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 SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium 
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New post SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
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Teresa Ginardi wrote:
SO, WHAT IS CONSIDERED COMMON CONSENSUS OF THEOLOGICAL OPINION AND CAN IT CHANGE WITHOUT HARMING THE INFALLIBILITY GIVEN TO THE ORDINARY UNIVERSAL MAGISTERIUM?



Quote:
Dear Teresa,

I don't agree with your statement to the effect that the common doctrine changed on BOD/BOB. Heliocentrism is a study in itself, however I think we can agree that the common opinion changed somewhat - but in what way etc. requires detailed treatment, so that any general principles drawn from such an example are accurate.

Many thanks to Geoff Tribbe for finding and posting that article by Monsignor Fenton (himself a consultor to the Holy Office). On a side note, please consider this sentence: "If these books all contain common teaching opposed to or even distinct from genuine Catholic doctrine, then the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Catholic Church has been very much at fault during the course of the twentieth century."

This sentence is entirely incompatible with the novel explanation of the ordinary universal magisterium as "that which has been taught always, everywhere, and by all." This sentence is in line with the doctrine I quoted from Zapalena and Co. on Angelqueen, which describes the ordinary universal magisterium as the ordinary teaching activity of the bishops when they agree, irrespective of "time."

This is a crucial point for refuting the SSPX explantion of the crisis.

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Dear John, Pax et Bonum.

I hope it is permissable to start a new topic from another established discussion topic; in this case the former topic for these excerpts was "Baptism of Desire and of Blood." However, that last sentence of yours (quoted in red above-my emphasis) got me; hook, line and sinker!

Of course, I am understanding you to mean by "crisis" the dangerous circumstances Holy Mother The Church finds herself in today. This is why I addressed this as a new subject for discussion.

Please elucidate, because there is SO MUCH INFORMATION coming in from all Traditional sides that one can get overwhelmed in sorting it out. This is why I appreciate the Bellarmine Forum.

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Sun May 28, 2006 12:30 am
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Ok, I'm confused. As I have been taught, Magisterium is the power given to Our Lord by which the Church heirarchy is to teach and govern. This can be done in two ways; ordinary and extra-ordinary. I think by now we all know what the extra-ordinary means. The problem seems to revolve around the ordinary magisterium and when ordinary magisterium teachings become infallible. I was taught that anything that was taught through successive Papacies was to be held as infallible. The whole thing still seems kind of fuzzy to me. At any rate I've deduced that most of the discussions seem to depend on just what is meant by the ordinary magisterium and when does it become infallible.
Please bear in mind that this is a very rudimentry explanation. Without anger and hostility can we try to clear this up and maybe then some consensus can be reached on other topics.


Sun May 28, 2006 3:09 am
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should have said by Our Lord to the Church


Sun May 28, 2006 3:11 am
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I think this is the crucial difference between the sede & non-sede traditionalists. The question I would like to ask is...does the SSPX have a twisted notion of the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium?


Sun May 28, 2006 11:01 am
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Cam wrote:
The question I would like to ask is...does the SSPX have a twisted notion of the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium?


Yes, it does. But before we get into that question, I wish to emphasise that we are not here discussing the question of whether we must believe all that our forbears believed, or whether the pope can change the faith, or whether we must reject novelties. All of that we agree with the SSPX on. It's true that nobody can justifiably abandon the truth, not even the bishops or the pope. But we are not discussing whether the faith can change. We are discussing the conditions under which the bishops are understood to teach infallibly. That is, we are trying to understand what objective criteria will signify that we are being taught infallibly by Holy Mother Church.

Here is the post-V2 theologian Canon Berthod giving the SSPX position on the infallibility of the ordinary, universal, magisterium, in the Angelus-published book, Pope or Church? (p. 61.)

Quote:
"To summarize: the ordinary magisterium of the Church is infallible when it is truly universal (in space and in time), that is to say, when it is in conformity to and continuous with the teaching of Faith of the Church."


Now common sense tells us that something is wrong with this statement. The pope and the bishops are our proximate (i.e. “near”) rule of faith. We are supposed to be able to pick up a catechism authorised by them and trust it. We are not obliged to be scholars, to learn Latin and Greek, and to engage in debates with other scholars over the particular degree of antiquity of a given doctrine. The whole approach suggested by this statement of Canon Berthod’s is absurd and cannot be reconciled with any sound understanding of how the Faithful receive their faith from the Church, or how it is guarded and fostered. At best, it replaces the Pope and Bishops as proximate rules of faith with the traditional clergy, rendering the Pope and Bishops a “remote rule of faith.” That is, a “rule” that one measures one’s doctrine against in the last resort, and even then, conditionally. At worst, it is a fundamental denial that the ordinary magisterium is a teaching office at all, and makes it instead a body of doctrine, so that we know when the doctrine has been proposed infallibly if we find that it agrees with what we already knew. And, such an approach strips the simple folk of the possibility of safety, and makes religion something only enjoyed with any security by the most intelligent and learned. It would be difficult to imagine a notion more opposed to Catholic truth.

Interestingly, the same book published by the Angelus Press contains a sound essay by a pre-V2 theologian, Dom Paul Nau. The origin of this odd idea expressed by Berthod may perhaps be guessed if we read what Dom Nau explains:

Quote:
"In the case of the universal magisterium, this whole complex is that of the concordant teaching of the bishops in communion with Rome; in the case of the pontifical magisterium, it is the continuity of teaching of the successors of Peter: in other words, it is the tradition of the Church of Rome."


Note the distinction between the “universal” magisterium and the “pontifical” one. The key difference is that in the case of the universal magisterium we may judge that the Church has committed herself on a particular point when all of the bishops agree – time is irrelevant, and so is tradition – whereas with the pontifical magisterium we form the same judgement when a series of popes has taught the same thing, so that their acts taken together assure us that we are not seeing merely a transitory comment but something permanent.

Could it be that a misunderstanding of the nature of the pontifical magisterium – that is, the teaching office of the Roman Pontiff – has produced the Berthod error? I don’t know, but it is certainly the case that the ability to reduce the ordinary magisterium to “whatever has been taught always, everywhere, and by all,” is extremely attractive if one is trying to defend the Conciliar authorities as the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Now, let’s ensure that we have a sound understanding ourselves, by reading some pre-V2 theologians on this matter.

Here is a standard passage from apre-V2 manual – in fact, one of those mentioned by name in Monsignor Fenton’s article on the Teaching of the Theological Manuals. This is from Fr. Timothy Zapalena, S.J.

Quote:
"The episcopal college, the successor to the Apostolic College, is infallible in proposing revealed doctrine or things connected with revealed teachings, as we saw in the preceding thesis [on ecumenical councils]. But this College is not less present in the ordinary and scattered teaching of the bishops, than in the extraordinary and conciliar. Therefore the bishops are no less infallible when they teach in unison by their ordinary magisterium, than when they exercise the solemn or extraordinary magisterium...

"3. The agreement of the scattered episcopate, since it is by no means as solemn as that of a council, is not so easily perceived; the same is true of the intention to teach from the fullness of the magisterial power. Hence, since in accordance with the norm of Canon Law, 'No matter is to be understood as dogmatically defined unless this fact is manifestly evident', this makes it difficult to discern with certainty in regard to a particular dogma from the Ordinary Magisterium alone. Nevertheless, suitable means are not lacking by which it can be known sufficiently: for example, from catechisms published for the use of the people and approved by the bishops, from encyclicals and pastoral letters, from the decrees of particular councils; or from the fact that the doctrine, everywhere in the world, in sermons to the people, is habitually preached as Catholic, or condemned as heretical ... [sic] Finally, even disciplinary laws and liturgical usages contribute in their manner in showing this agreement." Timotheus Zapalena, S.J. (De Ecclesia Christi, pars altera, Rome, 1940, p. 67. Translated by Mr. James Larrabee. Emphasis added.)


Please note that Zapalena makes no suggestion whatsoever that the bishops are only to be considered as speaking infallibly if they "agree with Tradition" or "agree over time" etc. Time doesn't come into it. Nor does the suggestion that the laity get to sift these teachings for age. The mark of the universal ordinary magisterium is merely that the episcopate agree in binding the faithful on a point. That is all. Their agreement need be extended over time no more than their agreement in a general council needs to be extended over time. If they agree that something must be held by all of the faithful then they are infallible, period.

As stated at the beginning of this argument, it is true that nobody can justifiably alter the Faith, not even the pope. But we are not discussing that point. We are discussing the conditions under which the bishops are understood to teach infallibly. Obviously they are not infallible if they depart from the faith, but that's an a posteriori argument. That is, they failed, so we can't say that they acted infallibly. But Canon Berthod is arguing something more – he is arguing that unless the bishops teach what has always been taught, they are not infallible. Which is a post-V2 invention of traditional Catholics trying to make sense of the mess that V2 created.

We need to know the conditions which, if verified, will assure us that our bishops are teaching us infallibly. This is a priori. There is absolutely no value in the modern traditional Catholic theory which effectively makes the question circular. We can't make the content of the doctrine the test as to whether it is infallibly presented. That is axiomatic. It would really only be another way of saying, "The bishops are infallible when they are right."

Nor would any such suggestion be compatible with the scope of infallibility in any case. Because infallibility covers things connected with revelation as well as revelation itself. See above, where I have bolded Zapalena's "is infallible in proposing revealed doctrine or things connected with revealed teachings." Bishop Gasser explained at the Vatican Council that the use of the word "held" (tenendam) instead of, for example, "believed," was intended to signify the truth that the scope of infallibility is greater than divine revelation. Not that this is controversial - all know that canonisations, the legitimacy of general councils and of past popes, and such matters, are subjects of infallible definition by the Church. Likewise are solemn condemnations of errors and the definition of truths so closely connected with revelation as to demand defence so as to secure sacred doctrine itself.

Now, if things such as dogmatic facts and doctrinal points not directly revealed are included in the scope of infallibility, which they certainly are, then we cannot expect that the episcopate only teach infallibly when it agrees with Tradition, which by definition goes back to the Apostles. We can, of course, expect that the episcopate not contradict Tradition, but that is a separate point. Our enquiry at present is the general one - how do we know when the Church speaks infallibly?

And the answer is, in brief, when we find that the bishops are morally unanimous in teaching a particular doctrine. Time is irrelevant.

Here is another manualist, this time Monsignor Van Noort, also mentioned by Monsignor Fenton in his article.

Quote:
Since it was established in the volume, Christ’s Church, that the Church’s infallible teaching power extends to matters connected with revelation and that its infallible authority deserves an absolutely firm assent, the only question which remains is what name to give that assent and how to describe its nature. These points will be discussed in just a moment.
Meantime, notice that the Church possesses infallibility not only when she is defining some matter in solemn fashion, but also when she is exercising the full weight of her authority through her ordinary and universal teaching. Consequently, we must hold with an absolute assent, which we call “ecclesiastical faith,” the following theological truths: (a) those which the Magisterium has infallibly defined in solemn fashion; (b) those which the ordinary magisterium dispersed throughout the world unmistakably proposes to its members as something to be held (tenendas). So, for example, one must give an absolute assent to the proposition: “Pius XII is the legitimate successor of St. Peter”; similarly (and as a matter of fact if this following point is something “formally revealed,” it will undoubtedly be a dogma of faith) one must give an absolute assent to the proposition: “Pius XII possesses the primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church.” For — skipping the question of how it begins to be proven infallibly for the first time that this individual was legitimately elected to take St. Peter’s place — when someone has been constantly acting as pope and has theoretically and practically been recognized as such by the bishops and by the universal Church, it is clear that the ordinary and universal magisterium is giving an utterly clear-cut witness to the legitimacy of his succession. Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Vol. III, The Sources of Revelation, Divine Faith, Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1961, p.265. Emphasis in the original.)


I would be interested to know how Canon Berthod would reconcile Mons. Van Noort’s use of the term “ordinary and universal magisterium” with his own notion that “the ordinary magisterium of the Church is infallible when it is truly universal (in space and in time), that is to say, when it is in conformity to and continuous with the teaching of Faith of the Church." Because in this place Mons. Van Noort tells us that the ordinary magisterium is universal when guaranteeing the legitimacy of a living pope, which is hardly a matter of antiquity!

And I hasten to add, the V2 "popes" were not accepted pacifically by the whole Church, but on the contrary their "reigns" were and are periods of extreme disturbance and refusal of real submission by all of those who have endeavoured to maintain the true Faith. Therefore they did not meet the conditions for infallible assurance that their elections were valid.

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Sun May 28, 2006 11:08 pm
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The quotes seem to me to contradict each other.
So let me make some observations. First, even a general council cannot teach infallibly without the Pope approving it. Therefore I would assume that the Bishops using the ordinary magiterium cannot do so either. Second I would agree that some period of time would be necessary as a way to verify that the teaching was not transitory. Otherwise what method is or would be used to signify that something proposed in the odinary magisterium is to be accepted as infallible. An example for me would be the doctrine of The Immaculate Conception. The Church had always believed and taught this therefore it was infallible through the ordinary magisterium but was solemnly defined by the extra-ordinary method in order to ensure that it was accepted as a matter of faith.. I still don't get it!!!


Mon May 29, 2006 4:51 am
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St.Justin wrote:
The quotes seem to me to contradict each other.
So let me make some observations. First, even a general council cannot teach infallibly without the Pope approving it. Therefore I would assume that the Bishops using the ordinary magiterium cannot do so either. Second I would agree that some period of time would be necessary as a way to verify that the teaching was not transitory. Otherwise what method is or would be used to signify that something proposed in the odinary magisterium is to be accepted as infallible. An example for me would be the doctrine of The Immaculate Conception. The Church had always believed and taught this therefore it was infallible through the ordinary magisterium but was solemnly defined by the extra-ordinary method in order to ensure that it was accepted as a matter of faith.. I still don't get it!!!


Dear Justin,

Let's see.

1. The bishops employing their ordinary authority to teach their flocks, scattered about the world, must agree with the Roman Pontiff, yes. But this agreement may be implicit, rather than explicit. At a general council it must be explicit. But so long as something is taught to the faithful by a moral unanimity of bishops and the pope doesn't protest, then you have his agreement.

2. Yes, some period of time is necessary, if only that the bishops won't launch a new catechism each on the same day of the same month of the same year by coincidence. But the point is that time is not, per se, at issue. Continuity over time is not essential to the question. Agreement is. Moral unanimity. So that if the bishops did happen all to teach something on the same day by coincidence, that unanimity would suffice to guarantee its truth.

3. The Immaculate Conception as a doctrine in genere - yes, taught always. But not in specie. That is, the exact manner in which the Blessed Virgin was "immaculate" and yet also "redeemed" was not clear. And it is clarity that we are after. A definition, after all, involves clarity about what we must believe. That is why the theologians disputed, and it is why a definition was necessary. St. Thomas didn't refuse the honour to the Virgin - he merely insisted that she was redeemed by Christ her divine Son.

Does this assist?

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Mon May 29, 2006 10:53 am
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Teresa Ginardi wrote:
IMO, this issue clearly needs study to make sense of the Ordinary Magisterium. What happened here?


I disagree. We can read the theologians and understand them, even if they never deal with the heliocentrism question.

Teresa Ginardi wrote:
BTW, the SSPX has a clearer presentation on their position of the Ordinary Magisterium, which I'm sure most have read, but, if not, here's the link: http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/infal ... terium.htm


That's much better, but still erroneous. Here's a quote from it. Note the switch in terminology (accidental, clearly) from the pontifical ordinary magisterium to the ordinary magisterium, period. That is, from the papal teaching office to that of all the bishops in general.

Quote:
The lack of clear ideas on the pope’s Ordinary Magisterium appeared in full with Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae, and more recently with Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which Pope John Paul II repeated the Church’s refusal to ordain women.

When Humanae Vitae came out, various theologians indicated that the notion of ordinary papal Magisterium was obscured. Generally speaking, those who supported the infallibility of Humanae Vitae deduced "the proof [of this infallibility —Ed.] on the basis of the Church’s constant and universal Authentic Magisterium, which has never been abandoned and therefore was already definitive in earlier centuries." In other words, on the basis of the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium (E. Lio, Humanae Vitae ed infallibilità, Libreria Ed. Vaticana, p.38 ). They should have noticed that even the notion of the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium and its particularity [its constancy and universality —Ed.] had been effaced from the minds not only of the ordinary faithful but also of the theologians.


Such sloppiness in terminology is completely disastrous. What, we may wonder, is under discussion here? And if it seems that we are only discussing the pontifical magisterium, which seems sufficiently clear when examining the text to this point, then why is it that we are suddenly faced with terms such as "the Church’s constant and universal Authentic Magisterium" - which could only refer to the ordinary magisterium of the bishops, not the pontifical ordinary magisterium?

Proceeding, we witness further examples of this lack of clear thought.

Quote:
Thus, we will devote ourselves, not to the Extraordinary Magisterium (whose infallibility is generally acknowledged), but to the Ordinary Magisterium. Once we have illustrated the conditions under which it is infallible, it will be clear that outside these conditions we are in the presence of the "authentic" Magisterium to which, in normal times, we should accord due consideration. In abnormal times, however, it would be a fatal error to equate this "authentic" Magisterium with the infallible Magisterium (whether "extraordinary" or "ordinary").


Fascinating. See how the word "pontifical" or "papal" absent. This is ambiguous at best. Further, note the complete novelty of the suggestion that the authentic (i.e. "authoritative") magisterium is to be given "due consideration." !!! Due consideration! One would think one were reading the words of an avowed Modernist. Let us be entirely clear about this - the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff binds under pain of mortal sin. The particular mortal sin in a given case may or may not be the sin of heresy, but it is mortal all the same. So that if one were to refuse submission to the Roman Pontiff's teaching authority even in a case in which he did not speak infallibly, then one would be on the path to eternal perdition. "Due consideration" may now take on its proper aspect.

This is also why this quote is thoroughly misleading in the context: "Thus, the assent due to the Ordinary Magisterium 'can range from simple respect right up to a true act of faith.'" Not for laymen, it can't. For laymen it ranges from compulsory under pain of mortal sin to compulsory under pain of remaining a member of the Church.

I cannot resist also commenting on the last sentence of that paragraph. Apparently it is only in "abnormal times" that we must avoid mistaking infallible for fallible teaching. Er, maybe not.

Continuing, we see how the pre-V2 theologians are sound and the post-V2 ones are at best confused.

Quote:
In fact, in contrast to the Extraordinary Magisterium or the Solemn Judgment, the Ordinary Magisterium does not consist in an isolated proposition, pronouncing irrevocably on the Faith and containing its own guarantees of truth, but in a collection of acts which can concur in communicating a teaching.

"This is the normal procedure by which Tradition, in the fullest sense of that term, is handed down;..." (Pope or Church?, op. cit. p.10)


Note how a statement which is true in itself, but which doesn't really relate what is being argued, is inserted as though it belongs. It is quite true that Tradition is handed down in this manner. It is quite false to suggest that anything taught by a series of fallible acts must therefore be a matter of Tradition if it is to constitue infallible teaching. Quite false.

Quote:
This is precisely why the DTC speaks of "infallible papal teaching which flows from the pope’s Ordinary Magisterium" (loc. cit.). So, while a simple doctrinal presentation [by the pope] can never claim the infallibility of a definition, [this infallibility] nonetheless is rigorously implied when there is a convergence on the same subject in a series of documents whose continuity, in itself, excludes all possibility of doubt on the authentic content of the Roman teaching (Dom Nau, Une source doctrinale: Les encycliques, p.75).

If we fail to take account of this difference, we are obliterating all distinction between the Extraordinary Magisterium and the Ordinary Magisterium:

"No act of the Ordinary Magisterium as such, taken in isolation, could claim the prerogative which belongs to the supreme judgment. If it did so, it would cease to be the Ordinary Magisterium. An isolated act is infallible only if the supreme Judge engages his whole authority in it so that he cannot go back on it. Such an act cannot be ‘reversible’ without being plainly subject to error. But it is precisely this kind of act, against which there can be no appeal, which constitutes the Solemn [or Extraordinary] Judgment, and which thus differs from the Ordinary Magisterium." (ibid., note 1)


Which is quite right and entirely sound, and does not support the SSPX position in the slightest. However, immediately the author of the article adds his own interpretation, and changes the meaning:

Quote:
It follows that the infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium, whether of the Universal Church or that of the See of Rome, is not that of a judgment, not that of an act to be considered in isolation, as if it could itself provide all the light necessary for it to be clearly seen. It is that of the guarantee bestowed on a doctrine by the simultaneous or continuous convergence of a plurality of affirmations or explanations, none of which could bring positive certitude if it were taken by itself alone. Certitude can be expected only from the whole complex, but all the parts concur in making up that whole (Pope or Church?, op. cit., p.18 ).


Suddenly the word "certitude" appears! This is truly frightening. Now apparently we cannot possess certitude unless the pope speaks infallibly! What a strange intellectual world this fellow inhabits. And apparently he is innocent of the writings of the theologians, who constantly describe doctrines as "certain" which have not been taught infallibly. The word "certitude" has no place here at all. We are not questioning the certitude of papal doctrines in encyclicals - we are questioning their infallibility. There is a world of difference. Therefore it does not "follow" at all that "none of which could bring positive certitude if it were taken by itself alone."

Strangely, after all this mess, the conclusion is not offensive, even if slightly exaggerated. Here it is:

Quote:
This means, in effect, that an "isolated act" of the pope is infallible only in the context of a "dogmatic definition"; outside dogmatic definitions, i.e., in the Ordinary Magisterium, infallibility is guaranteed by the complex of "countless other similar acts of the Holy See," or of a "long succession" of the successors of Peter.


How "long" the succession needs to be to ensure infallibility is doubtful, but there can be no doubt about one thing - the summary here presented does not involve any suggestion of Tradition. Only "tradition."

The "Practical Application" is quite odd. It certainly doesn't follow from what has been demonstrated.

Quote:
Practical Application

Because it declared itself to be non-dogmatic, the charism of infallibility cannot be claimed for the last Council, except insofar as it was re-iterating traditional teaching. Moreover, what is offered as the Ordinary Pontifical Magisterium of the recent popes -apart from certain acts -cannot claim the qualification of the "Ordinary Infallible Magisterium." The pontifical documents on the novelties which have troubled and confused the consciences of the faithful manifest no concern whatsoever to adhere to the teaching of "venerable predecessors."


The V2 Council was said to be "non-dogmatic" but it is far from clear that it "declared itself" to be so. Particularly since several of its documents are entitled, "Dogmatic Constitution." But this is a question of the extraordinary magisterium , and it won't detain us now.

On the question of the "Ordinary Pontifical Magisterium" the facts are in dispute - that is, the Nopes of V2 have indeed shown themselves to be "concerned" to "adhere to the teaching of venerable predecessors." The problem is that the predecessors were not venerable, and the doctrine was not Tradition. Only "tradition." Would the pre-V2 theologians have considered the continuous and repeated acts of three "popes" to be sufficient guarantee of infallibility? Yes. Especially when the cooperation in the teaching of, for example, religious liberty, has been morally universal by the "bishops" around the world. Because the situation either constitutes a doctrine presented by the infallible pontifical magisterium or the universal ordinary magisterium.

This, however, we can agree with entirely: "It is clear that when today’s popes contradict the traditional Magisterium of yesterday’s popes, our obedience is due to yesterday’s popes: this is a manifest sign of a period of grave ecclesial crisis, of abnormal times in the life of the Church."

In attempting to explicate this novel and perplexing problem, however, the author delivers more error.

Quote:
The Magisterium, however, even in its non-infallible form, should always be the teaching of the divine Word, even if uttered with a lesser degree of certitude.


The magisterium does not confine itself to "the divine Word" and never has. It has been infallibly taught by Holy Mother Church that the Council of Trent was a legitimate general council of the Catholic Church. This is not a question of "the divine Word." It is a question of fact.

The most pernicious section of this article, however, is towards the end, where the suggestion is inculcated that we are not truly bound by the "merely authentic" magisterium. We are - and we are bound under pain of sin. Cardinal Billot is quoted:

Quote:
"The command to believe firmly and without examination of the matter in hand... can be truly binding only if the authority concerned is infallible" (Billot, De Ecclesia, thesis XVII).


Cardinal Billot's doctrine has here been so truncated as to make him say the opposite of his true position. He is merely expressing the truth that an expert (i.e. a theologian) cannot be finally and absolutely bound by the magisterium to a particular definition unless it really is a definition, and not something less clear. The general faithful,, however, who could not possibly possess good cause for imagining some slight correction to the formulation of a doctrinal expression, have no such excuse or opportunity. For us, the word of the pope is final, whatever we imagine our intelligence or erudition to be. Cardinal Billot has, in that place, explained all of this, but it has all been omitted from the quote. The lack of scholarship of the writer concerned is frightening.

This nonsense is capped off with:

Quote:
The Catholic world is all the more in danger of being drawn into error, since it nourishes the naive and erroneous conviction that God has never permitted the popes to be mistaken, even in the Ordinary Magisterium (and here no distinctions are drawn), and so imagines that the same assent should always be given to the papal Magisterium -which in no way corresponds to the Church’s teaching.


Which is just awful. I may be "naive," but l am naive with the theologians, none of whom admit that in fact a pope has ever erred in an encyclical, for example. But in any case this argument is against a straw man - nobody is arguing that "the same assent should always be given to the papal Magisterium."

The final section of this article, on the "grace of state" of the Roman Pontiff, omits to mention the crucial truth which Cardinal Franzelin lays down, which is that the doctrinal instructions of the Roman Pontiff may not always be infallibly true, but they are protected by a special doctrinal providence, so that they are always infallibly safe. That is, if a pope errs, he errs safely. An example would be an error of fact such as a date or a name, or perhaps some doctrinal point which does not impinge on the Faith itself. Cardinal Franzelin, in case anybody is unaware, was one of the greatest theologians of the nineteenth century, and wrote a book especially to explain and defend infallibility and related points following the Vatican Council. The cases given of Popes John XXII and Sixtus V, only go to prove the point. John XXII erred only as a private doctor and only on a point still controverted by the theologians, and Sixtus erred in no way publicly, not even as a private doctor, because St. Robert Bellarmine succeeded in preventing him from going ahead with his intention to publish his own version of the Vulgate.

Bossuet’s opinion that it “happens once or twice in a thousand years” is the kind of opinion Catholics can do without, for it is the opinion of a Gallican, whose aim was to minimise, if possible, the prerogatives and charisms of the Roman Pontiff. The fact that such an “authority” should be quoted only illustrates the desperation of our opponents. Bossuet was a great man, but even great men wink occasionally – and in matters connected with the rights and privileges of the See of Rome Bossuet is universally admitted to have winked, to say the least.

Finally, a passage we can agree with wholeheartedly:

Quote:
In normal times the faithful can rely on the "authentic" Pontifical Magisterium with the same confidence with which they rely on the Infallible Magisterium. In normal times, it would be a very grave error to fail to take due account of even the simply "authentic" Magisterium of the Roman pope. This is because if everyone were permitted, in the presence of an act of the teaching authority, to suspend his assent or even to doubt or positively reject it on the grounds that it did not imply an infallible definition, it would result in the ecclesiastical Magisterium becoming practically illusory in concrete terms, because the ecclesiastical Magisterium is only relatively rarely expressed in definitions of this kind (DTC, vol. III, col.1110).


In normal times. Yes, in those times when there is a Catholic Pope. Or, to say the same thing in other words, when there is a Pope.

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Mon May 29, 2006 1:43 pm
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John Lane wrote:
Mons. Van Noort tells us that the ordinary magisterium is universal when guaranteeing the legitimacy of a living pope, which is hardly a matter of antiquity!


Is it therefore more true to say that John XXIII was elected a valid Pope but fell from office, rather than say he was never Pope in the first place because of heresy?

I have heard different opinions on this, but it seems to me that the teaching of the theologians here would exclude the later opinion by the simple fact that the episcopacy from the time of John XXIII's election to well into his death had accepted him as a valid Pope. No bishop at that time -as far as I'm aware- has ever voiced his doubt about the validity of John XXIII's reign, and even if there was such a bishop, the episcopacy appeared to be morally unanimous on the issue.


Mon May 29, 2006 3:24 pm
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Miguel Oren wrote:
I have heard different opinions on this, but it seems to me that the teaching of the theologians here would exclude the later opinion by the simple fact that the episcopacy from the time of John XXIII's election to well into his death had accepted him as a valid Pope. No bishop at that time -as far as I'm aware- has ever voiced his doubt about the validity of John XXIII's reign, and even if there was such a bishop, the episcopacy appeared to be morally unanimous on the issue.


I just leave John XXIII on the side of my plate an an inexplicable case which fortunately for us, we don't need to explain. :)

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Mon May 29, 2006 10:33 pm
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I'm not trying to be funny but are you then saying that nothing since the council is binding for what ever reason? Because how I understand what you have been quoting everything including the council is infallible in the ordinary magisterium. I seem to be missing something!


Mon May 29, 2006 11:41 pm
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OK, John,

I read thoroughly all your posts regarding the SSPX's position on the Ordinary (Pontifical, Ordinary, Ordinary Universal, Authentic, Pontifical Authentic, etc.) Magisterium, and I can certainly see the problem with their argument. I was always taught, and certainly believe, that whenever the pope speaks, as pope, (not of course when he's ordering pizza), the faithful must give their assent, because the pope is our father in the Faith here on earth, and Holy Mother Church would not give her children stones instead of bread. I think my problem is trying to have my cake (pope) and eat it, too! There seems to be a spate of articles in the last 2 years trying to allow error as a possibility in the Ordinary Magisterium.

The question: what exactly is contained in the Ordinary Magisterium? Can there ever be error in it? Are there different classes of the Ordinary Magisterium (Pontifical, Authentic, Universal)? This notion of agreement among bishops; how many, when, where?

If I understand your prior post, actually the V2 changes have now possibly become part of the Ordinary Magisterium, or would have if it was the Church ... right?

Sorry, for all the questions, but this issue, along with the one on jurisdiction (another forum), are, to me, very critical, as they are the ones the SSPX deals with the most.


Wed May 31, 2006 12:29 am
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Dear Teresa,

Let’s ensure we have a few concepts clear.

1. Magisterium. This is the teaching office of the Church. Jesus Christ possesses three offices – priest (one who offers sacrifice), prophet (one who teaches divine truths), and king (one who rules). An office is a role, a position, a right and responsibility to do certain things. In this case, to teach with authority. “With authority” means that there is an obligation on those who hear that teaching to accept it. “He who hears you, hears Me.” This obligation is a grave one.
2. Exercised. The magisterium is said to be exercised by certain persons. That is, the bishops and the pope. Nobody else has the office of teacher in the Church, properly speaking. Parish priests, who hold the office of “pastor,” do not actually exercise the magisterium. They are authorised to preach on behalf of the bishop, but it is his authority, his office, which has that right and responsibility, and the pastors only act as his delegates.
3. Ordinary. This refers to the way in which the teaching office – the magisterium – is exercised. The teaching office is exercised by either the bishops or by the pope in the ordinary, or usual, manner or in an extraordinary manner. The ordinary manner, in the case of the pope, is via addresses, rescripts, letters to individual bishops or provinces, encyclicals to the whole Church, and also indirectly through his approval of laws or liturgical norms and prayers etc. One might also consider the role of indulgences, which are incentives to perform certain acts or pray particular prayers, and thus imply ecclesiastical approval of various doctrinal points. On the part of the faithful, a docile approach to such things enables one to think with the Church, thus strengthening one’s faith and clarifying the truths of the faith in one’s mind. The bishops likewise teach in an ordinary manner when they do the things which Fr. Zapalena mentions in the quote posted earlier. An example is the issuing of catechisms for their dioceses.
4. Extraordinary. This refers strictly to two cases only – solemn acts of the pope or of a general council. In both cases there are clear signs by which it is established that the magisterium is being exercised in the extraordinary manner.
5. Infallibility. The incapacity to fail. In relation to the teaching office of the Catholic Church, infallibility means inability to err. Only a person can be infallible. When we describe a document as “infallible” this is an analogous use of the term. It is a kind of short-hand for “the man who promulgated this document acted infallibly in doing so.” A document, being an inanimate object, cannot act at all, let alone act infallibly. Likewise, when we discuss the magisterium and infallibility we must be clear that it is the men exercising the magisterium who are infallible (or not) and our task is to identify when it is that they act in such a way that the Holy Ghost protects them from error. That is, our task is to identify the conditions under which we can be sure that they speak without danger of error.

Now, for some of the terms used to refer to the magisterium itself in its various modes.

1. Pontifical magisterium. When the pope teaches as pope.
2. Pontifical ordinary magisterium. When the pope teaches as pope in the ordinary manner. Various examples were mentioned above.
3. Pontifical extraordinary magisterium. When the pope teaches as pope in a solemn manner. Examples include definitions of dogma, solemn condemnations of error, canonisations, etc.
4. Ordinary magisterium (of the bishops). The day to day teaching activity of the bishops as described by Zapalena.
5. Ordinary universal magisterium. The day to day teaching activity of the bishops, including the pope, when they can shown to agree on a particular point as a truth to be definitely held by all of the faithful. An example would be that we all have a guardian angel, or that Antichrist will be an individual man. Both are dogmas taught by the ordinary universal magisterium but not (yet) in an extraordinary or solemn manner.
6. Authentic magisterium. Authentic is perhaps a poor choice of word in English. The meaning is better expressed by “authoritative.” It refers to fact that the teaching of the pope is obligatory even when not protected from all possibility of error. It is also true of the individual bishops that their teaching is obligatory, at a lower level, but I don’t seem to find the theologians using this term to refer to the bishops. It is generally used exclusively to refer to the pope, and seems to me to be in practice the equivalent of the term, Pontifical magisterium.

Does this assist?

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John Lane wrote:
6. Authentic magisterium. Authentic is perhaps a poor choice of word in English. The meaning is better expressed by “authoritative.” It refers to fact that the teaching of the pope is obligatory even when not protected from all possibility of error. It is also true of the individual bishops that their teaching is obligatory, at a lower level, but I don’t seem to find the theologians using this term to refer to the bishops. It is generally used exclusively to refer to the pope, and seems to me to be in practice the equivalent of the term, Pontifical magisterium.

Does this assist?


Yes, John, somewhat. Several posts above you stated that the pope is protected even in the Authentic magisterium from outright error or what Cardinal Franzelin stated would be always "infallibly safe", but what seems to be implied from the quote above is that there is the possibility of error in the Authentic Magisterium; but, nevertheless, we are obliged to assent to it. Have I got this right?

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Wed May 31, 2006 3:08 am
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John,
Thanks for the definitions, this what I have been looking for. The ones you gave are the ones I have come up with in my research. I guess now what has to be clarified is, how do we know when the ordinary and/or universal and ordinary magesterium is teaching infallibly. It appears from my research, that just as with the extra-ordinary magisterium it has to be obvious that that is it's intent. Is this your position?
In Christ,
Mike


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John,

I think I understand more clearly about the "time" factor. The SSPX position on the Ordinary Magisterium would preclude development of a doctrine simply because it was not the same "from the beginning". Could this be likened to the Eastern schimatics approach to doctrine and the Church?

However, I think there is some justification to the SSPX position. We all had a 'rule' (the sensus catolicus) by which we subconsciously tested our pastors. We did what St. Paul told us to do, "if we or an angel from heaven ... etc." If in 1955, all the bishops promulgated catechisms on the same day which stated that guardian angels were a myth; what would good Catholics do? This certainly would be an exercise of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium and should be protected by infallibility, but it's in error. Why, because they promulgated something that contradicted prior teaching, not prior teaching of all time, but for enough time to be accepted by the Faithful as part of the Deposit of the Faith.

The Magisterium is always being tested against our sensus catolicus or the Deposit of the Faith. The doctrine of religious liberty was probably not as developed as it became in the mid-1800's. But for 100 years or so, the pontifical magisterium explicated that doctrine in many ways. So, when V2 contradicted it, there was a rule that Catholics sensed was being broken. If V2 had not changed anything but the doctrine of religious liberty; the Mass was not changed, the sacraments were not changed, etc.; would the Faithful have accepted the 'developed' notion of religious liberty by assenting to the Living Magisterium?

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Wed May 31, 2006 4:25 am
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Teresa Ginardi wrote:
Yes, John, somewhat. Several posts above you stated that the pope is protected even in the Authentic magisterium from outright error or what Cardinal Franzelin stated would be always "infallibly safe", but what seems to be implied from the quote above is that there is the possibility of error in the Authentic Magisterium; but, nevertheless, we are obliged to assent to it. Have I got this right?


Yes, two point arise here.

1. Error may be of different kinds. I may call you "Theresa." That would be an error. But if I said, "Teresa Ginardi is a man," then that would be a much graver error, indicating not just a slip of the pen but rather it would endanger others' knowledge of you. In the case of the authentic magisterium Franzelin says that there can be no error which would endanger the Faith. In other words, there may be error, but the teaching will still be safe. I imagine that an error of fact, such as a date or a name, may be considered a "safe" error. Whereas the doctrine that all men have a natural right to religious liberty is far from "safe."

2. Yes, we are obliged to assent to all that the pope teaches us. This obligation is very grave. The reason that we can reject the teaching of the V2 "popes" and thus examine their claims to be popes, and determine that they are not, is because their doctrine is impossible to receive. That is, we are bound to receive it, but it conflicts directly with something else that we are bound to receive, from previous popes. What to do? The answer is that we must resolve the contradiction. Now, one may resolve the contradiction in two ways - either compare more closely and discover that the contradiction is apparent rather than real, or reject the claim to authority of the man who is teaching us to go against previous popes. There is no (real) third possibility. Fr. Brian "Black is White" Harrison does the former, and thus abandons sanity, and the sedevacantists do the latter, and thus save both the Faith and the rights and charisms of the Roman Pontificate. The sedeplenist traditionalists imagine that they can sift the teachigs of the Roman Pontiff and accept the good bits, which is an erroneous position, understandable in the circumstances but nevertheless unacceptable.

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Wed May 31, 2006 11:18 am
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Teresa Ginardi wrote:
I think I understand more clearly about the "time" factor. The SSPX position on the Ordinary Magisterium would preclude development of a doctrine simply because it was not the same "from the beginning". Could this be likened to the Eastern schimatics approach to doctrine and the Church?


Good comparison. The oriental schismatics refused the right of the Church to add the Filioque to the Creed. The way that the SSPX writers explain the ordinary magisterium, one would be hard-pressed to square it with the Catholic and true position on the Filioque

Teresa Ginardi wrote:
However, I think there is some justification to the SSPX position. We all had a 'rule' (the sensus catolicus) by which we subconsciously tested our pastors. We did what St. Paul told us to do, "if we or an angel from heaven ... etc."


It isn't that we subconsciously test the magisterium at all. It is that if something conflicts with the sensus catholicus we are alarmed and begin to seek the reason why. This is a far cry from actively sifting or being "on-guard" as we learn from our legitimate pastors. St. Paul says, "if." He doesn't say that a legitimate apostle will give bad doctrine - he says that if, per impossible, a legitimate authority delivered bad doctrine, he must be rejected. "He" must be rejected - as illegitimate. Not just the doctrine, mind. The person. And if the person is rejected, then the magisterium of the Catholic Church is not involved.

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Wed May 31, 2006 11:45 am
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St.Justin wrote:
It appears from my research, that just as with the extra-ordinary magisterium it has to be obvious that that is it's intent. Is this your position?
In Christ,
Mike


Yes. The bishops have to be clear that they are intending to teach some matter of faith or morals that the faithful are definitively to hold. As Zapalena points out, this can make for a challenge, but "suitable means" are available, such as catechisms.

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Wed May 31, 2006 1:00 pm
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John,
Can you give a clear cut example of the SSPX position and your position on a particular topic. I'm at a loss here. I am assuming from the above info that premise is the same just the application is different.


Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:51 pm
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St.Justin wrote:
John,
Can you give a clear cut example of the SSPX position and your position on a particular topic. I'm at a loss here. I am assuming from the above info that premise is the same just the application is different.


Religious liberty.

The SSPX position is that since it is a novelty it is not, by definition, taught by the ordinary universal magisterium.

As I understand it, the correct position is that all of the bishops of the V2 church teach this doctrine as definitely to be held by the faithful, and therefore they must be infallible. But this doctrine has been condemned infallibly by Holy Church. Ergo, these bishops of the V2 church are not the bishops of the Catholic Church.

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Sat Jun 03, 2006 5:34 pm
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The subject of the ordinary and universal magisterium in unquestionably a complex one; this thread has clarified a good amount of the fuzziness in my own mind. However, just a couple of things: firstly, since the ordinary teaching authority is infallible in matters connected with revealed doctrine (putting aside the fact that one must obviously submit to this point) what censure would one bring upon himself in 1950 if he denied that Pius XII was the successor of Peter? Secondly, I imagine that we would all agree that one sitting on the throne of Peter should be given the benefit of the doubt. What is the kicker for you that the Religious Liberty document is not "safe" and that the defect isn't in you or me? What convinces you that Quanta Cura condemns precisely the very thing promoted in Dignatatis Humanae? More or less, I'd like to know why you believe Fr. Harrison to be living in fantasyland.


Sat Jun 03, 2006 11:37 pm
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Matt wrote:
The subject of the ordinary and universal magisterium in unquestionably a complex one; this thread has clarified a good amount of the fuzziness in my own mind. However, just a couple of things: firstly, since the ordinary teaching authority is infallible in matters connected with revealed doctrine (putting aside the fact that one must obviously submit to this point) what censure would one bring upon himself in 1950 if he denied that Pius XII was the successor of Peter?


Heresy against ecclesiastical faith. Here is a useful list: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/theolnotes.htm

Matt wrote:
Secondly, I imagine that we would all agree that one sitting on the throne of Peter should be given the benefit of the doubt. What is the kicker for you that the Religious Liberty document is not "safe" and that the defect isn't in you or me? What convinces you that Quanta Cura condemns precisely the very thing promoted in Dignatatis Humanae? More or less, I'd like to know why you believe Fr. Harrison to be living in fantasyland.


Well, the kicker on Harrison is that he isn't even pretending to tell us what the men who promoted the religious liberty doctrine really thought. He is just trying to bend it to fit the doctrine of the Church. But even if he succeeded he would not solve the problem, which is that the intention of the authors is what counts, and further, that the authors are not concerned that they have been understood in a manner contrary to Quanta Cura. If they were concerned, they would explain themselves, and Harrison's explanation would be redundant. He hasn't even been asked to explain for them!

But for me the compelling argument on V2 and the rest is from the nature of the Church and her indefectibility. I know the new religion from being raised in it after being given the true Faith as a child. I was fortunate in having parents who were interested in "the conspiracy," so I was open to the idea that most of the world was wrong and I was informed on certain matters such as Communism. My mother was a conservative who hated "the changes" but there was no Latin Mass anywhere within 250 miles or I think she would have gone to it.

I argued with the Novus teachers who tried to get me to believe against the Faith and I found out the hard way that they did not believe, and did not want anyone else to believe, and in fact I irritated them beyond measure merely by being obstinately interested in knowing what the Church teaches. I recall one occasion when I was twelve, and freshly into high school, when our class was given one of those stupid values clarification exercises involving a moral dilemma. I didn't know what the Christian Brother teacher was up to. I gave my answer, which was heterodox in my ignorance, and then asked what the correct answer was. He said, "There is no correct answer." I tried again, "What does the Church teach?" He said that the Church doesn't teach any more - she clarifies our existing beliefs for us, but she doesn't impose teaching like she used to. Some great grace entered my heart and I knew what was up, all of a sudden, so I asked him to tell me what the Church would have taught back when she did used to teach, and he told me! I then stated that I believed that doctrine. He was livid. I will never forget that day - it was completely clear at that point that if I wanted to remain a Catholic it was going to be in the face of these men who hated the true Faith and would avoid so much as telling us what the Church teaches if they possibly could. That was in 1981.

So I was a kind of traditionalist even before I knew what it was, and after I left school I read an article attacking Archbishop Lefebvre for being a right-wing troglodyte neo-fascist and I immediately wanted to find out more. :)

When Wojtyla came to Perth in 1986 I was kind of a sedevacantist-in-spirit because of this background and because I saw that he was exactly what my teachers had been. He certainly wasn't preaching the Gospels. He was promoting Maori Land Rights in New Zealand, and then Aboriginal Land Rights in Australia, and I knew these were Communist plots designed to "divide and rule," so I refused to go along with my friends who went to his open-air "Mass" on principle. I had by then imbibed plenty of liberal notions, of course, and it is solely due to God's unmerited graces that I was led to men who would enlighten me and correct my erroneous ideas. God is so good.

So, I guess that's a long way of explaining that to me it is clear that there are two religions, and the new one is incompatible with the Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let's remind ourselves what the New Church has actually done.

1. She has misled souls about the true means of salvation. She provides doubtful sacraments, false morality, erroneous or heretical doctrine, and bad example to the faithful.

2. She has probably broken the Apostolic Succession with an invalid ordination rite for episcopal Orders. Therefore there is no guarantee that the Apostolic Succession continues in her.

3. She has been responsible for leading the vast bulk of Catholics to worship according to the false and Protestant “New Mass.”

4. She has given most of her members a doubtful “sacrament” of Confirmation.

5. She has legislated that non-Catholics may receive the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist without first abjuring their errors.

6. She has re-defined Holy Matrimony so as to permit tens of thousands of couples to attempt marriage and fail, so that they live in sin instead of valid marriage despite the guidance and active co-operation of her authorised ministers. This is the only possible conclusion to be drawn from the flood of “annulments” issued by the New Church.

7. She has made an arrangement with schismatic sects in which she has agreed not to try and lead the schismatics into her own sweet embrace. She has done this in a document entitled the “Balamand Agreement.” Therefore the new Church is not truly “Catholic” or universal. She is only for some men.

8. Several other equally striking examples could be presented. In summary, the New Church religion is the only one permitted, promoted, and defended by the properly constituted hierarchy of the New Church.

Could this church be the true Church? No.

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John Lane wrote:
So I was a kind of traditionalist even before I knew what it was, and after I left school I read an article attacking Archbishop Lefebvre for being a right-wing troglodyte neo-fascist and I immediately wanted to find out more. :)


John,

Could you share a brief "road to sedevacantism". I'm sure that we would all benefit and like to hear it.


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Cam wrote:
John,

Could you share a brief "road to sedevacantism". I'm sure that we would all benefit and like to hear it.


Dear Cam,

I'm not sure how much benefit it is to anybody, but I recall the moment I became a conscious sedevacantist because it was when I read Patrick Omlor's "Has the Church the Right?" - now republished in his "complete works," The Robber Church - and I realised that if the Church could not do this, and yet it had been done, there was a contradiction requiring a solution. I went and saw Pat and put this to him, and he asked me what I thought the solution might be, and I said, "Paul VI was not really pope?" and he said, "Yes." It was like the light went on.

I think that the confirmation of this new conviction was largely the non-answers I received from those who disagreed. I have heard from many others since that the same factor confirmed them in their views also.

The other person who was enormously helpful, many years later, was James Larrabee of San Francisco, whom I met after I got onto the 'net in 1996. Jim had been in the Jesuits for nine years and had a philosophy degree. He knew St. Thomas intimately, and not just St. Thomas, he actually knew Aristotle, and recalled spending idyllic days sitting in his study meditating on a passage of the Philosopher, with St. Thomas's commentary open at his left hand. Jim had taken St. Robert Bellarmine, and many other pre-V2 canonists and theologians, and translated chunks of them in a vain attempt to convince people he had come across on the 'net. I still use those translations now. Apart from his erudition the thing which most struck me about him was his penetration of thought. He would go to the essence of something with a rapidity and surety which was just wonderful. And his pure Catholic spirit, unassociated with the very common rash judgement found amongst traditional Catholics, and yet entirely uncompromising on principle. I have a letter he wrote to Fr. Gruner in the late 'nineties which I think is the best brief summary of the sedevacantist position ever penned, and only three or four people ever saw it. He didn't care. (Actually, I'll paste in in below if I can find it.)

Pat Omlor is saintly, by the way. A genuine patriarchal character with all of the virtues in an abundant degree. I couldn't sufficiently express my respect and love for him.

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Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:24 am
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John, did you hold to the SSPX position regarding the crisis for a time?


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Cam wrote:
John, did you hold to the SSPX position regarding the crisis for a time?


Yes, a few months. Or, if you count the years prior to finding the true Mass, many years. :)


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This is only for the sake of argument, but in actuality, if Benedict is in fact pope, would that result in sedevacantists being not only schismatics but additionally heretics?


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The fact that the ordinary magisterium guarantees the legitamacy of a living pontiff confuses me somewhat; John XXIII is a difficult enough case, but what about even his successors? Doesn't it just seem like an easy out to say that they were all simply heretics?


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Quote:
This is only for the sake of argument, but in actuality, if Benedict is in fact pope, would that result in sedevacantists being not only schismatics but additionally heretics?


I don't understand you clearly, and I can't even get a grip on where the logic of what you are asking would lead us. For one thing, if what you mean by "Benedict" being "in fact pope" is that he is right in what he says and we must follow him, then we're all in good shape because in Benedict's universe there seem to be no schismatics or heretics.

If you mean he might be Pope in the Conservative N. O. sense that he's really completely Catholic with bad advisors, or has a new slant on things, or a "resistance" traditional sense, that he's very, very bad and teaching evil, but still Pope, then I still don't see where this would lead to an accusation of heresy. What would the heresy be?


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Regardless of whose perspective, I'm merely asking that if Benedict is pope would that make sedevacantists heretics since the ordinary magisterium guarantees the legitimacy of living Pontiffs?


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Matt wrote:
the ordinary magisterium guarantees the legitimacy of living Pontiffs?


You seem to be playing a mix-up-the-words game. The Holy Ghost "guarantees", I suppose would be an acceptable way to put it, the infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium and the Roman Pontiff. Nothing but the truth and observation can "guarantee" whether any one individual has fulfilled the obligations necessary to hold an office.

Would you concede that it is quite possible for there to be such a thing as an illegimate Papal claimant? If your sentence has any meaning at all, it must be with a strict emphasis on the word "Pontiff" not on "living" or any guarantee, and the point you are left with merely brings you back around to asking who is pope, not whether any man who claims it comes with some sort of guarantee he is legitimate.


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You're missing my point entirely; this is a very serious issue, and for my own purposes I was wondering what censure would be inflicted if the sedevacantist in our day is mistaken?


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Matt wrote:
You're missing my point entirely; this is a very serious issue, and for my own purposes I was wondering what censure would be inflicted if the sedevacantist in our day is mistaken?


Dear Matt,

My opinion, for what it is worth, is no, the censure would not be "heresy" stricly speaking because the object is not a revealed truth, but something connected with Revelation. Therefore it could technically be "heresy against ecclesiastical faith."

But I don't think that the doctrinal censure would never get to the point of discussion, because the peaceful adherence has been lacking which is necessary for any claim that Holy Church has assured the faithful of the legitimacy of these men. And in any case, traditionally the point at issue would have been schism, not heresy, because the schism (if it could exist in such circumstances, which it could not) would be more direct than the doctrinal error.

I hope this assists.

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Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:13 pm
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Thank you Mr. Lane; now admittedly this one's a bit trickier, but what justification does one have for rejecting John XXIII?


Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:21 pm
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Matt wrote:
Thank you Mr. Lane; now admittedly this one's a bit trickier, but what justification does one have for rejecting John XXIII?


Dear Matt,

Sorry, I missed this question. I don't have a complete case against John XXIII and therefore I don't say that he could not have been pope. However his known liberal sympathies (the Holy Office kept a file on him) and his erroneous doctrine (Pacem in terris), not to mention his scandalous removal of some saints from the Roman Calendar (e.g. St. Philomena), his sympathy with Communists, and his calling of the revolutionary Council which was to undermine the entire structure of the Church, taken together constitute to my mind a sufficient body of evidence to create a real doubt about him. The exact status of that doubt and how it might apply to the dictum, "a doubtful pope is no pope," is not settled in my mind. Apart from any other considerations, he does seem to have been pacifically accepted by the entire Church, which would (according to the theologians) constitute perfect proof of his legitimacy.

But we do not have to solve every difficulty or mystery. We merely have to hold fast to the traditions we have received. The only reason we reject later "V2 popes" is that it is impossible for us to accept them and at the same time believe that the Church is indefectible. John XXIII does not appear to place us in the same quandary and we can therefore leave him on the side of our plate, so to speak.

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Fri Jun 23, 2006 5:52 am
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New post Wilhelm & Scannell on the Magisterium
Just reading through the (second) text posted from Wilhelm and Scannell and the following sentence stood out:

"Thus, according to the Catholic theory, there is a means of transmitting Revelation distinct from Revelation itself and its written document; and this means, having been instituted by God, detracts in no way from the dignity of Revelation, but rather safeguards it."

Now, the authors here are referring to the magisterium, or teaching office of the Catholic Church. That is the "means" instituted by God to transmit the public revelation given originally to the Apostles. What has just struck me as I read this again is that it highlights a further argument against the sedeplenist position on the ordinary magisterium. Recall, the sedeplenist position is that the ordinary magisterium is infallible only when agrees with Tradition. Which is a way of saying that the magisterium is infallible only when it is universal in time and space. Whereas I believe that the correct position is that the ordinary magisterium is infallible when it is universal in space, but not necessarily in time. Time, I say, is essentially irrelevant. If the bishops all agree, then they cannot err. Period.

Now, the sedeplenist position makes the content of the teaching the test for whether or not the teaching act which brought it forth was infallible. Which is a circular argument. And it effectively empties the notion of a teaching office of any value, by asserting that it will be accepted only when it agrees with what we already know. What value is a teacher who is only listened to in order to provide us the occasion for declaring, "Yes, you're right!"?

And in fact, the sedeplenist position is really a denial that "there is a means of transmitting Revelation distinct from Revelation itself," as Wilhelm and Scannell teach. Or at least, it is a denial that there is any ordinary means which is distinct from Revelation itself, and also infallible.

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Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:10 am
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Below Monsignor Van Noort explains what will be to many traditional Catholics a revolutionary concept, which is that the preaching of the office-holders in the Catholic Church is our proximate rule of Faith, which we may not refuse to accept on any pretext whatsoever. This does not mean that we must accept Vatican II, of course, but it means that since Vatican II contradicts previous doctrine, we have a problem. This problem is the principle of contradiction – that is, we cannot accept two contradictory doctrines at the same time. We must necessarily reject one or the other, or go mad. (Or, abandon the Faith, as many have done, poor souls! May God preserve us from a similar fate.)

And further, having rejected one doctrine (the new one), we must necessarily reject the “authority” of those who presented it to us as the doctrine of the Catholic Church. There is no third possibility.

Here is Van Noort, summarising the point:

"Different by for is the teaching of the Catholic Church. It holds, of course, that our faith must of necessity correspond to the word of God as found in the sources of revelation. It holds, furthermore, that Scripture (together with Tradition) is a true and infallible rule of faith. But at the same time it insists that there exists yet another rule of faith which is equally infallible, namely, the preaching of the Church’s teaching office or magisterium. Because this teaching office, by reason of the aid given it by the Holy Spirit, enjoys infallibility when proclaiming Christian doctrine, it carries with it its own guarantee and binds everyone absolutely, all by itself. Consequently no one can have an objectively valid reason for departing from its teaching, any more than one reasonably depart from the true teaching of Scripture.

"Moreover, if Christ willed that there be two rules of faith, there must exist some order between them. The divinely established order is as follows. The Church’s preaching is for the faithful the proximate, direct rule of faith, while Scripture and Tradition, on which the Church’s preaching is based, constitute the remote or indirect rule of faith.

"The Church’s preaching is the proximate rule of faith because all the faithful as such, be they uneducated or learned, can safely and directly determine the material object of their belief on the basis of that preaching and indeed they must. For precisely as believers, i.e., as far as regulating their belief is concerned, they can never be obliged to do research in Scripture and Tradition. For by granting the Church the gift of infallibility, God has seen to it that its preaching will never waver from the data of Scripture and Tradition in even the slightest detail.

"Scripture and Tradition make up the remote rule of faith because they regulate directly, not the belief of the faithful, but the preaching of their teachers. Although the reading of Sacred Scripture and the study of Tradition can be very useful for others than those who fulfill an authoritative teaching office, and even though these pursuits may be even necessary for other purposes (besides that of regulating faith), it was not God’s intention in inspiring the Scriptures that each individual should seek his faith therein. No, but He did establish the teaching office of the Church to safeguard and explain them faithfully under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, any Christian who studies Scripture and Tradition and thinks he has found therein a doctrine really and truly contrary to the teaching of the Church, must unhesitatingly give the latter the nod over his own personal opinion. This is not to say that the Church’s word carries more weight than the word of God. What it does mean is this, that God Himself has assured us that if any meaning given to a passage of Scripture disagrees with Catholic dogma, it cannot be the true meaning of that passage, cannot be the word of God.

"These observations on the preaching of the infallible Church as the rule of our faith are a mere summary of all that could be said, and deliberately so, for most of this matter has already been covered in the treatise on Christ’s Church."

(Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume III, The Sources of Revelation, Divine Faith, Translated and Revised by John J. Castelot, S.S., S.T.D., S.S.L. & William R. Murphy, S.S., S.T.D., The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1961. pp 7,8.)

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Fri Jun 23, 2006 7:29 am
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New post Re: Wilhelm & Scannell on the Magisterium
John Lane wrote:
the sedeplenist position is that the ordinary magisterium is infallible only when agrees with Tradition.


Have they provided any weighty authorities to bolster their position?


Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:01 am
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John Lane wrote:
This problem is the principle of contradiction – that is, we cannot accept two contradictory doctrines at the same time. We must necessarily reject one or the other, or go mad. (Or, abandon the Faith, as many have done, poor souls! May God preserve us from a similar fate.)


John,

I can thank the good Lord that I didn't abandon the Faith...but for a while, I think I was going mad :shock:

May there be many sedeplenist Catholics who find this forum and cure their "madness"

St. Robert Bellarmine, Pray for us.


Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:26 am
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New post Re: Wilhelm & Scannell on the Magisterium
Cam wrote:
Have they provided any weighty authorities to bolster their position?


No, they cite Dom Nau, but he doesn't agree with them, and Canon Berthold, who does agree with them (but wrote in the 1970s...).

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New post Van Noort on the Proximate Rule of Faith
The rule of faith. It seems timely to add here a few remarks on the rule of faith. This term signifies the standard or norm according to which each individual Christian must determine what is the material object of his faith.
Protestants claim that the written Word of God, Holy Scripture, and that alone, is the one rule of faith. Catholics, on the other hand, even though they, too, admit that our faith must be regulated in the final analysis by the Word of God — including tradition as well as Scripture — hold that the proximate and immediate rule of faith — that rule to which each of the faithful and each generation of the faithful must look directly — is the preaching of the Church. And so, according to Catholics, there exists a twofold rule of faith: one remote and one proximate. The remote rule of faith is the Word of God (handed down in writing or orally), which was directly entrusted to the Church’s rulers that from it they might teach and guide the faithful. The proximate rule of faith, from which the faithful, one and all, are bound to accept their faith and in accordance with which they are to regulate it, is the preaching of the ecclesiastical magisterium.(27) The following assertions concern the proximate rule of faith.
1. The Church’s preaching was established by Christ Himself as the rule of faith. This can be proved from Matthew 28:19—20 and Mark 16:15—16; the command to teach all nations certainly implies a corresponding duty on the part of the nations to believe whatever the apostles and their successors teach, On the other hand, there is no notice anywhere of Christ’s having commanded the apostles to give the people the doctrine of salvation in writing, and never did He command the faithful as a whole to seek their faith in the Bible.(28)
2. The Church’s preaching is a rule of faith which is nicely accommodated to people’s needs. For (a) it is an easy rule, one that can be observed by all alike, even the uneducated and unlettered. What could be easier than to give ear to a magisterium that is always at hand and always preaching? (b) It is a safe rule, for the Church’s teaching office is infallible in safeguarding and presenting Christ’s doctrine. (c) It is a living rule, in accordance with which it is possible in any age to explain the meaning of doctrines and to put an end to controversies.

Footnotes:

27. The Symbols (Creeds, i.e., those formulae in which the Church’s teaching authority sums up the chief points of its preaching in view of the needs of different ages), are also called rules of faith. But they are material rules of faith, while the formal rule of faith is the preaching itself.
28. An appeal to John 5:39 is in vain: (a) from the context, the verb ereunate seems to be the indicative rather than the imperative (Kleist-Lilly: You have the Scriptures at your finger ends; Confrat. NT: You search the Scriptures); (b) even granting that it is the imperative, the text still proves nothing. From the fact that Christ refers the unbelieving Jews, the Scribes and Pharisees, to the sacred books of the Old Testament that they may learn therein of his divine mission, it does not at all follow that He intends every individual Christian to draw his faith directly from the Scriptures.

(Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ’s Church, Translated and Revised by John J. Castelot, S.S., S.T.D., S.S.L. & William R. Murphy, S.S., S.T.D., The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1957. pp 121, 122. Emphasis throughout in the original.)

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Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:33 am
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And another text from a theologian showing that agreement over time is not relevant to the question of whether something is taught by the ordinary, universal, magisterium.

Quote:
It should also be remembered that “so far as the Fathers of a certain period are all, or mostly, bishops, their consentient testimony in matters of faith or morals, is not only indirectly, but directly and in itself infallible, because they are divinely appointed witnesses and the divinely instituted organ and channel of Tradition.”


Emphasis added. From: http://www.catholicresponse.net/humanig ... athers.htm

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New post Re: SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
Likewise, Tanquerey says:

Quote:
Further, in order that an argument may be regarded as completely certain, the moral unanimity of the Fathers of one age is required and is sufficient. The Church at all times is indefectible and so in no age can it be guilty of error.
(From: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=727 )

This should finally put paid to the inaccurate and dangerous notion that the ordinary magisterium is only infallible if it agrees over time. It is infallible when it agrees at any given time.

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New post Re: SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
Cardinal Franzelin's masterful explanation of the Commonitorium of St. Vincent of Lerins provides more irrefutable evidence that the position of Canon Berthod in "Pope or Church?" is simply erroneous: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=740

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Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:39 am
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New post Re: SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
Matt wrote:

Quote:
You're missing my point entirely; this is a very serious issue, and for my own purposes I was wondering what censure would be inflicted if the sedevacantist in our day is mistaken?


What John highlighted regarding the law of contradiction seems critical to me, otherwise we could be led anywhere by anyone so long as papal robes are part of the equation. Garrigou-Langrange speaks of

Quote:
reason's first principle, the principle of contradiction. He who denies this principle affirms a self-destructive sentence. To deny this principle is to annihilate language, is to destroy all substance, all distinction between things, all truths, thoughts, and even opinions, all desires and acts. We could no longer distinguish even the degrees of error. We would destroy even the facts of motion and becoming, since there would be no distinction between the point of departure and the point of arrival. Further, motion could have none of the four causes as explanation. Motion would be a subject which becomes, without efficient cause, without purpose or nature. It would be attraction and repulsion, freezing and melting, both simultaneously.----Reality A Thomistic Synthesis, ch 1


So apart from this law of contradiction there is indeed only incoherence and madness, and thus our terrible crisis.

Therefore if the Sedevacantists are mistaken the Vatican will clear up the contradictions in the external forum (as no trads that I know of deny) and we all will embrace and rejoice together. The Sedevacantists are simply saying they cannot move into the terrain of contradictions, but must stay with the Faith of all ages, so please correct these.


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New post Re: SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
paxus wrote:
What John highlighted regarding the law of contradiction seems critical to me, otherwise we could be led anywhere by anyone so long as papal robes are part of the equation.

Well, that is the wisdom of Archbishop Lefebvre and really of all traditional Catholics, even if they cannot express themselves clearly.

paxus wrote:
Garrigou-Langrange speaks of ... ----Reality A Thomistic Synthesis, ch 1


Wonderful book, wonderful author. Amazingly clear in the same manner as his master. Every intelligent person should read Garrigou-Lagrange.

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:35 pm
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John Lane wrote:
Teresa Ginardi wrote:
IMO, this issue clearly needs study to make sense of the Ordinary Magisterium. What happened here?


I disagree. We can read the theologians and understand them, even if they never deal with the heliocentrism question.

Teresa Ginardi wrote:
BTW, the SSPX has a clearer presentation on their position of the Ordinary Magisterium, which I'm sure most have read, but, if not, here's the link: http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/infal ... terium.htm


That's much better, but still erroneous. Here's a quote from it. Note the switch in terminology (accidental, clearly) from the pontifical ordinary magisterium to the ordinary magisterium, period. That is, from the papal teaching office to that of all the bishops in general.

Quote:
The lack of clear ideas on the pope’s Ordinary Magisterium appeared in full with Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae, and more recently with Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which Pope John Paul II repeated the Church’s refusal to ordain women.

When Humanae Vitae came out, various theologians indicated that the notion of ordinary papal Magisterium was obscured. Generally speaking, those who supported the infallibility of Humanae Vitae deduced "the proof [of this infallibility —Ed.] on the basis of the Church’s constant and universal Authentic Magisterium, which has never been abandoned and therefore was already definitive in earlier centuries." In other words, on the basis of the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium (E. Lio, Humanae Vitae ed infallibilità, Libreria Ed. Vaticana, p.38 ). They should have noticed that even the notion of the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium and its particularity [its constancy and universality —Ed.] had been effaced from the minds not only of the ordinary faithful but also of the theologians.


Such sloppiness in terminology is completely disastrous. What, we may wonder, is under discussion here? And if it seems that we are only discussing the pontifical magisterium, which seems sufficiently clear when examining the text to this point, then why is it that we are suddenly faced with terms such as "the Church’s constant and universal Authentic Magisterium" - which could only refer to the ordinary magisterium of the bishops, not the pontifical ordinary magisterium?

Proceeding, we witness further examples of this lack of clear thought.

Quote:
Thus, we will devote ourselves, not to the Extraordinary Magisterium (whose infallibility is generally acknowledged), but to the Ordinary Magisterium. Once we have illustrated the conditions under which it is infallible, it will be clear that outside these conditions we are in the presence of the "authentic" Magisterium to which, in normal times, we should accord due consideration. In abnormal times, however, it would be a fatal error to equate this "authentic" Magisterium with the infallible Magisterium (whether "extraordinary" or "ordinary").


Fascinating. See how the word "pontifical" or "papal" absent. This is ambiguous at best. Further, note the complete novelty of the suggestion that the authentic (i.e. "authoritative") magisterium is to be given "due consideration." !!! Due consideration! One would think one were reading the words of an avowed Modernist. Let us be entirely clear about this - the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff binds under pain of mortal sin. The particular mortal sin in a given case may or may not be the sin of heresy, but it is mortal all the same. So that if one were to refuse submission to the Roman Pontiff's teaching authority even in a case in which he did not speak infallibly, then one would be on the path to eternal perdition. "Due consideration" may now take on its proper aspect.

This is also why this quote is thoroughly misleading in the context: "Thus, the assent due to the Ordinary Magisterium 'can range from simple respect right up to a true act of faith.'" Not for laymen, it can't. For laymen it ranges from compulsory under pain of mortal sin to compulsory under pain of remaining a member of the Church.

I cannot resist also commenting on the last sentence of that paragraph. Apparently it is only in "abnormal times" that we must avoid mistaking infallible for fallible teaching. Er, maybe not.

Continuing, we see how the pre-V2 theologians are sound and the post-V2 ones are at best confused.

Quote:
In fact, in contrast to the Extraordinary Magisterium or the Solemn Judgment, the Ordinary Magisterium does not consist in an isolated proposition, pronouncing irrevocably on the Faith and containing its own guarantees of truth, but in a collection of acts which can concur in communicating a teaching.

"This is the normal procedure by which Tradition, in the fullest sense of that term, is handed down;..." (Pope or Church?, op. cit. p.10)


Note how a statement which is true in itself, but which doesn't really relate what is being argued, is inserted as though it belongs. It is quite true that Tradition is handed down in this manner. It is quite false to suggest that anything taught by a series of fallible acts must therefore be a matter of Tradition if it is to constitue infallible teaching. Quite false.

Quote:
This is precisely why the DTC speaks of "infallible papal teaching which flows from the pope’s Ordinary Magisterium" (loc. cit.). So, while a simple doctrinal presentation [by the pope] can never claim the infallibility of a definition, [this infallibility] nonetheless is rigorously implied when there is a convergence on the same subject in a series of documents whose continuity, in itself, excludes all possibility of doubt on the authentic content of the Roman teaching (Dom Nau, Une source doctrinale: Les encycliques, p.75).

If we fail to take account of this difference, we are obliterating all distinction between the Extraordinary Magisterium and the Ordinary Magisterium:

"No act of the Ordinary Magisterium as such, taken in isolation, could claim the prerogative which belongs to the supreme judgment. If it did so, it would cease to be the Ordinary Magisterium. An isolated act is infallible only if the supreme Judge engages his whole authority in it so that he cannot go back on it. Such an act cannot be ‘reversible’ without being plainly subject to error. But it is precisely this kind of act, against which there can be no appeal, which constitutes the Solemn [or Extraordinary] Judgment, and which thus differs from the Ordinary Magisterium." (ibid., note 1)


Which is quite right and entirely sound, and does not support the SSPX position in the slightest. However, immediately the author of the article adds his own interpretation, and changes the meaning:

Quote:
It follows that the infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium, whether of the Universal Church or that of the See of Rome, is not that of a judgment, not that of an act to be considered in isolation, as if it could itself provide all the light necessary for it to be clearly seen. It is that of the guarantee bestowed on a doctrine by the simultaneous or continuous convergence of a plurality of affirmations or explanations, none of which could bring positive certitude if it were taken by itself alone. Certitude can be expected only from the whole complex, but all the parts concur in making up that whole (Pope or Church?, op. cit., p.18 ).


Suddenly the word "certitude" appears! This is truly frightening. Now apparently we cannot possess certitude unless the pope speaks infallibly! What a strange intellectual world this fellow inhabits. And apparently he is innocent of the writings of the theologians, who constantly describe doctrines as "certain" which have not been taught infallibly. The word "certitude" has no place here at all. We are not questioning the certitude of papal doctrines in encyclicals - we are questioning their infallibility. There is a world of difference. Therefore it does not "follow" at all that "none of which could bring positive certitude if it were taken by itself alone."

Strangely, after all this mess, the conclusion is not offensive, even if slightly exaggerated. Here it is:

Quote:
This means, in effect, that an "isolated act" of the pope is infallible only in the context of a "dogmatic definition"; outside dogmatic definitions, i.e., in the Ordinary Magisterium, infallibility is guaranteed by the complex of "countless other similar acts of the Holy See," or of a "long succession" of the successors of Peter.


How "long" the succession needs to be to ensure infallibility is doubtful, but there can be no doubt about one thing - the summary here presented does not involve any suggestion of Tradition. Only "tradition."

The "Practical Application" is quite odd. It certainly doesn't follow from what has been demonstrated.

Quote:
Practical Application

Because it declared itself to be non-dogmatic, the charism of infallibility cannot be claimed for the last Council, except insofar as it was re-iterating traditional teaching. Moreover, what is offered as the Ordinary Pontifical Magisterium of the recent popes -apart from certain acts -cannot claim the qualification of the "Ordinary Infallible Magisterium." The pontifical documents on the novelties which have troubled and confused the consciences of the faithful manifest no concern whatsoever to adhere to the teaching of "venerable predecessors."


The V2 Council was said to be "non-dogmatic" but it is far from clear that it "declared itself" to be so. Particularly since several of its documents are entitled, "Dogmatic Constitution." But this is a question of the extraordinary magisterium , and it won't detain us now.

On the question of the "Ordinary Pontifical Magisterium" the facts are in dispute - that is, the Nopes of V2 have indeed shown themselves to be "concerned" to "adhere to the teaching of venerable predecessors." The problem is that the predecessors were not venerable, and the doctrine was not Tradition. Only "tradition." Would the pre-V2 theologians have considered the continuous and repeated acts of three "popes" to be sufficient guarantee of infallibility? Yes. Especially when the cooperation in the teaching of, for example, religious liberty, has been morally universal by the "bishops" around the world. Because the situation either constitutes a doctrine presented by the infallible pontifical magisterium or the universal ordinary magisterium.

This, however, we can agree with entirely: "It is clear that when today’s popes contradict the traditional Magisterium of yesterday’s popes, our obedience is due to yesterday’s popes: this is a manifest sign of a period of grave ecclesial crisis, of abnormal times in the life of the Church."

In attempting to explicate this novel and perplexing problem, however, the author delivers more error.

Quote:
The Magisterium, however, even in its non-infallible form, should always be the teaching of the divine Word, even if uttered with a lesser degree of certitude.


The magisterium does not confine itself to "the divine Word" and never has. It has been infallibly taught by Holy Mother Church that the Council of Trent was a legitimate general council of the Catholic Church. This is not a question of "the divine Word." It is a question of fact.

The most pernicious section of this article, however, is towards the end, where the suggestion is inculcated that we are not truly bound by the "merely authentic" magisterium. We are - and we are bound under pain of sin. Cardinal Billot is quoted:

Quote:
"The command to believe firmly and without examination of the matter in hand... can be truly binding only if the authority concerned is infallible" (Billot, De Ecclesia, thesis XVII).


Cardinal Billot's doctrine has here been so truncated as to make him say the opposite of his true position. He is merely expressing the truth that an expert (i.e. a theologian) cannot be finally and absolutely bound by the magisterium to a particular definition unless it really is a definition, and not something less clear. The general faithful,, however, who could not possibly possess good cause for imagining some slight correction to the formulation of a doctrinal expression, have no such excuse or opportunity. For us, the word of the pope is final, whatever we imagine our intelligence or erudition to be. Cardinal Billot has, in that place, explained all of this, but it has all been omitted from the quote. The lack of scholarship of the writer concerned is frightening.

This nonsense is capped off with:

Quote:
The Catholic world is all the more in danger of being drawn into error, since it nourishes the naive and erroneous conviction that God has never permitted the popes to be mistaken, even in the Ordinary Magisterium (and here no distinctions are drawn), and so imagines that the same assent should always be given to the papal Magisterium -which in no way corresponds to the Church’s teaching.


Which is just awful. I may be "naive," but l am naive with the theologians, none of whom admit that in fact a pope has ever erred in an encyclical, for example. But in any case this argument is against a straw man - nobody is arguing that "the same assent should always be given to the papal Magisterium."

The final section of this article, on the "grace of state" of the Roman Pontiff, omits to mention the crucial truth which Cardinal Franzelin lays down, which is that the doctrinal instructions of the Roman Pontiff may not always be infallibly true, but they are protected by a special doctrinal providence, so that they are always infallibly safe. That is, if a pope errs, he errs safely. An example would be an error of fact such as a date or a name, or perhaps some doctrinal point which does not impinge on the Faith itself. Cardinal Franzelin, in case anybody is unaware, was one of the greatest theologians of the nineteenth century, and wrote a book especially to explain and defend infallibility and related points following the Vatican Council. The cases given of Popes John XXII and Sixtus V, only go to prove the point. John XXII erred only as a private doctor and only on a point still controverted by the theologians, and Sixtus erred in no way publicly, not even as a private doctor, because St. Robert Bellarmine succeeded in preventing him from going ahead with his intention to publish his own version of the Vulgate.

Bossuet’s opinion that it “happens once or twice in a thousand years” is the kind of opinion Catholics can do without, for it is the opinion of a Gallican, whose aim was to minimise, if possible, the prerogatives and charisms of the Roman Pontiff. The fact that such an “authority” should be quoted only illustrates the desperation of our opponents. Bossuet was a great man, but even great men wink occasionally – and in matters connected with the rights and privileges of the See of Rome Bossuet is universally admitted to have winked, to say the least.

Finally, a passage we can agree with wholeheartedly:

Quote:
In normal times the faithful can rely on the "authentic" Pontifical Magisterium with the same confidence with which they rely on the Infallible Magisterium. In normal times, it would be a very grave error to fail to take due account of even the simply "authentic" Magisterium of the Roman pope. This is because if everyone were permitted, in the presence of an act of the teaching authority, to suspend his assent or even to doubt or positively reject it on the grounds that it did not imply an infallible definition, it would result in the ecclesiastical Magisterium becoming practically illusory in concrete terms, because the ecclesiastical Magisterium is only relatively rarely expressed in definitions of this kind (DTC, vol. III, col.1110).


In normal times. Yes, in those times when there is a Catholic Pope. Or, to say the same thing in other words, when there is a Pope.


Well then, could not we argue on this basis of explanation of the magisterium that Limbo is part of the ordinary magisterial teaching of the Church? I mean, I don't know of any bishop contesting it during the time when we've had a college of bishops.

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Domini Canis wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Mons. Van Noort tells us that the ordinary magisterium is universal when guaranteeing the legitimacy of a living pope, which is hardly a matter of antiquity!


Is it therefore more true to say that John XXIII was elected a valid Pope but fell from office, rather than say he was never Pope in the first place because of heresy?

I have heard different opinions on this, but it seems to me that the teaching of the theologians here would exclude the later opinion by the simple fact that the episcopacy from the time of John XXIII's election to well into his death had accepted him as a valid Pope. No bishop at that time -as far as I'm aware- has ever voiced his doubt about the validity of John XXIII's reign, and even if there was such a bishop, the episcopacy appeared to be morally unanimous on the issue.



Quote:
"Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the True Church of Jesus Christ."
(St. Athanasius)

"Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith."
(St. Peter Canisius)


Let's suppose all the bishops have embraced a heresy, and only a few laymen and a priest were left holding the true doctrine of the Church, would that unanimity of those bishops make what they say the teaching of the Church, i.e. Vatican II? This is why I believe that continuity and antiquity are so important.

This brings up another thing, another reason one might say, is that the doctrines proposed must not only be compatible with, but must be inextricably bound up with the doctrines which the Church has always held, since the mission of the Church is not to make known new doctrine but to preach and teach the one doctrine revealed by Christ to the Apostles. And thus if all of the bishops preach something which is not compatible with, or which is not of, the historical teaching of the Church, then it might be safely categorized as a heretical novelty.

John Lane wrote:
I don't have a complete case against John XXIII and therefore I don't say that he could not have been pope. However his known liberal sympathies (the Holy Office kept a file on him) and his erroneous doctrine (Pacem in terris), not to mention his scandalous removal of some saints from the Roman Calendar (e.g. St. Philomena), his sympathy with Communists, and his calling of the revolutionary Council which was to undermine the entire structure of the Church, taken together constitute to my mind a sufficient body of evidence to create a real doubt about him.


But his apostate ecumenism and his apparent disbelief in the necessity of the faith and of conversion are enough to suspect him of apostasy, he was suspected of heresy by the Inquisition, and he called an apostate council. There have been people deposed and defrocked for less than that.

Quote:
Apart from any other considerations, he does seem to have been pacifically accepted by the entire Church, which would (according to the theologians) constitute perfect proof of his legitimacy.


Again, back to my question.

Quote:
But we do not have to solve every difficulty or mystery. We merely have to hold fast to the traditions we have received. The only reason we reject later "V2 popes" is that it is impossible for us to accept them and at the same time believe that the Church is indefectible. John XXIII does not appear to place us in the same quandary and we can therefore leave him on the side of our plate, so to speak.


If he was the pope, then we have to accept things like Ecumenism,
Vatican II, Religious Liberty, Separation of Church and state etc. That's why it's an important issue.

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Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:46 am
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Grand Inquisitor wrote:
Well then, could not we argue on this basis of explanation of the magisterium that Limbo is part of the ordinary magisterial teaching of the Church? I mean, I don't know of any bishop contesting it during the time when we've had a college of bishops.


Well, check the condemnation of the Synod of Pistoia.

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Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:28 pm
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Infinite Sympathy for One Another: It seems to me that while theories of resistance to the errors and lies of Vatican II and the modern "popes" are hardly unimportant---and I have my own leaning---traditional Catholics can have infinite sympathy for one another (whatever their particular theory of resistance) vis a vis this great apostasy which all at least recognize and seek to shun.

And that infinite sympathy must also extend to all who are---like many "conservatives" I know--- bewildered by the Council, sensing something is wrong and yet who do not know what to make of it and even fear to call themselves traditionalists.

And it must reach to all who---like many I know---are often disgusted by what they perceive to be the Church and yet have no clue that anything doctrinal is (or even could be) wrong and who nevertheless try to live the faith the best they can, attending the Novus Ordo, seeking refuge in old holy books and the rosary despite what "father" says and does on Sunday....

All these---all of us---are affected by the apostasy, whether some know it or not. Many find themselves locked into a kind of cognitive dissonance whereby they cannot conceive that the "pope" can be anything but good and holy and always doctrinal sound. And yet there is great uneasiness.

When I drive by a Novus Ordo church I see a "church" stolen, in captivity, looted, and feel we must through Christ somehow ransom the confused captives in the pews who (for the most part) I see as victims not perpetrators. Then I remember He has already objectively ransomed these. So we unite ourselves to that Sacrifice for those kidnapped and, if given the opportunity, seek to help these realize they must try to see and overcome all error. Many are so confused that when the head realizes what is going on the stomach makes them flee the realization; and for others when the stomach is ready the head is all a mess.

So infinte sympathy for all but no tolerance for the errors themselves nor the perpetrators is how I see it.


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paxus wrote:
...So infinte sympathy for all but no tolerance for the errors themselves nor the perpetrators is how I see it.


Yes, I think you nailed it, Pax.

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New post Re: SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
I was unaware of this until today, but one of the Econe professors has answered the position put here and explained in detail by Mr. John Daly and in part by Fr. Bernard Lucien. I haven't seen Fr. Lucien's book, which is in French. However this specific view is one which has always been obvious from reading the theologians and thinking about the nature of the magisterium and thinking about the proper response of Catholics towards it.

Anyway, it's a happy day when any opponent actually engages in debate about specific points of difference.


http://www.angelusonline.org/index.php? ... le_id=2718

The Angelus Online - May 2008 Print


Si Si No No #81

Religious Liberty and the Ordinary Magisterium

by Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize

In a book published in March 2007, Fr. Bernard Lucien1 devoted six studies to the question of the authority of the Magisterium and its infallibility:

What we maintain, which many so-called "traditionalist" authors deny, is that the infallibility of the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church applies to the central affirmation of the Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae.

Religious Freedom: Infallible?

Fr. Lucien asserts that the teaching of Vatican II on religious freedom is infallible because it is the equivalent of a teaching of the universal and ordinary Magisterium. We know that the pope can exercise the Magisterium infallibly and that he can do so whether alone or with the bishops. Three unique circumstances in which the supreme authority enjoys infallibility can be distinguished: 1) an act of the physical person of the pope speaking ex cathedra; 2) an act of the moral person of an ecumenical council, which is the physical assembly of the pope and the bishops; and 3) the body of acts, unanimous and simultaneous, that emanates from all the pastors of the Church, the pope and the bishops, but dispersed and not gathered together. The teaching of the pope speaking ex cathedra and that of an ecumenical council correspond to the infallibility of the solemn or extraordinary Magisterium, while the unanimous teaching of all the bishops dispersed, under the authority of the pope, is the teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

This ordinary and universal Magisterium is the subject of the dogmatic constitution Dei Filius of Vatican I. It states that:

Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed.2

And in the letter Tuas Libenter of December 21, 1862, Pope Pius IX speaks of the "ordinary teaching power of the whole Church spread throughout the world" (Dz. 1683). During the First Vatican Council, in a speech of April 6, 1870, the official representative of the Pope, Msgr. Martin, gave the following clarification to the text of Dei Filius:

The word universal means about the same thing as the word used by the Holy Father in the apostolic letter Tuas Libenter, namely the Magisterium of the whole Church spread throughout the world.

It is clear, then, that the ordinary and universal Magisterium is to be distinguished from the Magisterium of an ecumenical council, just as the Magisterium of the pope and the bishops dispersed is distinguished from the Magisterium of the pope and the bishops assembled.

On one hand, Vatican II is an ecumenical council. But on the other hand, Pope Paul VI twice stated that this council had refrained from pronouncing with its extraordinary teaching power any dogmas bearing the note of infallibility. The Council simply intended to vest its teachings with the authority of the supreme ordinary Magisterium, which is clearly authentic [By the expression "authentic Magisterium," theologians today commonly mean non-infallible teaching–Ed.]. While Vatican II, as any legitimately convoked ecumenical council, could have been the organ of a solemn teaching of the Magisterium, it did not desire to exercise its authority as such, and that is why, as Paul VI stated, its teachings do not have the weight of solemnly defined dogmas. But neither are they teachings of the ordinary and universal Magisterium since by definition an ecumenical council does not correspond to this category of the Magisterium.

Fr. Lucien claims the contrary. According to him, the infallible ordinary and universal Magisterium can be exercised when the bishops and the pope are dispersed as well as when they are assembled in council. According to his hypothesis, an ecumenical council can exercise both types of infallible teaching authority: that of the solemn or extraordinary Magisterium and that of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. The declarations of Paul VI exclude the possibility of a teaching of the extraordinary Magisterium at Vatican II. Therefore, if one is to maintain that the teachings that issued from Vatican II are infallible, they can only be so by virtue of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. This is what remains to be examined.

Rupture or Continuity?

The declarations of Vatican I and of Pope Pius IX show very well that there is a radical difference between the infallibility of a council and that of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. But there is something even more serious. The present successor of St. Peter, Benedict XVI, recognizes this opposition between Vatican II and Pius IX in the epilogue of a book he published in 1982, Principles of Catholic Theology.3 While still cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger stated, "with the vigor and theological clarity for which he is renowned,"4 this formal and irremediable opposition. Explaining how the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) "has come to be increasingly regarded as the true legacy" of Vatican Council II,5 the future Pope Benedict XVI remarked: "If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text as a whole, we might say that it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of countersyllabus."6 Indeed, "the text serves as a countersyllabus and, as such, represents, on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789."7

Fr. Lucien constructs his reasoning to show that, far from there being a rupture, there is an integral continuity between Vatican II and Pius IX, between the teaching of the Council on religious freedom and the antecedent Tradition.

St. Vincent of Lerins's Rule to the Rescue of Vatican II?

If one wishes to assert such continuity, it becomes necessary to see in the teachings of Vatican II a development of truths that would have been heretofore held in a vague and implicit state in the Church's preaching.8 Fr. Lucien develops at length the question of the passage from implicit to explicit in the Church's teaching. The reader cannot but become aware of it by seeing the care and the abundance of references he uses over some 20 pages9 in order to establish the real import of the canon of St. Vincent of Lerins. This is precisely the crux of the problem our author has set himself to resolve: in order to deny the contradiction between Pius IX's Quanta Cura and Vatican II's Dignitatis Humanae, he must see in the latter document a development of the former. Vatican II would thus have taught not different truths, but the same truth presented in different, more precise, terms. Fr. Lucien desires to prove that the teaching of Vatican II on religious liberty is a dogmatic clarification of the teaching of Pius IX, a teaching perfectly homogeneous with Tradition.

The Real Meaning of St. Vincent de Lerins's Rule

The labor is in vain. St. Vincent's canon is undoubtedly of great interest. It is not for a mere nothing that Cardinal Johann Baptist Franzelin devoted Theses 23 and 24 of his celebrated treatise On Divine Tradition to the exegesis of the Lerinien rule. It is true that it is possible to misunderstand its true import: it is not as easy to read as it may seem. Fr. Lucien thinks that the traditionalists have misread this text, and that the correct reading would condemn their refusal of the Council. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if one has grasped the true significance of the Commonitorium, there is nothing in it that would justify seeing in Vatican II a legitimate development of traditional teaching. Quite the contrary, the criterion "always and everywhere" perfectly justifies the attitude of Archbishop Lefebvre and all of those who have decided to refuse the Council's teachings.

St. Vincent's Rule

St. Vincent of Lerins enounces his famous rule in these terms:

In the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense "Catholic"....This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent.10

Cardinal Franzelin argued that this rule could be understood both affirmatively and exclusively of the whole truth, and only the truth, believed everywhere, always, and by all. But in the spirit of St. Vincent of Lerins, this adage must be understood only in an affirmative sense, and not in an exclusive sense, of truths believed explicitly. All the truths that today demand explicit belief by the members of the Church have been believed everywhere, always, and by all; but they have been so in one manner or another, either explicitly or implicitly. It does not follow that only the truths that have been explicitly believed everywhere, always, and by all can and must oblige explicit faith in the Church today. Other truths were at first believed only implicitly and not always nor everywhere nor by all in an explicit manner before becoming the object of an explicit and unanimous belief. This is, for example, the case of the truth of the Immaculate Conception.

Cardinal Franzelin

Franzelin explains in detail the difference between explicit and implicit belief in Thesis 23:

There is a difference between revealed truths, and this shows that it is neither necessary nor desirable that all revealed truths be contained in one and the same manner in the preaching of the apostles and in the course of tradition.11

The truths which had to be believed explicitly from the start were preached and transmitted from the apostolic age in an explicit manner. These are the principle mysteries of the Catholic Faith, which correspond to the twelve articles of the Creed. But, Franzelin remarks, these explicitly revealed truths possess a great fecundity:

They can correspond in an infinite number of ways to the exigencies of different epochs. They oppose very different errors which human weakness or perversity can invent. Thus the matter is clear: none of the revealed dogmas was proposed or enounced by the apostles in a manner to make clear all these different modalities, which would have been morally impossible. That was unnecessary, since, as Christ had promised and instituted, the successors of the apostles were to receive the charism of infallibility at the same time as they received the doctrine, so as to be able to respond to the demands of every age by proposing and explaining revealed truths.

In his Thesis 9, Franzelin sums up St. Vincent's Rule this way:

The teachings of Tradition that all must believe explicitly have always received a perfectly unanimous assent. However, objective revelation can contain points of doctrine which, at one time or another, have not elicited a clearly expressed unanimity or which in reality have not received unanimity. That is why it is impossible for a revealed doctrine, after being unanimously defended and explicitly professed among the successors of the apostles, to be denied within the Church. And reciprocally, it is impossible for a doctrine, after having been denied and condemned unanimously, to be defended. But it may happen that a perfect unanimity will arise only after a doctrine has elicited different opinions.12

This gives us a negative criterion: the Church's current explicit teaching cannot contradict previous explicit teaching.

Example: Religious Freedom

Freedom of conscience and worship did not receive explicit condemnation in the documents of the Magisterium until the time when human weakness and perversity had perfected this pernicious error. Pope Gregory XVI was more or less13 the first to denounce this error in the Encyclical Mirari Vos of August 15, 1832. From that moment, it was incumbent on faithful Catholics to adhere explicitly to the condemnation. The successors of Gregory XVI in the 19th century, from Pius IX (with Quanta Cura) to Leo XIII (with Immortale Dei) constantly reiterated this teaching.14 The Encyclical Quanta Cura of December 8, 1864, (DS 2896) corresponds to an act of the solemn [or extraordinary] Magisterium, bearing the notes of ex cathedra infallibility.15 From this moment at which the Magisterium proposed a truth with all the requisite clarity, Cardinal Franzelin observes,

the question having been clarified, this dogma henceforth belongs to the body of explicit Catholic belief and plain teaching. With this clear consensus and explicit teaching, the dogma can no longer be the object of a disagreement or "obscuring" within the Church.16

No consensus that might develop in opposition to this explicit belief could ever prevail. Here we can apply the rule expressed above by Franzelin: "It is impossible for a doctrine, after having been denied and condemned unanimously, to be defended."

Fr. Lucien's Sophism

This example illustrates why we cannot follow Fr. Lucien's analysis. The explanation he gives of St. Vincent's Rule is taken from Franzelin's treatise; this is uncontested. But far from parrying the argumentation of the Society of Saint Pius X, it serves rather to confirm it. The teaching of Vatican II on religious freedom as it figures in the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae is in formal opposition to the constant, explicit teaching of the Church since Popes Gregory XVI and Pius IX. It can in no way serve as the basis of a legitimate consensus nor prevail against the traditional doctrine. The present-day unanimous consensus of the explicit teaching of the Church is what defines the acts of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. But the teaching that issued from Vatican II cannot claim to represent this consensus, since it contradicts what has been believed explicitly always, everywhere, and by all.

The Ordinary Universal Magisterium, Organ of Tradition

One might however object that for the last 40 years, the entire Teaching Church dispersed in the episcopal college comprising the Pope and the bishops in their dioceses unanimously teaches the principle of religious freedom. Would this not constitute the expression of the infallible ordinary universal Magisterium? The infallible teaching of the post-Council would thus be the echo of the authentic teaching of the Council.

In order to respond fully to this objection, let us remark that, in order to be universal, the teaching of the ordinary Magisterium of the college of bishops dispersed throughout the world must fulfill two conditions: there must be current universality in space, or unanimity; there must also be universality in time, or continuity. These two factors are required for the universality that formally defines the ordinary Magisterium.

Unanimity and Continuity

Actual universality in space concerns the teaching subject. The ordinary universal Magisterium is, from this perspective, the preaching of the episcopal college; the unanimity from which it results is the unanimity of the bishops of the present moment in history. If, by considering the viewpoint of the subject, one should say that the Magisterium is the unanimity of all the bishops and all the popes from St. Peter and the apostles, one would destroy the very notion of the ordinary Magisterium.

Continuity concerns the object taught. It refers to a universality that is not only in space but also in time. The ordinary universal Magisterium is the proposition of revealed doctrine. This doctrine is substantially immutable, which means that it remains unchanged both in time and in space, not only from the ends of the earth, but also from one end of history to the other. The ordinary Magisterium is by definition a traditional Magisterium: it is a Magisterium that preaches today and cannot be in disagreement with the Magisterium of yesterday, as St. Paul says in the Epistle to the Galatians,1:8-9: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."

These two constituent properties are observable in reality: they are evident to the faithful and enable them to recognize the infallibility of a teaching. That is why the current unanimity and continuity are not only elements that enter into the definition of this teaching; they are also criteria of visibility. But there is an order between the two, for the criterion of current unanimity depends on the criterion of continuity. If the pastors are currently unanimous, it is because their teaching is the constant teaching of one and the same unchangeable deposit of faith.

Current Unanimity

Current unanimity in space, at the level of the teaching subject, constitutes a criterion of visibility. Franzelin explains in Thesis 9:

Once the existence of the authoritative, continuously living Magisterium, which is the organ established for conserving Tradition, has been ascertained, it suffices to demonstrate that unanimity of faith among the successors of the apostles has materialized at one time or another in order to be able to solidly establish that a point of doctrine belongs to divine revelation and the apostolic tradition.

We have an example of the use of this criterion with Pope Pius XII's proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption. In the Bull Munificentissimus Deus of November 1, 1950, defining the dogma, the Pope alludes to the consultation that took place beforehand on May 1, 1946, during which he tried to verify that the truth of the Assumption was the object of the unanimous, present-day preaching of the pastors in the Church:

This "outstanding agreement of the Catholic prelates and the faithful,"17 affirming that the bodily Assumption of God's Mother into heaven can be defined as a dogma of faith, since it shows us the concordant teaching of the Church's ordinary doctrinal authority and the concordant faith of the Christian people which the same doctrinal authority sustains and directs, thus by itself and in an entirely certain and infallible way, manifests this privilege as a truth revealed by God and contained in that divine deposit which Christ has delivered to his Spouse to be guarded faithfully and to be taught infallibly.

This criterion is first of all negative: the doctrine is not contested by anyone within the Church, and there is no divergence among the prelates. But this criterion is also positive: the pastors all employ the same expressions; they all quote the same authoritative sources; they quote one another mutually; and in particular, they all refer to the same teaching of the Sovereign Pontiff given in a reference work. Through all these signs, unanimity can be observed and the infallible teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium ascertained.

The Criterion of Continuity

The Magisterium is constant when traditional

The teaching of the ordinary universal Magisterium cannot be reduced to a teaching subject. An act of teaching presupposes both a teaching subject–the teacher–and an object taught–the doctrine. And the object taught must obey very precise rules. For the act of teaching with the Church's Magisterium has an essential property: it must be traditional. It must be a teaching in which the teacher always proposes the same substantial object. That is why, if we consider things not only in relation to ourselves but as they are in themselves, universality as regards the object–continuity through time–precedes and governs universality as regards the teaching subject–unanimity in space–because it is the object taught that defines an act of teaching. The Church's Magisterium is a function of a very particular teaching, for its purpose is to conserve and hand down without substantial change the unalterable deposit of truths already revealed and attested by Jesus Christ.

This reality has two consequences. Firstly, the traditional Magisterium of the Church differs from the teaching authority of science, for the latter advances through research, and its goal is the discovery of new truths, whereas the former does not seek to discover new truths, but must rather hand down definitively revealed truth, without possibility of substantial change. But secondly, the traditional Magisterium of the Church is also different from the foundational Magisterium [teaching authority] of Christ and His apostles. Christ attests the truth for the first time, for He reveals it, which is why His word alone is authoritative and cannot be judged in relation to a preceding testimony. Contrariwise, the Church's Magisterium attests the truths already attested by Christ and the apostles; it bears witness to a witness, and that is why its word holds true if and only if it remains faithful to the word of Christ and His apostles, already well known by all, at the very least in the Apostles' Creed and the catechism.

the criterion of continuity, touchstone of current unanimity



This is why the bishops cannot be actually unanimous, in formal agreement as bishops, in such a way as to constitute the infallible teaching body of the ordinary universal Magisterium, unless they are in agreement with all the past explicit Tradition by their continuing to hand down the same revealed deposit. If one can observe in the teaching of churchmen that "a change has been introduced in the profession of faith that was till then the object of universal assent, the yes replacing the no or vice-versa," by that very fact this preaching "is no longer that of the Church of Christ."18 The continuity of the teaching is the basis of the unanimity of the teachers. And we see very well that at the time of the Second Vatican Council (and ever since) the Decree on Religious Freedom did not establish unanimity among the pastors.

This continuity of a substantially immutable teaching can be ascertained by simple natural reason. Thus a break or discontinuity in this teaching can also be ascertained by reason following the simple rules of logic: even a non-Catholic journalist is perfectly capable of recognizing one, should the pope innovate by contradicting his predecessors. In fact, many observers, even non-Catholics, grasped the import of Vatican II's aggiornamento when they hailed the Declaration on Religious Freedom as an unprecedented novelty: at last, they crowed, the Church is abandoning its reactionary obscurantism and recognizing the claims of the modern world. Was this not also the observation of Cardinal Ratzinger in his Principles of Catholic Theology (1982), detailed above, when he employed the expression "countersyllabus"? The faithful Catholic too, whose mind is enlightened by faith, is quite capable of perceiving the rupture.

not Protestant private judgment

The application of this rule does not constitute an exercise of private judgment in matters of faith. Protestant private judgment establishes an antagonism between the current judgment of the faithful and the current judgment of the Magisterium; reversing due order, Protestantism holds the private judgment of the believer as the rule of the magisterial judgment in every period of history. What we are saying is something completely different: the conflict we observe (which is the one St. Paul spoke of) is occurring between the past and the present, between the Magisterium of yesterday and the new Magisterium of today. Consequently there is a rupture in the teaching of the Magisterium, and the faithful merely makes a note of it.

It is true that the object vouched for as such cannot be the criterion making known the validity of the testimony that guarantees it. But the object proposed by the Church's Magisterium is not like other things guaranteed by some authority, for it is not an object guaranteed for the first time by the Magisterium. Rather, it is an object already vouched for by Christ and the apostles once and for all because divinely revealed. The Magisterium cannot change the fundamental, initial testimony of the Word Incarnate. That is why an object already guaranteed for the first time by Christ and the apostles is the rule according to which the object proposed by the Church's Magisterium must be judged. A Catholic can therefore perfectly judge the teaching of the present because, if he judges the present, he does not do it like a Protestant, according to his own lights. The Catholic can and even must judge the teaching of the present because he does so by the light of past teaching. It is the past that judges the present, because it is the truth already revealed by Christ and handed down by the Magisterium of yesterday that governs the Magisterium of today.

the intelligibility of dogma

In other words, even if it is incomprehensible and obscure (because it is vouched for and not evident), dogma is intelligible. It is presented as a logical proposition in which a predicate is attributed to a subject. Even though the faithful does not understand the link between the two, he knows that if this link exists, the proposition is true and thus the opposite proposition is false. He also knows that the Magisterium cannot contradict itself by sometimes affirming that the link exists, and sometimes denying it. If faithful Catholics are denied the ability to compare current doctrine with the doctrine of all time and to verify the continuity of the Church's teaching, then they are forbidden to understand what they are saying when they make a profession of faith; a blind obedience to pure formulae devoid of meaning would be required of them. But the Catholic Church has never professed such a nominalism.

a negative criterion

We can say that a negative criterion exists: the absence of continuity in explicit teaching is a criterion by which one can conclude that current teaching does not belong to the deposit of faith and thus no longer reflects the exercise of an authentic ecclesiastical teaching authority faithful to its function. This negative criterion is well summed up in certain expressions of St. Paul. As Cardinal Billot remarked:

St. Paul speaks of false doctrine as "strange" doctrine. "...thou fulfillest the charge I gave thee, when I passed into Macedonia, to stay behind at Ephesus. There were some who needed to be warned against teaching strange doctrines..." (I Tim. 1:3)....If from one age to another someone gives an explanation of a dogma of faith that is different from the one previously given, this explanation will be considered heterodox, in opposition to orthodoxy, and it can easily and without private judgment be recognized as an heretical affirmation from the simple fact that it is absolutely new, that is, if it introduces a meaning different from the meaning received from Tradition.19

Vatican II Condemned by the Ordinary Universal Magisterium

With this negative criterion we return to the rule enounced by St. Vincent of Lerins as explained by Cardinal Franzelin–and, following his lead, Fr. Lucien himself: That which has been believed explicitly, continually in time, everywhere, and by all is a truth of Catholic faith, against which no contemporary consensus can ever prevail. The religious liberty preached since Vatican II goes against the explicit, constant, and unanimous teaching of the Church; it is the chief manifestation of the new "heresy of the 20th century," the modernist heresy.


Translated exclusively by Angelus Press from the Courrier de Rome (Feb. 2008, pp.1-6). Abridged 25% by James Vogel, Assistant Editor on the staff. Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, a Frenchman, a graduate of the French École Nationale des Chartes, was ordained in 1996 at Écône, and has been professor of philosophy and theology at the seminary there ever since.

1 Fr. Bernard Lucien (b. 1952) was ordained a priest at Ecône in 1978. He left the Society of Saint Pius X to join the sedevacantists. In a study published in 1988, he demonstrated the contradiction between the traditional teaching of popes (Gregory XVI and Pius IX) and the doctrine of Vatican II on religious freedom. In 1992, he abandoned sedevacantism to join the "Ecclesia Dei" groups and justify the teachings of Vatican II. After having been a member of the Institute of Christ the King, and having taught at the Fraternity of St. Peter and at the Barroux Monastery, he is now a priest of the archdiocese of Vaduz in Liechtenstein. In conservative conciliar circles, Fr. Lucien is looked upon as an expert on the Magisterium and infallibility. He can be reproached with the same reproach Archbishop Lefebvre made of all the sedevacantist priests who left him, several of whom subsequently adopted the attitudes of Vatican II diametrically opposed to sedevacantism: his analysis is the work of a pure theoretician (trained in mathematics), always torn between two extremes (either Vatican II is wrong and Paul VI was not pope, or else Paul VI was pope and Vatican II is right.

2 Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, tr. by Roy J. Deferrari from the 30th ed. of the Enchiridion Symbolorum [hereafter abbreviated Dz.] (1955; reprint, Loreto Publications, n.d.), 1792.

3 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Theologische Prinzipienlehre (Munich: Erich Wewel Verlag, 1982); English version: (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987), pp. 365-93.

4 Fr. Bernard Lucien, The Degrees of Authority of the Magisterium [French] (La Nef, 2007), p. 178.

5 Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, p. 378.

6 Ibid., p. 381.

7 Ibid., p. 382.

8 The thesis of Father Basil, O.S.B., of the Barroux Monastery goes along this line.

9 Lucien, The Degrees of Authority, pp. 137-58.

10 St. Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium, online at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers.

11 Cardinal Johann Baptist Franzelin, De Divina Traditione, 4th ed. (Rome, 1896), pp. 259-60.

12 Ibid., Thesis 9, corollary 2, p. 82.

13 Pope Pius VII had already condemned the same error in his Apostolic Letter Post tam Diuturnitas of April 29, 1814.

14 See Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Religious Liberty Questioned (Angelus Press, 2002), pp. 22-31.

15 See Cardinal Louis Billot, De Ecclesia, 4th ed. (Rome, 1921), Q.14, Thesis, 31, §1, n. 2, p. 635; Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, s.v. "Infaillibilité"; Lefebvre, Religious Liberty Questioned, pp. 29-31.

16 Franzelin, De Divina Traditione, Thesis 9, corollary 1, p. 82.

17 The Bull Ineffabilis Deus, in the Acta Pii IX, pars 1, Vol. 1, p. 615.

18 Franzelin, De Divina Traditione, p. 82.

19 Cardinal Louis Billot, "Tradition et modernisme: De l'immuable tradition contre la nouvelle hérésie de l'évolutionisme," Courrier de Rome, No. 61, p. 45.

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Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:37 am
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New post Re: SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
Before making any specific comments on this article, I think it useful to place here a common-sense explanation of why the thesis defended by Fr. Gleize must be wrong. The following is from my 1999 article refuting some objections to sedevacantism, "Thoughtless Anti-sedevacantism - A Response to Some Objections" - http://strobertbellarmine.net/contra_objections.html

Quote:
Catholics are taught by their teachers - their pastors, bishops, and the pope. To learn requires holding open one's mind to receive what is being presented. It is essentially a passive activity. To teach is to present with the expectation of being listened to in this way - it is essentially active. Now the reason why Catholics can be certain, when listening to a heretic who appears to possess authority, that what they are hearing is not truth, is because of contradiction. That is, the contradiction between what has been taught before, and what is being taught now. For while it is the role of the student to accept what is taught, it is impossible for a man to hold two contradictory propositions at the same time.

Note that the beginning of this process of identifying heresy, of being alarmed at the possibility, is not an active thing at all. It is passive. In the passive role of being taught, the student is asked to receive two contradictory propositions. The mind fails in the attempt. The student is alarmed, becomes active, and searches for the reason for the contradiction. And after further consideration (if necessary), he decides that the contradiction is real, and rejects the novelty. "Sifting" all that is proposed, to check for possible error, is an activity. A "student" who does this is not really learning - he is placing his own knowledge above that of the teacher, and waiting for the teacher to say something with which he agrees, before "accepting" it. This active "picking and choosing" is not what Catholics do when being taught. It is active, not passive. It is assessing, not learning.

It is possible for a Catholic to be certain that an untruth is an untruth, precisely because the faith resides in the intellect, and the intellect cannot simultaneously hold two mutually incompatible propositions. It is also possible to be certain that a particular untruth is a heresy - by the simple fact that it is incompatible with dogma. That it is possible to be uncertain does not destroy the fact that certainty is also possible. It just means that particular men may be more ignorant than others, or more stupid, or less diligent. But I think it fair to say that every Catholic who has gained the use of reason can identify universal salvation as a heresy, as one example.


The position defended by Fr. Gleize essentially inverts this order of things, and requires the supposed student to know what the faith is prior to being taught it, so as to ensure that his purported teacher does not mislead him.

This should be sufficient basis to mistrust the SSPX thesis and to return to the authoritative texts to seek a better understanding.

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Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:48 am
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New post Re: SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
John Lane wrote:

Quote:
Fr. Lucien's Sophism

This example illustrates why we cannot follow Fr. Lucien's analysis. The explanation he gives of St. Vincent's Rule is taken from Franzelin's treatise; this is uncontested. But far from parrying the argumentation of the Society of Saint Pius X, it serves rather to confirm it. The teaching of Vatican II on religious freedom as it figures in the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae is in formal opposition to the constant, explicit teaching of the Church since Popes Gregory XVI and Pius IX. It can in no way serve as the basis of a legitimate consensus nor prevail against the traditional doctrine. The present-day unanimous consensus of the explicit teaching of the Church is what defines the acts of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. But the teaching that issued from Vatican II cannot claim to represent this consensus, since it contradicts what has been believed explicitly always, everywhere, and by all.


Quote:
Freedom of conscience and worship did not receive explicit condemnation in the documents of the Magisterium until the time when human weakness and perversity had perfected this pernicious error.


They reject religious liberty, not by looking at tradition, but from previous teachings of the Church's magisterium. The truth that Catholic civil authority has the right to bar public non-Catholic religious activity, was it always believed explicitly? To find out if it was or not would require us to research all of this on our own.

My understanding is that most of what we reject from Vatican II is not due to a moral unanimity previous in time for each contested point of doctrine contained in the council, but condemnations coming from the Church's magisterium.


Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:06 am
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New post Re: SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
An example, take ecumenism. Before Vatican II, ecumenism of the return, after, ecumenism towards promoting unity with heretics, schismatics, and infidels. We don't need to know that ecumenism of the return has always been the Church's policy, we know this modern ecumenism is false because of Church teaching like that found in Mortalium Animos.

http://www.cmri.org/02-v2_ecumenism.shtml

Does anyone see early Church fathers being quoted? Authentic tradition is the remote rule of faith, the magisterium is the proximate. Catholics should never have to sift through the remote, to verify the proximate. It's the Church's magisterium that tells us what is authentic tradition, not us.

I think the SSPX position on the ordinary and universal magisterium is the same as that of the Feeneyites and Old "Catholics". Sure seems that way.


Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:19 am
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New post Re: Wilhelm & Scannell on the Magisterium
Mr. Lane, I was wondering, all Catholic doctrine must emanate from the sources of revelation, which is Holy Scripture and authentic Tradition. The magisterium is the interpreter of these sources.

In your statement "in the case of the universal magisterium we may judge that the Church has committed herself on a particular point when all of the bishops agree – time is irrelevant, and so is tradition"

I figured no problem, if a dogma of the universal and ordinary magisterium isn't found in Tradition, it's in Holy Scripture. A dogma can be in either source or simultaneously in both, but it needs to be at least in one or the other. Do I understand this right?


Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:49 am
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Quaerere,

It appears to me that there is indeed a false dichotomy put by Fr. Lucien. My own view is summarised above:
John Lane wrote:
I wish to emphasise that we are not here discussing the question of whether we must believe all that our forbears believed, or whether the pope can change the faith, or whether we must reject novelties. All of that we agree with the SSPX on. It's true that nobody can justifiably abandon the truth, not even the bishops or the pope. But we are not discussing whether the faith can change. We are discussing the conditions under which the bishops are understood to teach infallibly. That is, we are trying to understand what objective criteria will signify that we are being taught infallibly by Holy Mother Church.

It is certainly the case that the Church will always maintain and preach the deposit of faith with spotless purity. Therefore the Church will never contradict Tradition or her own earlier definitions. So far so good.

It is also correct to distinguish between the object and the subject of infallibility. The subject is the man exercising the office of teacher; the object is the deposit of faith and those truths so intimately connected with the deposit so as to make it necessary for the Church to be infallible in regard to them also (i.e. the "secondary objects" of infallibility).

Let's examine how Fr. Gleize approaches this. He writes,
Quote:
It is true that the object vouched for as such cannot be the criterion making known the validity of the testimony that guarantees it.

This is a fundamental concession that our view is right. The doctrine cannot be a criterion by which one determines that the teacher speaks infallibly. If it were, then infallibility would be vacated of meaning, and would be reduced to concrete continuity with tradition (which is exactly what most traditionalists reduce it to). That is, we would say that the pope is right when he follows tradition, and wrong when he doesn't. We would not use the term "infallible" at all, because it would have no additional meaning. This is of course why we so commonly see nonsenical statements such as "the ordinary magisterium is what has been believed always, everywhere, and by all." No, that is a sure set of criteria for many truths, but it will not identify all infallible truths or even all dogmatic truths, and in any case it does not describe a personal charism, which is what infallibility really is.

But Fr. Gleize continues:
Quote:
But the object proposed by the Church's Magisterium is not like other things guaranteed by some authority, for it is not an object guaranteed for the first time by the Magisterium. Rather, it is an object already vouched for by Christ and the apostles once and for all because divinely revealed. The Magisterium cannot change the fundamental, initial testimony of the Word Incarnate.

This is true, but the broader conclusion doesn't follow. A distinction must be made which Fr. Gleize misses.

The Church cannot change the deposit of faith, and therefore what was once revealed must always remain true. But new applications of the truth to concrete circumstances become necessary, and new errors which are more or less opposed to the deposit of faith arise, and new historical facts appear (e.g. general councils are held, popes are elected, and both must be known to be valid with infallible certitude).

Fr. Gleize's thesis can't accommodate these developments, and therefore must be mistaken. And it isn't hard to see where - it is precisely that his own statement of principle is true, viz. "the object vouched for as such cannot be the criterion making known the validity of the testimony that guarantees it."

When the Church canonises a saint, the connection between the actual life of the subject of canonisation and the deposit of faith is infallibly taught by the Church. That is, the Church instructs us without the possibility of error that this person lived a life of heroic sanctity and has been admitted to the beatific vision. Further, she instructs us that the deposit of faith applied to this individual's life is what produced that heroic life and its successful result. Now it is obvious that the necessary connection between the life of a man who lived perhaps 1000 years after the death of the last Apostle and the deposit of faith which was complete at the same date, is not something which any member of the faithful can know with complete certitude without the Church's solemn judgement.

We must keep in mind that the secondary objects of infallibility are only within the scope of infallibility by virtue of their necessary connection with the truths of the deposit of faith.

So returning to Fr. Gleize's assertion, we can distinguish. He asserts, "But the object proposed by the Church's Magisterium is ... an object already vouched for by Christ and the apostles once and for all because divinely revealed." Implicitly revealed, this is true. But not all of public revelation was understood explicitly from the beginning. It is precisely the role of the magisterium to unfold and present this original deposit to the men of every subsequent age. This is particularly clear in the case of infallible acts such as canonisations, the approval of the rules of religious orders, and the various kinds of dogmatic facts.

Instead we would say, the object proposed by the magisterium was at least implicit in the revelation of Christ, therefore whatever the Church teaches infallibly was implicit in the revelation of Christ. Just as Van Noort argues from the fact of the Church's practice in infallibly teaching theological conclusions, to the truth that these must be within the scope of infallibility, we may argue from the fact that the Church teaches something infallibly to the conclusion that whatever it is she teaches was included at least implicitly in revelation.

Fr. Gleize continues:
Quote:
That is why an object already guaranteed for the first time by Christ and the apostles is the rule according to which the object proposed by the Church's Magisterium must be judged. A Catholic can therefore perfectly judge the teaching of the present because, if he judges the present, he does not do it like a Protestant, according to his own lights. The Catholic can and even must judge the teaching of the present because he does so by the light of past teaching. It is the past that judges the present, because it is the truth already revealed by Christ and handed down by the Magisterium of yesterday that governs the Magisterium of today.

But this does not follow. As we have seen, not everything implicit in divine revelation has already been sufficiently proposed so as to eliminate all possibility of further clarification. But even if it had been, that would mean that only educated and well-informed Catholics could be safe from error. The whole notion of the preaching of the Church as the proximate rule of faith would be lost.

Finally, there is a concrete example which shows that the SSPX itself does not apply the principle here enunciated by Fr. Gleize. The persistent doubts entertained by the SSPX about modern canonisations is proof that the principle applied to the post-conciliar magisterium is actually something different from that stated here. The reason these canonisations are doubted is not because there was some prior judgement of the Church that Josemaria Escriva (for example) did not live a life heroically in accordance with the Gospels. No, the reason for the doubt is that the individual traditionalist forms his own judgement about that life and its conformance with the Gospels, and that judgement is different from the judgement of what should be the (infallible) solemn magisterium.

The judgement here described is a relation, that is, the relation of the life of this man to the truths of the Gospels. And it is that necessary connection with the deposit of revelation that brings the contingent facts of a human life within the scope of infallibility. In this sense we can say, quite truly, that the Church is infallible about something new. If Fr. Gleize's principle were to be applied consistently, then there would be no basis for disputing these new canonisations. One would either have to jettison Catholic doctrine regarding the secondary objects of infallibility, or alternatively accept all of the solemn judgements of the post-conciliar magisterium as infallible. The first alternative is impossible; the second alternative is not what the SSPX does. Therefore Fr. Gleize's principle is not truly applied by the SSPX.

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Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:16 am
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New post Re: Wilhelm & Scannell on the Magisterium
quaerere wrote:
A dogma can be in either source or simultaneously in both, but it needs to be at least in one or the other. Do I understand this right?

Yes, at least implicitly in one or the other. But infallibility protects the Church when teaching things other than dogma, of course.

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Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:18 am
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New post Re: SSPX position on the ordinary magisterium
Dear Mr. Lane, Salve Maria!

I was really glad to learn that you had reopened these Forums, from which I've learned so much. The Bellarmine Forums have actually been decisive in helping me realize, more than four years ago, that sedevacantism is the true solution, and the only fully Catholic one, to explain this unprecedented crisis.

I have been meaning to write for a while, but only with this topic have I found a simply irresistible occasion to do so.

I'd like to propose to Mr. RJS's attention the following particularly enlightening excerpt from an article in Fr Belmont's excellent blog Quicumque.

(I dared translate it from French to English, even though my native tongue is Brazilian Portuguese, so please tell me if anything sounds awkward. Let's just hope that the original author isn't too upset about such boldness, specially since he most probably knows English much better than I.)

Fr. Belmont presents this article noting that one of its main qualities consists in showing that “certain theories that circulate about the infallibility of the Magisterium are nothing but the analogous of Jansenism”. This is the passage whose translation I now submit to your appreciation:

“[...] Should one of the enumerated conditions [required in order to communicate, viz. having been baptized, having right intention, being in the state of grace, and having fasted] be absent, then one is unworthy of Holy Communion. Should all of them be fulfilled, one isn’t unworthy. But is one worthy? Therein lies a difficulty that it is important to elucidate.

A creature is never worthy of receiving her Creator; worse, a sinner, however repentant, is not worthy to receive He Who is infinite Sanctity, Who has nothing whatsoever in common with sin. One is never worthy of communicating... However, it is Our Lord Himself Who invites us to the Holy Table.

How to solve this aporia? By noticing this salutary truth: that to be worthy of receiving one’s God is not a condition to receiving Holy Communion, it is the outcome of receiving it. It isn’t because we consider ourselves worthy that we dare communicate; we head towards communicating because Jesus Christ invites us to do that, because He calls us all to communicate (by means of those four conditions). And it is Holy Communion that fulfills the indigence of our souls.

One facet of the Jansenist heresy was to confuse condition and outcome. The enemies of Jesus Christ and of His Church pretended that one needs be a saint in order to communicate, while actually sanctity is the fruit of Holy Communion: it is effected, not by our own effort (even though our effort is needed!), but by the action of Jesus Christ infinitely Holy, present in the Blessed Sacrament.

A similar error, and an equally nefarious one, is widespread today in so-called traditional circles: it consists in stating that conformity with Church Tradition is a previous condition for the infallibility of the Magisterium, while in fact this conformity is the outcome of infallibility. This error, forged to escape the logic of faith, is much graver, much more serious than a simple slip: it renders vain the Magisterium of the Church, it renders certainty impossible in the knowledge of divine Revelation, it destroys the faith without which it is impossible to please God.

Far from both of these devastating errors, let us cling to Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man. In Holy Church and through Her, He grants us these two gifts that manifest His infinite goodness: the virtue of faith, by which He illuminates us with Truth eternal; Holy Communion, by which He anticipates in our souls Life eternal, and gives us the means to persevere in it.”

(ARMAND, Holy Communion and the New Jansenism [excerpt], June 2011, translated from: http://www.quicumque.com/article-la-sai ... 55722.html )

Very strong words, and straight to the point, wouldn't you agree?

Yours in JMJ,
Felipe Coelho


Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:24 pm
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