Mysterious Papal Bull

Here I Stand : A Life of Martin Luther
by Roland H. Bainton

In this book, Roland Bainton appears to assert that Leo X authored a bull titled “Decreta de Indulgentiis” which was THE smoking gun in the “indulgences for sale” scandal.

I am sure most will agree that it is highly frustrating to have “scholars” quote from documents that no one else seems to have access to.

In reviewing other resources and threads within this forum, there is disagreement as to the existence of said document and discussion of bulls authored by Julius ll in 1510 and/or 1513.

It seems most do agree that a papal document was, in fact, issued relating to the raising of money for the reconstruction of St. Peter’s Basilica. What no one can seem to produce is some facsimile of the document.

Opinions and conjecture as to whether this mysterious document was used or misused to sell indulgences is not of importance to me. I just want to read the document for myself.

Can anyone help?

I searched the Vatican’s website, and found no results. I then searched the web, and only found a couple of mentions of it (and then only in Protestant documents). The ones that referenced it also refered to it with regards to the Council of Trent, session XXV.

Don’t know if that helps…

God Bless,
RyanL

Technically, there’s nothing theologically or morally wrong with attaching an indulgence to alms giving or helping to construct a place of worship. The problem is, this can be abused to no end–and it was. It would be interesting to see what these alleged Bulls actually said. If they exist, I’m willing to bet they did nothing technically wrong, but maybe were not prudent.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia (this is a great article to read):
newadvent.org/cathen/07783a.htm

Again, it is easy to see how abuses crept in. Among the good works which might be encouraged by being made the condition of an indulgence, alms giving would naturally hold a conspicuous place, while men would be induced by the same means to contribute to some pious cause such as the building of churches, the endowment of hospitals, or the organization of a crusade. It is well to observe that in these purposes there is nothing essentially evil. To give money to God or to the poor is a praiseworthy act, and, when it is done from right motives, it will surely not go unrewarded. Looked at in this light, it might well seem a suitable condition for gaining the spiritual benefit of an indulgence. Yet, however innocent in itself, this practice was fraught with grave danger, and soon became a fruitful source of evil. On the one hand there was the danger that the payment might be regarded as the price of the indulgence, and that those who sought to gain it might lose sight of the more important conditions. On the other hand, those who granted indulgences might be tempted to make them a means of raising money: and, even where the rulers of the Church were free from blame in this matter, there was room for corruption in their officials and agents, or among the popular preachers of indulgences.

Leo X was a lousy Pope, both in personal and public life. And ther is no question that the abuse of indulgences flourished under his papacy. But I can find no reliable reference to any such Bull.

Trent XXV issued Indulgentiarum Doctrina. I wonder if somebody is getting something mixed up.

Papal Bulls, however, are not considered doctrines of the Church, so if such a document did really exist, it wouldn’t prove anything (except that Leo X was a lousy Pope, which we have already conceded).

According to the Catholc Encyclopedia:

Various doubtful and reprehensible methods were resorted to for raising money. [Leo X] created new offices and dignities, and the most exalted places were put up for sale. Jubilees and indulgences%between% were degraded almost entirely into financial transactions, yet without avail, as the treasury was ruined.

[quote=Breton]Here I Stand : A Life of Martin Luther
by Roland H. Bainton

In this book, Roland Bainton appears to assert that Leo X authored a bull titled “Decreta de Indulgentiis” which was THE smoking gun in the “indulgences for sale” scandal.

I am sure most will agree that it is highly frustrating to have “scholars” quote from documents that no one else seems to have access to.

In reviewing other resources and threads within this forum, there is disagreement as to the existence of said document and discussion of bulls authored by Julius ll in 1510 and/or 1513.

It seems most do agree that a papal document was, in fact, issued relating to the raising of money for the reconstruction of St. Peter’s Basilica. What no one can seem to produce is some facsimile of the document.

Opinions and conjecture as to whether this mysterious document was used or misused to sell indulgences is not of importance to me. I just want to read the document for myself.

Can anyone help?
[/quote]

I did a google search for this. The only place I found the term, “Decreta de Indulgentiis” was on Phillip Schaffs Creeds of Christendom. He is refering to the council of Trent with this. The title of the first part of session 25 is “Decree Concerning Purgatory”, which would be “Decreta de Indulgentiis” in latin. This is what it says.

DECREE CONCERNING PURGATORY.Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, from the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught, in sacred councils, and very recently in this oecumenical Synod, that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, [Page 233] but principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar; the holy Synod enjoins on bishops that they diligently endeavour that the sound doctrine concerning Purgatory, transmitted by the holy Fathers and sacred councils, be believed, maintained, taught, and every where proclaimed by the faithful of Christ. But let the more difficult and subtle questions, and which tend not to edification, and from which for the most part there is no increase of piety, be excluded from popular discourses before the uneducated multitude. In like manner, such things as are uncertain, or which labour under an appearance of error, let them not allow to be made public and treated of. While those things which tend to a certain kind of curiosity or superstition, or which savour of filthy lucre, let them prohibit as scandals and stumbling-blocks of the faithful. But let the bishops take care, that the suffrages of the faithful who are living, to wit the sacrifices of masses, prayers, alms, and other works of piety, which have been wont to be performed by the faithful for the other faithful departed, be piously and devoutly performed, in accordance with the institutes of the church; and that whatsoever is due on their behalf, from the endowments of testators, or in other way, be discharged, not in a perfunctory manner, but diligently and accurately, by the priests and ministers of the church, and others who are bound to render this (service).

More can be read of the council here. Twenty Fifth Session of The Council of Trent I am not sure if this is actually what was refered to by you, but it is the best I can do right now. If I have time tommorow I will go check the papal encyclicals that are at the library.

Thank you one and all! You have helped me focus my search. This is actually a point of contention I am chasing with a good Protestant friend and we both agree that you all have been an excellent resource.

Have a good day and get out of Rita’s way.

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