Friday, 7 August 2009

The Voice of... Pope Gregory XVI

On 17th May, 1835, Pope Gregory XVI issued his Encyclical Commissum Divinitus upon the proper governance of the Church.

"5. This power of teaching and governing in matters of religion, given by Christ to His Spouse, belongs to the priests and bishops. Christ established this system not only so that the Church would in no way belong to the civil government of the state, but also so that it could be totally free and not subject in the least to any earthly domination. Jesus Christ did not commit the sacred trust of the revealed doctrine to the worldly leaders, but to the apostles and their successors. He said to them only: "Whoever hears you, hears Me; whoever rejects you, rejects Me." These same apostles preached the Gospel, spread the Church, and established its discipline not in accordance with the pleasure of lay authority, but even in spite of it. Moreover, when the leaders of the synagogue dared command them to silence, Peter and John, who had used the evangelical freedom, responded: "You be the judge of whether it is right in the eyes of God to listen to you rather than to God." Thus, if any secular power dominates the Church, controls its doctrine, or interferes so that it cannot promulgate laws concerning the holy ministry, divine worship, and the spiritual welfare of the faithful, it does so to the injury of the faith and the overturning of the divine ordinance of the Church and the nature of government. "

Commissum Divinitus, No. 5

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