Friday, December 05, 2014

Robert Siscoe reponds to Fr. Cekada

Robert Siscoe and John of St. Thomas Respond to Fr. Cekada
By Robert J. Siscoe
Fr. Cekada posted a response on his website to my April, 2014 article, titled Bellarmine and Suarez on the Question of a Heretical Pope. (1) Skipping over the citations included in the article, which confirmed that the intervention of the proper ecclesiastical authorities is necessary for a sitting Pope to be declared deprived of his office due to heresy, Fr. Cekada zeroed in on one point in particular: he objected to my assertion that, according to Bellarmine, a Pope becomes a “manifest heretic” by remaining obstinate after being publicly warned.
Now, if my assertion is correct, it reveals a fundamental flaw in one of the principle arguments (if not the principle argument) used in defense of the Sedevacantist position, which could result in an unraveling of the entire Sedevacantist thesis.  Fr. Cekada, being well aware of this, reacted at once by posting an article of his own on his website in an attempt to counter my assertion.  Fr. Cekada’s attempted refutation included two points:  1) He claims that Bellarmine never said a pope must be warned before losing his office due to manifest heresy.   2) He also argued that two quotations (one from Bellarmins’s fourth opinion and another from Bellarmine’s fifth opinion) which were included together in the article (separated by an ellipses) were referring to “two different issues”.  As we will see later, these two quotations do not refer to two different issues, but are logically connected one to another.
I contacted Fr. Cekada directly to ask if he would allow me to respond to his public allegation (which, I’m sorry to say, was replete with sarcastic insults and name-calling), and if he would be willing to include my response beneath his own article on his website.  He replied cordially by saying that his website is just not set up for that sort of thing, and furthermore, if he permitted me to respond to his public allegations, he’d have to do the same for others.  Heaven forbid!  But to his credit, he did edit the original article by removing most of the sarcastic insults and inappropriate name-calling, thereby bringing his article slightly more in accord with what one would expected from a person who had been elevated to the dignity of the priesthood.
As Providence would have it, after reading Fr. Cekada’s piece, and while looking up the source for a quotation I had used in the April article, I happened across an extremely thorough treatise on the deposition of a heretical pope, which, as far as I know, has never been translated into English (at least not in its entirety).  I discovered it in Cursus Theologici, Tract. De Auctoritate Summi Pontificis, Disp II, Art III (1640), written by John of St. Thomas, who is considered one of the greatest minds of the “Counter-Reformation” era, as it is sometimes called.  This brilliant professor of Scholastic theology and philosophy, who is recognized as one of the foremost Thomists the Church has known - possibly second only to St. Thomas himself - addresses every aspect of the question with incredible precision, utilizing Thomistic metaphysics and unassailable logic, while citing historical examples and canon law.  Through the use of distinctions, he reconciles apparent contradictions in the writings of theologians over this question, and explains, in precise detail, the way in which a heretical pope falls from the Pontificate.
His treatise reveals many errors of today’s Sedevacantists, using some of the same arguments that have appeared in this publication.  He even discusses, at length, and confirms the very point I made in the April 2014 article - which Fr. Cekada mocked an ridiculed as “windbaggery from someone who has no idea what he is talking about” – namely, that Bellarmine held the position that a heretical Pope must be warned before losing his office due to heresy.
I will use this response to Fr. Cekada to introduce some of the material contained in this magnificent treatise, which will likely be published, in its entirety, in an upcoming book on Sedevacantism, which should be out in the Spring of 2015. 
John of St. Thomas lists the sequence of events for the loss of office for a heretical Pope as follows:

1) A Pope who professes heresy is, in accord with divine law, publicly warned by the proper authorities. 

2) If the Pope shows himself manifestly obstinate after being duly warned, a declaratory sentence is issued for the crime of heresy, and faithful are informed that, according to divine law, he must be avoided. 
3) Since a Pope cannot govern the Church if he must be avoided by the faithful, God Himself severs the bond that unites the man to the office, and he falls, ipso facto, from the Pontificate, even “before any excommunication or judicial sentence”, by the Church, as Bellarmine himself taught.
4) A General Council issues a second declaration (declaration of deprivation) stating that the Pope has deprived himself of his office.   At this point the former pope is judged and punished by the Church.

Notice that the declaratory sentence (#2) and the declaration deprivation (#4) are two separate and distinct events.  This is an important point, since it clarifies something that Sedevacantists, such as Fr. Cekada, have missed. All they have considered, regarding this point, is the two-fold opinion regarding how a heretical pope loses his office: one opinion maintains that the Church deposes the pope; the other holds that he loses his office ipso facto, and the Church merely confirms what has already taken place (thereby avoiding the heresy of Conciliarism, which claims that the Church has authority over a pope).  But both of these opinions only pertain to the final declaration.  What the Sedevacantists have failed to grasp is that before we get to the declaration of deprivation (point #4), both opinion agree that the Church must establish that the Pope has fallen into heresy.
This point was explained by the canonist S.B. Smith.  In his classic work, Elements of Ecclesiastical Law (1881), we find the following:
“Question: Is a Pope who falls into heresy deprived, ipso jure, of the Pontificate?

"Answer: There are two opinions: one holds that he is by virtue of divine appointment, divested ipso facto, of the Pontificate; the other, that he is, jure divino, only removable. Both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the Church - i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals.” (2)

 Notice that Fr. Smith addresses both opinions regarding the question of how a pope loses his office (which relates to point #4 above), and then notes that “both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the Church.” (point #2).

 And it should be noted that Fr. Smith’s book was carefully examined by two canonists in Rome following its initial publication.  The Preface of the Third Edition explains that Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the Propaganda Fide, “appointed two Consultors, doctors in canon law, to examine the ‘Elements’ and report to him. The Consultors, after examining the book for several months, made each a lengthy report to the Cardinal-Prefect”. (3)  Their detailed reports noted five inaccuracies or errors that required revision.  The above quotation was not cited as an error, or even a slight inaccuracy.  Hence it remained in the Third revised Edition from which the above quotation was taken.  If the statement was in incorrect, it would have been noted by the canonist and revised.  The fact that it was not revised shows that the statement is correct.   
It only makes sense that a Pope would not lose his office without the Church performing the ministerial function necessary to establish the crime, since if a pope were to lose his office without the Church knowing about, or in any way being involved in the process, Catholics would never have absolute certainty that a pope who defined a dogma, or ratified a council, was a true pope, or an antipope, since they would never have absolute certainty that he had not previously fallen into heresy and thereby lost his office.  Everything would be in a state of uncertainty and left to the private judgment of each individual to decide.  The scrupulous would be paralyzed by doubt, and the instable would fall into the most outrageous conclusions.  

 And we can see where it leads when individual Catholics in the pew begin to decide for themselves who is, and who is not, a true Pope, when we consider that we now have a Sedevacantist who claims Pope Innocent (d. 1143) was the last true pope.  He posted the following on his website:
"As of January 2014, I have discovered conclusive evidence that all the so-called popes and cardinals from Innocent II (1130-1143) onward have been idolaters or formal heretics and thus were apostate antipopes and apostate anticardinals.”
This is where the Protestant notion of private judgment leads, when it is used as the basis for determining who is and who is not a true Pope.  For this reason, a pope does not lose his office ipso facto by divine law, without the Church first establishing the fact of the crime.
The Necessity of a Warning
St. Bellarmine lists five opinions regarding the loss of office for a heretical Pope.  The fourth and fifth opinions refer to the two opinions discussed above by Fr. Smith – namely, whether a heretical Pope loses his office ipso facto (fifth opinion), or is jure divino deposable (fourth opinion).  Bellarmine holds to the more common fifth opinion regarding this question.
“Therefore, the true opinion is the fifth” wrote Bellarmine, “according to which the Pope manifestly a heretic ceases by himself to be Pope and head, in the same way as he ceases to be a Christian and a member of the body of the Church; and for this reason he can be judged and punished by the Church.”
But the question dealt with in the April article still remains: what did Bellarmine himself mean by the term “manifest heretic”?  The answer is not given in Bellarmine’s explanation and defense of the fifth opinion, but is found in his objection and refutation of the fourth opinion.
In his objection to the fourth opinion, Bellarmine employed the use of a syllogism (4) in order to arrive at a theological conclusion that refutes it.  A theological conclusion is a conclusion derived from two premises, one of which is a revealed truth (the Major), while the other is a truth known by reason (the Minor).  The following is the syllogism used by Bellarmine. 

Major: According to St. Paul, a heretic must be avoided after two warnings.

Minor: A Pope who remains Pope cannot be avoided (for how could the Church avoid its head?).

Conclusion: A manifest heretic cannot be the pope.
The following is all contained in a single paragraph in the original:  
 “The fourth opinion is that of Cajetan, for whom the manifestly heretical Pope is not ipso facto deposed, but can and must be deposed by the Church. To my judgment, this opinion cannot be defended. For, in the first place, it is proven with arguments from authority [Major] and from reason [Minor] that the manifest heretic is ipso facto deposed, The argument from authority is based on Saint Paul (Titus, 3:10), who orders that the heretic be avoided after two warnings, that is, after showing himself to be manifestly obstinate which means before any excommunication or judicial sentence [Major] (…) . Now, a Pope who remains Pope cannot be avoided, for how could we be required to avoid our own head? [Minor]therefore the manifest heretic cannot be Pope.” [Conclusion]
Now, before showing how this syllogism requires a warning for a pope to be considered a manifest heretic, I need to address Fr. Cekada’s primary argument against my April article.  He claimed that a single quotation from the article, which included a statement from Bellarmine’s fourth opinion, along with a statement from the fifth opinion (the two being separated by an ellipses), were completely unrelated.  He wrote: “You don’t have to be a Latinist to figure out that two passages with several intervening columns in small print might just possibly refer to two different issues.”  He then used this assertion as the basis for a sarcastic ad hominem attack, which, unfortunately, is a common tactic of Fr. Cekada against anyone who dares to write against the errors of Sedevacantism.
What Fr. Cekada apparently didn’t realize (or pretended not to realize), is that the two quotations included the Major from the syllogism (found in the fourth opinion), along with a statement from the fifth opinion that is virtually identical to the Conclusion of the syllogism.  Hence, there is a logical relation between the two citations, which Fr. Cekada claimed not to see.  The following is how the syllogism reads when the quotation from the fifth opinion replaces the Conclusion from the syllogism in the fourth opinion:
Major: According to St. Paul, a heretic must be avoided after two warnings.

Minor: A Pope who remains Pope cannot be avoided.  But how can we avoid our head?

Conclusion: The Pope manifestly a heretic ceases by himself to be Pope.
A simple comparison between the above Conclusion (statement taken from the fifth opinion), and the Conclusion found in the syllogism in the fourth opinion (“the manifest heretic cannot be Pope”), shows that the two statements are virtually identical.  Therefore, quoting the Major from the fourth opinion, along with the above statement from the fifth opinion (as was done in the April article), was not connecting together “two different issues”, as Fr. Cekada claimed.  Rather, the latter half of the quote is the logical conclusion to the former when you add the Minor.  Did Fr. Cekada really not notice this?
How much more appropriate would it have been for Fr. Cekada to e-mailed me directly for a clarification, rather than posting a sarcastic and insulting article on his website for all the world to see?  Is such common courtesy too much to expect from a priest? The question that remains is whether Fr. Cekada will be honest enough to remove the public detraction from his website, now that he has been alerted to his mistake.
Now back to the main the issue: what did Bellarmine mean by the term “manifest heretic”?  Notice that the Major in Bellarmine’s syllogism (the revealed premise used to establish why a manifestly heretical pope loses his office) requires a warning, according to the authority of St. Paul.  What this shows is that, according to Bellarmine, a pope is not considered a manifest heretic prior to being warned. Fr. Cekada denies this and instead claims the only reason Bellarmine quoted the verse (Titus 3:10) was to show that “heresy is a type of self-judgement that puts you (and by extension, a heretical pope) outside the Church.”  But, with all due respect, Fr. Cekada is mistaken.  That’s not why Bellarmine cited that particular verse.  It was quoted because a warning is necessary.  In fact, this principle of divine law is enshrined in canon law, which also requires that a warning be given (canon 2314.2) followed by a declaratory sentence (2223.4).  In fact, a warning is considered so essential that it is even required for a prelate who publicly defects from the Faith (Canon 188.4) by joining a false religion, whether formally (sectae acatholicae nomen dare) or informally (publice adhaerere).   Although canon law does not require a declaratory sentence in this instance, it does require a warning before the office is rendered vacant.  (5) This shows how absolutely essential the Church considers a warning to be, before an office is rendered vacant due to heresy.
The Purpose of a Warning
The purpose of the warning is to establish whether or not the person is pertinacious in his rejection of a dogma, rather than merely mistaken, or perhaps only guilty of a regrettable statement made out of human weakness. Since pertinacity is a necessary element of heresy, it does not suffice that its presence be presumed; it must be confirmed.  A warning is a means for establishing whether a person in material heresy is or is not pertinacious.  If a warning is necessary to establish pertinacity in the case of a priest or Bishop (according to canon law), why would it be unnecessary in the case of a Pope? Is the bar set lower for “he who judges all and is judged by no one”, than for those of a lower rank? 

Commenting on the proposition that a pope who is externally a heretic, but who has not been warned, remains pope, John of St. Thomas wrote:

“This statement… is obvious and is not contradicted by Bellarmine.  The truth is evident for the following reason: the pope insofar as he is externally a heretic, if he is prepared to be corrected, cannot be deposed (as we have said above), and the Church, by divine law, cannot declare him deposed, as it cannot yet avoid him, since, according to the Apostle [Paul], ‘a man who is a heretic is to be avoided, after the first and second warning’.  Therefore, before the first and second warning, he is not to be avoided by the Church... Therefore, it is falsely said that a Pontiff, by the very fact that he is a heretic externally is deposed: truly, he is able to be so publicly as long as he has not yet been warned by the Church....”

 This teaching of John of St. Thomas is confirmed by the eminent 18th Century Italian theologian, Fr. Petri Ballerini – who is an adherent of Bellarmine’s fifth opinion.  A portion of the following quote was included in the April article, but what was not specifically pointed out is that, according to Fr. Ballerini, before the Pope is warned he is still a legitimate Pope (which will become more clear in the commentary that follows).  He begins by saying that a Pontiff who “defended heresy” would be a grave danger to the faith.  He then asks who would have the authority to issue a warning to a Pope, and explains what such a warning would accomplish:
 “Is it not true that, confronted with such a danger to the faith, any subject can, by fraternal correction, warn their superior, resist him to his face, refute him and, if necessary, summon him and press him to repent? The Cardinals, who are his counselors, can do this; or the Roman Clergy, or the Roman Synod, if, being met, they judge this opportune. For any person, even a private person, the words of Saint Paul to Titus hold: ‘Avoid the heretic, after a first and second correction, knowing that such a man is perverted and sins, since he is condemned by his own judgment’ (Tit. 3, 10-11). For the person, who, admonished once or twice, does not repent, but continues pertinacious in an opinion contrary to a manifest or defined dogma - not being able, on account of this public pertinacity to be excused, by any means, of heresy properly so called, which requires pertinacity - this person declares himself openly a heretic. He reveals that by his own will he has turned away from the Catholic Faith and the Church, in such form that now no declaration or sentence of anyone whatsoever is necessary to cut him from the body of the Church. (…) Therefore the Pontiff who after such a solemn and public warning by the Cardinals, by the Roman Clergy or even by the Synod, maintained himself hardened in heresy and openly turned himself away from the Church, would have to be avoided, according to the precept of Saint Paul. So that he might not cause damage to the rest, he would have to have his heresy and contumacy publicly proclaimed, so that all might be able to be equally on guard in relation to him. Thus, the sentence which he had pronounced against himself would be made known to all the Church, making clear that by his own will he had turned away and separated himself from the body of the Church, and that in a certain way he had abdicated the Pontificate…” (6)

 Notice that he begins by explaining that an inferior can warn a superior.  The reason he mentions this is because the Cardinals, or those who are charged with issuing the public warning, are inferior to the Pope.  What this shows is that, according to Fr. Ballerini, a Pope who “defended heresy” would still be Pope prior to the public warning – just like John of St. Thomas said – since a “Pope” who had already lost his office due to heresy would no longer be superior to the Cardinals.  Only after remaining obstinate in the face of the “public and solemn” warning would pertinacity be sufficiently manifest.  Prior to the public warning, and up to the time of the public declaration, the man would still be a legitimate Pope.  This point becomes more evident from what Fr. Ballerini had to say next:

“One sees then that in the case of a heresy, to which the Pontiff adhered privately, there would be an immediate and efficacious remedy… for in this  hypothesis whatever would be done against him before the declaration of his contumacy and heresy, in order to call him to reason, would constitute an obligation of charity, not of jurisdiction; and if, after his turning away from the Church had been made manifest, there was a sentence passed on him by the Council, such a sentence would be pronounced against one who was no longer Pope nor superior to the Council.” (7)

 Notice that all of the actions (warnings, rebukes, etc.) that occurred before the “declaration of his contumacy and heresy” would be directed to one who was still Pope, which is why such actions would constitute an obligation of charity, rather than jurisdiction (since the Cardinals have no jurisdiction over a Pope).  This citation confirms what John of St. Thomas said above, namely, that even if a Pope appears to be a heretic externally, he does not lose his office until he has been juridically warned.
And it doesn’t suffice that the warning be given by a private individual.  John of St. Thomas addresses this point directly.  In the following quote, he begins by noting that even Bellarmine maintains that a warning is required - the very point I made in the April article, which Fr. Cekada ridiculed.  He then explains why the warning must come from the proper authorities, and why a public declaration must follow if the warning goes unheeded.  He wrote: “in truth, Bellarmine objects [to the fourth opinion] by saying the Apostle teaches that a heretic, after two warnings, must be avoided,” and then added:
“A heretic ought to be avoided after two juridical warnings made by Church authority, and not according to private judgment.  For great confusion would follow in the Church if it would suffice that this warning could be made by a private individual...”

He then explains why it is necessary for the Church to issue a public declaration advising the faithful that, according to divine law, the man is to be avoided.
“For the pope’s heresy cannot be public to all of the faithful except by an indictment brought by others.  But the indictment of an individual does not bind, since it is not juridical, and consequently none would be obliged to accept it and avoid him.  Therefore, it is necessary that, just as the Church designates the man and proposes him to the faithful as being elected Pope, thus also the Church declares him a heretic and proposes him as one to be avoided.”

The Effect of the Warning and Declaratory Sentence

John of St. Thomas has some very interesting things to say about the effects of the warning and declaratory sentence, and how these relate to the loss of office.
Firstly, as we have seen, the warning serves to determine whether the Pope is indeed pertinacious.  Once pertinacity is manifest, the Church issues a declaratory sentence of the crime and informs the faithful that, according to divine law, he is to be avoided.  Now, since a person cannot effectively govern the Church as its head while simultaneously being avoided by those he is to govern, the Pope is effectively rendered impotent by this declaration.  John of St. Thomas explains it this way:
“The Church is able to declare the crime of a Pontiff and, according to divine law, propose him to the faithful as a heretic that must be avoided.  The Pontiff, however, by the fact of having to be avoided, is necessarily rendered impotent by the force of such a declaration, since a Pope who is to be avoided is unable to influence the Church as its head.”
Being incapable of effectively ruling the Church due to his manifest heresy, God himself severs the bond that unites the man to the office, and he falls ipso facto from the Pontificate - even before being formally declared deprived of the Pontificate by the Church. 

It should also be noted, as Fr. Wernz S.J. observed, that the declaratory sentence of the crime “does not have the effect of judging a heretical pope, but of demonstrating that he has already been judged.” (8) Pope Innocent III made this same point, which highlights a distinction made by the canonists between judging the Pope, and declaring him judged.  Commenting on the verse “if the salt lose its savor, it is good for nothing,” Pope Innocent wrote:
“[T]he Roman Pontiff … should not mistakenly flatter himself about his power, nor rashly glory in his eminence or honor, for the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God.  I say ‘less’ because he can be judged by men, or rather shown to be judged, if he clearly loses his savor to heresy, since he ‘who does not believe is already judged’ (John 3:18)…” (9)
John of St. Thomas goes on to explain how the Church plays a ministerial part in the deposition, rather than an authoritative part, since the Church has no authority over a Pontiff - even in the case of heresy.  He employs the Thomistic concepts of form and matter to explain how the union between the man and the pontificate is dissolved.  A distinction is made between the man (the matter), the Pontificate (the form), and the bond that unites the two.  He explains that the Church plays a ministerial part in the deposition of a Pope, just as she plays a ministerial part in the election. During the election of a Pope, the Church designates the man (the matter), who is to receive the pontificate (the form) immediately from God. Something similar happens when a Pope loses his office due to heresy. Since “the Pope is constituted Pope by the power of jurisdiction alone” (10) (which he is unable to effectively exercise if he must be avoided) when the Church issues the declaratory sentence and presents him to the faithful as one that must be avoided, the Church thereby introduces a disposition into the matter (the man) that renders him incapable of sustaining the form (the Pontificate).   God responds to this legitimate act of the Church (which it has a right do to in accord with divine law) by withdrawing the form from the matter, thereby causing the man to fall from the Pontificate.

John of St. Thomas delves deeper into this point by clarifying that the Church acts directly on the matter, but only indirectly on the form (the Pontificate).  He describes this point using the analogy of man.  He explains that just as the generative act of man does not produce the form (the soul), neither does that which corrupts and destroys the matter (disease, etc) directly touch the form - nor does the corrupting element directly cause the separation of the form from the matter (but only renders the matter incapable of sustaining the form) - so too is it with the election and deposition of the Pope.  In both cases the actions of the Church are directed to the matter (the man) and only indirectly and ministerially to the form (the Pontificate).  In the election, the Church designates the man (matter) who is to receive the form (Pontificate).  In the deposition, the Church juridically declares the man to be judged and therefore to be avoided, and God Himself severs the bond that unites the form to the matter, causing the man to fall from the Pontificate.
Having fallen from the pontificate due to his heresy being manifest and declared to all, the former pope can then “be judged and punished by the Church”, as Bellarmine himself said.  At this point, a Council would declare the see vacant (Sede Vacante) so that the Cardinals could proceed to the election of a new Pope.

Of course, none of this has occurred with the post-conciliar Popes, who, faced with a public and solemn warning, may very well have renounced their errors and claimed they never intended teach other than what the Church herself teaches.
Yet Sedevacantists, based on a hasty and superficial reading of Bellarmine, skip over all this and take matters into their own hands.  Imagining that a manifest heretic is one they personally judge to be a heretic, they conclude that if they themselves become “morally certain” that the man is guilty of heresy it must mean he is not the pope.  They then write articles explaining to others how they too can “detect” heresy in the pope in the hope that they will also become “morally certain” the man is a heretic and adopt the Sedevacantist position.  This is one of their means of proselytism.

The Church is a visible society; who is and who is not a member of the hierarchy is not a matter of personal opinion.  John of St. Thomas addresses this point directly, when he said a pope who is a manifest heretic, according to private judgment, remains pope.  He wrote:
“So long as he has not been declared to us juridically as an infidel or heretic, be he ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains, as far as we are concerned, a member of the Church, and consequently its head. The Church’s judgment is required, whereby he is proposed [to the faithful] as a non-Christian, and therefore to be avoided.  It is only then that he ceases to be pope as far as we are concerned.”

John of St. Thomas also discusses at length why only a General Council (an “imperfect council”) can declare the See vacant. We find the same teaching in Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae, which states that, in the case of a Pope who is a notorious heretic, only a Council would have the right to declare his See vacant:
“Given that, as a private person, the Pontiff could indeed become a public, notorious, and obstinate heretic… only a Council would have the right to declare his see vacant so that the usual electors could safely proceed to an election.” (11)
This teaching is in perfect harmony with the following from St. Bellarmine himself.  He begins by explaining how the faithful can distinguish a true prophet (12) from a false prophet, namely, by “watching carefully to see if the one preaching says the contrary of his predecessors”.  Then, a paragraph later he adds:
“We must point out, besides, that the faithful can certainly distinguish a true prophet from a false one, by the rule that we have laid down, but for all that, if the pastor is a bishop, they cannot depose him and put another in his place. For Our Lord and the Apostles only lay down that false prophets are not to be listened to by the people, and not that they depose them. And it is certain that the practice of the Church has always been that heretical bishops be deposed by bishop's councils, or by the Sovereign Pontiff.” (13)

 Here we see Bellarmine’s true thinking on this point.  He doesn’t say that if an individual personally judges the Bishop to be a heretic, they can declare him a “manifest heretic” and then proclaim that he has lost his office.  No. A heretic can be spotted, as he explains, but if the heretic is a bishop he is only to be deposed (or declared deprived) by the proper authorities.  Also notice Bellarmine’s implicit endorsement of the “recognize and resist” (R&R) position, when he says (quoting our Lord) that “false prophets (heretical Bishops) are not to be listened to by the people”.  Not listening to them is one thing; declaring them deposed is another.  The former is commanded by Our Lord; the latter forbidden by Tradition.

Objection Answered
At this point an objection needs to be addressed.  Fr. Cekada has attempted to counter a number of articles against Sedevacantism by claiming that these were referring to the crime of heresy, while, according to him, the loss of office is caused by the sin of heresy.  Here is one such example:

“Like many who have written against sedevacantism, one fundamental flaw runs through Mr. Sparks’ article (…) Heresy is both a crime (delictum) against canon law and a sin (peccatum) against divine law. … It is by violating the divine law through the sin (peccatum) of heresy that a heretical pope loses his authority – ‘having become an unbeliever,’ as Cardinal Billot says, ‘he would by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church’.” (14)
Notice that Fr. Cekada quotes Cardinal Billot in support of his position. What he doesn’t tell his readers (or even indicate by an “ellipses”) is that he is only quoting half of a sentence.  If you read the entire sentence you see that the Cardinal is not speaking merely of the sin of heresy, as Fr. Cekada would have his readers believe, but of notorious heresy, which is a crime. (15)  Here is the complete sentence:

“Given, therefore, the hypothesis of a pope who would become notoriously heretical, one must concede without hesitation that he would by that very fact lose the pontifical power, insofar as, having become an unbeliever, he would by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church.” (15)
What the half sentence giveth, the complete sentence taketh away.  If it was the sin of heresy alone that caused the loss of office, a pope who fell into occult (secret) heresy would also cease to be pope.  Yet, as Bellarmine teaches (citing the authority of Melchor Cano): “the Pope who is an occult heretic is still Pope.” (17)
Fr. Cekada’s position is also contradicted by John of St. Thomas who, no less than twelve times, states that it is the crime of heresy that causes the Pope to lose his office.  Numerous examples have already been cited in this article.  One more will suffice: John of St. Thomas speaks of “the deposition itself, which must be done after the declarative judgment of the crime.”
Another authority that contradicts Fr. Cekada is the highly respected commentary on canon law by Wernz-Vidal.  Speaking of the case of a manifestly heretical pope, Wernz-Vidal says “the General Council declares the fact of the crime by which the heretical pope has separated himself from the Church and deprived himself of his dignity." (18)

Now Fr. Cekada himself quotes Wernz-Vidal when it supports his position. Is he also willing to accept its weighty authority when it contradicts his personal opinion? If so, he will be forced to revise many of his arguments in favor of Sedevacantism, and address many others than he simply dismissed.

 Unfortunately, a number of unsuspecting laymen have fallen for and embraced this particular teaching of Fr. Cekada, and then used it to defend the Sedevacantist position.  One such person is Jerry Ming, who wrote an “Open Letter to John Vennari”, in response to an article he ran several years ago in Catholic Family News.  Here is an excerpt from the “Open Letter”.  See if it sounds familiar:

“So, it should be clear to all, that heresy is a crime against canon law and a sin against the divine law. ‘It is by violating the divine law through the sin of heresy that a heretical pope loses his authority – “having become an unbeliever…” as Cardinal Billot says, “he would by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church”.’” (19)

Notice that Mr. Ming not only parrots Fr Cekada, but he even quotes the same half sentence from Cardinal Billot (out of context) to make his point.  Here we see the danger of following Sedevacantist priests without double-checking their sources and verifying the accuracy of their teachings.

As we have seen, a juridical warning is an integral part of the process for a Pope to lose his office due to manifest heresy, since it serves as a means of establishing pertinacity, which is a necessary element of heresy.  Once pertinacity is established, the Pope’s heresy must be manifest to all by a declaratory sentence of the crime issued by the proper authorities.   Without this intervention by the proper authorities, a Pope who appears externally to be a heretic retains his office.
This explains why Fr. Paul Laymann, S.J., (d. 1635), “one of the greatest moralists and canonists of his time” (20) said that a Pope who fell into heresy, but was nevertheless being tolerated by the Church, would remain Pope.
“It is more probable that the Supreme Pontiff, as a person, might be able to fall into heresy and even a notorious one, by reason of which he would merit to be deposed by the Church, or rather declared to be separated from her. (…) Observe, however, that, though we affirm that the Supreme Pontiff, as a private person, might be able to become a heretic and therefore cease to be a true member of the Church, (…) still, while he was tolerated by the Church, and publicly recognized as the universal pastor, he would really enjoy the pontifical power, in such a way that all his decrees would have no less force and authority than they would if he were truly faithful.”  (21)
As bad as one may think the post-Vatican II Popes have been, they have not been publicly warned or declared guilty of heresy by the proper authorities, and therefore have retained their office.  And since “it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature that he be subject to the Roman Pontiff,” (22) those who follow Fr. Cekada into Sedevacantism place their souls in mortal danger. This shows the wisdom of the decree from the Fourth Council of Constantinople, which forbade anyone to separate himself from communion with his patriarch before a careful enquiry and judgment in synod, attaching the grave penalty of excommunication to any laymen or monk who dared to do otherwise.
“As divine scripture clearly proclaims, ‘Do not find fault before you investigate, and understand first and then find fault’. And does our law judge a person without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does? Consequently this holy and universal synod justly and fittingly declares and lays down that no lay person or monk or cleric should separate himself from communion with his own patriarch before a careful inquiry and judgment in synod, even if he alleges that he knows of some crime perpetrated by his patriarch, and he must not refuse to include his patriarch's name during the divine mysteries or offices. (…) If anyone shall be found defying this holy synod, he is to be debarred from all priestly functions and status if he is a bishop or cleric; if a monk or lay person, he must be excluded from all communion and meetings of the church [i.e. excommunicated] until he is converted by repentance and reconciled” (The Fourth Council of Constantinople, Canon 10).

The Council decreed what it did for a reason.  Fr. Cekada ignores this decree and attempts to persuade the scandalized faithful that they must do precisely what the council punishes with an excommunication.  “There is a way that seemeth right to man, but the end thereof is death”.  Fr. Cekada may honestly believe that the last 6 or 7 men elected pope, and recognized as Pope by virtually the entire words (Catholic or not), were, in fact, not real Popes.  In fact, he may be just as certain of this point as he is that the papacy is lost due to the sin of heresy.  Caveat Emptor!


1)       Catholic Family News, R. Siscoe, April, 2014

2)       Elements of Ecclesiastical Law, Rev. SB Smith DD (Benzinger Br., New York, 1881), 3rd ed., p. 210

3)       Ibid. Preface

4)       A syllogism is an argument containing three propositions: two premises (a minor and a major) and a conclusion.

5)       This point is discussed at length by Rev. Augustine, OSB, DD, Professor of Canon Law, in his book A Commentary on Canon Law, Vol VIII, Bk 4, (Herder Book Co, 1922), pp 278-80.

6)       De Potestate Eecclesiastica, Ballerini (Monasterii Westphalorum, Deiters 1847) ch. 6, sec. 2, p. 124-25

7)       Ibid.

8)       Ius Decretalium (1913) II.615

9)       Between God and Man: Sermons of Pope Innocent III, Sermon IVp. 48-49

10)   De Comparatione Cuctoritatis Papae et Conciliin, by Cardinal Cajetan, English Translation in Conciliarism & Papalism, by Burns & Izbicki (Cambridge University Press, New York, NY 1997) p 76

11)   Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae, J.M. Herve, 1943, I.501

12)   “Prophet” in this sense refers to a teacher of heavenly things, and not necessarily one who foretells the future (see Summa II-II Q171, A3

13)   De Membris Ecclesiae, Lib. I De Clericis, cap. 7. Opera Omnia, Paris: Vives, 1870 p. 428-429

14)   Sedevacantism Refuted?, Fr. Cekada

15)   See Canons 2197.2 & 2197.3 of the 1917 Code

16)   De Ecclesia, 1927, 5th ed. 632

17)   De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30

18)   Wernz-Vidal, Jus Canonicum (Rome, 1943), II, 518

19)   Open Letter to John Vennari.

20)   Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, Vol. IX, p. 95

21)   Laymann, Theol. Mor., Lib, tact I, cap, VII, Cited in “Hypothesis of a Heretical Pope”, p. 196

22)   Unam Sanctam, Pope Boniface VIII

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Replies of the Pontifical Biblical Commission

On questions of Sacred Scripture

Translated by E. F. Sutcliffe, S.J.


ASS: Acta Sedis Sanctae; AAS: Acta Apostolicae Sedis; EB: Enchiridion Biblicum; Dz: Denzinger

Pope Pius X, Motu Proprio Praestantia Scripturae, 18 Nov. 1907 (ASS [1907] 724ff; EB nn. 278f; Dz 2113f): “We now declare and expressly enjoin that all Without exception are bound by an obligation of conscience to submit to the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, whether already issued or to be issued hereafter, exactly as to the decrees of the Sacred Congregations which are on matters of doctrine and approved by the Pope; nor can anyone who by word or writing attacks the said decrees avoid the note both of disobedience and of rashness or be therefore without grave fault.”

On the Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch

June 27, 1906 (ASS 39 [1906-07] 377f; EB 174ff; Dz 1997ff)

I: Are the arguments gathered by critics to impugn the Mosaic authorship of the sacred hooks designated by the name of the Pentateuch of such weight in spite of the cumulative evidence of many passages of both Testaments, the unbroken unanimity of the Jewish people, and furthermore of the constant tradition of the Church besides the internal indications furnished by the text itself, as to justify the statement that these books are not of Mosaic authorship but were put together from sources mostly of post-Mosaic date?
Answer: In the negative.

II: Does the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch necessarily imply a production of the whole work of such a character as to impose the belief that each and every word was written by Moses' own hand or was by him dictated to secretaries ; or is it a legitimate hypothesis that he conceived the work himself under the guidance of divine inspiration and then entrusted the writing of it to one or more persons, with the understanding that they reproduced his thoughts with fidelity and neither wrote nor omitted anything contrary to his will, and that finally the work composed after this fashion was approved by Moses, its principal and inspired author, and was published under his name?
Answer: In the negative to the first and in the affirmative to the second part.

III: Without prejudice to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, may it be granted that in the composition of his work Moses used sources, written documents namely or oral traditions, from which in accordance with the special aim he entertained and under the guidance of divine inspiration he borrowed material and inserted it in his work either word for word or in substance, either abbreviated or amplified?
Answer: In the affirmative.

IV: Subject to the Mosaic authorship and the integrity of the Pentateuch being substantially safeguarded, may it be admitted that in the protracted course of centuries certain modifications befell it, such as : additions made after the death of Moses by an inspired writer, or glosses and explanations inserted in the text, certain words and forms changed from archaic into more recent speech, finally incorrect readings due to the fault of scribes which may be the subject of inquiry and judgement according to the laws of textual criticism?
Answer In the affirmative, saving the judgement of the Church.

Concerning the Historical Character of the First Three Chapters of Genesis

June 30, 1909 (AAS 1 [1909] 567ff; EB 332ff; Dz 2121ff)

I: Do the various exegetical systems excogitated and defended under the guise of science to exclude the literal historical sense of the first three chapters of Genesis rest on a solid foundation?
Answer: In the negative.

II: Notwithstanding the historical character and form of Genesis, the special connection of the first three chapters with one another and with the following chapters, the manifold testimonies of the Scriptures both of the Old and of the New Testaments, the almost unanimous opinion of the holy Fathers and the traditional view which the people of Israel also has handed on and the Church has always held, may it be taught that: the aforesaid three chapters of Genesis Contain not accounts of actual events, accounts, that is, which correspond to objective reality and historical truth, but, either fables derived from the mythologies and cosmogonies of ancient peoples and accommodated by the sacred writer to monotheistic doctrine after the expurgation of any polytheistic error; or allegories and symbols without any foundation in objective reality proposed under the form of history to inculcate religious and philosophical truths; or finally legends in part historical and in part fictitious freely composed with a view to instruction and edification?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.

III: In particular may the literal historical sense be called in doubt in the case of facts narrated in the same chapters which touch the foundations of the Christian religion: as are, among others, the creation of all things by God in the beginning of time; the special creation of man; the formation of the first woman from the first man; the unity of the human race; the original felicity of our first parents in the state of justice, integrity, and immortality; the command given by God to man to test his obedience; the transgression of the divine command at the instigation of the devil under the form of a serpent; the degradation of our first parents from that primeval state of innocence; and the promise of a future Redeemer?
Answer: In the negative.

IV: In the interpretation of those passages in these chapters which the Fathers and Doctors understood in different manners without proposing anything certain and definite, is it lawful, without prejudice to the judgement of the Church and with attention to the analogy of faith, to follow and defend the opinion that commends itself to each one?
Answer: In the affirmative.

V: Must each and every word and phrase occurring in the aforesaid chapters always and necessarily be understood in its literal sense, so that it is never lawful to deviate from it, even when it appears obvious that the diction is employed in an applied sense, either metaphorical or anthropomorphical, and either reason forbids the retention or necessity imposes the abandonment of the literal sense?
Answer: In the negative.

VI: Provided that the literal and historical sense is presupposed, may certain passages in the same chapters, in the light of the example of the holy Fathers and of the Church itself, be wisely and profitably interpreted in an allegorical and prophetic sense?
Answer: In the affirmative.

VII: As it was not the mind of the sacred author in the composition of the first chapter of Genesis to give scientific teaching about the internal Constitution of visible things and the entire order of creation, but rather to communicate to his people a popular notion in accord with the current speech of the time and suited to the understanding and capacity of men, must the exactness of scientific language be always meticulously sought for in the interpretation of these matters?
Answer: In the negative.

VIII : In the designation and distinction of the six days mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis may the word Yom (day) be taken either in the literal sense for the natural day or in an applied sense for a certain space of time, and may this question be the subject of free discussion among exegetes?
Answer: In the affirmative.

Concerning the Authors and Date of the Psalms

May 1, 1910 (AAS II [1910] 354f; EB 340ff; Dz 2129ff)

I: Have the titles Psalms of David, Hymns of David, Book of the Psalms of David, Davidic Psalter, employed in ancient collections and in the Councils themselves to designate the book of 150 psalms of the Old Testament; and also the opinion of a number of Fathers and Doctors, who held that all the psalms of the Psalter without exception were to be ascribed to David alone, such weight that David should be held to be the only author of the whole Psalter?
Answer: In the negative.

II: Does the agreement of the Hebrew text with the Greek Alexandrine text and other ancient versions give ground for a valid argument that the titles of the psalms prefixed to the Hebrew text are more ancient than the Septuagint version ; and consequently, if not from the very authors of the psalms, at least derive from an ancient Jewish tradition?
Answer: In the affirmative.

III: Can the aforesaid titles of the psalms, witnesses of Jewish tradition, be prudently called in doubt when there is no serious reason against their being genuine?
Answer: In the negative.

IV: In view of the not infrequent testimonies of sacred Scripture to the natural talent, helped by a special gift of the Holy Ghost, which David had for the composition of religious songs, of his arrangements for the liturgical chant of the psalms, of the attribution of psalms to him both in the Old Testament and in the New as well as in the superscriptions prefixed of old to the psalms; in view, moreover, of the agreement of the Jews, of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, can it be prudently denied that David was the principal author of the songs of the Psalter, or on the contrary, affirmed that only a few songs are to be assigned to the royal psalmist?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.

V: In particular is it right to deny the Davidic origin of those psalms which are explicitly cited under David's name in the Old or New Testament, among which are to be mentioned more especially psalm 2 Quare fremuerunt gentes; psalm 15 Conserva me, Domine; psalm 17 Diligam te, Domine, fortitudo mea; psalm 31 Beati quorum remissae sunt iniquitates; psalm 68 Salvum me fac, Deus; psalm 509 Dixit Dominus Domino meo?
Answer: In the negative.

VI: May the opinion of those be admitted who hold that among the psalms of the Psalter there are some, either of David's or of other authors, which on account of liturgical and musical reasons, the negligence of scribes, or other causes unknown have been divided into several or united into one; also that there are other psalms, like the Miserere mei, Deus, which for the purpose of being better adapted to historical circumstances or solemnities of the Jewish people, were subjected to some slight rehandling or modification by the omission or addition of one or two verses, without prejudice however to the inspiration of the whole sacred text?
Answer: In the affirmative to both parts.

VII: Is it possible to maintain as probable the opinion of those more recent writers who, relying on purely internal indications or an incorrect interpretation of the sacred text, have attempted to show that not a few psalms were composed after the times of Esdras and Nehemias and even in the Maccabean age?
Answer: In the negative.

VIII: On the authority of the manifold witness of the sacred books of the New Testament and the unanimous agreement of the Fathers in harmony with the acknowledgement of Jewish writers, is it necessary to admit a number of prophetic and Messianic psalms, which foretold the future Saviour's coming, kingdom, priesthood, passion, death, and resurrection; and consequently is it necessary to reject altogether the opinion of those who pervert the prophetic and Messianic character of the psalms and limit these oracles about Christ merely to the foretelling of the future lot of the chosen people?
Answer: In the affirmative to both parts.

Concerning the Character and Author of the Book of Isaias

June 29, 1908 (ASS 41 [1908] 613f; EB 287ff; Dz 2115 ff)

I: May it be taught that the predictions read in the Book of Isaias-and throughout the Scriptures- are not predictions properly so called, but either narrations put together after the event, or, if anything has to be acknowledged as foretold before the event, that the prophet foretold it not in accordance with a supernatural revelation of God who foreknows future events, but by conjectures formed felicitously and shrewdly by natural sharpness of mind on the basis of previous experience?
Answer : In the negative.

II: Can the opinion that Isaias and the other prophets did not put forth predictions except about events that were to happen in the immediate future or after no long space of time, be reconciled with the predictions, in particular Messianic and eschatological, certainly put forth by the same prophets concerning the distant future, and also with the common opinion of the holy Fathers who unanimously assert that the prophets also made prophecies that were to be fulfilled after many centuries?
Answer: In the negative.

III: May it be admitted that the prophets, not only as correctors of human depravity and preachers of the divine word for the benefit of their hearers, but also as foretellers of future events, must consistently have addressed, not future, but present contemporary hearers in such a manner that they could be clearly understood by them; and that in consequence the second part of the Book of Isaias (chapters 40-66), in which the prophet addresses and consoles, not the Jewish contemporaries of Isaias, but as if living among them, the Jews mourning in the Babylonian exile, could not have Isaias, long since dead, for its author, but must be ascribed to some unknown prophet living among the exiles?
Answer: In the negative.

IV: Should the philological argument drawn from language and style to impugn identity of authorship throughout the Book of Isaias be deemed of such force as to compel a man of sound judgement with competent knowledge of Hebrew and of the art of criticism to recognize several authors in the same book?
Answer: In the negative.

V: Do there exist arguments which even when taken together avail to demonstrate that the Book of Isaias must be attributed not to Isaias himself alone, but to two or even several authors?
Answer: In the negative.

Concerning the Author, the Date, and the Historical Truth of the Gospel according to Matthew

June 19, 1911 (AAS 3 [1911] 294ff; EB 401ff; Dz 2148 ff)

I: Having regard to the universal and unwavering agreement of the Church ever since the first centuries, an agreement clearly attested by the express witness of the Fathers, by the titles of the Gospel manuscripts, the most ancient versions of the sacred books and the lists handed on by the holy Fathers, by ecclesiastical writers, by Popes and Councils, and finally by the liturgical use of the Church in the East and in the West, may and should it be affirmed as certain that Matthew, the Apostle of Christ, was in fact the author of the Gospel current under his name?
Answer: In the affirmative.

II: Should the verdict of tradition be considered to give adequate support to the statement that Matthew wrote before the other Evangelists and wrote the first Gospel in the native language then used by the Jews of Palestine for whom the work was intended?
Answer: In the affirmative to both parts.

III: Can the composition of this original text be postponed till after the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, so that the prophecies it contains about that destruction were written after the event ; or should the oft-quoted text of Irenaeus (Ads. Haer. Lib. 3, cap. 1, n. 2), of uncertain and controverted interpretation, be considered to have such weight as to impose the rejection of the opinion more in harmony with tradition according to which the composition of the Gospel was completed even before the arrival of Paul in Rome?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.

IV: Can even probable arguments be given in support of that opinion of certain recent writers according to which Matthew did not write a Gospel properly and strictly so-called, such as has been handed down to us, but merely a collection of the sayings or discourses of Christ which were drawn on by another anonymous author, whom they make the editor of the Gospel itself?
Answer: In the negative.

V: Can the fact that all the Fathers and ecclesiastical Writers and even the Church itself from its very cradle have used as canonical only the Greek text of the Gospel known under the name of Matthew, not even those being excepted who explicitly taught that the Apostle Matthew wrote in his native tongue, provide certain proof that the Greek Gospel is identical in substance with the Gospel written by that Apostle in his native tongue?
Answer: In the affirmative.

VI: Do the facts that the aim of the author of the first Gospel is chiefly dogmatic and apologetic, namely, to prove to the Jews that Jesus was the Messias foretold by the prophets and born of the lineage of David, and that moreover in the arrangement of the facts and discourses which he narrates and reports, he does not always follow chronological order, justify the deduction that they ought not to be accepted as true? Or may it also be affirmed that the accounts of the deeds and discourses of Christ, which are read in that Gospel, underwent a certain alteration and adaptation under the influence of the prophecies of the Old Testament and the more mature condition of the Church and are consequently not in conformity with historical truth?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.

VII: In particular ought it to be held that there is no solid foundation to the opinions of those who call in doubt the historical authenticity of the first two chapters, in which an account is given of the genealogy and infancy of Christ, as also of certain passages of great dogmatic importance, such as are those which concern the primacy of Peter (16:17-19), the form of baptism entrusted to the Apostles together with the mission of preaching everywhere (28:19f), the Apostles' profession of faith in the divinity of Christ (14:33), and other similar matters which are found in a special form in Matthew?
Answer: In the affirmative.

Concerning the Authors, Dates, and Historical Truth of the Gospels according to Mark and Luke

June 26, 1912 (AAS 4 [1912] 463ff; EB 4O8ff; Dz 2155ff)

I: Does the clear verdict of tradition showing extraordinary unanimity from the beginnings of the Church and confirmed by manifold evidence, namely the explicit attestations of the holy Fathers and ecclesiastical writers, the quotations and allusions occurring in their writings, the use made by ancient heretics, the versions of the books of the New Testament, almost all the manuscripts including the most ancient, and also internal reasons drawn from the text of the sacred books impose the definite affirmation that Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, and Luke, the doctor, the assistant and companion of Paul, were really the authors of the Gospels that are attributed to them respectively?
Answer: In the affirmative.

II: Are the reasons by which certain critics strive to prove that the last twelve verses of the Gospel of Mark (16:9-20) were not written by Mark himself but were added by another hand, of such a character as to justify the statement that they are not to be accepted as inspired and canonical? Or do they prove at least that Mark was not the author of the said verses?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.

III: Similarly is it lawful to doubt the inspiration and canonicity of Luke's accounts of the infancy of Christ (chapters 1 and 2); or of the apparition of the Angel strengthening Jesus and the sweat of blood (22:43f)? Or can it at any rate be shown by solid reasons-a view preferred by ancient heretics and favoured also by certain modern critics-that the said accounts do not belong to the genuine Gospel of Luke?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.

IV: Can and should those very few and altogether exceptional documents in which the Canticle Magnificat is attributed not to our Blessed Lady but to Elizabeth, in any way prevail against the unanimous testimony of almost all manuscripts both of the original Greek text and of the versions, and against the interpretation which is clearly demanded no less by the context than by the mind of our Lady herself and the constant tradition of the Church?
Answer: In the negative.

V: As regards the chronological order of the Gospels is it right to depart from the opinion supported by the very ancient and constant testimony of tradition, which avers that after Matthew, who before all the others wrote his Gospel in his native tongue, Mark was the second in order, and Luke the third to write? Or on the other hand is opposition to be found between this opinion and that which asserts the second and third Gospels to have been written before the Greek version of the first Gospel?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.

VI: Is it lawful to postpone the date of composition of the Gospels of Mark and Luke till after the destruction of the city of Jerusalem? Or, on the ground that our Lord's prophecy concerning the destruction of that city appears more detailed in Luke, can it be maintained that his Gospel at least was written after the siege had begun?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.

VII: Should it be affirmed that the Gospel of Luke preceded the Acts of the Apostles; and as this book, written by the same Luke (Acts 1:1f), was finished at the close of the Apostle's imprisonment at Rome (Acts 28:30f), that his Gospel was not composed after this time?
Answer: In the affirmative.

VIII: In view both of the witness of tradition and the internal evidence concerning the sources used by each Evangelist in writing his Gospel, is it prudent to doubt the opinion that Mark wrote in accordance with the preaching of Peter and Luke in accordance with that of Paul, and also that these Evangelists had, besides, other trustworthy sources, whether oral or written?
Answer: In the negative.

IX: Do the words and deeds which are reported by Mark accurately and almost in verbal agreement with Peter's preaching, and are faithfully set forth by Luke who had "diligently attained to all things from the beginning" through the help of entirely trustworthy witnesses "who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word" (Luke 1:2f) rightly claim for themselves as historical that entire belief that the Church has always placed in them? Or on the contrary ought the same facts and deeds to be regarded as in part at least destitute of historical truth, either on the ground that the writers were not eye-witnesses or that in the ease of both Evangelists defects of order and disagreement in the succession of events are not seldom detected, or that, as they came on the scene and wrote rather late, they could not help recording ideas foreign to the mind of Christ and the Apostles or events already more or less distorted by popular imagination, or finally, that they indulged in preconceived dogmatic ideas, each one in accordance with his own aim?
Answer: In the affirmative to the first part, in the negative to the second.

On the Synoptic Problem or the Mutual Relations of the First Three Gospels

June 26, 1912 (AAS 4 [1912] 465; EB 117f; Dz 2164ff)

I: Provided all is safeguarded that according to previous decisions must be safeguarded, especially concerning the authenticity and integrity of the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the substantial identity of the Greek Gospel of Matthew with its original text, and the chronological order in which they were written, in order to explain their mutual similarities and dissimilarities, is it lawful for exegetes, given the many different and contradictory opinions proposed by writers, to discuss the question freely and to have recourse to the hypotheses of tradition, whether written or oral, or also of the dependence of one Gospel on another or on others that preceded it?
Answer: In the affirmative.

II: Ought those to be considered faithful to the above prescriptions, who without the support of any traditional evidence or historical argument readily embrace what is commonly called the two-document hypothesis', the purpose of which is to explain the composition of the Greek Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke chiefly by their dependence on the Gospel of Mark and a so-called collection of the discourses of our Lord; and are they consequently free to advocate it?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.

Concerning the Author and Historical Truth of the Fourth Gospel

May 29, 1907 (ASS 40 [1907] 383f; EB 180ff; Dz 2110)

I: Does the constant, universal, and solemn tradition of the Church dating back to the second century and witnessed to principally : (a) by the holy Fathers, by ecclesiastical writers, and even by heretics, whose testimonies and allusions must have been derived from the disciples or first successors of the Apostles and so be linked with the very origin of the book; (b) by the name of the author of the fourth Gospel having been at all times and places in the canon and lists of the sacred books; (c) by the most ancient manuscripts of those books and the various versions; (d) by public liturgical use in the whole world from the very beginnings of the Church; prove that John the Apostle and no other is to be acknowledged as the author of the fourth Gospel, and that by an historical argument so firmly established (without reference to theological considerations) that the reasons adduced by critics to the contrary in no way weaken this tradition?
Answer: In the affirmative.

II: Should, further, internal reasons derived from the text of the fourth Gospel considered by itself, from the witness of the writer and the manifest relationship of the Gospel itself to the first Epistle of John the Apostle, be judged to confirm the tradition that unhesitatingly attributes the fourth Gospel to the same Apostle? And can the difficulties which arise from a comparison of the same Gospel with the other three, in view of the differences of time, aim, and hearers, for whom or against whom the author wrote, be given reasonable solutions, as has been done by the holy Fathers and Catholic exegetes in various works?
Answer: In the affirmative to both parts.

III: Notwithstanding the practice which has flourished consistently in the whole Church from the earliest times, of arguing from the fourth Gospel as from a strictly historical document, and in consideration no less of the special character of the same Gospel and the manifest intention of the author to illustrate and vindicate the divinity of Christ from the very acts and discourses of our Lord, may it be said that the facts narrated in the fourth Gospel were invented wholly or in part, as allegories or doctrinal symbols and that the discourses of our Lord are not properly and truly the discourses of our Lord himself but the theological compositions of the writer though placed in the mouth of our Lord?

Answer: In the negative.

Concerning the Author, the Date, and the Historical Truth of the Acts of the Apostles

June 12, 1913 (AAS 5 [1913] 291f; EB 419ff; Dz 2166ff)

I: In view especially of the tradition of the whole Church dating back to the earliest ecclesiastical writers, and in consideration of the internal characteristics of the book of Acts whether considered in itself or in its relation to the third Gospel, and especially of the mutual affinity and connection of both prologues (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1f), should it be held as certain that the volume with the title Actus Apostolorum or Praxeis Apostolon had the Evangelist Luke for its author?
Answer : In the affirmative.

II: Can critical reasons derived from language and style, from the character of the narrative, and from the unity of aim and teaching, demonstrate that the Acts of the Apostles should be attributed to only one author; and that consequently there is no foundation at all for the opinion of recent writers according to which Luke was not the only author of the book but different authors are recognized in the said book?
Answer: In the affirmative to both parts.

III: In particular, do those sections, so noticeable in the Acts, in which the use of the third person is abandoned and the first person plural introduced (We passages), weaken the unity of composition and the authenticity; or, historically and philosophically considered, should they rather be said to confirm it?
Answer: In the negative to the first part ; in the affirmative to the second.

IV: Does the fact that the book hardly mentions the two years of Paul's first imprisonment at Rome and ends abruptly, warrant the inference that the author wrote a second but lost work or intended to write one, and consequently can the date of the composition of the Acts be postponed till long after the said captivity? Or rather is it legitimately and rightly to be maintained that Luke finished the book towards the close of the first imprisonment of the Apostle Paul at Rome?
Answer: In the negative to the first part; in the affirmative to the second.

V: If consideration be given both to the frequent and easy intercourse that without doubt Luke had with the first and chief founders of the Church in Palestine and with Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, whom he helped in his preaching of the Gospel and accompanied on his journeys, and to his habitual industry and diligence in seeking witnesses and in personal observation of events, and finally to the frequently obvious and remarkable agreement of the Acts with Paul's own Epistles and with the more exact historical records, should it be held for certain that Luke had at his disposal entirely trustworthy sources and used them carefully, honestly, and faithfully, so that he rightly claims for himself full authority as an historian?
Answer: In the affirmative.

VI: Are the difficulties commonly raised both from the supernatural facts narrated by Luke, and from the report of certain discourses, which on account of their brevity are thought to be invented and adapted to circumstances, and from certain passages in at least apparent disagreement with history, whether profane or biblical, and finally from certain narrations in apparent conflict either with the author of Acts himself or with other sacred authors, of such a nature as to throw doubt on or at least in some measure to diminish the historical authority of Acts?
Answer: In the negative.

Concerning the Author, the Integrity, and the Date of the Pastoral Epistles of St Paul

June 12, 1913 (AAS 5 [1913] 292f; EB 425ff; Dz 2172ff)

I: In view of the tradition of the Church universally and firmly maintained from the beginning, as is witnessed in many ways by ancient ecclesiastical records, should it be held as certain that the Pastoral Epistles, the two, namely, to Timothy and another to Titus, notwithstanding the effrontery of certain heretics, who without giving any reason expunged them from the number of Pauline Epistles as being opposed to their tenets, were written by the Apostle Paul himself and were always listed among the genuine and canonical Epistles?
Answer: In the affirmative.

II: Can the so-called fragmentary hypothesis introduced and propounded in different ways by certain recent critics, who without any plausible reason and even at variance among themselves, maintain that the Pastoral Epistles were put together by unknown authors at a later date out of fragments of the Epistles or out of lost Pauline Epistles with notable additions, cause even any slight weakening of the clear and unshaken testimony of tradition?
Answer: In the negative.

III: Do the difficulties commonly alleged on many grounds, either on account of the style and language of the author, or of the errors, especially of the Gnostics, described as already then current, or of the presupposition that the ecclesiastical hierarchy was in an already developed state, and other similar arguments to the contrary, in any way weaken the opinion that holds the genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles to be established and certain?
Answer: In the negative.

IV: As the opinion that the Apostle Paul was twice imprisoned at Rome should be considered certain on account no less of historical reasons than of ecclesiastical tradition in harmony with the testimonies of the holy Fathers both in East and West, and also on account of the evidence readily available both in the abrupt conclusion of the Acts and in the Pauline Epistles written at Rome and especially in the second to Timothy; can it be safely stated that the Pastoral Epistles were written in the interval between the liberation of the Apostle from the first imprisonment and his death?
Answer: In the affirmative.

Concerning the Author and Manner of Composition of the Epistle to the Hebrews

June 24, 1914 (AAS 6 [1914] 417f; EB 429ff; Dz 2176ff)

I: Are the doubts about the divine inspiration and Pauline origin of the Epistle to the Hebrews which influenced certain minds in the West in the first centuries, chiefly because of its abuse by heretics, of such importance that, bearing in mind the unbroken, unanimous, and unwavering affirmation of the eastern Fathers supported after the fourth century by the entire assent of the whole western Church, due weight also being given to the acts of the Popes and sacred Councils, especially that of Trent, and to the constant usage of the universal Church, it is lawful to hesitate about reckoning it definitively not only among the canonical Epistles-which has been defined as a matter of faith -but also among the genuine Epistles of the Apostle Paul?
Answer: In the negative.

II: Can the arguments commonly based either on the unusual absence of Paul's name and the omission of the customary introduction and salutation in the Epistle to the Hebrews-or on the purity of its Greek, the elegance and perfection of its diction and style-or on the character of its quotations and arguments from the Old Testament-or on certain differences alleged to exist between the doctrine of this and the other Pauline Epistles, in any way invalidate its Pauline origin? Or rather do the perfect unanimity in teaching and thought, the resemblance of the admonitions and exhortations, and the agreement in phrase and even in words pointed out also by some non-Catholics, which are seen to exist between it and the other writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles, clearly indicate and confirm the same Pauline origin?
Answer: In the negative to the first part; in the affirmative to the second.

III: Should the Apostle Paul be considered the author of this Epistle after such manner that he must necessarily be said, not only to have conceived and expressed it all under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, but also to have given it the form that it actually has?

Answer: In the negative, saving the further judgement of the Church.

Concerning the Parousia or Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Epistles of the Apostle St Paul

June 18, 1915 (AAS 7 [1915] 357f; EB 432ff; Dz 2179ff)
I: In order to meet the difficulties occurring in the Epistles of St Paul and other Apostles in passages which treat of the "Parousia", as it is called, or second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, is it allowed to a Catholic exegete to assert that, though the Apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost teach nothing erroneous, they none the less express their own human opinions which may rest on error or misconception?
Answer In the negative.

II: In view of the correct concept of the apostolic office and the undoubted fidelity of St Paul to the teaching of the Master ; in view also of the Catholic doctrine concerning the inspiration and inerrancy of Holy Scripture according to which whatever a sacred Writer asserts, declares, suggests, should be held to be asserted, declared, suggested by the Holy Ghost and after a careful examination on their own merits of the passages in the Epistles of St Paul which are in complete harmony with our Lord's own manner of speaking, should it be asserted that the Apostle Paul said nothing whatever in his writings which is not in complete harmony with that ignorance of the time of the Parousia which Christ himself proclaimed to belong to men?
Answer: In the affirmative.

III: After consideration of the Greek phrase hemeis hoi zontes hoi perileipomenoi; and after careful examination of the exposition of the Fathers, above all of St John Chrysostom, who was completely at home both in his native language and in the Pauline Epistles, is it lawful to reject as far-fetched and destitute of any solid foundation the interpretation traditional in the Catholic schools (and retained even by the Reformers of the sixteenth century) that explains the words of St Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, without in any way involving the assertion that the Parousia was so near that the Apostle counted himself and his readers among the faithful who will be left alive and go to meet Christ?
Answer: In the negative.

Concerning the False Interpretation of Two Biblical Texts

July 1, 1933 (AAS 25 [1933] 344; Dz 2272-3)

I: Is it right for a Catholic, especially after the authentic interpretation given by the Princes of the Apostles (Acts 2:24-33; 13:35-37) to interpret the words of Psalm 15:10f: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor wilt thou give thy holy one to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life", as if the sacred author did not speak of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Answer: In the negative.

II: Is it licit to assert that the words of Jesus Christ, which are read in St Matthew 16:26: "What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?" and similarly those in St Luke 9:25: "What is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world and lose himself and cast away himself?" in the literal sense do not regard the eternal salvation of the soul, but only man's temporal life, notwithstanding the tenor of the words themselves and their context besides the unanimous interpretation of Catholics?
Answer: In the negative.

On Implicit Quotations in Holy Scripture
February 13, 1905 (ASS 37 [1904-05] 666; EB 153; Dz 1979)
To secure a directive norm for students of Holy Scripture the following question was proposed to the Pontifical Biblical Commission, namely:

To solve difficulties occurring in certain texts of Holy Scripture that appear to relate historical facts, may a Catholic exegete assert that the passage in question is a tacit or implicit quotation of a document written by a non-inspired author, all of whose assertions the inspired author does not mean to approve or make his own, and that these assertions cannot therefore be held immune from error?

Answer: In the negative, except in a case where without prejudice to the mind and judgement of the Church, it is proved by solid arguments: (1) that the sacred Writer does in fact cite the sayings or documents of another, and (2) neither approves nor makes the same his own, so that he is legitimately regarded as not speaking in his own name.

On Narratives Historical only in Appearance in Books of Holy Scripture Historical in Form

June 23, 1905 (ASS 38 [1905-06] 124f; EB 154; Dz 1980)

Is it possible to admit as a principle of sound exegesis that books of sacred Scripture which are regarded as historical, at times do not relate, either wholly or in part, history properly so-called and objectively true, but present only the appearance of history with the purpose of expressing some meaning differing from the strictly literal or historical sense of the words?

Answer: In the negative, except in a case neither easily nor rashly to be admitted, in which the mind of the Church not being contrary and without prejudice to its judgement, it is proved by solid arguments that the sacred Writer intended not to recount true history, properly so-called, but under the guise and form of history to set forth a parable, an allegory, or some meaning distinct from the strictly literal or historical signification of the words.

Concerning the Addition of Variant Readings in Editions of the Vulgate Version of the Old and New Testament

November 17, I921 (AAS 14 [1922] 27; EB 509)

In the Preface to the Reader of the Clementine edition of the Vulgate version of the Sacred Scriptures it is said: "Further in this edition there is nothing not canonical. no parallel passages in the margin (the addition of which in that position is not prohibited in the future), no notes, no variant readings, finally no prefaces. But as the Apostolic See does not condemn the industry of those who have inserted in other editions parallel passages, variant readings, the prefaces of St Jerome, and similar matter, so neither does it forbid that with the use of different type such helps should be added in the future for the advantage and utility of students in this same Vatican edition; with the exception, however, that Variant readings may not be noted in the margin of the text".

But as some are of opinion that these last words forbid the addition of variant readings not only in the margin at the side but also at the foot of the text, the question has been put to the Pontifical Biblical Commission: Is it lawful in editions of the Vulgate version both of the New and the Old Testaments to add variant readings and other similar helps for students at the foot of the text?

After examination of the matter, the Pontifical Biblical Commission replied: In the affirmative.

Concerning the Use of Translations of Holy Scripture in Churches

April 30, 1934 (AAS 26 [1934] 315)

The following question was proposed by his Excellency the Bishop of S'Hertogenbosch [otherwise called Bois-le-Duc] in the name also of their Excellencies the other Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Holland:

Can it be allowed to read to the people in Church the liturgical passages of the Epistles and Gospels in a translation not from "the ancient Vulgate Latin version", but from the original texts whether Greek or Hebrew?

The Pontifical Biblical Commission decided that the following answer should be given: In the negative; a translation should be publicly read to the Faithful made from the text approved by the Church for the sacred liturgy.

Concerning Translations of Holy Scripture in Modern Languages

August 22, 1943 (AAS 35 [1943] 270; CR 23 [1943] 524)

To answer a question proposed to it concerning the use and authority of biblical translations in modern languages, especially those made from the original texts, and to give further clarification to its decree Concerning the Use of Translations of Holy Scripture in Churches of April 30, 1934, the Pontifical Biblical Commission has considered it opportune to publish and commend the following norms:
Since Pope Leo XIII, of happy memory, in the Encyclical Providentissimus Deus (Acta Leonis XIII, Vol. 13, p 342; EB 91), for the more intimate knowledge and more fruitful explanation of the divine word recommended the use of the original texts of the Bible and since that recommendation, which clearly was not made for the exclusive advantage of exegetes and theologians, has seemed and seems almost to advise that the same texts, of course under the vigilant care of the competent ecclesiastical authorities, should be translated in accordance with the approved principles of sacred and indeed of profane science into the vernacular languages known to the mass of the people;

Since, moreover, it is from the Vulgate translation, which alone and exclusively among the Latin versions then in circulation the oecumenical Council of Trent declared authoritative (Conc. Trid., sess. IV, decr. De editione et usu Ss. Librorum; EB 46) that the biblical passages in the liturgical books of the Latin Church to be read publicly at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Office have for the most part been taken ; presupposing the observance of whatever should be observed:

1° Translations of Holy Scripture in modern languages whether made from the Vulgate or from the original texts, provided they have been published with the permission of the competent ecclesiastical authority in accordance with canon 1391, may be duly used and read by the faithful for their private devotion; moreover, if any translation, after a diligent examination both of the text and of the notes by men eminent in biblical and theological knowledge, is found to be more faithful and suitable, it may, if so desired, be especially recommended by the Bishops, either individually or in provincial or national meetings, to the faithful committed to their care.

2° The vernacular translation of the biblical passages which priests celebrating Mass are to read to the people, as custom or occasion demands, after the reading of the liturgical text, should, in accordance with the reply of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (Acta Ap. Sedis, 1934, p. 315), agree with the Latin liturgical text, though it remains permissible, if judged expedient, to give suitable explanation of the said translation by the help of the original text or of another clearer translation.

Concerning the Work of R. D Frederic Schmidtke entitled Die Einwanderung Israels in Kanaan

February 27, 1934 (AAS 26 [1934] 130f)
As the question has been addressed to this Pontifical Biblical Commission what is to be thought of the work entitled Die Einwassderung Israels in Kanaan, published at Breslau in the year 1933 by R. D. Frederic Schmidtke, it has decided that the following answer should be given:

R. D. Frederic Schmidtke, Professor Extraordinary of the Old Testament in the Theological Faculty of the University of Breslau in the volume mentioned above:
in his treatment of the Pentateuch follows the opinions of rationalistic criticism to the complete neglect of the decree of the Pontifical Biblical Commission of June 27, 1906;
moreover, in the history of the Old Testament, without any attention to the decree of the same Pontifical Biblical Commission of June 23, 1905, he introduces a type of literature consisting of popular traditions mingling falsehood with truth; contrary to the clear evidence of the sacred books he makes, among others, the assertions that the stories about the Patriarchs, at least in large part, give the history, not of individual men, but of tribes; that Jacob was not the son of Isaac, but represents some Aramean tribe; that the whole people of Israel did not enter Egypt but a part only, in particular the tribe of Joseph; also, doing violence to the sacred text, he explains many miracles of the Old Testament as purely natural events.

The author, consequently, at least implicitly, denies the dogma of biblical inspiration and inerrancy; he entirely neglects the norms of Catholic hermeneutics he contradicts the Catholic doctrine most clearly set forth in the Encyclicals Providentissimus Deus of Leo XIII and Spiritus Paraclitus of Benedict XV.

Hence the aforesaid work deserves reprobation on various grounds and should be kept out of Catholic schools.

The Pontifical Commission, moreover, takes this occasion to warn Catholic commentators to obey with due reverence the dogmatic Constitution of the Vatican Council, renewing the Decree of the sacred Council of Trent, by which it was solemnly ordained "that in matters of faith and morals, appertaining to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be held as the true sense of sacred Scripture which was, and is, held by our holy mother the Church, to whom it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures, and therefore no one may interpret holy Scripture contrary to this sense or also against the unanimous consent of the Fathers".

Letter to Cardinal Suhard [on the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, and on the historical character of Gen 1-11]
(AAS 40 [1948] 45-8)

The Holy Father graciously entrusted to the Pontifical Biblical Commission the examination of two questions recently submitted to His Holiness concerning the sources of the Pentateuch and the historicity of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. As the result of their deliberations His Holiness deigned to approve the following reply. on 16 January 1948.

The Pontifical Biblical Commission. desires to promote biblical studies by assuring to them the most complete liberty within the limits of the traditional teaching of the Church. This liberty has been proclaimed in explicit terms by the present Pope in his Encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu: "The Catholic exegete. ought not by any manner of means to debar himself from taking in hand, and that repeatedly, the difficult questions which have found no solution up to the present time. in an attempt to find a well-founded explanation in perfect harmony with the doctrine of the Church, in particular with that of biblical inerrancy, and at the same time capable of fully satisfying the certain conclusions of the secular sciences. The labours of these worthy workers in the vineyard of the Lord deserve to be judged not only with equity and justice, but with perfect charity; and this is a point which all others sons of the Church should bear in mind. It is their duty to avoid that most imprudent zeal which considers it an obligation to attack or suspect whatever is new", AAS (1943) 319.

If this recommendation of the Pope's is borne in mind in the interpretation of the three official replies given formerly by the Biblical Commission in connection with the above-mentioned questions, namely June 23, 1905, on narratives in the historical books of Holy Scripture which have only the appearance of history (EB 154), June 27, 1906, on the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch (EB 174-7), and June 30, 1909, on the historical character of the first three chapters of Genesis (EB 332-9), it will be agreed that these replies are in no way a hindrance to further truly scientific examination of these problems in accordance with the results acquired in these last forty years.

As regards the composition of the Pentateuch, in the above-mentioned decree of June 27, 1906, the Biblical Commission recognized already that it could be affirmed that Moses "in order to compose his work made use of written documents or of oral traditions" and that post-Mosaic modifications and additions could also be admitted (EB 176-7). No one today doubts the existence of these sources or rejects a gradual increase of Mosaic laws due to the social and religious conditions of later times, a process manifest also in the historical narratives. However, even among non-Catholic exegetes very diverse opinions are held today concerning the character and the number of these documents, their names and dates. There are even authors in different countries, who for purely critical and historical reasons quite unconnected with any religious purpose resolutely reject the theories most in favour up to the present, and seek the explanation of certain editorial peculiarities of the Pentateuch, not so much in the alleged diversity of documents as in the special psychology, the peculiar mental and literary processes of the ancient Orientals which are better known today, or again in the different literary forms which are required by the diversity of subject-matter. Hence we invite Catholic scholars to study these problems with an open mind in the light of sane criticism and of the results of other sciences which have their part in these matters, and such study will without doubt establish the large share and the profound influence of Moses as author and as legislator.

The question of the literary forms of the first eleven chapters of Genesis is far more obscure and complex. These literary forms do not correspond to any of our classical categories and cannot be judged in the light of the Greco-Latin or modern literary types. It is therefore impossible to deny or to affirm their historicity as a whole without unduly applying to them norms of a literary type under which they cannot be classed. If it is agreed not to see in these chapters history in the classical and modern sense, it must be admitted also that known scientific facts do not allow a positive solution of all the problems which they present. The first duty in this matter incumbent on scientific exegesis consists in the careful study of all the problems literary, scientific, historical, cultural, and religious connected with these chapters; in the next place is required a close examination of the literary methods of the ancient oriental peoples, their psychology, their manner of expressing themselves and even their notion of historical truth the requisite, in a word, is to assemble without preformed judgements all the material of the palaeontological and historical, epigraphical and literary sciences. It is only in this way that there is hope of attaining a clearer view of the true nature of certain narratives in the first chapters of Genesis. To declare a priori that these narratives do not contain history in the modern sense of the word might easily be understood to mean that they do not contain history in any sense, whereas they relate in simple and figurative language, adapted to the understanding f mankind at a lower stage of development, the fundamental truths underlying the divine scheme of salvation, as well as a popular description of the origins of the human race and of the chosen people. In the meantime it is necessary to practise patience which is part of prudence and the wisdom of life. This also is inculcated by the Holy Father in the Encyclical already quoted: "No one", he says, "should be surprised that all the difficulties have not yet been clarified or solved. But that is no reason for losing courage or forgetting that in the branches of human study it cannot be otherwise than in nature, where beginnings grow little by little, where the produce of the soil is not gathered except after prolonged labour. There is ground, therefore, for hoping that (these difficulties) which today appear most complicated and arduous, will eventually, thanks to constant effort, admit of complete clarification" (AAS [1943] 318).