Auctorum Fidei – Verbum Domini

Auctorem Fidei is a bull issued by Pius VI, 28 August, 1794, in condemnation of the Gallican and Jansenist acts and tendencies of the synod of Pistoia (1786).

Auctorum fidei – Contra Pistoia – Part I
Errors of the Synod of Pistoia
[Condemned in the Constitution, “Auctorem fidei,” Aug. 28, 1794]
[A. Errors about the Church 3]
Obscuring of Truths in the Church [From the Decree de Grat., sec. I]
1. The proposition, which asserts “that in these later times there has been spread a general obscuring of
the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings
of Jesus Christ,”—heretical.
The Power Attributed to the Community of the Church, in Order That by This the Power May Be
Communicated to the Pastors
2. The proposition which states “that power has been given by God to the Church, that it might be
communicated to the pastors who are its ministers for the salvation of souls”; if thus understood that the
power of ecclesiastical ministry and of rule is derived from the COMMUNITY of the faithful to the
The Name Ministerial Head Attributed to the Roman Pontiff
3. In addition, the proposition which states “that the Roman Pontiff is the ministerial head,” if it is so
explained that the Roman Pontiff does not receive from Christ in the person of blessed Peter, but from
the Church, the power of ministry, which as successor of Peter, true vicar of Christ and head of the
whole Church he possesses in the universal Church,—heretical.’
The Power of the Church for the Establishing and the Sanctioning of Exterior Discipline
4. The proposition affirming, “that it would be a misuse of the authority of the Church, when she
transfers that authority beyond the limits of doctrine and of morals, and extends it to exterior matters,
and demands by force that which depends on persuasion and love”; and then also, “that it pertains to it
much less, to demand by force exterior obedience to its decrees”; in so far as by those undefined words,
“extends to exterior matters,” the proposition censures as an abuse of the authority of the Church the
use of its power received from God, which the apostles themselves used in establishing and sanctioning
exterior discipline—heretical.
5. In that part in which the proposition insinuates that the Church “does not have authority to demand
obedience to its decrees otherwise than by means which depend on persuasion; in so far as it intends
that the Church has not conferred on it by God the power, not only of directing by counsel and
persuasion, but also of ordering by laws, and of constraining and forcing the inconstant and stubborn by
exterior judgment and salutary punishments” leading toward a system condemned elsewhere as

Verbum Domini

Verbum Mundo

The word of God and commitment to justice in society

For this reason, the Synod Fathers wished to say a special word to all those who take part in political and social life. Evangelization and the spread of God’s word ought to inspire their activity in the world, as they work for the true common good in respecting and promoting the dignity of every person. Certainly it is not the direct task of the Church to create a more just society, although she does have the right and duty to intervene on ethical and moral issues related to the good of individuals and peoples. It is primarily the task of the lay faithful, formed in the school of the Gospel, to be directly involved in political and social activity. For this reason, the Synod recommends that they receive a suitable formation in the principles of the Church’s social teaching.[330]

101. I would like also to call the attention of everyone to the importance of defending and promoting the human rights of every person, based on the natural law written on the human heart, which, as such, are “universal, inviolable and inalienable”.[331] The Church expresses the hope that by the recognition of these rights human dignity will be more effectively acknowledged and universally promoted,[332] inasmuch as it is a distinctive mark imprinted by the Creator on his creatures, taken up and redeemed by Jesus Christ through his incarnation, death and resurrection. The spread of the word of God cannot fail to strengthen the recognition of, and respect for, the human rights of every person.[333]


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