Sunday, September 08, 2013

False Citation?

It came to my attention when someone in the Catholic Debate Forum by the name of "Ned" quoted a passage from Pope Innocent III that not only was this quite a butchering of the original quote, but was also falsely cited by many anti-Catholic sites.  I will list several of them at the end of this article.  It will be interesting to see if any of them have the integrity to correct this errant citation.  Here is the quote which "Ned" presented (he refused to cite his source, however it was not hard to locate) :

Pope Innocent III stated in 1199:

... to be reproved are those who translate into French the Gospels, the letters of Paul, the psalter, etc. They are moved by a certain love of Scripture in order to explain them clandestinely and to preach them to one another. The mysteries of the faith are not to explained rashly to anyone. Usually in fact, they cannot be understood by everyone but only by those who are qualified to understand them with informed intelligence. The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but also the educated and the gifted (Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum 770-771)

OK, here is what Pope Innocent III really said, with proper citation to the actual document.

Cum ex injuncto (1199) [in part]

Truly our venerable brother the Bishop of Metz has signified to us in his letter that both in the diocese and in the city of Metz the multitude of laymen and women, drawn in no small way by desire, have had the Scriptures, Gospels, the Pauline epistles, the Psalter, the commentaries on Job and many other books translated for their own use into the French language, exerting themselves towards this kind of translation so willingly, but not so prudently, that in secret meetings the laymen and women dare to discuss such matters between themselves, and to preach to each other: they also reject their community, do not intermingle with similar people, and consider themselves separate from them, and do not align their ears and minds with them; when any of the parish priests wished to censure them concerning these matters, they stood firm before them, trying to argue from the Scriptures that they should not be prohibited in any way from doing these things. Some of them also scorned the simplicity of their priests; and when the Word of Salvation is shown to them by those priests, they grumble in secret that they understand the Word better in their little books and that they can explain it more prudently.

But although the desire to understand the divine Scriptures, and, according to the Scriptures themselves, the zeal to spread them, is not forbidden, but is rather commendable, nevertheless the arguments against it appear well-deserved, because those who do not adhere to such arguments celebrate their assemblies in secret, usurp for themselves the duty of preaching, mock the simplicity of the priests and reject their community. For God, the true light, which illuminates all men coming into this world, hates such works of darkness so much that when he was about to send his apostles out into the world to preach the Gospel to all creation, he ordered them clearly, saying: "That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops"; announcing openly in this way that the preaching of the Gospel must not be carried out in hidden communities, as heretics do, but in churches in the Catholic manner. For according to the testimony of Truth, "every one that doth evil hateth the light and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest: because they are done in God."

Because of this, when the high priest "asked Jesus of his disciples and of his doctrine, Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither all the Jews resort: and in secret I have spoken nothing." Furthermore, if anyone objects that according to the Lord's command "give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine", since Christ himself also said "unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables", he should understand that dogs and pigs are not things which happily bring holiness and willingly accept pearls, but things which tear apart holiness and scorn pearls, just like those who do not venerate the words of the Gospel and the ecclesiastical sacraments as Catholics, but rather detest them as heretics, who are always chattering and blaspheming, whom the apostle Paul teaches should be avoided "after the first and second admonition."

The mysteries of the sacraments of faith should not be explained everywhere to everyone, since they cannot be understood everywhere by everyone, but only to those who can conceive of them by their faithful intellect. Because of this the Apostle said to the simpler people: "As unto little ones in Christ I gave you milk to drink, not meat." For "strong meat is for the perfect", as he said to others: "we speak wisdom among the perfect;" "for I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ: and him crucified." Such is the profundity of divine Scripture, that not only simple and illiterate men, but even prudent and learned men do not fully suffice to investigate its wisdom. Because of this Scripture says: "They have failed in their search." From this it was rightly once established in divine law that the beast which touches the mountain should be stoned; that is, so that no simple and unlearned man presumes to concern himself with the sublimity of sacred Scripture, or to preach it to others.
(Emphasis added to show the snippets which were combined to create something the original text did NOT say!)

Now, this document cum ex injuncto, is not even contained within the pages of Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum!  In fact, the reference to 770-771 refers to a part of the "List of Errors of Martin Luther, which was compiled about 300-400 years AFTER Pope Innocent III was alive!  The sections of Denzinger which contain quotes from Pope Innocent III are from reference 404-427, and again, cum ex injuncto is not found among those quotes!  

So, which sites erroneously site this as being from Denzinger's collection?

Doesn't cite Denzinger, but quotes exactly as erroneous quote above:

Well, there are PLENTY more, especially if you include all the forums/discussion groups which also reference this misquote.  

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