Some Words From “Auctorem Fidei”

Pope Pius VI.

Pope Pius VI.

Rending unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, I link to a document published in a Sedevacantist site (something I try to avoid whenever possible; today, in honesty, it wouldn’t be fair).

This document is the translation in English of the introductory part of the Bull Auctorem Fidei, with which Pope Pius VI condemned 85 propositions taught by a regional Synod held in Pistoia (Tuscany) in 1786.

Whilst I am not an expert in the matter, it would appear – if we think of the years and the climate of the time: we are in the full swing of the so-called enlightenment, and at the vigil of the French Revolution – that in the Council of Pistoia some “lio” was made, in the attempt to “modernise” the Church faced with the new “springtime” of the “enlightenment”.

The Sedevacantist site above has, then, undertaken the very laudable task to translate the introductory part of this Bull. It makes for interesting reading, because in it Pius VI expresses with a remarkable – and in light of the present situation, uncanny – clarity the workings of the heretical mind and the methods it uses.

I reproduce here the most striking lines of Pius’ reflections. Emphases mine.

They [ our most holy predecessors] knew the capacity of innovators in the art of deception. In order not to shock the ears of Catholics, the innovators sought to hide the subtleties of their tortuous maneuvers by the use of seemingly innocuous words such as would allow them to insinuate error into souls in the most gentle manner. Once the truth had been compromised, they could, by means of slight changes or additions in phraseology, distort the confession of the faith that is necessary for our salvation, and lead the faithful by subtle errors to their eternal damnation. This manner of dissimulating and lying is vicious, regardless of the circumstances under which it is used. For very good reasons it can never be tolerated in a synod of which the principal glory consists above all in teaching the truth with clarity and excluding all danger of error. Moreover, if all this is sinful, it cannot be excused in the way that one sees it being done, under the erroneous pretext that the seemingly shocking affirmations in one place are further developed along orthodox lines in other places, and even in yet other places corrected; as if allowing for the possibility of either affirming or denying the statement, or of leaving it up the personal inclinations of the individual – such has always been the fraudulent and daring method used by innovators to establish error. It allows for both thepossibility of promoting error and of excusing it. It is a most reprehensible technique for the insinuation of doctrinal errors and one condemned long ago by our predecessor St. Celestine, who found it used in the writings of Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, and which he exposed in order to condemn it with the greatest possible severity. Once these texts were examined carefully, the impostor was exposed and confounded, for he expressed himself in a plethora of words, mixing true things with others that were obscure; mixing at times one with the other in such a way that he was also able to confess those things which were denied while at the same time possessing a basis for denying those very sentences which he confessed.

The methods described by the Pope can be recognised in much of the theology of the last 50 years, in the duplicitous Vatican II documents, in the assertion of much of the moderate “spirit of V II” crowd, and in a good part of the accommodating clergy of our times, nowadays led by the humble Appeaser In Chief.

What method uses Pius to expose the error? 

In order to expose such snares, something which becomes necessary with a certain frequency in every century, no other method is required than the following: Whenever it becomes necessary to expose statements that disguise some suspected error or danger under the veil of ambiguity, one must denounce the perverse meaning under which the error opposed to Catholic truth is camouflaged.

Whilst the motives can be different in different persons, and there is no reason to doubt Francis is not deliberately trying to corrupt a teaching that he positively knows as right – rather, in his hubris and ignorance he thinks he is giving a faithful rendition of the message, of which he “merely” emphasizes some parts; though, think of it, probably most formal heretics start in that way… – I cannot avoid noticing variations of the same modus operandi Pope Pius VI describes here so well, both in Francis and in the many erroneous theologians that have afflicted us in the last fifty or sixty years. 

Again, I read the words and I found them uncanny. They seem written today, by a SSPX priest explaining to us the errors of modernism and the methods used by Neo-Modernists to propagate them. Nihil sub sole novi.

Let us stay vigilant, and let us avoid being enchanted by the “seemingly innocuous words such as would allow them to insinuate error into souls in the most gentle manner”.

Atheists who die in their atheism go to Hell. 

It is a work of mercy to admonish the sinner.

Silence is a way to be accessory to another’s sin.


Posted on September 17, 2013, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Thank you for this posting! It’s hard to push back against the errors that have flourished in the past century. They pop up everywhere but sometimes they’re so subtle that it’s almost impossible to effectively point them out and explain convincingly why certain practices and teachings are indeed errors. This Bull from Pope Pius VI is a good “tool” to shed light on the problem and perhaps help develop some verbal tools to fight this spiritual battle. I often think that the speakers of dubious words are so full of good will that they don’t even realize they’re straying from orthodox teaching. But sometimes they do. And so thank you again. I will get to work on this instruction from Pope Pius VI.

  2. Popes and Saints of past centuries were very precise, strong and specific in their teachings so that errors were rebuked or condemned as they arose. It is only during the VCII period in history that one needs an interpreter to try to make right the babel. It should be obvious to anyone Catholic of good will that satan has infiltrated the Church from within and must be removed in order for the cure to occur. Satan will try to bring down the Church but never has he had such willing internal advocates as he does in todays Catholic Church from top to bottom…..and so we pray and fight for our faith.


    George Brenner

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