Quanta Cura

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Quanta Cura was a Papal encyclical issued by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1864, which condemned several propositions relating to religious freedom and freedom of speech. There was an earlier encyclical of the same title, issued in 1741 by Pope Benedict XIV, forbidding traffic in alms.

Pius IX's 1864 encyclical specifically marked for condemnation the "insanity" that:

"liberty of conscience and worship is each man's personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way." (section 3)

Quanta Cura also condemned several other propositions, notably:

  • That the will of the public is supreme and overrides any other law, human or divine
  • That "in the political order accomplished facts, from the very circumstance that they are accomplished, have the force of right."
  • That the outlawing of public begging and alsmgiving is sound policy
  • That parents have no rights with respect to their children's education, except what the civil law grants them
  • That Catholics have no moral obligation to obey the church's laws unless they are ratified by the state
  • That the state has a right to take the property of the church and the religious orders

Pius closed the encyclical by declaring a Jubilee year for 1865, with a plenary indulgence.

The encyclical was prompted by the September Convention of 1864, an agreement between the Kingdom of Italy and the Second French Empire of Napoleon III, undertaken as a part of the Italian Risorgimento, under which France was to withdraw its army from Rome, which they had previously occupied in order to prevent Italy from capturing the city and completing the unification of Italy.

Quanta Cura is remembered mostly because of its annex, the Syllabus of Errors, which condemned a number of political propositions involving democracy, socialism, and freedom of speech and religion.

External links

  • Quanta Cura (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Ben14/b14quant.htm) (1741)
  • Quanta Cura (http://www.ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P9QUANTA.HTM) (1864)

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