Auctorem Fidei

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A bull of Pius VI, dated Aug. 28, 1794, condemning the errors of the Synod of Pistoia. This synod was held in the autumn of 1786 on the initiative of Scipione de'ricci, Bishop of Pistoia-Prato, a protégé of Peter Leopold, the Grand Duke of Tuscany and brother of Emperor Joseph II. Ricci, imbued with the Gallican, Richerist, and Jansenist ideas of the French appellants, which at the time were widespread in Italy, from 1780 on attempted to introduce these ideas into his diocese. The decrees of the synod that he held at Pistoia clearly reflect his thought, but at the same time they give evidence of a very real concern for the moral improvement of the faithful and the formation of the clergy. The council held at Florence in April-June 1787 sharply criticized a number of the decisions made at Pistoia. The acts of the synod were nevertheless published in October 1788. Pius VI had them examined by a commission, and Ricci had to resign in June 1791. Numerous translations of the acts, however, spread his ideas everywhere, particularly among the constitutional French clergy. The bull Auctorem fidei condemned the 85 propositions extracted exactly from the acts of Pistoia, while giving to each one a formal theological note. The condemned errors referred mainly to the Church and the hierarchy, grace, the Sacraments, and the liturgy. All aspects of jansenism had already been censured, but never in such a precise and consistent manner. Appearing during the troubled times of the Revolution, the bull Auctorem fidei, although remarkably well drawn up, did not produce the reaction that one could expect. It nevertheless reflected Roman resolve to resist Enlightened Catholicism in asserting the full authority of the Holy See.

Bibliography: h. denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum (Freiburg 1963) 26002700. a. c. jemolo, Il giansenismo in Italia prima della rivoluzione (Bari 1928). e. codignola, Illuministi, giansenisti e giacobini nell'Italia del settecento (Florence 1947). pietro stella, Il giansenismo in Italia, V 2, pt 1: Roma: La bolla Auctorem fidei, 1794, nella storia dell'ultramontanismo: Saggio introduttivo e documenti (Rome 1995). c. lamioni, ed., Il Sinodia di Pistoia del 1796 (Rome 1991). l. paztor, "La Curia romana e il Giansenismo," Actes du Colloque sur le Jansénisme organisé par l'Academia belgica (Louvain 1977) 89104.

[l. j. cognet/

j. m. gres-gayer]