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Decrees of Vat. Ecum. Council I

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  • SESSION 4 : 18 July 1870 - First dogmatic constitution on the church of Christ
    • Chapter 3. On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman pontiff
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Chapter 3. On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman pontiff

    And so,

All this is to be found in the acts of the ecumenical councils and the sacred canons.

    Wherefore we teach and declare that, In this way, by unity with the Roman pontiff in communion and in profession of the same faith , the church of Christ becomes one flock under one supreme shepherd50. This is the teaching of the catholic truth, and no one can depart from it without endangering his faith and salvation. This power of the supreme pontiff by no means detracts from that ordinary and immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, by which bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles by appointment of the holy Spirit, tend and govern individually the particular flocks which have been assigned to them. On the contrary, this power of theirs is asserted, supported and defended by the supreme and universal pastor; for St Gregory the Great says: "My honour is the honour of the whole church. My honour is the steadfast strength of my brethren. Then do I receive true honour, when it is denied to none of those to whom honour is due."51 Furthermore, it follows from that supreme power which the Roman pontiff has in governing the whole church, that he has the right, in the performance of this office of his, to communicate freely with the pastors and flocks of the entire church, so that they may be taught and guided by him in the way of salvation. And therefore we condemn and reject the opinions of those who hold that Since the Roman pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole church, we likewise teach and declare that So, then,

let him be anathema.




49 Council of Florence, session 6 (see above p. 528).



50 See Jn 10, 16.



51 Ep. ad Eulog. Alexandrin. (Letter to Eulogius of Alexandria), Vlll 29 (30) (MGH, Ep. 2, 31 28-30, PL 77, 933).



52 Pius VI, Letter Super soliditate dated 28 Nov. 1786.



53 From Michael Palaeologus's profession of faith which was read out at the second council of Lyons (D no. 466).



54 Nicholas 1, Ep. ad Michaelem imp. (Letter to the emperor Michael) (PL 119, 954).






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