By Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton

 Exact from the American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. CXXI, August, 1949, pp. 136-150

Part I - Part II


Part I

Since the year 1878, when Pope Leo XIII began to rule, as Christ’s vicar on earth, over the Church militant, over one hundred fifty encyclical letters have been issued by the Sovereign Pontiffs. These encyclical letters have exercised an incalculably powerful influence in the direction of Catholic teaching and of Catholic life. Appearing as they have, at an average rate of one in a little less than six months, these documents have come to be recognized as the most frequently used vehicles of the Holy Father’s ordinary teaching of the flock entrusted to his care.

Despite their manifest and unique importance, however, the papal encyclicals have never been given anything like a completely adequate treatment in the literature of sacred theology. Some of the text-books used in our seminaries today give no special consideration whatever to the doctrinal authority of these documents. Others content themselves with a sweeping over-simplification and blithely dismiss all the encyclicals as “non-infallible” pontifical statements. A third group of authors, more scientific in their approach to this problem, maintain that these documents contain some infallibly true teachings, doctrines presented as infallible on the authority of the encyclicals themselves. Even within this last-mentioned group, however, we find most frequently little detailed explanation of the various norms by which we can recognize infallibly authoritative statements of the Holy Father’s ordinary magisterium in his encyclical letters.

Despite the comparative inadequacy of the treatment they give to the papal encyclicals, however, all the theological works dealing with this subject make it perfectly clear that all Catholics are bound seriously in conscience to accept the teaching contained in these documents with a true internal religious assent. It is the common teaching of the theologians who have written on this subject that the internal assent due to a great number of the doctrines proposed in the papal encyclicals is something distinct from and inferior to both the act of divine Catholic faith and the act most frequently designated as fides ecclesiastica. Most theologians hold that, while there is nothing to prevent an infallible definition of truth contained in or connected with the deposit of revelation in papal encyclicals, and while de facto it is quite probable that at least some infallible pronouncements have been made in this way, the Holy Father has not chosen to use the complete plenitude of his apostolic doctrinal authority in presenting most of the truths contained in his encyclical letters. Nevertheless they all insist that even in this portion of his ordinary magisterium the Holy Father has the right to demand, and actually has demanded, a definite and unswerving internal assent to his teaching from all Catholics.

Unfortunately, in our day, we have encountered certain discussions of matters treated at some length in papal encyclicals by Catholic writers who have, for all practical purposes, disregarded and even opposed the pertinent statements in the pontifical documents. The men who have adopted this attitude seem to take cognizance of the common theological teaching that much of the material presented in the encyclicals does not come to us from the Holy Father with an absolute guarantee of infallibility. They seem, on the other hand to have forgotten the no-less-certain doctrine of the theologians that the internal and sincere assent due to teachings presented even in a non-infallible way by the supreme teacher and ruler of the Church militant is definitely and seriously obligatory. The obligation holds until the Church might come to modify its position on some particular portion of the teaching contained in the encyclicals, or at least until the time when very serious reasons for such modification might become apparent.

The attitude to which we have referred makes at least a summary examination of the theologians’ teachings about the doctrines contained in papal encyclicals imperative. In this examination we shall consider those writers who stress the non-infallible character of the teachings contained in these documents and then those who insist upon the fact that some of the statements propounded in the encyclicals can be or actually are infallible pronouncements. We shall begin, however, with a list of those authors who make no adequate mention of the encyclicals in their treatment of the Church’s magisterium.


An astonishingly large number of prominent theologians can be found among those who take no adequate cognizance of the encyclical letters in their treatises on papal infallibility. These men content themselves with an examination of and a theological demonstration for the formula by which the Vatican Council defined the Holy Father’s infallibility. Bishop Joseph Fessler, [1] the Vatican Council’s secretary, used this approach in his reply to the “Old Catholic” Schultes. The famous and highly influential Cardinal Cammillus Mazzella [2] followed the same line, as did Archbishops Richard Downey, [3] Valentine Zubizarreta, [4] and Horace Mazzella, [5] Bishop Michael d’Herbigny, [6] Canon Auguste Leboucher, [7] and Fathers Sylvester Berry, [8] Hugo Hurter, [9] Sylvester Hunter, [10] Bernard Tepe, [11] Raphael Cercia, [12] Basil Prevel, [13] Gabriel Casanova, [14] and Gerard Paris. [15] As a group these writers frequently give the impression that they consider only those truths proposed by the Holy Father solemni iudicio as infallibly defined, to the exclusion of those truths which he sets forth ordinario et universali magisterio.

Another very imposing group of theologians explicitly list the papal encyclicals, at least in a general way, as non-infallible documents. Bishop Hilarinus Felder, [16] Msgr. Caesar Manzoni, [17] and Fathers Emil Dorsch, [18] Reginald Schultes, [19] Antonio Vellico, [20] Ludwig Koesters, [21] Ludwig Lercher, [22] and Aelred Graham [23] teach thus in their treatises. The same view is set forth by Fr. Mangenot in his excellent article on the encyclicals in the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, [24] by Fr. Lucien Choupin in his outstanding monograph, [25] by Fr. Thomas Pegues in his frequently quoted article in the Revue thomiste on the authority of the encyclicals, [26] and by Canon George Smith in his brilliant study on this subject in the Clergy Review. [27] Fr. Jean Vincent Bainvel, along with Choupin and Schultes, incidentally, refers explicitly to the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII and classifies them as non-infallible, [28] while the article of Pegues was written as an answer to a question sent in to the Revue thomiste about the doctrinal authority of Pope Leo’s encyclicals. Fr. Herman Dieckmann [29] classifies the doctrine contained in papal encyclicals with that of the Roman Congregations.

The distinguished theologians who deny the papal encyclicals the status of infallible documents teach, none the less, that the faithful are bound in conscience to accord these letters not only the tribute of respectful silence, but also a definite and sincere internal religious assent. To this end many of them, like Fr. De Groot, [30] apply to the encyclicals a teaching with the eminent and brilliant Dominic Palmieri had developed about the Catholic attitude towards non-infallible teaching in the Church. [31] Pegues, in his Revue thomiste article, makes this application with his usual clarity.

‘Hence it follows that the authority of the encyclicals is not at all the same as that of the solemn definition, the one properly so-called. The definition demands an assent without reservation and makes a formal act of faith obligatory. The case of the encyclical’s authority is not the same.

This authority (of the papal encyclicals) is undoubtedly great. It is, in a sense, sovereign. It is the teaching of the supreme pastor and teacher of the Church. Hence the faithful have a strict obligation to receive this teaching with an infinite respect. A man must not be content simply not to contradict it openly and in a more or less scandalous fashion. An internal mental assent is demanded. It should be received as the teaching sovereignly authorized within the Church.

Ultimately, however, this assent is not the same as the one demanded in the formal act of faith. Strictly speaking, it is possible that this teaching (proposed in the encyclical letter) is subject to error. There are a thousand reasons to believe that it is not. It has probably never been (erroneous), and it is normally certain that it will never be. But, absolutely speaking, it could be, because God does not guarantee it as He guarantees the teaching formulated by way of definition’. [32]

Lercher teaches that the internal assent due to these pronouncements cannot be called certain according to the strictest philosophical meaning of the term. The assent given to such propositions is interpretative condicionatus, including the tacit condition that the teaching is accepted as true “unless the Church should at some time peremptorially define otherwise or unless the decision should be discovered to be erroneous.” [33] Lyons [34] and Phillips [35] use the same approach in describing the assent Catholics are in conscience bound to give to the Church’s non-infallible teachings. Fr. Yves de la Brière speaks of the “submission and hierarchical obedience” due to these pronouncements. [36]

Msgr. Manzoni lists the encyclicals among the documents in which non-infallible teaching is to be found. He holds that the definition of which the Vatican Council speaks in proposing the doctrine of papal infallibility is to be found only in the exercise of the solemn, as distinguished from the ordinary magisterium. In explaining the binding force of these non-infallible pronouncements, he, like Bishop Francis Egger, [37] and Fathers Mangenot, [38] MacGuinness, [39] and Dieckmann, [40] employs an explanation formulated by Cardinal Franzelin in his Tractatus de divina traditione et scriptura.

Franzelin holds that the Roman Pontiff can command all Catholics to assent to a given proposition (either directly or by condemning the contradictory statement), for either one of two different reasons. First the Holy Father can intend to define this proposition infallibly as true or as de fide. Again he can will merely to look after the security of Catholic doctrine. The magisterium of the Church has been equipped with help from God by reason of which the first sort of teaching gives infallible truth, while the second affords infallible security. Employing the plentitude of its power, the teaching Church operates as the auctoritas infallibilitatis. Working, not to define, but merely to take those steps it deems necessary to safeguard the faith, it is the auctoritas providentiae doctrinalis. To this auctoritas providentiae doctrinalis and to the teachings it sets forth, the faithful owe the obedience of respectful silence and of an internal mental assent according to which the proposition thus presented is accepted, not as infallibly true, but as safe, as guaranteed by that authority which is divinely commissioned to care for the Christian faith. [41]

The explanations developed by Franzelin and by Palmieri are adequate and exact. The first gives an excellent account of those teachings presented by the Holy See as propositions which can be taught safely. Palmieri, for his own part, offers a fine exposition of the status of propositions taught by competent authority, yet not presented as infallibly true. Both explanations can be employed profitably in dealing with some of the pronouncements of the various Roman congregations and with much of the teaching of the encyclicals. It would seem, however, that it would be a serious mistake to imagine that they can properly be applied to the entire body of doctrine set forth in these papal documents. It must be noted that neither Franzelin nor Palmieri made such an explicit application in the development of their own theories.

Several of the most influential modern theologians teach explicitly that some of the teaching in the papal encyclicals come to us as parts of the Church’s infallible doctrine. Thus Tanquerey [42] and De Guibert [43] hold that some of the propositions set forth in the papal encyclicals are infallibly true since they are presented by the Holy Father in his infallible ordinary magisterium. Cardinals Billot [44] and Lepicier [45] teach that many of the pronouncements contained in the encyclicals are to be accepted as infallibly true. The manuals of Hervé, [46] Yelle, [47] Blanch, [48] Herrmann, [49] Scheeben, [50] and Saiz Ruiz [51] show that their authors are convinced that the encyclicals cannot simply be dismissed as non-infallible documents. The manuals of Wilhelm-Scannell, [52] Michelitsch, [53] Van Noort, [54] Pesch, [55] and Calcagno [56] come to the same conclusion in another way, by warning their readers that not all of the teachings contained in the encyclicals are to be considered as infallible. Thurston also teaches that some of the teachings contained in the encyclicals are to be received as infallibly proposed. [57] Brunsmann contents himself with the observation that the doctrinal encyclicals impose an obligation upon the consciences of all the faithful. [58]




Despite the divergent views about the existence of the infallible pontifical teaching in the encyclical letters, there is one point on which all theologians are manifestly in agreement. They are all convinced that all Catholics are bound in conscience to give a definite internal religious assent to those doctrines which the Holy Father teaches when he speaks to the universal Church of God on earth without employing his God-given charism of infallibility. Thus, prescinding from the question as to whether any individual encyclical or group of encyclicals may be said to contain specifically infallible teaching, all theologians are in agreement that this religious assent must be accorded the teachings which the Sovereign Pontiff includes in these documents. This assent is due, as Lercher has noted, until the Church might choose to modify the teaching previously presented or until proportionately serious reasons for abandoning the non-infallible teaching contained in a pontifical document might appear. [59] It goes without saying that any reason which would justify the relinquishing of a position taken in a pontifical statement would have to be very serious indeed.

It might be definitely understood, however, that the Catholic’s duty to accept the teachings conveyed in the encyclicals even when the Holy Father does not propose such teachings as a part of his infallible magisterium is not based merely upon the dicta of the theologians. The authority which imposes this obligation is that of the Roman Pontiff himself. To the Holy Father’s responsibility of caring for the sheep of Christ’s fold, there corresponds, on the part of the Church’s membership, the basic obligation of following his directions, in doctrinal as well as disciplinary matters. In this field, God has given the Holy Father a kind of infallibility distinct from the charism of doctrinal infallibility in the strict sense. He has so constructed and ordered the Church that those who follow the directives given to the entire kingdom of God on earth will never be brought into the position of ruining themselves spiritually through this obedience. Our Lord dwells within His Church in such a way that those who obey disciplinary and doctrinal directives of this society can never find themselves displeasing God through their adherence to the teachings and the commands given to the universal Church militant. Hence there can be no valid reason to discountenance even the non-infallible teaching authority of Christ’s vicar on earth.

The Vatican Council, in its famous conclusion to the constitution Dei Filius, insisted very strongly upon the Catholic’s duty to accept that portion of papal teachings in which the encyclical letters are included. The Council appended the following two statements to its first dogmatic constitution.

Itaque supremi pastoralis Nostri officii debitum exsequentes, omnes Christi fideles, maxime vero eos, qui praesunt vel docendi munere funguntur, per viscera Iesu Christi obtestamur, necnon eiusdem Dei et Salvatoris nostri auctoritate iubemus, ut ad hos errores a sancta Ecclesia arcendos et eliminandos, atque purissimae fidei lucem pandendam stadium et operam conferant.

Quoniam vero satis non est, haereticam pravitatem devitare, nisi ii quoque errores diligenter fugiantur, qui ad illam plus minusve accedunt, omnes officii monemus, servandi etiam Constitutiones et Decreta, quibus pravae eiusmodi opiniones, quae isthic diserte non enumerantur, ab hac Sancta Sede prosciptae et prohibitae sunt. [60]

The most prominent commentator on this passage, the French theologian Jean Vacant, calls attention to the fact that the Council deliberately worded its admonition in such a way as to make it clear that the duty, incumbent upon all the faithful, of accepting and observing the various pontifical constitutions and decrees is founded upon the prerogatives of the Holy See itself. [61] All the Council seeks to do is to warn the members of the Church of an already existent obligation. The people are admonished to receive and to keep the doctrines proposed by the Holy Father through the documents to which the Council alludes, not because the Council teaches that such teachings are to be accepted, but rather because the Holy See, which obviously has the right to do so, has demanded such assent for its own teachings.

The Vatican Council speaks of a duty, a moral obligation binding in conscience. All of the faithful are bound in conscience to keep, i.e., to give a continuing assent, to these pontifical documents which proscribe and forbid those errors which are more or less closely related to “heretical wickedness.” The Council specifically mentions the fact that it refers to errors not condemned explicitly in its own constitution.

It is important to note that the Vatican Council speaks of this obligation as something belonging to the integrity of the duty of faith itself. It warns the faithful that they must persevere in their assent to the teachings of the pontifical constitutions and decrees precisely because “it is not enough to keep away from heretical wickedness unless those errors which more or less closely approach it are also diligently avoided.” The Council looks upon those errors castigated in the various documents emanating from the Holy See as factors which would ruin the purity of the faith in the man unfortunate enough to accept them.

Vacant and Scheeben make it clear that in speaking of the Decreta (as distinct from the Constitutiones), the Vatican Council definitely included the pronouncements of the various Roman Congregations among those teachings which Catholics are bound in conscience to accept perseveringly. [62] These pronouncements are unquestionably non-infallible statements. They have obviously less authority than those documents which emanate directly from the Holy Father, even when the Vicar of Christ does not intend to use the fullness of his apostolic teaching power. If these decrees of the Roman Congregations are mentioned as doctrinal pronouncements “to be observed” by all of the faithful, then it is perfectly clear that the Vatican Council, speaking as the voice of the entire ecclesia docens, insists that the teachings set forth in papal encyclicals must be accepted sincerely.

The Vatican Council’s exhortation has reference, immediately and directly, to those Constitutiones et Decreta which appeared prior to the promulgation of the Dei Filius and which dealt with doctrine closely connected with the teachings set forth in the Dei Filius. Indirectly however, by reason of the Council’s mode of procedure, it most certainly affirmed the obligation incumbent upon all Catholics of accepting and assenting to the teachings presented to the City of God on earth, even in a non-infallible manner, by the Roman Pontiff. It must be remembered that the Council did not intend to oblige the faithful to accept these pontifical statements by reason of any command contained in the Dei Filius. It simply warned them to be faithful to the obligation already incumbent upon them by reason of the pontifical authority itself. The encyclicals which have appeared since the year 1870 have manifestly just as much claim to be accepted and believed by all the faithful as had the pontifical documents issued prior to that date.

The internal acceptance which Catholics are bound to give to that portion of the Church’s teaching not presented absolutely as infallible is described as a “religious assent.” It is truly religious by reason of its object and of its motives. The Vatican Councl’s conclusion to its Constitution Dei Filius stresses the religious object of this assent. The faithful are reminded of their obligation to believe the doctrinal pronouncements of the Roman Congregations because these statements denounce and forbid definite errors which are closely connected with “heretical wickedness” and which thus are opposed to the purity of the faith. Teachings that contradict errors of this sort are obviously religious in character since they deal more or less directly with the content of divine revelation, the body of truth which guides and directs the Church of God in its worship.

The letter Tuas libentur, sent on Dec. 21, 1863 by Pope Pius IX to the Archbishop of Munich, stresses in a singularly effective way the religious motivation of the assent Catholics are bound to give to those teachings presented in a non-infallible manner in the Church’s ordinary magisterium. After reminding his readers that the dogma itself can be set forth by the Church’s ordinary magisterium as well as in its solemn judgments, the great Pontiff made the following statement.

Sed cum agatur de illa subiectione, qua ex conscientia ii omnes catholici obstringuntur, qui in contemplatrices scientias incumbunt, ut novas suis scriptis Ecclesiae afferant utilitates, idcirco eiusdem conventus viri recognoscere debent, sapientibus catholicis haud satis esse, ut praefata Ecclesiae dogmata recipiant ac venerentur, verum etiam opus esse, ut se subiciant decisionibus, quae ad doctrinam pertinentes a Pontificiis Congregationibus proferuntur, tum iis doctrinae capitibus, quae communi et constanti Catholicorum consensu retinentur ut theologicae veritates et conclusiones ita certae, ut opiniones eisdem doctrinae capitibus adversae quamquam haereticae dici nequant, tamen aliam theologicam mereantur censuram. [63]

In this letter Pope Pius IX insists that the men in the assembly to which he refers (the men who took part in the a Catholic theological meeting in Germany), must not lose sight of the fact that Catholic savants must submit themselves to the doctrinal pronouncements of the Roman Congregations “in order tha thtey may bring new advantages to the Church by their writings.” The Sovereign Pontiff shows himself keenly aware of the essential functional nature of theological investigation. God calls men to work in the sacred sciences, not to form themselves into a more or less edifying debating club, but to labor effectively for His Church on earth. That labor is something which can be accomplished only under the direction of the Church and ultimately under the direction of the supreme teaching authority within the Church.

The motive for this theological inquiry is thus something essentially religious, and the inquiry itself is definitely a corporate function, meant by its very nature to be carried on for the Church and under the Church’s guidance. The man who refuses to place this thought and his teaching wholly under the Church’s direction and who chooses to ignore or to oppose sections of the Church’s authoritative teaching on the ground that these sections are not absolutely guaranteed by the Church’s charism of infallibility has definitely frustrated in advance any advantage which might have accrued to the Church through his efforts in the field of sacred theology. By his own decision he is out of harmony with the corporate labor and the direction of theological inquiry.

The “religious assent” of which the theologians speak is due to the individual doctrinal pronouncements of the various Roman Congregations. It is due on manifestly stronger grounds to the individual doctrinal pronouncements not presented as infallible teachings but set forth in papal encyclicals. Again, the obligation is even more powerful in the case of a body of teaching presented in a series of encyclicals.

It would manifestly be a very serious fault on the part of a Catholic writer or teacher in this field, acting on his own authority, to set aside or to ignore any of the outstanding doctrinal pronouncements of the Rerum novarum or the Quadragesimo anno, regardless of how unfashionable these documents be in a particular locality or at a particular time. It would, however, be a much graver sin on the part of such a teacher to pass over or to discountenance a considerable section of the teachings contained in these labor encyclicals. In exactly the same way and for precisely the same reason it would be seriously wrong to contravene any outstanding individual pronouncement in the encyclicals dealing with the relations between Church and State, and much worse to ignore or disregard all of the teachings or a great portion of the teachings on this topic contained in the letters of Pius IX and Leo XIII.

It is, of course, possible that the Church might come to modify its stand on some detail of teaching presented as non-infallible matter in a papal encyclical. The nature of the auctoritas providentiae doctrinalis within the Church is such, however, that this fallibility extends to questions of relatively minute detail or of particular application. The body of doctrine on the rights and duties of labor, on the Church and State, or on any other subject treated extensively in a series of papal letters directed to and normative for the entire Church militant could not be radically or completely erroneous. The infallible security Christ wills that His disciples should enjoy within His Church is utterly incompatible with such a possibility.

In the matter of individual pronouncements, it is interesting to observe the teaching of one of the most competent and respected scholars in the Church on the doctrinal effect produced by a statement in a papal encyclical. The encyclical Mystici Corporis speaks of the bishops’ ordinary power of jurisdiction as something “communicated to them immediately by the Sovereign Pontiff.” Msgr. Alfredo Ottaviani, in the latest edition of his Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici, speaks of this doctrine as “sententia, hucusque considerata probabilior, immo communis, nunc autem ut omnino certa habenda ex verbis Summi Pontificis Pii XII.” [64]

1. Cf. La vraie et la fausse infaillibilité des papes (Paris: E. Plon, 1873).
2. Cf. De religione et ecclesia praelectiones scholastico-dogmaticae, 6th ed. (Prato: Giachetti, 1905)
3. Cf. The article “The Vatican Council and Papal Infallibility,” in the symposium The Papacy, edited by Fr. Lattey (Cambridge, England: W. Heffer and Sons, Ltd., 1924), pp. 181 ff.
4. Cf. Theologia dogmatico-scholastica ad mentem S. Thomae Aquinatis, 3rd ed. (Bilbao: Eléxpuru Hnos., 1937), I, 396 ff.
5. Cf. Praelectiones scholastico-dogmaticae breviori cursui accommodatae, 6th ed. (Torino: Società editrice internazionale, 1915), I, 545 ff.
6. Cf. Theologica de ecclesia, 3rd ed. (Paris: Beauchesne, 1928), II, 349 ff.
7. Cf. Tractatus de ecclesia Christi speciali cura exactus ad normam recentium declarationum S. Sedis et Conc. Vaticani (Paris: Berche et Tralin, 1877), pp. 255 ff.
8. Cf. The Church of Christ: An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise, 2nd ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1927), pp. 472 ff.
9. Cf. Theologiae dogmaticae compendium in usum studiosorum theologiae, 2nd ed. (Innsbruck: Wagner, 1878), I, 345 ff.
10. Cf. Outlines of Dogmatic Theology, 3rd ed. (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1894), I, 441 ff.
11. Cf. Institutiones theologiae in usum scholarum (Paris: Lethielleux, 1894), I, 383, ff.
12. Cf. Demonstratio catholica sive tractatus de ecclesia vera Christi et de Romano Pontifice, 5th ed., (Paris: Lethielleux, 1878), II, 279 ff.
13. Cf. Theologiae dogmaticae elementa, 3rd ed. (Paris: Lethielleux, 1912), I, 254 ff.
14. Cf. Theologia fundamentalis (Rome: Typographia Sallustiana, 1899), pp. 328 ff.
15. Cf. Tractatus de ecclesia Christi (Turin: Marietti, 1929), pp. 229 ff.
16. Cf. Apologetica sive theologia fundamentalis, 2nd ed. (Paderborn: Schoeningh, 1923), II, 266.
17. Cf. Compendium theologiae dogmaticae, 4th ed. (Turin: Berruti, 1928), I, 225.
18. Cf. Institutiones theologiae fundamentalis, 2nd ed. (Innsbruck: Rauch, 1928), II, 405.
19. Schultes lists as infallible doctrinal decisions the pronouncements of Leo XIII on Anglican orders in his letter Apostolicae curae, and on Americanism in his letter Testem benevolentiae, and the teachings of Pius X in the encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis, in his confirmation of the Holy Office decree Lamentabili, and in his Motu proprio, Sacrorum antistitum, in which the formula of the anti-modernist oath is contained. He teaches that Pius IX made two dogmatic definitions, in the Bull Ineffabilis Deus and in his confirmation of the Vatican Council’s decrees. All the other doctrinal acts during the recent pontificates up to 1930 are inferentially classified as non-infallible. Cf. De ecclesia catholica praelectiones apologeticae, 2nd edition prepared by Fr. Edmund Prantner (Paris: Lethielleux, 1931), pp. 643 ff.
20. Cf. De ecclesia Christi tractatus apologetico – dogmaticus (Rome: Arnodo, 1940), p. 576,
21. Cf. The Church: Its Divine Authority, translated by Dr. Edwin Kaiser (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1938), I, 519.
22. Cf. Institutiones theologiae dogmaticae in usum scholarum, 2nd ed. (Innsbruck: Rauch, 1934), I, 519.
23. Cf. “The Church on Earth,” in The Teaching of the Catholic Church: A Summary of Catholic Doctrine arranged and edited by Canon George D. Smith (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949), II, 719.
24. Mangenot teaches that “up to the present the encyclicals of the Popes do not constitute ex cathedra definitions of infallible authority,” but he also teaches that the Holy Father can, if he wishes, issue infallible definitions in these letters. Cf. DTC, V, 15.
25. Cf. Valeur des decisions doctrinales et disciplinaires du Saint-Siège, 2nd ed. (Paris: Beauchesne, 1913), pp. 52 ff.
26. “L’autorité des encycliques pontificales d’apres Saint Thomas,” in Revue thomiste XII (1904), 512-32.
27. “Must I Believe It?” in The Clergy Review, IX, 4 (April, 1935), 296-309.
28. Cf. Bainvel, De ecclesia Christi (Paris: Beauchesne, 1925), p. 216; Choupin, op. cit., pp. 52 f.; Schultes, loc. cit.
29. Cf. De ecclesia tractatus historico-dogmatici (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1925), II, 113.
30. Cf. Summa apologetica de ecclesia catholica ad mentem S. Thomae Aquinatis, 3rd ed. (Regensburg: Manz, 1906), pp. 622 f.
31. Cf. Tractatus de Romano Pontifice cum prolegomeno de ecclesia, 2nd ed. (Prato: Giachetti, 1891), pp. 718 ff.
32. Pegues, op. cit., pp. 531 f.
33. Lercher, op. cit., p. 250.
34. Cf. Christianity and Infallibility – Both or Neither, 3rd impression (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1916), pp. 283 f.
35. Cf. La saint église catholique (Tournai and Paris: Casterman, 1947), pp. 306 ff.
36. Cf. L’église et son gouvernement (Paris: Grasset, 1935), p. 32.
37. Cf. Enchiridion theologiae dogmaticae generalis, 6th ed. (Brescia: Weger, 1932), p. 722.
38. Cf. Mangenot, loc. cit.
39. Cf. Commentarii theologici, 3rd ed. (Paris: Lethielleux, 1930), I, 441
40. Cf. Dieckmann, op. cit., pp. 121 f.
41. Cf. Franzelin, De divina traditione et scriptura, 3rd ed. (Rome: Cong. de Propaganda Fide, 1882), pp. 127 ff.
42. Cf. Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae fundamentalis, 24th edition, prepared by Fr. Bord (Paris: Desclée, 1937), pp. 633 f.
43. Cf. De Christi ecclesia, 2nd ed. (Rome: Gregorian University, 1928), pp. 260 ff.
44. Cf. Tractatus de ecclesia Christi sive continuation theologiae de Verbo Incarnato, 5th ed. (Rome: Gregorian University, 1927), p. 656.
45. Cf. Tractatus de ecclesia Christi (Rome: Buona Stampa, 1935), p. 243.
46. Cf. Manuale theologiae dogmatiae, 18th ed. (Paris: Berche et Pagis, 1934), I, 563.
47. Cf. De ecclesia et de locis theologicis (Montreal : Grand Seminary, 1945), p. 35.
48. Cf. Theologia generalis seu tractatus de sacrae theologiae principiis (Barcelona: Typographia de Montserrat, 1901), p. 584.
49. Cf. Institutiones theologiae dogmaticae, 7th edition, revised by Fathers Stebler and Raus (Lyons and Paris: Vitte, 1937), I, 473 f.
50. Cf. Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatic (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1873), I, 228 f.
51. Cf. Sythesis sive notae theologiae fundamentalis (Burgos: Lib. del Centro Católico, 1906), p. 443.
52. Cf. A Manual of Catholic Theology, 4th ed. (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1909), I, 96 f.
53. Cf. Elementa apologeticae sive theologiae fundamentalis, 3rd ed. Graz and Vienna: Styria, 1925), p. 400.
54. Cf. Tractatus de ecclesia Christi, 5th edition prepared by Dr. Verhaar (Hilversum, Holland: Brand, 1932), p. 202.
55. Cf. Institutiones propaedeuticae ad sacram theologiam, 6th ed. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1924), p. 357.
56. Cf. Theologia fundamentalis (Naples: D’Auria, 1948), p. 270. Calcagno teaches that generally speaking, the encyclicals do not contain infallible teaching.
57. Cf. the article “Encyclical” in The Catholic Encyclopedia, V, 413 f.
58. Cf. A Handbook of Fundamental Theology, adapted into English by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1932), IV, 50.
59. Cf. Lercher, op. cit., p. 520.
60. DB, 1819-20.
61. Cf. Études théologiques sur les constitutiones du Concile du Vatican; La Constitution Dei Filius (Paris and Lyons: Delhomme et Briguet, 1895), II, 332 f.
62. Cf. Vacant, loc. cit.; Sheeben, op. cit., I, 250.
63. DB, 1684.
64. Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici, 3rd. ed. (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1947), I, 413.




(American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. CXXI, September, 1949, 210-220)


By this judgment about the present doctrinal status of the thesis that the residential bishops of the Catholic Church receive their power of jurisdiction immediately from the Roman Pontiff rather than immediately from Our Lord, Msgr. Ottaviani has given us eminently practical and hence and exceptionally valuable appreciation of the authority inherent in papal encyclicals. The great Roman writer tells us, in the most recent edition of his Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici, that up until the present time, this thesis had been considered as more probable and even as a sententia communis, but that from now on it is to be held as entirely certain by reason of the words of the present Holy Father. Msgr. Ottaviani alludes to a passage in the encyclical Mystici Corporis in which the Holy Father states this teaching, as he had done a year before the appearance of this encyclical in his discourse to the parish priests and the Lenten preachers of Rome. Msgr. Ottaviani assumes rightly that the authoritative statement of this thesis in the papal letter raised this teaching from the status of a more probable doctrine to that of a perfectly certain proposition. [1]

This observation on the part of Msgr. Ottaviani constitutes a valuable practical corrective to a certain tendency towards oversimplification and minimism which had begun to invade some recent judgments on the doctrinal authority of the Holy Father’s encyclical letters. In the face of sweeping generalizations which classify all the teachings of the encyclicals as doctrines which might conceivably be erroneous, the distinguished Roman prelate scholar can list one such thesis as “nunc…omnino certa habenda ex verbis Summi Pontificis Pii XII.”

It remains true, of course, that this designation of the thesis as “entirely certain” is the work of a private theologian. Yet we are sometimes tempted to overlook the no-less-obvious fact that the process of taking together all those teachings whose chief claim to acceptance in the Church of God on earth is their inclusion in a papal encyclical and listing them all simply as “morally” certain is likewise the work of private theologians. It is something which definitely cannot be ascribed to the ecclesia docens.

A great deal of confusion and minimism with reference to the doctrinal authority of papal encyclicals would seem to proceed from a misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s ordinary and universal magisterium. Ever since the time of the Vatican Council, there has been an unfortunate inclination on the part of some authors to imagine that the Council’s definition of papal infallibility applied only to the Sovereign Pontiff’s solemn and extraordinary utterances, as distinguished from what is called his ordinary pronouncements. Furthermore some have accepted the inaccurate notion that the Holy Father speaks infallibly only when he delivers a solemn dogmatic definition. An examination of the Council’s definition, particularly in the light of its historical background, shows that the Church intended to place no such restriction in its teaching on the subject.

The Vatican Council thus defined the Holy Father’s doctrinal infallibility.

…docemus et divinitus revelatum dogma esse definimus: Romanum Pontificem, cum ex cathedra loquitur, id est, cum omnium Christianorum pastoria et doctoris munere fungens pro suprema sua Apostolica auctoritate doctrinam de fide vel moribus ab universa Ecclesia tenendam definit, per assistentiam divinam ipsi in beato Petro promissam, ea infallibilitate pollere, qua divinus Redemptor Ecclesiam suam in definienda doctrina de fide vel moribus instructam esse voluit; ideoque euiusmodi Romani Pontificis definitiones ex sese, non autem ex consensu Ecclesiae, irreformabiles esse. [2]

In this passage the Council proclaimed it to be a dogma of Catholic faith that the Holy Father teaches infallibly when he gives an ex cathedra definition on matters involving faith or morals. First of all, in order to understand the import of this conciliar statement, we must understand that it no way limits papal infallibility to dogmatic definitions strictly so-called. The language of the Council was deliberately framed to exclude this limitation. During the sessions of the Council’s Deputatio pro rebus ad fidem pertinentibus Cardinal Bilio procured the temporary adoption of a formula proposed by Bishop Conrad Martin of Paderborn, according to which the Holy Father would be said to exercise infallibility in defining quid in rebus fidei et morum ab universa Ecclesia fide divina tenendum….The strenuous opposition of Archbishop Henry Edward Manning of Bishop Ignatius Senestrey prevented the final approval of this formula. The wording ultimately adopted and used in the actual constitution Pastor aeternus was substantially that proposed by Cardinal Cullen, a formula drawn up deliberately to exclude the limitation involved in the one offered up by Martin and Bilio. [3]

Hence it is a grievous mistake to imagine that, according to the teachings of the Vatican Council, the Holy Father can speak infallibly only when he solemnly proclaims a dogma of divine faith or when he solemnly condemns some teaching as heretical. Thus the fact that the encyclicals do not contain solemn definitions, like that of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception or solemn definitions of heresy, like that contained in the Constitution Cum occasione, by Pope Innocent X, in no way militates against the inclusion of strictly infallible papal teaching in these documents.

The Vatican Council never had the opportunity to consider and to propound its teaching on the object of the Church’s infallibility. Because it expected to pronounce on this matter, however, it did not wish to insert the teaching on the object of infallible teaching in the Constitution Pastor aeternus. Hence the conciliar definition does not say positively that the Holy Father can speak infallibly when he defines a teaching which is so connected with formally revealed truth that this formal revelation could not be adequately and accurately presented by a living and infallible teacher apart from it. The deliberate exclusion, on the other hand, of a formula which would have asserted only that the Holy Father is infallible in defining a truth which must be held on divine faith stands as amply sufficient evidence that the teaching Church considers the Sovereign Pontiff by virtue of his position capable of issuing infallible definitions on matters included in what sacred theology knows as the secondary objects of the Church’s magisterium.

The theological treatise de ecclesia Christi is quite explicit about this secondary object of the Church’s inerrant magisterium. The ecclesia docens can teach infallibly on those subjects which are so connected with the deposit of divine public revelation that an erroneous presentation of these subjects would lead to an improper teaching of the primary object of the Church’s infallible magisterium. It is at least theologically certain that the Church can teach infallibly about mere theological conclusions and about those truths of the philosophical order which serve as praeambula fidei, about dogmatic facts, the approval of religious orders, and the canonization of Saints.

In order to appreciate the doctrinal authority of the encyclical letters we must take cognizance of the fact that there is nothing whatsoever in the Vatican Council’s definition of papal infallibility which could legitimately give rise to the opinion that the entire content of the teachings proposed in the encyclicals can be dismissed simply as non-infallible doctrine. It would appear, on the other hand, that especially when a number of these documents deal with a certain individual subject and when the more recent letters repeat and emphasize teachings which have been stressed in previous encyclicals, that some, at least, of the doctrine thus presented to the Church universal should be considered as taught infallibly by the Church’s ordinary and universal magisterium. Thus it would seem that some teachings whose main claim to acceptance on the part of Catholics is to be found in the fact that they are stated in papal encyclicals would actually demand an assent higher than that which must be accorded to the content of the Church’s authentic but non-infallible magisterium. Such truths would demand the kind of assent usually designated in theology under the title of fides ecclesiastica.

The Vatican Council’s definition asserts that the Holy Father possesses that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that His Church should be equipped in defining about faith or morals when he speaks ex cathedra. It describes an ex cathedra pronouncement as one in which the Holy Father, “exercising his function as the pastor and teacher of all Christians, defines with his supreme apostolic authority a doctrine about faith or morals to be held by the universal Church.” There is nothing in this description to prevent a recognition of some of the statements in the Holy Father’s ordinary magisterium, and particularly some of the statements in the encyclical letters, as infallible pronouncements.

It is evident that in those encyclical letters which are addressed to all the ordinaries of the Catholic Church throughout the world the Holy Father is exercising his function as pastor and teacher of all Christians. He exercises that same function also when he issues a pronouncement directly to some individual or to some portion of the Church, ultimately, however, directing it to and intending it as normative for the entire Church militant. All of the doctrinal encyclicals qualify under this point, as well as by reason of the fact that they contain the Holy Father’s teachings on matters of faith or morals.

There is no reason whatsoever to suppose that the style of the encyclical letters is in any way incompatible with the possibility of a genuine papal definition, in which the Sovereign Pontiff, pro suprema sua Apostolica auctoritate, defines a teaching on faith or morals as something to be held by the universal Church. A definition is an ultimate and irrevocable doctrinal decision. The ecclesia docens pronounces this decision and intends that no one in the future shall ever contradict it. A defined doctrine is a teaching which cannot be questioned legitimately at any time after the definition is given.

When the Holy Father issues a definition, he obviously makes it clear that he is making an irrevocable statement of doctrine. The manifestation comes in solemn form where, as in the case of the definition of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception in the Ineffabilis Deus, or in the decision on Anglican orders in the Apostolicae curae, a consecrated set of terms is employed. But there can obviously be a genuine definition even apart from this solemn form of pronouncement. Where a question of grave moment has been disputed among Catholics, and where the Holy Father intervenes to settle this question once and for all, there is clearly a definition, a decision which all Catholics are bound to accept always as true, even though no solemn terminology be employed.

In his extremely interesting work, Une hérésie fantome: L’Américanisme, the Abbé Félix Klein quotes a passage from a letter written by the late Cardinal Richard to the priest of his archdiocese. In this letter the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris shows that he considered the letter Testem benevolentiae a real definition, despite the fact that this letter does not contain any solemn form of pronouncement. He wrote as follows.

Durant le séjour que j’ai fait récemment à Rome, au commencement de l’année 1899, j’exprimais au Souverain Pontife combien il me paraissait désirable que sa parole et son autorité missent fin aux discussions plus ou moins vives sur l’Américantisme, soulevês dans ces derniers temps parmi nous. Le Saint-Père me répondit, avec une condescendance dont je fus vivement touché, que mes désirs étaient exaucés, déjà il avait rédigé une lettre adressée aux évêques d’Amérique dans laquelle il définissait les divers points traités dans ces discussions et exposait la doctrine à laquelle les fidèles devaient rester attachés. [4]

It is evident, then, that Cardinal Richard considered the letter Testem benevolentiae as a definition in the strict sense of the term. The letter sent to the American hierarchy through Cardinal Gibbons was, he believed, clearly intended to settle doctrinal questions which had arisen in France, question for the resolution of which the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris had sought pontifical intervention. The teaching thus presented was something “to which the faithful were obliged to remain attached.” It was a doctrine concerning faith and morals which, according to Cardinal Richard, was “to be held by the universal Church.” From this point of view, then, there was and there is nothing to prevent this particular doctrinal letter of Pope Leo XIII from being considered as a document containing a genuine papal definition.

The same set of circumstances are to be found in the case where a series of pontifical encyclicals bring out the same teaching. In such a case, as, for example in the series of pontifical pronouncements on Church and State, the teachings of the earlier documents are repeated and re-stated in more recent letters. Thus there is an indication that the Sovereign Pontiffs wished definitively to close discussion on the points at issue, and to have the teachings thus repeated accepted always by all the members of the Church.

There is, furthermore, still another way in which the Holy Father, speaking directly to an individual local Church, can still be said to present teaching normative for the entire Church militant. This comes about when he exercises his function as the authorized teacher of the Roman Church itself. From the earliest Christian times the ecclesia Romana, considered precisely as an individual congregation within the universal kingdom of God on earth, has rightly been considered as infallible in its doctrine. Its teaching and its belief were correctly considered as normative for the universal Church militant. Hence, in authoritatively imposing or defining the object of belief in the Roman Church, the Holy Father can rightly be considered as ruling indirectly but definitively for the universal Church in this world.

The Vatican Council, we must remember, also teaches that the Bishop of Rome makes an infallible ex cathedra definition when he defines “exercising his function as pastor and teacher of all Christians pro suprema sua Apostolica auctoritate.” The encyclical must not be considered, obviously, as documents containing ex cathedra definitions except where the Holy Father speaks and teaches in them using “his supreme apostolic authority.”

It must be understood from the very outset that a document is not disqualified from consideration as something in which the Roman Pontiff speaks with the fullness of his apostolic authority merely by reason of the fact that it mentions no penalties or sanctions to be imposed against those who refuse to accept its teaching. Theologians are substantially in agreement on this point. Furthermore, in order to have the exercise of supreme apostolic authority on the part of the Roman Pontiff, there is no single formula which must be employed. All that is requisite is that the Vicar of Christ on earth, speaking for the benefit of all the faithful, should propose a definite teaching concerned with faith or morals irrevocably and finally as something to be accepted by all.

If he should propose some teaching as merely safe, or as merely probable, then it is obvious that he does not intend to use the plentitude of his apostolic power. If, on the other hand, he tells his children that a definite doctrine is to held irrevocably by all, or, on the other hand, if formally and definitively he stigmatizes a teaching with doctrinal, as distinct from a merely disciplinary censure, it is clear that he is exercising the plenitude of his apostolic doctrinal authority when he speaks for the entire Church militant. He is definitely commanding the internal assent of all Christians for a teaching which he imposes on his own responsibility. This is manifestly the supreme expression of the apostolic doctrinal power.

We must not lose sight of the fact that, according to the Vatican Council, the Holy Father’s infallible authority in defining truths concerning the faith and morals is exactly co-extensive with that of the Church itself. The Church can teach infallibly by solemn judgment or by its ordinary and universal magisterium. It is obvious that the solemn judgment of the Holy Father in defining a dogma of faith is equally valid and equally infallible when compared with the solemn judgment of an oecumenical council. It seems equally true that the ordinary teaching of the Holy Father, when that teaching prescribes irrevocably the acceptance of a truth concerning faith or morals by the entire Church on earth, is fully as valid and as infallible as the teaching of the entire ecclesia docens involving the same doctrinal command.

It is quite probable that some of the teachings set forth on the authority of the various papal encyclicals are infallible statements of the Sovereign Pontiff, demanding the assent of the fides ecclesiastica. It is absolutely certain that all of the teachings contained in these documents and dependent upon their authority merit at least an internal religious assent from all Catholics. Hence we do not find anything like a direct negation of the authority of these letters on the part of Catholic teachers.

There is, however, an attitude towards the encyclicals which can be productive of doctrinal evil, and which can lead to a practical abandonment of their teaching. According to this attitude, it is the business of the theologian to distinguish two elements in the content of the various encyclicals. One element would be the deposit of genuine Catholic teaching, which, of course, all Catholic are bound to accept at all times. The other element would be a collection of notions current at the time the encyclicals were written. The notions which would enter into the practical application of the Catholic teaching, are represented as ideas which Catholics can afford to overlook.

Despite its superficially attractive appearance, however, this attitude can be radically destructive of a true Catholic mentality. The men who have adopted this mentality imagine that they can analyze the content of an individual encyclical or a group of encyclicals in such a way that they can separate the pronouncements which Catholics are bound to accept from those which would have merely an ephemeral value. They, as theologians, would then tell the Catholic people to receive the Catholic principles and to do as they liked about the other elements.

In such a case, the only true doctrinal authority actually operative would be that of the individual theologian. The Holy Father has issued his encyclical as a series of statements. Apart from those which he himself stamps as merely opinionative, all of these statements stand as the Holy Father’s own declarations. The man who subjects these declarations to an analysis in order to distinguish the element of Catholic tradition from other sections of the content must employ some norm other than the authority of the Holy Father himself.

The Holy Father’s authority stands behind his own individual statements, precisely as these are found in the encyclicals. When a private theologians ventures to analyze these statements and claims to find a Catholic principle on which the Holy Father’s utterance is based and some contingent mode according to which the Sovereign Pontiff has applied this Catholic principle in his own pronouncement, the only effective doctrinal authority is that of the private theologian himself. According to this method of procedure, the Catholic people would be expected to accept as much of the encyclical as the theologian pronounced to be genuine Catholic teaching. This Catholic teaching would be recognizable as such, not by reason of the Holy Father’s statement in the encyclical, but by reason of its inclusion in other monuments of Christian doctrine.

It is very difficult to see where such a process would stop. The men who would adopt this course would inevitably force themselves to treat all doctrinal pronouncements of the Popes after the fashion of the teachings of private theologians. The writings of earlier Pontiffs are certainly no more authoritative than those of the more recent Sovereign Pontiffs. If a man chooses dissect the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII, there is no reason why the documents which emanate from Gelasius or from St. Leo I would not be subjected to the same process. If the statements of Pius IX are not valid exactly as they stand, it is difficult to see how those of any other Roman Pontiff are any more authoritative.

There is, of course, a definite task incumbent upon the private theologians in the Church’s process of bringing the teachings of the papal encyclicals to the people. The private theologian is obligated and privileged to study these documents, to arrive at an understanding of what the Holy Father actually teaches, and then to aid in the task of bringing this body of truth to the people. The Holy Father, however, not the private theologian, remains the doctrinal authority. The theologian is expected to bring out the content of the Pope’s actual teaching, not to subject that teaching to the type of criticism he would have a right to impose on the writings of another private theologian.

Thus, when we review or attempt to evaluate the works of a private theologian, we are perfectly within our rights in attempting to show that a certain portion of his doctrine is authentic Catholic teaching or at least based upon such teaching, and to assert that some other portions of that work simply express ideas current at the time the books were written. The pronouncements of the Roman Pontiffs, acting as the authorized teachers of the Catholic Church, are definitely not subject to that sort of evaluation.

Unfortunately the tendency to misinterpret the function of the private theologian in the Church’s doctrinal work is not something now in the English Catholic literature. Cardinal Newman in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (certainly the leat valuable of his published works), supports the bizarre thesis that the final determination of what is really condemned in an authentic ecclesiastical pronouncement is the work of private theologians, rather than of the particular organ of the ecclesia docens which has actually formulated the condemnation. The faithful could, according to his theory, find what a pontifical document actually means, not from the content of the document itself, but from the speculations of the theologians.

As to the condemnation of propositions all she (the Church) tells us is, that the thesis condemned when taken as a whole, or, again, when viewed in its context, is heretical, or blasphemous, or whatever like epithet she affixes to it. We have only to trust her so far as to be warned against the thesis, or the work containing it. Theologians employ themselves in determining what precisely it is that is condemned in that thesis or treatise; and doubtless in most cases they do so with success; but that determination is not de fide; all that is of faith is that there is in that thesis itself, which is noted, heresy or error, or other like peccant matter, as the case may be, such, that the censure is a peremptory command to theologians, preachers, students, and all other whom it concerns, to keep clear of it. But so light is this obligation, that instances frequently occur, when it is successfully maintained by some new writer, that the Pope’s act does not imply what it has seemed to imply, and questions which seemed to be closed, are after a course of years re-opened. [5]

If we were to apply this procedure to the interpretation of the papal encyclicals, we would deny, for all practical purposes at least, any real authority to these documents. We would be merely in a position to admit that the Holy Father had spoken on a certain subject, and to assent to his teaching as something which the theologians would have to interpret. In the final analysis, our acceptance of doctrine or truth as such would be limited to what we could gather from the interpretations of the theologians, rather than from the document itself.

This tendency to consider these pronouncements of the ecclesia docens, and particularly the statements of the papal encyclicals, as utterances which must be interpreted for the Christian people, rather than explained to them, is definitely harmful to the Church. It is and it remains the business of Catholic theologians to adhere faithfully to the teachings of the encyclicals and to do all in their power to bring this body of truth accurately and effectively to the members of Christ’s Mystical Body.

1. Cf. Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici, 3rd ed. (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1947), I, 413.
2. Sess. IV, cap. 4, DB, 1839.
3. Bishop Martin’s original formula contained the words “fide catholica credendum.” The words “divina” was subsequently substituted for “catholica.” Cf. Granderath, Constitutiones dogmaticae sacrosancti oecumenici concilii Vaticani ex ipsis eius actis explicatae et illustratae (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1892), pp. 194 ff.
4. Klein, op. cit., pp. 352 f.
5. Certain Difficulties Felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teaching (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1896), II, 333.