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#1 of 27 Old 09-14-2008, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What does papal infallibility entail?

It's come up in a thread over in politics, but my question seems more relevant here. One person said that papal infallibility means that the church's official position on political disqualifying issues can not be deemed wrong by believers, and another said that papal infallibility does not mean that absolutely everything the pope says must be correct. (Sorry, paraphrasing.)

So, what does it mean? Are there some manner of guidelines as to what can not be questioned and what can?
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#2 of 27 Old 09-16-2008, 12:26 AM
 
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Quick response before bed...!

The Pope can write up his personal opinions in a book or even an encyclical on any manner of topics relating to the faith and the world and he has no more protection from error than you or I do. In other words, he could possibly get it wrong.

However, Papal Infallibility refers to a very strict set of circumstances wherein the Pope, while exercising his Supreme Authority as teacher, protector, and interpreter of matters of Catholic morals and doctrine, may speak ex cathedra (Latin for 'from the Chair') and under this circumstance he has the specific protection of the Holy Ghost (the third Person of the Holy Trinity) which preserves him from any and all error. All ex cathedra statements are Infallible. A Pope has not spoken ex cathedra since 1950.
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#3 of 27 Old 09-16-2008, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks.

Is there anywhere where I could read an overview of what subjects have typically fallen under the category of being ex cathedra statements? Or is that something that throughout history has just been all over the map? Have there ever been periods in history where they were common, or have they always been something relatively rare?

How are such statements made? I mean, what distinguishes them? Is it something that is said to indicate it, or a particular formality or ceremony involved?
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#4 of 27 Old 09-16-2008, 10:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
Thanks.

Is there anywhere where I could read an overview of what subjects have typically fallen under the category of being ex cathedra statements? Or is that something that throughout history has just been all over the map? Have there ever been periods in history where they were common, or have they always been something relatively rare?

How are such statements made? I mean, what distinguishes them? Is it something that is said to indicate it, or a particular formality or ceremony involved?

Historically, infallible ex cathedra statements are made when a particular dogma or doctrine of the Faith is under attack due to an outbreak of a heresy. So, a Council is called sometimes, but not always, and the statement is made. The purpose is solely to repeat and explicitly define what has already ALWAYS been taught by the Church. In other words, an infallible statement cannot be anything "new" as the Deposit of Faith was completed upon the death of the last Apostle. Papal Infallibility as dogma was itself explicitly defined in 1870 at Vatical Council I.

Here's a link to a good article that explains it:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm#IIIB

snip:

Quote:
It should be observed in conclusion that papal infallibility is a personal and incommunicable charisma, which is not shared by any pontifical tribunal. It was promised directly to Peter, and to each of Peter's successors in the primacy, but not as a prerogative the exercise of which could be delegated to others. Hence doctrinal decisions or instructions issued by the Roman congregations, even when approved by the pope in the ordinary way, have no claim to be considered infallible. To be infallible they must be issued by the pope himself in his own name according to the conditions already mentioned as requisite for ex cathedra teaching.
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#5 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 10:11 AM
 
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Papal "infallibility" was not established until The First Vatican Council in 1870.

http://www.rmbowman.com/catholic/Hist8h.htm

Quote:
"Up to the time of this Council the personal infallibility of the Pope was considered nothing more than a ‘pious opinion’ held by a faction within the Church. The larger part of the Catholic Church so little believed in it, that when Protestants reproached them with this superstition, Roman theologians regarded it as a calumny. The Vatican Council was a bold step in an attempt to make what had formerly been regarded as a 'Protestant invention' into the keystone of the Catholic Faith.
Quote:
"If the minority could not be heard in Council and wished to have a memoir of their opposition printed, the printing houses of Rome were forbidden to serve them. Pamphlets mailed from out of the country were sequestered and never delivered. Anyone answering the Pope with an appeal to Christian Tradition was silenced with ‘I am tradition.’

"In a last minute appeal to the Pope, when several bishops were allowed an audience, the proud bishop of Mainz, Baron von Kotteler, fell on his knees weeping to implore the Pope not to formulate the fatal dogma of his own infallibility. Finally, when the dogma was met with its first vote, eighty-eight voted against it, ninety-one bishops refrained from voting, and sixty-two voted yea only conditionally. The opposition departed from Rome before a second vote was taken rather than be called upon either to support the hated dogma or personally offend the Pope by voting negatively.

"With all opposition dispersed, the ultramontanists sealed their triumph in the final vote with still two negative voices on July 18th, 1870.
According to the above, this was not truly a Council vote. Far more bishops expressed reservations than acceptance of this decree.

The thing about papal "infallibilty" that everyone seems to blithely ignore (or deny) - is that it was clarified during the Second Vatican Council to exclude the Pope speaking infallibly on his own. Very specific conditions must be met in the case of an ex cathedra proclamation. The Pope must be in union with all the bishops of the world in order to proclaim an infallible teaching. Yes, ALL of 'em - every single bishop in the world must agree.

Quote:
The college or body of bishops, however, has authority together with the Pope as its head. The Pope is the foundation of unity, of bishops as well as of the Faithful; so that supreme authority can be exercised by the college of bishops only in union with the Pope and with his consent.
http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/v5.html


And, there's no system of checks and balances when it comes to an "infallible" statement - b/c basically it's the one making the statement who gets to decide if all the conditions are indeed met.

In other words, it's not a very objective process.

The other funny thing about an "infallible" teaching is that a pope can retract it or replace it with a different "infallible" teaching. Uh, if something is supposedly without error, why would you need to retract or replace it?

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#6 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 10:31 AM
 
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Papal "infallibility" was not established until The First Vatican Council in 1870.

http://www.rmbowman.com/catholic/Hist8h.htm

According to the above, this was not truly a Council vote.
The above source is not a Catholic source.

That's from Bob Bowman's website, who is a fringe Presidential candidate who is a member of an very tiny apostate group known as the "Old Catholics."

The "Old Catholics" left the Church in the 1850's because they objected to the doctrine of papal infallibility that was formally declared to be dogmatic in 1870. They are currently in talks with the Anglicans to join with them.
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#7 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 11:01 AM
 
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It doesn't matter who wrote it - it's still factual. The "vote" on papal "infallibility" was a ruse - the majority of bishops opposed the concept, period; and were quashed.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#8 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 04:01 PM
 
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The "vote" on papal "infallibility" was a ruse - the majority of bishops opposed the concept, period; and were quashed.
The Church is not a democracy. Doctrine and declared dogma are not decided by majority vote. It is hierarchical, and the Pope is the head of the Church.
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#9 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 04:19 PM
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It doesn't matter who wrote it - it's still factual. The "vote" on papal "infallibility" was a ruse - the majority of bishops opposed the concept, period; and were quashed.
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Originally Posted by StacyL View Post
The Church is not a democracy. Doctrine and declared dogma are not decided by majority vote. It is hierarchical, and the Pope is the head of the Church.
: :

while you two: :

okay, is here.

Have a good day! :
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#10 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 04:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by StacyL
A Pope has not spoken ex cathedra since 1950.
What did the Pope say ex cathedra in 1950? What other statements were made ex cathedra at other times in history?

And as for the "not a Catholic source" comment: I think this is very relevent. I wouldn't trust a non-Jewish source to have accurate information about Jewish traditions or details of little-known or understood Jewish laws. Sure, the occasional article might be accurate, but I wouldn't rely on it.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#11 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 04:32 PM
 
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*

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#12 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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The Church is not a democracy. Doctrine and declared dogma are not decided by majority vote. It is hierarchical, and the Pope is the head of the Church.
The Pope - a bishop - is the first among bishops. There must be a majority agreement on doctrinal issues. Otherwise, the Church is merely a dictatorship.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#13 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 05:34 PM
 
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What did the Pope say ex cathedra in 1950? What other statements were made ex cathedra at other times in history?
The 1950 one was about the Assumption of Mary. And in 1854 the Immaculate Conception. Those are the only ones that have been clearly defined as ex cathedra since papal infallibility was defined IIRC, someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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#14 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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The Pope - a bishop - is the first among bishops. There must be a majority agreement on doctrinal issues. Otherwise, the Church is merely a dictatorship.
What about the Holy Spirit?
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#15 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are all other statements open to debate? Or are there other "levels" of indisputability?
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#16 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 06:29 PM
 
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I think the preferred terms would be are they open for discernment and conscience. I don't think papal statements are so much debated as considered. At least generally speaking. Obviously some people debate :
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#17 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think the preferred terms would be are they open for discernment and conscience. I don't think papal statements are so much debated as considered. At least generally speaking. Obviously some people debate :
Ok, ok ... open to discernment in such a manner that if one's conscious leads them differently that fact alone would not in any way compromise their official standing with the church.
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#18 of 27 Old 09-18-2008, 09:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post

And as for the "not a Catholic source" comment: I think this is very relevent. I wouldn't trust a non-Jewish source to have accurate information about Jewish traditions or details of little-known or understood Jewish laws. Sure, the occasional article might be accurate, but I wouldn't rely on it.
Well obviously the Church isn't going to be very upfront and open about a concept that had such dubious origins. Historically, it happened - whether or not the Church ever chooses to acknowledge that remains to be seen.

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What about the Holy Spirit?
Well of course the HS should always be involved in matters of discernment - sorry, I ASSumed that would be a given. IMO they weren't listening at the First Vatican Council - on this issue, anyway.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#19 of 27 Old 09-19-2008, 12:47 AM
 
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You are very good, spero.
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#20 of 27 Old 09-19-2008, 04:13 PM
 
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The Pope - a bishop - is the first among bishops. There must be a majority agreement on doctrinal issues. Otherwise, the Church is merely a dictatorship.
No.

Please read the Catholic Encylopedia article on this. The charism of infallibilty is given only to the Pope.

I would never consider Jesus' Laws and Commandments, nor the Church's structure with its Pontiff to be a dictatorship.

The Pope is singular in His authority. The man who sits in the Chair of Peter is the visible head of the Church, who is responsible and has Supreme authority in Christ's stead here on earth.
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#21 of 27 Old 09-19-2008, 04:22 PM
 
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Are all other statements open to debate? Or are there other "levels" of indisputability?
All matters of faith and morals that are part of Catholic doctrine are binding upon all Catholics under pain of mortal sin, even if the doctrine has not been explicitly defined as Dogma in a Infallible Council or in a ex cathedra statement.

The issue of Papal authority and infallibilty is one that many groups have apostasized (left the Church) over for many years, starting in the 1050's.
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#22 of 27 Old 10-24-2008, 11:33 PM
 
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All matters of faith and morals that are part of Catholic doctrine are binding upon all Catholics under pain of mortal sin, even if the doctrine has not been explicitly defined as Dogma in a Infallible Council or in a ex cathedra statement.

The issue of Papal authority and infallibilty is one that many groups have apostasized (left the Church) over for many years, starting in the 1050's.
just a thought on this. I thought the majority of sins were venial sins and while still bad are not cause for someone to burn in eternal torment (though a few years in purgatory before heaven would probably be in order). Where as Mortal sins are those that are most serious and, if not absolved through confession or last rites, would potentially mean said sinner would spend eternity in hell. I totally understand i could be completely wrong, i think this is what i was taught but i couldn't swear to it.
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#23 of 27 Old 10-25-2008, 02:01 PM
 
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Mortal sin can be anything, but it has three requirements:

1. It must be of grave matter. Ex: stealing a piece of candy is not, stealing billions from taxpayers under fraudulent business practices is.

2. It must be done with sufficent reflection. You must have had time to consider your actions beforehand.

3. It must be committed with full consent of your will, i.e. not under duress or something.

Here's a link to some discussion with examples:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14004b.htm


http://www.saintaquinas.com/mortal_sin.html


http://www.trosch.org/the/mortal-sin.html
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#24 of 27 Old 10-25-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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yeah thats basically what i was trying to understand. have you ever read any thing by bud macfarlane? sort of OT but i love his books.. and they are Catholic so its only sorta OT lol
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#25 of 27 Old 10-30-2008, 09:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by StacyL View Post

Please read the Catholic Encylopedia article on this. The charism of infallibilty is given only to the Pope.
No matter what the Catholic Encyclopedia says, anyone with a brain and free will to use it can see that the concept of "papal infallibility" had dubious beginnings at best. The fact is, the majority of bishops knew better than to say yes to such an idea ... and they were ignored.


Quote:
The Pope is singular in His authority. The man who sits in the Chair of Peter is the visible head of the Church, who is responsible and has Supreme authority in Christ's stead here on earth.
So ... what about all the corrupt popes, who willfully abused that authority? Are we just supposed to forget about them? Who's to say that we'll never have another?

The Pope is the first among bishops. They are supposed to work together, with the Pope as the head, to feed the flock and uphold the Faith.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#26 of 27 Old 10-31-2008, 02:02 AM
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I was under the impression that Traditionalists don't support the current Pope? Is that true, StacyL? Who is "in charge of the Church"?
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#27 of 27 Old 02-01-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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The purpose is solely to repeat and explicitly define what has already ALWAYS been taught by the Church. In other words, an infallible statement cannot be anything "new" as the Deposit of Faith was completed upon the death of the last Apostle. Papal Infallibility as dogma was itself explicitly defined in 1870 at Vatical Council I.

Here's a link to a good article that explains it:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm#IIIB

snip:
How did I miss the bolded part before? Now I have to go research that more.

Quote:
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I was under the impression that Traditionalists don't support the current Pope? Is that true, StacyL? Who is "in charge of the Church"?
Only the sedevacantist groups like SSPV ( not the SSPX ) believe the Papal office is currently vacant. It's pretty clear which ones are Sedes, they are pretty forthcoming on their websites and in their literature.
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