What is the authority of a Papal Bull? I have a list tucked away that explains Encyclicals, Apostolic Constitutions, Decrees, etc…but no where on that list is “Papal Bull”. Can someone please explain to me about Papal Bulls?
The reason I ask is that I was directed recently to “Cantate Domino” by Eugene IV, in regards to the Council of Florence, regarding the Mosaic law observances, specifically on circumcision.
**Disclaimer: I am not here to debate circumcision. I want to know what to make of Pope Eugene’s statement and to know how “weighty” a Papal Bull is.
I get that there are language differences, manners of speech, key words that give a deeper meaning, and that some statements are rather easy to twist into a message that was not intended. But I am really scratching my head on the part about circumcision. Here is the pertinent quote:
"It firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to the divine worship at that time, after our Lord’s coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. Yet it does not deny that after the passion of Christ up to the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been observed until they were believed to be in no way necessary for salvation; but after the promulgation of the Gospel it asserts that they cannot be observed without the loss of eternal salvation. All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors. Therefore, it commands all who glory in the name of Christian, at whatever time, before or after baptism, to cease entirely from circumcision, since, whether or not one places hope in it, it cannot be observed at all without the loss of eternal salvation. "