THE FOURTEEN THESES OF
THE OLD CATHOLIC UNION CONFERENCE AT BONN - SEPTEMBER 14-16,1874
I. We agree that the apocryphal or
deutero-canonical books of the Old Testament are not of the same canonicity
as the books contained in the Hebrew Canon.
II. We agree that no translation of
Holy Scripture can claim an authority superior to that of the original
III. We agree that the reading of
Holy Scripture in the vulgar tongue cannot be lawfully forbidden.
IV. We agree that, in general, it is
more fitting, and in accordance with the spirit of the Church, that the
Liturgy should be in the tongue understood by the people.
V. We agree that Faith working by
Love, not Faith without Love, is the means and condition of Man's
justification before God.
VI. Salvation cannot be merited by
"merit of condignity," because there is no proportion between the infinite
worth of salvation promised by God and the finite worth of man's works.
VII. We agree that the doctrine of
"opera supererogationis" and of a "thesaurus meritorium sanctorum," i.e.,
that the overflowing merits of the Saints can be transferred to others,
either by the rulers of the Church, or by the authors of the good works
themselves, is untenable.
VIII. 1) We acknowledge that the
number of sacraments was fixed at seven, first in the twelfth century, and
then was received into the general teaching of the Church, not as a
tradition coming down from the Apostles or from the earliest of times, but
as the result of theological speculation.
2) Catholic theologians
acknowledge, and we acknowledge with them, that Baptism and the Eucharist
are "principalia, praecipus, eximia salutis nostrae sacramenta."
IX. (1) The Holy Scriptures being
recognized as the primary rule of Faith, we agree that the genuine
tradition, i.e. the unbroken transmission partly oral, partly in writing of
the doctrine delivered by Christ and the Apostles is an authoritative source
of teaching for all successive generations of Christians. This tradition is
partly to be found in the consensus of the great ecclesiastical bodies
standing in historical continuity with the primitive Church, partly to be
gathered by scientific method from the written documents of all centuries.
2) We acknowledge that the
Church of England; and the Churches derived through her, have maintained
unbroken the Episcopal succession.
X. We reject the new Roman doctrine
of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as being contrary
to the tradition of the first thirteen centuries, according to which Christ
alone is conceived without sin.
XI. We agree that the practice of
confession of sins before the congregation or a Priest, together with the
exercise of the power of the keys, has come down to us from the primitive
Church, and that, purged from abuses and free from constraint, it should be
preserved in the Church.
XII. We agree that "indulgences" can
only refer to penalties actually imposed by the Church herself.
XIII. We acknowledge that the practice
of the commemoration of the faithful departed, i.e. the calling down of a
richer outpouring of Christ's grace upon them, has come down to us from the
primitive Church, and is to be preserved in the Church.
XIV. 1) The Eucharistic celebration in
the Church is not a continuous repetition or renewal of the propitiatory
sacrifice offered once forever by Christ upon the cross; but its sacrificial
character consists in this, that it is the permanent memorial of it, and a
representation and presentation on earth of that one oblation of Christ for
the salvation of redeemed mankind, which according to the Epistle to the
Hebrews (9:11,12), is continuously presented in heaven by Christ, who now
appears in the presence of God for us (9:24).
2) While this is the character
of the Eucharist in reference to the sacrifice of Christ, it is also a
sacred feast, wherein the faithful, receiving the Body and Blood of our
Lord, have communion one with another (I Cor. 10:17).