The Errors of Pope Pius IX

The Errors of Pope Pius IX

The erroneous beliefs which Pope Pius IX (1848 - 1878 AD) tried to impose on the Church:

  1. No Freedom of Conscience
  2. No Salvation outside the Church
  3. No Rights for Non-Christian Religions
  4. No Respect for Other Christian Churches
  5. No Socialism
  6. Slavery
Teachings of Pope Pius IX Teachings of the Second Vatican Council

1. Freedom of Conscience

“[It is an error to say that] every human being is free to embrace and profess that religion which, led by the light of reason he/she believes to be true”.
Pius IX Syllabus of Errors (1864 AD), Denz. 1715.
“This Vatican Synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all people are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that in matters religious no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his/her own beliefs.”
Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae (1965 AD) § 2
“Catholics may not promote this erroneous opinion which is also disastrous to the salvation of souls . . . , namely that freedom of conscience and worship is a right which each person possesses, a right which may be laid down and affirmed by law in every properly constituted State;
and that citizens possess the right in all freedom - a freedom not to be limited by any ecclesial or civil authority, of openly and publicly manifesting and proclaiming their ideas either by word of mouth, or in written text or in any other way.”
Pius IX Quanta Cura (1864 AD), Denz. 1690.
“The Synod [= Vatican Council II] further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person, as this dignity is known through the revealed Word of God and be reason itself.
This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognised in the constitutional law whereby society is governed. Thus it is to become a civil right. . .
The exercise of this right is not to be impeded . . . The inquiry after truth is to be free, carried on with the aid of teaching or instruction, communication and dialogue.”
Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae (1965 AD) § 1 and 2.

2. Salvation outside the Church

“[It is an error to say that] adherents of any religion can find the way of eternal salvation and obtain eternal salvation.”
Pius IX Syllabus of Errors (1864 AD), Denz. 1716.
“[It is an error to say that] at least we may hope that all those who have never been involved in the true Church of Christ will find eternal salvation.”
Pius IX Syllabus of Errors (1864 AD), Denz. 1717.
“Those also can attain to everlasting salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, yet sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.”
Vatican II, Lumen Gentium (AD 1964) § 16.

3. Status of non-Christian Religions

“[It is an error to say that] the Church does not have the power to define as a dogma that the Catholic Church is the only true religion.”
Pius IX Syllabus of Errors (1864 AD), Denz. 1721.
“The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in other religions. She looks with sincere respect upon those ways of conduct and of life, those rules and teachings which, though differing in many particulars from what she holds and sets forth, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all people.”
Vatican II, Nostra Aetate (1965 AD) § 2.
“[It is an error to say that] in our time it is no longer convenient to have the Catholic religion as the only religion to the exclusion of any other religion.”
Pius IX Syllabus of Errors (1864 AD), Denz. 1777.
“A wrong is done when government imposes upon its people, by force or fear or other means, the profession or repudiation of any one religion, or when it hinders people from joining or leaving a religious body.”
Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae (1965 AD) § 6.
“[It is an error to say that] it is praiseworthy that in certain Catholic countries it is provided for by law that people who immigrate from outside may publicly exercise their own form of worship.”
Pius IX Syllabus of Errors (1864 AD), Denz. 1778.
“Religious bodies rightfully claim freedom to govern themselves according to their own norms, honour the Supreme Being in public worship, assist their members in the practice of the religious life, strengthen them by instruction and promote institutions by which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their own religious principles.”
Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae (1965 AD) § 5.

4. Other Christian Churches

“[It is an error to say that] Protestantism is nothing else than another form of the true Christian religion through which one can please God as much as through the Catholic Church.”
Pius IX Syllabus of Errors (1864 AD), Denz. 1718.
“Some, even very many, of the most significant elements or endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church herself can exist outside the boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, along with other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit and visible elements . . . It follows that these separated Churches and communities . . . have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation.”
Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio (AD 1964) § 3.

5. Modern Society

“Socialism is a pest”.

Pius IX Qui pluribus (1846 AD); Singulari quadam (1854 AD); Syllabus of Errors § IV.
“It is in full accord with human nature that juridical-political structures should afford all their citizens the chance to participate freely and actively in establising the constitutional bases of a political community, governing the state, determining the scope and purpose of various institutions, and choosing leaders.”
Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes (AD 1965) § 75.

6. Slavery

“Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons.... It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given”.
Pius IX (Instruction 20 June 1866 AD). J.F.MAXWELL, ‘The Development of Catholic Doctrine Concerning Slavery’, World Jurist 11 (1969-70) pp.306-307..
“Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as . . . arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, prostitution, the selling of women and children, and slavery . . . all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society and are a supreme dishonour to the Creator . .
Human institutions, both private and public, must labour to minister to the dignity and purpose of the human person. Let them put up a stubborn fight against any form of slavery and safeguard the basic human rights under any political system.”
Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes (AD 1965) § 27, 29.

Return to argument on the Magisterium?


John Wijngaards


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