Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio Old Translation

The Bull of Pope Paul IV Against Heretics

Cum ex Apostolatus Officio

Translated from the Authentic Roman Edition of 1559
Robert Charles Jenkins, M.A.,

“Haec nostra in perpetuum valitura constitution”

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Transcribed from the scanned original ( by Lucio Mascarenhas for the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church by Authority of His Holiness Michael I, Bishop of Rome

Robert Charles Jenkins, 1815-1896, was an Anglican apologist and polemicist who authored a range of documents in defense of Anglicanism, and principally against the Catholic Church. Jenkins was Anglican vicar of Lyminge, honorary Anglican Canon of Canterbury, and honorary curator of the library of Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Anglican Bishop of London.

PAUL, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God, for the perpetual remembrance hereof:

Since, by reason of the office of the Apostolate to us (though without our deserts) divinely entrusted, the general cure of the flock of the Lord devolves to us; and we are accordingly bound like a vigilant shepherd to watch assiduously and to provide attentively for its faithful protection, and salutary direction in order that those who in this age (our sins occasioning it) leaning on their own wisdom rebel against the teaching of the orthodox faith with greater licence and injury than is wont, and with their superstitions and fictitious inventions perverting the meaning of the holy Scriptures, endeavor to rend the unity of the Catholic Church and the seamless robe of the Lord, should be driven from the fold of Christ, and should not remain teachers of error while they refuse to become disciples of the truth.

§1. We considering a matter of this kind to be of so grave and perilous a nature that even the Roman Pontiff, who is the viceregent of God and the Lord Jesus Christ upon earth, having a plenitude of power over nations and kingdoms, judging all and being judged of none in this present world, may nevertheless be reproved if he is found deviating from the faith-and (considering moreover) that where there is greater danger there should be also a fuller and more diligent consultation, lest false prophets or others having secular jurisdiction also, should entangle miserably the souls of the faithful, and should draw down with them into perdition and destruction the innumerable peoples committed to their charge and government in spiritual or temporal matters, and so it might happen that we should see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, in the holy place.  We therefore desiring as far as with God’s help we can, in virtue of our pastoral office, to capture the foxes who seek to destroy the Lord’s vineyard and to drive the wolves from the fold; lest we should seem like dumb dogs unwilling to bark and be compared to bad husbandmen and mercenaries; §2. having had mature deliberation with our venerable brethren the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, by their advice and unanimous assent, approve and renew, by our Apostolic authority, all and singular sentences, censures and penalties of excommunication, suspension, and interdict, privation, and every other such sentence made by every one of the Roman Pontiffs our predecessors, and held and received as such by their Extravagants, or ordained by the sacred councils received by the Church of God, or by the decrees and statutes of the holy Fathers, and Apostolic Canons, constitutions and ordinances against heretics and Schismatics, and ordain that they shall be perpetually observed, and out to be, and shall be renewed in all their freshness if they have fallen into disuse.

Also (we decree) that all persons whatsoever who shall be found or confess or be convicted as guilty of having deviated from the Catholic faith, or fallen into any heresy, or to have incurred, executed or committed any schism, or who (which God of his mercy forbid) shall in future wander from the faith, fall into heresy, or incur the guilt of schism, or shall be found or confess or be convicted to have don so, of whatever state, degree, order, condition and preeminence he may be, even if he shall be distinguished by Episcopal, Archepiscopal, Patriarchal, Primatial, or any other greater dignities of the Church, or the Cardinalitial or Legatine authority, or by any worldly dignity as those of Count, baron, Marquis, Duke, King, or Emperor, all and every of these we will and decree shall incur the aforesaid sentences, censures and pains.  §3 And, furthermore, considering that it is meet that those who do not abstain from such evils from the love of virtue, should be deterred from them by the fear of punishment, and that Bishops, Arch-bishops, Cardinals, Legates, Counts, &c., Kings and Emperors, who ought to teach and be a good example to others that they may be retained in the Catholic faith, sin more grievously than others inasmuch as they not only lose themselves, but draw down with them innumerable peoples confided to their care and government into perdition and the pit of destruction, by the same advice and assent and by this constitution of perpetual validity, in hatred of so great a crime, than which none can be greater in the Church of God or more pernicious, in the plenitude of our power, we sanction, decree, declare, and define that while all the aforesaid sentences, censures, &c. shall remain in their force and efficacy, and be carried out in their result, all and singular Bishops, &c. … Dukes, Kings and Emperors who hitherto shall be found, confess or be convicted of deviating from the faith, of falling into heresy or of incurring, exciting or committing a schism… since in this they are the more inexcusable than others,-beyond the sentences, censures and penalties aforesaid, shall ipso facto without any process of law or proof of fact, be deprived of their orders, cathedrals, churches, cardinalitial and legatine honors… and of their dignities as Counts, Barons, Marquises, Dukes, Kings and Emperors, altogether and absolutely, and shall be in future held to be disqualified and incapable, and shall be deemed as relapsed and condemned in everything and by all means, even if they shall have previously publicly abjured their heresy-nor shall they be every restored to their previous state, or redintegrated or rehabilated in their bishoprics, &c. … Duchies, Kingdoms, and Empires.  Nay further they shall be left to the will of the secular power to be punished with due severity; unless, in the case of worthy proofs of a true repentance being found in them and the fruits thereof, through the benignity and clemency of this See, it may see fit to relegate them to some monastery or other place of regular monks, to carry on a perpetual penance in the bread of sorrow and water of affliction; and they shall be held, treated and reputed by all of every condition as relapsed persons, and as such shall be avoided and deprived of all human consolations.

§4 And all who claim the rights of patronage and of nominating fit persons for cathedral, metropolitical and patriarchal churches or other ecclesiastical benefices vacant by reason of the privation aforesaid (in order that such churches may not be exposed to disadvantage from a prolonged vacancy but may be redeemed from the slavery of heretics, and granted to fit persons who may faithfully lead the people in the paths of righteousness) shall be bound to present to such churches,&c., other fit persons within the period assigned by law or by concordats or compacts entered into with our said See, either by ourselves or by the Roman Pontiff at the time existing, in respect of such presentation; otherwise, such time having elapsed, the full and free disposition of the said benefices shall devolve to us or to the said Roman Pontiff in full right.

§5 And further, those who shall in any way knowingly presume to receive, defend, favor, or give credit to persons thus taken, confessed, or convicted, or to propagate their doctrines, shall incur the sentence of excommunication ipso facto, and shall be accounted infamous, nor shall they be admitted by voice, or person, writings, representatives, or proctors to public or private offices or councils, synods, general or provincial Councils, nor to the Conclave of Cardinals, nor any congregation of the faithful, nor to the election of anyone, nor to give evidence; they shall be unable to make a will or to inherit under a will, nor shall any be compelled to respond to them in regard to any matter of business.  But if perchance they should happen to be judges, their sentences shall be null and void, nor shall any causes be brought to their hearing; if they should be advocates, their advocacy shall not be admitted; if writers, the documents drawn up by them shall be of none effect or authority.

And furthermore, the clergy shall be deprived ipso facto of all and singular churches, dignities and offices ecclesiastical, however they may be qualified for them, if they are obtained in any form from such persons; and both they and the laity, however qualified and endowed with any of the said dignities whatever, shall be deprived ipso fact</i> of the kingdoms, dukedoms, dominions, feuds; and temporal goods possessed by them; and their kingdoms, dukedoms, dominions, feuds, and all their goods whatsoever shall be confiscated, and shall become the right and property of those who shall first occupy them, provided they remain in the sincere faith and unity of the Holy Roman Church, and in the obedience of ourselves, and of our canonical appointed successors.

§6 We add moreover that if at any time it shall appear that any Bishop even if he assert for himself the rank of Archbishop, Patriarch, Primate, or Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or legate, or even Roman Pontiff before his promotion or assumption into the Cardinalate or Pontificate, shall have deviated from the Catholic faith or have fallen into any heresy, or incurred, excited or committed any schism, his promotion or assumption even made in full concord and with the unanimous consent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, abrogated, and void, nor shall be called or become valid even by the reception of the grace of consecration nor the subsequent possession of government and administration, nor even by the enthronization or adoration of the elected person as Roman Pontiff or the universal obedience rendered to him for how long a period soever.  Nor shall he be held legitimate in any form, nor be deemed capable of giving or be held to have given any authority of administration in things spiritual or temporal to any person promoted to bishoprics, &c., or assumed to the Cardinalate or to the Roman Pontificate.  But all and everything said, done, acted and administered by persons thus chosen and all things resulting therefrom shall be without force, and no firmness or legal right shall be assigned to them; and those who are thus promoted and assumed shall without any authoritative declaration be deprived of every dignity, place, honor, title, office and power; §7 and it shall be lawful for all who are thus promoted and assumed, if they have not deviated from the faith, nor become heretics, nor incurred, excited, nor committed a schism, and to their dependents, both secular and regular, clergy and laity, and even to the Cardinals, who have been present at the election of such Pontiff who has previously deviated from the faith or become heretical or schismatical, or have otherwise consented to his election and given him obedience and adoration, and are bound to such promoted persons by homage or oath or caution… to recede with immunity from the obedience and devotion to those thus promoted or assumed, and to avoid them as ethnics, publicans and heresiarchs-those who are released from such obedience remaining nevertheless bound to give fidelity and obedience to the future Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, and Cardinals, and to the Roman Pontiff canonically elected.

And for the greater confusion of those thus (unlawfully) promoted and assumed, should they wish to continue their government and administration, it shall be lawful to invoke the secular arm against them, and those who withdraw from their obedience by reason of the circumstances already described, shall not be liable to any punishment by censure or otherwise, as rending the seamless robe of Christ.  §8 And this notwithstanding all constitutions and ordinances Apostolic, privileges, indults and letters Apostolic… even given motu proprio, ex certa scientia, and in the plenitude of Apostolic power; or granted consistorially or in any other form whatever; though they may have been approved and renewed many times over, and incorporated in the body of the law.  Notwithstanding also any capitulars of the conclave however ratified by oath or Apostolic confirmation, and sworn to by ourselves.  All the above constitutions by these presents, (assuming the contents to be here expressed and inserted word for word) we ratify in all points, except only in this instance, in which we expressly and specially derogate from them, and in all things whatever which are not contrary to this exception.

§9 And that this letter may become known to all whom it concerns, we will that it, or a copy of it subscribed by the hand of a notary public, and sealed by some dignitary of the Church, (to which copy we will that full credit shall be given,) shall be published and affixed on the doors of the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles in the City, and of the Apostolic Chancery, and at the entrance of the Campo di Fiora, by some of our Cursors, and that the affixing such copy and the proof of it being so affixed, shall suffice and be held as a solemn and legal publication, and that none other shall be required or expected.

§10 Let it therefore be legal for no one to infringe or rashly to attempt to contravene this instrument of our approbation, innovation, sanction, statute, derogation, will and decree.  If however anyone shall presume to make such attempt, let him know that he will incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, in the year of our Lord’s incarnation, 1558, on the 15th of the Kalends of March (February 14th), in the fourth year of our Pontificate.