So it is, dearest children; and in so affirming, our doctrine detaches itself from errors that have circulated and still surface in the culture of our time, and which could totally ruin our Christian conception of life and history. Modernism represented the characteristic expression of these errors, and under other names it is still topical . . .

We can then understand why the Catholic Church, yesterday and today, gives so much importance to the rigorous preservation of authentic Revelation, and considers it as an inviolable treasure, and has such a severe awareness of her fundamental duty to defend and transmit in unequivocal terms the doctrine of the faith; orthodoxy is her first concern; the pastoral magisterium her primary and providential function; in fact, apostolic teaching establishes the canons of his preaching; and the delivery of the Apostle Paul: Depositum custodi . . . constitutes for it such a commitment that it would be treason to violate.

The Church as a teacher does not invent its doctrine; she is witness, she is guardian, she is interpreter, she is intermediary; and, as regards the truths proper to the Christian message, it can be said to be conservative, intransigent; and to those who ask her to make her faith easier, more related to the tastes of the changing mentality of the times, she replies with the Apostles: Non possumus, we cannot (Act. 4, 20).

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Pope St. Paul VI

General Audience

January 19, 1972


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