"la plume n'est pas une béquille pour celui qui sait écrire"
From my handwritten copy collationed with numeric photograph of page columns 968/969 in Second Edition 1588 of De Controversiis.
Trying to identify source of pseudoquote
I debate with someone who goes to antiquated Protestant scholarship mistaking it for Catholic, and get close to a source in that antiquated Protestant scholarship, though it misquotes its source.
I identified the quote first as book one, chapter 4, c.=something else 5. That gave no clue whatsoever. Then I said, well, it is maybe volume or tome one, book four and chapter (=c.) five. Here we go. It does talk about Popes legislating on morals, and it does talk about legislating wrongly, and it does insist on obedience. But it does not say that if a Pope legislates wrongly in an important matter, we are still bound to obey the Pope. It says only that God who demanded of us to obey the Pope cannot permit him to legislate wrongly in such an important matter.
English translation by myself.
Source: Bibliothèque de Salchoire
|De decretis morum||On decrees on morals|
Tertia propositio haec esse potest. Non solùm in decretis fidei errare non potest summus Pontifex, sed neque in praeceptis morum, quae toti Ecclesiae praescribuntur; & quae in rebus necessariis ad salutem, vel in iis quae per se bona, vel mala sunt, versantur.
The third proposition can be this one. Not only in decrees of the faith the Supreme Pontiff [=Highest Bishop]* cannot err, but neither in precepts of moral matters, which are prescribed to all of the Church; & which have their scope in things necessary for salvation, or in them that are good, or bad, by themselves.
Dicimus PRIMVM, non posse errare Pontificem in iis praeceptis, quae toti Ecclesiae praescribuntur; quia, vt suprà diximus, in praeceptis, & iudiciis particularibus, non est absurdum Pontificem errare. Addimus SECVNDO, quae in rebus necessariis ad salutem, vel per se bonis, aut malis versantur; quia non est erroneum dicere, Pontificem in aliis legibus posse errare, nimirum superfluam legem condendo, vel minus discretam, & c.
FIRSTLY we say, that the Pontiff cannot err in precepts, which are prescribed for all the Church; since, as we said above, it is not absurd that a Pontiff err in precepts or judgements on particular matters. SECONDLY we add, which have their scope in things necessary for salvation, or in what is good, or bad by itself; since it is not erroneous to say that the Pontiff can err in other legislations, that is by making a superfluous law, or a not so well thought through, & c.
Ac vt rem totam exemplis declaremus; Non potest fieri vt Pontifex erret, praecipiendo aliquid vitium, vt vsuram; vel prohibendo virtutem, vt restitutionem: quia haec sunt per se bona, vel mala. nec potest fieri vt erret praecipiendo aliquid contra salutem, vt Circumcisionem, vel Sabbathum; vel prohibendo aliquid necessarium ad salutem, vt Baptismum, aut Eucharistiam; licet haec non sint per se bona, vel mala: vt autem iubeat aliquid quod non est bonum, neque malum ex se, neque contra salutem, sed tamen est inutile, vel sub poena nimis graui illud praecipiat, non est absurdum dicere posse fieri; quamquam non est subditorum de hac re dubitare, sed simpliciter obedire.
And in order to clarify all the matter with examples; It cannot happen that the Pontiff err precepting some vice, like usury; or forbidding some virtue, like restitution: since these are good, or bad by themselves. nor can it happen that he err precepting something against salvation, as Circumcision or Sabbath; or forbidding something necessary for salvation, as Baptism or Eucharist; even though these be not good or bad by themselves: but that he order something which is not good, nor bad out of itself, nor against salvation, but is only useless, or that he give that precept under too grave a sanction, is not abusrd to say it can happen; still, it is not for the ones under him to doubt about this thing, but simply to obey.
Probatur iam propositio; & PRIMO, quòd non possit Papa errare in praeceptis morum ad salutem necessariorum: quia tunc tota Ecclesia grauiter laederetur, et erraret in rebus necessariis, quod est contra promissionem Domini. Ioannis 16. Cùm venerit ille spiritus veritatis, docebit vos omnem veritatem. Quod intelligitur (vt minimum) de veritate necessaria ad salutem. SECVNDO, quia Deus tunc deesset Ecclesiae suae in necessariis; quandoquidem praecepit illi, vt sequatur Pontificem, & Pontificem permittit errare in necessariis. At certè si Deus nulli rei deest in necessariis, quantò minus Ecclesiae suae?
Now the proposition is proven; & FIRSTLY, that a Pope cannot err in precepts of usages necessary to salvation: since then all Church would suffer grieveous damage, and err in necessary things, which is against the promise of the Lord. John 16. But when that Spirit of Truth shall come, he will teach you all the truth. Which is understood (at the very least) about Truth necessary for salvation. SECONDLY, since God then would let down his Church in necessities; since he gave her the precept to follow the Pontiff, & let the Pontiff err in necessities. But surely, if God lets not one thing down in necessities, how much less his Church?
Quod autem non possit Pontifex errare in moribus per se bonis, vel malis, probatur. NAM tunc Ecclesia non posset verè dici sancta, vt in Symbolo Apostolorum vocatur. Nam sancta dicitur potissimùm ob sanctam professionem, vt alibi ostendimus; quia nimirum legem, & professionem sanctam profitetur, quae nil docet falsum, nihil praecipit malum. SECVNDO, quia tunc necessariò erraret etiam circa fidem. Nam fides Catholica docet, omnem virtutem esse bonam, omne vitium esse malum: si autem Papa erraret praecipiendo vitia, vel prohibendo virtutes, teneretur Ecclesia credere vitia esse bona, & virtutes malas, nisi vellet contra conscientiam peccare.
But that the Pontiff cannot err in moral matters that are goo, or bad, by themselves, is proven. FOR then the Church could not be truly called holy, as she is called in the Apostles' Creed. For holy she is most of all called because of her holy profession, as we have shown elsewhere; since indeed she professes a holy law and profession, which teaches nothing false, and gives no evil precept. THEN AGAIN, since then she would by necessity err also about the faith. For the Catholic faith teaches that all virtue is good, all vice is evil: but if the Pope erred giving precepts for vices or forbidding virtues, the Church would be obliged to believe vices good & virtues bad, unless she wanted to sin against her conscience.
I wonder what St Robert Bellarmine would have said about Benedict XV who in 1917 ceased to forbid the taking of interest as usury. Or about the canonist who counselled him so - Eugene Pacelli was the one responsible for preparing the then new code of canon law - becoming later Pope under name of Pius XII. To St Robert Bellarmine - as indeed to me too - taking interest on a loan of goods in themselves not productive, as is necessarily the case with the goods of exchange, "productive money" being as useless for exchange of values as yardsticks still growing as branches are for measuring, is in of and by itself wrong or evil. Yet, Pacelli counselled Benedict XV otherwise, and when Pope ordered one monastery to pay interest to another cleric (AAS for one of years 1943, 1947 or 1950). He has been much accused for being Hitler's Pope - wrongly - but that is no cause to canonise him. HE and HIS modernisms are what made me doubt first that he was truly Pope, then that Papacy was the true succession of St Peter. What is amply clear is that St Robert Bellarmine did not know that and that a man who claims to have read him and cites this chapter as "if a Pope decrees vices or forbids virtues, the Church is obliged to obey him" is not very scholarly or even honest.
22 october 2009, St Caecilia,
in Musical Médiatèque of Paris