A second ex cathedra teaching

A second “infallible” ex cathedra teaching is found in Ineffabilis Deus, the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854. (This was before the decree of Vatican I defining infallible papal ex cathedra teachings).

The Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church rejects this doctrine.To believe this dogma, one has to first believe that Adam committed the “Original Sin” and all of us are “stained” by the guilt of that sin.

“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.” [Ineffabilis Deus]

Much like the Dogma of the Assumption (1950), the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception has no precise scriptural basis.

Catholic Encyclopedia:

“No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture.”

This concept seems to have originated around the middle of the eleventh century.

“Eadmer was born of Anglo-Saxon parentage, shortly before the Norman conquest of England in 1066. He became a monk in the Benedictine monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury, where he made the acquaintance of Anselm, at that time visiting England as abbot of the Abbey of Bec. ……Eadmer must also be credited as one of the first serious proponents of the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary when he defended popular traditions in his De Conceptione sanctae Mariae.” (Wikipedia).

Yet it was infallibly taught that: “For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles” (Vatican I)

Don’t we have another “new dogma” here?:o

Well, at least you’re not using this ( :smiley: ) and this ( :wink: ) as much. I suspect this too will change.

Your dishonesty in claiming to be Catholic is becoming apparent. Sure, you can claim to be Catholic, just like a doctor who performs abortions can claim to be pro-life.

Are you seriously using a Wikipedia article as the crux of your argument that the Church invented the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception out of whole cloth?

And are you still insisting that a lack of Scriptural corroboration makes any difference in whether something is true?

If you want to be taken seriously, please provide reputable sources for your claim that the Church did not teach the Immaculate Conception prior to its infallible declaration. Otherwise, you’re running the risk of coming off as a cafeteria Catholic with an axe to grind instead of an intellectually honest participant in a discussion.


I’m afraid you totally misunderstand the concept of Catholic Church teaching.

The doctrine was infallibly formulated in 1854, but it should not be thereby assumed that the Church “invented” it at that time. No, in fact the formulation Pope Pius IX gave was merely an echo of Pope Alexander’s official teaching given way back in 1661.

[quote=Pope Alexander VII, S. O. Ecclesiarum, 1661]Concerning the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, ancient indeed is that devotion of the faithful based on the belief that her soul, in the first instant of its creation and in the first instant of the soul’s infusion into the body, was, by a special grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ,
her Son and the Redeemer of the human race, preserved free from all stain of original sin. And in this sense have the faithful ever solemnized and celebrated the Feast of the Conception.

He goes on in this encyclical to condemn all opposition to the doctrine, and defended it against the concerns over it. The “ancient devotion” in his quote was also mentioned in the 5th session of the Council of Trent (convened 1546), under the treatment of original sin. They said that “it is not [our] intention to include in this decree, where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the mother of God;”. They then refer us to the decisions of Pope Sixtus IV, who reigned from 1471 to 1484, and who (sometime during his reign) made the Feast of the Immaculate Conception official.

Note, now, that this was quite some time before the Reformation. The Immaculate Conception doctrine was not a part of the counter-Reformation (though this idea is prevalent today), but it was already being celebrated for quite some time before. Still, it goes back even further. From the 15th century, we venture back and find that in the late 7th century it was being (unofficially) celebrated in the East. In the fifth (AD 446), Bishop Proclus of Constantinople, in his first homily, claimed that Jesus “proceeded from her [Mary] contracting no stain” because “he formed her without any stain of her own”. (Consider that “without stain” is the definition of “immaculate”.) And back in the third century (AD 235), Hippolytus wrote of his belief while commenting on Psalms 23.

[quote=Hippolytus, Commentary on Psalms 23]And, moreover, the ark made of imperishable wood was the Saviour Himself. For by this was signified the imperishable and incorruptible tabernacle of [the Lord] Himself, which gendered no corruption of sin. For the sinner, indeed, makes this confession: “My wounds stank, and were corrupt, because of my foolishness.” But the Lord was without sin, made of imperishable wood, as regards His humanity; that is, of the virgin and the Holy Ghost inwardly, and outwardly of the word of God, like an ark overlaid with purest gold.

This has been taught by Catholics since at least AD 235, then, and I haven’t even gotten into the Scriptural warrant. Your statement that the first time it was taught was in the 19th century is way off, and totally misunderstands the distinctions between “teaching” (in this case, it was taught since the Apostolic age), “officially teaching” (which began in this case in the 15th century), and “infallibly formulating” (which in this case occurred in the 19th century).

The prevalent idea of “original sin” at the time of Pope Pius, the idea he was writing under, was that “original sin” is merely a lack of sanctifying grace. To prove Mary was born without original sin, all we would have to do is prove (a) that she had sanctifying grace when conceived, or (b) that her soul had a special, graced condition. (We receive our souls at our conceptions, and they cannot change.)
Well, in Luke 1:28 Mary was addressed as “full of grace”, and a title from God always indicates something about the person’s inner nature. In other words, Mary was full of grace by nature, i.e. from conception onwards.
In Luke 1:46-47, “Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Certainly no ordinary soul could do such, because the ordinary soul is plagued by sin (1 Pet. 2:11) and sin cannot glorify or rejoice in God (2 Cor. 6:14-16).
So we have proven both (a) and (b). Mary had a special, grace-filled nature in her soul, and therefore could not have been conceived lacking grace (which is original sin), because that would be contrary to her nature.

Jesus said salvation comes from believing the Gospel that His apostles taught. Jesus never, never said salvation comes from believing the bible, which is salvation history.
Thus, even though scripture is the written word of God and must be believed, salvation comes from believing the Gospel that apostles handed down through the Church and it does not come from reading salvation history (the bible).

Thus the doctrines of the Church don’t originate from Scripture.

They originate from Jesus, who taught the apostles everything. (john 15:15) and sent the Holy Spirit to teach them “all things”. Thus the Church learned the Gospel directly from Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and NOT from reading scripture. The Catholic Church is not a Protestant religion which is constantly trying to derive the Gospel from guesswork of scripture verses. The Catholic Church already knows the whole Gospel and always knew it from the beginning.

The apostles handed all these teachings in the Gospel that they taught and preached, which is the Catholic faith. Jesus said salvation comes from believing the Gospel that they taught and preached. Mark 16:15-16 "He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned."This teaching on the immaculate conception follows from what was already revealed, that Mary never sinned, etc. and from other teachings handed down in the Gospel through Tradition. As time progresses their is a deeper penetration into what Jesus first revealed. Thus the Church advances in doctrine. Since this is a deeper penetration of the Word of God, guided by the Holy Spirit, it is still the Word of God. Thus the teaching on the Immaculate Conception is the Word of God and must be believed.
The Church constantly teaches and advances in understanding of what has been revealed. The Church does not teach a dead gospel, but a Living Gospel, animated by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not dead, but is alive and constantly guiding the Church. The Catechism presents a summary of this living Gospel today. The Popes guide the Church and lead her on the right path.

Also, whenever the Popes teach on faith or morals for the whole Church, and when teaching as head of the Church, then they are teaching Ex-Cathedra. Thus there are thousands of Ex-Cathedra teachings, not just a few.

Look up the definition in Vatican I and Vatican II.
**Only Vatican I and Vatican II give the definitions. **Theologians and scripture scholars have absolutely no authority to define and water down the definition so that only two teachings are accepted.

Absolutely not. Consult a canon lawyer. Once baptized Catholic (an indelible mark), one remains Catholic unless one very deliberately changes his/her religion.

I just “test everything” and “hold fast to that which is true.”

But I have “put away the things of a child.”

Of course, many don’t as evidenced by their postings.:wink:

I think all this is from St. Paul, but I’d have to look up the citations.:wink:

please provide reputable sources for your claim that the Church did not teach the Immaculate Conception prior to its infallible declaration.<<

I made no such claim. Evidiently you are creating the classic “strawman” argument. You are claiming something I never said so then you can attack it.

Are you seriously using a Wikipedia article as the crux …<<

No. Only as a short summation. But I look forward to you citing specific teachings on Immaculate Conception from apostolic times.:wink:

So now you’ve traced it back to 1471. That’s hardly an apostolic teaching then, is it?:frowning:

Hi Lilttle,

I don’t quite get where you’re going, but I think there are a couple of things you ought to understand.

When a dogma is proclaimed, it does not mean that new doctrine is proclaimed. Whether it’s the Immaculate Conception, papal infallibility or the Assumption, Catholics were bound to accept these doctrines on the day before their proclamation as strongly as the day after. The only difference is that before the proclamation, someone who denied these doctrines, would have sinned gravely against faith and endangered their salvation. After the proclamation, they would, in addtion, put themselves out of the Church.

The sinlessness of Mary is something that goes back to the very beginning of the Church, as well as the Assumption. The pope’s infallibility is something that was accepted from early times as well, if not in so many words, at least in practice.

The reasons for these proclamations were ;

In the case of the Immaculate Conception, there were doubts whether Mary’s sinlessness dated from her conception or from later. St. Thomas Aquinas, if I understand rightly, believed it was the moment following her conception. In the case of the infallibility of the pope, there were discussions as to the circumstances that should surround an infallible pronouncement. In the case of the Assumption, it was simply Pius XII’s desire to honor Mary, thus fulfilling the prophecy : “All generations shall call me blessed.”

The Church’s doctrine is 100% apostolic. No new doctrine is created, but with time a better understanding of certain truths is achieved.

If you have questions for this forum, you should ask them straightforwardly. Thus you will get straightforward answers. This IS Catholic Answers.



I wondered how long it would be before this guy would give himself away.

Notice the a-C trick here in his remarks.

“… Once baptized Catholic (an indelible mark), one remains Catholic unless one very deliberately changes his/her religion”

Used often by ex-Catholics gone a-C to give themselves some measure of credibility when opposing Catholic teachings.:rolleyes: But notice that he doesn’t come out and dare to say that he no longer is a practicing Catholic. His slander of a parish priest (and all Catholic clergy) on another thread is equally indicative.

Now look at the very typical n-C/a-C references he uses next.

"I just “test everything” and “hold fast to that which is true.”

But I have “put away the things of a child.”

Am I the only one that sees his definite effort to infer that Catholics and the Church do not obey 1st Thessalonians 5:21 and 1st Corinthians 13:11, and yet we know very well that that assertion is specious.

Anybody else see an agenda here? All the while he makes his own “ex cathedra” statements as to the meanings or supposed conflicts. Have you noticed that whenever someone cites a good refutation that he doesn’t deal with that but just shotguns you with another attack, whether it’s on topic or not.

From all this evidence I would roughly surmise that this person is actually someone who left the faith and is now a member of some pentecostal or evangelical faith community. I think it’s deceptive to play word games here at CAF and present himself as a fellow Catholic. Is deception like that a mark of faithful Christian practice?:dts:

In case no one’s figured it out yet Little Les is a lot less than a faithful Catholic.

What bothered me was the possibility of him actually being Catholic and participating in the eucharist with the attitude he had.

He kept making odd comparisons to Elvis too, which puzzled me. :confused:

I held off on responding to that strange point because I simply had no idea what he was talking about or where he was gong with it. Later, once it occured to me that he might be setting us up for a wise-crack about either Jesus or Mary having “left the building”, I just didn’t buy into his claim of Catholicism any longer.

I wonder what makes people do that stuff?

I suspect the anonymity of the internet plays a large part. Byt the way, I was going to ask him which church he went to and who his priest was. I would’ve actually called the priest to ask him if he knew what one of his congregation was saying about him.

I’m strange like that. :o

I think Father Corapi is right on about being patient with priests, even ones that might be messing up a little. Clearly, they are dealing with a lot more than we are. And I don’t think anyone should speak badly about them. I know Little Les shouldn’t.

That was my breaking point.

You must keep on reading. I kept on going farther and farther back, from the 19th century to the 17th to the 15th to the 7th to the 4th to the 3rd, and then to the 1st in Luke 1:28 and Mary’s Magnificat. There are other Scriptures which imply it as well, but those seem to be sufficient for you.


I see “Little Les” is suspended.:shrug:

I didn’t want to pass any comment until some action was taken, in case it might be misinterpreted.

However, it seems “Little Les” was on these forums some years ago as “LittleLes” peddling the same old rubbish.

Also, a quick google for “LittleLes” will show participation on other Christian/catholic forums using the same personal infallible interpretations and faulty logic.

Looking over posts by “LittleLes” and “Little Les” here and on other forums it seems to me that they are not just a-Catholic, they are a-Christian as well.

One thing that does strike me is that the venom seems to be confined to the New Testament. The Old Testament seems to get much more reverential treatment – in my opinion.:confused:

I think, seriously, we should all pray for “LittleLes”.

I don’t think that waving a Baptismal Certificate around the place on Judgement Day will cut much ice.


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