The Dictatus of Pope St. Gregory VII

 

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In the present hour of darkness and confusion, it behooves all to turn their gaze back to the sound and eternal judgement of the saintly popes of old, of which one of the greatest was Pope Saint Gregory VIII, in life called Hildebrand, who single-handedly saved the Catholic Church from the filthy and avaricious hands of godless men who usurped the right to name Bishops, Abbots and distribute the benefices of the Church to their friends and political allies.

During his papacy, there was entered into the official register of papal laws, the Dictatus papae, a collection of solemn truths which regard the Catholic Faith on the Papal Primacy and the Roman Church. See here for the Latin text and a copy of one of the most ancient manuscripts containing it.

Due to the relative obscurity of this magisterial text, I share with you now the text in both Latin and my English translation. (The Video above includes the Latin text) I pray that it might be for your enlightenment and for the confirmation of your faith in these troubled times, when true doctrine is being so obscured.

Dictatus Papae

Number Latin English translation
I Quod Romana ecclesia a solo Domino sit fundata. That the Roman Church has been founded by the Lord alone.
II Quod solus Romanus pontifex iure dicatur universalis. That the Roman Pontiff alone is called “universal” by right.
III Quod ille solus possit deponere episcopos vel reconciliare. That He alone can depose and/or reconcile Bishops.
IV Quod legatus eius omnibus episcopis presit in concilio etiam inferioris gradus et adversus eos sententiam depositionis possit dare. That His legate takes precedence in council to all bishops even when he is of inferior grade and can give a sentence of deposition against them.
V Quod absentes papa possit deponere. That the Pope can depose those absent.
VI Quod cum excommunicatis ab illo inter cetera nec in eadem domo debemus manere. That among other things we neither ought to remain in the same house of the one excommunicated by him.
VII Quod illi soli licet pro temporis necessitate novas leges condere, novas plebes congregare, de canonica abatiam facere et e contra, divitem episcopatum dividere et inopes unire. That for him alone is it licit, according to the necessity of time to establish new laws, to welcome new peoples, to make new abbacies of canonical right and, contrariwise, to divide rich bishoprics and unite needy ones.
VIII Quod solus possit uti imperialibus insigniis. That he alone can use the imperial insignia.
IX Quod solius pape pedes omnes principes deosculentur. That all princes are to kiss the feet of the pope alone.
X Quod illius solius nomen in ecclesiis recitetur. That the name of him alone is to be recited in the churches (in the Canon of the Mass).
XI Quod hoc unicum est nomen in mundo. That this (his name as Pope) is the only one in the world.
XII Quod illi liceat imperatores deponere. That for him it is licit to depose emperors.
XIII Quod illi liceat de sede ad sedem necessitate cogente episcopos transmutare. That for him it is licit when driven by necessity to transfer bishops from see to see.
XIV Quod de omni ecclesia quocunque voluerit clericum valeat ordinare. That he validly ordains any cleric from every church wheresoever.
XV Quod ab illo ordinatus alii eclesie preesse potest, sed non militare; et quod ab aliquo episcopo non debet superiorem gradum accipere. That the one ordained by him can take charge of any church, but not serve as a soldier; and that he ought not accept a superior grade from any bishop.
XVI Quod nulla synodus absque precepto eius debet generalis vocari. That no synod without his precept ought to be called “general”.
XVII Quod nullum capitulum nullusque liber canonicus habeatur absque illius auctoritate. That no chapter be held and no canonical book be recognized without his authority.
XVIII Quod sententia illius a nullo debeat retractari et ipse omnium solus retractare possit. That his sentence ought to be retracted by no one and that he alone can retract that of all.
XIX Quod a nemine ipse iudicare debeat. That he himself be judged by no one.
XX Quo nullus audeat condemnare apostolicam sedem apellantem. That no one dare condemn the one appealing to the Apostolic See.
XXI Quod maiores cause cuiscunque ecclesie ad eam referri debeant. That the greater cases of every church whatsoever ought to be referred to Her.
XXII Quod Romana ecclesia nunquam erravit nec imperpetuum scriptura testante errabit. That the Roman Church has never erred nor shall ever err in perpetuity, as Scripture testifies.
XXIII Quod Romanus pontifex, si canonice fuerit ordinatus, meritis beati Petri indubitanter efficitur sanctus testante sancto Ennodio Papiensi episcopo ei multis sanctis patribus faventibus, sicut in decretis beati Symachi pape continetur. That the Roman Pontiff, if he has been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made holy by the merits of Blessed Peter, according to the testimony of Saint Ennodius, Bishop of Pavia, with many holy Fathers favoring him, just as is contained in the decrees of Blessed Pope Symachus.
XXIV Quod illius precepto et licentia subiectis liceat accusare. That by his precept and license it is licit for his subjects to bring accusations.
XXV Quod absque synodali conventu possit episcopus deponere et reconciliare. That he can depose and reconcile bishops without the convening of a synod.
XXVI Quod catholicus non habeatur, qui non concordat Romane ecclesie. That one is not to be held to be Catholic, who is not in agreement with the Roman Church.
XXVII Quod a fidelitate iniquorum subiectos potest absolvere. That he can absolve the subjects of the iniquitous from fealty.

3 thoughts on “The Dictatus of Pope St. Gregory VII”

  1. We come a long way since then Or rather gone. But this is the kind of power that should not be in the hands of men like Bergoglio but, surely, he would like much of it.

    Like

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