Tridentine Profession of Faith
I, Teresa Stanfill Benns, with a firm faith believe and profess all and every one of the things contained in that Creed which the holy Roman Church makes use of: “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,” etc., (The Nicene Creed). I most steadfastly admit and embrace apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions, and all other observance and constitutions of the same Church.
I also admit the Holy Scriptures, according to that sense which our holy mother Church has held and does hold, to which it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures; neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.
I also profess that there are truly and properly seven sacraments of the new law, instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, and necessary for the salvation of mankind, though not all for everyone, to wit: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony; and that they confer grace; and that these — Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination — cannot be reiterated without sacrilege.
I also receive and admit the received and approved ceremonies of the Catholic Church, used in the solemn administration of the aforesaid Sacraments. I embrace and receive all and every one of the things which have been defined and declared in the holy Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification.
I profess, likewise, that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there is truly, really and substantially, the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is made a change of the whole essence of the bread into the Body, and of the whole essence of the wine into the Blood; which change the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation.
I also confess that under either kind alone (either the bread or the wine) Christ is received whole and entire, and a true sacrament. I firmly hold that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful. Likewise, that the saints reigning with Christ are to be honored and invoked, and that they offer up prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be had in veneration.
I most firmly assert that the images of Christ, and of the perpetual Virgin, the Mother of God, and also of other saints, ought to be had and retained, and that due honor and veneration are to be given them. I also affirm that the power of indulgences was left by Christ in the Church, and that the use of them is most wholesome to Christian people.
I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church as the mother and mistress of all churches; and I promise and swear true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.
I likewise undoubtingly receive and profess all other things delivered, defined, and declared by the Sacred Canons and General Councils, particularly by the holy Council of Trent; and I condemn, reject, and anathematize all things contrary thereto, and all heresies which the Church has condemned, rejected, and anathematized.
I do, at this present time, freely profess and truly hold this true Catholic faith, without which no one can be saved; and I promise most constantly to retain and confess the same entire and inviolate, with God’s assistance, to the end of my life. And I will take care, as far as in me lies, that it shall be held, taught, and preached by my subjects, or by those the care of whom shall appertain to me in my office. This, I promise, vow, and swear — so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God.
In addition, I most especially accept and irrevocably affirm the teaching of the Council of Trent Session 7, convened by Paul III, which states in its preface to that section of the council which treats of the sacraments: “[This holy and ecumenical synod of Trent is convened], in order to destroy the errors and to uproot the heresies concerning these most holy Sacraments, which in this stormy period of ours have been revived from the heresies previously condemned by our Fathers, [which] also have been invented anew… In adhering to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, to the apostolic traditions, and to the unanimous opinion of other councils and of the Fathers, [we have] thought proper to establish and decree these present canons…with the assistance of the Divine spirit…” (DZ 843a).
And in Session 23, under the general heading of the sacrament of Orders, I wholly accept and irrevocably affirm the following condemnations: “In the ordination of bishops, priests and other orders… those who are called or instituted only by the people, or by the civil power or magistrate and proceed to exercise these offices, and those who by their own temerity take these offices upon themselves, are not ministers of the Church, but are to be regarded as ‘thieves, robbers who have not entered by the door…’ (Jn. 10: 1; DZ 960; Can. 109)… If anyone says… that those who have neither been rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical authority but come from a different source are lawful ministers of the word and of the Sacraments, let him be anathema [cf. 960],” (DZ 967).
I also especially accept and irrevocably affirm DZ 1502, which condemns AS HERETICAL the following: “…The power of ecclesiastical ministry and rule is to be derived from the community of the faithful to the pastors.” I fully believe all these teachings in particular and confirm these condemnations.
May God keep us always in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and never permit us to misunderstand or misrepresent any of His truths. And if it should so happen that we do so misrepresent any such truth in good faith, then may such a mistake be made known and may God grant us the humility to recognize it and correct it.
Oath Against Modernism Pope St. Pius X, 1907
I, Teresa Stanfill Benns, firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.
And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:20), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated:
Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.
Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.
Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same sense. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical judgment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.
Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our Creator and Lord.
Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality – that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm.
Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.
Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the Modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in Sacred Tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact – one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history – the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles.
I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath, the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.
I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. This I promise, this I swear, so help me God.