Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Pastoralis Officii

by Paul III


In this document from 1548, Pope Paul III praises the Spiritual Exercises compiled by Ignatius of Loyola and encourages the faithful to make full use of them.

Publisher & Date

Vatican, July 31, 1548

The cares of the pastoral charge of the whole flock of Christ en¬trusted to Us and Our devotion to the glory and praise of God impel Us to embrace what helps the salvation of souls and their spiritual profit, and cause Us to hearken to those who petition Us for what can foster and nourish piety in the faithful.

So Our beloved son, Francis de Borgia, Duke of Gandia, has lately brought it to Our notice that Our beloved son Ignatius de Loyola, General of the Society of Jesus, erected by Us in our beloved City and confirmed by Our Apostolic authority, has compiled certain instructions, or Spiritual Exercises, drawn from Holy Writ and from experience in the spiritual life, and has reduced them to an order which is excellently adapted to move piously the souls of the faithful, and that they are very useful and wholesome for the spiritual conso¬lation and profit of the same. This the said Duke Francis has come to know by report from many places and by clear evidence at Barcelona, Valencia., and Gandia.

Hence he has humbly begged Us to cause the aforesaid instructions and Spiritual Exercises to be examined, so that their fruit may be more spread, and more of the faithful may be induced to use them with greater devotion. And he has begged Us, should We find them worthy, to approve and praise them and out of Our Apostolic good¬ness to make other provision in the premises.

We therefore have caused these instructions and Exercises to be examined, and by the testimony of and report made to Us by Our beloved son, John Cardinal Priest of the Title of St. Clement, Bishop of Burgos and Inquisitor, Our venerable Brother Philip, Kishop of Saluciae, and Our Vicar-General in things spiritual in Rome, and Our beloved son Aegidius Foscararius, Master of Our Sacred Palace, have found that these Exercises are full of piety and holiness and that they are and will be extremely useful and salutary for the spir¬itual profit of the faithful.

We have besides, as We should, due regard to the rich fruits which Ignatius and the aforesaid Society founded by him are con¬stantly producing everywhere in the Church of God, and to the very great help which the said Exercises have proved in this.

Moved then by this petition, and with the aforesaid authority by these presents, and with Our certain knowledge, We approve, praise, and favor with the present writing the aforesaid instructions and Exercises and all and everything contained in them, and We earnestly exhort all and each of the faithful of both sexes, everywhere to em¬ploy instructions and Exercises so pious and to be instructed by them. . . .

Given at St. Mark's in Rome, under the seal of the Fisherman, 31 July 1548 in the 14th year of Our Pontificate.

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