Scanning mistake led to truncated translation…

Pope Pius IX’s Encyclical Quartus Supra:
The ‘Missing’ Passages

Recently, a reader of this blog made us aware that the English translation of the encyclical letter Quartus Supra of Pope Pius IX (r. 1846-1878), to which we often link, found at the immensely useful site PapalEncyclicals.Net, is missing a number of paragraphs:

Indeed, the numbered paragraphs jump from 44 to 50, with no explanation. In addition, paragraph 44 contains this very odd sentence: “Our Constitution ensures that safer and more effective measures [***] children, We have decided in the present crisis to write all this to you to arouse your pure mind to the duty We have laid upon you.”

There is, however, no great mystery here. Upon researching the matter, it became clear very quickly that whoever compiled the text for the Papal Encyclicals web site simply missed a page (424) when scanning from the sourcebook, The Papal Encyclicals 1740-1878.

Further below in this post, we will supply the missing text, especially because it contains further authoritative doctrine regarding the Papacy that should not be withheld from the English-speaking public.

The teaching of Quartus Supra is of great importance in our day, as it confirms the true Catholic position on the Papacy and refutes the sophisms (false arguments) made by schismatics. In fact, much of what Pius IX says in this encyclical is so applicable to certain recognize-and-resist traditionalists of the present — here we think especially of the Society of St. Pius X founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre — that the document can be considered a veritable ‘Syllabus of Lefebvrist Errors’:

What follows is the exact text that is missing from the PapalEncyclicalsNet edition of Quartus Supra. It is what needs to be inserted at the [***] mark in the strange sentence quoted above, and then it will make perfect sense:

have been taken for the indemnity of the churches and the preservation of church property, without prejudice to the legitimate rights of anyone.

45. But in what way the rights of the supreme emperor have been injured, as they allege, by these decrees of Ours We simply admit that We cannot at all understand, because We are so far from either wishing to do so or thinking that it could be accomplished. Patriarchs and bishops in the Ottoman empire possess the power of procuring church property; this is not at variance with the imperial rights. The Apostolic See duly and rightfully arranges the way in which bishops should use this property for building up rather than for destroying; this sometimes entails an authoritative intervention. But neither can this power be said to be at variance with the imperial rights. The way in which We protected the safety of this property is clear, and this affair will greatly benefit the Catholic churches established throughout the East. All will recognize this when the controversies have died down, and future generations will doubtless experience these benefits if they religiously observe these laws. But the supreme Ottoman emperor has affirmed the liberty of those churches in his decrees, and has indicated to Us that he will give them his humane protection. Thus We have no doubt that when the matter is examined fairly and the calumnies raised up by opponents are abandoned, rejoicing will replace sorrow over these events, bringing benefit to these churches in the future.

46. No less false is the fiction invented by some more recent men and avidly embraced by the eastern dissidents. They shamelessly represent the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, as a foreign authority which insinuates itself into the domestic government of kingdoms and nations. They say this should be entirely forbidden to keep the rights of the supreme emperor unharmed and to forestall every encroachment to discourage other rulers from making similar attempts.

47. Now it is easy to see how false these allegations are, and how far they depart from right reason and the divine institution of the Catholic Church. It is particularly wrong to say that the Roman Pontiffs have exceeded the boundaries of their power or insinuated themselves into the civil administration of kingdoms and laid claim to the rights of the rulers. But if the Roman Pontiffs are stigmatized by such a calumny for determining any matter relating to the election or cases of bishops and the holy ministers of the Church, or any other point which concerns even exterior ecclesiastical discipline, it must be admitted either that their accusers do not know or that they reject the divine and accordingly unchanging institution of the Catholic Church. This Church indeed has always remained constant and will continue to do so. No one can demand that it should submit to changes, particularly in those regions where the imperial decrees of the supreme ruler have assured to the Catholic religion its proper freedom and safety. The Catholic faith teaches that there is one Church, with the Roman Pontiff as its head, the father and teacher of all Christians; therefore, he can surely be said to be foreign to no Christian, nor to any of the particular Christian churches, unless one should want to argue that the head is foreign to the limbs, the father to the children, the teacher to the pupils, and the shepherd to his flock.

48. But those who call the Apostolic See a “foreign authority”, can rend the unity of the Church by this manner of speaking since by doing so, they deny to the successor of blessed Peter both the title and the rights of the universal shepherd. Consequently, they are lacking in the faith they owe the Catholic Church, if they are reckoned among its children; if they do not belong to the Church, they are assailing the freedom which is its due. For Christ revealed that sheep both hear and know the voice of the shepherd and follow him, but that they flee from a stranger “since they do not recognize the voice of strangers” [62. Jn. 10.5]. If then the supreme Pontiff is said to be foreign, that is a stranger, to any particular church, this church will in consequence be itself a stranger to the Apostolic See, that is to the Catholic Church, which is the only church established upon Peter by the voice of the Lord. Those who separate themselves from this foundation no longer preserve the divine and Catholic Church, but “try to make themselves a human church” [63. St. Cyprian, epistle to Antonianus, no. 24] which is held together only by the human ties of so-called nationality. It is neither secured by the bond of priests who firmly adhere to the See of blessed Peter nor stabilized by its strength. It also does not accord with the unity of the Catholic Church whose members are everywhere intimately joined together.

Advice to the Faithful

49. Venerable brothers and beloved

This, then, is the text printed on page 424, which was mistakenly omitted from the electronic edition at PapalEncyclicalsNet. For the sake of propriety, we should probably also mention Padraig M. O’Cleirigh as the translator of Quartus Supra in The Papal Encyclicals, vol. 1, pp. 413-425.

The original Latin text of the encyclical has been published at the Vatican web site, and a different English translation of the entire text, published by The Tablet on Mar. 22, 1873, is available here.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
License: public domain

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