is drawn up in due form, and, having been sealed and signed by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation and the Secretary, is dispatched to its destination.
IV. Manner of Preservation.—All pending affairs are entered, under progressive numbers, in the register called Protocollo, with a short indication of the stage of the transaction. Suitable alphabetical indexes render easy the work of looking up details. All the documents relating to each case, from the first, containing the petition addressed to the Congregation, to the official copy of the final act, and forming what is technically called the posizione, are kept together, separate from all other documents, and are preserved in the archives of the Congregation, either permanently or for a definite period of time (ordinarily, ten years), when the documents are removed to the Vatican archives. This latter practice prevails in the Congregations of the Council, of Bishops and Regulars, and of Rites.
V. Accessibility.—The archives of the Congregations are not opened to the public. If one wishes to study the documents, he should ask permission from the authorities of the Congregations. Ordinarily it is sufficient to ask it of the secretary; in the Congregations of Propaganda and of the Index the petition should be addressed to the Cardinal Prefect, and in the Congregation of the Holy Office, to the Congregation itself; finally, in the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, the matter has to be referred to the Pope. When there are sufficient reasons, which should be more or less grave according to the quality of the matter, the petitioner either will be allowed to inspect the original documents or will be supplied with authentic copies.
VI. Collections.—Many of the acts are accessible in the various collections, which several of the Congregations have permitted to be published. Some of these collections are also authentic, inasmuch as their genuineness and authenticity are vouched for by the authorities of the Congregations. Moreover, editors of periodicals on ecclesiastical subjects have been allowed for several years back to publish in their magazines the acts of the Congregations, and one of these periodicals, Acta Sanctæ Sedis, has received the privilege of being declared "authentic and official for publishing the acts of the Apostolic See" (S.C. de Prop. Fid., 23 May, 1904). The following is a list of the chief collections:
Collectanea S. Congr. de Propagandâ Fide (Rome, 1893); Thesaurus Resolutionum S. Congr. Concilii (Rome, 1718—); Zamboni, Collectio Declarationum S.C. Concilii (Arras, 1860); Pallottini, Collectio Conclusionum et Resolutionum S.C. Concilii (Rome, 1868–93); Lingen et Reuss, Causæ Selectæ, in S.C. Concilii Propositæ (New York, 1871); Bizzarri, Collectanea S. Congr. Episcoporum et Regularium (Rome, 1885); Decreta authentica C. Sacrorum Rituum (Rome, 1898–1901); Decreta authentica S. Congr. Indulgentiis Sacrisque Reliquiis præpositæ (New York, 1883); Schneider, Rescripta authentica S.C. Indulgentiis Sacrisque Reliquiis præpositæ (Ratisbon, 1885); Ricci, Synopsis Decretorum et Resolutionum S. Congr. Immunitatis (Turin, 1719). Among the Catholic periodicals that publish regularly, with more or less completeness, the acts of the Congregations are the following (the date after the title indicates the first year of publication):
Archiv für Kathol. Kirchenrecht (1857); Analecta Juris Pontificii (Rome, 1855), since 1893, Analecta Ecclesiastica; Le Canoniste Contemporain (Paris, 1893); American Ecclesiastical Review (New York, 1889); Irish Ecclesiastical Record (Dublin, 1864); Nouvelle Revue Théologique (Tournay, 1869); Acta Sanctæ Sedis (Rome, 1865); Monitore Ecclesiastico (Rome, 1876).
Am. Eccl. R., I, p. 404; Baart, The Roman Court (New York), 230; Humphrey, Urbis et Orbis (London, 1899—an English work), 317; Analecta Juris Pontificii, II Série, Les Congregations Romaines et de leur pratique (Paris, 1857) 2230–82, 2364–2424; Bangen, Die romische Kurie (Munster, 1854); Bouix, De Curiâ Romanâ (Paris, 1880), 293; De Principiis Juris Canonici (Paris, 1852), 334; Ferraris, Bibliotheca Canonica (Rome, 1885–99), II, s. v. Congregationes; Hergenrother-Holweck, Lehrbuch des katholischen Kirchenrechts (Freiburg, 1905), 292; Hinschius, System d. kath. Kirchenrechts (Berlin, 1869), I, 448 (non-Catholic); Lega, De Judiciis Ecclesiasticis (Rome, 1896–1901), II, 96; De origine et naturâ Sacr. Romanarum Congregationum in Analecta Ecclesiastica (Rome 1896), IV, 458; Phillips, Kirchenrecht (Ratisbon, 1864), VI, pp. 567–582, 583–673; Simor, De Sacris Congregationibus et illarum auctoritate, in Archiv. f. kath. Kirchenrecht (1864), 410; Sägmüller, Lehrbuch des kathol. Kirchenrechts (Freiburg, 1900), 325–337, 75–77; Wernz, Jus Decretalium (Rome 1905), I; Haskins, in Catholic University Bulletin, III, 177.
Acts of the Saints. See Bollandists.
Actual Grace. See Grace.
Actual Sin. See Sin.
Actus et Potentia, a technical expression in scholastic phraseology.
I.—The terms actus and potentia were used by the scholastics to translate Aristotle's ἐνέργεια or ἐντελέχεια, and δύναμις. There is no single word in English that would be an exact rendering of either. Act, action, actuality, perfection, determination express the various meanings of actus; potency, potentiality, power, capacity, those of potentia. In general, potentia means an aptitude to change, to act or to be acted upon, to give or to receive some new determination. Actus means the fulfilment of such a capacity. So, potentia always refers to something future, which at present exists only as a germ to be evolved; actus denotes the corresponding complete reality. In a word, potentia is the determinable being, actus the determined being. The term actus, therefore, has a much greater extension than act or operation. Every operation is an actus, because it is the complement of a power; but all other perfections and determinations, whatever be their nature, are also actus. On the other hand, the being in potentiâ is not to be identified with the possible being. The latter belongs to the logical order; it is a notion whose elements involve no contradiction. The former belongs to the real order; it exists in a subject which, though undetermined, is capable of determination. Potentia is more than a mere statement of futurity, which has reference to time only; it implies a positive aptitude to be realized in the future. It would also be a mistake to identify the scholastic actus and potentia with the actual and potential energy of physics. These terms apply only to material substances, and are exclusively dynamic; they signify the capacity for doing work, or the actual performing of work. The scholastic terms apply to all, even spiritual, beings, and refer to any reality which they possess or can acquire. The Aristotelian "energy" (actus) as such, i.e., considered as actuality, can never be potential, these two terms being opposed to each other. Actuality and potentiality are mutually exclusive, since one means the presence, and the other the absence, of the same determination. Yet, in all beings except God (see Actus Purus) there is a combination of actuality and potentiality; they possess some determinations and are capable of acquiring others. Moreover, the same reality may be considered as actuality or potentiality, according as we take a retrospective or a prospective point of view. In man, skill and science are actualities if we compare them to human nature, which they presuppose. But if we compare them to the actions themselves, or to the actual recall of acquired knowledge to consciousness, they are powers, or potentiæ. If we keep the same point of view, it is impossible for the same thing to be at the same time in actu