Are we justified by faith alone?


#1

RSiscoe asked the following:

[size=3]Are we justified by faith alone?

Joint Declaration with the Lutheran Church: “41. Thus the doctrinal condemnations of the 16th century, in so far as they are related to the doctrine of justification, appear in a new light: The teaching of the Lutheran churches presented in this Declaration do not fall under the condemnations from the Council of Trent.”

“26. According to Lutheran understanding, God justifies sinners in faith alone (sola fide). In faith they place their trust wholly in their Creator and Redeemer and thus live in communion with him.”

According to the “Joint Declaration” the heresy of justification by “faith alone” (see above) does not fall under the anathema of Trent. Do you believe that?

But that is not all, in the “Annex to the Official Common Statement,” the Vatican and the Lutherans together declare their common doctrine of justification by faith alone:

“Justification takes place by grace alone, by faith alone, the person is justified apart from works” (Annex, # 2, C).

Do you believe we are saved by faith alone - sola fide? If not, why not; if so, how do you reconcile that with this:

If anyone shall say that by faith alone the sinner is justified… let him be anathema.” (Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Can. 9)

Now, which are we to believe? That we are justified by faith alone, or that justification by faith alone is a heresy? The Church teaches infallibly that justification by faith alone is a heresy, and that anyone who says we are justified by faith alone “is anathema”. John Paul II signed the above declaration thus agreeing that we are justified by faith alone. Do you agree with John Paul II? If not, why not?

[/size]

Firstly, let me say in the beginning that there are many other things for which Lutherans are anathema, apart from any understanding of the Doctrine of Justification. As such, one ought not to mistakenly think that Lutheranism is no longer heretical.

Secondly, I think it’s prudent to look at the full text of canon 9 you mentioned above, so we have a better appreciation for what is “anathema.”

From Denzinger’s *Enchiridion Symbolorum, *819:

[size=3]Canon 9. If anyone shall say that by faith alone the sinner is justified, so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will: let him be anathama." [see also Denzinger 798, 801, 804]

[/size]

It seems that not just any sort of assertion that has the phrase “faith alone” in it is anathema, but Trent is condemning a rather specific “faith alone” doctrine. The specific faith alone doctrine condemned is one that asserted, "nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification and it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will.

Asserted positively, Catholic theology insists: “***the sinner can and must prepare himself by the help of actual grace for the reception of the grace by which he is justified.***” (Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 252), and “***Besides faith, further acts of disposition must be present. ***[eg. charity, hope]***” ***(Ott, pg. 253).

As such, Trent condemns any understanding of the “faith alone” doctrine which asserts that a merely fiduciary faith apart from hope or love is the sole cause of justification, and that cooperation with antecedent actual grace is not required for justification.

to be continued …


#2

continued …

In otherwords, faith is not a justifying faith according to Catholic theology if it is understood to be apart from charity, said to have been formed by charity. Such an unformed faith was called by Catholic Scholastics: fides informis. The Scholastics taught that fides informis alone was insufficient for justification. Moreover, the Scholastics taught that we are justified by fides formata, or faith formed by charity.

Martin Luther rejected the Catholic doctrine of justification by faith formed by charity. Observe,

[size=3][Catholics] say that we must believe in Christ and that faith is the foundation of salvation, but they say that this faith does not justify unless it is “formed by love.” This is not the truth of the Gospel; it is a falsehood and pretense … For faith that takes hold of Christ, the Son of God, and is adorned by Him is the faith that justifies, not a faith that includes love. … we refuse to concede … that faith formed by love justifies. (LW 26, 88-90, emphasis added)

[/size]

Let me take a moment to do this :eek: and :rolleyes: at what Martin Luther asserted above. I don’t get how anybody fell for this doctrine, as it seems he is saying that faith apart from love is justifying faith. This is astonishing, since St. Paul teaches that faith apart from love is … nothing.

That was then. What has changed? Well, Luther’s works are so many and varied (and in my opinion, often inconsistent among themselves), that scholars draw many variant conclusions as to what Luther *really *taught. Many Lutherans today maintain a view of *sola fide *that is not incompatible with canon 9 of the Council of Trent cited above.

According to the Lutheran understanding as described in the Joint Declaration on Justification,

[size=3]God himself effects faith as he brings forth such trust by his creative word. (26)

[/size]

God certainly does bring forth trust by his creative word. While Lutherans may not use the same terminology, Catholics call this the help of antecedent “actual grace” which prepares the sinner for faith. For example, when God told Cain that sin was crouching at his door, and that he needed to master sin, this was “actual grace.” God graciously prompts us with “actual grace” so that we may will to turn toward Him rather than toward sin. God would not have told Cain to master sin if it were impossible for Cain to do so. God brought forth his word to Cain, but Cain chose to reject it.

Furthermore, the Lutheran understanding as described in the Joint Declaration on Justification states:

[size=3]When persons come by faith to share in Christ … the Holy Spirit effects in them an active love. (22)

[They] place their trust in God’s gracious promise by justifying faith, which includes hope in God and love for him. (25)

[/size]

The Lutheran understanding affirms that justifying faith includes the theological virtues of hope and love. So when they say “justified by faith alone” in this Joint Declaration, in Catholic terminology, they are affirming “justification by faith, hope, and charity alone,” which is a theology which is not anathama.

to be continued…


#3

continued…

In summary, if the particular “faith alone” doctrine is understood to be without antecedent “actual grace” and/or without repentence or conversion formed by charity, then it is anathema according to Trent. This would be sola fide informis. However, if by *sola fide, *one does not deny antecedent “actual grace” and intends *sola fide formata, *thereby includes hope and love, then this can be reconciled with Catholic theology.

See also *Justification by Faith Alone, *by James Akin, [/font]http://www.cin.org/users/james/files/faith_al.htm


#4

Dave,

I was really hoping you would not attempt to defend that compromise of a document. I don’t have time to respond as I would like, but the “faith alone” described in that document IS the heresy of the Lutherans – nothing has changed with them. These heretics confuse faith - the intellectual assent to revealed truth - with a vague “trust” in Jesus. The compromise of a document that you attempted to defend uses these two words “faith” and “trust” interchangeably, when describing the Lutheran heresy of justification of faith alone.

Joint Declaration #26. According to Lutheran understanding, God justifies sinners in faith alone (sola fide). In faith they place their trust wholly in their Creator and Redeemer and thus live in communion with him."

The Lutherans did not change their heretical belief “one iota”; rather, the liberal Catholics who seek “unity at any price” (even at the expense of the faith) compromised with them by agreeing with their heresy - thus making themselves heretics!

I would not be surprised if you even tried to defend the Vatican’s approval of the Assyrian “mass” that contains no words of consecration!

Here are a few more quotes from the joint declaration for you to reconcile with Catholicism. The first is the denial of free will.

Joint Declaration #21. According to the Lutheran teaching, human beings are incapable of cooperating in their salvation, because as sinners they actively oppose God and his saving action."

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Can. 4:
If anyone shall say that man’s free will moved and aroused by God does not cooperate by assenting to God who rouses and calls, whereby it disposes and prepares itself to obtain the grace of justification, and that it cannot dissent, if it wishes, but that like something inanimate it does nothing at all and is merely in a passive state: let him be anathema.”

Next we are told about “declared forgiveness” another common protestant heresy:

Joint Declatation #23. When Lutherans emphasize that the righteousness of Christ is our righteousness, their intention is above all to insist that the sinner is granted righteousness before God in Christ through the declaration of forgiveness and that only in union with Christ is one’s life renewed. When they stress that God’s grace is forgiving love (‘the favor of God’), they do not thereby deny the renewal of the Christian’s life. They intend rather to express that justification remains free from human cooperation and is not dependent upon the life-renewing effects of grace in human beings."

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Can. 1:
If anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done either by his own natural powers, or through the teaching of the Law, and without divine grace through Christ Jesus: let him be anathema.

continue…


#5

Join declaration: #29. Lutherans understand this condition of the Christian as a being ‘at the same time righteous and sinner’. Believers are totally righteous, in that God forgives their sins through Word and Sacrament and grants the righteousness of Christ which they appropriate in faith. In Christ, they are made just before God. Looking at themselves through the law, however, they recognize that they remain totally sinners."

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 5:
“If anyone denies that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted, or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away, but says that it is only touched in person or is not imputed, let him be anathema.

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 5:
“For in those who are born again, God hates nothing, because ‘there is no condemnation, to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism unto death’ (Rom. 6:4), who do not ‘walk according to the flesh’ (Rom. 8:1), but putting off ‘the old man’ and putting on the ‘new, who is created according to God’ (Eph. 4:22 ff.; Col. 3:9), are made innocent, immaculate, pure, guiltless, and beloved sons of God, ‘heirs indeed of God, but co-heirs with Christ’ (Rom. 8:17), so that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven.”

The Lutherans have changed NOTHING. They still hold to their heresy in exactly the way they always have. Anyone who has any experience debating them will know this. Yet according to the joint declaration:

Declaration of Justification: “Thus the doctrinal condemnations of the 16th century, in so far as they are related to the doctrine of justification, appear in a new light: The teaching of the Lutheran churches presented in this Declaration [see above quote] do not fall under the condemnations from the Council of Trent.”

[quote=Dave]Firstly, let me say in the beginning that there are many other things for which Lutherans are anathema, apart from any understanding of the Doctrine of Justification. As such, one ought not to mistakenly think that Lutheranism is no longer heretical.
[/quote]

Now that we agree on. We both agree that Lutherans are heretics and that heretics have no faith - “he who descents on one point from Divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith” (Leo XIII).

But if Lutherans are heretics, and heretics have no faith, why did John Paul II say he has a common faith with them? If we are required, as you say, to submit to everything the Pope writes or says, then we must be willing to admit that the Pope is united in “faith” with heretics - since that is what he said.

John Paul II, on the Vatican-Lutheran Agreement on Justification: "For 25 years Lutherans and Catholics have been working to rediscover their common path… Theological dialogue has brought to light again the vast heritage of faith which unites us…

Do you believe John Paul II when he says he is united in “faith” (heresy) with the Lutherans? If so, what does that say about him?

"1. **In assessing Our duty and the situation now prevailing, We have been weighed upon by the thought that a matter of this kind * is so grave and so dangerous that ***[size=2]“the Roman Pontiff, who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fullness of power over peoples and kingdoms… may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith. Remembering also that, where danger is greater, it must more fully and more diligently be counteracted…” “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio”

What term would you say more accurately describes one who would defend such a compromise of a document: “faithful Catholic”, or “useful idiot”?[/size]


#6

people it is a very simple arguement… Luther taught that justification is a legal declaration by God that declrares a person just. the righteousness is “imputed” or merely on the outside. the catholic position is that man is justified in baptism and becomes a son of God. God decalres a person just , and in the act of declaring him just he is in fact just. the righteousness is infused, not merely imputed. sonship is key to the catholic understanding because sons typically go through hurdles and learn from mistakes and parents have to “help” them along… Any understanding that treats justificaiton as merely a legal declaration is wrong and heretical…


#7

Adding the word “alone” to the “We are justified by faith” formula definitely implies that “faith” is ultimately philosophically and morally distinguishable from “works.”

It is not.

Faith is a work.

Good works are “faith in motion.”

How many Catholics or Lutherans would think that this is a valid prayer: “God, give me faith, but back-out the ‘works’ implications of the faith concept before you do.”?

Obviously, God would find the prayer deeply offensive.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the contrast was between a “non-believer,” a Samaritan, on the one hand, and a believing priest and a believing Levite, on the other.

Who was “Heaven bound” in the Parable?

The supposedly “faithless” good works doers.

Who would Christ have referred to as “faithless”?

The ones in the Parable who had “faith ALONE,” right?

GOD

DOESN’T

WANT

“FAITH ALONE.”

“Faith alone” is clearly offensive to God.


#8

RSiscoe,

You haven’t addressed your first objection, that is, regard to canon 9. Instead you thrust out, as if a birdshot, a bunch of other objections. I can reply to each one if you like, but if you are simply going to shoot and run, then I don’t see the point.

It seemed from you question, your dubious understanding of Canon 9 is what you had problems with, and as I’ve described above, Trent’s canon 9 condemned a specific kind of “faith alone” understanding. That’s precisely why the text of canon 9 stated: "… so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will". To understand canon 9 of Trent’s condemnation, one ought to take into considereation the context of what truly was the reason for anathema.

It seems to me you saw “faith alone” and decided that this was sufficient for it to be condemned by canon 9. I don’t see that you’ve made a compelling argument, however. If you have no rebuttal for this specific point, then pick the next point you would like me to address instead of firing off a buckshot of dubious objections. Cuz I can knock them down one by one.


#9

Hey I’ll defer to the Bible on this one.

The first part of the answer is in Ephesians 2:8, where through our faith we accept the Grace of God, which is his plan for Salvation (the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross to pay for our sins)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

However, the second part of the Gracious Gift of Salvation is that we are being aved to do the good works of God:

Ephesians 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained%between% that we should walk in them.

I’ll close then with James 2:14-26, which basically says our Faith produces a life of good works, so if the good works are not evident you probably dont have the faith hence you are dead (that’s what “Faith justified by works” means):

[left]What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.[/left]

[left] 18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.[/left]

%between% %between%

%between%


#10

[quote=Dave][font=Arial][size=2]RSiscoe,

You haven’t addressed your first objection, that is, regard to canon 9. Instead you thrust out, as if a birdshot, a bunch of other objections. I can reply to each one if you like, but if you are simply going to shoot and run, then I don’t see the point.
[/quote]

[/size][/font]

Canon 9. If anyone shall say that by faith alone the sinner is justified, *so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the **attainment ***of the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will:let him be anathama." [see also Denzinger 798, 801, 804]

[quote=Dave]As such, Trent condemns any understanding of the “faith alone” doctrine which asserts that a merely fiduciary faith apart from hope or love
[/quote]

is the sole cause of justification, and that cooperation with antecedent actual grace is not required for justification.

Sorry, but the above condemnation is not addressing supernatural hope and charity. It is specifically addressing the cooperation of free will with the movements of actual grace, which the Lutheran’s reject. Our free will must cooperate with the movements of actual grace upon the heart in order to be justified: that is what it is addressing.

Supernatural charity is the state of sanctifying grace (which those who are already justified possess), not the movements of actual grace (which the unjustified must cooperate with to become justified). The unjustified sinner who is receiving actual grace is not in the state of charity (state of grace). Our free will “is required to cooperate [with actual grace] in the attain of grace of justification [sanctifying grace]”

**“If anyone shall say that by faith alone the sinner is justified, So as to understand that nothing else is requred **to cooperate ******and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own [free] will

This is clearly speaking of the cooperation of the free will to movements of actual grace upon the heart – not supernatural hope and charity. The denial of the cooperation of the human will, with the movements of actual grace, is what is being addressed, since that is one of the heresies of Protestantism, which Trent was addressing. In other words, it is saying “if anyone shall say that the sinner is justified by faith alone, without the cooperation of free will to the movements of actual grace: let him be anathema. That is basically what it is saying.

That dogmatic decree of from Trent is contradicted by this heretical statement:

Joint Declaration #21.”According to the Lutheran teaching, human beings are incapable of cooperating in their salvation, because as sinners they actively oppose God and his saving action."

continue…


#11

Continuation…

The above quote from the Joint Declaration is precisely the heresy the quote from Trent was referring to. As I have said, the Lutherans did not change their heretical belief. They still claim that “human beings are incapable of cooperating in their salvation". That condemned by the above statement from Trent, and by this one:

If anyone shall say that man’s free will moved and aroused by God does not cooperate by assenting to God who rouses and calls, whereby it disposes and prepares itself to obtain the grace of justification, and that it cannot dissent, if it wishes, but that like something inanimate it does nothing at all and is merely in a passive state: let him be anathema.”

Joint Declaration #21.”According to the Lutheran teaching, human beings are incapable of cooperating in their salvation, because as sinners they actively oppose God and his saving action."


#12

RSiscoe, you previously quoted:

“The Lutherans have changed NOTHING. They still hold to their heresy in exactly the way they always have.”

I believe you are in error with this statement, if dave’s quotes below are accurate:

[quote=itsjustdave1988]continued …
Martin Luther rejected the Catholic doctrine of justification by faith formed by charity. Observe,…

[Catholics] say that this faith does not justify unless it is “formed by love.” This is not the truth of the Gospel; it is a falsehood and pretense … For faith that takes hold of Christ, the Son of God, and is adorned by Him is the faith that justifies, not a faith that includes love. … we refuse to concede … that faith formed by love justifies. (LW 26, 88-90, emphasis added)

Furthermore, the (new) Lutheran understanding as described in the Joint Declaration on Justification states:

[They] place their trust in God’s gracious promise by justifying faith, which includes hope in God and love for him. (25)

**The Lutheran understanding affirms that justifying faith includes the theological virtues of hope and love. **

[/quote]

The first red quote, I believe, was Martin Luther’s.
The second red quote is from the Joint Declaration.

RSiscoe, how can you say that the Lutherans have changed nothing? These two Lutheran positions are totally opposed to each other! Martin Luther would be grumbling that his Lutherans have “given away the farm”, just like you are claiming that Catholics have moved away from our Truths!

dave sure doesn’t need my help, but I just saw a rigid inconsistency in your underlying contention that the Lutheran position hasn’t changed.

I needed to bring this up all by itself, so it doesn’t get “lost” in the “scuffle” between you two…But, hey, I’m enjoying the read!

God Bless Us All!


#13

[quote=Kurt G.]RSiscoe, how can you say that the Lutherans have changed nothing? These two Lutheran positions are totally opposed to each other! Martin Luther would be grumbling that his Lutherans have “given away the farm”, just like you are claiming that Catholics have moved away from our Truths!
[/quote]

I will let Dave answer for me:

[quote=Dave]Well, Luther’s works are so many and varied (and in my opinion, often inconsistent among themselves)
[/quote]

, that scholars draw many variant conclusions as to what Luther *really *taught.

Just because they say something has changed, does not mean anything has changed. The Lutheran view of justification is still heretical, and the Joint Declaration’s statements describing the Lutheran position on justification confirms it.


#14

Hello, RSisco:

I was well aware of dave’s quote (about changes in Lutheran doctrine), but thanks for including it again.

I still believe your statement that "Lutherans have changed nothing" since the original heresy is incorrect…

unless you are willing to say that Martin Luther would have approved of the “new” Lutheran statement …a justifying faith includes hope in God and love for Him.]

It seems that at the time of his rebellion, Luther would have considered such a statement “heresy” against his beliefs.
That was my main point.

Now, concerning your quote from “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio”:

“1. *In assessing Our duty and the situation now prevailing, We have been weighed upon by the thought that a matter of this kind * is so grave and so dangerous that "the Roman Pontiff, who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fullness of power over peoples and kingdoms… may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith. Remembering also that, where danger is greater, it must more fully and more diligently be counteracted…” “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio”

You and dave are obviously more experienced with Church history, (even with your disagreements) BUT, I have now also read it, and offer the following comments.

A. Your quote is taken from an introduction before the enactment of actual decrees. I think this is important.

B. Even within the decree, each time a list of offices is cited for possible heresy, the list stops short of the Apostolic See himself. --In p.2, at the end, a heretic could be “the Universal Apostolic See by the office of Legate”, but the Pope himself is excluded.
–In p.3 the list of perpetrators includes Cardinals and Legates, but does not include the Pope.

–Noted, in p.6, when the Roman Pontiff is mentioned as possibly falling into heresy, it can only happen if the Pontiff has become heretical before his promotion to the office.

–Finally, in p.7(iii), is discussed the election of a Pontiff who has “previously” deviated from the Faith.

There is nothing in the actual decree to suggest that a legally elected Pontiff can teach heresy.

RSiscoe, my point in bringing these up is to suggest that you have misinterpreted your quote from the introduction. Your interpretation clashes with the actual decrees found later in the document.

HOWEVER, if we interpret your favorite phrase
**“the Roman Pontiff…may be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith” **

to match the “real decrees” of the document, we would interpret it to mean
"the Roman Pontiff…may be contradicted if he be found to have previously deviated from the Faith"

OK, RSiscoe, I know we can’t go around inserting words randomly, but it does remove the contradiction with the actual decrees of the document, and makes for an unambiguous message, when read as a whole.

Of course, all this seems to leave open the possibility that JPII had been in heresy before his election, and then would be subject to p.6 and p.7 of the actual decree. I have no knowledge of any heresy held by JPII before his election… but maybe you do.
But it seems it would take a majority of Church authorities to decide that, not just you and some of your buddies. To suggest otherwise is to promote schism. Holy Scripture seems to prize unity and despise schism.

All said and read, I see nothing in your posts which would cause me to question JPII’s authority to be my shephard. I’m gonna hang tough…

God Bless Us All!**


#15

Kurt,

Thanks for the response. I don’t have time to address all of your points. Maybe I will do so in a few days.

When the above encyclical said that the Roman Pointiff is not to be followed if he deviates from the faith, it is referring to a Pope who has been validly elected. The other portion you mentioned says that if a Pope had previously deviated, prior to his election, his election would be null and void; thus he would not be the Pope.

There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. These virtues are suprnatural (above the natural), and we must possess all three if we are to be saved. “Faith is the foundation of the supernatural life” Pope Leo XIII). Thus, a person who deviates from the faith, falls from grace.

Obedience is a moral virtue. Moral virtues are not absolutes: they are a balance between to extremes. One extreme would be obeying a sinful order, the other extreme would be not obeying a valid request (or command)

Since faith is a theological virtue (the foundation of the suprnatural life), faith is far greater than obedience. That is why it would be permited to not follow a Pope who has deviated from the faith. If one were to follow such a Pope, they would run a great risk of falling into error as well.

When Vatican I researched the subject of papal infallibility, they found as many as 40 instances when a Pope had spoke heresy (although no ex-cathedra). For example, Pope John 22 taught publically that a person who dies would not possess the beatific Vision of God until after the general judgment (which occurrs at the end of the world). This was contrary to what the Church had always taught, and thus many Cardinals tried to persuade him to stop teaching this. It was not until he was on his death bed that he formally renounced this error. The loyal Catholics who opposed this false teaching were being faithful to the Church, even though they were contradicting the Pope. The end result was that the Pope renounced his error. Had everyone gone along with the Pope, he probably would not have renounced the erroneous teaching.

It was during the Protestant “reformation”, when the faith was being greatly attacked, that the Pope felf it his duty to tell all of the faithful what they should already have known: That if a Pope were elected who was tainted with the heresies of Protestantism (such as believing that we are justification by faith alone), that Pope should not be followed:

*"In assessing Our duty and the situation now prevailing [the Protestant reformation], We have been weighed upon by the thought that a matter of this kind * is so grave and so dangerous that "the Roman Pontiff, who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fullness of power over peoples and kingdoms… may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith. Remembering also that, where danger is greater, it must more fully and more diligently be counteracted…" “Cum ex Apostolatus Officio”

This is referring to a Pope that has been elected, not one who was never elected due to his falling into error prior to the election. That was a different matter that the same encyclical also addressed.**


#16

One more point: I am not trying to get you to question John Paul II’s authority as your shepherd. I am simply saying two things: it is possible for a Pope to deviate from the faith, and if he does he should not be followed.

Although there are many things John Paul II has done and said that seem as though he has deviated, I have personally decided to “suspend judgment” on the matter. I find it very difficult to draw the conclusion that he has deviated, even though there is much evidence to support it. I prefer to not draw a conclusion.

The way I handle the situation is by saying to myself: I have no idea why he said this or that, or why he did this or that (I don’t know what he was thinking when he did so): I will just continue to believe what Catholics have alwasy believed; reject what Catholics have always rejected; and take precautions to protect my faith from the wolves that are devouring the flock.

Practically speaking, I read older catechisms, old encyclicals, and old theological manuals, which are all very clear and teach the faith precisely with no double-talk or ambiguity. Since the faith does not change, I believe that is the safest thing to do in our day of almost total apostacy, always keeping the words of Our Lord in mind: “when I return will I find, think ye, any faith upon earth”.


#17

Thanks much for that reply, RSiscoe.

It still seems to me that

  1. A statement outside the decree does not carry the same weight as the decree. Evidently you disagree, I guess that’s OK.

  2. For some reason, inside the decree, the wording was very carefully prepared, so that disobedience to a rightfully elected Pope is simply not implied. But we may also have different translations.(I was working from one by John S. Daly).

Concerning John XXII, I was first educated on that by Tim Staples’ audo tape on the papacy. His take was that, although John XXII was inclined to believe “no immediate beatific vision”, he taught the belief as a private theologian, not as pope, and supposedly said as much. (That’s according to Staples, and he may have been shooting from the hip…)

Your statement about the beatific vision being an established Church teaching at that time is puzzling, since I believe the pope immediately after John XXII finally made and ex-cathedra ruling on the subject, is that not correct?

Of course, it may have been a bad call by John XXII to teach it even privately. But Tim still felt that particular case was explainable.

Don’t know about all those other historical cases though. Lucky thing they weren’t ex-cathedra, I guess.

God Bless Us All!


#18

Nope…

Not scriptural, Not traditional, Not logical…:thumbsup:


#19

Not sure I understand what you mean by “outside of the decree”. What decree? I’m not sure what you mean.

Oh… I may see what you mean. Do you mean the portion of the encyclical I quoted was part of the encyclical, but not a particular decree of the encyclical? Is that is what you mean?

If so, using that reasoning, we could reject almost every single encyclical John Paul II has ever written since few contain any “decrees”.


#20

[quote=RSiscoe]… Do you mean the portion of the encyclical I quoted was part of the encyclical, but not a particular decree of the encyclical? Is that is what you mean?

If so, using that reasoning, we could reject almost every single encyclical John Paul II has ever written since few contain any “decrees”.
[/quote]

I concede that point to you.

I sense you were looking to properly challenge Church authority, and still remain true to Church teachings. It looks like you found it…

I, however, must now look for a way to reconcile (for myself)

a. the teaching authority of our papal office, with
b. legitimate challenges from the faithful.

I had previously thought the two could not coexist side by side. But there must be a way… (it just appears to open a “pandora’s box” regarding Church unity, when any of us can decide the magesterium is wrong and we are right.)

I think we wandered slightly off topic for the thread, so I’ll let it go, and pick y’all up somewhere else. Thanks!

God Bless Us All!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.