Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto
[b. at Riese, Lombardy-Venetia, Austrian Empire
on Tuesday, June 2, 1835; Pope: Tuesday,
August 4, 1903 - Thursday, August 20, 1914]
I [state your name], firmly accept and embrace each and every doctrine defined by the Church’s unerring teaching authority and all that she has maintained and declared, especially those points of doctrine which are directly opposed to the errors of our time.
And first of all, I profess that God, the beginning and the end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (Cf. Romans 1:20), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause is known from its effects, and that, therefore, His existence can also be demonstrated.
Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, namely, Divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies, as most certain signs of the Divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well suited to the intelligence of every age and of all men, including our own times.
Thirdly, I also firmly believe that the Church, the guardian and teacher of God’s revealed word, was personally, directly and absolutely instituted by Christ Himself, the true Christ of history, when He lived among us; and that the same Church was founded on Peter, the prince of the Apostolic Hierarchy, and on his successors to the end of time.
Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the Apostles through the officially approved Fathers, in exactly the same sense and with always the same meaning. And, therefore, I completely reject the heretical notion that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one meaning which the Church held from the beginning. I likewise condemn every erroneous notion according to which, instead of the Divine Deposit of Faith entrusted by Christ to His spouse, the Church, and to be faithfully guarded by Her, one may substitute a philosophical system or a creation of the human mind gradually refined by human effort and capable of continual and indefinite development.
Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely profess that faith is not a blind religious sentiment evolving from the hidden recesses of subliminal consciousness, and morally formed by the influence of heart and the motion of the will, but that it is a real assent of the intellect to objective Truth learned by hearing, an assent wherein we believe to be true whatever has been spoken, testified and revealed by the personal God, our Creator and Lord, on the authority of God, Who is the perfection of Truth.
Furthermore, in all due reverence, I submit to and fully uphold all of the condemnations, declarations and the prescripts contained in the encyclical letter PASCENDI and in the decree LAMENTABILI, especially those concerning what is called the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church may conflict with history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, cannot be reconciled with the actual origins of the Christian religion.
I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality, one as a believer and another as an historian, thus making it permissible for the historian to maintain what his faith as a believer contradicts, or to lay down premises from which there follows the falsity or the uncertainty of dogmas, provided only that these are not directly denied.
I likewise reject that method of determining and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church and the analogy of faith and the norms of the Holy See, adopts the principles of the Rationalists, and with equal arbitrariness and rashness regards textual criticism as the sole supreme norm.
Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a teacher of the science of historical theology or a writer on the subject must first put aside any preconceived notions about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the Divine help promised for the continual preservation of each revealed Truth; or that the writings of individual Fathers must be interpreted solely by the data of science without any reference to sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment which is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.
Finally, I profess that I am completely opposed to the error of the Modernists who hold that there is nothing inherently Divine in Sacred Tradition; or who-which is far worse-admit it in a pantheistic sense. For them, there would remain only a bare simple fact, like the ordinary facts of history, to the effect that the system begun by Christ and His Apostles still find men to support it by their energy, skill and ability; therefore, I most firmly retain and will retain to my last breath the Faith of the Fathers of the Church, which has the supernatural guarantee of Truth, and which is, has been, and ever will be residing in the Bishops who are the successors of the Apostles. And this is not to be understood that we may hold what seems better suited to the culture of a particular age, but rather that we may never believe nor understand anything other than the absolute and unchangeable Truth preached from the beginning by the Apostles.
All this I promise to keep faithfully, entirely and sincerely and to guard them inviolately and never to depart from them in any way in teaching, word or in writing. Thus I promise, thus I swear, so help me God and His Holy Gospels.
(Pope Saint Pius X, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto [b. at Riese, Lombardy-Venetia, Austrian Empire on Tuesday, June 2, 1835; Pope: Tuesday, August 4, 1903 - Thursday, August 20, 1914], Papal Motu Proprio [On His Own Initiative], “Sacrorum Antistitum” - “The Oath Against Modernism”, Thursday, September 1, 1910, AAS - “Acta Apostolica Sedis” - Acts of the Apostolic See, 2-655; “Fontes”, n. 689, Volume III, page 774; emphasis added.)
Brief Editorial Commentary by Patriarch Jacobus Maria DeJesus, D.D.
The Oath Against Modernism is taken immediately after The Profession of Faith by all those mentioned in Canon 1406 who are required to make the Profession of Faith. Among others, it is to be sworn to by all of the Roman Catholic Clergy, Pastors, Confessors, Preachers, Religious Superiors, and Professors in Roman Catholic Philosophical and Theological Seminaries.