powers without the permission and consent of the civil government.

  21. The Church has no power to lay down dogmatically that the relegion of the Catholic Church is the one true religion.

  22. 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.

  23. Roman Pontiffs and Ecumenical Councils have exceeded their powers, usurped the rights of princes, and erred even in defining questions of faith and morals.

  24. The Church has no power to use force or any temporal power, direct or indirect.

  25. 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.

  26. The Church has no native and legitimate right to acquire and hold property.

  27. The sacred ministry of the Church and the Roman Pontiff must be entirely excluded from concern about ownership and secular things.

  28. Bishops cannot be allowed to publish even the Pope's letters without permission of the government.

  29. Privileges conferred by the Roman Pontiff must be regarded as null unless they were asked for through the government.

  30. The immunity of the Church and of eceelesiastical persons has its origin in civil law.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. It is not the exclusive right of ecclesiastical jurisdiction to regulate the teaching of theological matters.

  34. The idea that the Roman Pontiff may be compared to a free prince acting in the universal Church is medieval.

  35. 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.

  36. The decision of a National Congress is not subject to further discussion, and the civil administration may demand this.

  37. It is lawful to establish National Churches that are not subject to the authority of the Roman Pontiff and are, in fact, entrely separated.

  38. The arbitrary action of the Roman Pontiffs is in part responsible for the division of the Church into Eastern and Western.

  39. A republic, as the origin and power of all rights, has an unlimlted power.

  40. The teaching of the Catholic Church is opposed to the welfare of human society.

  41. 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.

  42. In a conflict of law between the two powers the civil law takes precedence.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. Even in seminaries for the priesthood the arrangement of the studies is subject to the civil authority.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. The civil authority may prevent prelates and the Catholic laity from communicating freely with the Roman Pontiff.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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 cominunities as well as collegiate and parish churches and hand over their property and revenue to the administration and disposal of the secular authority.

  54. Kings and princes are not only exempt from the jurisdiction of the Church but in deciding questions of jurisdiction they are above the Church.

  55. The Church must be separated from the State and the State from the Church.

  56. 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.

  57. Philosophy, the science of ethics, and human laws may or ought to be independent of divine and ecclesiastical authority.

  58. 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.

  59. Right consists of a material fact, 'duties of man' is an empty phrase, and all man's acts have the force of right.

  60. Authority is merely the sum of numbers and material forces.

  61. A fortunate outcome of an unjust act does no harm to the sanctity of right.

  62. The principle of Non-intervention is to be recommended and observed.

  63. It is lawful to refuse to obey and even rebel against legitimate princes.

  64. The violation of the most sacred oaths and any criminal and disgraceful action in violation of the eternal law are not to be censured but are entirely lawful and worthy of the highest praise if they are done out of love of one's country.

  65. It must by no means be admitted that Christ raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament.

  66. The sacrament of matrimony is something added to the contract and Separable from it, and the sacrament consists in a single nuptial blessing.

  67. By natural law the bond of matrimony is not indissoluble and on various grounds the civil authority may grant divorce.

  68. The Church has no power to create nullifying impediments to marriage; that power belongs to the civil authority, and it must abolish existing impediments.

  69. In earlier ages the Church began to create nullifying impediments by the powers entrusted to it by the civil authority, not by any power of its own.

  70. The canons of the Council of Trent which impose the censure of anathema on those who dare to deny that the Church has the right to create nullifying impediments are either not dogmatic or are to be understood as deriving force from this delegated authority.

  71. The Tridentine formula with its penalties is not binding when the civil authority provides a different form and insists that if this is followed the marrage is valid.

  72. Boniface VIII was the first to lay down that the vow of chastity taken at ordination invalidates a marriage.

  73. There can be true marriage for Christians on the strength of the civil contract alone; and it is false to say either that between Christians the contract of marriage is always a sacrament, or that the contract is null if there is no sacrament.

  74. Matrimonial and espousal cases belong by their very nature to the civil court.

  75. Whether the secular power can be reconciled with the spiritual is disputed in Christian and Catholic circles.

  76. The destruction of the temporal power that the Apostolic See holds would greatly promote the freedom of the Church.

  77. In our age it is no longer expedient to have the Catholic faith as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all others.

  78. Hence it is rightly provided by law in certain nominally Catholic countries that men who migrate to them shall be allowed the public practice of the religion of each.

  79. For it is false to say that the civil liberty of all cults and the concession of full power to men to discuss in public any sort of opinion and ideas leads to the corruption of the minds and morals of the people and the spread of the pest of indifferentism.

  80. The Roman Pontiff can and ought to be reconciled and come to terms with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization.

To these theologians add 11 theses which are, they say, condemned in the Bull itself:

  1. That the highest public interest and the progress of society emphatically demand that human society be constituted and governed without any regard for religion, as if there were no such thing, or at all events without making any distinction between true and false religions.

  2. That the best form of society is that in which the government does not recognize any duty to punish offenders against the Catholic religion except in so far as public order requires this.

  3. That freedom of conscience and religion are the right of every man, and it ought to be decreed by law in every properly- constituted society that all citizens have the right to all freedom without the coercion of either civil or ecclesiastical authority, so that thay may publicly declare their opinions either vocally or in print or in any other way.

  4. That the will of the people, made known either by public opinion or in any other way, is the supreme law apart from any divine or human right, and that in the political order accomplished facts have, by the very fact that they are accomplished, the force of law.

  5. That monistic orders have no legitimate reason to exist.

  6. That the law which forbids manual labor on certain days in order that people may go to church should be abolished.

  7. That domestic society or the family derives the whole reason for its existence from civil law, hence all rights of parents in their children, especially the right of seeing to their edueation, depend upon civil law.

  8. That the clergy, being hostile to true and useful science and the advance of civilization, must be excluded from all share in the training and education of the young.

  9. That the laws of the Church are not binding in conscience unless they are issued by the civil power; that the acts and decrees of the Roman Pontiffs concerning religion and the Church need the sanction and approval or at least the consent of the civil power; that the Apostalic Constitutions which condemn secret societies, whether or not they require an oath of secrecy, and punish their members and promoters with anathema have no force in those parts of the world where such societies are allowed by the civil government; that the excommunication passed by the Council of Trent and the Roman Pontiff against those who invade or seize the property of the Church is based upon a confusion of the spiritual and the civic or political order and the protection of worldly goods; that the Church must not pass any decree that may coerce the consciences of the faithful in questions of the use of secular property: that the Church has no right to punish transgressors of its laws with material penalties; that it is in harmony with the principles of sacred theology and public law for the civil authority to take over the ownership of property taken from the Church.

  10. That the ecclesiastical authority is not distinct from and independent of the civil authority by divine right, and such distinction and independetice could not be maintained without the Church invading and usurping essential right of the civil power.

  11. It is lawful to refuse to obey those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See the object of which is said to be the general good of the Church and its rights and discipline, provided they do not deal with matters of faith and morals, without simony or abandoning the Catholic religion.

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