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"Tear away the mask from Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII



Pius X July 3, 1907

With  truly  lamentable results, our age, casting
aside  all  restraint  in  its  search  for   the
ultimate  causes  of  things,  frequently pursues
novelties so ardently that it rejects the  legacy
of  the  human  race.  Thus  it  falls  into very
serious errors, which are even more serious  when
they concern sacred authority, the interpretation
of Sacred Scripture, and the principal  mysteries
of  Faith.  The  fact  that many Catholic writers
also go  beyond  the  limits  determined  by  the
Fathers  and  the  Church  herself  is  extremely
regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge  and
historical  research (they say), they are looking
for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality,
nothing but the corruption of dogmas.

These  errors  are  being  daily spread among the
faithful.  Lest  they  captivate  the  faithful's
minds  and corrupt the purity of their faith, His
Holiness, Pius X, by Divine Providence, Pope, has
decided that the chief errors should be noted and
condemned by the Office of this  Holy  Roman  and
Universal Inquisition.

Therefore,  after  a  very diligent investigation
and consultation with  the  Reverend  Consultors,
the Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinals, the
General  Inquisitors  in  matters  of  faith  and
morals  have judged the following propositions to
be condemned and proscribed.  In  fact,  by  this
general    decree,   they   are   condemned   and

1. The ecclesiastical law which  prescribes  that
books   concerning   the  Divine  Scriptures  are
subject to previous examination does not apply to
critical  scholars  and  students  of  scientific
exegesis of the Old and New Testament.

2. The  Church's  interpretation  of  the  Sacred
Books   is   by   no   means   to   be  rejected;
nevertheless, it is subject to the more  accurate
judgment and correction of the exegetes.

3. From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures
passed against free and more scientific exegesis,
one  can  conclude  that  the  Faith  the  Church
proposes contradicts history  and  that  Catholic
teaching  cannot  really  be  reconciled with the
true origins of the Christian religion.

4. Even  by  dogmatic  definitions  the  Church's
magisterium cannot determine the genuine sense of
the Sacred Scriptures.

5. Since  the  deposit  of  Faith  contains  only
revealed  truths, the Church has no right to pass
judgment on the assertions of the human sciences.

6.  The  "Church  learning"   and   the   "Church
teaching"  collaborate  in such a way in defining
truths that  it  only  remains  for  the  "Church
teaching" to sanction the opinions of the "Church

7.  In  proscribing  errors,  the  Church  cannot
demand  any  internal assent from the faithful by
which  the  judgments  she  issues  are   to   be

8. They are free from all blame who treat lightly
the   condemnations   passed   by   the    Sacred
Congregation   of  the  Index  or  by  the  Roman

9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance
who  believe that God is really the author of the
Sacred Scriptures.

10. The inspiration  of  the  books  of  the  Old
Testament consists in this: The Israelite writers
handed down religious doctrines under a  peculiar
aspect  which  was  either  little  or not at all
known to the Gentiles.

11. Divine inspiration does not extend to all  of
Sacred  Scriptures  so that it renders its parts,
each and every one, free from every error.

12. If he wishes to  apply  himself  usefully  to
Biblical  studies,  the  exegete  must  first put
aside  all  preconceived   opinions   about   the
supernatural   origin  of  Sacred  Scripture  and
interpret it the same as any other  merely  human

13.  The  Evangelists  themselves, as well as the
Christians of the second  and  third  generation,
artificially  arranged  the evangelical parables.
In such a way they explained the scanty fruit  of
the preaching of Christ among the Jews.

14.  In many narrations the Evangelists recorded,
not so much  things  that  are  true,  as  things
which,  even though false, they judged to be more
profitable for their readers.

15. Until the time  the  canon  was  defined  and
constituted,   the   Gospels  were  increased  by
additions  and   corrections.   Therefore   there
remained in them only a faint and uncertain trace
of the doctrine of Christ.

16. The  narrations  of  John  are  not  properly
history,  but  a  mystical  contemplation  of the
Gospel. The discourses contained  in  his  Gospel
are  theological  meditations, lacking historical
truth concerning the mystery of salvation.

17. The fourth Gospel  exaggerated  miracles  not
only  in order that the extraordinary might stand
out but also in order that it might  become  more
suitable  for showing forth the work and glory of
the Word lncarnate.

18.  John  claims  for  himself  the  quality  of
witness  concerning  Christ. In reality, however,
he  is  only  a  distinguished  witness  of   the
Christian  life,  or of the life of Christ in the
Church at the close of the first century.

19. Heterodox exegetes have  expressed  the  true
sense  of  the  Scriptures  more  faithfully than
Catholic exegetes.

20. Revelation could be  nothing  else  than  the
consciousness  man  acquired of his revelation to

21. Revelation, constituting the  object  of  the
Catholic   faith,  was  not  completed  with  the

22. The dogmas the Church holds out  as  revealed
are  not  truths  which  have fallen from heaven.
They are an  interpretation  of  religious  facts
which  the  human  mind has acquired by laborious

23. Opposition  may,  and  actually  does,  exist
between  the  facts  narrated in Sacred Scripture
and the Church's dogmas which rest on them.  Thus
the  critic  may reject as false facts the Church
holds as most certain.

24. The  exegete  who  constructs  premises  from
which  it  follows  that  dogmas are historically
false or doubtful is not to be reproved  as  long
as   he   does   not  directly  deny  the  dogmas
themselves .

25. The assent of faith  ultimately  rests  on  a
mass of probabilities .

26.  The  dogmas of the Faith are to be held only
according to their practical sense;  that  is  to
say,  as  preceptive  norms of conduct and not as
norms of believing.

27. The divinity of Jesus Christ  is  not  proved
from  the  Gospels.  It  is  a  dogma  which  the
Christian conscience has derived from the  notion
of the Messias.

28.  While  He was exercising His ministry, Jesus
did not speak with the object of teaching He  was
the  Messias,  nor did His miracles tend to prove

29. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of
history  is far inferior to the Christ Who is the
object of faith.

30 In all the evangelical texts the name "Son  of
God'' is equivalent only to that of "Messias." It
does not in the least way signify that Christ  is
the true and natural Son of God.

31.  The  doctrine  concerning  Christ  taught by
Paul, John, and the Councils  of  Nicea,  Ephesus
and  Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but
that which  the  Christian  conscience  conceived
concerning Jesus.

32.  It  is  impossible  to reconcile the natural
sense of the Gospel texts with the  sense  taught
by  our theologians concerning the conscience and
the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ.

33  Everyone  who  is  not  led  by  preconceived
opinions   can  readily  see  that  either  Jesus
professed  an  error  concerning  the   immediate
Messianic  coming  or  the  greater  part  of His
doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute
of authenticity.

34. The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge
without limits only on a hypothesis which  cannot
be  historically conceived and which is repugnant
to the  moral  sense.  That  hypothesis  is  that
Christ  as man possessed the knowledge of God and
yet was unwilling to communicate the knowledge of
a   great   many  things  to  His  disciples  and

35.   Christ   did   not   always   possess   the
consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

36.   The  Resurrection  of  the  Savior  is  not
properly a fact of the historical order. It is  a
fact  of  merely  the supernatural order (neither
demonstrated   nor   demonstrable)   which    the
Christian conscience gradually derived from other

37. In the beginning, faith in  the  Resurrection
of  Christ  was not so much in the fact itself of
the Resurrection  as  in  the  immortal  life  of
Christ with God.

38. The doctrine of the expiatory death of Christ
is Pauline and not evangelical.

39. The opinions concerning  the  origin  of  the
Sacraments  which  the  Fathers of Trent held and
which certainly influenced their dogmatic  canons
are  very  different from those which now rightly
exist among historians who examine Christianity .

40. The Sacraments have their origin in the  fact
that  the  Apostles  and their successors, swayed
and   moved   by   circumstances   and    events,
interpreted some idea and intention of Christ.

41.  The Sacraments are intended merely to recall
to man's mind the ever-beneficent presence of the

42. The Christian community imposed the necessity
of Baptism, adopted it as a necessary  rite,  and
added  to  it  the  obligation  of  the Christian

43. The  practice  of  administering  Baptism  to
infants   was  a  disciplinary  evolution,  which
became one of the causes why  the  Sacrament  was
divided into two, namely, Baptism and Penance.

44.  There  is  nothing to prove that the rite of
the Sacrament of Confirmation was employed by the
Apostles.  The  formal  distinction  of  the  two
Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation  does  not
pertain to the history of primitive Christianity.

45. Not everything which Paul narrates concerning
the  institution  of  the   Eucharist   (I   Cor.
11:23-25) is to be taken historically.

46.  In  the  primitive Church the concept of the
Christian sinner reconciled by the  authority  of
the  Church  did  not exist. Only very slowly did
the Church accustom herself to this concept. As a
matter of fact, even after Penance was recognized
as an institution  of  the  Church,  it  was  not
called  a  Sacrament  since it would be held as a
disgraceful Sacrament.

47. The words of  the  Lord,  "Receive  the  Holy
Spirit;  whose  sins  you shall forgive, they are
forgiven them; and whose sins you  shall  retain,
they  are  retained''  (John 20:22-23), in no way
refer to the Sacrament of Penance,  in  spite  of
what it pleased the Fathers of Trent to say.

48.  In  his  Epistle (Ch. 5:14-15) James did not
intend to promulgate a Sacrament  of  Christ  but
only commend a pious custom. If in this custom he
happens to distinguish a means of  grace,  it  is
not in that rigorous manner in which it was taken
by the theologians who laid down the  notion  and
number of the Sacraments.

49.  When  the Christian supper gradually assumed
the nature  of  a  liturgical  action  those  who
customarily presided over the supper acquired the
sacerdotal character.

50.  The  elders  who  fulfilled  the  office  of
watching over the gatherings of the faithful were
instituted by the Apostles as priests or  bishops
to  provide  for  the  necessary  ordering of the
increasing communities and not properly  for  the
perpetuation of the Apostolic mission and power.

51.  It  is  impossible that Matrimony could have
become a Sacrament of the new law until later  in
the  Church  since  it  was necessary that a full
theological explication of the doctrine of  grace
and the Sacraments should first take place before
Matrimony should be held as a Sacrament.

52. It was far from the mind of Christ to found a
Church as a society which would continue on earth
for a long course of centuries. On the  contrary,
in  the  mind  of  Christ  the  kingdom of heaven
together with the end of the world was  about  to
come immediately.

53. The organic constitution of the Church is not
immutable. Like human society, Christian  society
is subject to a perpetual evolution.

54.  Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their
notion and reality, are only interpretations  and
evolutions  of  the  Christian intelligence which
have  increased  and  perfected  by  an  external
series of additions the little germ latent in the

55. Simon Peter never even suspected that  Christ
entrusted the primacy in the Church to him.

56.  The  Roman Church became the head of all the
churches, not through  the  ordinance  of  Divine
Providence,    but   merely   through   political

57. The Church has shown that she is  hostile  to
the  progress  of  the  natural  and  theological

58. Truth is no more immutable than man  himself,
since  it  evolved  with him, in him, and through

59. Christ did not teach  a  determined  body  of
doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but
rather inaugurated a religious  movement  adapted
or to be adapted to different times and places.

60.  Christian  Doctrine  was  originally Judaic.
Through successive  evolutions  it  became  first
Pauline,  then  Joannine,  finally  Hellenic  and

61. It may be said without paradox that there  is
no  chapter  of  Scripture,  from  the  first  of
Genesis to the  last  of  the  Apocalypse,  which
contains  a  doctrine  absolutely  identical with
that which the Church teaches on the same matter.
For  the  same  reason,  therefore, no chapter of
Scripture has the same sense for the  critic  and
the theologian.

62. The chief articles of the Apostles' Creed did
not have the same sense for the Christians of the
first ages as they have for the Christians of our

63. The Church shows that  she  is  incapable  of
effectively  maintaining evangelical ethics since
she obstinately  clings  to  immutable  doctrines
which cannot be reconciled with modern progress.

64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts
of Christian doctrine concerning  God,  creation,
revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and
Redemption be re-adjusted.

65. Modern Catholicism  can  be  reconciled  with
true  science  only  if  it is transformed into a
non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a
broad and liberal Protestantism.

The  following  Thursday,  the  fourth day of the
same month  and  year,  all  these  matters  were
accurately  reported  to our Most Holy Lord, Pope
Pius X. His Holiness approved and  confirmed  the
decree  of  the  Most Eminent Fathers and ordered
that each  and  every  one  of  the  above-listed
propositions  be  held  by  all  as condemned and

PETER PALOMBELLI, Notary of the  Holy  Roman  and
Universal Inquisition

Freemasonry must die, or liberty must die." -- Charles G. Finney


"Those who sin are slaves, and slaves have no rights." -- Jesus Christ, John 8:34

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