Pis IX Syllabus of Errors?

In 1864 Pope Pius IX set forth a document called “The syllabus of errors” It condmened many things of the world at the time. Yet some things it condemned I think werent all that bad.

For example he listed as errors " seperation of church and state" and “clergy not being subject to civil authorities”

What am I supposed to believe about this syllabus as a Catholic? Are my doubts wrong?

I would say yes, your doubts are wrong.

All things must be taken in context. I do not know the context of the time, so I can’t say for sure, but I do know that both of the things you mentioned could be very important indeed with the right context.

For example, “separation of Church and state” is neither Church teaching nor American law. The notion was voiced by Thomas Jefferson to say that the state should not interfere in religious matters, and I think he was right. However, that is not to say that religion should stay out of the state, and a complete separation of the two can be dangerous.

I am unsure of the details, but since this does not appear to be a doctrinal statement (or any ex-cathedra declaration) it is entirely optional article. As with most Papal documents, it’s probably a good idea to read it and take some of what it says to heart. It is not a necessary definer of faith however, and you can ignore some bits.

It is listed in Denzinger’s Compendium of Creeds, Definitions and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals (numbers 2901-2980 in the 43rd edition).

The Syllabus was collected from 32 documents of Pope Blessed Pius IX, which included encyclicals, allocutions, Apostolic letters and letters to Bishops (all listed in Denzingers), by a commission of Cardinals.

It would not be advisable to ignore any part of it.

It was written very much in the context of those times, and should not be taken at face value. Instead, it should be seen as dshix has said in post #3

This was a very controversial document even in its own time, because people did not understand the context of what the Pope was saying. All of those “errors” were distillations from other documents (as JM3 said,) which should themselves be read to understand the context.

My biggest complaint with Pope Pius’ syllabus is his insistence that the Church should have temporal and not just spiritual power. I object to this because history has shown where the Church has had the least temporal power, it has been the most sucessful in its mission.

I think the American Church is more vibrant than its European counterpart in no small part because of the seperation of Church and state. Same goes for Poland and Ireland, where Church has historically been repressed.

It just seems that whenever the Catholic Church has had temporal power and was very powerful it has behaved very poorly. In Latin America, it was content to let the governments impoverish and oppress the citizens, in return for opposing contraception, abortion, divorce, and protecting Churche’s special status. There are other examples.

What do you think of this?

You put “separation of church and state” in quotes, but that phrase is not found in the document (at least in the one I searched). So where did you get the idea that SoCaS is in the document?

Whatever Pope Pius IX may or may not have said about it, Pope Leo XIII made it very clear that “separation of Church and State” is an error that leads to not a few social ills. The Catholic Teaching, so beautifully articulated by Pope Leo XIII, is that the powers of Church and State should remain distinct, but should co-operate for the common good.

I think the context here is plain:

It is right to condemn the idea that church should be separate from state if it means that religion should be an entirely private affair with no effect on public life.

It is wrong to condemn the idea that church should be separate from state if it means that the Church must be an institutional, obligatory part of the state.

The first one is against Marxist secularism of the mid-19th century (and today). The second one is wrongly opposed to the liberty of the Church, for institutionalization of Church within the state always leads to corruption of the Church.

I believe Pio IX was condemning the first proposition… :slight_smile:

This points to the problem I have with the phrase “separation of Church and State”. What the heck does it even mean? The fact that it takes on new meanings constantly tells me that nobody else knows what it actually means either.

I think I understand what Jefferson (?) meant by it. The original quote is in regard to the intent of the framers of the Constitution, and it says that they intended to “erect a wall of separation between Church and State.” Which means, essentially — since the Constitution necessarily applies to the State only and not the Church — that the government should be “hands off!” with regard to religion. The government should not interfere with the people’s religious practices. This is in two ways: first, there shall be no “state religion,” and secondly, there shall be no law prohibiting anyone from adhering to whatever religion, or lack of any, each one shall choose for himself.

Now, in the practical matter of “how best to govern the people?” the question is bound to arise whether there should be allowed an influence in the other direction, i.e., not that the State might interfere in the affairs of the Church, but that the Church might interfere in the affairs of the State. Where this becomes problematic is where, for example, some group wishes there to be a law, in perfect conformity with their own religious practice, but that might have the effect of curtailing the religious freedom of others.

The United States was founded on the principle of Liberty, and Jesus said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” So it would seem, initially, that these purposes of State and Church are not at odds. The trouble comes, of course, when there is a plurality of religions. It could be argued that if the only rights at stake are the “rights” of the wicked, the State is under no obligation to protect such “rights.” The very word, “right,” carries with it the connotation of right, i.e. as opposed to wrong. The government is supposed to protect those who seek to do right against those who would wrong them. It is not supposed to protect those who seek to do wrong against those who would seek to correct them; rather, the government is supposed to facilitate that correction.

In the end, Ethics and Politics are very much intertwined, so the question of the proper relation of Church and State is fairly deep.

I keep going back to this, but I highly recommend Pope Leo XIII. In my estimation, he was brilliant.

The Syllabus of Errors

  1. Ecclesia a statu statusque ab Ecclesia seiungendus est (12’). (DS 2955)

  2. The Church is to be seperated from the state, and the state from the Church (12’).

Specific source, please.

That statement was referring to the temporal power of the Pope in the Papal States, which was necessary to ensure the liberty of the Church.

The Church teaches that the separation is immoral.

Well I stand corrected then!
Shows you what I know.

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