With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for
the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects
the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even
more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture,
and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond
the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable.
In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are
looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of
These errors are being daily spread among the faithful. Lest they captivate the
faithful's minds and corrupt the purity of their faith, His Holiness, Pius X, by Divine
Providence, Pope, has decided that the chief errors should be noted and condemned by the
Office of this Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.
Therefore, after a very diligent investigation and consultation with the Reverend
Consultors, the Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinals, the General Inquisitors in
matters of faith and morals have judged the following propositions to be condemned and
proscribed. In fact, by this general decree, they are condemned and proscribed.
1.The ecclesiastic law which prescribes that books concerning the Divine Scriptures are
subject to previous examination does not apply to critical scholars and students of
scientific exegesis of the Old Testament and New Testament.
2.The Church's interpretation of the Sacred Books is by no means to be rejected;
nevertheless, it is subject to the more accurate judgment and correction of the exegetes.
3.From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures passed against free and more
scientific exegesis, one can conclude that what the Faith the Church proposes contradicts
history and that Catholic teaching cannot really be reconciled with the true origins of
the Christian religion.
4.Even by dogmatic definitions the Church's magesterium cannot determine the genuine
sense of the Sacred Scriptures.
5.Since the deposit of Faith contains only revealed truths, the Church has no right to
pass judgment on the assertions of the human sciences.
6.The "Church learning" and the "Church teaching" collaborate in
such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the "Church teaching" to
sanction the opinions of the "Church learning."
7.In proscribing errors, the Church cannot demand any internal assent from the faithful
by which the judgments she issues are to be embraced.
8.They are free from all blame who treat lightly the condemnations passed by the Sacred
Congregation of the Index or by the Roman Congregations.
9.They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the
author of the Sacred Scriptures.
10.The inspiration of the books of the Old Testament consists of this: The
Israelite writers handed down religious doctrines under a peculiar aspect which was either
little or not at all known to the Gentiles.
11.Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders
its parts, each and every one, free from every error.
12.If he wishes to apply himself usefully to Biblical studies, the exegete must first
put aside all preconceived opinions about the supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture and
interpret it the same as any other merely human document.
13.The Evangelists themselves, as well as the Christians of the second and third
generation, artificially arranged the evangelical parables. In such a way they explained
the scanty fruit of the preaching of Christ among the Jews.
14.In many narrations the Evangelists recorded, not so much things that are true, as
things which, even though false, they judged to be more profitable for their readers.
15.Until the time the canon was defined and constituted, the Gospels were increased by
additions and corrections. Therefore there remained in them only a faint and uncertain
trace of the doctrine of Christ.
16.The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the
Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking
historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation.
17.The fourth Gospel exaggerated miracles not only in order that the extraordinary
might stand out but also in order that it might become more suitable for showing forth the
work and glory of the Word Incarnate.
18.John claims for himself the quality of witness concerning Christ. In reality,
however, he is only a distinguished witness of the Christian life, or of the life of
Christ in the Church at the close of the first century.
19.Heterodox exegetes have expressed the true sense of the Scriptures more faithfully
than Catholic exegetes.
20.Revelation could be nothing else than the consciousness man acquired of his
revelation to God.
21.Revelation, constituting the object of the Catholic faith, was not completed with
22.The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from
heaven. They are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has
acquired by laborious effort.
23.Opposition may, and actually does, exist between the facts narrated in Sacred
Scripture and the Church's dogmas which rest on them. Thus the critic may reject as
false facts the Church holds as most certain.
24.The exegete who constructs premises from which it follows that dogmas are
historically false or doubtful is not to be reproved as long as he does not directly deny
the dogmas themselves.
25.The assent of faith ultimately rests on a mass of probabilities.
26.The dogmas of the Faith are to be held only according to their practical sense; that
is to say, as preceptive norms of conduct and not as norms of believing.
27.The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels. It is a dogma which the
Christian conscience has derived from the notion of the Messias.
28.While He was exercising His ministry, Jesus did not speak with the object of
teaching He was the Messias, nor did His miracles tend to prove it.
29.It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ
Who is the object of faith.
30.In all the evangelical texts the name "Son of God" is equivalent only to
that of "Messias." It does not in the least way signify that Christ is the true
and natural Son of God.
31.The doctrine concerning Christ taught by Paul, John, and the Council of Nicea,
Ephesus and Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but that which the Christian
conscience conceived concerning Jesus.
32.It is impossible to reconcile the natural sense of the Gospel texts with the sense
taught by our theologians concerning the conscience and the infallible knowledge of Jesus
33.Everyone who is not led by preconceived opinions can readily see that either Jesus
professed an error concerning the immediate Messianic coming or the greater part of His
doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute of authenticity.
34.The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge without limits only on a hypothesis
which cannot be historically conceived and which is repugnant to the moral sense. That
hypothesis is that Christ as man possessed the knowledge of God and yet was unwilling to
communicate the knowledge of a great many things to His disciples and posterity.
35.Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.
36.The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is
a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the
Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.
37.In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact
itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God.
38.The doctrine of the expiatory death of Christ is Pauline and not evangelical.
39.The opinions concerning the origin of the Sacraments which the Fathers of Trent held
and which certainly influenced their dogmatic canons are very different from those which
now rightly exist among historians who examine Christianity.
40.The Sacraments had their origin in the fact that the Apostles and their successors,
swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of
41.The Sacraments are intended merely to recall to man's mind the ever-beneficent
presence of the Creator.
42.The Christian community imposed the necessity of Baptism, adopted it as a necessary
rite, and added to it the obligation of the Christian profession.
43.The practice of administering Baptism to infants was a disciplinary evolution, which
became one of the causes why the Sacrament was divided into two, namely, Baptism and
44.There is nothing to prove that the rite of the Sacrament of Confirmation was
employed by the Apostles. The formal distinction of the two Sacraments of Baptism and
Confirmation does not pertain to the history of primitive Christianity.
45.Not everything which Paul narrates concerning the institution of the Eucharist (I
Cor. 11:23-25) is to be taken historically.
46.In the primitive Church the concept of the Christian sinner reconciled by the
authority of the Church did not exist. Only very slowly did the Church accustom herself to
this concept. As a matter of fact, even after Penance was recognized as an institution of
the Church, it was not called a Sacrament since it would be held as a disgraceful
47.The words of the Lord, "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive,
they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" (John
20:22-23). in no way refer to the Sacrament of Penance, in spite of what it pleased the
Fathers of Trent to say.
48.In his Epistle (Ch. 5:14-15) James did not intend to promulgate a Sacrament of
Christ but only condemned a pious custom. If in this custom he happens to distinguish a
means of grace, it is not in that rigorous manner in which it was taken by the theologians
who laid down the notion and number of the Sacraments.
49.When the Christian supper gradually assumed the nature of a liturgical action those
who customarily presided over the supper acquired the sacredotal character.
50.The elders who fulfilled the office of watching over the gatherings of the faithful
were instituted by the Apostles as priests or bishops to provide for the necessary
ordering of the increasing communities and not properly for the perpetuation of the
Apostolic mission and power.
51.It is impossible that Matrimony could have become a Sacrament of the new law until
later in the Church since it was necessary that a full theological explication of the
doctrine of grace and the Sacraments should first take place before Matrimony should be
held as a Sacrament.
52.It was far from the mind of Christ to found a Church as a society which would
continue on earth for a long course of centuries. On the contrary, in the mind of Christ
the kingdom of heaven together with the end of the world was about to come immediately.
53.The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society,
Christian society is subject to a perpetual evolution.
54.Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only
interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and
perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.
55.Simon Peter never even suspected that Christ entrusted the primacy in the Church to
56.The Roman Church became the head of all the churches, not through the ordinance of
Divine Providence, but merely through political conditions.
57.The Church has shown that she is hostile to the progress of the natural and
58.Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and
59.Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all
men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different
times and places.
60.Christian Doctrine was originally Judaic. Through successive evolutions it became
first Pauline, then Joannine, finally Hellenic and universal.
61.It may be said without paradox that there is no chapter of Scripture, from the first
of Genesis to the last of the Apocalypse, which contains a doctrine absolutely identical
with that which the Church teaches on the same matter. For the same reason, therefore, no
chapter of Scripture has the same sense for the critic and the theologian.
62.The chief articles of the Apostles' Creed did not have the same sense for the
Christians of the first ages as they have for the Christians of our time.
63.The Church shows that she is incapable of effectively maintaining evangelical ethics
since she obstinately clings to immutable doctrines which cannot be reconciled with modern
64.Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God,
creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be re-adjusted.
65.Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed
into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism.
The following Thursday, the fourth day of the same month and year, all these matters
were accurately reported to our Most Holy Lord, Pope Pius X. His Holiness approved and
confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers and ordered that each and every one of
the above-listed propositions be held by all as condemned and proscribed.
Notary of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition