Imprimatur vs. Ex Cathedra


#1

Imprimatur: An official approval from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church stating that a literary or similar work is totally free from error in all matters of faith and doctrine and hence acceptable reading for faithful Catholics.

Ex Cathedra: Refers to infallible or definitive teachings of the pope as earthly shepherd of the Church.

(Presuming the above are acceptable Catholic definitions).

I understand that when the Pope speaks “Ex Cathedra” he can not teach error in matters of faith and morals. Does the same apply to Imprimatur statements? Could a bishop issue an Imprimatur and be in error when doing so? If so, how can we know for certain that we can trust the Imprimatur?

Could you help me understand the key differences when referring to something that is taught “Ex Cathedra” and something that has an “Imprimatur”?


#2

You cannot trust the Imprimatur. It is only the opinion of an individual bishop, at the most. Bishops are NOT infallible except for the few times in history that they are in uniion with the Popes.


#3

I just have to add how stupid some Catholic scholars are.

They will water down and deny the infallibility of the Pope and try , on their own authority, to limit the Pope’s infallible statements to only two pronouncments, which is a lie.

But, then, if there is a book, saturated with error, a book they approve, but it has an imprimature, then they actually state this imprimature is a guarantee of being Catholic Church teaching, thus infallible. Thus they raise the teaching of infallibility to individual bishops who agree with their errors.

What rubbish.


#4

An imprimatur is the opinion of 1 Bishop. The only way Bishops can teach infallibly is in conference and communion with the Pope.

To understand why a Bishop may issue an Imprimatur for a book that does not adhere to Catholic Orthodoxy you must first understand the nature of the Church. The Church does not declare a doctrine or dogma until the teaching in question is formally challenged. So there is room in the Church for dissenting views ON SOME TOPICS. If the Church has declared a teaching as dogmatic or as a doctrine then there is no room for discussion. So, while the Church has taught us that Mary is ever virgin and theotokos (literally “God Bearer”) and we, as Catholics, may not argue with those infallible teachings the Church has not taken a dogmatic or doctrinal stance on whether you should practice your lenten sacrifices everyday except Sundays during lent OR every single day during lent including Sundays. Now, I believe, that most Orthodox Catholics will agree that you should practice your lenten sacrifices every day during lent. However NOT ALL Orthodox Catholics agree with that statement. So, a book that contains the teaching that “it is okay to splurge on Sundays during Lent and partake of those things which you gave up as lenten sacrifices.” might get an Imprimatur from the Bishop of the Dallas Diocese…while the Bishop of Ft. Worth might not give his Imprimatur for the same book. An Imprimatur should mean that the Bishop has found nothing in the book that is contrary to Catholic Doctrine. It does not mean that everything in the book IS Catholic doctrine. In fact, IMO, these days an Imprimatur is only as good as the Bishop who grants it.


#5

[quote=dcdural]You cannot trust the Imprimatur. It is only the opinion of an individual bishop, at the most…
[/quote]

[quote=DallasCatholic]An imprimatur is the opinion of 1 Bishop. The only way Bishops can teach infallibly is in conference and communion with the Pope…
[/quote]

Could it be that an imprimatur indicates that the material can be trusted but not necessarily binding on the faithful as being infallible? Could it be that the imprimatur is an indication of belonging to the ordinary magisterium and not the extraordinary magisterum? Could that be an applicable way of looking at the key difference between the two?


#6

yes, it could be but that doesn’t answer the OP. I think that’s what I explained in my post…but maybe not explained well.


#7

No, the imprimatur does not offer any real indication that the material can be “trusted” (ie, represents orthodox Catholic teaching). ALL it tells you is that a Bishop reviewed it, and in his opinion, it is not contrary to the faith. Just because one Bishop says something, whether it be issuing an Imprimatur or a pastoral letter or teaching at a Catholic university, doesn’t necessarily mean that that teaching is free from error or part of the ordinary magisterium. That teaching is ONLY part of the ordinary magisterium IF it is in communion with the teachings of the Pope and the other Bishops in communion with the Pope.

It is still, most of the time, better than not having a Bishop review that material at all and having theologians free to write whatever they want on Catholic teaching. There are sadly some times, however, when the presence of the Imprimatur has led trusting Catholics astray.


#8

I just have to add how stupid some Catholic scholars are.

They will water down and deny the infallibility of the Pope and try , on their own authority, to limit the Pope’s infallible statements to only two pronouncments, which is a lie.

But, then, if there is a book, saturated with error, a book they approve, but it has an imprimature, then they actually state this imprimature is a guarantee of being Catholic Church teaching, thus infallible. Thus they raise the teaching of infallibility to individual bishops who agree with their errors.

What rubbish.


#9

1. Imprimaturs can be withdrawn, and have been on several occasions

  1. An Imprimatur states that there is nothing in the publication to which it refers that is contrary to Catholic teaching. It is not a declaration that its future readers will find nothing with which to disagree. People should use their commonsense, instead of expecting to be spoon-fed as though they were helpless infants.

  2. It is a very bad idea to disparage the Imprimatur, because it is by using it that the bishop (or other superior, such as superiors in religious fraternities) carries out his work of overseeing the faith of those committed to him.

  3. If people don’t like what they read, the defect may be not in the author, the censor, or the bishop, but in the reader. This is never said, so it’s time it was. The wrong - if there be a wrong at all - is as likely to be in the reader as in anyone else, because we all have limitations of knowledge, experience, wisdom, or understanding; & it sometimes happens that what people read & don’t like is unfamiliar: not wrong, false, untrue, or any such thing; maybe they need to hear what they read.

If people get into a habit of judging bishops, priests, the Liturgy, Councils, the Pope, & the Church generally, they may find they have become too fastidious & over-sensitive to have anything further with them :frowning:

  1. A book may be erroneous in some respect, without being heretical. This seems to be overlooked.

Hope that helps :slight_smile: ##


#10

If this were true then there would be no point in having them. The purpose, surely, is to instill such trust, even if some bishops, through ignorance or agenda have damaged that trust, and will have to answer for the damage thus caused.


#11

But in the last 30 years or so, the bishops as a whole have been untrustworthy, allowing extremely faulty heretical catechisms in Catholic schools, publically supporting pro-abortion politicians, etc.

  When the bishops are good, then the imprimatur has some value, but when they are bad, it is useless.

#12

I see it as somewhat similar to the use of a peer-reviewed reference in academia. The fact that it is being reviewed gives a certain level of trust but it is not a guarantee.


#13

I agree with that. Not a guarantee, but on average a greater likelihood of orthodoxy.


#14

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