What is the differance between the 20 or so eccumincale councils that have been convened and the general councils? Are there any other types of councils that I have been held in the dark about?
[quote=Montie Claunch]What is the differance between the 20 or so eccumincale councils that have been convened and the general councils? Are there any other types of councils that I have been held in the dark about?
The 21 Ecumenical councils are all considered to be general councils, but the reverse statement is not true. I believe there is a book called “The church in crisis: a history of the general councils, 325-1870”. I am not sure if that is the exact title, I have it at school. These 21 councils are accepted by the whole Catholic Church as true. There have been several other councils in history like the council of Rome, Hippo, and Carthage. There are also councils held by local bishops often. These councils are not held to be free from error necisarily, whereas the ecumenical councils are understood to be so.
I think there are different opinions as to what is free from error in an ecumenical council. Some say that the canons are all that are free from error.
There have been 21 Ecumenical Councils. Those are binding on all Catholics everywhere (anything they say is considered an infallable statement of the extrodinary Magesterium).
I don’t believe the term “General Council” has an exact definition in Catholic theology. I have heard Ecumenical Councils also called General Councils.
There can be local (provincial) councils, attended by Bishops in a certain area. These councils are binding only upon the Faithful living in the jurisdictions of those Bishops. There have been LOTS of local councils.
The first seven councils were ecumenical. (I don’t know about Constantinople IV.)
After the schism with the Eastern Orthodox, the councils were referred to as General Councils of the West, because the East did not participate. The two reconciliation councils were called ecumenical, even though the results weren’t ratified by the Eastern Orthodox afterwards.
Around the time of the Protestant Reformation, the general councils were renamed as “ecumenical”. Since Vatican II, some Popes have been reviving the use of the word “general” in dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox.