On Private Judgement vs The Magisterium - Excerpts from Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae - Pope Leo XIII - 1899

Excerpt from
Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae
(Concerning New Opinions, Virtue, Nature and Grace, With Regard to Americanism)
By Pope Leo XIII - 1899

*please excuse my editing of this excerpt. In order not to make this post too long, I cut out certain parts of this quote. It was difficult to not just leave it all in. If you want to read the document for yourself, I will attach a link below. It is beautiful... and convicting.

Pope Leo XIII, 1900


We, therefore, on account of our apostolic office, [have] to guard the integrity of the faith and the security of the faithful.

...the underlying principle of these new [erroneous] opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. 

Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. 

They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. 

The [First] Vatican Council says concerning this point: “... [the] meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them.” -Constitutio de Fide Catholica, Chapter iv.

...the principles of Christian doctrine... are adapted to all times and all nations... Concerning this point the [First] Vatican Council says: “All those things are to be believed with divine and catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed.”-Const. de fide, Chapter iii.

Let it be far from anyone’s mind to suppress for any reason any doctrine that has been handed down. Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ. There is nothing closer to our heart than to have those who are separated from the fold of Christ return to it, but in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ.

The rule of life laid down for Catholics is not of such a nature that it cannot accommodate itself to the exigencies of various times and places. (VOL. XXIV-13.)...
...the Church must be the judge, not private men who are often deceived by the appearance of right.




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