Is Ordinatio Sacerdotalis an infallible declaration?


#1

I realize that many theologians dispute that it was and that many still say that the last infallible declaration from a pope was Pius XII’s Munificentissimus Deus, but I disagree. Let me explain my reasoning and I look forward to your own thoughts.

[quote=Vatican I]we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA,
that is, when,

o in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,
o in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority,
o he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church,

he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable.
[/quote]

In comparing the declarations made in Munificentissimus Deus and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, I not only see a very strong similarity in the force and scope of the declarations, I see complete fulfillment of the above in both.

[quote=Pope Pius XII in Munificentissimus Deus]44. For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

  1. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.
    [/quote]

[quote=John Paul II in ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS]4. Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.
[/quote]

Vatican I: “in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority”

Pius XII: “by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define”

John Paul II: Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed … in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare"

Vatican I: “he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church”

Pius XII: “we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith”

John Paul II: “in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself … I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful”


#2

[quote=theMutant]In comparing the declarations made in Munificentissimus Deus and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, I not only see a very strong similarity in the force and scope of the declarations, I see complete fulfillment of the above in both.
[/quote]

The difference is that in the case of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the bishops asked the Pope whether he intended it to be an infallible declaration, and Cardinal Ratzinger replied in the negative.

The teachings contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis are infallible by the ordinary universal magisterium, but the document itself is not an example of the infallible extraordinary papal magisterium (i.e., “ex cathedra”).


#3

[quote=Catholic2003]The difference is that in the case of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the bishops asked the Pope whether he intended it to be an infallible declaration, and Cardinal Ratzinger replied in the negative.
[/quote]

I’m sorry, but you’ve got your facts wrong. The first of the following links is to the response from Cardinal Ratzinger, which was approved by John Paul II, and the response was in the affirmative. The second is a more extensive examination of the nature of the declaration in light of the Catholic teaching on papal infallibility.

ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFRESPO.HTM

ewtn.com/library/ISSUES/ORDIN.TXT


#4

This is what I wrote:

[quote=Catholic2003]The teachings contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis are infallible by the ordinary universal magisterium, but the document itself is not an example of the infallible extraordinary papal magisterium (i.e., “ex cathedra”).
[/quote]

This is what Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:

[quote=CDF]This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium
[/quote]

Sure looks to me like I got my facts right.


#5

It is not the document that is infallible, but the teaching pronounced by the document.

However, I believe this also applies to every de fide dogma of Catholicism. The Church, to my knowledge, does not declare documents to be infallible. (Holy Writ is not infallible, but inerrant).

According to the Roman Pontiff, as clearly described by a *Responsum ad Dubium *approved by the Roman Pontiff, “The teachings contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis are infallible.” If this is was the intent of the question, then the answer is yes, the last teaching to be definitively declared infallible by a pope is that women cannot be ordained as priests.

However, Catholic2003, you said that Cardinal Ratzinger replied in the* negative* to some question pertaining to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Do you have support for this? If not, then I’d say you were were at least not very clear in your response.


#6

Dr. Ludwig Ott describes “theological grades of certainty” in his book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.

The highest grade being: Fides divina. Immediately revealed truths. The belief due to them is based on the authority of God revealing. And if the Church, through its teaching, vouches for the fact that a truth is contained in Revelation, one’s certainty is then also based on the authority of the infallible teaching authority of the Church (fides catholica).

If Truths are defined by a solemn judgment of faith (definition) of the Pope or of a General Council, they are "de fide definita."

Does Ordinatio Sacerdotalis define a solemn judgment of faith of the Pope? Yes. Therefore, I’d say it’s an example of *de fide definita declaration. *In other words, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis seems to have clearly moved this doctrine from fide catholica to *de fide definita, *because some considered it “still open to debate.”

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia,

Ex Cathedra Literally “from the chair”, a theological term which signifies authoritative teaching and is more particularly applied to the definitions given by the Roman Pontiff.

Given the above definition, it seem to me that *Ordinatio Sacerdotalis *fits the definition of an *ex cathedra *teaching.


#7

What I think Cardinal Ratzinger is saying in the *Responsum ad Dubium *is that the doctrine, while being “set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium,” is ALSO now handed on by the Roman Pontiff “by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.” (i.e., *ex cathedra *declaration). It is not one or the other, but both an exercise of the ordinary unviersal Magisterium AND now, since the promulgation of *Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, is ALSO *infallible by virtue of an *ex cathedra *declaration of the Roman Pontiff.


#8

October 28, 1995
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Letter: **Concerning the CDF Reply
Regarding *Ordinatio Sacerdotalis ***

… In response to this precise act of the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, explicitly addressed to the entire Catholic Church, all members of the faithful are required to give their assent to the teaching stated therein. To this end, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of the Holy Father, has given an official Reply on the nature of this assent; it is a matter of full definitive assent, that is to say, irrevocable, to a doctrine taught infallibly by the Church. In fact, as the Reply explains, the definitive nature of this assent derives from the truth of the doctrine itself, since, founded on the written Word of God, and constantly held and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary universal Magisterium (cf. Lumen Gentium, 25). Thus, the Reply specifies that this doctrine belongs to the deposit of the faith of the Church. It should be emphasized that the definitive and infallible nature of this teaching of the Church did not arise with the publication of the Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. In the Letter, as the Reply of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also explains, the Roman Pontiff, having taken account of present circumstances, has confirmed the same teaching by a formal declaration, giving expression once again to quod semper, quod ubique et quod ab omnibus tenendum est, utpote ad fidei depositum pertinens. In this case, an act of the ordinary Papal Magisterium, in itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church.

Women’s Ordination: It’s Infallible


#9

… the truth of the doctrine itself … has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary universal Magisterium … In this case, an act of the ordinary Papal Magisterium, in itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church.
This last sentence of the above is about the most confusing sentence ever written by the CDF. What can it possibly mean?

Here are two articles that show how the dissenters are having a field day with the wishy-washy postion that Cardinal Ratzinger is trying to stake out (i.e. the Pope didn’t speak infallibly in declaring that it is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that women cannot receive the Sacrament of Ordination):

Women’s Ordination and Infallibility
By Hans Küng

The Ordination of Women: Infallibly Taught?
by Peter Burns, S.J.


#10

Can 749 §3 No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless this is manifestly demonstrated.

If it HAD been “manifestly demonstrated” then no “Responsum ad Dubium” would have been required.

John


#11

[quote=John Higgins]If it HAD been “manifestly demonstrated” then no “Responsum ad Dubium” would have been required.
[/quote]

Please define the meaning of “manifestly demonstrated”.

Here is the larger context of your quote:

Can. 749

§1 In virtue of his office the Supreme Pontiff is infallible in his teaching when, as chief Shepherd and Teacher of all Christ’s faithful, with the duty of strengthening his brethren in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act a doctrine to be held concerning faith or morals.

§2 The College of Bishops also possesses infallibility in its teaching when the Bishops, gathered together in an Ecumenical Council and exercising their magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals, definitively declare for the universal Church a doctrine to be held concerning faith or morals; likewise, when the Bishops, dispersed throughout the world but maintaining the bond of union among themselves and with the successor of Peter, together with the same Roman Pontiff authentically teach matters of faith or morals, and are agreed that a particular teaching is definitively to be held.

§3 No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless this is manifestly demonstrated.

Code of Canon Law

I don’t see that what you have quoted clears up anything at all.


#12

Courtesy of www.m-w.com:

Main Entry: man·i·fest

Pronunciation: 'ma-n&-"fest

Function: adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French manifeste, from Latin manifestus caught in the act, flagrant, obvious, perhaps from manus + -festus (akin to Latin infestus hostile)

1 : readily perceived by the senses and especially by the sight

2 : easily understood or recognized by the mind : OBVIOUS
synonym see EVIDENT

  • man·i·fest·ly adverb

Was it easily understood? Was it obvious? Was it evident? Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t seem to think so, otherwise he wouldn’t have kept writing.

John


#13

Some dissenters were asserting that the fact that only men receive the Sacrament of Ordination was a matter of discipline, not faith. The Pope used the Papal Magisterium to teach that this is incorrect, that it is, in fact, a matter of faith, not discipline, that women cannot receive the Sacrament of Ordination. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis

… Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, **in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) ** I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

The passage from Luke that the Pope quoted, is a passage that the Church has always used to show that the Pope possesses the charism of infallibilty in matters of faith.

It is manifestly obvious that the Pope has carefully chosen to mention Lk. 22:32 in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. In my mind, it is manifestly obvious that by doing this, the Pope is speaking infallibly in a matter of faith.


#14

[quote=itsjustdave1988]However, Catholic2003, you said that Cardinal Ratzinger replied in the* negative* to some question pertaining to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Do you have support for this? If not, then I’d say you were were at least not very clear in your response.
[/quote]

Matt16_18 beat me to the punch. Cardinal Ratzinger has clearly stated that the document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is an exercise of the ordinary (non-infallible) papal magisterium. This is similar to the case of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is not infallible in and of itself, yet contains many infallible teachings.

[quote=Matt16_18]Here are two articles that show how the dissenters are having a field day with the wishy-washy postion that Cardinal Ratzinger is trying to stake out (i.e. the Pope didn’t speak infallibly in declaring that it is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that women cannot receive the Sacrament of Ordination)
[/quote]

I don’t think it is fair to blame Cardinal Ratzinger for this. It was the Holy Father himself who chose not to exercise papal infallibility in issuing Ordinatio Sacerdotalis; Cardinal Ratzinger is merely doing the best he can given this circumstance.


#15

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is infallible without the Holy Father needing to use the chrism of papal infalliblity becasuse of this line used in paragraph 4.

Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents

Things that are part of the constant and universal Tradition of the Church are infallible.


#16

[quote=Catholic2003in post #4]Originally Posted by CDF
This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium
[/quote]

You forgot to include the reference that immediately followed that statement. “(cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2)”

Clearly, the sentence to which you refer is not being applied to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis but to Lumen Gentium; an infallible act of the Church’s ordinary and universal magisterium.

The very next sentence states, “Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.”

The indication in this sentence of “the present circumstance” refers to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and sets it in contrast to the immediately preceding sentence which you quoted.

Additionally, in the preceding paragraph the question that is asked is if the teaching “which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.” and the answer was that it is. This clearly states that the intention of the Holy Father was to formally define part of the deposit of faith and, by his authority as the successor of Peter, to bind all Catholics to that teaching; which is an act of the extrordinary infallible papal magisterium.


#17

[quote=ByzCath]Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is infallible without the Holy Father needing to use the chrism of papal infalliblity becasuse of this line used in paragraph 4.

Things that are part of the constant and universal Tradition of the Church are infallible.
[/quote]

I am not disputing this and that is not the topic of this thread or the poll. The topic is whether or not the pope was exercising and invoking his infallible teaching authority in promulgating Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.


#18

[quote=theMutant]I am not disputing this and that is not the topic of this thread or the poll. The topic is whether or not the pope was exercising and invoking his infallible teaching authority in promulgating Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
[/quote]

No he wasn’t becuase it was not necessary.


#19

[quote=theMutant]You forgot to include the reference that immediately followed that statement. “(cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2)”

Clearly, the sentence to which you refer is not being applied to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis but to Lumen Gentium; an infallible act of the Church’s ordinary and universal magisterium.
[/quote]

I’m afraid you have this completely wrong. The reference to paragraph 25 of Lumen Gentium is there because that is where the ordinary and universal magisterium is described and declared to be infallible.

Lumen Gentium itself is an example of the extraordinary universal magisterium, that is, the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council.

[quote=theMutant]This clearly states that the intention of the Holy Father was to formally define part of the deposit of faith and, by his authority as the successor of Peter, to bind all Catholics to that teaching; which is an act of the extrordinary infallible papal magisterium.
[/quote]

As both Cardinal Ratzinger and I have said, this is an act of the ordinary, non-infallible papal magisterium. The teachings themselves were infallible by the ordinary and universal magisterium even prior to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis; the Holy Father chose to merely attest to this fact, without exercising the extraordinary infallible papal magisterium. Why the Holy Father made this choice is known only to him and the Holy Spirit; that he made this choice is clearly taught by Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter quoted by Matt16_18.

Your attempts to claim otherwise remind me of the deconstructionist movement in literary criticism - analyzing the text of a written document while completely ignoring the stated intent of the author. However, this approach does not apply in Catholic Church for determining the infallibility of the document.


#20

Catholic2003 and Matt 16_18,

Thanks for the link to Ratzinger’s letter. This helps fill in the blanks a bit.

However, when Cardinal Ratzinger states: "It should be emphasized that the definitive and infallible nature of this teaching of the Church did not arise with the publication of the Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis," isn’t that equally true of the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary prior to *Munificentissimus Deus? Or any other defined dogma? De fide *dogmas don’t “arise with the publication” of such as *Munificentissimus Deus, *but are always *fides divina *and/or *fides catholica *prior to becoming *de fide definita. *I guess I still don’t see the distinction between the two papal pronouncements.

However, I admit that Cardinal Ratzinger is abundantly more knowledgeable on dogmatic theology than I am, so at take him at his word when he states: "In this case, an act of the ordinary Papal Magisterium Ordinatio Sacerdotalis], in itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church."

Oh yeah … my vote should be considered changed from yes to no. http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon11.gif


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