Can a Catholic not accept papal infallibility?

Can a Catholic not accept papal infallibility and still be in the church, receive communion, etc.? Or would this make you not Catholic?

If a Catholic knows the Church teaches Papal infallibility and that person rejects this teaching they would be committing a mortal sin and heresy. If they know that rejecting an infallible teaching carries the penalty of automatic excommunication they are automatically excommunicated.
Any Catholic in a state of mortal sin may not receive Communion.
Any Catholic who is excommunicated is denied all Sacraments except the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

However, Catholics in a state of mortal sin only or additionally excommunicated remain Catholics.

If you are baptised Catholic you remain a Catholic forever even if you walked away from the Church. There is no such thing as an ex-Catholic or former Catholic.
There are only two types of Catholic - those in a state of grace and those in a state of mortal sin.

So at the vote for papal infallibility, were any of the bishops that voted against it excommunicated?

There are several of canonical penalties that are “automatic” but I would suggest that thistle has overstated things when saying someone who simply disbelieves a teaching of the church automatically excommunicates themselves or is in a state of mortal sin.

The Church actually states that obstinate, post-baptismal denial of doctrines is heresy. But formal heresy really is declared through a juridical process, and it mostly applies to theologians and those who have written books or papers that are judged to be incompatible with Church teaching or people who are in some way publically teaching. Most retract their papers, books, etc., if a decision is rendered against them. It is only those who continue down their path who might end up censured or in a state of excommunication. (Think Martin Luther).

Faith is a process. There are many teachings that people struggle with their entire lives. The Trinity, for example, makes sense and then it doesn’t. It’s an infinite concept that finite people are attempting to understand. People may try to explain it and explain it wrongly, that doesn’t make them heretics. Moral teachings of the Church are another that most struggle with to one degree or another, especially when the culture surrounding them is sending a contradictory message.

As to the Bishops during the process of defining the dogma, of course not. Upon declaration of the dogma by the Council, those bishops remain in good standing. They assented to the Council decrees.

Only those Catholics who went into schism over the declaration-- forming the Old Catholic Church-- excommunicated themselves.

Hans Kung, a Catholic priest and theologian, denies papal infallibility. He has been censured and is not allowed to write or teach, but his priestly faculties have not been removed and he certainly has not been excommunicated.

So, again, if someone says “if you don’t believe X, you are excommunicated”-- um, no, that’s not correct.

It certainly could be grave matter to fail in our duty to assent to Church teaching, and to continue to study and learn until we understand it better and can accept it, but people don’t excommunicate themselves from the Church so easily. Excommunication is very serious.

You are discerning the Church. It’s a long process. The long and the short of it is, you stand up and make this statement when received into the Church, “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

I think you either stand up and say that honestly, or you do so dishonestly. When I converted at 25, I had studied a lot. Of course, I didn’t know every teaching in depth and I certainly was not convinced by some-- namely contraception. But, I believed that the Church was true, that God had given her authority, and so my approach was “I trust the Church, the rest will come”. Even though at the time I didn’t really believe contraception was wrong, and as a single woman I didn’t have to worry about it immediately, I decided to trust the Church as assented to the teaching I didn’t really understand or necessarily believe fully. Anyone of the CAF regulars on this board reading that will be confused, because I am a staunch defender of the Church’s teaching on this matter on CAF. But that came later, through study. I was honest in my profession of faith because I fully intended to assent to all the teachings. But I know people who stood up and professed the faith while never intended to assent to all the teachings.

Frankly that confuses me. If I didn’t believe it, I would have just stayed where I was.

:clapping:

Great explanation!

Not at all.

If a Catholic knows the Church teaches something is a sin of grave matter and they go ahead and commit the act (e.g. rejecting a teaching) they commit a mortal sin.

If such a Catholic knows the mortal sin they commit carries the penalty of automatic excommunication then they are automatically excommunicated.

Heresy does NOT require a judicial process. Rejecting an infallible teaching incurs automatic excommunication. No process required.

Markie, I think perhaps you do not understand the Church teaching on papal infallibility. The pope is a human being and , therefore makes mistakes just like you and I. However, in matters of faith and morals that are doctrine, the Pope is protected by the Holy Spirit so that he cannot cause the Church to fall into heresy. That point is often lost on non-Catholics who seem to think we are saying that the Pope never makes a mistake at all. Our Church has taught the same teachings since the church was instituted at the time of Christ. customs may change but moral theology cannot change. Even though the culture changes, the laws of God never change. Many of the modern churches have changed their teachings to be popular with the culture, but the Catholic Church will never change the teachings that we know to be God’s truth.

Not exactly. There are MANY qualifiers in canon law regarding excommunication, automatic or otherwise.

I think you also overstate when someone is ‘committing the sin of heresy’. The OP is an inquirer, not a theologian. Many Catholics “know” what the Church teaches without meeting the level necessary to be a heretic if they don’t fully embrace it or agree with it.

I didn’t say it did.

Not at all in the way you are suggesting.

I gave an example of someone who actually does teach incompatibly with the Church and even he is not excommunicated. He retains his faculties and was only censured vis-à-vis teaching.

Your interpretation is not in keeping with what the Church actually does in this regard.

Not entirely accurate, thistle.

You’re forgetting about ‘deliberate consent’ – mortal sin has three requirements: grave matter, full knowledge, deliberate consent.

If such a Catholic knows the mortal sin they commit carries the penalty of automatic excommunication then they are automatically excommunicated.

Not so. You’re over-extending what’s ‘automatic’ about latae sentatiae excommunications. There are a number of conditions which, if met, cause the ‘automatic excommunication’ not to occur (automatically or otherwise)… :wink:

This link at EWTN outlines some of the conditions that might cause a latae sentatiae excommunication not to occur.

Heresy does NOT require a judicial process. Rejecting an infallible teaching incurs automatic excommunication. No process required.

Not just ‘rejecting’ – ‘obstinate denial’. Without obstinate denial (of dogmatic matter), there’s no heresy.

Hans Kung, a Catholic priest and theologian, denies papal infallibility. He has been censured and is not allowed to write or teach, but his priestly faculties have not been removed and he certainly has not been excommunicated.

Given the above - can that priest receive communion, or does he?

I have no idea, and that is above my pay grade. We are not privy to whatever he was instructed by his bishop or religious superior or by the pope. These sorts of matters are not for public record. The Church always deals privately with individuals who are going through a process related to discipline.

Catholics are warned regarding his books. He is not allowed to teach.

Whatever else, we must assume in charity that he and his superior (or the Pope or whoever) have reconciled the matter sufficiently that he is not excommunicated or removed from his priestly faculties. He’s assented to the Church’s authority in the matter if nothing else.

We certainly may **not **speculate on private or public persons in the Church regarding their state-- i.e. grace or sin. I posted this example only to demonstrate that a public figure has been censured but is NOT excommunicated on the topic at hand.

What I do know:
He is not excommunicated or otherwise censured in the Church except with respect to teaching and writings.

His faculties are not removed. Therefore he can celebrate Mass. Therefore he can receive communion.

what I do not know:
anything else discussed privately with him.

Let me add, you are going to ask questions hoping for black and white answers. And some people are going to give black and white answers.

But the Church is just chock full of GRAY and many people don’t like that.

Sometimes it is black and white. Is abortion grave matter?

Yes, always. It violates the 5th commandment.

Sometimes it’s gray. Is any particular person who has an abortion committing a mortal sin? If Catholic are they excommunicated?

MAYBE. MAYBE NOT.

Cool your jets. Canon 1364, section 1, right? I think that if you give some of the commentaries on that a read, you will ease up a bit on our poor OP.

Now, heresiarchs on the other hand, are not under such merciful judgments. And sometimes there will be a ferendae sententiae to make it clear that this has happened. But I’m ignorant of the older codes and how they dealt with this. Remember that this is what the CDF used to do… it was called something else, BTW!

“deliberate consent”?? If a person knows the Church teaches an act is of grave matter and the person goes ahead (goes ahead is deliberate consent) and commits the act then all three conditions have been met and a mortal sin has been committed.

rejecting and obstinate denial are the same. you are just trying to be pedantic.

No, “goes ahead” is not ‘deliberate consent’. Here’s your counter-example: you know that murder is grave matter; I hold a gun to a loved one’s head and tell you that if you don’t shoot the next person who enters the room, I’ll shoot your loved one; you ‘go ahead’ and do it. Have you committed a mortal sin? Nope; you didn’t do it with ‘deliberate consent’ – you did it out of coersion.

rejecting and obstinate denial are the same. you are just trying to be pedantic.

No, I’m really not. “Obstinate” implies a continued action over time; “rejection” doesn’t have that same connotation. If a person – coming into the faith – has a hard time believing some tenet of the faith, then they might deny its truth. But, if over the next 20 years, they continue to deny it, without considering the possibility that it is true and having been the object of folks’ attempts to be convinced of it, then that would be obstinate denial… :shrug:

I was not talking about mental incapacity or coersion but a normal situation.

I disagree. For me rejection and obstinate denial are the same.

Fair enough; but if you cut corners when making doctrinal assertions, it might be better to ID the corners you’re cutting.

I disagree. For me rejection and obstinate denial are the same.

:shrug:

So… the first time you told me ‘no’, you rejected my claim. Now, a few posts in, you’re continuing to deny it obstinately. :wink:

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