How is this Papal Bull not Infallible?


#1

Hello, I’m new and hope someone can answer this. I have not found a satisfactory answer thus far.

I have done about as much investigation as I can. I have spoken with priests, scholars, read quite a few books, talked to regular Catholics and throughout all this I have come to one conclusion: for Catholicism to claim that Popes have not pronounced errant dogma, it must demonstrate that the following was not said infallibly:

“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.”

Pope Eugene IV, Papal Bull Cantate Domino (1442) Promulgated during a solemn session at the Ecumenical Council of Florence, using the strongest authoritative language seemingly fulfilling Vatican I’s criteria for infallibility.

This is not something Catholics can sweep under the rug anymore. It must be dealt with honestly and thoroughly yet rarely is. It clearly states that Jews and Schismatics are not part of the Church, despite modern broad interpretations of the concepts: “invincible ignorance” and “invisible Church”. I do not believe “doctrinal development” applies here since it is clearly at odds with modern Catholic teaching despite Vatican’s unconvincing efforts to demonstrate otherwise. The only way around it is to show that it was not pronounced infallibly, but how?

Please keep answers focused on why this document fails the criteria Vatican I laid out for infallibility. If you believe Eugene’s quote does not conflict with modern Catholic teaching then please provide a quote of a contemporary to Eugene IV that shows people at that time did not take Eugene literally and did believe that Jews, Pagans and Schismatics may have a chance to get into heaven. Perhaps Eugene himself clarified, but doubtful.

Therefore there are two ways to answer:

  1. Show beyond reasonable doubt why Cantate Domino is not infallible.

  2. Provide a quote by a contemporary of Eugene IV or himself that shows people were not misled and instead did believe Jews, Pagans and Schismatics have a chance to get into Heaven.

This goes to the heart of the non-Catholic question: Can the Catholic Church be trusted to teach correctly? May God grant wisdom, patience, temperance and fortitude.

Thank you and I look forward to reading your answers and engaging in discussion. :slight_smile:

Pax Christi!

Kaste


#2

It’s not a Papal Bull, it’s from an ecumenical Council, the Council of Florence.

It is an infallible dogma of the Church, but one that must be understood how the Church understands it.

Read this series of articles (you need to read at least both the first and the second, or you will get the wrong idea):

catholicresponse.net/proofpart1.htm
catholicresponse.net/proofpart2.htm
catholicresponse.net/proofpart3.htm


#3

unless before death they are joined with Her

That’s it in a nutshell. The Church is, in a mysterious but very true sense, Christ (read Christ’s words to Saul if you doubt that). Anybody who is not joined before death to Christ, and thus to His Church, cannot be saved. This is Christianity 101.

Every Protestant in the world believes this too. Is their belief also “hellish”?

The only question, the crucial question, is, what are the different ways one can be joined to Christ and to his Church?


#4

First, Gen315, I read those links and they do not explain why Eugene IV is not speaking infallibly. Furthermore they do not address the problem of saying Jews and Schismatics are damned but now teaching that there is hope for them if they follow the natural law God puts on their hearts. Two completely different views, not complementary, consistent or “developed.”

Secondly, Gen315 where are you getting your information that it is not a papal bull? My research shows me it is a papal bull, titled “Cantate Domino” issued during an Ecumenical Council. Please explain yourself.

VociMike, here is how most Catholics try to explain the problem: I quote from the link Gen315 provided:

“Unequivocally, then, the Unam sanctam holds that a man must be in some manner attached to the visible Catholic Church in this world if he is to be in the number of the blessed in heaven”

See, this might, (though I doubt) fly for trying to explain Unam Sanctam, but certainly not Cantate Domino, where Eugene explicitly says Jews and Schismatics cannot enter heaven. It’s very clear, and that is why I use Eugene as my example. Eugene does not allow any hope for them as the Church currently does.

So unfortunately redefining being joined to the Church does not help.

The only way, as I said is to show Eugene was wrong, but how?

K


#5

Someone can be Jewish, or schismatic, but just before they die, God reveals Himself to them, such that – at that moment – they have now entered into the Catholic Church, and are no longer outside of it.


#6

i believe what you’re referring to is what is called “baptism of desire” and it applies to non-christians (obviously not “schismatics” or “heretics” who are already validly baptised).

i’ve been told many times by the pastor of my church that protestants are in an incomplete communion with the catholic church, which explains how there is a possibility they will attain salvation. but they will be more likely to attain it if they joined the CC.


#7

First of all, the Pope is not the only organ of infallibility–so is an ecumenical Council. Usually, the decrees of the Council were put in the form of a Bull, and approved by the Pope–but they are not considered Papal acts, but Concilliar acts.

VociMike, here is how most Catholics try to explain the problem: I quote from the link Gen315 provided:

“Unequivocally, then, the Unam sanctam holds that a man must be in some manner attached to the visible Catholic Church in this world if he is to be in the number of the blessed in heaven”

See, this might, (though I doubt) fly for trying to explain Unam Sanctam, but certainly not Cantate Domino, where Eugene explicitly says Jews and Schismatics cannot enter heaven. It’s very clear, and that is why I use Eugene as my example. Eugene does not allow any hope for them as the Church currently does. So unfortunately redefining being joined to the Church does not help.

But it’s not redefined. I can tell you didn’t read the second article which plainly shows that teaching that was contemporary with the above showing formal membership is not the only kind of membership. Read it, it is the key to understanding this topic.


#8

Could somebody, Catholic or Non-Catholic, please explain the meaning of each of the following word:

Hellish = ?
Hellish Papal = ?
Bull = ?
Hellish Papal Bull = ?

are these the normal polite terms in English?


#9

He was more right than he was wrong. He was right in saying that one must be joined to the Church. Where he was wrong was in implying that Jews, pagans, etc cannot possibly be joined to the Church in any fashion. I’ll leave aside the question of schismatics since that may be an act of willful rebellion, but as for Jews and pagans, it is not clear that by their very existence they have rejected Christ (and thus his Church).

So he stated the requirements correctly, but (it appears, if the translation properly conveys his meaning) he applied those requirements to entire groups improperly. Since nobody, not even a pope, can pronounce on the salvation of individual living people (not knowing their hearts), he was wrong to pronounce on the salvation of entire groups.


#10

I’m simply repeating what the papal document in the original post said, associating Jews and pagans along with schismatics and heretics, all of them being considered outside the Church.


#11

Has this been defined by the Church or is it just your speculation?


#12

There’s no middle ground here?:smiley:


#13

Yes, if you take out the “hellish”.:wink:


#14

It seems that that you are faced with private interpretation once removed. Instead of interpretting Scripture as Protestants do, you have the Pope/Church making statements which you then have interpret to determine whether or not they are infallible, what they actaully mean, and in some cases, how they can be reconciled.


#15

The question isn’t is the document infallible–it is. The question is–who is this document addressing and why. And just as importantly, who is this document not addressing and why.

People often make the mistake of thinking such documents are sweeping generalizations that apply to everyone, everywhere, in every age. They aren’t. They are dealing with current dilemmas, in a certain time and place.

Another thing that must be understood is that no such document would be promulgated if it wasn’t in complete agreement with those that came before it. That applies to those written since the one in question. Otherwise, it’s like saying the Magisterium was too simple, or uninformed, or downright dishonest in promulgating new documents that seem to those who do not understand their intent to be at odds with those that came before them.

It’s really just that simple. :slight_smile:


#16

So what does Cantate Domino mean and how do you know that?


#17

True. Everything must be interpreted. That’s life.:slight_smile:


#18

It’s not that he was applying it improperly, he was just doing it generally, which implies all the requisite conditions. Just like we call certain sins mortal sins, even though we all know that there are certain circumstances in which they are not mortal.

Either way, though, it is absolutely the case that to be saved one must be joined to the Church. So, if a Jew or schismatic or anybody else, is not joined to the Church, they cannot be saved. If they are, they can be.

Likewise, it is still Catholic teaching the schism, heresy, and apostacy are sins that exclude one from the communion of saints (implying, of course, all the conditions are met).


#19

Maybe you need to read this newest response to questions.

SECOND QUESTION [LEFT]What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?[/LEFT]
[LEFT]RESPONSE[/LEFT]
[LEFT]Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”[5], that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.[6] “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic …]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”.[7][/LEFT]
[LEFT]In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution * Lumen gentium* ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church[8], in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.[/LEFT]
[LEFT]It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.[9] Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.[10][/LEFT]


#20

From reading what you quote in your first post I am not seeing where it says Jews and Schismatics cannot under any circumstance enter heaven. Which is what you imply above but that’s not what it says.
It says “unless before death they are joined with her” you even bolded this in your original post.

That makes the question how does the Church understand “joined with her”

You are making the quote you provided say something it does not say.

Peace,
Mark


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