Pope's Condemnation of the Fenians


IT has been for some time a matter of dispute in Ireland
whether the Pope's recent condemnation of secret societies
was intended to include the Fenian Brotherhood. The
following decree, dated Rome, Jan. 12, sets the question
at rest:-
      "As it may be doubted by many whether the
society of Fenians is included and denounced among
the societies condemned in the Pontifical
Constitutions, our most Holy Father Pius IX.,
having first taken the opinions of the eminent
cardinals, the inquisitors-general appointed to
guard against heretical perversity in the universal
Christian republic, lest the hearts of the faithful,
particularly the simple, should be perverted, to the
imminent danger of their souls, and adhering to the
decrees of the congregation of the General Inquisition
issued in like circumstances, especially the decree of
July 5, 1865, has decreed and declared that the American
or Irish society called Fenian is comprised among the
societies forbidden and condemned in the Constitutions
of the Supreme Pontiff, and in particular by that lately
issued by his Holiness, dated October 29, 1869, beginning
'Apostolicae Sedis;' in paragraph 4 of which are declared
liable to sentence of excommunication, to be removed only
by the Pope, 'those sects called Freemasons, Carbonari, or
any other kinds of sects which either openly or privately
plot against the Church or legitimately constituted
authorities, together with those who in any way favour
the same; as also their secret heads or leaders, so long
as they shall not have denounced them.' He has, therefore,
commanded this answer to be given to certain bishops who
have asked the question. - D. ANGELO-ARGENTI, Notary of the
Holy Roman Inquisition."

(Transcribed by Stephen Perrott)