The Declaration of Utrecht
September 24, 1889
1. We adhere faithfully to the Rule of Faith laid down by St. Vincent of Lerins
in these terms: Id teneamus, quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum
est; hoc est etenim vere proprieque catholicum. For this reason we preserve in
professing the faith of the primitive Church, as formulated in the oecumenical symbols and
specified precisely by the unanimously accepted decisions of the Oecumenical Councils held
in the undivided Church of the first thousand years.
2. We therefore reject the decrees of the so-called Council of the Vatican,
which were promulgated July 18th, 1870, concerning the infallibility and the universal
Episcopate of the Bishop of Rome, decrees which are in contradiction with the faith of the
ancient Church, and which destroy its ancient canonical constitution by attributing to the
Pope the plentitude of ecclesiastical powers over all Dioceses and over all the faithful.
By denial of this primatial jurisdiction we do not wish to deny the historical primacy
which several Oecumenical ouncils and Fathers of the ancient Church have attributed to the
Bishop of Rome by recognizing him as the Primus inter pares.
3. We also reject the dogma of the Immaculate Conception promulgated by Pius IX
in 1854 in defiance of the Holy Scriptures and in contradiction to the tradition of the
4. As for other Encyclicals published by the Bishops of Rome in recent times for
example, the Bulls Unigenitus and Auctorem fidei, and the Syllabus of 1864,
we reject them on all such points as are in contradiction with the doctrine of the
primitive Church, and we do not recognize them as binding on the consciences of the
faithful. We also renew the ancient protests of the Catholic Church of Holland against the
errors of the Roman Curia, and against its attacks upon the rights of national Churches.
5. We refuse to accept the decrees of the Council of Trent in matters of
discipline, and as for the dogmatic decisions of that Council we accept them only so far
as they are in harmony with the teaching of the primitive Church.
6. Considering that the Holy Eucharist has always been the true central point of
Catholic worship, we consider it our right to declare that we maintain with perfect
fidelity the ancient Catholic doctrine concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, by believing
that we receive the Body and Blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ under the species of bread
and wine. The Eucharistic celebration in the Church is neither a continual repetition nor
a renewal of the expiatory sacrifice which Jesus offered once for all upon the Cross: but
it is a sacrifice because it is the perpetual commemoration of the sacrifice offered upon
the Cross, and it is the act by which we represent upon earth and appropriate to ourselves
the one offering which Jesus Christ makes in Heaven, according to the Epistle to the
Hebrews 9:11-12, for the salvation of redeemed humanity, by appearing for us in the
presence of God (Heb. 9:24). The character of the Holy Eucharist being thus understood, it
is, at the same time, a sacrificial feast, by means of which the faithful in receiving the
Body and Blood of our Saviour, enter into communion with one another (I Cor. 10:17).
7. We hope that Catholic theologians, in maintaining the faith of the undivided
Church, will succeed in establishing an agreement upon questions which have been
controverted ever since the divisions which arose between the Churches. We exhort the
priests under our jurisdiction to teach, both by preaching and by the instruction of the
young, especially the essential Christian truths professed by all the Christian
confessions, to avoid, in discussing controverted doctrines, any violation of truth or
charity, and in word and deed to set an example to the members.
8. By maintaining and professing faithfully the doctrine of Jesus Christ, by
refusing to admit those errors which by the fault of men have crept into the Catholic
Church, by laying aside the abuses in ecclesiastical matters, together with the worldly
tendencies of the hierarchy, we believe that we shall be able to combat efficaciously the
great evils of our day, which are unbelief and indifference in matters of religion.