Church Teaching


#1

What consitutes Church teaching?


#2

Someon please help me. I need to know what constitutes infallible teaching. For instance, is the Catechism Pope John Paul II approved infallible? Is Vatican II infallible? Help, please, I’m in a crisis.


#3

Could you flesh out the question a little?

Have you searched the CA home page library for tracts that might get you a little closer to your answer?


#4

The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains all official Church teaching. Infallibility refers to the Holy Father when he speaks “ex cathedra”, or to the Magesterium of the Church, the Bishops in union with the Holy Father. They do no present new doctrine, but expand on already established doctrine. An example might be the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was always understood by the Church that Mary was conceived without original sin. However, around 1850, the Holy Father declared it (infallibly) to be a doctrine of the Church.

Peace,
Linda


#5

I have searched the library and didn’t find any help. Maybe I should give you what I’m puzzling about:

"The following four criteria must be present in order for a papal teaching to be considered ex cathedra, that is, infallible.

The Pope must teach as supreme doctor (teacher) of the whole world. For, as Christ’s Vicar, he has the entire human race for his flock. He it is who, most eminently, must teach ''all nations." As supreme lawgiver, however, he can only bind the baptized. He does not legislate for non-Christians. Therefore, all separated Christians are required to obey the disciplinary, as well as the doctrinal, teaching of the Church in order to be saved. The grace of their baptism is working on them to accept the papal authority. The successor of Saint Peter is not infallible when he speaks merely as a private theologian, a simple priest, the Bishop of Rome, the Archbishop of the Roman province, the Primate of Italy, or the Patriarch of the West, all of which offices he holds.

The Pope must be defining a doctrine of faith or morals. No other subject matter pertains to our salvation. Note too, that infallibility is engaged only on such positive acts, not on any lack of action. The Supreme Pontiff can be infallible when he teaches with words not when he teaches by silence. Indeed, in the latter case, silence can be a grave scandal. Therefore, as we said before, infallibility is a different thing than inspiration. It is the guarantee of God’s protection from teaching error. Inspiration is a direct moving grace from God, not sanctifying the recipient, but enlightening him by a private revelation, or by infused knowledge, to communicate a divine message to men.

The Pope must make his intention known by clear words that he is defining a doctrine contained in the deposit of faith, and binding upon the consciences of men. Such ex cathedra introductions as "We declare, " "We define, " or "We pronounce, " are customarily prefixed to the actual definition.
The deposit of faith (depositum fidei) is that body of revelation, containing truths to be believed (faith) and principles of conduct (morals), which was given by Our Savior to His Apostles, to be preserved by them and their successors, with the guarantee of the guidance and protection of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, in the visible Church for all times and to the end of time.

The Pope must attach the sanction of anathema to the decree, either explicitly or implicitly. In other words, since obedience to superiors is necessary for salvation, the anathema means that the representative of Christ on earth intends to avail himself of the full height of his God-given authority and command our intellectual assent."

Can anyone tell me if this is true, and clarify it for me if it is. I want to know if Vatian II meets all these, and if it must to be infallible. The person who provides this also claims that Vatican II contradicts past teaching.

I would also like to know the definition of schism by the church.


#6

Wounds to unity

CCC 817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ’s Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271

CCC 818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272

CCC 819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

CCC 2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."11


#7

Thank you. That answers one of my questions. The question remains whether Vatican II is infallible. I need to know why, in detail, please. Thanks.


#8

www.catholic.com/thisrock/1993/9306ch.asp


#9

Dylan,

If you have read VII documents you will see there is nothing new in them. You can view them yourself online.

vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/index.htm

They are so beautiful and inspiring I find it hard to believe that some people take a stance so contrary to these documents, and then try to use vague references to Vatican II to defend their position.

Pronouncements of infallibility are pretty rare. Most all church teachings arn’t infallible in the ex cathedra since because a pronouncement like that is kind of like a nuclear option.

From my understanding councils with the backing of a pope are pretty solid when they teach on faith and morals, and I thought they were infallible, but I don’t know enough to comment much about that. Perhaps someone better could inform you.

You might want to check the Catechism about the doctrine of infalliblity. I’m sure its in there.


#10

[quote=Dylan]I have searched the library and didn’t find any help. Maybe I should give you what I’m puzzling about:

"The following four criteria must be present in order for a papal teaching to be considered ex cathedra, that is, infallible.

The Pope must teach as supreme doctor (teacher) of the whole world…
The Pope must be defining a doctrine of faith or morals…
The Pope must make his intention known by clear words that he is defining a doctrine contained in the deposit of faith, and binding upon the consciences of men…
The Pope must attach the sanction of anathema to the decree, either explicitly or implicitly…

Can anyone tell me if this is true, and clarify it for me if it is. I want to know if Vatian II meets all these, and if it must to be infallible. The person who provides this also claims that Vatican II contradicts past teaching.

I would also like to know the definition of schism by the church.
[/quote]

A couple things that I hope help you here:

  1. The quote you provided addresses a completely different topic than your question. The quote is a description of what constitutes Papal infallibility. The criteria outlined are each required in order for a papal decree to be considered an infallible pronouncement.

You question refers to the infallibility of an ecumenical council, which, AFAIK, is an entirely different matter.

Obviously, if Vatican II actually contradicted past teaching that was known to be infallible, that would be a problem, as it is widely understood that Vatican II met all the criteria required to be an ecumenical council, which makes its solemn declarations binding upon all Christians.

My belief is that the person you are speaking with is probably misunderstanding whatever teaching he is claiming contradicts past teaching (is it “salvation outside the Catholic Church” by chance?).

Remember, too that if a statement is infallible, it means only that it is free from error, not that it tells all the truth. For example, it could be like the old blind men approaching an elephant story, where each correctly describes the elephant in relation to the part he is touching (ear, trunk, leg, tail, etc.). Each statement by the men is infallible (without error) in that what they are saying is true, but each individually does not tell the whole story. In this sense the Church can come to a deeper, more complete understanding of doctrine that fits all infallible teaching into a holistic interpretation.

In my opinion, this is what occurred with the “No salvation outside the Church” declaration. People assumed for decades that they understood it correctly, and that it told the whole story. Vatican II helped to clarify that statement, showing the faithful how better to understand that injunction, while at the same time affirming its correctness.

Hope this helps.

BTW, I am no scholar, so anyone please correct me if my description above is inaccurate or misleading.

Peace,
javelin


#11

Yes, thank you, it does help.


#12

And the discussion is “No Salvation Outiside the Church.”


#13

Dylan,

That particular topic has been discussed on these forums many times with good participation from several interpretive “sides”, so you would get a good sampling of various arguments used by searching the forums for some of those threads and reading them carefully.

I’m sure some wouldn’t mind talking about it again, as it certainly can be looked at from many different perspectives.

Peace,
javelin


closed #14

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