Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

Papal Oath alleged 1 to have been taken by
Popes since at least A.D. 681, except by
Popes John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI

Attributed to His Holiness Pope St. Agatho

I vow to change nothing of the received Tradition, and nothing thereof I have found before me guarded by my God-pleasing predecessors, to encroach upon, to alter, or to permit any innovation therein;

To the contrary: with glowing affection as her truly faithful student and successor, to safeguard reverently the passed-on good, with my whole strength and utmost effort;

To cleanse all that is in contradiction to the canonical order, should such appear;

To guard the Holy Canons and Decrees of our Popes as if they were the Divine ordinances of Heaven, because I am conscious of Thee, whose place I take through the Grace of God, whose Vicarship I possess with Thy support, being subject to the severest accounting before Thy Divine Tribunal over all that I shall confess;

I swear to God Almighty and the Savior Jesus Christ that I will keep whatever has been revealed through Christ and His Successors and whatever the first councils and my predecessors have defined and declared.

I will keep without sacrifice to itself the discipline and the rite of the Church. I will put outside the Church whoever dares to go against this oath, may it be somebody else or I.

If I should undertake to act in anything of contrary sense, or should permit that it will be executed, Thou willst not be merciful to me on the dreadful Day of Divine Justice.

Accordingly, without exclusion, We subject to severest excommunication anyone -- be it ourselves or be it another -- who would dare to undertake anything new in contradiction to this constituted evangelic Tradition and the purity of the Orthodox Faith and the Christian Religion, or would seek to change anything by his opposing efforts, or would agree with those who undertake such a blasphemous venture. (Liber Diurnus Romanorum Pontificum, Patrologia Latina 1005, S. 54)


1 The "alleged" stems from the fact that the accuracy of this particular form of the oath is under question. It is so that Popes up to John Paul I took a papal oath, but the form of the oath is uncertain. The form above is the one most often presented as the traditional oath, but its accuracy is uncertain. This oath is cited in the book "
The Great Facade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Roman Catholic Church" (link will open in new browser window), written by Dr. Thomas Woods and Christopher Ferrara. An e-mail exchange with Dr. Woods, wherein I asked him about his sources, led to nothing authoritative. In other words, though you should be familiar with the above form of the oath because it is often seen in traditionalist circles, take it with a grain of salt.

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