Only an Ecumenical Council


#1

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:

Ecumenical Councils

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

[list]
[/list]If you wish to read the entire article, see
newadvent.org/cathen/04423f.htm


#2

Listing of Ecumionical Councils

Following are all the ECUMINICAL COUNCILS
[list]First Ecumenical Council: Nicaea I (325)
Second Ecumenical Council: Constantinople I (381)
Third Ecumenical Council: Ephesus (431)
Fourth Ecumenical Council: Chalcedon (451)
Fifth Ecumenical Council: Constantinople II (553)
Sixth Ecumenical Council: Constantinople III (680-681)
Seventh Ecumenical Council: Nicaea II (787)
Eighth Ecumenical Council: Constantinople IV (869)
Ninth Ecumenical Council: Lateran I (1123)
Tenth Ecumenical Council: Lateran II (1139)
Eleventh Ecumenical Council: Lateran III (1179)
Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV (1215)
Thirteenth Ecumenical Council: Lyons I (1245)
Fourteenth Ecumenical Council: Lyons II (1274)
Fifteenth Ecumenical Council: Vienne (1311-1313)
Sixteenth Ecumenical Council: Constance (1414-1418)
Seventeenth Ecumenical Council: Basle/Ferrara/Florence (1431-1439)
Eighteenth Ecumenical Council: Lateran V (1512-1517)
Nineteenth Ecumenical Council: Trent (1545-1563)
Twentieth Ecumenical Council: Vatican I (1869-1870)
Twenty-first Ecumenical Council: Vatican II (1962-1965)
[/list]


#3

The Orthodox, and the Byzantine Catholic Chruches, only recognize the first seven councils as Ecumenical Councils, the rest are viewed as general councils of the West.

I get this, for us Byzantine Catholics, from our catechical work, the Light for Life series.

Specifically, Part One, The Mystery Believed, this book is a catechetical work put out by the Byzantine Catholic Churches in North America, it states (in short) on page 81 and 82…

The Catholic and (Byzantine) Orthodox Churches together recognize seven such councils as ecumenical…

The Roman Catholic Church further recognizes fourteen other councils as ecumenicals, stipulating that a council is ecumenical when ist is so called by the pope. Although none of the early Councils were convened by the pope, his confirmation of their decrees was to be sought.


#4

That’s interesting - and I think many of us do not fully realize the differences between the Roman and Easten Rites is not JUST the Rite.


#5

[quote=deogratias] I often see the phrase “but Vatican II was ONLY an Ecuminical Council”.
[/quote]

Aren’t you confusing “Ecumenical” with “Pastoral?” As in, “but Vatican II was ONLY a Pastoral Council.” I have seen this phrase used. Pope John said it was a Pastoral Council. Cardinal Ratzinger makes the point that it was a Pastoral Council. I think most people who care about such things know that Vatican I, Trent etc. were ecumenical councils.


#6

This could be - that I confused it but this is even more pertinent then in that it was indeed considered to be an Ecuminical Council by those who opened and closed it.


#7

[quote=deogratias]This could be - that I confused it but this is even more pertinent then in that it was indeed considered to be an Ecuminical Council by those who opened and closed it.
[/quote]

It was also considered to be pastoral, not dogmatic (thus infallible) by those who opened and closed it.

The substance of the ancient doctrine of the Deposit of Faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character. John XXIII “The Second Vatican Council - Opening Address” (October 11, 1963)

“…differing from other Councils, this one was not directly dogmatic but doctrinal and pastoral” Paul VI, “Weekly General Audience” (8/6/1975)

“There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification, the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church’s infallible teaching authority. The answer is known by those who remember the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964. In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogmas carrying the mark of infallibility.” Paul VI, “Weekly General Audience” (1/12/1966)

The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council." J. Cardinal Ratzinger, “Address to Chilean Bishops -Santiago, Chile” (July 13, 1988)


#8

The Orthodox, and the Byzantine Catholic Chruches, only recognize the first seven councils as Ecumenical Councils, the rest are viewed as general councils of the West.

Documentation, please?

This isn’t true at all.

The universal Catechism of the Catholic Church lists the rest of the councils as “Ecumenical,” not just Western, and a few of them were even reunion Councils between Catholics and Orthodox!

Obviously, there’s a certain prestige afforded the first seven, a prestige held by the entire Church, but especially the Byzantines. Still, this does not negate the Ecumenicity of the remaining 14.

Granted, many aspects of these councils were disciplinary, and only pertain to the West, but their dogmatic definitions are binding on all Catholics, no matter what their race or ethnicity.

Regarding Vatican II:

The fact that it did not “define dogma” does not negate it’s authority or even infallibility.


#9

[quote=ByzCath]The Orthodox, and the Byzantine Catholic Chruches, only recognize the first seven councils as Ecumenical Councils, the rest are viewed as general councils of the West.

I get this, for us Byzantine Catholics, from our catechical work, the Light for Life series.

Specifically, Part One, The Mystery Believed, this book is a catechetical work put out by the Byzantine Catholic Churches in North America, it states (in short) on page 81 and 82…

The Catholic and (Byzantine) Orthodox Churches together recognize seven such councils as ecumenical…

The Roman Catholic Church further recognizes fourteen other councils as ecumenicals, stipulating that a council is ecumenical when ist is so called by the pope. Although none of the early Councils were convened by the pope, his confirmation of their decrees was to be sought.
[/quote]

Any Church united to the See of Rome accepts all twenty one Universal councils


#10

Even though it was not considered “dogmatic” we are still bound to all the decrees of the council.

Ecumenical Councils

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


#11

[quote=deogratias]Even though it was not considered “dogmatic” we are still bound to all the decrees of the council.

[/quote]

It always makes me smile when people say Vatican II was only a Pastoral Council, not a Dogmatic Council.

Yes, That is why it issued the DOGMATIC Constitution on Divine Revelation, and the DOGMATIC Constitution on the Church! All of the Constitutions, Decrees, and Declarations all contain Dogmatic or Doctrinal teachings of the magisterium.


#12

I’m not trying to take on the council, but Dei Verbum, one of the dogmatic constitutions, was, as far as doctrine goes, pretty much a restatement of Trent. In that sense, it would not be an attempt to exert the infallible authority of Vatican II as much as reasserting what had already been infallibly defined (which would still fall under Cardinal Ratzinger’s characterization of the council). This could be compared to JPII’s strategy in condemning women’s ordination - point to the old without basing your proclamation on your own authority.


#13

Allow me a slight hijack here…

I notice two large chronological gaps. The biggest, from 1563-1869, obviously resulted from the Reformation and consequent wars and political instability in Europe.

What accounts for the long wait from 869 to 1123?


#14

[quote=DominvsVobiscvm]Documentation, please?

This isn’t true at all.

[/quote]

I provided documentation. It is in our catechical work, the Light for Life series, book one The Mystery Believed.

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Any Church united to the See of Rome accepts all twenty one Universal councils
[/quote]

Please show where it says that we do not accept all twenty one councils.

If either of you have issues with this I will not argue with you on it. I provided the reference. If you have issues with it take it up with the Office of Religious Education, Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, PA, or with God with Us Publications. ** **


#15

[quote=ByzCath]I provided documentation. It is in our catechical work, the Light for Life series, book one The Mystery Believed.

Please show where it says that we do not accept all twenty one councils.
[/quote]

It is quoted in the yellow box. above my response. It says “Originally Posted by ByzCath"
**”**The Orthodox, and the Byzantine Catholic Chruches, only recognize the first seven councils as Ecumenical Councils…"


#16

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]It always makes me smile when people say Vatican II was only a Pastoral Council, not a Dogmatic Council.

Yes, That is why it issued the DOGMATIC Constitution on Divine Revelation, and the DOGMATIC Constitution on the Church! All of the Constitutions, Decrees, and Declarations all contain Dogmatic or Doctrinal teachings of the magisterium.
[/quote]

Br. Rich, these dogmatic constitutions promulgated no previously undefined doctrine or dogma, did they? That is why the council could issue a “dogmatic constitution” without necessarily being a dogmatic council. The documents cited re-stated what was already held by the Church, did they not? Am I mistaken here?


#17

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]It is quoted in the yellow box. above my response. It says “Originally Posted by ByzCath"
**”**The Orthodox, and the Byzantine Catholic Chruches, only recognize the first seven councils as Ecumenical Councils…"
[/quote]

Wrong.

The whole quote is, The Orthodox, and the Byzantine Catholic Chruches, only recognize the first seven councils as Ecumenical Councils, the rest are viewed as general councils of the West.

You conveniently left out the underlined portion. Also this was a summary of the section that I posted from the book.

Again, if you have issues take it up with those who put the book out and our bishops who approved it.

Please do not edit my comments or leave out section of them to make them say something they do not say.


#18

[quote=ByzCath]Wrong.

The whole quote is, The Orthodox, and the Byzantine Catholic Chruches, only recognize the first seven councils as Ecumenical Councils, the rest are viewed as general councils of the West.

You conveniently left out the underlined portion. Also this was a summary of the section that I posted from the book.

Again, if you have issues take it up with those who put the book out and our bishops who approved it.

Please do not edit my comments or leave out section of them to make them say something they do not say.
[/quote]

I have never heard “general councils of the West” There are many “local councils” specific to the Eastern or Western Catholic Church. I’m only talking about the 21 Ecumenical or Universal Councils recognized by Rome.


#19

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]I have never heard “general councils of the West” There are many “local councils” specific to the Eastern or Western Catholic Church. I’m only talking about the 21 Ecumenical or Universal Councils recognized by Rome.
[/quote]

Br. Rich,

The term “general councils of the west” is a term that the Eastern Catholics coined to describe the ecumenical councils held after the first seven. The reason the East does not see them as ecumenical is that not all bishops participated (i.e., the East was omitted).

Note, however, that this does not make their teachings any less binding on the East. The Eastern Catholic Churches, like the Western Churches (well, one Church, four rites) are bound by all that the Church teaches *or proposes *in matters of faith and discipline. This does not mean that we teach the same things the same way. It also means that we see most of the disciplines as pertaining to the Latin Church and not to the Eastern Churches. We accept only those that are specifically aimed at “all Christians.”

For example, the East has a totally different understanding of Original Sin than does the West. Yet we still teach Original Sin. However, the consequnce of our different understanding leads to a difference in, say, the Immaculate Conception. The East does not celebrate this Feast because, for us, no one was “born with” Original Sin but, rather, we are all “born into” a world affected by Original Sin. For us, the *imago Dei *is distorted when we are born, and made whole in baptism. We do teach that Mary was ever sinless – which is what the West teaches. So, differences without significance.

Does that help to clarify the question?

Deacon Ed


#20

To all:

There are only two types of councils in the Church: local or synodal and general or ecumenical. There is no such thing as a “pastoral” or a “dogmatic” council. Nearly all councils issued both pastoral and dogmatic documents. The fact that the character of Vatican II was *primarily *pastoral does not make it something other than an ecumenical council.

Its teachings are binding on all Catholics, both East and West.

Deacon Ed


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