Unam Sanctam- Papal Infallibility?


#1

At school this year, I am taking European History. Among the main topics we are discussing this year is the papal bull, Unam Sanctam. My teacher shows his disapproval of the Catholic Church as well as his approval of the Reformation freely.
In the papal bull (which was in response to a dispute with King Phillip of France), Pope Boniface VIII states: *‘Now, therefore, we declare, say, determine and pronounce that for every human creature it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff" (Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanae creaturae declaramus, dicimus, definimus, et pronuntiamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis).’ *I was under the impression that salvation was through the church, but that not everyone who will go to heaven will have necessarily been under the authority of the Pope.
I am worried that with this, my teacher will damage the legitimacy of the Catholic Church by showing this (apparently infallible) proclamation and comparing it with current church teaching. This issue has made me abundantly confused, and I need help from anyone willing.

ak_mike:confused:


#2

[quote=ak_mike]At school this year, I am taking European History. Among the main topics we are discussing this year is the papal bull, Unam Sanctam. My teacher shows his disapproval of the Catholic Church as well as his approval of the Reformation freely.
In the papal bull (which was in response to a dispute with King Phillip of France), Pope Boniface VIII states: 'Now, therefore, we declare, say, determine and pronounce that for every human creature it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff" (Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanae creaturae declaramus, dicimus, definimus, et pronuntiamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis).’ I was under the impression that salvation was through the church, but that not everyone who will go to heaven will have necessarily been under the authority of the Pope.
I am worried that with this, my teacher will damage the legitimacy of the Catholic Church by showing this (apparently infallible) proclamation and comparing it with current church teaching. This issue has made me abundantly confused, and I need help from anyone willing.

ak_mike:confused:
[/quote]

I submit that the legitimacy of the Catholic Church does not depend on every official statement, even from the Popes, being eternally and completely true. In Matthew, chapter 23, Jesus delivers a scathing indictment of the teachings and example of the religious leaders of his day, those who "sit in the chair of Moses"
But at the beginning of His words, Jesus tells his disciples to “do everything and observe everything they tell you”

Clearly the legitimacy of the religious leaders did not depend on them being right.

I believe the same basic truth holds for the Church leadership throughout time. The legitimacy of those who sit in the chair of Peter does not depend on their being right, (even Peter made serious mistakes) but on the fact of historical succession. Respect for that succession is important for the sake of unity. But we needn’t be concerned about the possibility of popes being wrong along the way. They were, or at least the things they had to say did not cover all times and all situations.

peace

  • Jim

#3

[quote=ak_mike]At school this year, I am taking European History. Among the main topics we are discussing this year is the papal bull, Unam Sanctam. My teacher shows his disapproval of the Catholic Church as well as his approval of the Reformation freely.
In the papal bull (which was in response to a dispute with King Phillip of France), Pope Boniface VIII states: 'Now, therefore, we declare, say, determine and pronounce that for every human creature it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff" (Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanae creaturae declaramus, dicimus, definimus, et pronuntiamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis).’ I was under the impression that salvation was through the church, but that not everyone who will go to heaven will have necessarily been under the authority of the Pope.
I am worried that with this, my teacher will damage the legitimacy of the Catholic Church by showing this (apparently infallible) proclamation and comparing it with current church teaching. This issue has made me abundantly confused, and I need help from anyone willing.

ak_mike:confused:
[/quote]

Your teacher cannot damage the legitimacy of the Catholic Church. If the gates of Hell cannot prevail against her, then we’ve little or nothing to worry about from him .

The following is from the Catechsim of the CCC:

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272 819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

And further, from the Catechism:

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist."324

I don’t think any of this contradicts EENS. It explains it, clarifies it, illuminates it, etc. Don’t let your teacher attempt to tell you what the Church teaches, let the Church tell you what she teaches.


#4

Dave Armstrong has a very extensive treatise of the issue here: web.archive.org/web/20040218182856/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ232.HTM.
I highly recommend it.
ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ315.HTM is also a good take on this.

In regards to the necessity of being subject to the Roman Pontiff, it remains true that this is normatively true. This is simply an extension of the time-old teaching that outside the Church there is no salvation (though we do believe that this is possible, but in such a sense that they are mystically connected to the Church, as the above articles explain), as the Catholic Church is defined as those churches which are in communion with the Roman Pontiff, and thus subject to his Petrine ministry when exercised for the good of the Church Universal.


#5

Trogiah’s submission is completely false.

Listen to the other people.

No offense meant.


#6

[quote=challenger]Trogiah’s submission is completely false.

Listen to the other people.

No offense meant.
[/quote]

None taken… well at least not much. I did go back and check my reference to Matthew chapter 23 and found it to be accurate. Is it that you don’t believe it should be applied to religious leaders today?

-Jim


closed #7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.