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Syllabus of Errors

The Syllabus of Errors (Latin: Syllabus Errorum) was a document issued by Pope Pius IX in 1864 as an appendix to his encyclical Quanta Cura. It condemned as heresy 80 propositions, many on political topics, distributed over a set of ten subheadings:

After the Syllabus, it became heresy for a Roman Catholic to believe that "in the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship." (No. 77) It was heresy to believe that "the Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church." (No. 55) It was heresy to believe that "every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true." (No. 15) It was heresy to say that "the Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization." (No. 80)

Many of the statements in the Syllabus had been picked from previous Papal documents; collected in one place, they created a more complete picture of the social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. The document met with a mixed reception among Roman Catholics; generally only the most conservative of them were able to endorse the document unreservedly. The government of France briefly tried to suppress the circulation of the encyclical and the Syllabus within its borders. Within the Protestant world reactions were uniformly negative.

Some of the political or dogmatic propositions of the Syllabus may be abrogated by later documents coming from the Second Vatican Council in 1962; before the Council, the Syllabus represented the Roman Catholic Church's teachings on social and political subjects.

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