... Home Page.
  ... About. ... Library.
  ...Si fuit in re.
  ...Vehementer Nos.
  ...Pascendi Dominici Gregis.

Ex Quo


Pope Saint Pius X (r. 4 August 1903 to 20 August 1914 †)

26 December 1910




Not a pretty picture. Taking as his starting point and the framework for this own letter, an article written by a certain Prince Max, the sainted pope essentially denies, albeit in an entirely summary and declarative form, every argument advanced in that former article in support of the proposition that the "Big O" Orthodox were the aggrieved party in the Great Schism, that the Popes were wrong on a list of points, doctrinal and ecclesiological. That is, Pope Saint Pius X admits of no room for compromise, that the "Big C" Catholic side might be to blame, might be ever so slightly in error, on any point. For Pope Pius X the matter was simple. The separated brethren in the Orthodox Churches and in the Non-Chalcedonian/Oriental Orthodox are wrong on every point in dispute as well as in their knowledge and understanding of history, and so the unity of the Church required (and requires) that both families of Churches yield to Rome on every outstanding issue.



    Si fuit in re in the original Latin


  To the Archbishops, Delegates Apostolic of Byzantium in Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Syria, and Eastern India in which is rejected a certain article on the question of restoring the Churches to Catholic Unity.  
  Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.  
  It would be hard to say how much has been done by holy men from the closing years of the ninth century, when the nations of the East began to be snatched from the unity of the Catholic Church, in order that Our separated brethren might be restored to her bosom. Beyond all others the Supreme Pontiffs, Our Predecessors, in fulfilment of their duty of protecting the faith and ecclesiastical unity, left nothing undone, by fatherly exhortations, public embassies, and solemn councils, to remove this most fatal dissidence which brought bitter grief to the West, but to the East grave loss. The witnesses of this, to mention but a few among many, are Gregory IX, Innocent IV, Clement IV, Gregory X, Eugenius IV, Gregory XIII, and Benedict XIV. [1]  
  But no one is unaware of the great zeal with which more recently Our Predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, invited the nations of the East to associate themselves again with the Roman Church. "As for Ourselves." he said, "to say the truth We must confess that the very remembrance of the ancient glory and incomparable merits of which the East can boast are to Us inexpressibly sweet. There, in fact, were the cradle of human redemption and the first fruits of Christianity. From thence,« as streams of some royal river, were diffused over the West the riches of the inestimable blessings derived to Us from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. .. . While We ponder on these things, Venerable Brethren, in Our mind, We desire and long for nothing so much as to effect the restoration to all the East of the virtue and grandeur of the past. And the more so because the signs which, in the development of human events, appear there from time to time give reason to hope that the Orientals, moved by Divine grace, may return to reconciliation with the Church of Rome from whose bosom they have been for so many years separated." [2]  
  Nor, indeed, are We, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, less desirous that the day so ardently prayed for by so many holy men may quickly dawn, on which the wall which has so long divided two peoples may be destroyed to its foundations, and that these being enfolded in one embrace of faith and charity, the peace so long besought may at length flourish, and that there may be one fold and one shepherd. [3]  
  Whilst these were Our thoughts, there came to Us a cause for grief from a certain article published in the new Review Roma Oriente entitled "Thoughts on the question of the Union of the Churches." For, indeed, this article is full of so many errors, not only theological but historical, that a greater collection could scarcely be pressed into so small a number of pages.  
  The Errors in the Article.  
  And, certainly no less rashly than falsely, approach is made in the article to the position that the dogma of the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son in no way flows from the words of the Gospel or is provided by the belief of the ancient Fathers. With equal imprudence doubt is expressed whether the sacred dogmas of Purgatory and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary were held by the holy men of the first centuries. Again, when the article comes to deal with the Constitution of the Church, we have, first, a renewal of the error long ago condemned by Our Predecessor Innocent X [4], by which Saint Paul is regarded as altogether equal as a brother with Saint Peter.  
  Secondly, and no less erroneously, it is suggested that in the first centuries the Catholic Church was not ruled by a single head, that is a monarchy, and that the primacy of the Roman Church was supported by no valid arguments. Nor does the article leave untouched the Catholic doctrine of the Most Holy Eucharist; for it is stoutly advanced that the view is admissible which holds among the Greeks that the words of consecration do not produce their effect unless the prayer called the "Epiclesis" shall have first been offered, though it is known that the Church has no power at all to touch the substance of the Sacraments. Equally inadmissible is the view that Confirmation given by any priest may be regarded as valid. [5]  
  Even from this summary of the errors contained in this article, you will easily understand, Venerable Brethren, the very grave offense that has been done to all who read it, and how greatly We Ourselves have been astounded that Catholic teaching is so wantonly perverted by open words, and that many historical points on the causes of the Oriental Schism are all too rashly distorted from the truth. In the first place, it is falsely laid to the charge of the holy Popes Nicholas I and Leo IX that a great part of the responsibility for the trouble was due to the pride and ambition of the one, and to the harsh rebukes of the other: as if the apostolic energy of the former in the defense of most sacred rights can be attributed to pride, or the persistency of the latter in coercing the wicked can be called cruelty. The principles of history also are trampled underfoot when those holy expeditions called the Crusades are traduced as piratical enterprises, or, more seriously still, when the Roman Pontiffs are blamed as though the zeal with which they sought to call the Oriental nations to union with the Roman Church is to be attributed to a lust for power, and not to an apostolic solicitude for the feeding of the flock of Christ. Great, too, was Our amazement at the assertion in the same article that the Greeks at Florence were forced by the Latins to subscribe to unity, and that the same people were induced by false arguments to receive the dogma of the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son as well as from the Father.  
  The article even goes so far as, in defiance of the facts of history, to question whether the General Councils which were held after the secession of the Greeks, from the Eighth to that of the Vatican, are to be regarded as really oecumenical, whence a rule of a sort of hybrid unity is propounded that only that is henceforth to be acknowledged by either Church as legitimate which was their common heritage before the disruption, complete silence being observed on all else as superfluous and spurious additions.  
  Exhortation to Efforts for Unity.  
  We have thought that these things should be pointed out to you, Venerable Brethren, not only that you may know that the propositions and theories are rejected by Us as false, rash and foreign to Catholic faith, but also that, as far as may be in your power, you may endeavor to drive away so dire a pestilence from the people entrusted to your watchful care, by exhorting all to stand fast in the accepted teaching and never to listen to any other, even though an angel from heaven should preach it. [6] At the same time, too, We earnestly pray you to impress upon them that We have no more ardent desire than that all men of good-will may unweariedly exert all their strength that the unity longed for may be more speedily obtained, so that those sheep whom division holds apart may be united in one profession of Catholic faith under one supreme pastor. And this will more easily be brought about if fervent prayers are multiplied to the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, Who is "not the God of dissension but of peace." [7] So will it befall that the prayer of Christ which He offered with groans before undergoing the worst of torments shall be fulfilled, "that they all may be one as Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us." [8]  
  Lastly, let all be sure that work with this object will be in vain unless first, and above all, they hold the true and whole Catholic faith as it has been handed down and consecrated in Holy Scripture, the tradition of the Fathers, the consent of the Church, General Councils, and the decrees of the Supreme Pontiffs. Let, then, all those who strive to defend the cause of unity go forth; let them go forth wearing the helmet of faith, holding to the anchor of hope, and inflamed with the fire of charity, to work unceasingly in this most heavenly enterprise; and God, the author and lover of peace, in whose power are the times and the moments [9], will hasten the day when the nations of the East shall return rejoicing to Catholic unity, and united to the Apostolic See, after casting away their errors, shall enter the port of everlasting salvation.  
  Prince Max's Submission.  
  This letter, Venerable Brethren, you will cause to be published after being diligently translated into the vernacular of the country entrusted to you. And whilst We rejoice to inform you that the beloved author of this article, which was written by him inconsiderately indeed but with good faith, has in Our presence sincerely and from his heart given his adhesion to the doctrines set forth in this letter, and has declared his readiness to teach, reject and condemn to the end of his life all that is taught, rejected and condemned by the Holy Apostolic See, We most lovingly in the Lord impart the Apostolic Benediction as an earnest of heavenly gifts, and as a witness of Our benevolence.  
  Given at St. Peter's, Rome, on the 26th day of December, in the year 1910, and the eighth of Our Pontificate.  

Pius PP. X.



[1] Const. " Nuper ad Nos," 16 March 1743, prescribes a new profession of faith for Orientals.
[2] Allocution "Si fuit in re" of 13 December 1880, to their Eminences the Cardinals at the Vatican. "Acta," Vol. 11. p. 179, cf. also Ep. Ap., " Praeclara Gratulationis," of 20 June 1894, "Acta," Vol. XIV. p. 195.
[3] John X:16
[4] Deer. Congr. Gen. S. E. et U. Inquis. 24 January 1647.
[5] Cf. Benedict XIV, Constit. " Etsi Pastoralis " for the Italo-Greeks, 26 May 1742.
[6] Galatians I:8
[7] 1 Corinthians XIV:33
[8] John XVII:21
[9] Acts I:7



Top Button returning honored reader to top of page    


  Litterae Apostolicae
Sanctissimi Domini Nostri
PII divina providentia Papae X
  Archiepiscopos Delegatos Apostolicos Byzantii, in Graecia, in Aegipto, in Mesopotamia, in Persia, in Siria et in Indiis Orientalibus considentes.  
  Ex quo, nono labente seculo, Orientis gentes ab unitate Ecclesiae catholicae coeperunt avelli, vix dici potest quantum a viris sanctis adlaboratum sit, ut dissidentes fratres ad eius gremium revocarentur. Prae ceteris vero Summi Pontifices, Decessores Nostri, pro eo quo fungebantur munere, fidem et unitate ecclesiasticam tuendi, nil intentatum reliquerunt, ut qua paternis adhortationibus, qua publicis legationibus, qua solemnibus conciliis, funestissimus dissidium tolleretur, quod Occidenti quidem in moerorem cessit, Orienti vero grave intulit damnum. Huius sollicitudinis teste sunt, ut paucos tantum recenseamus, Gregorius IX, Innocentius IV, Clemens IV, Gregorius X, Eugenius IV, Gregorius XIII, et Benedictus XIV. [1] Sed neminem latet, quanto animi sui studio nuperrimo tempore Decessor Noster felicis recordationis Leo XIII, Orientis gentes invitaverit, ut Ecclesiae Romanae iterum consociarentur. “Nos quidem certe (inquit) [2] , pervetusta Orientis gloria, et in omine genus hominum fama meritorum ipsa recordatione delectat. Ibi enim salutis humani generis incunabula, et christianae sapientiae primordia; illinc omnium beneficiorum, quae una cum sacro Evangelio accepimus, velut abundantissimus amnis in Occidentem influxit...Atque haec Nobiscum in animo considerantes, nihil tam cupimus atque optamus, quam dare operam, ut Orientetoto maiorum virtus et magnitudo reviviscat. Eoque magis, quod illic humanorum eventuum is volvitur cursus, ut indicia identidem appareant, quem spem portendant, Orientis populo, ab Ecclesiae Romanae sinu tam diuturno tempore dissociatos, cum eadem aliquando in gratiam, aspirante Deo, redituros.”.  
  Nec minori sane desiderio Nos ipsi, Ven. Fratres, quod probe nostis, tenemur, ut cito dies illucescat, tot anxiis sanctorum virorum votis exoptatus, quo penitus a fundamentis subvertatur murus ille, qui duos iamdiu dividit populos, atque his uno fidei et caritatis amplexu permixtis, pax invocata tandem aliquando refloreat, fiatque unum ovile et unus pastor. [3]  
  Nobis tamen haec animo revolventibus, gravis moeroris occasionem nuperrime praebuit scriptum aliquod, in recens condito diario “Roma e l'Oriente” evulgatum, cui titulus “Pensées sur la question de l'union des Eglises”. Enimvero tot iisque tam gravibus erroribus, non modo theologicis, verum etiam historicis, scriptum illud scatet, ut vix possit maior cumulus paucioribus paginis contineri.  
  Nimirum ibi non minus temere quam falso huic opinioni fit aditus, dogma de processione Spiritus Sancti a Filio haudquaquam ex ipsis Evangelii, verbis profluere, aut antiquorum Patrum fide comprobari; – pariter imprudentissime in dubium revocatur, utrum sacra de Purgatorio ac de Immaculata Beatae Mariae Virginis Conceptione dogmata a sanctis viris priorum saeculorum agnita fuerit; – cum vero de Ecclesiae constitutione incidit sermo, primo renovatur error a Decessore Nostro Innocentio X [4] iamdiu damnatus, quo suadetur S. Paulum haberi tamquam fratrem omnino parem S. Petro; – deinde non minori falsitate iniicitur persuasio, Ecclesiam catholicam non fuisse primis saeculis principatus unius, hoc est monarchiam; aut primatum Ecclesiae Romanae nullis validis argumentis inniti. – Sed nec ibidem intacta relinquitur catholica doctrina se Sanctissimo Eucharistiae Sacramento, cum praefracte docetur, sentetiam suscipi posse, quae tenet, apud Graecos verba consecratoria effectum non sortiri, nisi iam prolata oratione illa quam epiclesim vocant, cum tamen compertum sit Ecclesiae minime innovandi; – cui haud minus absonum est, validam habendam esse Confirmationem a quovis presbytero collatam. [5]  
  Vel ex hoc errorum summario, quibus refertum est illud scriptum, facile intelligitis, Venerabiles Fratres, gravissimum offendiculum omnibus ipsum perlegentibus allatum fuisse, et Nos ipsos magnopere obstupuisse, catholicam doctrinam, non obtectis verbis adeo procaciter perverti, pluraque ad historiam spectantia, de causis orintalis schismatis a vero audacter nimis detorqueri. Ac primum quidem falso in crimen vocantur sanctissimi Pontifices Nicolaus I et Leo IX, quasi magna dissensionis pars illius debeatur superbiae et ambitioni, huius vero acribus obiurgationibus; perinde ac si prioris vigor apostolicus in sacrosanctis iuribus tuendis superbiae sit tribuendus; alterius autem sedulitas in coercendis improbis vocari velit crudelitas. Historiae quoque iura conculcatur, cum sacrae illae expeditiones, quas cruciatas vocant, tamquam latrocinia traducuntur; aut cum, quod etiam gravius est, Romani Pontifices incusantur, quasi studium, quo conati sunt Orientis gentes ad coniunctionem cum Ecclesia Romana vocare, dominandi cupiditati sit adscribendum, non apostolicae sollicitudini pascendi Christi gregis.  
  Nec stuporem addidit levem, quod in eodem scripto adseritur, Graecos Florentiae a Latinis coactos fuisse, ut unitati subscriberent, aut eosdem argumentis falsis inductos, ut dogma de processione Spiritus Sancti etiam a Filio susciperent. Quin etiam eo usque proceditur, ut historiae iuribus conculcatis in dubium revocetur, utrum Generalia Concilia, quae post Graecorum discessionem celebrata sunt, hoc est ab octavo ad Vaticanum, tamquam oecumenica vere sint habenda; unde hibridae cuiusdam unitatis ratio proponitur, id solum ab utraque ecclesia deinceps agnoscendum tamquam legitimum, quod commune patrimonium fuerit ante discessionem, ceteris tamquam supervacaneis et forte spuriis additatementis alto siletio pressis.  
  Haec vobis, Venerabile Fratres, significanda duximus, non solum ut sciatis memoratas propositiones atque sententias falsas, temerarias, a fide catholica alienas a Nobis reprobari, sed etiam ut, quantum in vobis est, a populis vigilantiae vestrae commissis tam diram luem propulsare conemini, omnes adhortando, ut in accepta doctrina permaneant, neve alteri unquam consentiant, licet...angelus de caelo evangelizet. [6] Simultamen enixe oramus, ut eos persuasos faciatis, nihil Nobis antiquius ess, quam ut omnes bonae voluntatis homines vires indefesse exerant, quo concupita unitas citius obtineatur, ut in una fidei catholicae professione, sub uno pastore summo adunentur, quas discordia dispersas retinet oves. Quod facilius quidem continget, si ad Spiritum Sanctum Paraclitum, qui “non est dissensionis Deus, sed pacis” [7], fervidae ingeminentur preces: inde enim fiet ut Christi votum impleatur, quod ante subeundos extremos cruciatus cum gemitibus expressit: “Ut omnes unum sint, sicut tu, Pater, in me, et ego in te; ut et ipsi in nobis unum sint”. [8]  
  Denique hoc omnes in animum inducant suum, incassum omnino in hoc opere adlaborari, nisi imprimis recta et integra fides catholica retineatur, qualis in Sacra Scriptura, Patrum traditione, Ecclesiae consensu, Conciliis Generalibus, ac Summorum Pontificum decretis est tradita et consecrata. Pergant igitur quotquot contendunt causam tueri unitatis; pergant fidei galea induti, anchoram spei tenentes, caritatis igne succensi, sedulam in hoc divinissimo negotio navare operam; et pacis auctor atque amator Deus, cuius in potestate posita sunt tempora et momenta [9], diem accelerabit quo Orientis gentes ad catholicam unitatem exsultantes sint rediturae, atque huic Apostolicae Sedi coniunctae, depulsis erroribus, salutis aeternae portum ingressurae.  
  Has Nostra litteras, Venerabiles Fratres, in linguam vernaculam regionis unicuique vestrum concreditae diligenter translatas evulgare curabitis. Dum porro vos certiores facere gaudemus, dilectum Auctorem scripti inconsiderate, sed bona fide ab isso elucubrati, sincere et ex corde coram Nobis adhaesisse dotrinis in hac epistola expositis, et cunta quae Sancta Sedes Apostolica docet, reiicit et condemnat, et ipsum, Deo adiuvante, usque ad ultimum vitae finem docere, reiicere et condemnare esse paratum, divinorum auspicem munerum, Nostraeque benevolentiae testem Apostolicam Bendectionem Vobis peramanter in Domino impertimus.  
  Datum Romae apud S. Petrum, die XXVI mensis Decembris, anno MCMX, Pontificatus Nostri octavo.  
  PIVS PP. X  
  1 Const. “Nuper ad Nos”, 16 Mart. 1743, aliam fidei professionem Orientalibus praescribit.
2 Allocutio “Si fuit in re”, 13 Dec. 1880. Ad S.R.E. Card., in Aed Vat; Act., vol. II p. 179. Cf. etiam Ep. Ap.
“Preclara Gralutationis”, 20 Jun. 1894.; Act. vol. XIV, p. 195.
3 Ioan. x, 16
4 Decret. gen. Congr. S.R. et U. Inquis., 24 Ian. 1647
5 Cf. Bened. XIV. Constitut. “Etsi pastoralis”, pro Italo-graecis, 26 Maii 1742, ubi dicit irritam nunc fore
confirmationem a simplici presbytero latino ex sola episcopi delegatione collatam.
6 Gal., I, 8.
7 I. Cor., XIV, 33.
8 Ioan., XVII, 21.
9 Act. I, 7.


Top Button returning honored reader to top of page