ALCUNE CONSIDERAZIONI SULLE PUBBLICAZIONI DI CARATTERE RELIGIOSO NON AUTORIZZATE E CENSITE CANONICAMENTE
(per i lettori di lingua inglese)
Pubblichiamo alcuni punti fondamentali della dottrina della Chiesa, ricordati opportunamente da un Sacerdote cattolico “vero” di lingua inglese ai lettori anglofoni. Il nostro blog ha più volte insistito su questi punti, studiando nei dettagli il contenuto della Costituzione Apostolica Officiorum ac munerum, di S. S. Papa Leone XII (v.), ribadito nella notissima enciclica “Pascendi” di S. S. San Pio X, anche questa approfondita in diversi post dello stesso blog. Ci sembra assolutamente necessario riportarne i contenuti in lingua inglese, con la relativa traduzione italiana, per ricordare a noi stessi ed a tutti i Cattolici del “piccolo gregge”, che non è consigliabile in ogni caso leggere articoli, libri, post ed editoriali giornalistici anche su internet, nonché pretese rivelazioni private senza l’autorizzazione dell’Ordinario del luogo, o di un suo Vicario incaricato. Si incorre nelle terribili scomuniche “ipso facto” contenute nella Costituzione Apostolica di Leone XIII [non a caso l’antipapa pederasta Montini, abrogò questa norma che avrebbe colpito lui stesso per primo …], scomuniche Latae sententiae riservate in modo speciale alla Sede Apostolica. Tutti coloro che scrivono, pubblicano o leggono scritti non autorizzati con nihil obstat ed imprimatur, sappiano che sono automaticamente scomunicati e fuori dalla Chiesa Cattolica, quindi fuori dall’Arca di salvezza. Siate quindi molto attenti e scrupolosi in merito: “… ciò che Pietro ha legato in terra, è legato pure in cielo”, e ricordate che nessun Papa o Concilio [… figuriamoci poi un antipapa o un conciliabolo massonico!!] può abrogare le decisioni di un Papa precedente o le disposizioni di un Concilio presieduto validamente da un Sommo Pontefice, come da diritto canonico e divino.
of apostates, heretics, schismatics, and all writers whatsoever, defending
heresy or schism, or in any way attacking the foundations of religion, are
forbidden to publish, read, or keep books in which sorcery, divination, magic,
the evocation of spirits, and other superstitions of this kind are taught or
other writings which narrate new apparitions, revelations, visions, prophecies,
miracles, or which introduce new devotions, even under the pretext of being
private ones, if published without the legitimate permission of ecclesiastical
superiors, are prohibited.
forbidden to all to give publicity in any way to apocryphal indulgences, and
such as have been proscribed or revoked by the Apostolic See. Those which have
already been published must be withdrawn from the hands of the faithful.
No books of
indulgences, or compendiums, pamphlets, leaflets, etc., containing grants of
indulgences, maybe published without permission of competent authority.
– except the ancient and common litanies contained in the breviaries, missals,
pontificals, and rituals, as well as the Litany of Loreto, and the Litany of
the Most Holy Name of Jesus already approved by the Holy See – may be published
without the examination and approbation of the ordinary.
without license of legitimate authority, may publish books or pamphlets of
prayers, devotions, or of religious, moral, ascetic, or mystic doctrine and
instruction, or others of like nature, even though apparently conducive to the
fostering of piety among Christian people; otherwise they are to be considered
and periodicals which designedly attack religion or morality are to be held as
prohibited not only by the natural but also by the ecclesiastical law.
Ordinaries shall take care, whenever it be necessary, that the faithful shall
be warned against the danger and injury of reading of this kind.
shall be allowed to read and keep books prohibited, either by special decrees
or by these General Decrees, who shall have obtained the necessary permission,
either from the Apostolic See or from its delegates.
have obtained apostolic faculties to read and keep prohibited books may not on
this account read and keep any books whatsoever or periodicals condemned by the
local ordinaries, unless in the apostolic indult express permission be given to
read and keep books by whomsoever prohibited. And those who have obtained
permission to read prohibited books must remember that they are bound by grave
precept to keep books of this kind in such a manner that they may not fall into
the hands of others.
expedient, in denouncing bad books, that not only the title of the book be
expressed, but also, as far as possible, the reasons be explained why the book
is considered worthy of censure. Those to whom the denunciation is made will
remember that it is their duty to keep secret the names of the denouncers.
faithful are bound to submit to preliminary ecclesiastical censorship at least
those books which treat of Holy Scripture, sacred theology, ecclesiastical history,
canon law, natural theology, ethics, and other religious or moral subjects of
this character; and in general all writings specially concerned with religion
should be taken from both the secular and religious clergy, and should be men
of mature age, of tried learning and prudence, who will take the golden mean in
approving or rejecting doctrines.
must give his opinion in writing; if it is favorable the Ordinary may allow the
manuscript to be published; the imprimatur of the bishop is preceded by the
opinion of the censor over his signature. Only in extraordinary cases and rare
circumstances may, according to the bishop’s judgment, the name of the censor
shall never be informed of the name of the censor who is to revise his book
before he has given his judgment. (Canon 1393.)
The permission of the Ordinary by which he grants faculty to publish a manuscript shall be given in writing, and shall be printed either at the beginning or the end of a book, magazine, or on pictures, with his name and the date and place of the concession.
and Prohibition of Books.
1227. The Church has
the right to rule that Catholics shall not publish
any books unless they have first been subjected to the approval
of the Church and to forbid for a good reason the faithful to
read certain books, no matter by whom they are published.
The rules of this
title concerning books are to be applied also to
daily papers, periodicals, and any other publication, unless the contrary
is clear from the Canons. (Canon 1384.)
previous ecclesiastical approval even laymen are
not allowed to publish:
1. the books of Holy
Scripture, or annotations and commentaries of
2. books treating of
Sacred Scripture, theology, Church history,
Canon Law, natural theology, ethics, and other sciences concerning
religion and morals. Furthermore, prayer books, pamphlets and
books of devotion, of religious teaching, either moral, ascetic,
or mystic, and any writing in general in which there is anything
that has a special bearing on religion or morality;
3. sacred images
reproduced in any manner, either with or without
The permission to
publish books and images spoken of in this Canon
may be given either by the proper Ordinary of the author,
or by the Ordinary of the place where they are published, or
by the Ordinary of the place where they are printed; if, however, any
one of the Ordinaries who has a right to give approval refuses
it, the author cannot ask it of another unless he informs him
of the refusal of the Ordinary first requested.
The religious must,
moreover, first obtain permission from their major
superior. (Canon 1385.)
1229. The secular
clergy are forbidden without the consent of their
bishop, the religious without the permission of the major superior
and the bishop, to publish any book on secular
topics, or to be a contributor to, or editor, of
daily papers, periodicals, booklets,
In papers, pamphlets
and magazines which, as a rule, attack the Catholic
religion or good morals, not even laymen should write
anything except for a good and reasonable cause, to be approved by
the Ordinary. (Canon 1386.)
pertaining in any manner to the causes of beatification
and canonization of the servants of God, may not be published
without permission from the Sacred Congregation
of Rites. (Canon 1387.)
1231. All books,
summaries, booklets and papers, etc., in which the
concession of indulgences is mentioned, shall not be published
without permission of the Ordinary of the diocese. Special
permission of the Holy See is required for printing in
any language authentic collections of prayers and good works to
which the Holy See has attached indulgences, as also a list of the
papal indulgences and summaries of indulgences previously collected,
but never approved, and summaries to be now made up from
the various concessions. (Canon 1388.)
1232. The collections
of decrees of the Roman Congregations cannot be
published anew without first obtaining permission from
the respective Congregation, and observing the conditions which
the prefect of the Congregation may lay down in giving permission.
1233. In the
publication of liturgical books, or parts thereof, and
in reprints of litanies approved by the Holy See, the Ordinary of
the place where the printing is done, or where they are published,
must attest that the copy agrees with the original official edition.
1234. Translations of
the Holy Scriptures in the vernacular languages may
not be published .unless they are either approved by
the Holy See, or they are published, under the supervision of the
bishop, with annotations chiefly taken from the holy Fathers of
the Church and learned Catholic writers. (Canon 1391. )
1235. When a work is
approved in its original text, the approval does
not extend to translations into other languages nor to
other editions; wherefore both the translation and the new edition of
a work already approved needs a new approval.
If various chapters
that have appeared in approved magazines, or other
periodicals, are collected and published in book form,
they are not considered a new edition and do therefore not need
a new approval. (Canon 1392.)
1236. In every
episcopal Curia there should be official censors, who
shall examine the works to be published.
The examiners should
be free from all human respect in the exercise
of their office, and shall have before their eyes only the
dogmas of the Church and the universal Catholic teaching contained
in the decrees of the General Councils, in the constitutions and
orders of the Holy See, and in the consent of approved doctors.
The censors should be
taken from both the secular and religious clergy, and
should be men of mature age, of tried learning and
prudence, who will take the golden mean in approving or
The censor must give
his opinion in writing; if it is favorable the
Ordinary may allow the manuscript to be
published; the imprimatur of the bishop is preceded by the
opinion of the censor over his signature.
Only in extraordinary cases and rare circumstances may, according
to the bishop’s judgment, the name of the censor be
The author shall
never be informed of the name of the censor who
is to revise his book before he has given his judgment. (Canon
1237. The permission
of the Ordinary by which he grants faculty to
publish a manuscript shall be given in writing, and shall
be printed either at the beginning or the end of a book, magazine, or
on pictures, with his name and the date and place of the concession.
If permission for
publication is to be denied, the reasons should be
given to the author unless there are grave reasons why this
should not be done. (Canon 1394.)
1238. The right and
duty to prohibit books for a good reason rests with
the Supreme Pontiff for the whole Church, with the
particular councils for their territory, with the individual Ordinary
for his diocese.
From the prohibition
of inferior authorities recourse may be had to the
Holy See, not however, in suspensive, which means that
the prohibition must be obeyed until Rome has rescinded the orders
of the inferior authority.
Also the abbot of an
independent monastery, and the supreme superior of a
clerical exempt religious body, may with their
respective council or Chapter prohibit books to their
subjects for good reasons; the same authority possess
other major superiors in union with their
council in cases where immediate action is necessary,
with the duty, however, to refer the matter as soon as possible
to the supreme superior. (Canon 1395.)
1239. Books forbidden
by the Holy See are to be considered forbidden
everywhere, and in any translation into other languages. (Canon
1240. It is the duty
of all the faithful, and especially of the clergy,
of ecclesiastical dignitaries, and of men of extraordinary learning,
to refer books which they think pernicious to the Ordinary
or to the Holy See. This duty pertains by special title to
the legates of the Holy See, to the local Ordinaries, and to rectors
of Catholic Universities.
It is expedient in
the denunciation of a book to not only indicate the
title of the book, but also, as far as possible, the reasons why
a book is thought to deserve condemnation.
Those to whom the
book is denounced are by sacred duty bound to keep
secret the names of those who denounce it.
The local Ordinaries
must, either in person or, if necessary, through other
capable priests, watch over the books which are published
or sold in their territory.
The Ordinaries should
refer to the Holy See those books which require
a more searching examination, also works which for
their effective prohibition demand the
weight of the supreme authority.
1241. The prohibition
of books has this effect that the forbidden books
may not without permission be published, read, retained, sold,
nor translated into another language, nor made known
to others in any way.
The book which has in
any way been forbidden may not again be
published except after the demanded corrections have been
made and the authority which forbade the book, or his superior, or
successor, has given permission. (Canon 1398.)
1242. By the very law
1. editions of the
original text, or of ancient Catholic versions, of
the Sacred Scriptures, also of the Oriental Church, published by
non-Catholics ; likewise any translations in any language made
or published by them ;
2. books of any
writers defending heresy or schism, or tending in
any way to undermine the foundations of religion;
3. books which
purposely fight against religion and good morals ;
4. books of any
non-Catholic treating professedly of religion unless
it is certain that nothing is contained therein against the
5. books on the holy
Scriptures or on religious subjects which have
been published without the permission required by Canons
1385, 1, nn. 1, and 1391; books and leaflets which bring an
account of new apparitions, revelations, visions, prophecies, miracles,
or introduce new devotions even though under the
pretext that they are private; if these books,
etc., are published against the rules of
6. books which attack
or ridicule any of the Catholic dogmas, books which
defend errors condemned by the Holy See, or which
disparage Divine worship, or tend to undermine ecclesiastical discipline,
or which purposely insult the ecclesiastical hierarchy, or
the clerical and religious states;
7. books which teach
or approve of any kind of superstition, fortune-telling,
sorcery, magic, communication with spirits and
such like affairs ;
8. books which
declare duels, suicide, divorce as licit ; books which
treat of masonic and other sects of the same kind, and contend that
they are not pernicious, but rather useful to the
Church and civil society;
9. books which
professedly treat of impure and obscene subjects,
narrate or teach them;
10. editions of
liturgical books approved by the Holy See, but
which have been unlawfully changed in some things so that they
no longer agree with the editions authorized by the Holy See ;
11. books which
publish apocryphal indulgences, or those condemned or
recalled by the Holy See ;
12. images of our
Lord, of the blessed Virgin, angels, saints, and
other servants of God, which are not in accord with the
mind and the decrees of the Church. (Canon 1399.)
1243. Books mentioned
in n. 1 of the preceding Canon, and books
published against the law of Canon 1391, are allowed to those
who in any way engage in theological or biblical studies, provided
these books are faithful and complete copies of the original, and do not in
their introduction, or in their notes, attack Catholic
dogmas. (Canon 1400.)
1244. Cardinals and
bishops, both residential and titular, are not bound
by the ecclesiastical prohibition of books, provided they
use the necessary precautions. (Canon 1401.)
1245. Ordinaries can
give permission to their subjects for the reading
of books forbidden by the general law of the Code, as
well as by decree of the Holy See, for individual books and in individual
and urgent cases only.
If the Ordinaries
have obtained from the Holy See general faculty to
allow their subjects the keeping and reading of forbidden books,
they should give this permission with discretion. (Canon
1246. Persons who
have obtained from the Holy See the faculty of
reading and keeping forbidden books cannot for that reason
read and keep books forbidden by their Ordinaries, unless the
Apostolic indult explicitly gives them the faculty to read and
keep books forbidden by any authority.
Moreover, they are
held by grave precept to guard the forbidden books
in order that they may not fall into the hands of others.
shall not sell, loan, or keep books which professedly
treat of obscene matters; other forbidden books they should
not have for sale unless they have obtained permission from
the Holy See, nor should they sell them to any one except they
can reasonably judge that the buyer has the right
to ask for these books. (Canon 1404.)
1248. By the
permission to read forbidden books no one is exempted
from the prohibition of the natural law not to read books
which are to the reader a proximate occasion of sin.
Local Ordinaries, and
others having the care of souls, shall at proper
times and occasions warn the faithful of the danger and
harm of bad books, especially of those that are forbidden. (Canon
THE NEW CANON LAW
A Commentary and
Summary of the
New Code of Canon Law
STANISLAUS WOYWOD, O.F.M.
With a Preface by Right Rev. Mgr. PHILIP BERNARDINI,
Professor of Canon Law at the Catholic
New Edition, Augmented by Recent
NEW YORK JOSEPH F. WAGNER (Inc.)
LONDON: B. HERDER
Nihil Obstat: FR. BENEDICT BOEING, O.F.M., FR. BENEVENUTUS RYAN, O.F.M.
EDWARD BLECKE, O.F.M., Minister
Nihil Obstat: ARTHUR J. SCANLAN, S.T.D., Censor Librotum
Impimatur: + JOHN CARDINAL FARLEY, Archbishop of New York
NEW YORK, JULY 3, 1918
Copyright, 1918, by JOSEPH F. WAGNER,
The violation of the Censorship of Books.
399. – III. The violation of these laws is usually a grave sin.
In less important matters
there is only a venial sin, more so in case permission alone is required than
when the work must also be submitted to ecclesiastical censorship.
The violation of the Prohibition of Books.
403. – IV. The violation of the laws on the prohibition of books is in
itself a grave sin; but in matters of lesser moment there is only a venial sin.
Reading forbidden literature
is gravely sinful if the amount read would constitute a great danger for many
people, even though it be harmless to the one reading. Therefore, according to the contents, one may read a greater or lesser
portion of such literature without commiting a grievous sin. If the book is very
obscene even half a page may be sufficient to constitute a mortal sin, whereas, if the book is not very dangerous, even the reading of thirty
pages may not be gravely sinful. If a book is in itself harmless and is
forbidden merely because it relates new revelations, etc., but is published
without ecclesiastical permission, a person might commit only a venial sin by
reading the entire volume. It is gravely sinful to read habitually forbidden
newspapers and magazines, and even to read such literature a single time if one
reads a considerable amount thereof (either in contenet or in quantity)
directed against faith or morals.
forbidden books is a mortal sin if one keeps them for more than a month. – It is not sinful to keep a book for a short time either because one
intends to surrender it to the authorities of because he is awaiting permission
to read it. For the penalties confer
423. – Penalties are either latae sententiae (l.s.)
sententiae (f.s.), according as they are insurred ipso facto by the commission of an offense, or must be inflicted bt
the judge (C. 2217).
A censure l.s. may be said to
be imposed by anticipatory sentence;
a censure f.s., by condemnatory sentence.
CENSURES LATAE SENTENTIAE
(insurred ipso facto)
433. – Those who publish,
defend, or who knowlingly read or retain
without the requisite permission books of apostates, heretics or schismatics,
or books nominally proscribed by Apostolic Letters, provided such books
have actually been published (C. 2318).
By “books” in this
connection we understand publications of (approximately) 160 pages in octavo.
Small pamplets and tracts are indeed forbidden (Cf. 401) but not under
excommunication. – The concept of apostasy, etc., implies that one is a
Christian; pagans and Jews are, therefore, not included. – A book is not
written in defence of error if it merely contains some erroneous statements;
more than that is required, namely, there must be an attempt to convince the
reader by some manner of proof. It is sufficient, however, if one individual
proposition is defended, even though the subject matter of the book is
otherwise not of a religious character. – An Apostolic Letter is some writing
of the Holy Father himself; thus books forbidden only by some decree of a
Congregation are not thereby proscribed under excommunication. – The publisher
incurs the penalty only after the book is rendered accessible to the public. –
The printer is not excommunicated, neither is the linotypist. – A book is
“defnded” by him who praises its contents and undertakes to uphold it, declares
it to be opportune or who preserves the book from destruction; but not one who
merely praises the style of the author. – He is excommunicated by “reading” who
reads a sufficient amount to constitute a mortal sin (Cf. 403). The same
obtains for “retaining” a book. A book is said to appear when it becomes
accessible to the public. Proof readers are not excommunicated. – Since the reading
and retaining must be done “knowlingly”, minors are exempt from the
excommunication in case it is not certain whether they are in full possession
of their mental faculties (Cf. 425).
by Rev. Heribert Jone,
O.F.M. CAP., J.C.D., by Rev. Urban Adelman, O.F.M. CAP., J.C.D.
Mercier Press Limited, Cork, Ireland
Obstat: PIUS KAELIN, O.F.M. CAP, Censor Deputatus
Potest: VICTOR GREEN, O.F.V. CAP., Provincial, July 2, 1955
Obstat: RICHARD GINDER, S.T.I., Censor Librorum
JOHN FRANCIS DEARDEN, D.D., Bishop of Pittsburg, August 15, 1955
Legislation on Books, p. 271, 274, 291, 298
1929 and 1951
in the United states of America
THE PROHIBITION AND CENSORSHIP OF BOOKS
Apostolic Constitution Officiorum ac Munerum, January 25, 1897
By Pope Leo XIII
Of all the official duties which We are bound
most carefully and
most diligently to fulfil in this supreme position of the apostolate, the chief
and principal duty is to watch assiduously
and earnestly to strive that the integrity of Christian faith and morals
may suffer no diminution.
more than at any other time, is especially necessary in these days, when men’s
minds and characters are so unrestrained
that almost every doctrine which Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, has committed
to the custody
of His Church, for the welfare of the human race, is daily called into question
and doubt. In this warfare, many
and varied are the stratagems and hurtful devices of the enemy; but most perilous
of all is the uncurbed freedom
of writing and publishing noxious literature. Nothing can be conceived
more pernicious, more apt to defile
souls, through its contempt of religion, and its manifold allurements to sin.
Wherefore the Church, who
is the custodian and vindicator of the integrity of faith and morals, fearful of
so great an evil, has from an early
date realized that remedies must be applied against this plague; and for this reason
she has ever striven, as far
as lay in her power, to restrain men from the reading of bad books, as fram a
deadly poison. The early days of
the Church were witnesses to the earnest zeal of St. Paul in this respect; and
every subsequent age has witnessed the
vigilance of the Fathers, the commands of the bishops, and the decrees of Councils in a
Historical documents bear special witness to
the care and
diligence with which the Roman Pontiffs have vigilantly endeavored to prevent the
unchecked spread of heretical
writings detrimental to the pubUc. History is full of examples. Anastasius
I solemnly condemned the more
dangerous writings of Origen, Innocent I those of Pelagius, Leo the Great all
the works of the Manicheans. The
decretal letters, opportunely issued by Gelasius, concerning books to be received and
rejected, are well known. And
so, in the course of centuries, the Holy See condemned the pestilent writings of
the Monothelites, of Abelard,
Marsilius Patavinus, Wycliff, and Huss.
In the fifteenth century, after the invention
of the art of printing,
not only were bad publications
which had already appeared
condemned, but precautions began to be taken against the pubhcation of similar works
in the future.
These prudent measures were called for by no slight cause, but rather by
the need of protecting the public
morals and welfare at the time; for too many had rapidly perverted into a
mighty engine of destruction an
art excellent in itself, productive of immense advantages, and naturally destined for
the advancement of Christian
culture. Owing to the rapid process of publication, the great evil of bad books
had been multiplied and accelerated.
Wherefore Our predecessors, Alexander
Leo X., most wisely promulgated certain definite laws, well suited to the
character of the times, in order to restrain
printers and pubUshers within the limits of their duty.
The tempest soon became more violent, and it
to check the contagion of heresy with still more vigilance and severity.
Hence Leo X, and afterwards Clement
VII, severely prohibited the reading or retaining of the books of Luther. But
as, owing to the unhappy circumstances
of that epoch, the foul flood of pernicious books had increased beyond
measure and spread in all directions,
there appeared to be need of a more complete and efficacious remedy. This
remedy Our predecessor, Paul
IV, was the first to employ, by opportunely publishing a list of books and other
writings against which the
faithful should be warned. A little later the Council of Trent took steps to restrain
the ever-growing license of writing
and reading by a new measure. At its command and desire, certain chosen
prelates and theologians not only applied
themselves to increasing and perfecting the Index which Paul IV had published,
but also drew up certain rules
to be observed in the publishing, reading, and use of books; to which rules
Pius IV, added the sanction of his
The interests of the pubhc welfare, which had
given rise to
the Tridentine Rules, necessitated in the course of time certain alterations. For
which reason the Roman Pontiffs, especially
Clement VIII, Alexander VII, and Benedict XIV, mindful of the circumstances of the
the dictates of prudence, issued several decrees calculated to elucidate these rules and
to accommodate them to
The above facts clearly prove that the chief
care of the Roman
Pontiffs has always been to protect civil society from erroneous behefs and
corrupt morals, the twin causes of
the decline and ruin of States, which commonly owes its origin and its progress to
bad books. Their labors were not
unfruitful, so long as the divine law regulated the commands and prohibitions of
civil government, and the rulers
of States acted in unison with, the ecclesiastical authority.
Every one is aware of the subsequent course
of events. As
circumstances and men’s minds gradually altered, the Church, with her wonted
prudence, observing the character of
the period, took those steps which appeared most expedient and best
calculated to promote the salvation of men. Several prescriptions of the rules of
the Index, which
appeared to have lost their original opportuneness, she either abolished by
decree, or, with equal gentleness and
wisdom, permitted them to grow obsolete. In recent times, Pius IX, in a letter
to the archbishops and bishops of
the States of the Church, considerably mitigated Rule X Moreover, on the eve of
the Vatican Council, he instructed
the learned men of the preparatory commission to examine and revise all
the rules of the Index, and to advise
how they should be dealt with. They unanimously decided that the rules
required alteration; and several of the
Fathers of the Council openly professed their agreement with this opinion and
desire. A letter of the French bishops
exists urging the necessity of immediate action in “repubhshing the rules
and the whole scheme of the Index
in an entirely new form, better suited to our times and easier to observe.”
A similar opinion was expressed at the
same time by the bishops of Germany, who definitely petitioned that “the
rules of the Index might be submitted to a fresh revision and a
rearrangement.” With these
bishops many bishops of Italy and other countries have agreed.
Taking into account the circumstances of our
times, the conditions
of society, and popular customs, all these requests are certainly justified and
in accordance with the maternal
affection of Holy Church. In the rapid race of intellect, there is no field
of knowledge in which literature has
not run riot, hence the daily inundation of most pernicious books. Worst of all, the
civil laws not only connive at
this serious evil but allow it the widest license. Thus, on the one hand, many
minds are in a state of anxiety;
whilst, on the other, there is unlimited opportunity for every kind of reading.
Believing that some remedy ought to be
applied to these evils,
We have thought well to take two steps which will supply a certain and clear
rule of action in this matter. First,
to diligently revise the Index of books forbidden to be read; and We have ordered
this revised edition to be published
when complete. Secondly, We have turned Our attention to the rules
themselves, and have determined, without
altering their nature, to make them somewhat milder, so that it cannot be
difficult or irksome for any person
of good-will to obey them. In this we have not only followed the example of Our
predecessors, but imitated the
maternal affection of the Church, who desires nothing more earnestly than to show
herself indulgent, and, in the present,
as in the past, ever cares for her children in such a manner as gently and
lovingly to have regard to their weakness.
Wherefore, after mature deliberation, and
having consulted the
Cardinals of the Sacred Congregation of the Index, We have decided to
issue the following General Decrees
appended to this Constitution, and the aforesaid Sacred Congregation shall,
in the future, follow these exclusively,
and all Catholics throughout the world shall strictly obey them. We will
that they alone shall have the
force of law, abrogating the rules published by order of the Sacred Council of
Trent, and the Observations, Instructions,
Decrees, Monita, and all other statutes and commands whatsoever of Our
predecessors, with the sole
exception of the Constitution Sollicita et provida
XIV., which We will to retain in the future the full force which it has
GENERAL DECREES CONCERNING THE PROHIBITION
CENSORSHIP OF BOOKS.
the Prohibition of Books.
Of the Prohibited Books of Apostates, Heretics,
and Other Writers.
1. All books condemned before the year 1600
by the Sovereign
Pontiffs, or by Ecumenical Councils, and which are not recorded in the new
Index, must be considered as condemned
in the same manner as formerly, with the exception of such as are permitted by the
present General Decrees.
2. The books of apostates, heretics,
schismatics, and all writers
whatsoever, defending heresy or schism, or in any way attacking the
foundations of religion, are altogether prohibited.
3. Moreover, the books of non-Catholics, ex professo treating of religion, are
prohibited, unless they clearly contain nothing contrary to Cathohc faith,
4. The books of the above-mentioned writers,
not treating ex professo
of religion, but only touching incidentally upon the truths of faith,
are not to be considered as prohibited by ecclesiastical law, unless proscribed by
Of Editions of the Original Text of Holy Scripture and of
in the Vernacular.
5. Editions of the original text and of the
versions of Holy Scripture, as well as those of the Eastern Church, if
published by non-Catholics, even though
apparently edited in a faithful and complete manner, are allowed only to
those engaged in theological and
biblical studies, provided also that the dogmas of Catholic faith are not
impugned in the prolegomena or annotations.
6. In the same manner, and under the same
versions of the Holy Bible, whether in Latin or in any other dead language,
published by non-Catholics, are permitted.
Of Vernacular Versions of Holy Scripture.
7. As it has been clearly shown by experience
that, if the
Holy Bible in the vernacular is generally permitted without any distinction,
more harm than utility is thereby caused,
owing to human temerity: all versions in the vernacular, even by
Catholics, are altogether prohibited, unless approved by the Holy See, or
published, under the
vigilant care of the bishops, with annotations taken from the Fathers of the
Church and learned Catholic writers.
8. All versions of the Holy Bible, in any
made by non-Catholics are prohibited; and especially those published by the Bible
societies, which have
been more than once condemned by the Roman Pontiffs, because in them
the wise laws of the Church concerning
of the sacred books are entirely disregarded.
Nevertheless, these versions are permitted to
students of theological
or biblical science, under the conditions laid down above (No. 5).
Of Obscene Books.
9. Books which professedly treat of, narrate,
or teach lewd
or obscene subjects are entirely prohibited, since care must be taken not only
of faith but also of morals, which
are easily corrupted by the reading of such books.
10. The books of classical authors, whether
ancient or modem,
if disfigured with the same stain of indecency, are, on account of the
elegance and beauty of their diction, permitted only to those who are justified on
their duty or the function of teaching; but on no account may they be placed in the
hands of, or taught to, boys
or youths, unless carefully expurgated.
Of Certain Special Kinds of Books.
11. Those books are condemned which are derogatory to Almighty God, or to the Blessed
Virgin Mary, or the Saints,
or to the Catholic Church and her worship, or to the sacraments, or to the Holy
See. To the same condemnation are
subject those works in which the idea of the inspiration of Holy Scripture is
perverted, or its extension too
narrowly limited. Those books, moreover, are prohibited which professedly revile the
or the clerical or religious state.
12. It is forbidden to publish, read, or keep
books in which
sorcery, divination, magic, the evocation of spirits, and other superstitions of
this kind are taught or commended.
13. Books or other writings which narrate new
visions, prophecies, miracles, or which introduce new devotions, even under the
pretext of being private
ones, if published without
the legitimate permission of
superiors, are prohibited.
14. Those books, moreover, are prohibited
which defend as
lawful, duelling, suicide, or divorce; which treat of Freemasonry, or other
societies of the kind, teaching them
to be useful, and not injurious to the Church and to Society; and those which
defend errors proscribed by the Apostolic
Of Sacred Pictures and Indulgences.
15. Pictures, in any style of printing, of
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels and saints, or other servants of God, which
are not conformable to the sense
and decrees of the Church, are entirely forbidden. New pictures, whether
produced with or without prayers annexed,
may not be published without permission of ecclesiastical authority.
16. It is forbidden to all to give publicity
in any way to apocryphal
indulgences, and such as have been proscribed or revoked by the Apostolic
See. Those which have already
been published must be withdrawn from the hands of the faithful.
17. No books of indulgences, or compendiums,
etc., containing grants of indulgences, maybe published without permission
of competent authority.
Of Liturgical Books and Prayer Books.
18. In authentic editions of the Missal,
Breviary, Ritual, Ceremonial
of Bishops, Roman Pontifical, and other liturgical books approved by the holy
Apostolic See, no one
shall presume to make any change whatsoever; otherwise such new editions are
19. No litanies – except the ancient and
contained in the breviaries, missals, pontificals, and rituals, as well as the
Litany of Loretto, and the Litany
of the Most Holy Name of Jesus already approved by the Holy See – may be published without the
approbation of the ordinary.
20. No one, without license of legitimate
authority, may publish
books or pamphlets of prayers, devotions, or of religious, moral, ascetic,
or mystic doctrine and instruction, or
others of like nature, even though apparently conducive to the fostering of piety
among Christian people; otherwise
they are to be considered as prohibited.
Of Newspapers and Periodicals.
21. Newspapers and periodicals which
designedly attack religion
or morality are to be held as prohibited not only by the natural but also
by the ecclesiastical law. Ordinaries
shall take care, whenever it be necessary, that the faithful shall be
warned against the danger and injury
of reading of this kind.
22. No Catholics, particularly ecclesiastics,
shall publish anything in newspapers or periodicals of this character, unless for some just and
Of Permission to Read and Keep Prohibited Books.
23. Those only shall be allowed to read and
keep books prohibited,
either by special decrees or by these General Decrees, who shall have
obtained the necessary permission, either
from the Apostolic See or from its delegates.
24. The Roman Pontiffs have placed the power
licenses for the reading and keeping of prohibited books in the hands of the
Sacred Congregation of the Index. Nevertheless the same power
is enjoyed both by the
Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office, and by the Sacred Congregation of
Propaganda for the regions subject to
its administration. For the city of Rome this power belongs also to the
Master of the Sacred Apostolic Palace.
25. Bishops and other prelates with
may grant such license for individual books, and in urgent cases only.
But if they have obtained from the
Apostolic See a general faculty to grant permission to the faithful to read and
keep prohibited books, they must grant
this only with discretion and for a just and reasonable cause.
26. Those who have obtained apostolic
faculties to read and
keep prohibited books may not on this account read and keep any books
whatsoever or periodicals condemned by
the local ordinaries, unless in the apostolic indult express permission be given
to read and keep books by whomsoever
prohibited. And those who have obtained permission to read prohibited books must
remember that they
are bound by grave precept to keep books of this kind in such a manner that
they may not fall into the hands of
Of the Denunciation of Bad Books.
27. Although all Cathohcs, especially the
more learned, ought
to denounce pernicious books either to the bishops or to the Holy See, this
duty belongs more especially to apostolic
nuncios and delegates, local ordinaries, and rectors of universities.
28. It is expedient, in denouncing bad books,
that not only
the title of the book be expressed, but also, as far as possible, the reasons be
explained why the book is considered worthy
of censure. Those to whom the denunciation is made will remember that
it is their duty to keep secret
the names of the denouncers.
29. Ordinaries, even as delegates of the
Apostolic See, must
be careful to prohibit evil books or other writings published or circulated in
their dioceses, and to withdraw them
from the hands of the faithful. Such works and writings should be
referred by them to the judgment of
the Apostolic See as appear to require a more careful examination, or concerning which a decision
of the supreme authority
may seem desirable in order to procure a more salutary effect.
the Censorship op Books.
Of the Prelates entrusted with the Censorship of Books.
30. From what has been laid down above (No.
7), it is sufficiently
clear what persons have authority to approve or permit editions and translations
of the Holy Bible.
31. No one shall venture to republish books
the Apostolic See. If, for a grave and reasonable cause, any particular
exception appears desirable in the respect,
this can only be allowed on obtaining beforehand a license from the Sacred
Congregation of the Index and observing
the conditions prescribed by it.
32. Whatsoever pertains in any way to causes
and canonization of the servants of God may not be published without the approval of
the Congregation of
33. The same must be said of collections of
decrees of the
various Roman congregations: such collections may not be published without
first obtaining the license of the authorities
of each congregation, and observing the conditions by them prescribed.
34. Vicars apostolic and missionaries
apostolic shall faithfully
observe the decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda concerning the
publication of books.
35. The approbation of books of which the
not reserved by the present decrees either to the Holy See or to the Roman
congregations belongs to the ordinary of the place where they are published.
36. Regulars must remember that, in addition
to the license
of the bishop, they are bound by a decree of the Sacred Council of Trent to
obtain leave for publishing any
work from their own superior. Both permissions must be printed either at
the beginning or at the end of the book.
37. If an author, living in Rome, desires to
print a book, not
in the city of Rome but elsewhere, no other approbation is required beyond that of
the Cardinal Vicar and the Master
of the Apostolic Palace.
Of the Duty of Censors in the Preliminary Examination of
38. Bishops whose duty it is to grant
permission for the printing
of books shall take care to employ in the examination of them men of acknowledged
piety and learning, concerning
whose faith and honesty they may feel sure that they will show neither
favor nor ill-will, but, putting aside
all human affections, will look only to the glory of God and the welfare of the
39. Censors must understand that, in the
matter of various
opinions and systems, they are bound to judge with a mind free from all
prejudice, according to the precept of
Benedict XIV. Therefore they should put away all attachment to their
particular country, family, school, or institute, and lay aside all partisan spirit.
They must keep
before their eyes nothing but the dogmas of Holy Church, and the common
Catholic doctrine as contained in
the decrees of General Councils, the Constitutions of the Roman Pontiffs, and the unanimous teaching of the Doctors of the Church.
40. If, after this examination, no objection
appears to the
publication of the book, the ordinary shall grant to the author, in writing and without
any fee whatsoever, a
license to publish, which shall be printed either at the beginning or at the end of
Of the Books to be Submitted to Censorship.
41. All the faithful are bound to submit to
censorship at least those books which treat of Holy Scripture, sacred
theology, ecclesiastical history, canon
law, natural theology, ethics, and other religious or moral subjects of this
character; and in general all writings
specially concerned with religion and morality.
42. The secular clergy, in order to give an
example of respect
towards their ordinaries, ought not to publish books, even when treating of
merely natural arts and sciences,
without their knowledge. They
are also prohibited from undertaking the management of newspapers or periodicals
without the previous permission
of their ordinaries.
Of Printers and Publishers of Books.
43. No book liable to ecclesiastical
censorship may be printed
unless it bear at the beginning the name and surname of both the author and the
publisher, together with the
place and year of printing and publishing. If in any particular case, owing to a
just reason, it appears desirable to
suppress the name of the author, this may be permitted by the ordinary.
44. Printers and publishers should remember
that new editions
of an approved work require a new approbation; and that an approbation
granted to the original text does not
suffice for a translation into another language.
45. Books condemned by the Apostolic See are
to be considered
as prohibited all over the world, and into whatever language they may be
46. Booksellers, especially Catholics, should
neither sell, lend,
nor keep books professedly treating of obscene subjects. They should not keep for sale
other prohibited books,
unless they have obtained leave through the ordinary from the Sacred Congregation
of the Index; nor sell
such books to any person whom they do not prudently judge to have the right to
Of Penalties Against Transgressors of the General
47. All and every one knowingly reading,
of the Holy See, the books of apostates and heretics defending heresy;
or books of any author which are
by name prohibited by Apostolic Letters; also those keeping, printing, and in
any way defending such works; incur
ipso facto excommunication reserved
in a special manner
to the Roman Pontiff.
48. Those who, without the approbation of the
or cause to be printed, books of Holy Scripture, or notes or commentaries on
the same, incur ipso facto excommunication, but not
49. Those who transgress the other
prescriptions of these
General Decrees shall, according to the gravity of their offence, be seriously
warned by the bishop, and, if it seem
expedient, may also be punished by canonical penalties.
We decree that these presents and whatsoever
shall at no time be questioned or impugned for any fault of subreption, or
obreption, or of Our intention, or for any other defect whatsoever; but are and
shall be ever valid
and efficacious, and to be inviolably observed, both judicially and
extra-judicially, by all of whatsoever rank and pre-eminence. And We
declare to be invalid and of no
avail, whatsoever may be attempted knowingly or unknowingly contrary to these, by any
one, under any authority
or pretext whatsoever; all to the contrary notwithstanding.
And We will that the same authority be
attributed to copies
of these Letters, even if printed, provided they be signed by the hand of a notary,
and confirmed by the seal of
some one in ecclesiastical dignity, as to the indication of Our will by the exhibition
of these presents.
No man, therefore, may infringe or
temerariously venture to
contravene this document of Our constitution, ordination, limitation,
derogation, and will. If any one shall
so presume, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God, and of the
blessed apostles Peter and Paul.
THE GREAT ENCYCLICAL LETTERS OF POPE LEO XIII.
FROM APPROVED SOURSES.
PREFACE BY Rev.
JOHN J. WYNNE, S.J.
in the United States of America.
REMIGIUS LAFORT, S.T.L., Censor Librorum.
M. FARLEY, Archbishop of New York
New York, August
by Benziger Brothers. Printers
to the Holy Apostolic See
I libri di apostati, eretici, scismatici e degli scrittori
di qualunque genere, che difendono l’eresia o lo scisma, o che in qualche modo
attaccano le fondamenta della Religione, sono del tutto proibiti.
È proibito pubblicare, leggere o conservare libri in cui siano
insegnate o raccomandate la stregoneria, la divinazione, la magia, l’evocazione
di spiriti e altre superstizioni di questo tipo.
Libri o altri scritti che narrano nuove apparizioni,
rivelazioni, visioni, profezie, miracoli o che introducono nuove devozioni,
anche con il pretesto di essere privati, se pubblicati senza il permesso
legittimo dei superiori ecclesiastici, sono proibiti.
È vietato a tutti dare pubblicità in qualsiasi modo alle indulgenze
apocrife, proscritte o revocate dalla Sede Apostolica. Quelle già pubblicate
devono essere ritirate dalle mani dei fedeli.
Nessun libro di indulgenze, o compendi, opuscoli, volantini,
ecc., contenenti indulgenze, possono essere pubblicate senza il permesso
Nessuna litania – tranne le antiche e comuni litanie
contenute nei breviari, messali, pontificali e rituali, come le Litanie di Loreto
e le Litanie del Santissimo Nome di Gesù già approvate dalla Santa Sede –
possono essere pubblicate senza l’esame e l’approvazione dell’ordinario.
Nessuno, senza licenza di autorità legittima, può pubblicare
libri o opuscoli di preghiere, devozioni o di dottrina e istruzione religiosa, di
morale, ascetica o mistica, o altri di natura simile, anche se apparentemente
favorevoli alla promozione della pietà tra i Cristiani; nel caso contrario
devono essere considerati come proibiti.
Giornali e periodici che attaccano intenzionalmente la Religione
o la moralità devono essere considerati proibiti non solo dal diritto naturale,
ma anche dalla legge ecclesiastica. Gli Ordinari si prenderanno cura, ogni
volta che sarà necessario, che i fedeli siano messi in guardia dal pericolo e
dal danno della lettura di questo tipo.
Solo sarà consentito leggere e tenere i libri vietati, sia con decreti speciali sia con questi decreti generali, a coloro che avranno ottenuto il permesso necessario, sia dalla Sede Apostolica che dai suoi delegati.Coloro che hanno ottenuto facoltà apostoliche di leggere e tenere libri proibiti non possono leggere e conservare libri di qualsiasi genere o periodici condannati dagli ordinari locali, a meno che nell’indulto apostolico non venga concesso il permesso di leggere e conservare i libri proibiti da chiunque. E coloro che abbiano ottenuto il permesso di leggere libri proibiti devono ricordare che sono tenuti da un grave precetto a conservare libri di questo tipo in modo tale da non cadere nelle mani altrui.
È opportuno, nel denunciare i libri cattivi, che non sia
espresso solo il titolo del libro, ma anche, per quanto possibile, spiegate le
ragioni per le quali il libro sia considerato degno di censura. Coloro ai quali
viene fatta la denuncia ricorderanno che è loro dovere mantenere segreti i nomi
Tutti i fedeli sono tenuti a sottoporre alla censura
ecclesiastica preliminare almeno quei libri che trattano la Sacra Scrittura, la
teologia sacra, la storia ecclesiastica, il diritto canonico, la teologia
naturale, l’etica ed altri soggetti religiosi o morali di questo carattere; e
in generale tutti gli scritti che riguardano specialmente la religione e la
I censori dovrebbero essere presi sia dal clero secolare che
da quello religioso; essi dovrebbero essere uomini di età matura, di comprovata
cultura e prudenza, assumendosi il compito prezioso dell’approvazione o del
rigetto delle dottrine.
Il censore deve dare la sua opinione per iscritto; se è
favorevole, l’Ordinario può consentire la pubblicazione del manoscritto;
l’imprimatur del Vescovo è preceduto dall’opinione del censore sulla sua firma.
Solo in casi straordinari e in rare circostanze può, secondo il giudizio del Vescovo,
essere omesso il nome del censore.
L’autore non deve mai essere informato del nome del censore
che deve rivedere il suo libro prima di dare il suo giudizio. (Can. 1393.)
Il permesso dell’Ordinario con cui si concede la facoltà di
pubblicare un manoscritto, deve essere dato per iscritto e deve essere stampato
al principio o alla fine di un libro, di una rivista o di immagini, con il suo
nome, la data ed il luogo della concessione.