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Author Topic: Question regarding Papal Infallibility  (Read 8282 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 29, 2009, 02:56:28 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I have often wondered this very curious little item about papal infallibility that my Maronite priest pointed out to me about a year ago. Why did a council say that the Pope was infallible. Why didn't the Pope just declare it himself? What would he have to lose in doing so? After all, why would a council make it so if the Latins condemned conciliarism as a heresy?

Please don't mistake me. I do not have an ax to grind with Catholicism. I have just always wondered about this.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2009, 03:35:31 PM »

Maybe to add some more credibility to the doctrine. Anyway, I read somewhere (but unfortunately the source I read was in Italian) that the Pope at the time of the Council exercised some kind of psychological pressure on those cardinals who were about to vote against the dogma of Papal Infallibility (except for Dollinger and his folks, who in fact broke communion with Rome and founded the Old Catholic Church after the Council). Indeed he told them the words of Jesus to Peter "Peter, do you love me?" to every single of these cardinals, who found themselves about to be considered as traitors by the Pope. For this reason, this Council (which was represented almost exclusively by Italians, and only on a minor extent by Germans and other worldwide cardinals) was overwhelmed with supporters of Papal Infallibility, so that they would please the Pope! Unfortunately I can't verify the source (I just can't find the original text to quote it directly).
For reasons of clarity, RCs don't believe that the Pope invents new dogmas, but just that he is the only privileged interpreter of Tradition and as such he can define doctrines never defined before, since RCs think it's always been believed (maybe unconsciously as a "latent tradition"). This makes the role of Papal Infallibility as a sort of guarantee of the Catholic Faith, and even the ECs have validity only in function of their Papal signature (so they wouldn't be considered "useless", since they just demonstrate that the Pope was right because of his Infallibility). I know this sounds odd, but I think it works more or less like this!

Hope this helps (and also that I'm right in my conclusions)

In Christ,  Alex
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009, 07:06:11 PM »

I never really thought about that until it was mentioned in another forum by a fellow Maronite.  It is interesting though that he couldn't just declare it himself.  But I would assume that the defense would be similar to how Alexander explained it.  It would be said that it is just a sign of the fact that it was believed by the whole of the Church.
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 12:48:52 AM »

This is slightly incorrect.  The Catholic Church believes that not only the Pope (speaking ex cathedra) but an Ecumenical Council, can further define doctrines, usually in light of controversies and heresies.  Also, because the doctrine may have been ambiguous in the past (from the Catholic perspective), it would make more sense for it to come from an Ecumenical Council, and not the Pope himself, which would not make sense from the outside looking in.

Wikipedia has a decent overview of it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility


Maybe to add some more credibility to the doctrine. Anyway, I read somewhere (but unfortunately the source I read was in Italian) that the Pope at the time of the Council exercised some kind of psychological pressure on those cardinals who were about to vote against the dogma of Papal Infallibility (except for Dollinger and his folks, who in fact broke communion with Rome and founded the Old Catholic Church after the Council). Indeed he told them the words of Jesus to Peter "Peter, do you love me?" to every single of these cardinals, who found themselves about to be considered as traitors by the Pope. For this reason, this Council (which was represented almost exclusively by Italians, and only on a minor extent by Germans and other worldwide cardinals) was overwhelmed with supporters of Papal Infallibility, so that they would please the Pope! Unfortunately I can't verify the source (I just can't find the original text to quote it directly).
For reasons of clarity, RCs don't believe that the Pope invents new dogmas, but just that he is the only privileged interpreter of Tradition and as such he can define doctrines never defined before, since RCs think it's always been believed (maybe unconsciously as a "latent tradition"). This makes the role of Papal Infallibility as a sort of guarantee of the Catholic Faith, and even the ECs have validity only in function of their Papal signature (so they wouldn't be considered "useless", since they just demonstrate that the Pope was right because of his Infallibility). I know this sounds odd, but I think it works more or less like this!

Hope this helps (and also that I'm right in my conclusions)

In Christ,  Alex

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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2009, 12:25:17 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I have often wondered this very curious little item about papal infallibility that my Maronite priest pointed out to me about a year ago. Why did a council say that the Pope was infallible. Why didn't the Pope just declare it himself? What would he have to lose in doing so? After all, why would a council make it so if the Latins condemned conciliarism as a heresy?

Please don't mistake me. I do not have an ax to grind with Catholicism. I have just always wondered about this.

In Christ,
Andrew


Maybe for the same reasons there was a Vatican II -- why hold another Ecumenical Council when the Pope can just declare more dogma was a common criticism.

The Pope is not a dictator that just willy-nilly defines dogma. Even in those instances that the Pope has invoked his Ex Cathedra authority, it was after long conciliar discussion getting input from all the Bishops.
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2009, 12:38:31 PM »

The problem is that the Vatican holds that an Ecumenical Council is Ecumenical only when the pope of Rome calls it and approves its decisions. So we are back to ex cathedra again.

This is slightly incorrect.  The Catholic Church believes that not only the Pope (speaking ex cathedra) but an Ecumenical Council, can further define doctrines, usually in light of controversies and heresies.  Also, because the doctrine may have been ambiguous in the past (from the Catholic perspective), it would make more sense for it to come from an Ecumenical Council, and not the Pope himself, which would not make sense from the outside looking in.

Wikipedia has a decent overview of it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility


Maybe to add some more credibility to the doctrine. Anyway, I read somewhere (but unfortunately the source I read was in Italian) that the Pope at the time of the Council exercised some kind of psychological pressure on those cardinals who were about to vote against the dogma of Papal Infallibility (except for Dollinger and his folks, who in fact broke communion with Rome and founded the Old Catholic Church after the Council). Indeed he told them the words of Jesus to Peter "Peter, do you love me?" to every single of these cardinals, who found themselves about to be considered as traitors by the Pope. For this reason, this Council (which was represented almost exclusively by Italians, and only on a minor extent by Germans and other worldwide cardinals) was overwhelmed with supporters of Papal Infallibility, so that they would please the Pope! Unfortunately I can't verify the source (I just can't find the original text to quote it directly).
For reasons of clarity, RCs don't believe that the Pope invents new dogmas, but just that he is the only privileged interpreter of Tradition and as such he can define doctrines never defined before, since RCs think it's always been believed (maybe unconsciously as a "latent tradition"). This makes the role of Papal Infallibility as a sort of guarantee of the Catholic Faith, and even the ECs have validity only in function of their Papal signature (so they wouldn't be considered "useless", since they just demonstrate that the Pope was right because of his Infallibility). I know this sounds odd, but I think it works more or less like this!

Hope this helps (and also that I'm right in my conclusions)

In Christ,  Alex


Glory to Jesus Christ!

I have often wondered this very curious little item about papal infallibility that my Maronite priest pointed out to me about a year ago. Why did a council say that the Pope was infallible. Why didn't the Pope just declare it himself? What would he have to lose in doing so? After all, why would a council make it so if the Latins condemned conciliarism as a heresy?

Please don't mistake me. I do not have an ax to grind with Catholicism. I have just always wondered about this.

In Christ,
Andrew


Maybe for the same reasons there was a Vatican II -- why hold another Ecumenical Council when the Pope can just declare more dogma was a common criticism.

The Pope is not a dictator that just willy-nilly defines dogma. Even in those instances that the Pope has invoked his Ex Cathedra authority, it was after long conciliar discussion getting input from all the Bishops.

Can we get a list of those times he has "invoked his Ex Cathedra authority?"
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2009, 01:37:03 PM »

The problem is that the Vatican holds that an Ecumenical Council is Ecumenical only when the pope of Rome calls it and approves its decisions. So we are back to ex cathedra again.
Not exactly. The requirement that the Pope call an Ecumenical Council is a canonical requirement not a theological one. As I'm sure you well know, the Emperors convened the first several Ecumenical Councils. The requirement that the Pope approve of the decrees and canons is more theological in nature, part of the Pope's commission to 'confirm the brethren'. This can be seen being exercised back in Constantinople I which wasn't considered Ecumenical for decades and even then, those canons that the Pope line vetoed (to borrow a phrase) were not listed among the official canons of the Council for at least several centuries.

Can we get a list of those times he has "invoked his Ex Cathedra authority?"
The problem is that Tradition is much more organic than that. When passing on doctrines, there is no tag for "this is from an Ecumenical Council", "this is from an Ex Cathedra statement", etc. We are taught what we must believe and the reasons behind such teachings, but unless one pours through the transcripts of the Ecumenical Councils and all the writings of the Popes, etc. one can't determine easily when a teaching first became binding on the faithful (though some are more prominent and easily knowable than others). I hope you understand that and that I didn't leave anything out.

Here are the Ex Cathedra statements that I am aware of:

Assumption: Pope Pius XII - Munificentissimus Deus (Nov. 1, 1950)
Immaculate Conception: Pope Pius IX - Ineffabilis Deus (Dec. 8, 1854)
Beatific Vision:  Pope Benedict XII - Benedictus Deus (1336)

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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2009, 02:20:42 PM »

The problem is that the Vatican holds that an Ecumenical Council is Ecumenical only when the pope of Rome calls it and approves its decisions. So we are back to ex cathedra again.
Not exactly. The requirement that the Pope call an Ecumenical Council is a canonical requirement not a theological one. As I'm sure you well know, the Emperors convened the first several Ecumenical Councils. The requirement that the Pope approve of the decrees and canons is more theological in nature, part of the Pope's commission to 'confirm the brethren'. This can be seen being exercised back in Constantinople I which wasn't considered Ecumenical for decades and even then, those canons that the Pope line vetoed (to borrow a phrase) were not listed among the official canons of the Council for at least several centuries.

I'll have to dredge up Vatican II LG on the Vatican calling councils, but as to Constantinople I, I deal with the fallacies on that here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14289.0.html

Can we get a list of those times he has "invoked his Ex Cathedra authority?"
The problem is that Tradition is much more organic than that. When passing on doctrines, there is no tag for "this is from an Ecumenical Council", "this is from an Ex Cathedra statement", etc. We are taught what we must believe and the reasons behind such teachings, but unless one pours through the transcripts of the Ecumenical Councils and all the writings of the Popes, etc. one can't determine easily when a teaching first became binding on the faithful (though some are more prominent and easily knowable than others). I hope you understand that and that I didn't leave anything out.

Here are the Ex Cathedra statements that I am aware of:

Assumption: Pope Pius XII - Munificentissimus Deus (Nov. 1, 1950)
Immaculate Conception: Pope Pius IX - Ineffabilis Deus (Dec. 8, 1854)
Beatific Vision:  Pope Benedict XII - Benedictus Deus (1336)

The last issued to correct the other "infallible Pope," John XXII (or XX, like the list of Ecumenical Councils, the list of popes of the Vatican has been "revised" over time.  Development of doctrine I guess):
Quote
In the last years of John's pontificate there arose a dogmatic conflict about the Beatific Vision, which was brought on by himself, and which his enemies made use of to discredit him. Before his elevation to the Holy See, he had written a work on this question, in which he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. After becoming pope, he advanced the same teaching in his sermons. In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical. A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope's view. Pope John wrote to King Philip IV on the matter (November, 1333), and emphasized the fact that, as long as the Holy See had not given a decision, the theologians enjoyed perfect freedom in this matter. In December, 1333, the theologians at Paris, after a consultation on the question, decided in favour of the doctrine that the souls of the blessed departed saw God immediately after death or after their complete purification; at the same time they pointed out that the pope had given no decision on this question but only advanced his personal opinion, and now petitioned the pope to confirm their decision. John appointed a commission at Avignon to study the writings of the Fathers, and to discuss further the disputed question. In a consistory held on 3 January, 1334, the pope explicitly declared that he had never meant to teach aught contrary to Holy Scripture or the rule of faith and in fact had not intended to give any decision whatever. Before his death he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08431a.htm

If he so declared, why was Benedictus Deus needed?
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2009, 05:42:15 PM »

I'll have to dredge up Vatican II LG on the Vatican calling councils, but as to Constantinople I, I deal with the fallacies on that here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14289.0.html
Is there a particular point on that thread you're trying to make? The only thing I see related to Constantinople I was that it wasn't called by the Pope, which I already said is a current canonical requirement.


The last issued to correct the other "infallible Pope," John XXII (or XX, like the list of Ecumenical Councils, the list of popes of the Vatican has been "revised" over time.  Development of doctrine I guess):
Quote
In the last years of John's pontificate there arose a dogmatic conflict about the Beatific Vision, which was brought on by himself, and which his enemies made use of to discredit him. Before his elevation to the Holy See, he had written a work on this question, in which he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. After becoming pope, he advanced the same teaching in his sermons. In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical. A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope's view. Pope John wrote to King Philip IV on the matter (November, 1333), and emphasized the fact that, as long as the Holy See had not given a decision, the theologians enjoyed perfect freedom in this matter. In December, 1333, the theologians at Paris, after a consultation on the question, decided in favour of the doctrine that the souls of the blessed departed saw God immediately after death or after their complete purification; at the same time they pointed out that the pope had given no decision on this question but only advanced his personal opinion, and now petitioned the pope to confirm their decision. John appointed a commission at Avignon to study the writings of the Fathers, and to discuss further the disputed question. In a consistory held on 3 January, 1334, the pope explicitly declared that he had never meant to teach aught contrary to Holy Scripture or the rule of faith and in fact had not intended to give any decision whatever. Before his death he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08431a.htm

If he so declared, why was Benedictus Deus needed?
Pope John XXII didn't officially declare anything. He left it to be debated by the current theologians. The proclamation by Pope Benedict XII defined the Beatific Vision and put an end to the debate. What you see written about: "Before his death he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision." is that of Pope John XXII's personal opinion and not his exercise of papal infallibility.
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2009, 06:05:35 PM »

"This is slightly incorrect.  The Catholic Church believes that not only the Pope (speaking ex cathedra) but an Ecumenical Council, can further define doctrines, usually in light of controversies and heresies."

What you are saying here is slightly misleading. The only reason that an Ecumenical Council is regarded as infallible is because its status as an Ecumenical Council is decided on the basis of whether or not the Pope participated in it or confirmed its findings. Thus, the infallibility of an Ecumenical Council in the RC Tradition is nothing more than an extension of the infallibility of the Pope.
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2009, 06:13:38 PM »

"Not exactly. The requirement that the Pope call an Ecumenical Council is a canonical requirement not a theological one. As I'm sure you well know, the Emperors convened the first several Ecumenical Councils. The requirement that the Pope approve of the decrees and canons is more theological in nature, part of the Pope's commission to 'confirm the brethren'. This can be seen being exercised back in Constantinople I which wasn't considered Ecumenical for decades and even then, those canons that the Pope line vetoed (to borrow a phrase) were not listed among the official canons of the Council for at least several centuries."

It is not the calling of the council by the Pope that is significant. It is the fact that his confirmation of the council is required for it to be regarded with ecumenical status. At this, the confirmation of the Pope is viewed as the defining quality that establishes a council as ecumenical. This is because the Pope is viewed as the representative, catholic, universal, ecumenical, and unitive principal in the Church, aside even from the College of the Bishops.
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2009, 06:15:04 PM »

"This is slightly incorrect.  The Catholic Church believes that not only the Pope (speaking ex cathedra) but an Ecumenical Council, can further define doctrines, usually in light of controversies and heresies."

What you are saying here is slightly misleading. The only reason that an Ecumenical Council is regarded as infallible is because its status as an Ecumenical Council is decided on the basis of whether or not the Pope participated in it or confirmed its findings. Thus, the infallibility of an Ecumenical Council in the RC Tradition is nothing more than an extension of the infallibility of the Pope.
Actually, it is authoritative and infallible because it is an exercise of the Magisterium. An Ecumenical Council and an Ex Cathedra decree are both Extraordinary Forms of Magisterial Teaching.
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2009, 06:35:43 PM »

"Actually, it is authoritative and infallible because it is an exercise of the Magisterium. An Ecumenical Council and an Ex Cathedra decree are both Extraordinary Forms of Magisterial Teaching."

I fail to see how the definitions of an Ecumenical Council are not a form of ex cathedra papal statements in RC ecclesiology.
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2009, 01:50:23 PM »

I fail to see how the definitions of an Ecumenical Council are not a form of ex cathedra papal statements in RC ecclesiology.

Consider this analogy: In the United States, Congress can pass laws but those laws must be approved of by the President to take force. However, the President without Congress can enact laws on his own through presidential decrees, mandates, etc.
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« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2009, 02:27:20 PM »

I fail to see how the definitions of an Ecumenical Council are not a form of ex cathedra papal statements in RC ecclesiology.

Consider this analogy: In the United States, Congress can pass laws but those laws must be approved of by the President to take force. However, the President without Congress can enact laws on his own through presidential decrees, mandates, etc.

False analogy, if not outright distortion of presidential powers.
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« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2009, 02:33:31 PM »

I fail to see how the definitions of an Ecumenical Council are not a form of ex cathedra papal statements in RC ecclesiology.

Consider this analogy: In the United States, Congress can pass laws but those laws must be approved of by the President to take force. However, the President without Congress can enact laws on his own through presidential decrees, mandates, etc.

False analogy, if not outright distortion of presidential powers.

Imperfect, yes as all analogies are -- but far from false. deusveritasest wasn't understanding how an Ecumenical Council and an Ex Cathedra aren't the same thing and this analogy is meant to help that misunderstanding. And yes, the President has real, though in many ways limited, power to operate without Congress.
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« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2009, 03:10:13 PM »

I fail to see how the definitions of an Ecumenical Council are not a form of ex cathedra papal statements in RC ecclesiology.

Consider this analogy: In the United States, Congress can pass laws but those laws must be approved of by the President to take force. However, the President without Congress can enact laws on his own through presidential decrees, mandates, etc. 

False analogy, if not outright distortion of presidential powers. 

Imperfect, yes as all analogies are -- but far from false. deusveritasest wasn't understanding how an Ecumenical Council and an Ex Cathedra aren't the same thing and this analogy is meant to help that misunderstanding. And yes, the President has real, though in many ways limited, power to operate without Congress.

And Congress has ways of enacting legislation that is against the President's wishes (i.e. over-riding a veto).
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« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2009, 05:17:22 PM »

"Consider this analogy: In the United States, Congress can pass laws but those laws must be approved of by the President to take force. However, the President without Congress can enact laws on his own through presidential decrees, mandates, etc."

How is the approval of the findings of an Ecumenical Council by the Pope not an ex cathedra statement?
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2009, 10:56:53 AM »

I fail to see how the definitions of an Ecumenical Council are not a form of ex cathedra papal statements in RC ecclesiology.

Consider this analogy: In the United States, Congress can pass laws but those laws must be approved of by the President to take force. However, the President without Congress can enact laws on his own through presidential decrees, mandates, etc. 

False analogy, if not outright distortion of presidential powers. 

Imperfect, yes as all analogies are -- but far from false. deusveritasest wasn't understanding how an Ecumenical Council and an Ex Cathedra aren't the same thing and this analogy is meant to help that misunderstanding. And yes, the President has real, though in many ways limited, power to operate without Congress.

And Congress has ways of enacting legislation that is against the President's wishes (i.e. over-riding a veto).

It was meant to be a g e n e r a l analogy and not to imply a 1-to-1 exact duplication.
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« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2009, 11:01:42 AM »

How is the approval of the findings of an Ecumenical Council by the Pope not an ex cathedra statement?
While both involve the Pope, they are not the same thing. They are both part of the workings of the Magisterium, and both are extraordinary uses thereof. But, they are different. In one, the entire College of Bishops, with the Pope as their head, comes together in an extraordinary synod. In the other, the Pope, speaking in his capacity as head of the Universal Church and speaking for the Universal Church binds the Church to a particular doctrine. Hopefully that makes a little sense to you.


I have a question for you -- to your mind, what makes an Ecumenical Council binding on the Church?
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2009, 12:15:19 PM »

I'll have to dredge up Vatican II LG on the Vatican calling councils, but as to Constantinople I, I deal with the fallacies on that here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14289.0.html
Is there a particular point on that thread you're trying to make? The only thing I see related to Constantinople I was that it wasn't called by the Pope, which I already said is a current canonical requirement.

Wasn't called, wasn't presided, wasn't confirmed by the Pope of Rome before it was recognized as ecumenical and in effect.  The Pope of Rome wasn't even represented, no bishop from the West attended: only bishops from Thessalonika etc. in Rome's patriarchate attended.  It was opened and presided by SS Meletios (to whom Rome had set up a rival patriarch) and Gregory (whom Rome was not in communion with).


The last issued to correct the other "infallible Pope," John XXII (or XX, like the list of Ecumenical Councils, the list of popes of the Vatican has been "revised" over time.  Development of doctrine I guess):
Quote
In the last years of John's pontificate there arose a dogmatic conflict about the Beatific Vision, which was brought on by himself, and which his enemies made use of to discredit him. Before his elevation to the Holy See, he had written a work on this question, in which he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. After becoming pope, he advanced the same teaching in his sermons. In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical. A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope's view. Pope John wrote to King Philip IV on the matter (November, 1333), and emphasized the fact that, as long as the Holy See had not given a decision, the theologians enjoyed perfect freedom in this matter. In December, 1333, the theologians at Paris, after a consultation on the question, decided in favour of the doctrine that the souls of the blessed departed saw God immediately after death or after their complete purification; at the same time they pointed out that the pope had given no decision on this question but only advanced his personal opinion, and now petitioned the pope to confirm their decision. John appointed a commission at Avignon to study the writings of the Fathers, and to discuss further the disputed question. In a consistory held on 3 January, 1334, the pope explicitly declared that he had never meant to teach aught contrary to Holy Scripture or the rule of faith and in fact had not intended to give any decision whatever. Before his death he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08431a.htm

If he so declared, why was Benedictus Deus needed?
Pope John XXII didn't officially declare anything.

So of course you now claim.  But we still don't have that official list of when the pope speaks ex cathedra, nor an official definition of how to tell when he does. Vatican II explicitely enjoins the faithful to give the pope of Rome the same "assent of the will" when he doesn't speak infallibly.  So it isn't clear what "papal infallibility" clears up.


Quote
He left it to be debated by the current theologians. The proclamation by Pope Benedict XII defined the Beatific Vision and put an end to the debate. What you see written about: "Before his death he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision." is that of Pope John XXII's personal opinion and not his exercise of papal infallibility.

So the revisionists (and remember, John Roman numeral is a revision) say he withdrew it. Withdrew it how?  Do we have a record besides what Benedict XII said John said?  Btw, it is interesting because Benedictus Deus doesn't usually appear on the list of ex cathedra.
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« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2009, 12:52:22 AM »

So of course you now claim.  But we still don't have that official list of when the pope speaks ex cathedra, nor an official definition of how to tell when he does. Vatican II explicitely enjoins the faithful to give the pope of Rome the same "assent of the will" when he doesn't speak infallibly.  So it isn't clear what "papal infallibility" clears up.

I believe that the definition was supposed to explicitly affirm that Gallicanism - i.e. a specific set of ideas about local church-local government-Vatican relations that was problematic in the 17-1800s - is heterodox.   No more, no less.   I don't think we'll ever see a "official list" of what's fallible and infallible.

Re: the OP - German Catholic Father Hermann Pottmeyer's book "Towards a Papacy in Communion" discusses the context behind Vatican I, its meaning, how it relates to councils and his opinions on how it relates to the Church's history, in depth.  It's a "popular" (i.e. shorter and unfootnoted) version of his other works on Vatican I and the Papacy - one of which was included in the official Orthodox-Catholic dialogue a few years ago.  That work relied heavily on the official notes of Vatican I, which I don't think have been ever translated into English (and for all I know maybe never even printed).
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« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2009, 01:01:29 AM »

"While both involve the Pope, they are not the same thing. They are both part of the workings of the Magisterium, and both are extraordinary uses thereof. But, they are different. In one, the entire College of Bishops, with the Pope as their head, comes together in an extraordinary synod. In the other, the Pope, speaking in his capacity as head of the Universal Church and speaking for the Universal Church binds the Church to a particular doctrine. Hopefully that makes a little sense to you."

But isn't it the case sometimes that the Pope is not present in the Ecumenical Council and rather confirms it after the fact?

"I have a question for you -- to your mind, what makes an Ecumenical Council binding on the Church?"

The quality of a council being universal is not inherent to it. What makes a council a Universal Council is its confirmation by the Church at large. A council can be not a universal council in and of itself, but then receive universal status because of the Church's later acceptance of it. The First Council of Ephesus is a good example. In and of itself, the First Council of Ephesus only received recognition from the European and African churches. It thus lacked ecumenical status because it hadn't been recognized by the Asian section of the Church, which constituted a considerable amount. The First Council of Ephesus, is thus only an Ecumenical Council because of the Formula of Reunion of 433, when the Asian church accepted it and reunited with the African church.
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« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2009, 02:03:37 AM »

REPLY to REPLY #22

In Orthodoxy, doctrine (matters of faith that must be believed) must also be confirmed by the subsequent Ecumenical Synod (Council).
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« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2009, 11:18:29 AM »



But isn't it the case sometimes that the Pope is not present in the Ecumenical Council and rather confirms it after the fact?


That is what I've been told by almost every single Catholic I've ever discussed this topic with.  It seems that Catholics aren't quite sure what the "true" belief is either on this issue. Wink

I've ALWAYS been told, and even prominent Catholics like Fr. Mitch Pacwa have stated a Council is Ecumenical because the Pope says it is! And yet we have a Catholic here saying that is not the Catholic understanding of the Pope "ratifying" a Council? I'm really confused?! Which is? I've got a CCC but I'm too lazy to go look it up right now. Cheesy

For me the big issue is what someone else posted, (I forgot who), that no one, even in the Catholic Church is sure exactly "when" the Pope is speaking Ex Cathedra, or when he is speaking his opinion. (the document declaring barrier contraception a mortal sin for example is accepted by MOST as infallible, yet the Pope I don't believe ever used that phrase or said "this is ex cathedra"). I do not wish to turn this into a discussion about THAT issue, but it seems to be the most recent document which continues to be disputed WITHIN the Church as to it's infallibility. Most say it is, but others say it isn't for the very reason the document doesn't SAY it's infallible. So how is a Catholic to know?

One more, not so controversial example is modern CCC. When I read the intro to that book by Pope John Paul II, the language seems to be quite clear to me that he is declaring "this is official teaching on matters of faith"...and yet a number Catholics not only do not accept it as "infallible",  some do not even accept it as a legitimate "expression" of the Catholic faith. And yet, I read JPII's words and to me it sounds like he's saying "this book is infallible teaching"...even though he doesn't expressly use those exact words. So if the Pope isn't going to write "this document contains infallible dogma", then how do we know which is and which isn't? It seems it comes down to consensus, which is no different than the Orthodox model. (with the, what 2 exceptions where the Pope actually has declared something Ex Cathedra)


This is in no ways meant to be a put down of the Catholic Church, I love the Catholic Church, and frankly Papal infallibility is not that big an issue to me personally, it just seems to not be as universally understood/explained and accepted (with the exception of Ex Cathedra statements) than some people claim. And that just confuses me. I'm confused enough by MY Church's beliefs...let alone the Catholic Church's beliefs which are supposed to be more logical. Smiley

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« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2009, 02:55:13 PM »

But isn't it the case sometimes that the Pope is not present in the Ecumenical Council and rather confirms it after the fact?
That's not the issue at hand -- the issue at hand is correcting your thought that the Catholic perspective is that an Ecumenical Council is merely a type of Papal Ex Cathedra statement, which it is not.


"I have a question for you -- to your mind, what makes an Ecumenical Council binding on the Church?"

The quality of a council being universal is not inherent to it. What makes a council a Universal Council is its confirmation by the Church at large. A council can be not a universal council in and of itself, but then receive universal status because of the Church's later acceptance of it. The First Council of Ephesus is a good example. In and of itself, the First Council of Ephesus only received recognition from the European and African churches. It thus lacked ecumenical status because it hadn't been recognized by the Asian section of the Church, which constituted a considerable amount. The First Council of Ephesus, is thus only an Ecumenical Council because of the Formula of Reunion of 433, when the Asian church accepted it and reunited with the African church.
What about the Council of Chalcedon, which thhe Oriental Orthodox have yet to accept?
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« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2009, 03:05:16 PM »

I've ALWAYS been told, and even prominent Catholics like Fr. Mitch Pacwa have stated a Council is Ecumenical because the Pope says it is! And yet we have a Catholic here saying that is not the Catholic understanding of the Pope "ratifying" a Council? I'm really confused?! Which is? I've got a CCC but I'm too lazy to go look it up right now. Cheesy
I never said that the acceptance of a Council by the Pope isn't required, of course it is. What I'm arguing against is the idea that an Ecumenical Council is merely a form of Papal Ex Cathedra statement.


So how is a Catholic to know?
Like I said earlier, our faith isn't so rigid and legalistic as non-Catholics like to think. Through our catechesis and Liturgy a Catholic knows what is infallible and why said teaching is important, but what is sometimes fuzzy is exactly where the teaching was originally defined, we don't generally add in with the teaching sidenotes of the <this was from an Ecumenical Council; this one was from a Papal decree; this one is from the Ordinary Magisterium; etc.>.   If that makes sense to you.

One more, not so controversial example is modern CCC. When I read the intro to that book by Pope John Paul II, the language seems to be quite clear to me that he is declaring "this is official teaching on matters of faith"...and yet a number Catholics not only do not accept it as "infallible",  some do not even accept it as a legitimate "expression" of the Catholic faith. And yet, I read JPII's words and to me it sounds like he's saying "this book is infallible teaching"...even though he doesn't expressly use those exact words. So if the Pope isn't going to write "this document contains infallible dogma", then how do we know which is and which isn't? It seems it comes down to consensus, which is no different than the Orthodox model. (with the, what 2 exceptions where the Pope actually has declared something Ex Cathedra)
The CCC is not an infallible document. It is a "sure norm for teaching the Catholic faith", and as such it repeats the infallible teaching of the Church. Can you see the difference?
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« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2009, 03:36:01 PM »

Wasn't called, wasn't presided, wasn't confirmed by the Pope of Rome before it was recognized as ecumenical and in effect.  The Pope of Rome wasn't even represented, no bishop from the West attended: only bishops from Thessalonika etc. in Rome's patriarchate attended.  It was opened and presided by SS Meletios (to whom Rome had set up a rival patriarch) and Gregory (whom Rome was not in communion with).
It wasn't recognized as Ecumenical until the Council of Chalcedon. And note that until the time of the Schism, when the Orthodox needed a historic revision to maintain the Patriarch of Constantinople's unlawful acts against the Catholic Church, all the Churches recognized only 27 canons of Chalcedon, not 28 (the Pope vetoed that one).

So of course you now claim.  But we still don't have that official list of when the pope speaks ex cathedra, nor an official definition of how to tell when he does. Vatican II explicitely enjoins the faithful to give the pope of Rome the same "assent of the will" when he doesn't speak infallibly.  So it isn't clear what "papal infallibility" clears up.
There is no such official list. The Catholic Church doesn't care so much to maintain pristine records as to how an infallible teaching is declared, whether by the Ordinary Magisterium, an Ecumenical Council, or Ex Cathedra. Once so declared, it enters the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church.



So the revisionists (and remember, John Roman numeral is a revision) say he withdrew it. Withdrew it how?  Do we have a record besides what Benedict XII said John said?  Btw, it is interesting because Benedictus Deus doesn't usually appear on the list of ex cathedra.
You do realize that the issue with John XXI(XX) was old news by the time Pope John XXII was elected Pope. And withdrew what? His personal non-binding opinion -- he did that on his deathbed, when he said he had changed his thoughts of what he held before. None of which was binding on the Catholic Church -- you do realize that even Pope's can have private opinions.

Do you have a list of Ex Cathedra statements? Would you like to share it with us?

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« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2009, 12:41:46 PM »


I never said that the acceptance of a Council by the Pope isn't required, of course it is. What I'm arguing against is the idea that an Ecumenical Council is merely a form of Papal Ex Cathedra statement.

Well, it is sort of a fine line though. If in the end what a Council says is true because the Pope says it's true, then indeed in "some sense" it is an extension of Ex Cathedra, since the Council is getting the stamp of a approval from the only one who can give it, no?

I DO see the line there you're distinguishing, but it is a fine one in my mind.


Quote
Like I said earlier, our faith isn't so rigid and legalistic as non-Catholics like to think. Through our catechesis and Liturgy a Catholic knows what is infallible and why said teaching is important, but what is sometimes fuzzy is exactly where the teaching was originally defined, we don't generally add in with the teaching sidenotes of the <this was from an Ecumenical Council; this one was from a Papal decree; this one is from the Ordinary Magisterium; etc.>.   If that makes sense to you.

it actually doesn't make sense to me...LOL!

In PRINCIPLE it makes sense, but I know and have talked to plenty of Catholics who are NOT sure what is and is not infallible dogma unless it's either, A.) from a Council, or B.) from an Ex Cathedra statement.

I realize you're saying the Catholic faith is more organic that it first appears, and I would agree. Trust me, I'm not anti-Catholic, anti-Western, anti-Pope, or anti-Augustinian at all. I pray the Rosary, read the Pope's writings and books, and find very little I actually disagree with in Catholic theology when understood through a western lens, (different ways of saying the same thing) but I still don't see the solid understanding of what is and is not infallible dogma that you say exists.




Quote
The CCC is not an infallible document. It is a "sure norm for teaching the Catholic faith", and as such it repeats the infallible teaching of the Church. Can you see the difference?

No I can't see the difference. Not because I cannot read, but because of the inconsistency of it's application. Again, the document on birth control doesn't say "this is infallible" and yet 99% of Catholics say it is. (and a few say it is NOT precisely because it DOESN'T say it's infallible) And yet, the language in the CCC to me, appears far stronger than the birth control document, and a majority of Catholics say that the CCC is NOT infallible teaching. (although I've heard some Catholics say that it IS)

I guess what I'm asking is this,

Does the Pope have to say "this is an ex Cathedra statement binding on all Catholics" for it to be Ex Cathedra?


I've been told, that the answer is NO! But if the answer is no, then how does anyone know what is and is not official dogma?

I've also been told that the answer is YES! So it seems Catholics are just as confused as us Orthodox...lol!

This is not to nitpick or bash Catholicism, so please don't think that's what I'm doing. My mother is Catholic, my neighbors are Catholic, and there are only a few minor issues that I don't accept in Catholic theology. I only ask this just to learn, because I've never really gotten a straight answer...or rather I have, and then gotten a contradictory answer from someone else. Smiley

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« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2009, 10:59:22 AM »

Well, it is sort of a fine line though. If in the end what a Council says is true because the Pope says it's true, then indeed in "some sense" it is an extension of Ex Cathedra, since the Council is getting the stamp of a approval from the only one who can give it, no?

I DO see the line there you're distinguishing, but it is a fine one in my mind.
Oh, how much of our faith is a fine line -- like the fine line of a single iota between orthodoxy and heresy (cf. homoousia/homoiousia).

But, it isn't in ""some sense" it is an extension of Ex Cathedra". There is only one gift of the charism of infallibility given by God to the Magisterium according to the Catholic Church. And this gift only extends to teachings of faith and morals. Discipline is not covered.

This gift can be exercised in three principle ways or modes. There is the Ordinary Magisterium, which is the day-to-day teachings of the Bishops united to their head the Pope. A primary example of this is evident in the writings of the Church Fathers. Or in the Liturgy.

Another mode of exercise of this infallibility is in an Ecumenical Council, when all the Bishops gather. And a third mode is when the Pope, speaking in the name of the Magisterium, proclaims some teaching that must be believed.

So in "some sense", all three modes are uses of the one infallibility.




it actually doesn't make sense to me...LOL!

In PRINCIPLE it makes sense, but I know and have talked to plenty of Catholics who are NOT sure what is and is not infallible dogma unless it's either, A.) from a Council, or B.) from an Ex Cathedra statement.

I realize you're saying the Catholic faith is more organic that it first appears, and I would agree. Trust me, I'm not anti-Catholic, anti-Western, anti-Pope, or anti-Augustinian at all. I pray the Rosary, read the Pope's writings and books, and find very little I actually disagree with in Catholic theology when understood through a western lens, (different ways of saying the same thing) but I still don't see the solid understanding of what is and is not infallible dogma that you say exists.
Let's not get into the discussion of how poorly catechized so many Catholics are today.




No I can't see the difference. Not because I cannot read, but because of the inconsistency of it's application. Again, the document on birth control doesn't say "this is infallible" and yet 99% of Catholics say it is. (and a few say it is NOT precisely because it DOESN'T say it's infallible) And yet, the language in the CCC to me, appears far stronger than the birth control document, and a majority of Catholics say that the CCC is NOT infallible teaching. (although I've heard some Catholics say that it IS)
The difference being that the Catechism is meant to be a tool to teach the faith. As such it echoes what the Catholic Church has infallibly taught throughout the ages. It also includes non-infallible discipline.

Try this analogy: I write a note that states -- Jesus is God. That note is not an infallible document because A) I do not have a charism for infallibility (you'll just have to take my word on that one Grin) and B) it was not intended as such. But, that statement is infallible, as we both now, because the Magisterium exercised its charism of infallibility at the First Council of Nicea. Thus the note echoes the Magisterium and teaches an infallible teaching.

As for Humanae Vitae (which I assume you are referencing), it is not an infallible document in the same sense as the note above. But, it is echoing the infallible teaching of the Magisterium. Thus, the teaching is infallible.


I guess what I'm asking is this,

Does the Pope have to say "this is an ex Cathedra statement binding on all Catholics" for it to be Ex Cathedra?


I've been told, that the answer is NO! But if the answer is no, then how does anyone know what is and is not official dogma?

I've also been told that the answer is YES! So it seems Catholics are just as confused as us Orthodox...lol!

This is not to nitpick or bash Catholicism, so please don't think that's what I'm doing. My mother is Catholic, my neighbors are Catholic, and there are only a few minor issues that I don't accept in Catholic theology. I only ask this just to learn, because I've never really gotten a straight answer...or rather I have, and then gotten a contradictory answer from someone else. Smiley
The Ex Cathedra statements take a very formal approach. The Pope will not walk down the hall and quickly blurt something to the janitor and intend for that to be an Ex Cathedra statement. To get a sense of the formality of a statement, let's look at the two undisputed Ex Cathedra statements:

Ineffabilis Deus -- Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception -- Pope Pius IX (December 8, 1854)
Quote
Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."

Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.

Munificentissimus Deus -- Proclamation of the Assumption -- Pope Pius XII (November 1, 1950)
Quote
44. For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

Notice the formality, the appeal to authority, the anathema that follows, etc.
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« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2009, 12:04:08 PM »

Thank you for your explanations. I've pretty much heard most of what you said many times before, and in the end I still think the inconsistencies that I mentioned are too great. (and I wasn't talking about poorly catechized Catholics, but Catholics, even priests who would disagree as to things like Humanae Vitae (yes that was the document, but I can't remember all these Latin names...lol!)

I'm also very much aware of the language of the infallible definitions that have been made, and read them many times. As I said I "get" the dogmatic definitions, it's all these other things that I question. I guess my point was that if Humanae Vitae is infallible, then the CCC must be, because IMO the language in the CCC is much stronger and more formal than Humanae Vitae. (don't know if that makes sense) I've been given the exact explanation about Humanae Vitae that you gave, and yet there are Catholics, devout and even priests who say it is NOT infallible precisely because it doesn't claim to be. It's obvious the dogmatic definitions are infallible, but I just don't think it's clear when something else is or isn't.

Anyways I appreciate you trying to explain things, but I think I'm just not "getting it", and that's not your fault, but it is what it is. 

Thanks again.....
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« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2009, 07:27:32 PM »

Thank you for your explanations. I've pretty much heard most of what you said many times before, and in the end I still think the inconsistencies that I mentioned are too great. (and I wasn't talking about poorly catechized Catholics, but Catholics, even priests who would disagree as to things like Humanae Vitae (yes that was the document, but I can't remember all these Latin names...lol!)
Even Bishops have abandoned magisterial teaching on this. The most infamous was when the majority of Canadian Bishops voted to renounce Humanae Vitae. (as yet another proof that the Pope is not some dictator as many Orthodox have claimed, he did not take a bat to those Bishops head -- though many may have wished he had Grin)

It is also important to ask who is rejecting the teaching. Some groups and dissident Priests are no more Catholic and have no more claim to speak in the name of Catholicism than Joseph Smith is Orthodox and able to speak in the name of Orthodoxy. Some have gone so far that the Vatican had to publicly excommunicate some of them. Some have left the Catholic Church (thankfully, I might add!), but many still think they are actually good Catholics. (I get quite annoyed at these lukewarm and cafeteria Catholics)

Of those who aren't members of groups like Catholics for a Free Choice, which I condemn immediately, one can then go on to see why they are rejecting the teaching of the Catholic Church. Many reject this teaching because, as the old saying goes, they want to have their cake and eat it, too. Some truly are ignorant on the teaching of the Catholic Church.


I'm also very much aware of the language of the infallible definitions that have been made, and read them many times. As I said I "get" the dogmatic definitions, it's all these other things that I question. I guess my point was that if Humanae Vitae is infallible, then the CCC must be, because IMO the language in the CCC is much stronger and more formal than Humanae Vitae. (don't know if that makes sense) I've been given the exact explanation about Humanae Vitae that you gave, and yet there are Catholics, devout and even priests who say it is NOT infallible precisely because it doesn't claim to be. It's obvious the dogmatic definitions are infallible, but I just don't think it's clear when something else is or isn't.
Humanae Vitae is not a infallible document in the way that Ineffabilis Deus (decree on Immaculate Conception) is. This is because the Pope was not declaring something that wasn't officially declared before. The Ordinary Magisterium had already infallibly taught this, Humanae Vitae was merely re-presenting that teaching. To claim that its teaching can be rejected because its not Ex Cathedra is as illogical as saying Dies Domini's (document on the Lord's Day) teaching can be rejected because it's not Ex Cathedra. So should we all go to temple on Saturday -- Sunday is another teaching that is infallibly taught by the Ordinary Magisterium.
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« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2009, 11:38:27 AM »

Quote

Humanae Vitae is not a infallible document in the way that Ineffabilis Deus (decree on Immaculate Conception) is. This is because the Pope was not declaring something that wasn't officially declared before. The Ordinary Magisterium had already infallibly taught this, Humanae Vitae was merely re-presenting that teaching.

Then why was there even a need for Humanae Vitae if everyone already knew it was infallible teaching? And why do so many Catholics (including priests) say the document itself is infallible?

Now, with Humanae Vitae I think I am beginning to see your point and how from the CATHOLIC perspective it makes sense. (which is what I'm trying to do here, see it through the Catholic lens)

But from a non-Roman Catholic POV it still doesn't make much sense to me.

 It was simply restating what everyone already knew was infallible teaching? Then when was it declared infallible teaching prior to Humanae Vitae? If it's simply a restating, then it must have been stated somewhere previously. (in my thought process) I've only ever heard from Catholics that it's infallible by consensus of the Church fathers. Is that right? Or was there some previous Council/document that clarified the issue?

Quote
To claim that its teaching can be rejected because its not Ex Cathedra is as illogical as saying Dies Domini's (document on the Lord's Day) teaching can be rejected because it's not Ex Cathedra. So should we all go to temple on Saturday -- Sunday is another teaching that is infallibly taught by the Ordinary Magisterium.

It wouldn't be like that at all. The issue of Sunday worship was taught and declared at Nicea and other ancient Councils. Granted, it was taught a LONG time ago, but I don't see the comparison with Humanae Vitae at all, unless, a previous Church council (whether Ecumenical or local which became accepted as Ecumenical, ie: church binding) taught it? And I'm not limiting you to Eastern Councils at all, but the Western post Schism Councils as well. If that is the case, that the teaching can be documented by means other than Patristic consensus then that will answer the issue of Papal infallibility and when the Pope is and is not speaking infallibly for me with 100% satisfaction. And I'll finally "get it"! Cheesy

If it is judged as infallible because of Patristic Consensus (which I do not doubt) then East/West ecclessiology isn't really that far apart, as some would like to claim, and so I guess in the end that's the heart of my question. I only use Humanae Vitae because it's something in modern Church history and it is something that is questioned by Catholic priests and Bishops, and not just the poorly catechized. I realize the Church says they are "wrong", however one cannot use the excuse "they just didn't learn their religion" because obviously they did, even if they've seriously fallen away from it. (again from the Catholic POV)

So were the contents and teaching of Humanae Vitae taught by Council/documentation prior to it's writing, or is it infallible dogma based on Patristic/historic Concensus?

That's my question I guess, it just took me some time to get my thought process in order...lol!




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« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2009, 08:47:44 PM »

Then why was there even a need for Humanae Vitae if everyone already knew it was infallible teaching? And why do so many Catholics (including priests) say the document itself is infallible?
Because of the onslaught against Catholic teaching ushered in by the sexual revolution of the 1960's, the Pope thought it necessary to restate the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. But what was restated was infallible -- that is the document didn't proclaim infallibility because the teaching was already so. It would be like if Pope Benedict wrote a letter on the Immaculate Conception -- he can't proclaim an Ex Cathedra teaching because it's already been done on that subject -- he would just be reiterating it.


It was simply restating what everyone already knew was infallible teaching? Then when was it declared infallible teaching prior to Humanae Vitae? If it's simply a restating, then it must have been stated somewhere previously. (in my thought process) I've only ever heard from Catholics that it's infallible by consensus of the Church fathers. Is that right? Or was there some previous Council/document that clarified the issue?
It comes from the Ordinary Magisterium. The teaching and consensus of the Early Church Fathers is a prime example of the Ordinary Magisterium.


It wouldn't be like that at all. The issue of Sunday worship was taught and declared at Nicea and other ancient Councils. Granted, it was taught a LONG time ago, but I don't see the comparison with Humanae Vitae at all, unless, a previous Church council (whether Ecumenical or local which became accepted as Ecumenical, ie: church binding) taught it?
Yes, the canons mention Sunday and that Easter is on a particular Sunday and no kneeling on certain Sundays. But, in no Council will you find a declaration that a Saturday Sabbath and the third commandment is now fulfilled and obligated for Sunday Liturgy. This teaching comes from the Ordinary Magisterium.


If it is judged as infallible because of Patristic Consensus (which I do not doubt) then East/West ecclessiology isn't really that far apart, as some would like to claim, and so I guess in the end that's the heart of my question. I only use Humanae Vitae because it's something in modern Church history and it is something that is questioned by Catholic priests and Bishops, and not just the poorly catechized. I realize the Church says they are "wrong", however one cannot use the excuse "they just didn't learn their religion" because obviously they did, even if they've seriously fallen away from it. (again from the Catholic POV)
Yes, it is because of the Ordinary Magisterium of which the Patristic Consensus is a prime exemplar. However, in perhaps a slight contrast to the Eastern Orthodox view, which we view a definite period of the Early Church Fathers and hold that consensus in an extra special place, the Catholic Church believes that through the Ordinary Magisterium (which is guided by the Holy Spirit), we are continually gaining more understanding into the once delivered faith. So, we don't view the development of doctrine as absolutely stagnant ending with the close of the Patristic era, but it is still living and growing.


So were the contents and teaching of Humanae Vitae taught by Council/documentation prior to it's writing, or is it infallible dogma based on Patristic/historic Concensus?
Not by Council decree (though canon 1 of Nicea I can be interpreted in such a way), or papal proclamation, but by what you call "Patristic/historic Consensus" and which I term the Ordinary Magisterium.
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« Reply #34 on: August 24, 2009, 03:09:52 AM »

Athanasios, one of the joys (and, it would not surprise me, one of the frustrations to you) of Orthodoxy is its almost complete lack of notion of infallibility in the human sense, apart from specified doctrinal canons, such as the one which defined the immutability of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, so that any alteration to this Creed would be quite rightly regarded as heresy.

While, of course, the Orthodox Church has drawn from the pronouncements of the seven Ecumenical Councils to clarify its doctrines, it may help you to realise (despite the protestations of some on this forum) that the consensus patrum as far as the Orthodox Church is concerned, is found in its purest and most succinct form in its liturgical and iconographic deposits. Lex orandi, lex credendi. The western church had begun to lose its sense of iconography since at least the eighth century AD; and who knows what liturgical integrity remained after the various upheavals such as the Reformation, and, particularly, the Second Vatican Council.
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« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2009, 05:41:51 PM »


Not by Council decree (though canon 1 of Nicea I can be interpreted in such a way), or papal proclamation, but by what you call "Patristic/historic Consensus" and which I term the Ordinary Magisterium.


Athanasios, thank you for explaining! It's greatly appreciated. When I hear "magisterium" I have no clue as to what Catholics are talking about because it is strictly a Western expression. But I do understand Patristic/historic Consensus...Cheesy

I think the problem, so many problems between East and West comes down to this very issue, linguistic issues, terms and concepts...learning to "think like a Latin" or "think like a Greek"....we all have to be willing to put ourselves in the others shoes to truly understand each other. I know it's difficult, but I think if and when we ever do that, the healing of our rift will not be far behind.

Thanks again......
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« Reply #36 on: August 31, 2009, 10:12:22 PM »


Not by Council decree (though canon 1 of Nicea I can be interpreted in such a way), or papal proclamation, but by what you call "Patristic/historic Consensus" and which I term the Ordinary Magisterium.


Athanasios, thank you for explaining! It's greatly appreciated. When I hear "magisterium" I have no clue as to what Catholics are talking about because it is strictly a Western expression. But I do understand Patristic/historic Consensus...Cheesy

I think the problem, so many problems between East and West comes down to this very issue, linguistic issues, terms and concepts...learning to "think like a Latin" or "think like a Greek"....we all have to be willing to put ourselves in the others shoes to truly understand each other. I know it's difficult, but I think if and when we ever do that, the healing of our rift will not be far behind.

Thanks again......


Unfortunately, what most Catholics consider the "Ordinary Magisterium" as "rebellion toward the Pope".
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« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2009, 02:41:36 AM »

On the Catholic view toward ecumenical councils: I once heard a Catholic apologist on EWTN say that the Roman addition to the filioque might have been done badly, and the rest of the Church should have been better respected, but Rome still had the authority and whats done is done. I definitly couldn't see that in Church history: one church overriding a Council. Thats one reason I'm investigating Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2009, 06:22:50 AM »

Dear brother Andrew,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I have often wondered this very curious little item about papal infallibility that my Maronite priest pointed out to me about a year ago. Why did a council say that the Pope was infallible. Why didn't the Pope just declare it himself? What would he have to lose in doing so? After all, why would a council make it so if the Latins condemned conciliarism as a heresy?

Please don't mistake me. I do not have an ax to grind with Catholicism. I have just always wondered about this.
Here are some facts about Vatican 1:

1) The original purpose of the Council was to combat the threat of modernism
2) The Council was initiated not by the Pope, but by the bishops.
3) In response, in December 1864, the Pope established a commission of 40 bishops (34 of whom were from the Latin Church) to discuss possible issues to be covered by such a council.
4) Only 8 bishops in the commission suggested the issue of infallibility.
5) The Pope did not even want to call the Council and it was not until June of 1867, upon the urging of several bishops, that the Pope finally announced the holding of a Council in a consistory of 500 bishops.
6) The consistory drafted a schema for the Council, and infallibility was not included on the agenda.
7) Word leaked to the secular press, and the Council was sensationalized all over the world as intending to pronounce that the Pope would be infallible in deposing secular rulers.
8 ) The Council Fathers were forced to respond by explicitly including infallibility on the agenda, to mollify the fears of the world governments.
9) Vatican 1 did not establish the doctrine of papal infallibility - it merely clarified it.  In fact, there were many misconceptions of the doctrine prior to it. Some of the misconceptions settled by Vatican 1 were:
a) The Pope is correct in everything he states;
b) The Pope can judge secular and political matters;
c) The Pope can never sin or fall into heresy;
d) It is the person who is Pope who is infallible.
e) The infallibility of the Pope is a different charism than the infallibility of the Church.

Hope that helps.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2009, 06:48:09 AM »

Dear brother Deusveritasest,

"This is slightly incorrect.  The Catholic Church believes that not only the Pope (speaking ex cathedra) but an Ecumenical Council, can further define doctrines, usually in light of controversies and heresies."

What you are saying here is slightly misleading. The only reason that an Ecumenical Council is regarded as infallible is because its status as an Ecumenical Council is decided on the basis of whether or not the Pope participated in it or confirmed its findings. Thus, the infallibility of an Ecumenical Council in the RC Tradition is nothing more than an extension of the infallibility of the Pope.
I don't know how you can claim that brother Athanasios is giving misleading information.  He is Catholic. You are not.  Shouldn't his explanation of Catholic teaching be more trustworthy than your own?  Should we listen to the cow tell about the horse, or the horse tell about the horse?

In any case, where do you get the idea that the infallibility of the Council is merely an extension of the infallibility of the Pope?  You may have heard of that misconception from some Latin or Orthodox apologists, but you couldn't have possibly gotten that from the magisterial documents of the Catholic Church.

Here are some things about the Catholic teaching on infallibility that you may not realize:

     The only thing inherently infallible in the Catholic Church is the Magisterium.  The Magisterium is defined as the teaching authority of God.  Wherever this Magisterium is exhibited - whether in the Church, in the body of bishops even while dispersed, in an Ecumenical Council, in Sacred Tradition, or in the Petrine office of the papacy - infallibility by definition and necessity exists.

NOTE: The title of the decree on papal infallibility was explicitly changed by the Vatican Council from "The Infallibility of the Pope" to "The Infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pope."

     Infallibility is a Grace given by God for the upbuilding of the Body of Christ, the Church.  It is God's and God's alone to give.  The Church does not and cannot grant it to the Pope or an Ecumenical Council.  The Pope does not and cannot grant it to the Church or an Ecumenical Council.  An Ecumenical Council does not and cannot grant it to the Pope or the Church.  To repeat, it is God's and God's alone to give.

     Papal infallibility is not active nor exercised during an Ecumenical Council.  When an Ecumenical Council meets, the infallibility is a collegial infallibility - in other words, the Holy Spirit guides the whole body of bishops.  The Pope's confirmation is necessary not because he grants the Council its infallibility (since it is the Council as a whole that is infallible - i.e., guided by the Holy Spirit - and not just the Pope).  The Pope's confirmation is theologically necessary by virtue of Christ's command for unity, and it is canonically necessary by virtue of the fact that the Pope is the head bishop of the Council.

Hope that helps.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #40 on: September 20, 2009, 08:08:55 AM »

I once read a quote from cardinal Bellarmine:
"se il Papa dice che una cosa buona è cattiva, è cattiva, se il Papa dice che una cosa cattiva è buona, è buona, perché il Papa è più di Dio"
Translation: "if the Pope says that a good thing is bad, it's bad, if the Pope says that a bad thing is good, it's good, because the Pope is more then God". Is this quote true, or is it just an interpretation or summary of Bellarmine's thought by the site I read it in? Since it's an Orthodox source, I trust it, but don't know if that proves anything on the CONCEPTION the Catholic Church has of papal infallibility (or better, the conception some even authoritative Catholics had prior to Vatican I).

As for Papal Infallibility, I always had more or less the same opinion of it as Mardukm and Athanasios's when I was RC. That's in fact what I explicitly denied of Papal infallibility: I just don't think the Pope has any other role then that of Patriarch of the West, which is the power granted by the Ecumenical Councils too. When a Pope is in agreement with the rest of the Patriachates, he is Orthodox, when he doesn't, he is expressing a particular view which is not a part of the common depositum fidei and thus can't be considered Catholic and Ecumenical (which is what happened on occasion of the 1054 AD schism). As a whole, the Church IS infallible. The Ecumenical Councils are such because at least 4 patriarchates out of 5 have signed them, and a quasi-unanimity was reached by the hundreds of bishops assembled. Since the synod of 880 AD there was no similar occasion, except maybe for the Palamite Synod. And prior to that schism, there were other Patriarchs who didn't sign the Councils, but that didn't affect their validity (I say this in reference of Nestorius in the Synod of Ephesus and Dioscorus in the Synod of Chalcedon).

In Christ,   Alex

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« Reply #41 on: September 21, 2009, 12:34:54 PM »

This teaching comes from the Ordinary Magisterium.

Pius IX was the first pope to use the term “Magisterium” in the sense that it is understood today, and the concept of the “ordinary and universal Magisterium” was officially established during Vatican I.
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« Reply #42 on: September 30, 2009, 04:12:10 AM »

Dear brother Mickey,

This teaching comes from the Ordinary Magisterium.

Pius IX was the first pope to use the term “Magisterium” in the sense that it is understood today, and the concept of the “ordinary and universal Magisterium” was officially established during Vatican I.
Magisterium is a Latin term that came into vogue in the Latin Church in the time of St. Thomas Aquinas.  Magisterium is defined as the "teaching authority of God." It has been exercised by the Church since the time of the Apostles.  All the Latins did was give it a name.

The terms "ordinary" and "immediate" are also ecclesiological terms peculiar to the Catholic Church, and I am not sure when those terms came into vogue.  "Ordinary" simply  means "inherent"; "immediate" means "directly from God."  The Catholic Church uses the term "Ordinary" to refer to many offices in the Catholic Church wherein a certain prerogative is inherent in the office - e.g. bishops, of whatever grade, Abbots of monasteries, vicars, administrators, etc.  "Immediate" is a descriptive used of only two offices in the Catholic Church - the universal Petrine office of the Pope, and the local episcopal office of the bishops, because these were divinely established by Christ or the Apostles.  In distinction, the offices of Patriarch and Metropolitan were established by canon law.  All these offices can be and are regulated by the Supreme authority of the Church, which is the collegial authority of the body of bishops.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #43 on: September 30, 2009, 04:30:03 AM »

I once read a quote from cardinal Bellarmine:
"se il Papa dice che una cosa buona è cattiva, è cattiva, se il Papa dice che una cosa cattiva è buona, è buona, perché il Papa è più di Dio"
Translation: "if the Pope says that a good thing is bad, it's bad, if the Pope says that a bad thing is good, it's good, because the Pope is more then God". Is this quote true, or is it just an interpretation or summary of Bellarmine's thought by the site I read it in? Since it's an Orthodox source, I trust it, but don't know if that proves anything on the CONCEPTION the Catholic Church has of papal infallibility (or better, the conception some even authoritative Catholics had prior to Vatican I).
This view of Bellarmine's was rejected by the Council Fathers at Vatican 1.  Of course, Bellarmine also wrote that the Pope has no authority to endanger the Faith of the Church.

Quote from:
As for Papal Infallibility, I always had more or less the same opinion of it as Mardukm and Athanasios's when I was RC. That's in fact what I explicitly denied of Papal infallibility: I just don't think the Pope has any other role then that of Patriarch of the West, which is the power granted by the Ecumenical Councils too.
I suppose this would be true - if you paid attention to those Protestants who claim the Church began in the fourth century.  Patriarchal and metropolitan jurisdictions were a creation of the 4th century Church.  These smaller jurisdictions were modeled after the one established by Christ and the Apostles - a group with a coryphaeus.  Before the fourth century, there was one recognized head bishop of all the bishops of the world - the bishop of Rome.  For the proper governance of the Church, the Patriarchal and Metropolitan offices were established by Canon law in the fourth century by the Ecumenical Councils.

Quote from:
When a Pope is in agreement with the rest of the Patriachates, he is Orthodox, when he doesn't, he is expressing a particular view which is not a part of the common depositum fidei and thus can't be considered Catholic and Ecumenical
It goes both ways.  If the other Patriarchates are not in agreement with Rome, then their orthodoxy can be called into question.  That's the principle of Apostolic Canon 34. 

Quote from:
(which is what happened on occasion of the 1054 AD schism). As a whole, the Church IS infallible. The Ecumenical Councils are such because at least 4 patriarchates out of 5 have signed them, and a quasi-unanimity was reached by the hundreds of bishops assembled. Since the synod of 880 AD there was no similar occasion, except maybe for the Palamite Synod. And prior to that schism, there were other Patriarchs who didn't sign the Councils, but that didn't affect their validity (I say this in reference of Nestorius in the Synod of Ephesus and Dioscorus in the Synod of Chalcedon).
I believe there are some erroneous concepts here, but since this thread is not about Ecumenical Councils, but papal infallibility, then I'll hold off discussion on this matter.

Blessings
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« Reply #44 on: September 30, 2009, 07:05:07 AM »

You think this view is erroneous just because you think the Pope to be "essentially" different then the other bishops, i.e. that he has an order different by nature then the other bishops. If it were so, then the Orthodox Church couldn't have passed any documents at the First Council of Constantinople until the Pope ratified it? The fact that the Eastern Churches adopted the Creed of Nicaea as revised at Constantinople even before accepted it is a proof that the Eastern Christians  had no minimal knowledge of such a super-power in Papacy.
Peter made mistakes, and so do his successors. Gregory the Great, a Pope himself, clearly affirmed three coriphei who are equally "successors of Peter". I don't embrace the idea that if the four Patriarchates ALTOGETHER rebel to a decision of the Pope they must be heretic as you suggest. How could a single bishop be Orthodox and all the other be heretic? Is the pope the only true source of doctrine, and the other bishops are there only to repeat his words? Where is it written this in the Bible? The fact that Jesus ordered Peter "to confirm" the other apostles in the faith doesn't mean that he has super-powers, but that Peter has the TASK to do whatever is possible to preserve unity. Certainly, proclaiming doctrines on his own without an EC doesn't seem a way to confirm this faith and promote unity. As an example I ask you: why did Umberto da Silva Candica excommunicate Patriarch Michael Cerularius on account of the Filioque clause, when now this very same word is not added to the Creed in its Greek form? Many of yours - even the Pope - claimed that the Filioque clause is a mistake in Greek but not in Latin. Then, what version of the Creed with Filioque did Uniates sing both in Latin and Greek at the Council of Florence? did they invent some new word for that kind of procession? if not, the Catholic church had imposed an heretic version of the Greek Creed to the Eastern Catholics at the act of Union, and thus both the Council and the Pope are fallible, if not heretic themselves.

In Christ,   Alex

PS: If Bellarmine's position was such a dangerous heresy, why is he still considered a saint? Shouldn't he be anathematized and thus cancelled from the lists of saints in the Roman Church?
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"Also in the Catholic Church itself we take great care that we hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and properly Catholic" (St. Vincent of Lérins, "The Commonitory")
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