Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/382

This page needs to be proofread.


THE THRONE IN THE TIME OF STORMS

On the next day Pius proclaimed urbi et orbi: **With the assent of the Sacred Council we teach and define as a dogma revealed by God: that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when he in the fulfilment of his office as the shepherd and teacher of all Chris- tians, finally decides by the strength of that holy apostolic power lodged in his office that a doctrine concerning faith or morals is to be believed by the universal Church, is by reason of the divine assistance promised to him in the person of St. Peter, given that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished that His Church should speak when reaching a final decision concerning a belief or a practice; and that therefore such decisions by the Roman Pontiff are of themselves un- changeable and do not need the expression of the Church's concurrence. But if someone, which may God forbid, should presume to gainsay this our definition, then he shall stand excommunicate."

Both Catholic teaching and pastoral practice clamoured for a more detailed exposition of this article of faith. A popular commentary, which soon thereafter was also given the express commendation of the Pope himself, was drawn up by the bishops of Switzerland. This said among other things: "Revelation coming from God, which is the background of faith, is a domain completely isolated and carefully defined inside which the infallible decisions of the Pope may be arrived at, concerning matters which exact from the faith of Catholics new responsibilities. . . It in no way depends upon the whims of the Pope or on his personal opinions whether this or that teaching can be made the object of a dogmatic definition. He is bound and cir- cumscribed by the creeds already existing, and by previous definitions of the Church; he is bound and circumscribed by the divinely revealed teaching which guarantees that side by side with the religious com- munion there must exist a civil community, that side by side with ecclesiastical authority there stands the power of secular magistrates who are endowed with complete sovereignty in their own domain, and that to these magistrates we owe in conscience obedience and re- spect in all things that are morally permissible and that belong to the domain of civil society."

The Council had not gone beyond the sphere of spiritual power, it had not touched upon the question whether temporal possessions were necessary to the Church, and it had not made the Syllabus as a whole


PAPAL