Infallibility (for Zenas) : LUSENET : Catholic Pages Forum : One Thread

I thought I'd put some references for Zenas ex the Catholic Education Forum, on Infallibility

Referring to your post of June 21, under "Polemics: sinful?", a very recent, not musty, tome teaches that: "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful he proclaims by a definitive act a DOCTRINE pertaining to faith or morals. For that reason his definitions are rightly said to be irreformable by their very nature and NOT BY REASON OF THE ASSENT OF THE CHURCH, inasmuch as they were made with the assistance of the Holy Spirit promised to him in the person of blessed Peter himself" (Lumen Gentium {LG}, 25). [My emphasis: The Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine, Our Sunday Visitor]. At no time is the Pope, defining infallibly, limited to the assent of the Church.

DOGMA is defined as:"....the concept of dogma:- a) An immediate Divine Revelation of the particular Dogma(revelatio immediate divina or revelatio formalis), i.e., the Dogma must be immediately revealed by God either explicitly (explicite) or inclusively (implicite), and therefore be contained in the sources of Revelation (Holy Writ or Tradition)."[Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Dr Ludwig Ott, p 5]. As we see, Dr Ott defines a DOGMA clearly, and this does not include DOCTRINE necessary to guard and expound the revealed truth itself, known as SECONDARY TRUTHS.

So, when the Pope is infallibly teaching a matter of REVEALED truth, to be believed as DE FIDE, a wilful denial of which is heresy and results in excommunication, he exercises his EXTRAORDINARY Magisterium by issuing a DOGMA which, through the most solemn form of words ("modus definitorius"), conveys this definition, and conforms to the four conditions necessary. This, being infallible, is "ex cathedra".

When the Pope is teaching SECONDARY TRUTHS, to GUARD AND EXPOUND the revealed truth itself, he exercises his ORDINARY Magisterium which is infallible, and therefore "ex cathedra", only when in accord with the four conditions defined by the Vatican I dogma on papal infallibility. At no time is the Pope, defining infallibly, limited to the assent or consent of the Church.

The Vatican I 1870 dogma on papal infallibility is: "The Roman Pontiff, when he speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when exercising the office of pastor and teacher of all Christians, he defines with his supreme apostolic authority a DOCTRINE concerning faith or morals to be HELD by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised him in St Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining DOCTRINE concerning faith and morals: and therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves and not from the consent of the Church." [DS. 3073-3074; my emphasis]. Notice that the dogma links "ex cathedra" explicitly to the four conditions for an infallible definition of DOCTRINE, to be HELD, NOT BELIEVED on divine faith ("de fide"). The 1870 dogma teaches that the Pope's exercise of his ordinary Magisterial infallible definitions on doctrine to be held are "not from the consent of the Church" and does not limit them to only when the doctrine is already part of the sensus fidelium'. There is no teaching that does. p> The key point is that the Vatican I dogma on papal infallibility teaches that infallible definitions of the popes have in the past included, and will continue to include, points of doctrine necessary for GUARDING AND EXPOUNDING revealed truth, not only revealed truth itself (dogmas). CCC #891, 2035, 2036 affirm this broad scope of papal and Magisterial infallibility, and reference LG 25. So DOGMA consists only of "revealed" truths "contained in...Holy Writ or Tradition." Fr John A Hardon gives the facts: "The Council Fathers [at Vatican I] were informed that ANY SUCH LIMITING TERM ['BY DIVINE FAITH'] WAS DELIBERATELY OMITTED IN ORDER TO EXTEND PAPAL INFALLIBILITY BEYOND IMMEDIATE REVELATION TO INCLUDE WHATEVER IS RELATED TO THE REVEALED CONTENT of the Bible and Tradition." ["The Catholic Catechism", p 232, my emphasis]. So the Pope teaches DOCTRINE INFALLIBLY through his ORDINARY PAPAL MAGISTERIUM under the four conditions stated.

It is interesting to note that Fr Brian Harrison, OS, refers to: "the long-standing confusion (even amongst orthodox theologians) regarding the precise point which the 1870 definition left undecided, and the widespread (though clearly false) impression that it guarantees infallibility only for de fide' definitions of revealed truth, or of heresies which directly oppose it [and] the failure of many theologians to go back to the sources and study Bishop Gasser's relatio' carefully..." [p 42 of "Humanae Vitae" by Fr Harrison].

You see, Bishop Gasser was the official spokesman for the committee of Conciliar Fathers charged with preparing the earlier drafts and the final solemn papal dogma, and issued the ONLY OFFICIAL commentary [the highly authoritative "relatio"] on that dogma of Vatican I. Fr James T O'Connor's book, "The Gift of Infallibility: The Official Relatio on Infallibility of Bishop Vincent Gasser at Vatican Council I", Boston, St Paul Editions, 1986, is the work that theologians most need to digest. That many have not studied the dogma and the "relatio", is the reason for the confusion and misleading statements. And no one has the authority or any right to try to limit papal infallibility against the clear teaching of the Holy Spirit-protected Vatican I dogma affirmed by Vatican II.

We owe it to our converts, cradle Catholics and all others to give the consoling beliefs of our Faith based on the authority given by Christ and the protection from error of the Holy Spirit, to encourage them against those who rubbish infallibility, doubt or debase infallible teaching, and thus downgrade all Magisterial authority and all doctrine. Don't we? I think that such encouragement is vital.

With the exponential increase in dissent (Fr Dulles), probably more and more will the exercise of papal infallibility be required to settle disputes.

God bless, Peter

-- Anonymous, July 05, 1998


Thank you, Peter.

-- Anonymous, July 07, 1998

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