Ex catherdra stament(s)


Marcus Borg in Heart of Christianity says the folowing:

Papal infallibilty was afirmed in 1870.

to quote:

“there has only been one such pronouncement: the direct asuption of Mary proclaimed into heaven”

Just to be clear, I have no loyalty to Borg and no problem with the assumption. Is this true though that this is the only excathedra statment made?



The Immaculate Conception was also proclaimed via an ex-cathedra statement.


The Immaculate Conception was defined before the official definition at Vatican I, so it wasn’t created at the Council.

There are earlier examples of infallible statements, though it’s not obvious exactly which ones were. Not the most reliable source, but the following gives seven:



Extraordinary Papal Infallibility had been available to be exercised since the time of Peter. Since a clear deffinition was made in 1870 it would have been necessary to go back and review to see what Papal teachings fit the deffinition given. This of course would not be a simple task and still has not been completed in the last 100+ years. So "at that time" it (The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) may have been the only one known to qualify under the definition “at that time”. Since I have heard of about 4 others.


There’s been many, many more than that. Here, St. Francis de Sales defends papal infallibility in the 1600s, well before the Immaculate Conception was defined. He mentions another famous example (Benedict XII’s declaration concerning the Beatific Vision).


It’s good to remember that solemn condemnation of error is covered as well. Likewise, not only dogmatic definitions, but even “tenenda” are covered.

A good read on this and how there are almost countless examples of this charism in use is to read the relatio from Vatican I’s Pastor Aeternus (a relatio is an official commentary). Unfortunately, it’s not online :o


Here is another couple of tracts that are helpful in this regard by St. Francis de Sales:




I doubted it could be quite as simple as all that.

thanks you for your responses.


closed #8

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