30 Aug 1568 – St Pius V’s Bull against “gay” clergy

At The Josias, which a friend and patron of this blog told my about recently there is this post.   It is perhaps a coincidence that today is the anniversary of the promulgation of this document, even as the Roman titular church of Card. Cocopalmerio caved in.  You might remember that he did kabuki fan dances with ostrich plumes to justify communion for adulterers.

Confronted with clerical depravity in Rome, Pius V did not say, “Who am I to judge?”

On August 30, 1568, Pope St. Pius V issued the bull Horrendum Illud scelus. We present it now on its four hundred and fiftieth anniversary.

–The Editors

Horrendum illud scelus, quo pollutae foedataeque Civitates a tremendo Dei iudicio conflagrarunt, acerbissimum Nobis dolorem inurit, graviterque animum nostrum commovet, ut ad illud, quantum potest, comprimendum, studia nostra conferamus.   That horrible crime, by which corrupt and obscene cities were destroyed by fire through divine condemnation, [hence, “sodomy”] causes us most bitter sorrow and shocks our mind, impelling us to repress such a crime with the greatest possible zeal.
§ 1. Sane Lateranensi Concilio dignoscitur constitutum, ut quicumque Clerici, illa incontinentia, quae contra naturam est, propter quam ira Dei venit in filios diffidentiae, deprehensi fuerint laborare, a Clero deiiciantur,
vel ad agendam in Monasteriis poenitentiam detrudantur.
  § 1. Quite opportunely the Fifth Lateran Council [1512-1517] issued this decree: “Let any member of the clergy caught in that vice against nature, given that the wrath of God falls over the sons of perfidy, be removed from the clerical order or forced to do penance in a monastery” (chap. 4, X, V, 31).
§ 2. Verum ne tanti flagitii contagium, impunitatis spe, quae maxima peccandi illecebra est, fidentius invalescat, Clericos huius nefarii criminis reos, gravius ulciscendos deliberavimus, ut qui animae interitum non hor­rescunt, hos certe deterreat civilium legum vindex gladius saecularis.   § 2. So that the contagion of such a grave offense may not advance with greater audacity by taking advantage of impunity, which is the greatest incitement to sin, and so as to more severely punish the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime and who are not frightened by the death of their souls, we determine that they should be handed over to the severity of the secular authority, which enforces civil law.
§ 3. ltaque quod Nos iam in ipso Pontificatus nostri principio hac de re decrevimus, plenius nunc, fortiusque persequi intendentes, omnes,  et quoscumque Presbyteros, et alios Clericos saeculares, et regulares, cuius­cumque gradus, et dignitatis, tam dirum nefas exercentes, omni privilegio clericali, omnique officio, dignitate, et beneficio Ecclesiastico praesentis cano­nis auctoritate privamus. Ita quod per ludicem Ecclesiasticum degradati, potestati statim saeculari tradantur, qui de eis illud idem capiat supplicium, quod in laicos hoc in exitio devolutos, legitimis reperitur sanctionibus constitutum.   § 3. Therefore, wishing to pursue with greater rigor than we have exerted since the beginning of our pontificate, we establish that any priest or member of the clergy, either secular or regular, who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefit, and having been degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority to be put to death, as mandated by law as the fitting punishment for laymen who have sunk into this abyss.    [Use your imagination and review the Rite of Degradation of a Priest or Bishop. After which the walking tragedy is handed over.]
Nulli ergo, etc.   Nothing to the contrary withstanding, etc.
[Bull. Rom., tom. 4, III, p. 33]    

S. Pius V, const. Horrendum, 30 aug. 1568.

A brief note on the continuing relevance of Horrendum illud:

It is occasionally suggested by critics of integralism that the existence of bad or corrupt clergy proves that integralism, with its high concept of the authority of the church, is unworkable. This argument taken to its logical conclusion would of course rule out any authority in the here-below. For integralists, however, the existence of lamentable and execrable corruption in the Church, far from calling her authority into question, rather demonstrates the need for it.

Pope St. Pius V responded to the vicious immorality then widespread among the clergy repeatedly and with force, most prominently, perhaps, here in this bull. His response offers us even today an exemplar of church-state relations and of the medicinal power of the law.

What do you supposed the civil penalties were like?

I note that the Bull says “removed” OR “forced to do penance.

Right now I am in the UP of MI.  I was told that a prison has closed up here.   Perhaps the Church could take it over and put all the guys there who need time to think.   They would be required to say Masses of reparation and, as a canonist suggested, to earn their keep they would transcribed nullity process interviews.  I can think of a few other things.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. jaykay says:

    “illa incontentia, quae contra natura est”

    Sicut erat tunc, sic est nunc, sic erit in saecula saeculorum.

  2. jaykay says:

    “hos certe deterreat civilum legum vindex gladius saecularis”

    Hmmm… that was back when the civilis lex actually wasn’t afraid to use the vindex gladius. Handed over to the civil power, and not just for a bit of litter-picking and grass-cutting.

  3. defenderofTruth says:

    Hmmm. If the Church did that now, the offender would be given a seat in Congress.

  4. ” Perhaps the Church could take it over and put all the guys there who need time to think”
    They would probably just be in hog heaven, you know, all together in one place to do as they please.

  5. Charles E Flynn says:

    I wonder if Pope St. Pius V, issuing his bull on August 30, 1568, thought of the days of the Fifth Lateran Council [1512-1517] as the good old days.

  6. jaykay says:

    Charles E Flynn: he may well have done, little knowing that a better day (earthly-wise) was still to come. VII. X. MDLXXI. ;-)

  7. Legisperitus says:

    Solitary confinement, surely.

  8. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    The same Coccopalmerio that Viganò claims “belongs to the homosexual current” in the Curia.

    The same Coccopalmerio who also convinced Francis to reinstate “Don Mercedes” pedophile Mauro Inzoli.

    Yes, this is also the same Coccopalmerio whose personally selected secretary hosted the cocaine fuel homosexual orgy on Vatican grounds.

    How does someone like Cocopalmerio keep his appointment? Oh yeah, he’s a sycophantic Francis ideological lackey so he can do no wrong.

  9. Dismas says:

    @Atra Dicenda – It’s best not to ask some questions. You might suffer greatly by getting the answers.

  10. teomatteo says:

    The prisin? I think an abandoned ore mine would be better.

  11. Pharisee says:

    The proper response to discovering a priest or religious is homosexual is laicisation. If it is discovered that a seminarian is a homosexual, he should be sent home.


    1. A homosexual priest cannot properly exercise spiritual fatherhood.

    He would not marry and have children (i.e. be a lay father) if he was not a priest, and feels no inclination to do such. He becomes a living lie if he puts himself forward to take the pennies of the poor, for a job he cannot do properly.

    2. Laicisation stops the man being a ‘ticking time-bomb’ for further possible outrage. Holy bishops can sleep easier.

    Young men have had their lives destroyed and the Church’s reputation sullied because bishops thought these men could be ‘cured’ or, worse, they wanted to shuffle the miscreant somewhere else and ‘make the problem go away’ or hush it up, or, the bishop is a homosexual himself or in some other way compromised, so he won’t bring the hammer down.

    3. A homosexual priest is blackmailable.

    4. A homosexual priest or religious is going to be around nice young men all his life. This is too much temptation.

    5. A homosexual priest or religious is not only more likely to fail in his vocation but also help destroy the souls of those he errs with; this is the opposite of his job description.

    5. The laity should not be subject to the experiment of being lead by a man with a deep psychological disorder – we want holy men, and holy men want to be priests. We don’t want effeminate men. They are off-putting and thus the sheep will stray.

    6. Ordaining a homosexual and hoping he’ll keep his promises is tactically stupid.

    He might love all the bells and candles and lace and his mammy is delighted with him and he may think his mildness is a qualification for priesthood; the Church should not indulge such error. It can cost far too much way down the line.

    If the local law dictates secular punishment and the priest is an actual offender, the Church should co-operate with local authorities, after laicisation. Otherwise, he may go on to commit more crimes.

  12. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    … the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime and who are not frightened by the death of their souls…”

    St. Pius V appears to have been describing a characteristic of presumption, one of the 6 sins against the Holy Spirit.

    This presumption is widespread and it is evident in the false theology of numerous pop-theologians and especially one popular bishop who probably should not be a bishop.

    “The Year of Mercy” propagated this presumption; in many dioceses and parishes, it should have actually been labeled “The Year of Presumption.”

    This lack of fear of the death of the soul is also widespread among the laity – particularly those who think the mortal sin of lying is o.k. as long as the intentions are good, or that “nobody is perfect”, or even (as some have said), “sin is good because it is an opportunity.” Sin causes death of the soul and it offends God. Lack of fear of death of the soul is major warning sign of underlying problems of a lay person, deacon, priest, bishop, or Pope.

  13. Michael Haz says:

    I believe that closed prison in the U.P. is near a town named Mass City.

    Such irony.

  14. Sonshine135 says:

    St. Pius V…Now that was a Pope. We all need to get on our knees and humble ourselves and beg for holy priests, bishops, cardinals, and a pontiff such as this.

  15. nyoka_6@hotmail.com says:

    We hear secular prisons have a problem with homosexuality so in any prison offenders should be isolated. Another suggestion: ” 16And he retired into the desert, and prayed.” Douay-Rheims Bible.

  16. Pingback: Viganò Watch: VVednesday Edition – Big Pulpit

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