Can "good Catholics" disagree with & not follow encyclicals and not sin


#1

Recently, while speaking with a priest, we were told that while dogmas and doctrines were to be followed as infallible teaching of the church, encyclicals were to be used as guidance. That a “good Catholic” could loyally disagree with the encyclical and not follow its teaching and it would not be a sin.

In particular, we are referring to Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio and the issue of artificial birth control and abortion.

Is the priest correct in telling us that a good loyal Catholic can disagree with the encyclical and not follow the its teachings of an the encyclical in good conscience and it is not a sin?


#2

[quote=sheilak]Recently, while speaking with a priest, we were told that while dogmas and doctrines were to be followed as infallible teaching of the church, encyclicals were to be used as guidance. That a “good Catholic” could loyally disagree with the encyclical and not follow its teaching and it would not be a sin.

In particular, we are referring to Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio and the issue of artificial birth control and abortion.

Is the priest correct in telling us that a good loyal Catholic can disagree with the encyclical and not follow the its teachings of an the encyclical in good conscience and it is not a sin?
[/quote]

The error in that thinking is that the TEACHING of Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio on artificial birth control is found in the infallible Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Those documents only present the teaching of the Catholic Church as it has always stood. For a Catholic to choose to ignore a moral teaching of the Church is a serious sin.


#3

Papal encyclicals are not directly defined as infallible, therefore in matters of opinion, good Catholics may disagree with them in good conscience. However, the two encyclicals you cite contain in them the constant teaching of the Magisterium regarding contraception and abortion. This teaching is infallible and requires the assent of every Catholic. The encyclicals themselves are not the basis of this teaching. They do not purport this teaching as new, but rather affirm it.


#4

then how is one to know what exactly is an exercise of infallibility?

does it come with a special declaration?
or as a special publication?
or is it read out in all the parishes?

you said the teachings of humanae vitae and familiaris consortio were already infallibly defined by the church and the encyclicals just repeat them. when were they defined?
thanks in advance


#5

[quote=justinmatter]then how is one to know what exactly is an exercise of infallibility?

does it come with a special declaration?
or as a special publication?
or is it read out in all the parishes?
[/quote]

Vatican I stated that “The Roman pontiff, when he speaks *ex cathedra *. . . possesses through the divine assistance promised to him in the person of blessed Peter, the infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to be endowed in defining the doctrine concerning faith or morals”

The pope speaks *ex cathedra *“when, acting in the office of shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church.”

For the pope to define something infallibly, it must be made perfectly clear by his pronouncement that he is defining a doctrine of faith or morals.

You said the teachings of humanae vitae and familiaris consortio were already infallibly defined by the church and the encyclicals just repeat them. when were they defined?
thanks in advance

They have not been infallibly defined by the Church. They are, however, infallible. What I said was that these doctrines have been the constant teaching of the Magisterium. Most of the doctrines taught by the Church have never been infallibly defined, because the need has not arisen to do so. They are nevertheless infallible because the Church has always affirmed them.


#6

Let me say this, which I know from experience:

GOOD mathematicians cannot deviate from the core of axioms, propositions, and methods that have been developed over the centuries.

It is conceivable that one COULD deviate, but then one is no longer a good mathematician, but rather a pompous bore for thinking he is somehow above thousands of years of hard fought knowledge.

Get the idea?


#7

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Vatican I stated that “The Roman pontiff, when he speaks *ex cathedra *. . . possesses through the divine assistance promised to him in the person of blessed Peter, the infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to be endowed in defining the doctrine concerning faith or morals”

The pope speaks *ex cathedra *“when, acting in the office of shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church.”

For the pope to define something infallibly, it must be made perfectly clear by his pronouncement that he is defining a doctrine of faith or morals.

They have not been infallibly defined by the Church. They are, however, infallible. What I said was that these doctrines have been the constant teaching of the Magisterium. Most of the doctrines taught by the Church have never been infallibly defined, because the need has not arisen to do so. They are nevertheless infallible because the Church has always affirmed them.
[/quote]

again the same qestion as before:
how do we know what exactly is infallible?
is there a special formula or set of words in the text which shows that it is ex cathedra on faith and morals; or is one to understand that from the content of the text? (that would make it open to debate, wouldn’t it?)

also, with so much stuff about contraception and several other catholic doctrines flying around, don’t you think it’s time the church went ahead and made some ex cathedra pronouncements on the topics? or am i just being too hasty?

hope you don’t mind, i’m trying to understand here
thanks in advance


#8

[quote=justinmatter]again the same qestion as before:
how do we know what exactly is infallible?
is there a special formula or set of words in the text which shows that it is ex cathedra on faith and morals; or is one to understand that from the content of the text? (that would make it open to debate, wouldn’t it?)

also, with so much stuff about contraception and several other catholic doctrines flying around, don’t you think it’s time the church went ahead and made some ex cathedra pronouncements on the topics? or am i just being too hasty?

hope you don’t mind, i’m trying to understand here
thanks in advance
[/quote]

We have a teaching Church. We accept and follow the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church in documents like the decrees and canons of Councils, the Catechism, Denzinger, Papal documents, etc.


#9

[quote=justinmatter]again the same qestion as before:
how do we know what exactly is infallible?
is there a special formula or set of words in the text which shows that it is ex cathedra on faith and morals; or is one to understand that from the content of the text? (that would make it open to debate, wouldn’t it?)
[/quote]

Here’s an article by Jimmy Akin on how infallible pronouncements:
catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0109bt.asp

also, with so much stuff about contraception and several other catholic doctrines flying around, don’t you think it’s time the church went ahead and made some ex cathedra pronouncements on the topics? or am i just being too hasty?

hope you don’t mind, i’m trying to understand here
thanks in advance

*Ex cathedra *statements are usually only made when there is some confusion about what the Church teaches. With the Church’s teaching on contraception there isn’t really any confusion, people just ignore it. The Church has a coherent definition and prohibition against it in many different places (the Catechism, *Humanae Vitae, *etc).

An example of something that might need an ex cathedra pronouncement is the doctrine of Mary: Co-Redemptrix/Mediatrix. It is argued that the definitions that exist are not adequate, or that they are confusing. An ex cathedra statement was made for Mary’s Immaculate Conception, so there is precedent.


#10

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Here’s an article by Jimmy Akin on how infallible pronouncements:
catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0109bt.asp

*Ex cathedra *statements are usually only made when there is some confusion about what the Church teaches. With the Church’s teaching on contraception there isn’t really any confusion, people just ignore it. The Church has a coherent definition and prohibition against it in many different places (the Catechism, *Humanae Vitae, *etc).

An example of something that might need an ex cathedra pronouncement is the doctrine of Mary: Co-Redemptrix/Mediatrix. It is argued that the definitions that exist are not adequate, or that they are confusing. An ex cathedra statement was made for Mary’s Immaculate Conception, so there is precedent.
[/quote]

thanks a lot!!!
that was helpful and certainly put things in a bit better perspective
really appreciate it
god bless


#11

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