Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


(Litterae apostolicae sub plumbo). The most solemn and formal written mandate of the pope; used for releases of universal significance, canonization, universal papal laws, changes in ch. provinces, creation of orders, and matters of similar importance. Lat. bulla, “bubble,” was the lead or wax stamped to seal and authenticate mandates since 6th c. Since 1878 only consistorial bulls (signed by pope and cardinals) are thus sealed; less important ones are stamped and signed by the Cardinal Chancellor, a lesser official, and 2 notaries. Bulls begin with name of pope (without numeral), followed by “episcopus servus servorum Dei,” greeting, addresses, message. Bulls are designated by their first words. Important bulls are Clericis Laicos (Boniface VIII, 1296), threatening Fr. and Eng. kings with excommunication because of their high taxes; Unam Sanctam (Boniface VIII, 1302), containing the most sweeping claims ever advanced by the papacy (see also Two Swords); In Coena Domini (Urban V, 1362), excommunicating heretics, etc., by name (published with additions every Maundy Thursday till 1773); Exsurge, Domine (Leo X, June 15, 1520), the bull which Luther burned; Decet Romanum Pontificem (January 3, 1521), excommunicating Luther; Dominus ac Redemptor Noster (Clement XIV, 1773), abolishing the Jesuits, and Sollicitudo Omnium (Pius VII, 1814), reestablishing them; Ineffabilis (Pius IX, 1854), proclaiming the dogma of the Immaculate Conception; Pastor Aeternus (Pius IX, 1870), defining papal primacy and infallibility; Munificentissimus Deus (Pius XII, 1950), promulgating the Assumption of Mary. EL

See also Caeremoniale Episcoporum; Golden Bull; Reformation, Lutheran, 9.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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