jeudi 22 octobre 2009

Pseudoquote identified. What De Romano Pontifice, book IV, chapter V really says (quote)

Introductory note:

From my handwritten copy collationed with numeric photograph of page columns 968/969 in Second Edition 1588 of De Controversiis.

Trying to identify source of pseudoquote

"If the Pope some day imposed sins and forbade virtues, the Church is obliged to believe that these sins are good and these virtues are bad"

I debate with someone who goes to antiquated Protestant scholarship mistaking it for Catholic, and get close to a source in that antiquated Protestant scholarship, though it misquotes its source.

I identified the quote first as book one, chapter 4, c.=something else 5. That gave no clue whatsoever. Then I said, well, it is maybe volume or tome one, book four and chapter (=c.) five. Here we go. It does talk about Popes legislating on morals, and it does talk about legislating wrongly, and it does insist on obedience. But it does not say that if a Pope legislates wrongly in an important matter, we are still bound to obey the Pope. It says only that God who demanded of us to obey the Pope cannot permit him to legislate wrongly in such an important matter.

English translation by myself.

Source: Bibliothèque de Salchoire
De decretis morum
 On decrees on morals

Tertia propositio haec esse potest. Non solùm in decretis fidei errare non potest summus Pontifex, sed neque in praeceptis morum, quae toti Ecclesiae praescribuntur; & quae in rebus necessariis ad salutem, vel in iis quae per se bona, vel mala sunt, versantur.


The third proposition can be this one. Not only in decrees of the faith the Supreme Pontiff [=Highest Bishop]* cannot err, but neither in precepts of moral matters, which are prescribed to all of the Church; & which have their scope in things necessary for salvation, or in them that are good, or bad, by themselves.

Dicimus PRIMVM, non posse errare Pontificem in iis praeceptis, quae toti Ecclesiae praescribuntur; quia, vt suprà diximus, in praeceptis, & iudiciis particularibus, non est absurdum Pontificem errare. Addimus SECVNDO, quae in rebus necessariis ad salutem, vel per se bonis, aut malis versantur; quia non est erroneum dicere, Pontificem in aliis legibus posse errare, nimirum superfluam legem condendo, vel minus discretam, & c.


FIRSTLY we say, that the Pontiff cannot err in precepts, which are prescribed for all the Church; since, as we said above, it is not absurd that a Pontiff err in precepts or judgements on particular matters. SECONDLY we add, which have their scope in things necessary for salvation, or in what is good, or bad by itself; since it is not erroneous to say that the Pontiff can err in other legislations, that is by making a superfluous law, or a not so well thought through, & c.

Ac vt rem totam exemplis declaremus; Non potest fieri vt Pontifex erret, praecipiendo aliquid vitium, vt vsuram; vel prohibendo virtutem, vt restitutionem: quia haec sunt per se bona, vel mala. nec potest fieri vt erret praecipiendo aliquid contra salutem, vt Circumcisionem, vel Sabbathum; vel prohibendo aliquid necessarium ad salutem, vt Baptismum, aut Eucharistiam; licet haec non sint per se bona, vel mala: vt autem iubeat aliquid quod non est bonum, neque malum ex se, neque contra salutem, sed tamen est inutile, vel sub poena nimis graui illud praecipiat, non est absurdum dicere posse fieri; quamquam non est subditorum de hac re dubitare, sed simpliciter obedire.


And in order to clarify all the matter with examples; It cannot happen that the Pontiff err precepting some vice, like usury; or forbidding some virtue, like restitution: since these are good, or bad by themselves. nor can it happen that he err precepting something against salvation, as Circumcision or Sabbath; or forbidding something necessary for salvation, as Baptism or Eucharist; even though these be not good or bad by themselves: but that he order something which is not good, nor bad out of itself, nor against salvation, but is only useless, or that he give that precept under too grave a sanction, is not abusrd to say it can happen; still, it is not for the ones under him to doubt about this thing, but simply to obey.

Probatur iam propositio; & PRIMO, quòd non possit Papa errare in praeceptis morum ad salutem necessariorum: quia tunc tota Ecclesia grauiter laederetur, et erraret in rebus necessariis, quod est contra promissionem Domini. Ioannis 16. Cùm venerit ille spiritus veritatis, docebit vos omnem veritatem. Quod intelligitur (vt minimum) de veritate necessaria ad salutem. SECVNDO, quia Deus tunc deesset Ecclesiae suae in necessariis; quandoquidem praecepit illi, vt sequatur Pontificem, & Pontificem permittit errare in necessariis. At certè si Deus nulli rei deest in necessariis, quantò minus Ecclesiae suae?


Now the proposition is proven; & FIRSTLY, that a Pope cannot err in precepts of usages necessary to salvation: since then all Church would suffer grieveous damage, and err in necessary things, which is against the promise of the Lord. John 16. But when that Spirit of Truth shall come, he will teach you all the truth. Which is understood (at the very least) about Truth necessary for salvation. SECONDLY, since God then would let down his Church in necessities; since he gave her the precept to follow the Pontiff, & let the Pontiff err in necessities. But surely, if God lets not one thing down in necessities, how much less his Church?

Quod autem non possit Pontifex errare in moribus per se bonis, vel malis, probatur. NAM tunc Ecclesia non posset verè dici sancta, vt in Symbolo Apostolorum vocatur. Nam sancta dicitur potissimùm ob sanctam professionem, vt alibi ostendimus; quia nimirum legem, & professionem sanctam profitetur, quae nil docet falsum, nihil praecipit malum. SECVNDO, quia tunc necessariò erraret etiam circa fidem. Nam fides Catholica docet, omnem virtutem esse bonam, omne vitium esse malum: si autem Papa erraret praecipiendo vitia, vel prohibendo virtutes, teneretur Ecclesia credere vitia esse bona, & virtutes malas, nisi vellet contra conscientiam peccare.


But that the Pontiff cannot err in moral matters that are goo, or bad, by themselves, is proven. FOR then the Church could not be truly called holy, as she is called in the Apostles' Creed. For holy she is most of all called because of her holy profession, as we have shown elsewhere; since indeed she professes a holy law and profession, which teaches nothing false, and gives no evil precept. THEN AGAIN, since then she would by necessity err also about the faith. For the Catholic faith teaches that all virtue is good, all vice is evil: but if the Pope erred giving precepts for vices or forbidding virtues, the Church would be obliged to believe vices good & virtues bad, unless she wanted to sin against her conscience.

I wonder what St Robert Bellarmine would have said about Benedict XV who in 1917 ceased to forbid the taking of interest as usury. Or about the canonist who counselled him so - Eugene Pacelli was the one responsible for preparing the then new code of canon law - becoming later Pope under name of Pius XII. To St Robert Bellarmine - as indeed to me too - taking interest on a loan of goods in themselves not productive, as is necessarily the case with the goods of exchange, "productive money" being as useless for exchange of values as yardsticks still growing as branches are for measuring, is in of and by itself wrong or evil. Yet, Pacelli counselled Benedict XV otherwise, and when Pope ordered one monastery to pay interest to another cleric (AAS for one of years 1943, 1947 or 1950). He has been much accused for being Hitler's Pope - wrongly - but that is no cause to canonise him. HE and HIS modernisms are what made me doubt first that he was truly Pope, then that Papacy was the true succession of St Peter. What is amply clear is that St Robert Bellarmine did not know that and that a man who claims to have read him and cites this chapter as "if a Pope decrees vices or forbids virtues, the Church is obliged to obey him" is not very scholarly or even honest.

Hans-Georg Lundahl,
22 october 2009, St Caecilia,
in Musical Médiatèque of Paris

*Supreme Pontiff, I have also seen Sovereign Pontiff=usual title, Highest Bishop=what St Robert Bellarmine is talking about, the Bishop of rome being higher than others. Both are in Latin "Summus Pontifex".

30 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

I DO begin to have doubts about the existence of the alleged author of this text which occasioned this controverse.

(yup, still me, but I cannot bother to log in right now)

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Above wuz me, all right

Here is what I said on comment field of a post where I posted above:

I see no difference from what Orthodox say after schism, except that he says of Roman Bishop what u of each bishop or all collectively, but not of the Roman.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

His Catechism was also criticised for containing things like above pseudoquote for which I gave correction. Its Italian translation begins:

O sempre giudicato, ottimi uditori, essere sommamente necessario perseverare nella Chiesa, nella quale si trova la fede vera ed ortodossa, il vero culto di Dio, la vera remissione dei peccati ...

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Misquote as given in some bad sources:

"If the Pope some day imposed sins and forbade virtues, the Church is obliged to believe that these sins are good and these virtues are bad"

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

My translation of passage:

but if the Pope erred giving precepts for vices or forbidding virtues, the Church would be obliged to believe vices good & virtues bad, unless she wanted to sin against her conscience.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

The Latin of St Robert Bellarmine:

si autem Papa erraret praecipiendo vitia, vel prohibendo virtutes, teneretur Ecclesia credere vitia esse bona, & virtutes malas, nisi vellet contra conscientiam peccare.

teneretur=would be obliged

even the context

erraret praecipiendo=erred by giving a precept, were to err by giving a precept

cannot possibly be identified as

"gives a precept"

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Bellarmine clearly says that imposing a sin and forbidding a virtue is error, he is not at all declaring that the Church can be bound by such error, he thought God would never allow a Pope to commit such an error.

Anonyme a dit…

Oops! St Caecilia seems to be a month later, when I look it up.

Well, there was some time since I owned a Roman Missal.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Mon retour des Orthodoxes à la Société St Pie X, III:

25 L'abbé Pierre était pire que je ne croyait ... (ci... 26 Consécration de Russie - peut un orthodoxe être d'accord?... 27 Miracle du 10 juillet 1628, Carpentras 28 Lien à vieux message sur Ste Ursule (cliquer ici) 29 St Pie X, son œuvre en six actes (sermon à St Nicolas du Chardonnet)... 30 Dostoïno iest - il est digne (lien, cliquez ce tit... 31 St François d'Assise (lien en titre) 32, le décisif, en anglais: a Mystagogy posts certainly false allegation on St Robert Bellarmine... - b Pseudoquote identified. What De Romano Pontifice, ... really says - c Further faults of fact in the Mystagogy post 33 Dans le jardin de l'épouse du Christ fleurissent trois miracles... 34 Je confesse ... 35/36 Trois grandes ... et combien de petites? - Solidaire avec les bouddhistes? Non.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Links, mostly, including to Fr. Huneycutt, Bishop Williamson, John Sandinopoulos, and some of my comments, these being English counterpart to "Mon retour des Orthodoxes à la FSSPX":

1 Hungarians do play guitar (link) 2 China 3 Orthodixie: "Of course Sponge Bob is gay" (link) 4 Dale Ahlquist: "G.K. Chesterton and The Perils of ... 5 "Generous Orthodoxy" defends fallibilism? 6 Brain death diagnosis kills? (link) 7a "Kill your parents" +40ys=Educate your children! (link) b I don't believe in Weathermen c How e v e r 8 "When does His Grace Hilarion sleep?" /Orthodixie ... 9 Airport Tyranny/Dinoscopus (link) 10 Mark Pivarunas, bishop, speaks (link) 11 Between Sunday of Genealogy and Christmas Day (links) 12 Two courageous men, two heavily conformist communities... 13 Reading time for Mgr Williamson! 14 Update 1: Mgr Williamson apologises for hurting people... 15 Update 3: some do not apologise or avoid schism (update 2 is in French series) 16 Count-down to St Patrick's - a link to his "breast plate"... 17 Happy St Patrick's day, all of you ... 18 Annunciation 19 Happy Annunciation, Old Calendarists! - 20 Great and Holy Tuesday (link to Fr. James) - 21 Orthodox Holy Week (link to Fr Huneycutt) - 22 Christ is risen! - 23 Il est vraiment ressuscité 24 Piracy and slavehunt are not Christian things 25 A book and a site they might not want you to read ... 26 Today's celebrations: 27 Blessed feast of the Dormition! 28 My dear Bishop Williamson, if I had earned money a... 29 Brother Dimond refutes claim that Shroud of Turin is a fake (link, youtube)... 30 Am I too libertarian for FSSPX? Hope not. 31 a Mystagogy posts certainly false allegation on St Robert Bellarmine... - b Pseudoquote identified. What De Romano Pontifice, ... really says - c Further faults of fact in the Mystagogy post

F.G.S.A a dit…

The examples of the England language found on this site are full of grammatical mistakes and unidiomatic phrases. "Highest Pontiff" simply does not exist in English to denote the Bishop of Rome: Supreme Pontiff is the appropriate expression. I would humbly beg the author of this blog to consult Fowler's English Usage and King's English, and to read the diverse works of Dr Johnson to get an idea of what correct English not only "looks" like but also "sounds". I wish you had less latinity and more clearness in your expressions. Thanking you.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

"Highest Pontiff" corrected to "Supreme Pontiff" (supreme happens to be Latin for highest). The translation ON THIS MESSAGE closely follows the Latin, and does not sound like English but like Latin too closely translated into English. It is mine, made for sole purpose of defending St Robert Bellarmine against a calumny related to this locus of his work De Romano Pontifice. It does not nor should not either claim any literary quality of mine, only a mere serveice to any reader unable to read St Robert's Latin for himself.

F.G.S.A a dit…

I personally have no problem with the latin language. Though i'm confined to a classical and not to a scholastic and mediaeval vocabulary. The only work of Bellarmine which i know and as a consequence of which i like, is the De Arte Bene Moriendi- which in my humble opinion many people should read. There are also the works of Jeremy Taylor, an Anglican divine on the same subject: Holy Living and Holy Dying which influenced much the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

I think that more books by St Robert Bellarmine should be read. And thus translated.

I do not think the translation should be strikingly Johnsonese, however.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

I note that some Divines in Protestant Communities such as Anglicans and Lutherans have:

1 approached Catholicism in Liturgy and view of Sacraments (Oxford Movement of 1830's, more recently in Sweden);

2 even before that tried to salvage Catholic piety, like the books you refer to and which I have not read, like Giertz and Schartau in Sweden, not to mention their successor the recently deceased Bertil Gärtner (R.I.P.).

Unfortunately they do not constitute the mainstream of Protestantism or even of their own particular communities.

F.G.S.A a dit…

Yes, indeed, there was at a time a wave of "High-Churchianism" in the Scandinavian Lutheran Churches- but with the admission of women to their "orders" and like aberrations, it has been mostly likely sidelined, persecuted or even destroyed.

What do you think of Bossuet and his Gallicanism? Extraordinary and in my opinion, praiseworthy that a Bishop should at the same time live at the court, advise the King, without ceasing to administer his diocese, instructing the faithful under him and strengthening them in the Catholic faith and confuting the Protestants.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Have you seen the biography of St François de Sales? It was one of my dearest readings when converting some twenty years ago.

Both "pietism" and "high-churchianism" are sidelined or diluted. Problem is they never were the mainstream of Protestantism.

The Calvinism that St François fought (free-will as illusory or at least not changing eternal predestination either to glory or to shame) was in many countries THE Protestant confession.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Catholic Herald about Anglo-Catholic continuity claim (link, click)

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Read also, about Anglo-Catholics, one of the chief concerned, the Tractarian and later convert Henry Cardinal Newman, as speaking (so to speak) in Apologia Pro Vita Sua.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

The mistranslation reminds me of this Protestant one of St Athanasius:

(link to article cited as saying:)

Perhaps our Protestant apologist is a bit disappointed that I have not yet engaged him in any quibbling about Greek. Well, he's offered me a beauty of an instance; in fact, it's his very favorite quotation from Athanasius, the one in which he pretends that Athanasius professes the doctrine of sola scriptura over and against Church councils. Speaking of the Arians, St. Athanasius says:

"Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded councils for the faith's sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things; but if a council is needed on the point, there are the proceedings of the Fathers, for the Nicene bishops did not neglect this matter, but stated the doctrine so exactly, that persons reading their words honestly, cannot but be reminded by them of the religion towards Christ announced in the divine Scriptures" (On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia, 6).

Does St. Athanasius' original Greek really say that Scripture is "sufficient above all things"? No. In a very simple sentence which a first-year Greek student should be able to translate correctly, St. Athanasius declares "For divine Scripture is more sufficient than all [other writings, councils, etc.]." The sentence in transliterated Greek reads Esti men gar hikanotera panton he theia graphe. Here we do not have an absolute statement, but a comparative one. To say that Scripture is the primary source of doctrine is not to say that it is the sole source of doctrine. I do not know of any Catholic theologian, doctor, or council of prelates of any period in the Church's history who would not view arguments from Sacred Scripture as the more authoritative among various sources of doctrine. This quotation gives absolutely no support to the Protestant error of sola scriptura. The issue here in the Greek is subtle, yes, but seemingly too subtle for the Protestant apologist to have caught.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Same article also states (if truthfully I leave to scholars who have studied the Council of 680):

There is some question as to whether the emperor acted on his own, or in concert with Pope Sylvester. While the accounts contemporary to the event mention only Constantine, a statement made in the Third Council of Constantinople (A.D. 680) indicates Nicea was called by both the emperor and the Pope. It is interesting to note this statement was made during the general session, and was received as true without question or objection. Surely they would have known better, were it not true.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…
Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.
Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

New short link to Sadinopoulos' article:

New short links to mine: (this one)

Nicholas a dit…

"but if the Pope erred giving precepts for vices or forbidding virtues, the Church would be obliged to believe vices good & virtues bad, unless she wanted to sin against her conscience."

What is St Robert saying here? If the Pope is in 'error' then why are Catholic bound by conscience?

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

If the Pope WERE in error Catholics WOULD BE obliged if it was IN A MATTER in which HE INTENDED TO BIND THE CHURCH.

And as that is absurd he cannot be in error on such an occasion.

Note that when it comes to SSPX vs Sedisvacantism, the latter are closer to St Robert Bellarmine and the former to Cajetan.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Fr. Paul Natterer of Zaitzkofen (SSPX Seminary in Germany) stated in the sermon series Wie müssen wir zum Pabst stehen, he considered the position of Cajetan more balanced than that of St Robert Bellarmine.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

Paul Natterer

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

It cannot happen that the Pontiff err precepting some vice, like usury; or forbidding some virtue, like restitution: since these are good, or bad by themselves.

Noting examples: look up Canon law of 1917, juridic work directed by Pacelli, look up its interpretation in 1943 (AAS=Acta Apostolicae Sedis), by same Pacelli become Pope Pius XII - if Pope he was. He ordered a monastery to pay interest to another monastery that year.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

To F.G.S.A. forwarded from the newsletter Eleison Comments by Bishop Williamson:


A reader asks a vital question : « If a good Protestant has lived a good life but still firmly believes that the Catholic Faith is wrong, so that he does not even consider entering the Catholic Church, can he still be saved ?" The question is vital (from "vita" in latin, meaning "life"), because it is a question of eternal life or death for countless souls.

By way of answer, the first thing to be said is that every soul appearing at death instantaneously before God's judgment seat will be judged by him with a perfect justice and with a perfect mercy. God alone knows the depths of a man's heart which a man can hide from himself, let alone from other men. Men may misjudge, but God never. Therefore the "good Protestant" will be damned by himself or saved by God, exactly as God knows that he has deserved.

Nevertheless it stands to reason that if God wants all of us to be saved (I Tim.II,4), and requires of us to believe on pain of damnation (Mk.XVI,16), he will have let us men know what we must believe and what we must do to save our souls. What then must the "good Protestant" believe ?

At the very least any soul to be saved must believe that God exists and that he rewards the good and punishes the wicked (Heb.XI,6). If a "good Protestant" who has led "a good life" does not believe that, he cannot be saved. But many Catholic theologians go further and say that to be saved one must also believe in the Holy Trinity and in Christ as Redeemer. If these theologians are right, then there may be many more "good Protestants" who cannot save their souls.

And God may require of them to believe in more than just these absolute basics, depending upon how much opportunity they have had in life to learn of the Truth that comes from him. If they are ignorant of all the rest of the Catholic Faith, have they never come across it ? Possibly not. But possibly they have. I can remember my mother telling with admiration how a Catholic priest once answered all the serious questions of her "good Protestant" father, but there was no follow-up that I know of. If then "good Protestants" have even only once come across Catholic truth, why exactly did they not follow up ? Unless it was badly presented, they were in effect rejecting truth. Can they have rejected it without some fault? Then did they reject it innocently or wilfully ? "Good Protestants" easily consider themselves to be innocent, as do we all, but God is deceived by none of us.

However, there is also what a "good Protestant" must do to be saved. He may not know all that the Catholic Church infallibly requires of us in morals, but he does have at least the natural light of his in-born conscience. Now it may be truly difficult with original sin and with no help from the Catholic sacraments to follow that natural light of one's conscience, but if one does seriously violate it or twist it out of true, it is easy to live and to die in mortal sin, a state in which no soul can be saved. Again, the "good Protestant" may plead ignorance of the fullness of God's law as Catholics can know it, but is his ignorance truly "invincible", i.e. innocent ? For instance, did he really not know, or did he actually want not to know, that artificial means of birth control are seriously displeasing to God ?

God knows. God judges. May he have mercy upon all "good Protestants", and upon all of us.

Kyrie eleison.

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

New short link to this post: