Cum praeexcelsa was one of the first bulls that gave rise to an intermittent controversy. On one side were the Franciscan who supported the doctrine of the Imaculate Conception, and on the other the Dominicans who were opposed. The bull was issued at a time when plague was ravaging the country.When we investigate with the scrutiny of devout consideration the exalted insignia of the merits with which the queen of the heavens, the glorious virgin mother of God, advanced to the ethereal dwellings, shining amid the constellations as the morning star, and revolve beneath the secrets of our breast, that she herself, as the path of mercy, the mother of grace, and the friend of piety, the consoler of the human race, the sedulous and vigilant advocate on behalf of the salvation of the faithful, who are oppressed by the load of their offences, intercedes with the King whom she has brought forth:
We consider it meet, nay, rather due, to invite by indulgences and the remissions of sins, that they may thereby become more fitted for divine grace, by the merits and intercession of the same Virgin, all the faithful in Christ to return thanks and praises for the wonderful conception of the immaculate Virgin to Almighty God (where Providence regarding from eternity the humility of the same Virgin, for the reconciling to its author human nature, which, by the fall of the first man, became subject unto eternal death, by the preparation of the Holy Ghost, constituted her as the habitation of his Only Begotten, from whom he should take on him the flesh of our mortality for the redemption of his people, and she should remain, nevertheless, an immaculate virgin after the birth), and offer up Masses and other Divine Offices instituted for that purpose in the church of God, and be present at them.
Induced, therefore, by this consideration, confiding in the authority of the same Almighty God, and in that of his blessed apostles Peter and Paul, by the apostolic authority, which is to be in force for ever, by this constitution, we decree and ordain, that all and every one of the faithful of Christ, of both sexes, who shall devoutly celebrate and offer up on the day of the festival of the Conception of the same Virgin Mary, and during its octave, the mass and office of the Conception of the same glorious Virgin, according to the pious, devout, and praise-worthy ordinance of our beloved son Leonardi de Nogarole, clerk of Verona, our notary, and the institution of such Mass and Office which emanated down from us, or shall be present thereat in the canonical hours ;
As often as they shall do so, they are to obtain the same precise indulgence and remission of sins, which, according to the constitutions of Urban IV., of happy memory, approved at the Council of Vienna, and of Martin V., and of other Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, those are entitled to, who celebrate and offer up the Mass in canonical hours at the festival of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ from the first evening and during its octave, according to the constitution of the Roman Church, or who are present at the mass, at the office, and at such hours ; these presents to be in force for all time.
Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 1476, third of the calends of March, in the sixth year of our pontificate.
First Published in December, 2008.