Is the Catechsim Magesterial? Infallible?

The Catechism’s authority is limited to that of the documents which it cites.

I regard it as an authoritative opinion by our chief teacher to which I must give careful and repectful attention, but not an infallible document.

This was stated in another thread. Can anyone confirm or deny that the Catechism is not an infallible document? Is it not an official teaching of the Magesterium?

My understanding is that the something which is magesterial is automatically infallible by virtue of it coming from the Magesterium. Is this not correct?

-Tim-

Documents are not infallible. Teachings can be infallible or non-infallible.
The CCC is not an infallible document.
It contains a summary of ALL Church teachings (infallible and non-infallible) plus disciplines.
We are obliged to accept all the teachings and disciplines contained therein.

See** Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church** by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and Christopher Schoenborn, Ignatius Press, 1994

…What significance the Catechism really holds may be learned by reading the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum, with which the Pope promulgated it on October 11, 1992 …“I acknowledge it [the Catechism] as a valid and legitimate tool in the service of ecclesiastical communion, as a sure norm for instruction in the faith.” The individual doctrines which the Catechism presents receive no other weight than that which they already possess. The weight of the Catechism itself lies in the whole. Since it transmits what the Church teaches, whoever rejects it as a whole separates himself beyond question from the faith and teaching of the Church.

This is the end of Chapter 3 The Author of the Catechism and Its Authority from the half written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

Exactly, it is Promulgated by the Magisterium, but it is simply a compendium IN ITSELF. The Catechisms weight lies only in the Documents it cites as magisterial teaching. Therefore, all things which the Catechism cites as magisterial and references as magisterial are part of the ordinary magisterium. As such they must be believed.

If a bishop gives a nihil obstat and imprimatur and even actively were to promote a book on theology, would that book ever become part of the magisterium in ITSELF? No.

If the Pope says its a sure guide and norm, does that make it a Magisterial document? Or is its weight in its reference to the magisterium in what it presents?

Can the promulgation of a document by the magisterium make that document in question magisterial?

I personally only refuse to take seriously those sections that make no reference to any magisterial documents. I treat these like theological speculation. Is that wrong?

Yes, of course it is wrong. Everything in the CCC must be accepted. Bringing this up again and again is getting really boring and has nothing to do with the OP’s question.
He asked if the CCC is an infallible document. The answer is no. In fact no document is infallible. Only a teaching can be infallible.

…What significance the Catechism really holds may be learned by reading the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum, with which the Pope promulgated it on October 11, 1992 …“I acknowledge it [the Catechism] as a valid and legitimate tool in the service of ecclesiastical communion, as a sure norm for instruction in the faith.” The individual doctrines which the Catechism presents receive no other weight than that which they already possess. The weight of the Catechism itself lies in the whole. Since it transmits what the Church teaches, whoever rejects it as a whole separates himself beyond question from the faith and teaching of the Church.

Let’s take the statement that Joe provided above.

Q. Who is the author?
A. The Prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the faith.

Q. Does the Prefect for the Congregation for the Faith have the authority to issue statement on faith, morals and disciplines that bind Catholics?
A. Yes because that is the function that the Apostolic See has entrusted to the Congregation and in entrusting the function of teaching faith, morals and disciplines, the Congregation also receives, from the pope, the authority to speak authoritatively for the Church and to the Church. In other words , the Congregation speaks in his name.

Q. What did the pope say about the catechism?
A. The Catechism is a valid and legitimate tool of ecclesial communion and it is a sure norm for the instruction in the faith.

Q. What does this mean?
A. It means that all of the teachings on faith and morals in the Catechism are without error (infallible), because they are already held as infallible by the Church, long before they were included in the Catechism. In addition, it also means that all disciplines included in the catechism are meant to bind the faithful until such time when the discipline is changed by the appropriate authority.

Q. Does the Catechism teach anything new?
A. No. The Catechism is a compendium of what the Church has always believed. What is new is the way that it is said, not what is said. As time passes, the Christian Doctrine becomes clearer and at the same time other aspects that we did not understand in the past or that we did not attend to will surface. This does not mean that doctrines have been changed. It means that we understand them better today and that there are parts of doctrine and disciplines that were not stressed at one time and are stressed today and the other way around too. There are parts of doctrines that were stressed at one time and are not stressed today. The fact that it is not stressed at any given time in history does not mean that this part of the doctrine is unnecessary or has suddenly become more necessary. What it does mean is that it has become more necessary to pay attention to a particular pat of a doctrine than it was in the past. However, the specific dimension of the doctrine has always been necessary and will continue to be necessary, even long after we have no further need to repeat it, because everyone understands it.

There are times when it is important to draw people’s attention to certain parts of doctrine and morals for the good of the whole. As we change, the Church draws our attention to aspects of doctrine that are helpful to us in our situation today. This is not a denial of other parts of a doctrine. It’s really a ay of calling attention to parts of doctrine about which we were not well informed or were not aware.

To conclude, the Catechism is not infallible but the teachings on matters of faith and matters of morals contained in the catechism are infallible, because the Church is protected from errors in faith and morals.

As far as discipline are concerned, these can change at the behest of the proper authority. It may be the pope or the diocesan bishop. Canon Law explains what falls under whose jurisdiction. There are three kinds of disciplines.

Disciplines that all Catholics must follow.

Disciplines that only those Catholics of certain dioceses must follow.

Disciplines that only Catholics of a specific Church must follow. For example, Latin Catholics must accept the celibacy requirement for Holy Orders. This discipline does not apply to the Oriental Catholics. Oriental Catholics often fast on days when Latin Catholics do not fast. This fast is morally binding on them, but not on the Latin Catholic. When reading the disciplines contained in the catechism, one must pay attention to make sure that the discipline applies to your or not. Dogmas and morals apply to all Catholics.

I hope this helps.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Where those teachings reference proper magisterial documents. Right?

Once the Sacred Congregation for the Faith and the Pope jointly declare that the Catechism contains what every Catholic should believe, then there is argument. In any case, neither the pope nor the Sacred Congregation will entertain any argument.

There have been questions asked of the Sacred Congregation on certain points in the Catechism, because the wording is awkward or does not translate well. They have been very gracious in explaining and even went as far as issuing a second education to try and make it clearer.

However, what the Holy Father is saying and has said all along, when he was the Prefect and after he became pope, is that Catholics must assent to everything that is in the catechism.

The more you dissent the closer you get to being out of communion with the Church. If you reach a point where you reject the whole thing, then you’ve just thought yourself right out of the Catholic Church.

This is where dissent is dangerous, because as human beings we tend to think “one more thing” and “one more thing” and “one more thing” and before you know it, the whole thing is out the window.

To be on the safe side, you take the entire thing at face value and you trust that the Congregation for the Faith and the Pope who promulgated the Cathechism know what they’re talking about , better than we do.

I for one and not going to pit my pea size brain against Joseph Ratzinger. :eek:

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

It is not infallible. Nothing created by us is truly infallible, God’s love is though! :slight_smile:

OP here. Thanks for the replies.

Of course a document cannot be infallible. I’m sorry I phrased it that way and didn’t pose my question in a more thoughtful way. My question really was, (and I’m still not sure that I am phrasing it correctly) about whether the Catechism is a magesterial document to be held at the same level as a papal encyclical but I think my question has been answered to my satisfaction.

Note that I am in no way questioning the Catechism or any part therof.

Thank’s for yall’s patience.

-Tim-

The doctrinal and moral contents found in the catechism are infallible. The Church cannot err in matters of faith and morals. The disciplinary contents are not covered by the umbrella of infallibility, but they are covered under the umbrella of authority and power. The Church has the authority and the Divine power to impose these disciplines on the faithful. For example, Canon Law is not infallible. However, Catholics do not question the right of the pope to dictate canon law and the obligation of everyone else to comply with it.

As to encyclicals, the catechism quotes many encyclicals or parts thereof. Encyclicals are not infallible. Don’t make that mistake. However, encyclicals often discuss points that are infallible. For example, Humanae Vitae is not an infallible enyclical. But the sacredness of life is an infallible teaching. What the encylical says about the sacredness of life is actually restating an infallible doctrine. How the pope words his explanation is what we call commentary. That part is not protected under infallibility. The pope can explain something that is infallible in the most awkward manner or in a manner that only he understands what he’s saying. This of course will require restating or clarification. This certainly has happened with some parts of the catechism. The content is infallible, but the explanations have been poorly translated or poorly edited and had to go back for a second edition.

Finally, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is composed by human beings, but its content is revealed truth. Revealed truth is infallible.

The Sacred Congregation can make mistakes in grammar, syntax, semantics, even in its use of references, but the truth contained in the Catechism is not the fabrication of the Sacred Congregation. It has been handed down to us through the ages through revelation. Is that clearer?

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Thank you Brother for taking the time to explain this. As always, your posts are most enjoyable to read and very educational.

-Tim-

=TimothyH;7544597]This was stated in another thread. Can anyone confirm or deny that the Catechism is not an infallible document? Is it not an official teaching of the Magesterium?

My understanding is that the something which is magesterial is automatically infallible by virtue of it coming from the Magesterium. Is this not correct?

-Tim-

’Infalibility" is somewhat over rated, in the sense that there are many Church Teaching on the matters of Faith and Morals, that despite NOT being infallibily proclained, nevertheless demand, and mandate our acceptance.

**FROM the current Code of Canon Law: **

THE TEACHING FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH LIBER III. DE ECCLESIAE MUNERE DOCENDI

Can. 748 §1. All persons are bound to seek the truth in those things which regard God and his Church and by virtue of divine law are bound by the obligation and possess the right of embracing and observing the truth which they have come to know.

Can. 749 §1. By virtue of his office, the Supreme Pontiff possesses infallibility in teaching when as the supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful, who strengthens his brothers and sisters in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.

§2. The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively.

§3. No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.

Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.

**§2. **B]Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firm-ly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

**Can. 752 **Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.

Can. 753 Although the bishops who are in communion with the head and members of the college, whether individually or joined together in conferences of bishops or in particular councils, do not possess infallibility in teaching, they are authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the Christian faithful entrusted to their care; the Christian** faithful are bound to adhere with religious submission of mind to the authentic magisterium of their bishops.**

**Can. 754 **All the Christian faithful are obliged to observe the constitutions and decrees which the legitimate authority of the Church issues in order to propose doctrine and to proscribe erroneous opinions, particularly those which the Roman Pontiff or the college of bishops puts forth

I pray this aids your understanding of what Obligates us.
Pat

So, the content of the Catechism is magisterial, where it cites magisterial sources, because magisterial documents ALONE are our immediate source of Faith.

Agreed.

IS the Catechism, as a COMPENDIUM magisterial?

Not in the magisterial documents it cites, but in itself, is it magisterial? If some teaching were reflected that had very little to almost no precedence in the church, and that teaching made no reference to any magisterial documents, do we believe in it because of the weight of the CATECHISM?

Or can we make a judgement call?

I am very confused. :confused:

Why do you think the Church would include something in it’s catechism that has "little or no precedence" to the Chruch?

An example or 2 of what you are actually referring to may help :shrug:,

The Catechism is a Magisterial compendium of the faith. Pope Benedict has said this numerous times in talks and other places.

You have to be very careful when you say that there are things in the catechism that had not presedence. There are situations that did not exist in the past. But the statements that address them are based on the Christian tradition. In addition, as Pope Benedict likes to remind us, theology is in constant development. You are constantly understanding Revelation more and more deeply. You are going to add to what others said before you or you’re going to restate it differently. This does not mean that these very different statements are not rooted in tradition. They simply do not use the language of the past or they address situations and needs that did not exist in the past.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I understand your response. But in basic terms the Catechism is not infallible. Your response is definitely more complete than mine.

That’s a technical question. The CCC contains infallible dogmas and moral laws. It also contains canon laws and disciplines that are not infallible, but must be observed by every Catholic, because the Church has the authority to command assent of the faithful.

The answer to the OP is affirmative. The CCC is a Megisterial Document that containes infallible doctrines and morals, as well as canons and other disciplinary laws that are binding on all Catholics. No part of the Catechism is up to debate. As Pope Benedict has said, the more you dissent with the Catechism the further you get from communion with the Church. That’s a thought worth pondering.

That being said, one should read the CCC with the comentary. It’s very helpful, because it points you to previous catechism, documents and other writings that are behind the statements in the CCC. It also explains why something has been added to a previous statement. Ignatius Press puts out a very good commentary.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

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