I often see the phrase “but Vatican II was ONLY an Ecuminical Council”.
What exactly does that mean and how many other “Councils” were Ecuminical Councils, I asked myself.
I went to the New Advent Catholic Encylopedia site and found the following:
are those to which the bishops, and others entitled to vote, are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) under the presidency of the pope or his legates, and the decrees of which, having received papal confirmation, bind all Christians. A council, Ecumenical in its convocation, may fail to secure the approbation of the whole Church or of the pope, and thus not rank in authority with Ecumenical councils. Such was the case with the Robber Synod of 449 (Latrocinium Ephesinum), the Synod of Pisa in 1409, and in part with the Councils of Constance and Basle. *
We see a lot of arguements that the documents are not binding because it was “only an ecumical council” Wrong!
Vatican I was also an ecumenical council, as was Trent and so was the First Ecumenical Council - Nicaea 1 in 325.
And the next time someone tells you that Vatican II has no infallible teachings, note this: also from the same article.
Papal and conciliar infallibility are correlated but not identical. A council’s decrees approved by the pope are infallible by reason of that approbation, because the pope is infallible also extra concilium, without the support of a council. The infallibility proper to the pope is not, however, the only formal adequate ground of the council’s infallibility. The Divine constitution of the Church and the promises of Divine assistance made by her Founder, guarantee her inerrancy, in matters pertaining to faith and morals, independently of the pope’s infallibility: a fallible pope supporting, and supported by, a council, would still pronounce infallible decisions. This accounts for the fact that, before the Vatican decree concerning the supreme pontiff’s ex-cathedra judgments, Ecumenical councils were generally held to be infallible even by those who denied the papal infallibility; it also explains the concessions largely made to the opponents of the papal privilege that it is not necessarily implied in the infallibility of councils, and the claims that it can be proved separately and independently on its proper merits
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