Boniface VIII, Bronze, Bologna
UNAM SANCTAM (Promulgated November 18, 1302)
by Pope Boniface VIII
Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles [Song of Songs 6:8] proclaims: 'One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,' and she represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God [1 Cor. 11:3]. In her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism [Eph 4:5]. There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed.
We venerate this Church as one, the Lord having said by the mouth of the prophet: 'Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword and my only one from the hand of the dog.' [Ps 21:20] He has prayed for his soul, that is for himself, heart and body; and this body, that is to say, the Church, He has called one because of the unity of the Spouse, of the faith, of the sacraments, and of the charity of the Church. This is the tunic of the Lord, the seamless tunic, which was not rent but which was cast by lot [John 19:23-24]. Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter, since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: 'Feed my sheep' [John 21:17], meaning, my sheep in general, not these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that He entrusted all to him [Peter]. Therefore, if the Greeks or others should say that they are not confided to Peter and to his successors, they must confess not being the sheep of Christ, since Our Lord says in John 'there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.' We are informed by the texts of the gospels that in this Church and in its power are two swords; namely, the spiritual and the temporal. For when the Apostles say: 'Behold, here are two swords' [Luke 22:38] that is to say, in the Church, since the Apostles were speaking, the Lord did not reply that there were too many, but sufficient. Certainly the one who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter has not listened well to the word of the Lord commanding: 'Put up thy sword into thy scabbard' [Matthew 26:52]. Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered _for_ the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.
However, one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power. For since the Apostle said: 'There is no power except from God and the things that are, are ordained of God' [Rom 13:1-2], but they would not be ordained if one sword were not subordinated to the other and if the inferior one, as it were, were not led upwards by the other.
For, according to the Blessed Dionysius, it is a law of the divinity that the lowest things reach the highest place by intermediaries. Then, according to the order of the universe, all things are not led back to order equally and immediately, but the lowest by the intermediary, and the inferior by the superior. Hence we must recognize the more clearly that spiritual power surpasses in dignity and in nobility any temporal power whatever, as spiritual things surpass the temporal. This we see very clearly also by the payment, benediction, and consecration of the tithes, but the acceptance of power itself and by the government even of things. For with truth as our witness, it belongs to spiritual power to establish the terrestrial power and to pass judgment if it has not been good. Thus is accomplished the prophecy of Jeremias concerning the Church and the ecclesiastical power: 'Behold to-day I have placed you over nations, and over kingdoms' and the rest. Therefore, if the terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a minor spiritual power err, it will be judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest power of all err, it can be judged only by God, and not by man, according to the testimony of the Apostle: 'The spiritual man judgeth of all things and he himself is judged by no man' [1 Cor 2:15]. This authority, however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, 'Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven' etc., [Mt 16:19]. Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2], unless he invent like Manicheus two beginnings, which is false and judged by us heretical, since according to the testimony of Moses, it is not in the beginnings but in the beginning that God created heaven and earth [Gen 1:1]. Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.
Bonifatius, Episcopus, Servus servorum Dei. Ad futuram rei memoriam.
Unam sanctam ecclesiam catholicam et ipsam apostolicam urgente fide credere cogimur et tenere, nosque hanc frmiter credimus et simpliciter confitemur, extra quam nec salus est, nec remissio peccatorum, sponso in Canticis proclamante: Una est columba mea, perfecta mea. Una est matris suae electa genetrici suae [Cant. 6:9]. Quae unum corpus mysticum repraesentat, cujus caput Christus, Christi vero Deus. In qua unus Dominus, una fides, unum baptisma. Una nempe fuit diluvii tempore arca Noë, unam ecclesiam praefigurans, quae in uno cubito consummata unum, Noë videlicet, gubernatorem habuit et rectorem, extra quam omnia subsistentia super terram legimus fuisse deleta.
Hanc autem veneramur et unicam, dicente Domino in Propheta: Erue a framea, Deus, animam meam et de manu canis unicam meam. [Psalm 22:20.] Pro anima enim, id est, pro se ipso, capite simul oravit et corpore. Quod corpus unicam scilicet ecclesiam nominavit, propter sponsi, fidei, sacramentorum et caritatis ecclesiae unitatem. Haec est tunica illa Domini inconsutilis, quae scissa non fuit, sed sorte provenit. [John 19.]
Igitur ecclesiae unius et unicae unum corpus, unum caput, non duo capita, quasi monstrum, Christus videlicet et Christi vicarius, Petrus, Petrique successor, dicente Domino ipsi Petro: Pasce oves meas. [John 21:17.] Meas, inquit, generaliter, non singulariter has vel illas: per quod commisisse sibi intelligitur universas. Sive ergo Graeci sive alii se dicant Petro ejusque successoribus non esse commissos: fateantur necesse est, se de ovibus Christi non esse, dicente Domino in Joanne, unum ovile et unicum esse pastorem. [John 10:16.]
In hac ejusque potestate duos esse gladios, spiritualem videlicet et temporalem, evangelicis dictis instruimur. Nam dicentibus Apostolis: Ecce gladii duo hic [Luke 22:38], in ecclesia scilicet, cum apostoli loquerentur, non respondit Dominus, nimis esse, sed satis. Certe qui in potestate Petri temporalem gladium esse negat, male verbum attendit Domini proferentis: Converte gladium tuum in vaginam. [Matt. 26:52.] Uterque ergo est in potestate ecclesiae, spiritualis scilicet gladius et materialis. Sed is quidem pro ecclesia, ille vero ab ecclesia exercendus, ille sacerdotis, is manu regum et militum, sed ad nutum et patientiam sacerdotis.
Oportet autem gladium esse sub gladio, et temporalem auctoritatem spirituali subjici potestati. Nam cum dicat Apostolus: Non est potestas nisi a Deo; quae autem sunt, a Deo ordinata sunt [Rom. 13:1], non autem ordinata essent, nisi gladius esset sub gladio, et tanquam inferior reduceretur per alium in suprema. Nam secundum B. Dionysium lex dirinitatis est, infima per media in suprema reduci .... Sic de ecclesia et ecclesiastica potestate verificatur vaticinium Hieremiae [Jer. 1:10]: Ecce constitui te hodie super gentes et regna et cetera, quae sequuntur.
Ergo, si deviat terrena potestas, judicabitur a potestate spirituali; sed, si deviat spiritualis minor, a suo superiori si vero suprema, a solo Deo, non ab homine poterit judicari, testante Apostolo: Spiritualis homo judicat omnia, ipse autem a nemine judicatur. [1 Cor. 2:16.] Est autem haec auctoritas, etsi data sit homini, et exerceatur per hominem, non humana, sed potius divina potestas, ore divino Petro data, sibique suisque successoribus in ipso Christo, quem confessus fuit, petra firmata, dicente Domino ipsi Petro: Quodcunque ligaveris, etc. [Matt. 16:19.] Quicunque igitur huic potestati a Deo sic ordinatae resistit, Dei ordinationi resistit, nisi duo, sicut Manichaeus, fingat esse principia, quod falsum et haereticum judicamus, quia, testante Moyse, non in principiis, sed in principio coelum Deus creavit et terram. [Gen. 1:1.]
Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanae creaturae declaramus dicimus, definimus et pronunciamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis.
Another Translation into English
WE ARE COMPELLED, OUR FAITH URGING us, to believe and to hold—and we do firmly believe and simply confess—that there is one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sins; her Spouse proclaiming it in the canticles, "My dove, my undefiled is but one, she is the choice one of her that bore her"; which represents one mystical body, of which body the head is Christ, but of Christ, God.
In this Church there is one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism. There was one ark of Noah, indeed, at the time of the flood, symbolizing one Church; and this being finished in one cubit had, namely, one Noah as helmsman and commander. And, with the exception of this ark, all things existing upon the earth were, as we read, destroyed.
This Church, moreover, we venerate as the only one, the Lord saying through His prophet, "Deliver my soul from the sword, my darling from the power of the dog." He prayed at the same time for His Soul—that is, for Himself the Head, and for His Body— which Body, namely, He called the one and only Church on account of the unity of the Faith promised, of the sacraments, and of the love of the Church. She is that seamless garment of the Lord which was not cut but which fell by lot. Therefore of this one and only Church there is one body and one head—not two heads as if it were a monster: Christ, namely, and the vicar of Christ, Saint Peter, "Feed my sheep." My sheep, He said, using a general term, and not designating these or those particular sheep; from which it is plain that He committed to him all His sheep.
If, then, the Greeks or others say that they were not committed to the care of Peter and his successors, they necessarily confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ; for the Lord says, in John, that there is one fold, one shepherd, and one only.
We are told by the word of the Gospel that in this His fold there are two swords—a spiritual, namely, and a temporal. For when the apostles said, "Behold here are two swords"—the Lord did not reply that this was too much, but enough. Surely he who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter wrongly interprets the word of the Lord when He says, "Put up thy sword in its scabbard." Both swords, the spiritual and the material, therefore, are in the power of the Church; the one, indeed, to be wielded for the Church, the other by the Church; the one by the hand of the priest, the other by the hand of kings and knights, but at the will and sufferance of the priest. One sword, moreover, ought to be under the other, and the temporal authority to be subjected to the spiritual. For when the Apostle says "There is no power but of God, and the powers that are of God are ordained," they would not be ordained unless sword were under sword and the lesser one, as it were, were led by the other to great deeds.
For according to St. Dionysius the law of Divinity is to lead the lowest through the intermediate to the highest things. Not, therefore, according to the law of the universe are all things reduced to order equally and immediately; but the lowest through the intermediate, the intermediate through the higher. But that the spiritual exceeds any earthly power in dignity and nobility we ought the more openly to confess, the more spiritual things excel temporal ones. This also is made plain to our eyes from the giving of tithes, and the benediction and the sanctification; from the acceptation of this same power, from the control over those same things. For, the truth bearing witness, the spiritual power has to establish the earthly power, and to judge if it be not good. Thus, concerning the Church and the ecclesiastical power, is verified the prophecy of Jeremias: "See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms," and the other things which follow.
Therefore if the earthly power err, it shall be judged by the spiritual power; but if the lesser spiritual power err, by the greater. But if the greatest, it can be judged by God alone, not by man, the Apostle hearing witness. A spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is judged by no one. This authority, moreover, even though it is given to man and exercised through man, is not human but rather divine, being given by divine lips to Peter and founded on a rock for him and his successors through Christ Himself whom He has confessed; the Lord Himself saying to Peter: "Whatsoever thou shalt bind," etc. Whoever, therefore, resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordination of God, unless he makes believe, like the Manichean, that there are two beginnings. This we consider false and heretical, since by the testimony of Moses, not "in the beginnings," but "in the beginning" God created the heavens and the earth.
Indeed we declare, say, pronounce, and define that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.
The Lateran, November 14, in our eighth year. As a perpetual memorial of this matter.
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(c)Paul Halsall Jan 1996 [updated 11/23/96]