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Old Aug 16, '09, 8:47 am
DesertAscetic DesertAscetic is offline
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Question What is a papal bull?

The NewAdvent.Org article on papal bulls, notwithstanding, what the heck are they? Specifically,

1) How much authority do they convey? (i.e. What are the theoretical/possible and actual/historical consequences to a Catholic for not obeying a papal bull?), and...

2) Are they infallible? Combining the concept of infallibility with many of the pragmatic decrees I've read of in papal bulls, at first glance doesn't seem appropriate to me, but at the same time, being that the Popes in these bulls often used theological justifications for their decrees, it does seem relevant to discuss the methods we have of discerning the level of truth of the statements in them.

How are we to study and understand these?
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  #2  
Old Aug 16, '09, 12:18 pm
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puppypatrol puppypatrol is offline
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Default Re: What is a papal bull?

Quote:
BULL, PAPAL
The most solemn and weighty form of papal letter. The name is derived from the Latin bulla, the dislike leaden seal attached to such a document. It is used by the Pope in appointing a bishop. Formerly all papal letters of major importance, including canonization decrees, were called bulls, but the current Acta Apostolicae Sedis gives some of these papal letters various names.
Quote:
As for the binding force of these documents it is generally admitted that the mere fact that the pope should have given to any of his utterances the form of an encyclical or bull does not necessarily constitute it an ex-cathedra pronouncement and invest it with infallible authority. The degree in which the infallible magisterium of the Holy See is committed must be judged from the circumstances, and from the language used in the particular case.
Answers:

1. Only as much authority as one wants to give it. It should be listened to and remembered but you aren't going to get "kicked out" for not following it word for word.

2. no

3. Read them, look at the times they were written, why they were written and what were they in response to. ALWAYS READ IN CONTEXT.
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Old Aug 16, '09, 12:29 pm
passus passus is offline
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Default Re: What is a papal bull?

At one time, Papal Bulls were considered to have the highest authority, but in actuality the content and context--not just the type--of any papal document determines the degree of its authority. If the pope is using a document to define a matter of doctrine or morals, then he is exercising his supreme authority as head of the Church as part of the Ordinary Magisterium, and this is teaching infallibly.
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Old Aug 16, '09, 2:52 pm
DesertAscetic DesertAscetic is offline
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Default Re: What is a papal bull?

Thank you all for your replies! Eventually I was able to find another thread from a couple of years ago that gave some insight as well. But, your answers still answered my questions specifically.

Much obliged.
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"So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty." Malachi 3:5
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Old Aug 17, '09, 4:40 pm
bpbasilphx bpbasilphx is offline
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Default Re: What is a papal bull?

There are only two papal statements generally recognized as being infallible:

1. The one concerning the Immaculate Conception.
2. The one domatizing the Assumption.
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Old Aug 18, '09, 12:04 pm
cam100 cam100 is offline
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Default Re: What is a papal bull?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpbasilphx View Post
There are only two papal statements generally recognized as being infallible:

1. The one concerning the Immaculate Conception.
2. The one domatizing the Assumption.
This is a common misconception. Infallibility actually covers more than just these declarations. See this: http://www.ewtn.com/library/DOCTRINE/TRIGINFL.HTM
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Old Aug 18, '09, 1:08 pm
rick43235 rick43235 is offline
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Default Re: What is a papal bull?

The most dominant male in the Vatican's herd.
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Old Aug 18, '09, 1:14 pm
bpbasilphx bpbasilphx is offline
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Default Re: What is a papal bull?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cam100 View Post
This is a common misconception. Infallibility actually covers more than just these declarations. See this: http://www.ewtn.com/library/DOCTRINE/TRIGINFL.HTM
This does not deal with the issue of which papal statements are infallible.
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