Why is the ban on contraception not an infallible teaching?


#1

I have heard people cast their doubts on Pope Paul VI’s teaching based on the fact that he did not invoke papal infallibility; ostensibly this and Robert Blair Kaiser’s report portray him as “hesitant.”

The teaching is clear; why not clear up doubts by speaking ex cathedra?


#2

It is a clearly infallible teaching in the sense of Pope Paul VI’s use of the Ordinary Magisterium. I think the Church doesn’t formally “declare” it infallible because the Church is hesitant to just declaring everything formally infallible. I think (IMHO) that there are too many details to really be able to stick it down as infallible and to be able to properly treat it without more confusion.

Also, the folks that want to weasle their way around contraception by saying that Pope Paul VIs Humanae Vitae was not an “ex cathedra” statement just want to rationalize their own behaviors and not get in line in humble obedience to the Church’s wisdom on the matter. We don’t need everything officially infallibly declared for us to believe it.

This has been the constant teaching of the Church, the Faith handed down to us by the Apostles through the Popes and Council Fathers! :thumbsup:


#3

if its is already infallible by the ordinary magisterium there is not reason to then make it infallible again by the exra ordinary magisterium, that would be redundant and it would also undermine the ordinary magisterium…implying that it is not good enough.


#4

[quote=ComradeAndrei]It is a clearly infallible teaching in the sense of Pope Paul VI’s use of the Ordinary Magisterium. I think the Church doesn’t formally “declare” it infallible because the Church is hesitant to just declaring everything formally infallible. I think (IMHO) that there are too many details to really be able to stick it down as infallible and to be able to properly treat it without more confusion.

Also, the folks that want to weasle their way around contraception by saying that Pope Paul VIs Humanae Vitae was not an “ex cathedra” statement just want to rationalize their own behaviors and not get in line in humble obedience to the Church’s wisdom on the matter. We don’t need everything officially infallibly declared for us to believe it.

This has been the constant teaching of the Church, the Faith handed down to us by the Apostles through the Popes and Council Fathers! :thumbsup:
[/quote]

That’s a great answer…it’s been my understanding that numerous church teachings are infallible through the ordinary magisterium. For example, abstinence from sex prior to marriage is in the ordinary magisterium. There is no need for declaring it infallible because the church has always understood it to be so. Another thing with the teaching against contraception is that nearly every Christian church taught against contraception until the 1930’s. It was simply understood by all Christian religions that contraception was wrong. Now, the Catholic Church is the only one still holding the line (that I know of.) And Pope Paul VI further defined, explored and explained that teaching with Humanae Vitae due to the confusion of the times.


#5

It is not a *formally * infallible teaching, but it is a materially infallible teaching.


#6

People don’t realize that ex cathedra statements are extremely rare for a good reason. Three actually.

  1. As noted above,giving in to calls for a statement on this issue when the consistent teaching of the bishops in union with the pope would set a precedent that ex cathedra statements are superior to the ordinary magisterium. Not so.

  2. Ex cathedra statements scare the orthodox and other separated brethren to death. No need to create new obstacles to ecumenism.

  3. Contraception is NOT an issue that rises to the importance of issues that HAVE been discussed ex cathedra. Don’t get me wrong. A sin is a sin. But ex cathedra statements are typically reserved for more profound theological concepts (Immaculate conception, etc). Reiterating that a specific act is sin doesn’t rise to the occasion.


#7

[quote=manualman]People don’t realize that ex cathedra statements are extremely rare for a good reason. Three actually.

  1. As noted above,giving in to calls for a statement on this issue when the consistent teaching of the bishops in union with the pope would set a precedent that ex cathedra statements are superior to the ordinary magisterium. Not so.

  2. Ex cathedra statements scare the orthodox and other separated brethren to death. No need to create new obstacles to ecumenism.

  3. Contraception is NOT an issue that rises to the importance of issues that HAVE been discussed ex cathedra. Don’t get me wrong. A sin is a sin. But ex cathedra statements are typically reserved for more profound theological concepts (Immaculate conception, etc). Reiterating that a specific act is sin doesn’t rise to the occasion.
    [/quote]

Not only that, but history has shown that ex cathedra statements are typically reserved for those statements that will cause the most profound disagreement. Such as Immaculate Conception and abortion. The controversy is not caused by the ex cathedra statement. The ex cathedra statement is caused by the controversy. Birth control does not reach the great heights of theological debating, emotional protest as the Immaculate Conception or abortion. Therefore, an actual declaration of infallibility does not need to be made.


#8

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the church teaching on papal infallibility is one of those infallible truths. It teaches that the pope is infallible in teachings on faith and morals. I think that berth control fits pretty well into the MORALS category.
So I don’t even think it was necessary for the pope to declare it infallible doctrine.


#9

Wow, a thread gets dug up after nearly 3 years!

It’s funny - the teaching is infallible as an act of the ordinary magesterium, and then Humanae Vitae has all of the elements necessary for it to be an infallible declaration (kind of like a conditional baptism) - and yet folks just don’t get it.


#10

Because it is clearly taught (several times by different popes) infallibly through the ordinary magisterium.


#11

H.V. reiterated what had always been taught, and was needed to clarify the status of contraception using “the pill.” There was a question in many peoples minds, including many theologians whether the pill fit into the ordinary definition of a contraceptive. Paul VI’s encyclical was an attempt to resolve that doubt and to reiterate what had always been taught about other means. An ex cathedra statement was not necessary.:slight_smile:


#12

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