We have, from Our Apostolic Palace in Rome, from time to time, been made aware of vain striving, contestation, struggling, studying, cramming, dissertating, defending, and questing after various academical degrees sometimes called “doctorates.” We have inquired of Our Cardinal Secretary of State, Our Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda Fide, and Our Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation de Seminariis et Studiorum Universitatibus, and We have been dismayed, appalled, horrified, alarmed, and disgusted to learn that the vast majority of these so-called doctorates have been awarded without Our Apostolical Faculty. This is a stupendous, titanic, monumental, and gigantic crime against Our Apostolic Majesty, which We must vindicate with all Apostolical Rigour and Severity, in the sight of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, whose unworthy successor We are.
We have further been grieved to hear of the subjects of these false, pretended, perjured, perverse, protestantical, and otherwise very sordid degrees. It was Our hope, founded upon Our naïveté, that such degrees would be conferred, however illegally and impiously, in subjects of an improving nature, such as canon law, civil law, both laws, theology, metaphysics, natural science, and suchlike. We have, to Our horror and infinite dismay, discovered that they are awarded in such modernist and heretical subjects as philosophy, engineering, music, library science, social work, and education. That such an appalling, reprehensible, revolting, disgusting, offensive, impious, blasphemous, pagan, impious, and unhappy practice should have taken root in Christian countries is a grief beyond words to Our Apostolic Majesty. We reproach Ourselves first and foremost for not extirpating this plague sooner.
What compounds this unspeakable sorrow is the intelligence, brought before Us with such trembling by Our trusty and well-beloved Cardinal-Bishop, that persons holding these degrees insist upon arrogating, claiming, taking, using, and pretending to the title of “Doctor,” in professional, personal, theatrical, gustatory, potatory, and social contexts, as though they were dispossessed noblemen and -women using such titles as substitutes for their Freiherr or their Graf, their von or their zu. That one might use such a title when seeking tickets for the latest emetic spectacle on the Broad-Way in New-York or the East-End in London, as is often rumored to Us, is unspeakable and We, in Our Apostolical Duty to defend Our Flock, are determined to end the practice once and for all.
Now, therefore, ever mindful of Our great duty, We are pleased to ban, extirpate, eradicate, nullify, suppress, cancel, and forbid absolutely the striving after, acquiring, advertising, use, reference to, or insistence upon these pretended doctorates as schismatic, heretical, offensive to pious eyes and ears, unworthy of decent Christians, and altogether unsuitable for men of good will, and likewise enjoin most strictly and without any hope of relief even in the smallest degree, however small one might imagine such a degree, from Our Apostolic Severity and Rigour the use of the title “Doctor” in professional settings, social settings, when obtaining theatrical tickets, when seeking restaurant reservations, when dropping off dry-cleaning, when subscribing to magazines, when introducing oneself to new members at the Club, when having suits of clothes cut, or when doing anything whatsoever, however small and insignificant it may seem, among Christian people, whom, in Our most tender solicitude, We wish to protect and defend, lest they be bewitched and beguiled by the appalling error of wishing to appear be important and learned.
We are pleased to except from this, our irrevocable and irreformable decree, the eminent Doctor Hook and his companions in his justly famous Medicine Show, however. Having derived, in our long and lonely hours before our miraculous elevation to the Paparchy, endless consolation and solace from his popular song, “The Cover of the ‘Rolling Stone,’” We wish to confer upon the aforementioned Doctor a signal token of Our Apostolical Favour and Gratitude. And, with particular solicitude for the aged father, weighed down by the infirmities of age and care, of the eminent Doctor, forced by cruel circumstance to drive the eminent Doctor’s limousine, we do hereby concede a particular faculty to the said Doctor to use this title in perpetuity.
None may lawfully contravene, infringe upon, ignore, or avoid this our most solemn, binding, and final written communication and decree. Should anyone dare to attempt such a thing, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at Rome at Saint Peter’s on the Vatican Hill, and sealed with the Ring of the Fisherman, this forty-thousandth, seven-hundredth and we-care-not–what-else day of our Supreme Pontificature.
L.S. (Signed) HADRIAN P.M. vii.
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