Do any Catholics say Unam Sanctam is NOT infallible?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The topic of controversial papal bulls has been hashed and rehashed then beaten like a dead horse. I do NOT want to get into a discussion about how to reconcile Boniface VIII’s Unam Sanctam with modern Catholic theology.

Relevant portion: “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
newadvent.org/library/docs_bo08us.htm

Now over the years that I’ve studied this I’ve found there are those Catholics that try to explain it away as an underdeveloped doctrine and that we had to wait for Pius IX to clear things up, or that Boniface didn’t really intend it to mean how it sounds. Whatever the reasons I find them unconvincing. Please DO NOT DISTRACT THIS THREAD BY TRYING TO EXPLAIN AWAY THIS EMBARRARSSING BULL. Feel free to private message me if you understand the frustration and magnitude of this problem.

My only question to all of us here is this: Have any Catholic theologians simply said the papal bull does not qualify as infallible? If so, who?

Thanks, and sorry to come off a bit strong, but I want to be very clear so the thread doesn’t get cluttered by those who try to explain the bull away. Save it for another thread.

K

The bull is neither embarrassing, nor does it need to be “explained away.”

The bull *itself *is not infallible, in the narrow sense defined by the first Vatican council. The Pope was not attempting to define a dogma in this bull. And the bull deals both with doctrinal items as well as juridical/temporal items.

Of course, the *statement *you are focusing on is doctrine, a universal teaching of the ordinary magesterium, which means it is infallible. The Lateran Council (1516) said the same thing. And, ecumenical councils are, of course, infallible.

I wholeheartedly agree.

The bull *itself *is not infallible, in the narrow sense defined by the first Vatican council. The Pope was not attempting to define a dogma in this bull. And the bull deals both with doctrinal items as well as juridical/temporal items.

Of course, the *statement *you are focusing on is doctrine, a universal teaching of the ordinary magesterium, which means it is infallible. The Lateran Council (1516) said the same thing. And, ecumenical councils are, of course, infallible.

AH! I’ve just been convinced that only certain parts of some ecumenical councils are infallible . . . ugh, I’m lost. :frowning:

I’m not following. On what do you base this statement?

From the exchange in a different thread:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=405433&page=9

From post number 124 until the end of the thread (7 or 8 posts I think), just the exchange between me and LilyM . . .

Certain parts of the documents of Ecumenical Councils are indeed fallible - not every word produced by every Ecumencial Council is meant to be universally binding fully-developed doctrinal or dogmatic teaching. As I said in the other thread, the common argument is that Vatican 2, while it produced reams of documents, produced no infallible teaching at all.

And that’s why the documents of Trent, for example, are divided between general/procedural writings which may or may not be binding, and Canons - anathema statements - which ARE indisputably binding.

How so? Surely the Church doesn’t teach that only Roman Catholics will be saved!

The Latin Rite is not the only Catholic Rite, therefore I of course do not believe that only Roman Catholics will be saved. But, that’s not what you meant.

I believe what the Catholic Church teaches: outside the Church there is no salvation. It’s right there in the Catechism, see CCC 846 and the entire section on the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

As someone just said, neither Councils nor Bulls are fallible or infallible of themselves, it is certain statements found within a given Ecumenical Council or Papal Bull or Encyclical that are pronounced infallibly.

Instead of asking whether the quoted statement from ‘Unam Sanctum’ in infallible or not, we should instead ask is who authoritatively determines what Pre-Vatican 1 Papal statements are declared infallibly? How do they make such a determination? Then, getting into the specifics, what, if any, determination has been made regarding this statement from ‘Unam Sanctum’?

How would your position differ from Father Feeney’s position (if in fact it does differ)?

In your opinion is this meant in the spiritual sense, or the political/governmental sense?

Or perhaps both … was Pope Boniface interested in establishing a Theocracy of some sort?

Hi Kaste
The most common issue here a confusing of teaching ex cathedra verses other communications. So for example the Pope cannot declare himself ruler of Protestants ex cathedra. He can declare artificial birth control immoral ex cathedra. So what happens when a Protestant refused the condition on birth control? The answer is god decides, so it may cost that individual protestant access to heaven or it may cause an increase in temporal punishment prior to entering heaven. Try to understand the reverse is also true, when some Protestant declares alcohol immoral it is a misguided belief and actually remains morally neutral.

So to directly answer your question I do not see Catholics rejecting bulls, I do see catholic debate exactly what is the ex cathedra teaching verses supporting sections. I think if you look you will find JPII actually taught on this specific issue 700 years after the original issue.

Hope that helps

Father Feeney believed that one had to be a visible member of the visible Catholic Church, as enrolled in a parish. Here is one example that shows why this is not so. We know that all Christians have a tie with the Catholic Church through their baptism. Since baptism is a valid Sacrament, and cleanses all original and personal sin, if one did not commit a mortal sin after his baptism and before his death, he would go to heaven because he was join (imperfectly) to the Catholic Church. This is just one example. Some are more concrete, others more speculative.

I see what you are saying, but do you think that this is what Pope Boniface meant? Did Pope Boniface have a clear understanding of what he himself was claiming?

Or is this interpretation the result of further reflection?

**1ke: **Would this be how you interpret this (apparently ex Cathedra) statement as well?

To your first questions, I have no idea. I know he did not include all times in the statement, for it could not have applied to the Old Testament patriarchs who were never Catholic. Pope Boniface would have said what he did based only on what he knew in the past and at that time. We have had centuries of data that can be added to what the Church understands on this.

Pope Boniface used the formula “we declare, we proclaim, we define”. Is that different in essence from the narrow sense defined by the first Vatican council?

Pastor Aeternus states:

… we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.

Is it possible that some people think that he was not speaking “from the chair” ? Otherwise it looks pretty ironclad to me.

OK, thanks.

It would seem the same to me, however in Unam Sanctam ( a document I spend minimal time on) what is new? It seems a restatement of 1270 years of the same previous teaching.

George Tavard and Klaus Schatz are two Catholic theologians who don’t hold Unam Sanctam to be an infallible definition. See post #20 of this thread for the citation.

Father Feeney’s position has been condemned by the Church. No, my position is not that of Fr. Feeney.

My position is that of the Church, as expressed in the CCC which I linked you to.

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