In Caena Domini

In Caena Domini (Lat. at the Lord's Supper, the opening words of the document) is the name of a celebrated papal bull. "It is not, as other bulls, the work of a single pope, but, with additions and modifications at various times, dates back from the Middle Ages; some writers tracing it to Martin V, others to Clement V, and some to Boniface VIII. Its present form, however, it received from the popes Julius II and Paul III, and, finally, from Urban VIII, in 1627, from that time it continued for a century and a half to be published annually on Holy Thursday," whence its name; afterwards Easter Monday was substituted. The contents of this bull have been a fertile subject of controversy. It may be briefly described as a summary of ecclesiastical censures, especially against all heretical sects, which are cursed in it by their several designations, their excommunication renewed, and the same punishment threatened to all who should be guilty of schism, sacrilege, usurpation of the rights of the Church or of the pope, forcible and unlawful seizure of Church property, personal violence against ecclesiastics, unlawful interruption of the free intercourse of the faithful with Rome, etc. The bull, however, although, as indicated, mainly dealing with offences against the Church, also denounces, under similar censures, the crimes of piracy, plunder of shipwrecked goods, forgery, etc. This bill, being regarded by most of the crowned heads of Europe as an infringement of their rights, was in the 17th century opposed by nearly all the courts, even the most Roman Catholic; and at length, in 1770, according to some authorities (e.g. Hase, History of the Christian Church), Clement XIV discontinued its publication. Janus (Pope and Council, p. 387), however, says that it is still treated in the Roman tribunals as having legal force, and, according to the accounts of some eminent travelers who have visited Rome, it appears that the sentence of excommunication is still read, though in a more simple form. Eliza von der Recke (Tagebuch einer Reise durch einen Theil Dezutschlands u. d. Italien, Berlin, 1817, 4:95), under date of April 6, 1806, relates that after the pope had blessed the people from the balcony of the church of St. Peter, "he read out a paper, then tore it, and threw the fragments down among the people. A great tumult then arose, every one 'striving to secure a piece of the paper, but I do not know for what purpose, for, as I was told, the paper contained nothing but the form of excommunication always pronounced on this occasion against all who are not Romanists. This concluded the festival." This is confirmed by what chancellor. Gottling, of Jena, relates as having seen in his journey; in 828 (in Rohr, Kritische Predigerbibliothek, 11, 379 sq.). It thus seems proved that the bull itself, whose § 21 says: "Volentes prasentes nostros processus ac omnia et quaecunque his literis contenta, quousque alii huiusmodi processus a Nobis ant Romano-Pontifice pro tempore existente fiant aut publicentur, durare suosque effectus omnino sortiri," is not completely abolished yet. No pope has so far substituted a new bull for the old, and its principles concerning the cases reserved for the pope are yet in full force. In the Historisch-politische Blutter of Phillips and Gorres (Munich, 1847, vol. 21) we find it stated that "In foro conscientice, the bull is only valid yet in so far as its stipulations have not in other acts been altered by the Church herself." Its efficiency in foro externo, so much desired by Rome, is everywhere opposed in self-defense by the civil powers. For the special history of this bull, and proofs of its present validity in the Romish Church, see Biber, Bull in Comna Domini, transl. (Lond. 1848); Biber, Papal Diplomacy and the Bull in Ccena Dominsi (Lond. 1848); Lebret, Geschichte d. Bulle (Lpz. 1768, 4 vols.); Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 8, 843; Chambers, Cyclop. 5, 530; Schröckh, Kirchengesch. s. d. Reformation, 3:266, 387; Janus, Pope and Council, p. 384 sq.; cardinal Erskine to Sir J.C. Hippisley, in Rep. of Comm. of House of Commons on the Laws regarding-the Regulation of the Roman Cath. subjects (1816, p. 218). (J. H. W.)

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