Pope Clement XI
From the Constitution Unigenitus September 8, AD 1713 .
Condemnation of the Errors of Paschasius Quesnel 
Source: Denzinger The Sources of Catholic Dogma 1957
(Sec. 3) 1. What else remains for the soul that has lost God and His grace
except sin and the consequences of sin, a proud poverty and a slothful
indigence, that is, a general impotence for labor, for prayer, and for every
2. The grace of Jesus Christ, which is the efficacious principle of every
kind of good, is necessary for every good work; without it, not only is nothing
done, but nothing can be done.
3. In vain, O Lord, do You command, if You do not give what you command.
4. Thus, O Lord, all things are possible to him for whom You make all things
possible by effecting those same things in him.
5. When God does not soften a heart by the interior unction of His grace,
exterior exhortations and graces are of no service except to harden it the more.
6. The difference between the Judaic dispensation and the Christian is this,
that in the former God demanded flight from sin and a fulfillment of the Law by
the sinner, leaving him in his own weakness; but in the latter. God gives the
sinner what He commands, by purifying him with His grace.
7. What advantage was there for a man in the old covenant, in which God left
him to his own weakness, by imposing on him His law? But what happiness is it
not to be admitted to a convenant in which God gives us what He asks of us?
8. But we do not belong to the new covenant, except in so far as we are
participators in that new grace which works in us that which God commands us.
9. The grace of Christ is a supreme grace, without which we can never confess
Christ, and with which we never deny Him.
10. Grace is the working of the omnipotent hand of God, which nothing can
hinder or retard.
11. Grace is nothing else than the omnipotent Will of God, ordering and doing
what He orders.
12. When God wishes to save a soul, at whatever time and at what ever place,
the undoubted effect follows the Will of God.
13. When God wishes to save a soul and touches it with the interior hand of
His grace, no human will resists Him.
14. Howsoever remote from salvation an obstinate sinner is, when Jesus
presents Himself to be seen by him in the salutary light of His grace, the
sinner is forced to surrender himself, to have recourse to Him, and to humble
himself, and to adore his Savior.
15. When God accompanies His commandment and His eternal exhortation by the
unction of His Spirit and by the interior force of His grace, He works that
obedience in the heart that He is seeking.
16. There are no attractions which do not yield to the attractions of grace,
because nothing resists the Almighty.
17. Grace is that voice of the Father which teaches men interiorly and makes
them come to Jesus Christ; whoever does not come to Him, after he has heard the
exterior voice of the Son, is in no wise taught by the Father.
18. The seed of the word, which the hand of God nourishes, always brings
forth its fruit.
19. The grace of God is nothing else than His omnipotent Will; this is the
idea which God Himself gives us in all His Scriptures.
20. The true idea of grace is that God wishes Himself to be obeyed by us and
He is obeyed; He commands, and all things are done; He speaks as the Lord, and
all things are obedient to Him.
21. The grace of Jesus Christ is a strong, powerful, supreme, invincible
grace, that is, the operation of the omnipotent Will, the consequence and
imitation of the operation of God causing the incarnation and the resurrection
of His Son.
22. The harmony of the all powerful operation of God in the heart of man with
the free consent of mans will is demonstrated, therefore, to us in the
Incarnation, as in the fount and archetype of all other operations of mercy and
grace, all of which are as gratuitous and as dependent on God as the original
23. God Himself has taught us the idea of the omnipotent working of His
grace, signifying it by that operation which produces creatures from nothing and
which restores life to the dead.
24. The right idea which the centurion had about the omnipotence of God and
of Jesus Christ in healing bodies by a single act of His will, [Matt. 8:8] is an
image of the idea we should have about the omnipotence of His grace in healing
souls from cupidity.
25. God illumines the soul, and heals it, as well as the body, by His will
only; He gives orders and He is obeyed.
26. No graces are granted except through faith.
27. Faith is the first grace and the source of all others.
28. The first grace which God grants to the sinner is the remission of sin.
29. Outside of the Church, no grace is granted.
30. All whom God wishes to save through Christ. are infallibly saved.
31. The desires of Christ always have their effect; He brings peace to the
depth of hearts when He desires it for them.
32. Jesus Christ surrendered Himself to death to free forever from the hand
of the exterminating angel, by His blood, the first born, that is, the elect.
33. Ah, how much one ought to renounce earthly goods and himself for this,
that he may have the confidence of appropriating, so to speak, Christ Jesus to
himself, His love, death, and mysteries, as St. Paul does, when he says:
"He who loved me, and delivered Himself for me" [Gal. 2:20].
34. The grace of Adam produced nothing except human merit.
35. The grace of Adam is a consequence of creation and was due to his whole
and sound nature.
36. The essential difference between the grace of Adam and of his state of
innocence and Christian grace, is that each one would have received the first in
his own person, but the second is not received except in the person of the risen
Jesus Christ to whom we are united.
37. The grace of Adam by sanctifying him in himself was proportionate to him;
Christian grace, by sanctifying us in Jesus Christ, is omnipotent, and worthy of
the Son of God.
38. Without the grace of the Liberator, the sinner is not free except to do
39. The will, which grace does not anticipate, has no light except for
straying, no eagerness except to put itself in danger, no strength except to
wound itself, and is capable of all evil and incapable of all good.
40. Without grace we can love nothing except to our own condemnation.
41. All knowledge of God, even natural knowledge, even in the pagan
philosophers, cannot come except from God; and without grace knowledge
produces nothing but presumption, vanity, and opposition to God Himself, instead
of the affections of adoration, gratitude, and love.
42. The grace of Christ alone renders a man fit for the sacrifice of faith;
without this there is nothing but impurity, nothing but unworthiness.
43. The first effect of baptismal grace is to make us die to sin so that our
spirit, heart, and senses have no more life for sin than a dead man has for the
things of the world.
44. There are but two loves, from which all our volitions and actions arise:
love of God, which does all things because of God and which God rewards; and the
love with which we love ourselves and the world, which does not refer to God
what ought to be referred to Him, and therefore becomes evil.
45 When love of God no longer reigns in the heart of sinners, it needs must
be that carnal desire reign in it and corrupt all of its actions.
46. Cupidity or charity makes the use of the senses good or evil.
47. Obedience to the law ought to flow from the source, and this source is
charity. When the love of God is the interior principle of obedience and the
glory of God is its end, then that is pure which appears externally; otherwise,
it is but hypocrisy and false justice.
48. What else can we be except darkness, except aberration, and except sin,
without the light of faith, without Christ, and without charity?
49. As there is no sin without love of ourselves, so there is no good work
without love of God.
50. In vain we cry out to God: My Father, if it is not the spirit of charity
which cries out.
51. Faith justifies when it operates, but it does not operate except through
52. All other means of salvation are contained in faith as in their own germ
and seed; but this faith does not exist apart from love and confidence.
53. Only charity in the Christian way makes (Christian actions) through a
relation to God and to Jesus Christ.
54. It is charity alone that speaks to God; it alone that God hears.
55. God crowns nothing except charity; he who runs through any other
incentive or any other motive, runs in vain.
56. God rewards nothing but charity; for charity alone honors God.
57. All fails a sinner, when hope fails him; and there is no hope in God,
when there is no love of God.
58. Neither God nor religion exists where there is no charity.
59. The prayer of the impious is a new sin; and what God grants to them is a
new judgment against them.
60. If fear of punishment alone animates penance, the more intense this is,
the more it leads to despair.
61. Fear restrains nothing but the hand, but the heart is addicted to the sin
as long as it is not guided by a love of justice.
62. He who does not refrain from evil except through fear of punishment,
commits that evil in his heart, and is already guilty before God.
63. A baptized person is still under the law as a Jew, if he does not fulfill
the law, or if he fulfills it from fear alone.
64. Good is never done under the condemnation of the law, because one sins
either by doing evil or by avoiding it only through fear.
65. Moses, the prophets, priests, and doctors of the Law died without having
given any son to God, since they produced only slaves through fear.
66. He who wishes to approach to God, should not come to Him with brutal
passions, nor be led to Him by natural instinct, or through fear as animals, but
through faith and love, as sons.
67. Servile fear does not represent God to itself except as a stern
imperious, unjust, unyielding master.
68. The goodness of God has shortened the road to salvation, by enclosing all
in faith and in prayers.
69. Faith, practice of it increase, and reward of faith, all are a gift of
the pure liberality of God.
70. Never does God afflict the innocent; and afflictions always serve either
to punish the sin or to purify the sinner.
71. For the preservation of himself man can dispense himself from that law
which God established for his use.
72. A mark of the Christian Church is that it is catholic, embracing all the
angels of heaven, all the elect and the just on earth, and of all times
73. What is the Church except an assembly of the sons of God abiding in His
bosom, adopted in Christ, subsisting in His person, redeemed by His blood,
living in His spirit, acting through His grace, and awaiting the grace of the
74. The Church or the whole Christ has the Incarnate Word as head but all the
saints as members.
75. The Church is one single man composed of many members, of which Christ is
the head, the life, the subsistence and the person- it is one single Christ
composed of many saints, of whom He is the sanctifier
76. There is nothing more spacious than the Church of God; because all the
elect and the just of all ages comprise it.
77. He who does not lead a life worthy of a son of God and a member of
Christ, ceases interiorly to have God as a Father and Christ as a head.
78. One is separated from the chosen people, whose figure was the Jewish
people, and whose head is Jesus Christ, both by not living according to the
Gospel and by not believing in the Gospel.
79. It is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every
kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of
80. The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all.
81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to
dispense themselves from reading it.
82. The Lord's Day ought to be sanctified by Christians with readings of
pious works and above all of the Holy Scriptures. It is harmful for a Christian
to wish to withdraw from this reading.
83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of
religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred
Scriptures. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of
men has arisen the abuse of the Scriptures and have heresies been born.
84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold
it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it,
is to close for them the mouth of Christ.
85. To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is
to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a
kind of excommunication.
86. To snatch from the simple people this consolation of joining their voice
to the voice of the whole Church is a custom contrary to the apostolic practice
and to the intention of God.
87. A method full of wisdom light, and charity is to give souls time for
bearing with humility. and for experiencing their state of sin, for seeking the
spirit of penance and contrition, and for beginning at least to satisfy the
justice of God, before they are reconciled.
88. We are ignorant of what sin is and of what true penance is, when we wish
to be restored at once to the possession of the goods of which sin has despoiled
us, and when we refuse to endure the confusion of that separation.
89. The fourteenth step in the conversion of a sinner is that, after he has
already been reconciled, he has the right of assisting at the Sacrifice of the
90. The Church has the authority to excommunicate, so that it may exercise it
through the first pastors with the consent, at least presumed, of the whole
91. The fear of an unjust excommunication should never hinder us from
fulfilling our duty; never are we separated from the Church, even when by the
wickedness of men we seem to be expelled from it, as long as we are attached to
God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Church herself by charity.
92. To suffer in peace an excommunication and an unjust anathema rather than
betray truth, is to imitate St. Paul; far be it from rebelling against authority
or of destroying unity.
93 Jesus sometimes heals the wounds which the precipitous haste of the first
pastors inflicted without His command. Jesus restored what they, with
inconsidered zeal, cut off.
94. Nothing engenders a worse opinion of the Church among her enemies than to
see exercised there an absolute rule over the faith of the faithful, and to see
divisions fostered because of matters which do not violate faith or morals.
95. Truths have descended to this, that they are, as it were, a foreign
tongue to most Christians, and the manner of preaching them is, as it were, an
unknown idiom, so remote is the manner of preaching from the simplicity of the
apostles. and so much above the common grasp of the faithful; nor is there
sufficient advertence to the fact that this defect is one of the greatest
visible signs of the weakening of the Church and of the wrath of God on His
96. God permits that all powers be opposed to the preachers of truth, so that
its victory cannot be attributed to anyone except to divine grace.
97. Too often it happens that those members, who are united to the Church
more holily and more strictly, are looked down upon, and treated as if they were
unworthy of being in the Church, or as if they were separated from Her; but,
"the just man liveth by faith" [Rom. 1:17], and not by the opinion of
98. The state of persecution and of punishment which anyone endures as a
disgraceful and impious heretic, is generally the final trial and is especially
meritorious, inasmuch as it makes a man more conformable to Jesus Christ.
99. Stubbornness, investigation, and obstinacy in being unwilling either to
examine something or to acknowledge that one has been deceived daily changes
into an odor, as it were, of death, for many people, that which God has placed
in His Church to be an odor of life within it, for instance, good books,
instructions, holy examples, etc.
100. Deplorable is the time in which God is believed to be honored by
persecution of the truth and its disciples! This time has come.... To be
considered and treated by the ministers of religion as impious and unworthy of
all commerce with God, as a putrid member capable of corrupting everything in
the society of saints, is to pious men a more terrible death than the death of
the body. In vain does anyone flatter himself on the purity of his intentions
and on a certain zeal for religion, when he persecutes honest men with fire and
sword, if he is blinded by his own passion or carried away by that of another on
account of which he does not want to examine anything. We frequently believe
that we arc sacrificing an impious man to God, when we are sacrificing a servant
of God to the devil.
101. Nothing is more opposed to the spirit of God and to the doctrine of
Jesus Christ than to swear common oaths in Church, because this is to multiply
occasions of perjury, to lay snares for the weak and inexperienced, and to cause
the name and truth of God to serve sometimes the plan of the wicked.
Declared and condemned as false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious
ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice,
insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers seditious, impious,
blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides,
favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy,
many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies
respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous
propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have
1 DuPl III, II 462 ff.: coll. Viva II I ff.; CIC Rcht II 140
ff.; BR(T) 21, 569 b ff.; MBR 8, 119 a ff. Variant, doubtful, and corrected
readings are according to the first Gallic text which DuPl, l.c., presents-Paschasius
Quesnel was born on July 14, 1634. After completing his studies in the Sorbonne
in 1657, he entered the Congregation of the Oratory; but because of his zeal for
the heresy of Jansenism, he was forced to leave the congregation. His book,
"Reflections morales," was condemned, to which the
Constitution, "Unigenitus," is related. Shortly before his
death on Dec. 2, 1719, he made a profession of faith publicly [Hrt, sec. rec.
II2 822 ff].
2 This dogmatic constitution was confirmed by the same
Clement XI in the Bull "Pastoralis Officii" (Aug. 28, 1718)
against the Appellantes, in which he declares that certain Catholics
"who did not accept the Bull "Unigenitus" were clearly
outside the bosom of the Roman Church; by Innocent XIII in a decree published on
Jan. 8, 1722; by Benedict XIII and the Roman Synod in 1725; by Benedict XIV in
the encyclical, "Ex omnibus Christiani orbis regionibus" on
Oct. 16, 1756; it was accepted by the Gallic clergy in assemblies in 1723, 1726,
1730, by the councils of Avignon 1725 and Ebred, 1727, and by the whole Catholic