Any infallible statements on infallibility?


#1

Specifically, I am looking to see if there are any Magesterial statements to answer this question:

When God protects the Magesterium from error, does He protect the words used (what is actually said), the intent of the words (what they are meant and understood to say at the time), or both?


#2

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ott, p. 286-287 is what you need.

Basically, an infallible statement is not Divine Revelation, nor is it Divine Inspiration.

Instead, infallibility rests in the fact that “The Holy Ghost preserves the bearer of the supreme teaching office from a false decision (assistentia negativa), and leads him, where necessary, by external and internal grace to the right knowledge and correct statement of the truth (assistentia positiva). The Divine assistance does not relieve the bearer of the infallible doctrinal power of the obligation of taking pains to know the truth, especially by means of the study of the sources of Revelation.”

hurst


#3

[quote=hurst]Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ott, p. 286-287 is what you need.

Basically, an infallible statement is not Divine Revelation, nor is it Divine Inspiration.

Instead, infallibility rests in the fact that “The Holy Ghost preserves the bearer of the supreme teaching office from a false decision (assistentia negativa), and leads him, where necessary, by external and internal grace to the right knowledge and correct statement of the truth (assistentia positiva). The Divine assistance does not relieve the bearer of the infallible doctrinal power of the obligation of taking pains to know the turht, especially by means of the study of the sources of Revelation.”

hurst
[/quote]

Hmmmm. That is somewhat helpful. What I am trying to determine is this:

When I read a council, and I see a statement, in what sense do I know the statement to be infallible? Often times, what the statement seems to say and what the Church currently claims it to say differ.


#4

[quote=Lazerlike42]Hmmmm. That is somewhat helpful. What I am trying to determine is this:

When I read a council, and I see a statement, in what sense do I know the statement to be infallible? Often times, what the statement seems to say and what the Church currently claims it to say differ.
[/quote]

Well, it is the same with scripture, I think. When different people read the same content, you get different interpretations.

For ambiguous issues, one must compare the statement with other known truths in a prayerful manner, rooted in the charity of Christ. Remember, lack of contextual details can produce optical illusions that can be seen more than one way.

Note: the CCC can be ambiguous and must not be seen as a definitive guide in itself.

hurst


#5

I think the CCC can be seen as a definitive guide. See extract from John Paul II’s letter in the introduction to the CCC:

The Doctrinal Value of the Text

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom!

The approval and publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church represent a service which the Successor of Peter wishes to offer to the Holy Catholic Church, to all the particular Churches in peace and communion with the Apostolic See: the service, that is, of supporting and confirming the faith of all the Lord Jesus’ disciples (cf. Lk 22:32 as well as of strengthening the bonds of unity in the same apostolic faith. Therefore, I ask all the Church’s Pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion and to use it assiduously in fulfilling their mission of proclaiming the faith and calling people to the Gospel life. **This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine ** and particularly for preparing local catechisms. It is also offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation (cf. Eph 3:8). It is meant to support ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and wondrous harmony of the catholic faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.


#6

[quote=thistle]I think the CCC can be seen as a definitive guide. See extract from John Paul II’s letter in the introduction to the CCC:

The Doctrinal Value of the Text

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom!

The approval and publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church represent a service which the Successor of Peter wishes to offer to the Holy Catholic Church, to all the particular Churches in peace and communion with the Apostolic See: the service, that is, of supporting and confirming the faith of all the Lord Jesus’ disciples (cf. Lk 22:32 as well as of strengthening the bonds of unity in the same apostolic faith. Therefore, I ask all the Church’s Pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion and to use it assiduously in fulfilling their mission of proclaiming the faith and calling people to the Gospel life. **This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine ** and particularly for preparing local catechisms. It is also offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation (cf. Eph 3:8). It is meant to support ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and wondrous harmony of the catholic faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.
[/quote]

This seems to border on an ex cathedra statement, though I dont think it is one…


#7

[quote=Lazerlike42]Specifically, I am looking to see if there are any Magesterial statements to answer this question:

When God protects the Magesterium from error, does He protect the words used (what is actually said), the intent of the words (what they are meant and understood to say at the time), or both?
[/quote]

It is the actual words used that are protected. One of the errors (tricks) of the modernists is to claim that it is the “meaning behind the words” that is protected, and not the words themselves. Then the modernist proceeds to “reinterpret” the statement in a new way, due to an alleged “deeper understanding”.

This was condemned at the first Vatican Concil, where Papal Infallibility was defined:

Vatican I" "Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding… " (Vatican I, Dz 1792; 1800; 1839).

Papal Infallibility has limits. The Pope cannot come out and change a doctrinal teaching of the Church, nor reveal any new doctrine. The first duty of the Pope is to defend what the Church has always taught, and, when deemed necessry, to define these docrinal teachings when necessary.

Vatican I: “For the Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth.”

Vatian II was merely a pastoral council, and as such falls into the same category as a Papal Encyclical, It was not part of the extraordinary magisterium, as both Popes who reigned over the council told us.

Paul VI: "There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoid issuing solemn dogmatic definitions engaging the infallibility of the ecclesiastical Magisterium. The answer is known by whoever remembers the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964: given the Council’s pastoral character, it avoided pronouncing, in an extraordinary manner, dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility.” (Paul VI, General Audience of January 12, 1966 in Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol.4, p. 700.)

Then there is the important testimony from the Council’s. At the close of Vatican II, the bishops asked Archbishop (later Cardinal), Felici, who was the Council’s Secretary, for that which the theologians call the “theological note” of the Council . That is, the doctrinal “weight” of Vatican II’s teachings. Felici replied:

“We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which have already been the subject of dogmatic definitions in the past; as for the decelerations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations.”

continue


#8

continuation

So, Vatican II was different from other councils. For the other general councils of the Church engaged the extra-ordinary magisterium, which protected them from error. Vatican II did not do that.

Paul VI: “…differing from other Councils, this one was not directly dogmatic but doctrinal and pastoral” - Paul VI, “Weekly General Audience” (8/6/1975)

Vatican II was merely a “pastoral council” that did not intend to define doctrines, much less “change” what the Church had always taught. Catholic are bound to what has already been defined and Vatican II was subject to those defined teachings

Pope John XXIII: “The salient point of this council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all. **For this a council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council,, the Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine… The substance of the ancient doctrine of the Deposit of Faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.”

Bishop B.C. Butler of England: “…not all teachings emanating from a pope or Ecumenical Council are infallible. There is no single proposition of Vatican II - except where it is citing previous infallible definitions which is in itself infallible.”

Cardinal John Heenan of Westminster: “It [Vatican II] deliberately limited its own objectives. There were to be no specific definitions. Its purpose from the first was pastoral renewal within the Church and a fresh approach to the outside.”

But, if Vatican II did not define any doctrines, or much less “change” anything, why do so many Catholics now reject what was taught prior to Vatican II - and treat Vatian II as a new start from zero?

Cardinal Ratzinger - Now Pope Benedict XVI: “The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.”**


#9

If you are trying to say that Vatican II was not infallible, you are crossing into some real problem territory.


#10

[quote=Lazerlike42]If you are trying to say that Vatican II was not infallible, you are crossing into some real problem territory.
[/quote]

Pope Paul VI: "There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoid issuing solemn dogmatic definitions engaging the infallibility of the ecclesiastical Magisterium. The answer is known by whoever remembers the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964: given the Council’s pastoral character, it avoided pronouncing, in an extraordinary manner, dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility.” (Paul VI, General Audience of January 12, 1966 in Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol.4, p. 700.)

Vatican II was part of the ordinary magisterium, which is presumed to be infallible as long as it is teaching what has always been taught. Infallibility is only guaranteed when the extraordinary magisterium is engaged. That was not the case with Vatican II, as Paul VI said above.

What is the conclusion? The conclusion is this: Whenever Vatican II teaches that which is consistent with what has always been taught, or what has been previously defined by the Church, it is infallible. If it teaches anything new, according to Archbishop Felici, the Secretary of Vatican II, “we have to make reservations”.

Archbishop Felici, the secretary of Vatican II: “We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which have already been the subject of dogmatic definitions in the past; as for the decelerations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations.”

Here’s a link to an interesting and informing article: thecatholicfaith.blogspot.com/2006/02/alta-vendita-and-subversion-of.html


#11

[quote=Lazerlike42]Hmmmm. That is somewhat helpful. What I am trying to determine is this:

When I read a council, and I see a statement, in what sense do I know the statement to be infallible? Often times, what the statement seems to say and what the Church currently claims it to say differ.
[/quote]

You will not see these appearant contradictions in the Councils or Catechism prior to Vatican II. These appearant contradictions we have today are the reason for the confusion in the Church.

Stick with the older Catechisms and you will form a very clear understanding of the truth, and a firm faith.


#12

[quote=USMC]You will not see these appearant contradictions in the Councils or Catechism prior to Vatican II. These appearant contradictions we have today are the reason for the confusion in the Church.

Stick with the older Catechisms and you will form a very clear understanding of the truth, and a firm faith.
[/quote]

What about my 1994 Catechism commisioned by Pope John Paul II?

Peace to you,
Richard


#13

[quote=Richard_Hurtz]What about my 1994 Catechism commisioned by Pope John Paul II?

Peace to you,
Richard
[/quote]

That 1994 Catechism was revised and republished in 1997. I am not sure what was changed, but errors were corrected.

I would suggest any Catechism prior to 1960. Those teach the faith very clearly.


#14

[quote=]Each and all these items which are set forth in this dogmatic Constitution have met with the approval of the Council Fathers. And We by the apostolic power given Us by Christ together with the Venerable Fathers in the Holy Spirit, approve, decree and establish it and command that what has thus been decided in the Council be promulgated for the glory of God.
[/quote]

Lumen Gentium


#15

[quote=USMC]Pope Paul VI: "There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoid issuing solemn dogmatic definitions engaging the infallibility of the ecclesiastical Magisterium. The answer is known by whoever remembers the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964: given the Council’s pastoral character, it avoided pronouncing, in an extraordinary manner, dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility.” (Paul VI, General Audience of January 12, 1966 in Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol.4, p. 700.)

[/quote]

Yes, no infallible dogmas were defined (de fide definita). However, much de fide catholica was taught by Vatican II.

Speaking of all ecumenical councils, Cardinal Ratzinger stated, “… it is clear that conciliar decisions are infallible in the sense that I can be confident that here the inheritance of Christ is correctly interpreted (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Canon of Criticism, Salt of the Earth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997))”


#16

[quote=itsjustdave1988]Yes, no infallible dogmas were defined (de fide definita). However, much de fide catholica was taught by Vatican II.

Speaking of all ecumenical councils, Cardinal Ratzinger stated, “… it is clear that conciliar decisions are infallible in the sense that I can be confident that here the inheritance of Christ is correctly interpreted (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Canon of Criticism, Salt of the Earth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997))”
[/quote]

Maybe you could explain how we determine what is infallible.

For instance, I see three possibilities with VII:

  1. All that VII taught had previously been taught by the Church always and everywhere, and thus it is infallible

  2. VII taught some things which are new and defined and thus are infallible - this seems not to have happened

  3. VII taught some things which are new and contradict that which was taught in the past

Would new things taught in a council fall under infallibility simply by virtue of their being new, or would it be required that they be taught using some formula? (Side note - If it were that the mere fact that a teaching is new declared it infallible, then it would seem that #3 would be a disproof of infallibility.)

Another question I have is this: being that VII falls under the Ordinary Magisterium, which would be case #1 above, does this not simply mean that whichever way we read the documents of VII, it must be in such a way so as to make sure that they are consistent with the previous teachings of the Church?

In such a case, what would this mean for the reading of, for instance, Lumen Gentium 16? Is the current teaching of the Church truly in line with what was taught always and everywhere in regards to a lighter reading of EENS?| How do we know infallibly which is correct?


#17

[quote=Lazerlike42]Specifically, I am looking to see if there are any Magesterial statements to answer this question:

When God protects the Magesterium from error, does He protect the words used (what is actually said), the intent of the words (what they are meant and understood to say at the time), or both?
[/quote]

According to this article from Fr. Brian Harrison…

**HUMANAE VITAE AND INFALLIBITY **
by Fr. Brian Harrison
rtforum.org/lt/lt12.html#II

… the key expression in the definition [of Vatican I on infallbility] is not the term ex cathedra, but the word definit - “defines.” The relator (official commentator at Vatican I), Bishop Gasser, explained to the assembled Fathers what the drafting Commission understood by this word. As Fr. Lio quotes Gasser, he affirmed to the conciliar Bishops that the word should not be taken as signifying exclusively a “forensic” act by the Pope - one which settles a controversy as to what is heresy and what is a matter of faith. Rather, the meaning is broader: the Pope “defines” a doctrine whenever he “passes judgment in a direct and final way” (suam sententiam directe et terminative proferat) on a point of faith or morals, “in such a way that each and every Catholic can be certain as to the mind of the Apostolic See and of the Roman Pontiff; and, indeed, certain that the Roman Pontiff holds this or that doctrine to be heretical, proximate to heresy, certainly true, erroneous, etc. (ita quidem ut certe sciat a Romano Pontifice hanc vel illam doctrinam haberi haereticam, haeresi proximam, certam vel erroneam etc.)” (in Collectio Lacensis, V, col. 474f.). Since Gasser’s explanation of the Vatican I definition was the one which the Fathers had in mind when they voted, it is of the highest authority, and clearly supports Fr. Lio’s thesis that*** papal infallibility is not limited to dogmatic definitions*** - i.e. judgments as to what is revealed (de fide) and what (in direct contrast) is heretical. Pope Pius IX and the Fathers of Vatican I promulgated the dogma of papal infallibility on the understanding that this prerogative of the Roman Pontiff also included the power to judge questions which are not in themselves matters of revealed truth, but closely related to revealed truth.

So, whenever the pope ***passes judgment in a direct and final way on a point of faith or morals in such a way that each and every Catholic can be certain as to the mind of the Apostolic See and of the Roman Pontiff; and, indeed, certain that the Roman Pontiff holds this or that doctrine to be heretical, proximate to heresy, certainly true, erroneous, ***then he is either expounding or defending the Catholic faith with the gift of papal infallibility.

Vatican II taught,

this** infallibility** with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith,(166) by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals.(42*) And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith.(43*)

Whenever he definitively expounds or defends a doctrine of Catholic faith or morals to the universal Church, the Roman Pontiff does so with the gift of infallibility, whether he is being dogmatic or merely pastoral.


#18

I think Catholics are often way too legalistic about what words the pope has used in determining if something is an irreformable or not. Before Vatican I, this was not the case. We weren’t searching for the right “buzz words” from the papal Bull to see if it was to be assented to with the assent of faith or not. Catholics simply understood that the pope spoke with the voice of Christ when intending to be definitive or decisive about a matter regarding faith or morals.

I tend to take a less legalistic view about whether something the pope teaches demands the assent of faith. I agree with Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman:

I say with Cardinal Bellarmine whether the Pope be infallible or not in any pronouncement, anyhow he is to be obeyed. No good can come from disobedience…*when he speaks formally and authoritatively he speaks as our Lord would have him speak…therefore the Pope’s word stands, and a blessing goes with obedience to it, and no blessing with disobedience” *(John Henry Newman, “'The Oratory, Novr. 10, 1867”, The Genius of Newman (1914), by Wilfrid Ward, Vol II, Ch. 26)


#19

What an unholy conclusion indeed! One cannot oppose the living magisterium simply because you “think” it’s teaching opposes the magisterium of the past.

I instead believe Pope St. Pius X:

“… **one does not oppose to the Pope’s authority that of others, however learned they may be, who differ from him. For however great their learning, they must be lacking in holiness, for there can be no holiness in dissension from the Pope. **(Pope St. Pius X, allocution of 18 November, 1912, AAS vol. 4 (1912), 693-695. Selection from p. 695)”


#20

USMC: You are gravely misrepresenting the statements by Paul VI. Dogmas are simply those statements to which are attached “let him be anathema”. It is true that Vatican II didn’t proclaim any infallible dogmas, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t teach infallibly. Vatican II was not introducing anything novel into the Church’s teaching, but was rather expounding upon the Apostolic Tradition and renewing its ancient teachings in the face of perceived stagnancy. It was also officially closing Vatican I, which had never ended, and finishing up the teachings that had been intended to be put forth there.

Peace and God bless!


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