Unigenitus - Pope Clement XI - The Papal Library
Unigenitus Dogmatic Constitution issued by Pope Clement XICondemnation of the Errors of Paschasius Quesnel (1) September 8, 1713 (Sec. 3) 1. What else remains for the soul that has lost God and His grace except sin and the consequences of sin, a proud poverty and a slothful indigence, that is, a general impotence for labor, for prayer, and for every good work? 2. The grace of Jesus Christ, which is the efficacious principle of every kind of good, is necessary for every good work; without it, not only is nothing done, but nothing can be done. 3. In vain, O Lord, do You command, if You do not give what you command. 4. Thus, O Lord, all things are possible to him for whom You make all things possible by effecting those same things in him. 5. When God does not soften a heart by the interior unction of His grace, exterior exhortations and graces are of no service except to harden it the more. 6. The difference between the Judaic dispensation and the Christian is this, that in the former God demanded flight from sin and a fulfillment of the Law by the sinner, leaving him in his own weakness; but in the latter. God gives the sinner what He commands, by purifying him with His grace. 7. What advantage was there for a man in the old covenant, in which God left him to his own weakness, by imposing on him His law? But what happiness is it not to be admitted to a covenant in which God gives us what He asks of us? 8. But we do not belong to the new covenant, except in so far as we are participators in that new grace which works in us that which God commands us. 9. The grace of Christ is a supreme grace, without which we can never confess Christ, and with which we never deny Him. 10. Grace is the working of the omnipotent hand of God, which nothing can hinder or retard. 11. Grace is nothing else than the omnipotent Will of God, ordering and doing what He orders. 12. When God wishes to save a soul, at whatever time and at what ever place, the undoubted effect follows the Will of God. 13. When God wishes to save a soul and touches it with the interior hand of His grace, no human will resists Him. 14. Howsoever remote from salvation an obstinate sinner is, when Jesus presents Himself to be seen by him in the salutary light of His grace, the sinner is forced to surrender himself, to have recourse to Him, and to humble himself, and to adore his Savior. 15. When God accompanies His commandment and His eternal exhortation by the unction of His Spirit and by the interior force of His grace, He works that obedience in the heart that He is seeking. 16. There are no attractions which do not yield to the attractions of grace, because nothing resists the Almighty. 17. Grace is that voice of the Father which teaches men interiorly and makes them come to Jesus Christ; whoever does not come to Him, after he has heard the exterior voice of the Son, is in no wise taught by the Father. 18. The seed of the word, which the hand of God nourishes, always brings forth its fruit. 19. The grace of God is nothing else than His omnipotent Will; this is the idea which God Himself gives us in all His Scriptures. 20. The true idea of grace is that God wishes Himself to be obeyed by us and He is obeyed; He commands, and all things are done; He speaks as the Lord, and all things are obedient to Him. 21. The grace of Jesus Christ is a strong, powerful, supreme, invincible grace, that is, the operation of the omnipotent Will, the consequence and imitation of the operation of God causing the incarnation and the resurrection of His Son. 22. The harmony of the all powerful operation of God in the heart of man with the free consent of mans will is demonstrated, therefore, to us in the Incarnation, as in the fount and archetype of all other operations of mercy and grace, all of which are as gratuitous and as dependent on God as the original operation itself. 23. God Himself has taught us the idea of the omnipotent working of His grace, signifying it by that operation which produces creatures from nothing and which restores life to the dead. 24. The right idea which the centurion had about the omnipotence of God and of Jesus Christ in healing bodies by a single act of His will, (Matt. 8:8) is an image of the idea we should have about the omnipotence of His grace in healing souls from cupidity. 25. God illumines the soul, and heals it, as well as the body, by His will only; He gives orders and He is obeyed. 26. No graces are granted except through faith. 27. Faith is the first grace and the source of all others. 28. The first grace which God grants to the sinner is the remission of sin. 29. Outside of the Church, no grace is granted. 30. All whom God wishes to save through Christ. are infallibly saved. 31. The desires of Christ always have their effect; He brings peace to the depth of hearts when He desires it for them. 32. Jesus Christ surrendered Himself to death to free forever from the hand of the exterminating angel, by His blood, the first born, that is, the elect. 33. Ah, how much one ought to renounce earthly goods and himself for this, that he may have the confidence of appropriating, so to speak, Christ Jesus to himself, His love, death, and mysteries, as St. Paul does, when he says: He who loved me, and delivered Himself for me (Gal. 2:20). 34. The grace of Adam produced nothing except human merit. 35. The grace of Adam is a consequence of creation and was due to his whole and sound nature. 36. The essential difference between the grace of Adam and of his state of innocence and Christian grace, is that each one would have received the first in his own person, but the second is not received except in the person of the risen Jesus Christ to whom we are united. 37. The grace of Adam by sanctifying him in himself was proportionate to him; Christian grace, by sanctifying us in Jesus Christ, is omnipotent, and worthy of the Son of God. 38. Without the grace of the Liberator, the sinner is not free except to do evil. 39. The will, which grace does not anticipate, has no light except for straying, no eagerness except to put itself in danger, no strength except to wound itself, and is capable of all evil and incapable of all good. 40. Without grace we can love nothing except to our own condemnation. 41. All knowledge of God, even natural knowledge, even in the pagan philosophers, cannot come except from God; and without grace knowledge produces nothing but presumption, vanity, and opposition to God Himself, instead of the affections of adoration, gratitude, and love. 42. The grace of Christ alone renders a man fit for the sacrifice of faith; without this there is nothing but impurity, nothing but unworthiness. 43. The first effect of baptismal grace is to make us die to sin so that our spirit, heart, and senses have no more life for sin than a dead man has for the things of the world. 44. There are but two loves, from which all our volitions and actions arise: love of God, which does all things because of God and which God rewards; and the love with which we love ourselves and the world, which does not refer to God what ought to be referred to Him, and therefore becomes evil. 45. When love of God no longer reigns in the heart of sinners, it needs must be that carnal desire reign in it and corrupt all of its actions. 46. Cupidity or charity makes the use of the senses good or evil. 47. Obedience to the law ought to flow from the source, and this source is charity. When the love of God is the interior principle of obedience and the glory of God is its end, then that is pure which appears externally; otherwise, it is but hypocrisy and false justice. 48. What else can we be except darkness, except aberration, and except sin, without the light of faith, without Christ, and without charity? 49. As there is no sin without love of ourselves, so there is no good work without love of God. 50. In vain we cry out to God: My Father, if it is not the spirit of charity which cries out. 51. Faith justifies when it operates, but it does not operate except through charity. 52. All other means of salvation are contained in faith as in their own germ and seed; but this faith does not exist apart from love and confidence. 53. Only charity in the Christian way makes (Christian actions) through a relation to God and to Jesus Christ. 54. It is charity alone that speaks to God; it alone that God hears. 55. God crowns nothing except charity; he who runs through any other incentive or any other motive, runs in vain. 56. God rewards nothing but charity; for charity alone honors God. 57. All fails a sinner, when hope fails him; and there is no hope in God, when there is no love of God. 58. Neither God nor religion exists where there is no charity. 59. The prayer of the impious is a new sin; and what God grants to them is a new judgment against them. 60. If fear of punishment alone animates penance, the more intense this is, the more it leads to despair. 61. Fear restrains nothing but the hand, but the heart is addicted to the sin as long as it is not guided by a love of justice. 62. He who does not refrain from evil except through fear of punishment, commits that evil in his heart, and is already guilty before God. 63. A baptized person is still under the law as a Jew, if he does not fulfill the law, or if he fulfills it from fear alone. 64. Good is never done under the condemnation of the law, because one sins either by doing evil or by avoiding it only through fear. 65. Moses, the prophets, priests, and doctors of the Law died without having given any son to God, since they produced only slaves through fear. 66. He who wishes to approach to God, should not come to Him with brutal passions, nor be led to Him by natural instinct, or through fear as animals, but through faith and love, as sons. 67. Servile fear does not represent God to itself except as a stern imperious, unjust, unyielding master. 68. The goodness of God has shortened the road to salvation, by enclosing all in faith and in prayers. 69. Faith, practice of it increase, and reward of faith, all are a gift of the pure liberality of God. 70. Never does God afflict the innocent; and afflictions always serve either to punish the sin or to purify the sinner. 71. For the preservation of himself man can dispense himself from that law which God established for his use. 72. A mark of the Christian Church is that it is catholic, embracing all the angels of heaven, all the elect and the just on earth, and of all times. 73. What is the Church except an assembly of the sons of God abiding in His bosom, adopted in Christ, subsisting in His person, redeemed by His blood, living in His spirit, acting through His grace, and awaiting the grace of the future life? 74. The Church or the whole Christ has the Incarnate Word as head but all the saints as members. 75. The Church is one single man composed of many members, of which Christ is the head, the life, the subsistence and the person—it is one single Christ composed of many saints, of whom He is the sanctifier. 76. There is nothing more spacious than the Church of God; because all the elect and the just of all ages comprise it. 77. He who does not lead a life worthy of a son of God and a member of Christ, ceases interiorly to have God as a Father and Christ as a head. 78. One is separated from the chosen people, whose figure was the Jewish people, and whose head is Jesus Christ, both by not living according to the Gospel and by not believing in the Gospel. 79. It is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture. 80. The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all. 81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it. 82. The Lord's Day ought to be sanctified by Christians with readings of pious works and above all of the Holy Scriptures. It is harmful for a Christian to wish to withdraw from this reading. 83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred Scriptures. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of men has arisen the abuse of the Scriptures and have heresies been born. 84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ. 85. To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a kind of excommunication. 86. To snatch from the simple people this consolation of joining their voice to the voice of the whole Church is a custom contrary to the apostolic practice and to the intention of God. 87. A method full of wisdom light, and charity is to give souls time for bearing with humility. and for experiencing their state of sin, for seeking the spirit of penance and contrition, and for beginning at least to satisfy the justice of God, before they are reconciled. 88. We are ignorant of what sin is and of what true penance is, when we wish to be restored at once to the possession of the goods of which sin has despoiled us, and when we refuse to endure the confusion of that separation. 89. The fourteenth step in the conversion of a sinner is that, after he has already been reconciled, he has the right of assisting at the Sacrifice of the Church. 90. The Church has the authority to excommunicate, so that it may exercise it through the first pastors with the consent, at least presumed, of the whole body. 91. The fear of an unjust excommunication should never hinder us from fulfilling our duty; never are we separated from the Church, even when by the wickedness of men we seem to be expelled from it, as long as we are attached to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Church herself by charity. 92. To suffer in peace an excommunication and an unjust anathema rather than betray truth, is to imitate St. Paul; far be it from rebelling against authority or of destroying unity. 93. Jesus sometimes heals the wounds which the precipitous haste of the first pastors inflicted without His command. Jesus restored what they, with unconsidered zeal, cut off. 94. Nothing engenders a worse opinion of the Church among her enemies than to see exercised there an absolute rule over the faith of the faithful, and to see divisions fostered because of matters which do not violate faith or morals. 95. Truths have descended to this, that they are, as it were, a foreign tongue to most Christians, and the manner of preaching them is, as it were, an unknown idiom, so remote is the manner of preaching from the simplicity of the apostles. and so much above the common grasp of the faithful; nor is there sufficient advertence to the fact that this defect is one of the greatest visible signs of the weakening of the Church and of the wrath of God on His sons. 96. God permits that all powers be opposed to the preachers of truth, so that its victory cannot be attributed to anyone except to divine grace. 97. Too often it happens that those members, who are united to the Church more holily and more strictly, are looked down upon, and treated as if they were unworthy of being in the Church, or as if they were separated from Her; but, the just man liveth by faith [Rom. 1:17], and not by the opinion of men. 98. The state of persecution and of punishment which anyone endures as a disgraceful and impious heretic, is generally the final trial and is especially meritorious, inasmuch as it makes a man more conformable to Jesus Christ. 99. Stubbornness, investigation, and obstinacy in being unwilling either to examine something or to acknowledge that one has been deceived daily changes into an odor, as it were, of death, for many people, that which God has placed in His Church to be an odor of life within it, for instance, good books, instructions, holy examples, etc. 100. Deplorable is the time in which God is believed to be honored by persecution of the truth and its disciples! This time has come.... To be considered and treated by the ministers of religion as impious and unworthy of all commerce with God, as a putrid member capable of corrupting everything in the society of saints, is to pious men a more terrible death than the death of the body. In vain does anyone flatter himself on the purity of his intentions and on a certain zeal for religion, when he persecutes honest men with fire and sword, if he is blinded by his own passion or carried away by that of another on account of which he does not want to examine anything. We frequently believe that we arc sacrificing an impious man to God, when we are sacrificing a servant of God to the devil. 101. Nothing is more opposed to the spirit of God and to the doctrine of Jesus Christ than to swear common oaths in Church, because this is to multiply occasions of perjury, to lay snares for the weak and inexperienced, and to cause the name and truth of God to serve sometimes the plan of the wicked. Declared and condemned as false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have been condemned.
Endnotes 1. DuPl III, II 462 ff.: coll. Viva II I ff.; CIC Rcht II 140 ff.; BR(T) 21, 569 b ff.; MBR 8, 119 a ff. Variant, doubtful, and corrected readings are according to the first Gaelic text which DuPl, l.c., presents Paschasius Quesnel was born on July 14, 1634. After completing his studies in the Sorbonne in 1657, he entered the Congregation of the Oratory; but because of his zeal for the heresy of Jansenism, he was forced to leave the congregation. His book, Reflections Morales, was condemned, to which the Constitution, Unigenitus, is related. Shortly before his death on Dec. 2, 1719,he made a profession of faith publicly (Hrt, sec. rec. II2 822 ff). 2. This dogmatic constitution was confirmed by the same Clement XI in the Bull Pastoralis Officii (Aug. 28, 1718) against theAppellantes, in which he declares that certain Catholics who did not accept the Bull Unigenitus were clearly outside the bosom of the Roman Church; by Innocent XIII in a decree published on Jan. 8, 1722; by Benedict XIII and the Roman Synod in 1725; by Benedict XIV in the encyclical, Ex Omnibus on Oct. 16, 1756; it was accepted by the Gaelic clergy in assemblies in 1723, 1726, 1730, by the councils of Avignon 1725 and Ebred, 1727, and by the whole Catholic world.