Ineffabilis Deus infallible?


#1

When Pius IX pronounced the Immaculate Conception in 1854, did the Catholics of the day, along with Catholic leadership, recognize this pronouncemnet to be infallible…or did they believe that they had the option to disregard it since it was not the product of a Council?

Was it recognized to be a fallible or infallible pronouncement at the time?

Any explanation of why would be helpful. Thank you.


#2

Pope Pius IX believed that the time providentially determined by God for proceeding to the solemn proclamationof the dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception had come. He consulted the bishops of the whole world and had the theologians carefully examine the questions related to this dogma in their meetings. Then on December 8, 1854, he declared, pronounced, and defined that “the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary had been preserved from every stain of original sin at the first instant of her conception, by a grace and unique privilege of God Almighty, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of mankind, had been revealed by God and must, therefore, be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.”

This was the triumph of the Immaculate Conception, a triumph unparalleled to that time in the history of the Church since all previous dogmas, including that of the divine maternity, had been proclaimed only to refute the current heresies. The Immaculate Conception alone had been defined for Mary’s glory.

In short, therefore, from the time of the first Christians the Mother of Jesus was considered by the faithful as a Virgin totally pure throughout her life. Then someone thought to honor especially her purity at the first moment of her existence. Then some others claimed by a priori arguments to have discovered a stain in her at this first moment. Further investigation revealed that there was no stain, but rather a facet, a privilege, particularly brilliant. Then all began to vie with one another in honoring the spotless purity of the Mother of God and finally the Church defined it as a dogma of faith.


#3

there was a lot of controversey at the time, since the definitive declaration of papal infallibility had just been promulgated, and this was exercised under that definition, and some groups actually left the Church (Old Catholics etc). Their issue was not the usual protestant objection, that a human cannot be infallible, or the usual orthodox objection, that the pope is only one bishop among equals, but they did not like the fact that the definition LIMITED papal authority, so in protest, they separated from that authority all-together. ah, when sense and emotion collide.


#4

Thank you, Tomster, for posting everything but an answer to the question.

Thanks anyway.


#5

Actually, the definitive declaration of papal infallibility would not come for about another 15+ years.

Do you have any answer to the question in the OP?


#6

There are three ways that the Magisterium can teach infallibly:

  1. Papal infallibilty 2) Ecumenical Councils 3) Universal Magisterium

The Pope teaches infallibly only when his teachings meet the criteria defined by Vatican 1 and ratified by Vatican ll for an infallible papal teaching: (1)“The Roman Pontiff” (2) “speaks ex-cathedra” (“that is, when in the discharge of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, and by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority”) (3) “he defines” (4) “that a doctrine concerning faith or morals” (5) “must be held by the whole Church.”

Let’s see how the Apostolic Constitution ‘Ineffabilis Deus’ satisfies these criteria of Vatican 1:

  1. Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Pius lX
  2. “by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own”
  3. “We declare, pronounce, and define…”
  4. “that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin,”…
  5. “is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”

From the Apostolic Constitution ‘Ineffabilis Deus’ of Pope Pius lX :The Mind of the Bishops:

Although we knew the mind of the bishops from the petitions which we had received from them, namely, that the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin be finally defined, nevertheless, on February 2, 1849 [27] we sent an Encyclical Letter from Gaeta to all our venerable brethren, the bishops of the Catholic world…We likewise inquired what the bishops themselves thought about defining this doctrine and what their wishes were in regard to making known with all possible solemnity our supreme judgment.

We are certainly filled with the greatest consolation when the replies of the venerable brethren came to us. For replying to us…they not only again confirmed their own singular piety towards the Immaculate Conception of the most Blessed Virgin, and that of the religious and secular clergy and of the faithful, but with one voice they even entreated us to define our supreme judgment and authority the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin. In the meantime…after a diligent examination, our venerable brethren, the cardinals of the special congregation and the theologians chosen by us as counselors…asked with the same enthusiasm and fervor for the definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.

Consequently,… desiring to proceed in the traditional manner,…we announced and held a consistory, in which we addressed our brethren, the cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. It was the greatest spiritual joy for us when we heard them ask us to promulgate the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mother of God. [28]

Therefore, having full trust in the Lord that the opportune time had come for defining the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, which Holy Scripture, venerable Tradition, the constant mind of the Church (sensus fidelium), the desire of Catholic Bishops and the faithful, and the memorable Acts and Constitutions of our predecessors, wonderfully illustrate and proclaim…we concluded that we should no longer delay in decreeing and defining by our supreme authority the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated on December 8, was established in 1476 by Pope Sixtus lV. :wink:

“But I have prayed for thee (Peter) that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” {Luke 22:32}

Pax vobiscum
Good Fella :cool:


#7

Sorry it went over your head. Perhaps this will help you. The historic revelation of Christianity can be considered from two points of view. We may look at it from without, as a series of facts and truths of peculiar interest, but nevertheless as no more than particular events in the general story of our race. Or, having received the gift of faith, we can study them from within, and see that they are realities of eternal significance. The Catholic scholar is free, should he so choose, to adopt the first line of approach - the science of Apologetics is in fact chiefly concerned with it - whereby he precinds from, without abandoning, the act of faith. Furthermore the Church’s insistence on the unity of all truth, the principle that a fact of revelation cannot conflict with a fact of history, precludes the the manipulation of evidence to secure the desired conclusion. A strictly revealed dogma, so St. Thomas teaches, can no more be demonstrated by purely rational argument than can a truth accesible to reason be regarded as intrinsically an object of faith.

In the last resort, it is the self-authenticating truth of Christ himself which wins the mind and heart of the believer.

Again, I hope this helps you.


#8

I don’t think there was the dichotomy between authority and infallibility that is commonly found today.

What’s clear is that it was recognized as having the authority of the Successor of Peter, who defined it as “a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful”.

That, along with the warning that those who “think otherwise than as has been defined” has separated from the unity of the Church, etc., makes it unambiguously authoritative in the gravest sense.

That authority trumps the infallibility question, if there ever was one at the time. Thus, Catholics did not think that they had the option of disregarding it.

The “is it infallible?” question and the “if it’s not infallible, then I’m not bound by it” argument are very recent. The question is not whether a proposition is infallible, but whether a proposition is true. Since the Magisterium has the authority to teach in the name of Christ, the Catholic response is to receive what has been proposed.

Certainly there are levels of assent and adherence to what the Magisterium proposes, but none of what they propose, if it at the very least is presented as “true” or “sure”, is optional.


#9

The infallibility of the Pope and the conditions under which it could be exercised were defined by Vatican I 15 plus years after the Immaculate Conception was defined, but like many points of Doctrine that infallibility had been recognized for centuries as the results and conclusions of the Ecumenical Councils had always been verified and accepted by the reigning Pope. In some instances portions of a Council’s output was not accepted. Even the Council that cleared up the problem of having three men claiming to be the Pope at the same time was ratified by the new Pope who was selected to replace them. So infallibility of the Pope was not a new thing invented at Vatican I. The Council merely defined more exactly what it was and to what situations it applied.

As some of the above posters have stated. The Church was ready to receive the definition and to give honor to the Mother of Jesus by doing so. How fitting that the womb that bore and nourished Jesus was free from sin.


#10

"This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one."
Origen, ‘Homily 1’ (A.D. 244)

"Thou alone and thy Mother are in all things fair, there is no flaw in thee and no stain in thy Mother."
Ephraem, ‘Nisibene Hymns, 27:8’ (A.D. 370)

"Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin."
Ambrose, ‘Sermon 22:30’ (A.D. 388)

Pax vobiscum
Good Fella :cool:


#11

It went so far over my head that you miraculously were unable to answer the question in two posts.

Oh well.


#12

Thank you, but you did not answer the question.


#13

Agreed.

What’s clear is that it was recognized as having the authority of the Successor of Peter, who defined it as “a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful”.

But he could have been wrong according to the Catholics of the day.

The mere authority to pronounce anything does not necessarily make it so. This can be seen through the history of the papacy and is always the answer of the modern RC apologist.

That, along with the warning that those who “think otherwise than as has been defined” has separated from the unity of the Church, etc., makes it unambiguously authoritative in the gravest sense.

Again, it does not make it true.

That authority trumps the infallibility question, if there ever was one at the time. Thus, Catholics did not think that they had the option of disregarding it.

But how is it that a fallible pronouncement can define dogma?

The “is it infallible?” question and the “if it’s not infallible, then I’m not bound by it” argument are very recent.

And absolutely pervasive in modern RC thought. Catholics did not learn this outside the Church.

Just every other thread here on CA brings this to light. If the mere authority was enough, Catholics would have much more to explain as to what they choose to obey and not obey from a supposed 2000 years of authoritative pronouncements.

Surely it must be recognized that the Pope’s authority does not rest on whether he uses certain words to make it so.

The question is not whether a proposition is infallible, but whether a proposition is true.

The fallible, by definition, cannot always be true.

Since the Magisterium has the authority to teach in the name of Christ, the Catholic response is to receive what has been proposed.

The pope is not the Magisterium.

Certainly there are levels of assent and adherence to what the Magisterium proposes, but none of what they propose, if it at the very least is presented as “true” or “sure”, is optional.

The Magisterium had proposed Limbo and the sale of indulgences as “true” and “sure” as well. This is where the Catholic apologists insist that these were not pronounced ex cathedra or in Ecumenical Council…and back to infallibility we go.


#14

Perhaps I can clarify the question.

Atemi is not interested in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception at all. The question is about the doctrine of papal infallibility.

Ineffabilis Deus is one of the two documents universally regarded as meeting the criteria for an ex cathedra statement as given by the First Vatican Council. However, it was promulgated 15 years before the Council. Therefore, Atemi wants to know whether or not the document was considered to be infallible at the time.

In other words, if Papal Infallibility really is something that was believed in before the First Vatican Council, one would think that an infallible document would have been regarded as such. On a deeper level, if Papal Infallibility really was understood in the same sense in which the Council defined it - that is, only those statements posessing particular criteria are infallible - then Ineffabilis Deus would have been regarded as meeting these criteria at its time, as opposed to other documents which would have been understood to not be infallibly defined.

The core of the question seems to pertain to whether or not it is true that the First Vatican Council simply defined something that was always held and believed, but the approach to the question is not one that is looking for evidence of Papal Infallibility from the fathers or Scripture, but from the practical, lived out experience and reactions of those Catholics who witnessed the first infallible declaration.


#15

This is where the Catholic apologists insist that these were not pronounced ex cathedra or in Ecumenical Council…and back to infallibility we go.So you say, and yet that is not Catholic teaching.

Limbo always was a theological possibility, but was never defined as dogma or doctrine so you’re talking out your hat there.

The sale of indulgences was never a dogma or even a discipline of the church, so again you make a specious argument.

This is just more rhetoric.

You think that because Catholics debate and discuss (and in some cases even doubt!) a particular topic that it is some sort of indictment of infallibility, but that is not the case.

Unlike n-Cs we actually have a viable and intelligent authority that can reason and study and provide definitive answers with regard to Christian teaching instead of having every pewsitter with a Bible in hand believe and preach whatever they think they have found in the Word of God, no matter how far out, with no one to give definitive correction. It just doesn’t happen in n-C communities and in most cases only results in yet another splintering off of another community.

Informed and intelligent teaching based on so many sources that no n-C community even begins to compare with it is one reason that faithful Catholics can trust their Pope and magisterium.

The Church has always taken Our Lord at His word when He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against her and His protection has proved true even when some few popes were worldly and/or immoral, yet the deposit of faith remained untouched by them and doctrine did not change.

I believe that those n-Cs who argue against infallibility do so more out of wishful thinking than any real case, mainly because they have never and can never have any portion of it so long as their communities persist in the fundamental error of Sola Scriptura, which, if they ever had a proper authority, would have been exposed and rejected at it’s inception. It was, is, and always will be rejected by the Catholic Church, which has made the same case against it since it surfaced 500 years ago.

Yet it persists in plaguing them with their myriad variants of doctrines and even cults. That’s the reality, not some supposed problem of infallibility.


#16

The proclamation of Pius lX was obviously considered infallible, since ‘Ineffabilis Deus’ met the criteria of Vatican 1, although papal infallibility was undefined for another fifteen years until the Council was convoked.

Pax vobiscum
Good Fella :cool:


#17

You say “obviously” and then go on to say why it was not so obvious. Meeting a criteria that did not exist would be meaningless to Catholics of that day who did not have any such criteria.

Thank you for the answer, though. That is what I was asking.


#18

And you did clarify it. Thank you. You are correct.

I will say that you have earned your nick in this one.

In other words, if Papal Infallibility really is something that was believed in before the First Vatican Council, one would think that an infallible document would have been regarded as such.

By whom?

It was not binding on any Catholics to believe the pope was infallible at any time, as can be seen with the results of Vatican I.

On a deeper level, if Papal Infallibility really was understood in the same sense in which the Council defined it - that is, only those statements posessing particular criteria are infallible - then Ineffabilis Deus would have been regarded as meeting these criteria at its time, as opposed to other documents which would have been understood to not be infallibly defined.

That cannot be possible as it took a Council to agree on such criteria…and many even abstained from even voting.

If such thought on papal infallibility was commonly understood by the average Catholic, then we would not have had such resistance or passivity of the bishops in Council.

The core of the question seems to pertain to whether or not it is true that the First Vatican Council simply defined something that was always held and believed, but the approach to the question is not one that is looking for evidence of Papal Infallibility from the fathers or Scripture, but from the practical, lived out experience and reactions of those Catholics who witnessed the first infallible declaration.

Ahhhh.

First infallible declaration in 2000 years?

How did any Catholics believe the popes were infallible if they never even used such powers since Christ?

They surely could never point to any such instances.

In actuality, no Catholic knows what was the first infallible pronouncement as can be seen by the constant disagreement about how many there really were to date. The RCC unfortunately prefers to leave it this way.


#19

And this gets back to the previous poster’s point. It doesn’t matter if it was defined. It only matters if the Magisterium had proposed Limbo as “true” and “sure” as it very well did.

The record speaks for itself, dogma or not.

The sale of indulgences was never a dogma or even a discipline of the church, so again you make a specious argument.

Irrelevant. The Magisterium had proposed the sale of indulgences as “true” and “sure” as is evident by them selling them and Catholics purchasing them.

Who taught them to purchase them? Where was the outcry of the Magisterium when this was going on under their watch?

In any event, Limbo and indulgences are not the topic of this thread.


#20

. It only matters if the Magisterium had proposed Limbo as “true” and “sure” as it very well did.

The record speaks for itself, dogma or not.No Atemi, it was not, much as you wish it was.

Irrelevant. The Magisterium had proposed the sale of indulgences as “true” and “sure” as is evident by them selling them and Catholics purchasing them.

Who taught them to purchase them? Where was the outcry of the Magisterium when this was going on under their watch?Again, no it did not. This was the practice of a few errant individuals, for a limited period, and though I’m sure you wish it was the case.

As for the Church dealing with it, I guess you forget that in the 15th century there was no rapid communication, no faxes, telephones, and such so I’d say that for the period it got dealt with as expeditiously as possible. At least the Catholic Church has, and has had, someone “on watch” to ultimately deal with such things, unlike the “Reformers” who left the church and their modern step children of today who have no authority and no one to oppose and define correct doctrine with authority and deal with it, else they’d have caught Sola Scriptura at it’s inception and prevented the n-C morass that exists today. They cannot now and will not ever be able to do so and that’s built directly into their communities by the fundamental error upon which they are founded.:shrug:

In any event, Limbo and indulgences are not the topic of this thread.

Well, you brought them up did you not? And then just here you are still attempting to use them as arguments for your position, so if they are irrelevant, whose fault is that?:shrug:


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