Benedict XIV…

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s mercy aimed at religious syncretism

  • The ceremonies of the Mosaic Law can no longer be observed without sin

The first consideration is that the ceremonies of the Mosaic Law were abrogated by the coming of Christ and that they can no longer be observed without sin after the promulgation of the Gospel. Since, then, the distinction made by the old Law between clean and unclean foods belongs to the ceremonial precepts, it may justly be affirmed that such a distinction no longer exists and ought not be insisted on. (Benedict XIV. Encyclical Ex quo primum, March 1, 1756)

…judges Francis’ idea on adulterine unions

  • The laws should chastise those who do not respect the indissolubility of the matrimonial bond

We have received news that the perpetual and indissoluble matrimonial bond whose solidity was proclaimed from all time and which Christ the Lord deigned to confirm with these words, that which God has united let no men separate, and to elevate with the grace of the Gospel – by which it is a great Sacrament of the Church – is dissolved with such facility in some parts of the Catholic world and especially in this distinguished Kingdom of Poland, as though matrimony had been contracted without taking into account the natural law, nor the divine right, nor the precepts of the Gospel nor even the canonical determinations. Due to this, our preoccupation is so great, as well as the sorrow that afflicts our Pontifical heart, to such an extent that we are able to express it neither with tears nor words. For, regardless of how much this brings us sorrow, we easily reach the conclusion that this license in the dissolution of conjugal bonds, through which – not without grave harm to the common good – a man and a woman -while the former spouses still live– dare to contract a third or fourth marriage, have had their origin in the liberal action of your curies, as we have become aware of by other sources. However, we cannot help but direct to you, venerable brothers, our most just complaints; and at the same time, so as to restrain – and within the limits prescribed by the Catholic Church to repress – so great license we think of preparing convenient laws and a means. (Benedict XIV. Encyclical Matrimonii, April 11, 1741)

… judges Francis’ ideas on the evangelization of the Americas

  • Profound sorrow caused by those who still hinder the indigenous from embracing the faith by inhuman treatment – even after grave punishments and ecclesiastical censures

Therefore we have come to know, with profound sorrow to our paternal spirit that, after so many counsels of apostolic providence dictated by our very predecessors, after so many constitutions providing that in the best way possible that help and protection would be provided to the unbelievers and prohibiting, under the most grave punishments and ecclesiastical censures, that they be injured, whipped, imprisoned or their death be caused, that even still, and above all in the regions of Brazil, there are men belonging to the true faith who, as though completely forgetting the meaning of charity infused in our souls by the Holy Spirit, either submit them to slavery, or sell them to others as though they were merchandise, or deprive the impoverished Indians of their goods, not only those lacking the light of the faith, but inclusively those regenerated by baptism, who live in the mountains and rugged regions within the eastern as well as the southern area of Brazil and other desert regions, they dare to behave toward these with such an inhumanity, that they hinder them from embracing the faith of Christ, making it profoundly odious to them. (Benedict XIV. Letter Immensa Pastorum, December 20, 1741)

  • Chastisement and grave punishments for those who behave toward the Indians in a manner contrary to Christian meekness and charity

In the effort to remedy these evils with all the power that God has given us, we have sought to interest firstly the eminent piety and the incredible zeal in the propagation of the Catholic religion of our dear son in Christ, John of Portugal, the illustrious king of the Algarve, who, given his filial devotion to Us and to this Holy See, has promised that he will immediately give orders to each and every one of the officials and ministers of his dominions so that they be chastised with the gravest punishments, according to the royal edicts, whosoever of his subjects is caught behaving toward these Indians in a manner contrary to that which the meekness of Christian charity requires. We pray you all, brothers, and We exhort you in the Lord with the object that not only do you not consent that lack – for the shame of your name and dignity – the vigilance, solicitude and the effort owing in this and your ministry, but also that, uniting your zeal to the offices of the ministers of the king, you demonstrate to all with how much greater ardor of priestly charity than the lay ministers, do the priest make efforts, pastors of souls, in the support of these Indians and in bringing them to the Catholic Faith. (Benedict XIV. Letter Immensa Pastorum, December 20, 1741)

  • Excommunication latæ sententiæ for those who mistreat the Indians

We, furthermore, with apostolic authority, and due to the nature of the matter at hand, renew and confirm the apostolic letters in the form of a short address by Pope Paul III, our predecessor, then cardinal of the Roman Church by the name of Juan Tavera, archbishop of Toledo, with the date of May 28, 1537, and the writings by Pope Urban VIII, equally our predecessor, to the then general collector of rights and fees due to the Apostolic Chamber in the kingdoms of Portugal and of the Algarve with the date of April 22, 1639; as also, following in the footsteps of these very predecessors, Paul and Urban, and desiring to repress the insolence of these wicked men that terrorize with inhuman acts the referred Indians, who in order to attract to receive the faith of Christ it is necessary to expend all resources of Christian charity, we recommend and command each one of you and your successors that each one by himself or by another or others, may be dictated edicts and proposals to be affixed in public places, aiding in the same with the protection of an efficacious defense to the same Indians within the provinces of Paraguay, Brazil and the region of the so-called Silver River as well as in any other place of the Western and Meirdian Indies, prohibit energetically for all and any one of the people, laypersons, as well as clergy, persons of any state, sex, level, condition and position, even those of special importance and with a title of dignity, as well as any order, congregation, society – including the Company of Jesus -, religious group and institutes of mendicants and non-mendicants, monks, regulars, without excluding any of the military orders nor even the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem, under the pain of excommunication latae sententiae, which is incurred by the mere fact of transgressing that which has been ordered, and of which they may not be absolved, except in articulo mortis and with previous satisfaction, except by Us or by the Roman Pontiff reigning at the time, that continually enslave such Indians, sell them, buy them, exchange or given them, separate them from their wives and children, strip them of their belongings and goods, bring them from one place to another or transport them, or in any other way deprive them of the liberty or retain them in servitude; equally those who dare or presume to counsel, aid, help or collaborate with those who do such things, under no pretext and by no means, or transmit and teach that doing so is licit or cooperate with them in any way; declaring that, whosoever be the violators and the rebels may be, as well as those who do not obey what was formerly stated to any one of you, you have incurred the punishment of the indicated excommunication, and are reprehended equally with other censures and ecclesiastical punishments and other opportune remedies de iure and de facto, having deferred all appellation and observed the legal proceedings that exist in practice, augmenting the censures and the same punishments in the cases of repeated offences and inclusively invoking for this, if necessary, the aid of the secular powers, We, with superior authority, grant and concede to each one of you and of your successors full, entire and free capacity. (Benedict XIV. Letter Immensa Pastorum, December 20, 1741)

… judges Francis’ ideas on the Old Covenant and Judaism

  •  The observance of the annulled ceremonies of the Mosaic Law constitutes a sin

The first consideration is that the ceremonies of the Mosaic Law were abrogated by the coming of Christ and that they can no longer be observed without sin after the promulgation of the Gospel. Therefore, the distinction made by the old Law between clean and unclean foods belongs to the ceremonial precepts, whereby it may be justly affirmed that such a distinction no longer exists, and that no discrimination of foods should be permitted. (Benedict XIV. Encyclical Ex Quo Primum, no. 61, March 1, 1756)

… judges Francis’ ideas on martyrdom

  • Even if a Heretic Dies for one Article of the True Faith, He may not be Considered a Martyr

 The Marcionites and other heretics gloried in the multitude of their martyrs. as Sulpicius Severus of the Priscillianists wrote. (Sacr. Histor. lib. II, c.51, n.7) The heretics of our days imitate them. […] Even if we admitted that there exists schism without heresy, one who dies in schism may not be numbered among the martyrs, for he who is separated from the Catholic Church has no life. […] Consequently, among the schismatics, no martyrs exist. […] A heretic dies either due to his heresy, or due to an article of the Catholic Faith. In the first case he may not be considered a martyr, for, in dying, he is a sure testimony of his own diabolical persistence in error. […] The same we may say of a heretic who dies for one article of the true Faith; even though we admit that he died for one truth, he did not accept death for all of the truths proposed within the Faith, since he himself lacks faith. The theologians, led by Saint Thomas (SummaTheologica II-IIae, q. 5, a.3), teach that he who merely dies for one article of truth may not be considered a martyr, since he lacks both living as well as lifeless faith. However, when it is a heretic invincibiliter [i.e. in invincible ignorance] and ready to believe in any proposal of legitimate authority, he may be considered a martyr before God (coram Deo), but not before the Church (coram Ecclesia).
The norms of ‘De Servorum Dei beatifatione…’ were in use during almost two centuries within in the Sacred Congregation of Rites and were substantially passed on to the ‘Codex Iuris Canonici’ of 1917, according to the Apostolic Constitution ‘Divinus Perfectionis Magister’ of John Paul II. (Benedict XIV. De Servorum Dei beatificatione et Beatorum canonizatione (syn.), lib.III, c. 20)

Leave a Reply