Submission to the pope...requirment for salvation? Has this Papal Bull been revolked?


“…We declare, state and define that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of all human beings that they submit to the Roman Pontiff [pope].”



Nope. still in force.

But you really should pay attention when Catholics show you important things from the Catechism. Things like this…
Who belongs to the Catholic Church?

836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God’s grace to salvation."320

837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but ‘in body’ not ‘in heart.’"321

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist."324



Actually the Bull says both statements, see first sentence and last sentence:

“That there is only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church we are compelled by faith to believe and hold, and we firmly believe in her and sincerely confess her, outside of whom there is neither salvation nor remission of sins…Furthermore we declare, state and define that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of all human beings that they submit to the Roman Pontiff.” – POPE BONIFACE VIII Unam Sanctam (November 18, 1302 AD)

As poster above said, still in force. Both sentences are re-statements of “no salvation outside the Church.” The historical context back then was Pope Boniface writing to French Catholics about a French Catholic king who wouldn’t submit to the Pope. Today we have a little more nuanced position on Protestants/Orthodox and membership in the Church: through their Baptism, they belong to the Church although imperfectly.

The basic teaching of Unam Sanctam can be summarized as follows:

(1) There is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church outside of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sins.

(2) The Church represents the Mystical Body whose head is Christ and in which there is one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism (Eph 4:5); therefore this one visible Body on earth has one head, Christ (who is the invisible head) and His vicar, St. Peter and his successors (the visible head). This is not two heads (like a “monster”) but one. And if anyone says that he is not subject to the vicar of Christ, Peter’s successor he necessarily declares he is not of Christ’s sheep (i.e. he is not in the Catholic Church).

(3) In the power of the Church are “two swords,” (from Luke 22:38 and Matt 26:52 interpreted allegorically), the spiritual and the temporal, to be used by and for the Church. The first is in the hand of priests; the second is in the hand of kings and knights, but is to be used at the direction and permission of the priest (ad nutum et patientiam sacerdotis).

(4) It is fitting that the temporal power be subject to the spiritual since the latter excels the former in diginity and nobility as spiritual things are superior to temporal things. The spiritual power can establish (instituere) the temporal power and judge it if it is “not good” (i.e. when it does evil or a matter of sin is involved, taken directly from Hugh of St. Victor, De Sacramentis, II,2,4). If the supreme spiritual power errs, it will be judged not by man but by God alone since the authority although given to men and exercised by them, is not human but divine. Unlike the Manichean heretics who argue for two original principles of power, there is only one.

(5) Finally, in its only infallible definition the Bull concludes that it is absolutely necessary for salvation (omnino esse de necessitate salutis) for all human beings (omni humanae creaturae) to be subject (subesse) to the Roman Pontiff (quoting from St. Thomas Aquinas, Contra Errores Graecorum, Part II, Chapter 38).

From my “Unam Sanctam Resolved” (I might update this, 10 years old)

But first I gotta finish another unfinished project the B.C. Butler Reply to Salmon, typing in that whole book ! :slight_smile:

Phil P


Well, don’t forget that something cannot be a mortal sin if a person does not know it to be.

Christians who reject the authority of the pope obviously do not believe/know his authority to be of such a weight that papal pronouncements such as these have the power to bind souls (Matthew 16:19). Thus, they would lack the *full knowledge *required to commit a mortal sin, and their salvation would not be endangered due to ignorance. A clear conscience cannot be condemned (albeit only possible with a good deal of repentance).

EDIT: the above refers to Protestants and Orthodox who were so raised and have never submitted to the Roman Pontiff either implicitly or explicitly.
I think a Catholic who then rejects the Pope’s authority for whatever selfish reason (cough Contraception cough) would be in danger of violating this Bull.


The keyword there being “***furthermore…***.”

Unam Sanctum was not being redundant.

Both sentences are re-statements of “no salvation outside the Church.”

That is not what the second and most authoritative statement says.


So submission to the pope is a requirment for salvation?


Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I thought it actually said “be subject to” rather than “submit to.”


Pope Boniface VIII
Of course while you are trying to find something here to bash the Catholic faith with, I’ll bring out what the Word of God actually says.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.


Unam Sanctam doesn’t say either of these, since it’s in Latin. What it does say, as PhilVaz pointed out, is subesse: “to be subject to.” Haven’t you ever heard of a kingdom with rebellious subjects?



I agree…obey your leaders…

But not for salvation. Hebrews 13:17 does not state that.


I don’t know where you got that quote, but it’s incorrect. The requirement is to “be subject to the Roman Pontiff”. That is simply another way of saying to be a member of the Catholic Church.

There can most certainly be those who are subject to an authority, but who do not submit to that authority.


In your infallible opinion.


So you are making the claim that one must indeed submit to the Pope in order to be saved…yet there are those that can be saved without submitting to the Pope.

Got it.


What the Pope said and meant is plain…even as PhilVaz stated.

“The historical context back then was Pope Boniface writing to French Catholics about a French Catholic king who wouldn’t submit to the Pope”

And the Pope was not referring to just Catholics:

“it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of all human beings

I think “absolutely necessary” and “ALL human beings” is utterly plain.

The RCC teaches something very different today.


Ok, let us defined that the Pope teaches. According to Catholic doctrine, when he teaches moral and faith, it is infallible. So since** faith has a major role in beliefs**, we therefore must obey. When the Church say it is wrong to contracept, we must submit. The Popes have repeatly condemned abortion, the use of contraception and sexual immorality. Now ask yourself, do you think when you commit fornication, or commit adultery, you will loose your salvation?

Since these acts are clear violations of the Commandments of God which falls under “Thou shall not commit adultery.” You commit a serious sin, you die in sin and will heaven unless you repent.

What the Pope teaches is what he and the whole Church, the Magisterium has defined. So in any rate, you can lose your salvation of you do not submit to the Pope, bishops when they teach issues concerning faith.

Of course, you could **not understand **this because you **aren’t **Catholic

To submit is the** obey the commandments of God **and his Church, and the leaders who have been appointed that role. Their authority does not come from their own, but the One who send them.

God, the Father send his Son, the Son send his Apostles to preach to the whole world, and the Apostles handed this same authority to their successors, the bishops and Popes.


No it doesn’t.


I also like to add, in Catholic doctrine or dogma, these have not changed. In Catholic disciplines or rites, they can change. In that way, the CC differs but its core belief are immutable (cannot change) because they are part of divine revelation revealed to us by Jesus Christ, and His Apostles, and their successors.


Probelm is that you approach Catholic Teachng like you approach Scripture. Pull out a few quotes, give us you*** personal*** nterpertation and then dismiis anyone who doesnt agree with you personal nterpertation. Everything has to looked at on te context of 2,000 years of teachings. Trying to pull a sentence or two out of 800 year old document and making supposedly profound statement on what it means is siilly.

Submission to the Pope is the same as submission ot the Church. Salvation comes only through the Church. That has been the consisent teachings of the Church since the Jesus gave us the first Pope.


So just to be clear then…

Salvation is dependant on ones subjection to the pope.

Yes or No?

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