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Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith



The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, fulfilling its proper task of promoting and safeguarding the teaching of faith and morals in the whole Church, has examined, in conformity with the proper procedure(1), the book of Father Jacques Pohier, Quand je dis Dieu (When I Say God), and has found in it affirmations manifestly not in conformity with Revelation and the Magisterium of the Church.

The author was notified of the result of this examination, through his Superior general, on April 21, 1978, by a letter in which he was invited to publicly retract his opinions and to express his full adherence to the doctrine of the Church. To the repeated requests of this Congregation, the author has replied by limiting himself to giving insufficient clarifications. Moreover, he has not made, on the points that were indicated to him, an explicit profession of the faith of the Church.

Therefore, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith now sees itself constrained to declare as follows:

1. Among the more evident errors in the book in question must be noted the denial of the following truths: the intention on the part of Christ to give a redemptive and sacrificial value to his passion; the bodily resurrection of Christ and his permanence as a real subject after the end of his historical existence; continued existence, resurrection, eternal life with God as the vocation of man; the presence in holy scripture of a true teaching, having an objective meaning, which faith can recognize and which the Magisterium of the Church, assisted by the Holy Spirit, can determine authentically.

2. To the aforesaid errors are added and mixed many other dangerous affirmations, so ambiguous and of such a nature as to give rise in the mind of the faithful to uncertainties on fundamental articles of faith, such as: the Christian idea of the transcendent God; the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist which has been taught by the Council of Trent and, recently, by Paul VI in the encyclical Mysterium Fidei the specific role of the priest in bringing about this real presence; the exercise of infallibility in the Church. With regard to the divinity of Christ, the author expresses himself in such an unusual manner that it is not possible to determine whether he still professes this truth in the traditional Catholic sense.

With the present Declaration, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, solicitous for the good of the faithful, calls attention to the gravity of the errors here denounced and to the impossibility of considering them as opinions left to the free discussion of theologians.

In the course of the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, the Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II approved the present Declaration, decided upon in the Ordinary Meeting of this Congregation, and ordered its publication.

In Rome, at the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on 13 April 1979.

Cardinal Franjo Šeper

Archbishop Jérôme Hamer, O.P.
Titular Archbishop of Lorium

* AAS 71 (1979), 446-447.

(1) Cf. Nova agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine, AAS 63 (1971), 234-236.