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9/05/2017 7:25 am  #1


Trending on Patheos

How Many Theologians Does it Take To Define [Papal] Infallibility? Such a gloomy conclusion,

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/catholicauthenticity/2017/08/many-theologians-take-define-infallibility/ wrote:

The point at which I formally gave up on figuring out what on earth infallibility is even supposed to mean in practice was forty exchanges in to a FaceBook debate between two canon lawyers. Both were clearly much more deeply read on the subject than I will ever be, they were writing lengthy treatises back and forth slinging quotations from canons and documents that I wouldn’t even know how to find if I tried, yet they had substantially different interpretations of what infallibility means and of how the teaching was supposed to work in practice. In a turn of irony, the “liberal” in the debate was the one with a more rigorous interpretation of infallibility, whereas the “conservative” took a more, well, liberal view. (Naturally the inciting incident was a disagreement about one of Pope Francis’ encyclicals.)

[...]

In practice, then, Vatican I’s doctrine of infallibility seems to get conferred on older teachings ex post facto more or less according to how compatible those teachings are with contemporary orthodoxy. Basically, you’re expected to behave as though a teaching is infallible until doctrine “develops” to the point of contradicting itself, at which point elaborate language games are played to show that a 180 degree reversal in practice is somehow consistent with previous teaching in theory.

 

9/05/2017 8:39 pm  #2


Re: Trending on Patheos

The author's understanding of the scope of papal infallibility is utterly wrong. Infallibility is way, way more restricted than she thinks. In his 26+ years of pontificate, John Paul II issued only two, or possibly three, infallible statements. The two clearly infallible statements are in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae:

John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae wrote:

Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
[...]
Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops-who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine-I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

The possibly infallible statement is in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis wrote:

Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.

Most theologians say that the last statement is not a definitive pronouncement by itself but a declaration that a doctrine is definitive because it has been taught by the Universal Ordinary Magisterium. (There are three infallible forms of Magisterium: Pontifical Extraordinary, Ecumenical Council Extraordinary, usually in the negative form of anathemas, and Universal Ordinary.)

Last edited by Johannes (9/05/2017 8:40 pm)

 

9/06/2017 11:17 am  #3


Re: Trending on Patheos

Johannes wrote:

The author's understanding of the scope of papal infallibility is utterly wrong. Infallibility is way, way more restricted than she thinks.

The author was quite clear that it's no use to try to understand the doctrine. After much figuring, the conclusion is that infallibility makes no sense at all when we are dealing with fallible beings, such as popes.

Edward Feser happens to agree - infallibility is so restricted that it could just as well be called fallibility http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/11/papal-fallibility.html

Johannes wrote:

Most theologians say...

Certainly you agree that infallibility is not something decided with majority voting either.

     Thread Starter
 

9/06/2017 11:50 am  #4


Re: Trending on Patheos

seigneur wrote:

The author was quite clear that it's no use to try to understand the doctrine. After much figuring, the conclusion is that infallibility makes no sense at all when we are dealing with fallible beings, such as popes.

That conclusion is not consistent with Catholic doctrine and places the author outside the Catholic Church because of formal heresy. Morevoer, if the author wanted to be self-consistent, she should also hold that infallibility makes no sense at all when we are dealing with assemblies of fallible beings such as ecumenical councils, which would place the author also outside Eastern Orthodoxy (in case she cared at all about it, which I deem very improbable).

seigneur wrote:

Edward Feser happens to agree - infallibility is so restricted that it could just as well be called fallibility http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/11/papal-fallibility.html

No, that's not Feser's position. Rather, he says that infallibility is so restricted that most pontifical pronouncements are not cases thereof.

seigneur wrote:

Johannes wrote:

Most theologians say...

Certainly you agree that infallibility is not something decided with majority voting either.

My fault, out of pure laziness. The correct understanding of the character of John Paul II's statement in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is not decided by majority voting but by another authoritative statement in response to a dubium (in those good ol' times when dubia got responsa):

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19951028_dubium-ordinatio-sac_en.html

commented extensively here:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19951028_commento-dubium-ordinatio-sac_en.html

and briefly here:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_1998_professio-fidei_en.html

CDF in a Doctrinal Commentary on the Professio fidei wrote:

A similar process can be observed in the more recent teaching regarding the doctrine that priestly ordination is reserved only to men. The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively,32 since, founded on the written word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

 

Last edited by Johannes (9/06/2017 12:03 pm)

 

9/06/2017 1:02 pm  #5


Re: Trending on Patheos

Johannes wrote:

...not decided by majority voting but by another authoritative statement in response to a dubium (in those good ol' times when dubia got responsa):

Have you been following the current controversy https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/01/more-on-amoris.html Exactly how bad would you say it is that these dubia are not getting responsa? And is there anyone who could or should do something about such a pope? Or is it best considered as yet another test of faith?

     Thread Starter
 

9/06/2017 3:41 pm  #6


Re: Trending on Patheos

seigneur wrote:

Johannes wrote:

...not decided by majority voting but by another authoritative statement in response to a dubium (in those good ol' times when dubia got responsa):

Have you been following the current controversy https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/01/more-on-amoris.html Exactly how bad would you say it is that these dubia are not getting responsa? And is there anyone who could or should do something about such a pope? Or is it best considered as yet another test of faith?

Timely question indeed as Cardinal Carlo Cafarra died this morning, the second of the four dubia Cardinals to pass away before a responsa is given, having been preceded by Cardinal Joachim Meisner on July 5.

It seems that there is only One Who could do something about this situation. Or to be exact Three Who act as one efficient cause ad extra.

 

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