Extract from a Brief addressed to Bishop Fessler by his Holiness Pope Pius IX - April 27, 1871

‘. . . . . Peropportunum autem et utilissimum existimavimus retudisse te audaciam Professoris Schulte incitantis saeculares Potestates adversus dogma Pontificiæ infallibilitatis ab œcumenicâ Vaticanâ Synodo definitæ.  Non omnes enim, interlaicos præsertim, rei indolem perspectam habent ; et veritas luculenter exposita multas abigere solet ab honestorum mentibus obliquas opinones, sæpe cum lacte haustas, aliosque confirmare in rectâ sententiâ et adversus insidias munire.  Quamobrem si hujusmondi commenta refellere pergas, optime certe merebis de santissima religione nostrâ et Christiano populo, quem, uti bonus Pastor, a venenatis pascuis abduces.  Pergratum Nos tibi profitemur animum, cum ob volumen oblatum, tum ob amantissimas litteras tuas; tibique amplam apprecamur obsequii devotionisque tuæ mercedem. . . ..’



(Signed by the Pope’s own hand.)

‘. . . . .We esteem it a very opportune and useful thing to have beaten back the audacity of Professor Schulte, inciting as he does the secular powers against the dogma of Papal Infallibility, as defined by the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican.  For it is a matter the true meaning of which, no all men, and especially not all laymen, have a thoroughly clear understanding of, and the truth, when lucidly set forth, is wont to expel from properly constituted minds opinions which men perhaps have drunk in with their mother’s milk, to confirm others in a right mind, and fortify them against insidious attacks.  Wherefore, if you continue to refute figments of this kind, you will deserve well of our most holy religion, and of all Christian people, in that, like a good pastor, you withdraw them from poisoned pastures.  We make known to you, then, the great pleasure you have given Us, both by reason of the book which you have presented to Us, as well as by reason of your most affectionate letters; and We pray that you may receive a rich reward for your deference to Our authority and devotion towards Ourselves. . . . .’

Note. – The fact of the Brief and its signature is derived from M. Anton.  Erdinger, director of the Episcopal Seminary at St. Polten, author of the Life of Bishop Fessier, who sent a copy of it to M.Cosquin of the Français, to whom I am indebted for these important notices.  The Pope’s Brief is not given entire, as the remainder of it has reference solely to local diocesan affairs.