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Medieval Sourcebook:
Pius II:
The Decree Excecrabilis 1459

By this decree Pope Pius II (1458-1464) struck at the Concilar movement, and lablled as "erroneous and detestable" one of the central ideas of the Conciliarists-the right of appeal from pope to general council.

The execrable and hitherto unknown abuse has grown up in our day, that certain persons, imbued with the spirit of rebellion and not from a desire to secure a better judgment, but to escape the punishment of some offence which they have committed, presume to appeal from the pope to a future council, in spite of the fact that the pope is the vicar of Jesus Christ and to him, in the person Peter, the following was said: "Feed my sheep" [John 21:16] and "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" [Matt. 16:18]. Wishing therefore to expel this pestiferous poison from the church of Christ and to care for the salvation of the fold entrusted to us, and to remove every cause of offence from the fold of our Saviour, with the advice and consent of our brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, and of all the prelates, and of those who have been trained in the canon and civil law, who are at our court, and with our own sure knowledge, we condemn all such appeals and prohibit them as erroneous and detestable.

From "Excecrabilis," in O.J. Thatcher and E. H. McNeal, trans., A Source Book for Mediaeval History (New York: Charles Scribner's, 1905), p. 332.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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(c)Paul Halsall Jan 1996
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