Cum Primum - Pope Gregory XVI - The Papal Library


Cum Primum Encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI on Civil Obedience June 9, 1832 To All Archbishops and Bishops Dwelling in the Kingdom of Poland. Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction. When the first report of the calamities, which so seriously devastated your flourishing kingdom reached our ears, We learned simultaneously that they had been caused by some fabricators of deceit and lies. Under the pretext of religion, and revolting against the legitimate authority of the princes, they filled their fatherland, which they loosed from due obedience to authority, with mourning. We shed abundant tears at the feet of God, grieving over the harsh evil with which some of our flock was afflicted. Afterward We humbly prayed that God would enable your provinces, agitated by so many and so serious dissensions, to be restored to peace and to the rule of legitimate authority. 2. We were immediately eager to send an encyclical letter to you that you might understand that We too were oppressed by the weight of your troubles. We hoped to add some solace and strength to your pastoral solicitude by which you might apply yourselves with new and more ardent zeal to propagating sounder doctrines and to persuading your precious followers, both in the clergy and among the laity. That letter never reached you because of the troubles of the times; therefore, now that God has restored quiet and tranquility, We again open our heart to you. We hope to kindle your zeal and solicitude as much as We can with the help of God, so that you may diligently protect your flock from the true causes of your past troubles. Watch earnestly lest deceitful men and the promoters of novelties continue to spread erroneous doctrines and false dogmas in your flock. Using the pretext of the common good, as is their custom, they take advantage of the credulity of those who are naive and rash, so that they may have them as blind servants and supporters in disturbing the peace of the kingdom and in overturning the order of society. 3. Surely the fraud of these would-be teachers must be uncovered in clear words for the good and the instruction of the faithful. The fallacy of their thought must be refuted courageously everywhere with the words of divine scripture and the testimony of Church tradition. From these most pure fountains (from which the Catholic clergy ought to draw the plan of their lives and the material for their sermons to the people) We are taught most clearly that the obedience which men are obliged to render to the authorities established by God is an absolute precept which no one can violate, except if by chance something is commanded which runs counter to the laws of God or of the Church. Let everyone says the Apostle, be subject to higher authorities, for there exists no authority except from God, and those who exist have been appoin

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