Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent/Second Part/Condemnation of the Baian Errors, &c.

Incipit: Ex omnibus afflictionibus


(Bull of S, Pius V. an. 1567.)

Pius, bishop, servant of the servants, &c. Of all the afflictions which we, established in this place by the Lord, endure at so melancholy a time, this sorrow chiefly tortures our soul, that the Christian religion, long since agitated by so many whirlwinds, has to struggle daily with new opinions started, and the people of Christ, cut in pieces at the suggestion of the old enemy, is carried away indiscriminately and promiscuously into one error after the other. But as far as regards ourselves, we strive with all our might, that these, as soon as they bound forth, should be entirely put down; for we are affected with great sorrow, that most persons of otherwise tried probity and learning, burst forth into various sentiments full of offence and danger, both by word and by writing, and concerning them they dispute with each other, even in the schools, of which kind are the following:

1. Neither the merits of an angel or of the first man still undefiled are rightly called grace. 2. As a bad work is of its nature deserving of eternal death, so a good work is of its nature deserving of eternal life. 3. Both to good angels and to primitive man, if he had persevered in that state, even to the last period of life, happiness would be reward, and not grace. 4. Life eternal was promised to man yet pure, and to the angel, in regard of good works; and good works by the law of nature are sufficient of themselves to attain it. 5. In the promise made to the angel and to the first man are contained the natural constitution of justice, by which for good works, without any other respect, life eternal is promised to the just. 6. By the natural law it was ordained for man that, if he persevered in obedience, he should pass on to life eternal, in which he could not die. 7. The merits of the first man intact were the gifts of the first creation; but, according to the mode of speaking the Sacred Scriptures are not rightly called grace; whence it comes, that they ought only to be named merits, not grace. 8. In those redeemed by the grace of Christ, no good merit can be found, which is not conferred gratuitously on an unworthy object. 9. Gifts granted to man in a state of purity, and perhaps to an angel, may be called grace, for a reason not to be disapproved; but because, according to the use of Sacred Scripture, those gifts only are understood by the name of grace, which are conferred through Jesus Christ on those ill-deserving and unworthy; for this reason, neither merits, nor the reward which is rendered to them, ought to be called grace. 10. The payment of the temporal penalty, which often remains after the sin is remitted, and the resurrection of the body, is to be ascribed properly to the merits of Christalone. 11. That we attain eternal life, in this mortal life, being preserved piously and justly even to the end, is to be set down not properly to the grace of God, but also to the natural ordinance established at the commencement of creation, by the just judgment of God; nor in this retribution of the good is respect had to the merit of Christ, but only to the first institution of mankind, in which it has been established by the natural law, that by the just judgment of God, life eternal be rendered to obedience to his commands. 12. The opinion of Felagius is, a good work done without the grace of adoption, is not deserving of the kingdom of heaven. 13. Good works done by the sons of adoption receive not the account of merit from this, that they are done by the spirit of adoption inhabiting the hearts of the sons of God; but only from this, that they are conformable to the law, and because by them obedience to the law is shown. 14. The good works of the just do not receive on the day of the last judgment a more ample reward, than they deserve to receive from the just judgment of God. 16. The notion of merit consists not in this, that he who does well has grace, and the Holy Spirit in-dwelling; but in this only, that he obeys the divine law. 16. That is not true obedience to the law, which is without charity. 17. Those think with Felagius, who say, that it is necessary to the notion of merit, that man should be raised through the grace of adoption to a deific state. 18. The works of catechumens, as faith and penance done before the remission of sins, are deserving of eternal life, which life they shall not themselves attain, unless the impediments of preceding transgressions be first taken away. 19. The works of justice and of temperance, which Christ did, derived not greater value from the worthiness of the person operating. 20. There is no sin venial in its nature, but every sin merits eternal punishment. 21. The elevation and exaltation, of human nature to a participation of the divine nature due to the integrity of the first state, and therefore is to be called natural, and not supernatural. 22. They think with Pelagius, who understand the apostle's text to the Romans II. The gentiles, which have not the law,[2] do by nature the things which are of the lawful of those nations not having the grace of faith. 23. The opinion of those is absurd, who say, that by a certain supernatural and gratuitous gift, man has been exalted from the beginning above the condition of his nature, that by faith, and hope, and charity, he might worship God supernaturally. 24. By vain and idle men, according to the folly of philosophers, was devised the opinion, which is to be referred to Pelagianism, that man was so constituted from the beginning, that through the gifts superadded to nature he was exalted by the bounty of his Maker, and adopted as the son of God. 25. All the works of the unbelieving are sins, and the virtues of philosophers are vices. 26. The integrity of the first creation was not an exaltation undue to human nature, but its natural condition. 27. Free-will, without the aid of God's grace, avails only to commit sin. 28. It is a Pelagian error to say that free-will availeth to avoid any sin. 29. Not only are those thieves and robbers who deny Christ to be the way and the door of the truth and of life, but those also whosoever teach that it is possible to ascend by any other means than through him, to the path of righteousness (that is, any righteousness). 30. Or [who teach] that] man can resist any temptation without the aid of His grace itself, so that he may not be led into it, or may not be overcome by it. 31. Perfect and sincere charity, which is from a pure heart and a good conscience, and from faith unfeigned, as well in catechumens as in penitents, may be without the remission of sins. 32. That charity, which is the fulfilment of the law, is not always combined with the remission of sins. 33. The catechumen lives justly, righteously, and in a holy manner, and observes the commands of God, and fulfils the law through charity, before he has obtained remission of sins, which is at length received in the fount of baptism. 34. That distinction of twofold love, to wit, the natural, with which God is loved as the author of nature, and of gratuitous love, with which God is loved as the beatifier, is idle and fictitious, and devised to mock the sacred writings, and very many testimonies of the ancients. 35. Everything soever which a sinner does, or a slave of sin, is a sin. 36. Natural love, which springs from the powers of nature, from philosophy alone, to the upraising oi human presumption with injury to the cross of Christ, is defended by some doctors. 37. He thinks with Pelagius who recognizes any natural good, that is, any which derives its origin from the sole powers of nature. 38. Every love of the creature is a rational or vicious desire with which the world is loved, which is prohibited by John,[3] or that praiseworthy charity, with which, diffused in the heart by the Holy Spirit, God is loved. 39. What is done voluntarily, even though it be done necessarily, still is done freely. 40. In all his acts the sinner is subservient to a predominant desire. 41. That measure of liberty which is from necessity, is not found in the Scrip tures under the name of liberty, but only the name of liberty from sin. 42. Justice, by which the wicked man is justified by faith, consists formally in obedience to the commands, which is the justice of works, but not in any grace infused into the soul, by which man is adopted as the son of God, and is renewed according to the interior man, and is rendered a sharer in the Divine nature, that, so renewed by the Divine Spirit, he may afterwards live well, and obey the commands of God. 43. In penitent men before the sacrament of absolution, and in catechumens before baptism, there is true justification; separate, however, from the remission of sins. 44. By most of the works which are done by the faithful merely that they may obey the commands of God, such as to obey parents, to return a deposit, to abstain from homicide, theft, fornication, men are indeed justified, because they are obedience to the law, and true justice of the law; by these, however, they do not obtain increase of virtues. 45. The sacrifice of the mass is a sacrifice in no other way than in that general way by which every work is so, which is done that man may cling unto God by a holy alliance. 46. Voluntary appertains not to the notion and definition of sin; nor is it a question of definition, but of cause and origin, whether every sin ought to be voluntary. 47. Whence the sin of origin has truly in it regard to sin, without any regard and respect to the will, from which it had its origin. 48. The sin of origin is voluntary by the habitual will of the child, and habitually prevails in that child, because a contrary choice of the will is not maintained. 49. And from the habitual will prevailing, it happens that the child departing without the sacrament of regeneration, when he shall have attained the use of reason, actually holds God as an object of hatred, blasphemes God, and resists the law of God. 50. Evil desires, to which reason does not consent, and to which man is reluctantly subject, are prohibited by the commandment. Thou shalt not covet. 51. Concupiscence, or the law of the members, and its wicked desires which men unwillingly feel, are true disobedience to the law. 52. Every wickedness is of that condition, that it may infect its author and all posterity in that manner in which, the first transgression infected. 53. As far as it depends on the force of transgression, so much of bad deserts do they contract from the parent who are born with lesser vices, as those who are born with greater. 54. This decisive sentence, that God commanded nothing impossible to man, is falsely attributed to Augustin, whilst it belongs to Pelagius. 55. God could not from the beginning create man such as he is now born. 56. In sin there are two things, act and guilt; but the act passing away, nothing remains but the guilt, or the obligation to punishment. 57. Whence in the sacrament of baptism or the absolution of the priest, the guilt of sin only is taken away, and the ministry of the priests alone frees from sin. 58. The penitent sinner is not enlivened by the ministering of the priest absolving, but by God alone, who, suggesting and inspiring penitence, quickeneth and resuscitates him, but by the ministry of the priest the guilt is only taken away. 59. When by almsgivings and other works of penitence, we satisfy God for temporal punishments, we do not offer to God a condign price for our sins, as some erring persons think (for otherwise we should be, at least in some measure, redeemers), but we do something in regard of which the satisfaction of Christ is applied and communicated to us. 60. Through the sufferings of the saints, communicated in indulgences, our transgressions are strictly redeemed, but by the communion of charity their sufferings are imparted to us, that we may be worthy to be free from the punishments due for sins by the price of Christ's blood. 61. That distinction of doctors, that the commands of the divine law are fulfilled in two ways,—in one way with respect merely to the substance of the works enjoined; in the other, in reference to a certain manner, according to which they may be conducive to lead the person performing them to the eternal kingdom (that is, after the manner of merits), is fictitious and to be exploded. 62. That distinction, also, by which a work is said to be good in two ways, either because from the object and all the circumstances it is directly good (which they used to call morally good), or because it is deserving of the eternal kingdom for this reason, because it is from a living member of Christ through the spirit of charity, is to be rejected. 63. But that distinction also of double justice—of the one, which takes place through the in-dwelling spirit of charity; of the other, which is formed from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit exciting the heart to repentance, put not yet dwelling in the heart, and diffusing charity in it, by which the justification of the divine law may be fulfilled, is in like manner rejected. 64. In like manner, also, that distinction of a twofold quickening,—the one, by which the sinner is quickened, whilst repentance and the purpose and commencement of a new life is inspired into him by the grace of God; of the other, by which he who is truly justified is quickened, and rendered a shoot in the vine by Christ, is equally fictitious, and not at all agreeable to the Scriptures. 65. Any good or not bad use of a free will can be admitted only by a Pelagian error, and he who so thinks and teaches commits an outrage against the grace of Christ. 66. Violence alone is incompatible with the natural liberty of man. 67. Man sins even to his own damnation in that which he does through necessity. 68. Infidelity purely negative in those in whom Christ is not preached is a sin. 69. The justification of the ungodly is made formally by obedience to the law, but not by the secret communication and inspiration of grace, which may cause those justified through it to fulfil the law. 70. Man being in mortal sin, or in the guilt of eternal damnation, may have true charity, and even perfect charity may be compatible with the guilt of eternal damnation. 71. By contrition, even joined with perfect charity, and with a desire to receive the sacrament, crime is not remitted, exclusive of the case of necessity or martyrdom, without the actual receiving of the sacrament. 72. All the afflictions of the just are entirely revenge for their sins; whence Job and the martyrs suffered what they did suffer for their sins. 73. No one but Christ is without original sin; hence the Blessed Virgin died on account of the sin contracted from Adam, and all her afflictions in this life, as of the other just also, were revenge for actual or original sin. 74. Concupiscence in those born again who relapsed into mortal sin, in whom it is now predominant, is a sin, as are also other evil habits. 75. The evil emotions of concupiscence are, for the state of man corrupted, prohibited by the commandment. Thou shalt not covet; whence man feeling them, and not consenting, transgresses the commandment, Thou shalt not covet, although the transgression may not be set down as sin. 76. As long as anything of carnal concupiscence is in one loving, he does not perform the commandment. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart. 77. The laboured satisfactions of the justified avail not condignly to expiate the temporal punishment which remains after guilt is pardoned. 78. The immortality of the first man was not a benefit of grace, but a natural condition. 79. The opinion of doctors is false, that the first man could be created by God, and instituted without natural justice.

Which opinions, indeed, having been strictly examined before us, although some of them might be sustained by some means, in the strict and proper sense of the words intended by the assertors, we condemn, circumscribe, and abolish, by the authority of these presents, as heretical, erroneous, suspicious, rash, scandalous, and as giving offence to pious ears respectively, and all things soever that may be published regarding them by word and by writing; and we interdict to all persons soever the power of hereafter speaking, writing, and disputing in any manner soever regarding the same and such like. Whosoever shall act in the contrary way, etc.

Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 1567, on the calends of October, on the second year of our pontificate.

  1. Cf. Hallam, Hist, of the Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 550.
  2. Bom. ii. 141
  3. John ii. 15.