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 Mr. Daly, question about infallibility. 
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Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:15 am
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New post Mr. Daly, question about infallibility.
Mr. Daly,

I have a few questions about infallibility as it relates to the exerpt from Van Noort that Mr. Lane recently posted on the site. Would you have some time to offer your thoughts?

1.) Van Noort speaks of an active and passive infallibility. The active portion belonging to the teaching church, and the passive belonging to those being taught. Does the sedevacantist position state that we no longer have an "active infallibility"?

2.) How are we to understand the infallibility of the church if we do not have a fully functioning active infallibility? In other words...how is the church infallibly protected from error if we do not have a living magestarium?

3.) Do traditional Bishops (Dolan, Sanborn, Fellay, McKenna..etc) participate in this active infallibility in any way?

I certainly appreciate any ideas you have to offer Mr. Daly, as I am an ardent admirer of your writings.

In Jesus and Mary


Sat Jul 01, 2006 11:51 pm
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New post Re: Mr. Daly, question about infallibility.
Bill wrote:
Mr. Daly,
I have a few questions about infallibility as it relates to the exerpt from Van Noort that Mr. Lane recently posted on the site. Would you have some time to offer your thoughts?


Dear Bill,

My apology for not answering these same questions earlier. I hadn't forgotten them and have in fact been pondering them. The one point specifically that I wanted to take particular care with was the question of active infallibility in our time. The brief answer is that, like the papacy, the magisterium exists even when it is not being exercised (or apparently exercised, if you prefer), so that the Church can be said to be infallible in her teaching office even when her teaching office is not being exercised. But I don't suppose this will suffice to satisfy anything but the bare question, and I did want to put forward some more profound considerations in the attempt to expose the mind of the theologians on the matter and thus shed more light on our present position.

I do hope Mr. Daly can find time to respond. I'd be most interested in his insights also.

Passive infallibility is simpler - the whole Church hasn't accepted the errors of V2 etc.

No, the traditional bishops do not exercise the magisterium.

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In Christ our King.


Sun Jul 02, 2006 1:18 am
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Dear Bill,

Thanks for this very interesting post. John Lane has already posted a partial reply to it, which I fully agree with. Below I shall add some further observations:

Quote:
I have a few questions about infallibility as it relates to the excerpt from Van Noort that Mr. Lane recently posted on the site. Would you have some time to offer your thoughts?
1.) Van Noort speaks of an active and passive infallibility. The active portion belonging to the teaching church, and the passive belonging to those being taught. Does the sedevacantist position state that we no longer have an "active infallibility"?


JSD: Can I before trying to answer this make an important preliminary point about infallibility? What I want to emphasize is that infallibility is not a function or power of the Church. It is a quality that belongs to her insofar as she teaches. Popes and bishops do not decide to exercise infallibility. They decide to teach the faithful about faith and morals. If their teaching is given in such a way as to make it clear that the Church has committed herself on the subject, there is no possibility that this teaching could be incorrect. This impossibility of erring is called infallibility. It belongs to the very nature of the Church's teaching office.

Here is an analogy: if the Church taught us by means of a computer, there would be no button on the computer marked "infallibility" which she could switch on and off. Infallibility would "cut in" as required to avoid the possibility that Christ's Church could lead into error Christ's faithful (who have been told to believe what the Church tells them). The Church's "anti-virus protection" is always activated, whirring away in the background, ready to prevent any encroachment of error into official doctrine transmitted by the teaching Church. But infallibility is not the name of this unswitch-off-able anti-virus programme. The programme is simply the Holy Ghost. Infallibility (=unfailingness) is the consequence of the Holy Ghost's protective action – a quality of the Church as teacher, giving to her known teaching the quality of being certainly true and therefore unchangeable.

If I have succeeded in making this clear, you will see that the expression "a fully functioning active infallibility" is liable to mislead. Qualities don't in fact "function".

What is not "fully functioning" today is the Church's teaching authority itself. This does not mean that the Church has ceased to teach. The Church's role as teacher has several stages. It might be easier to understand them if you take the analogy of a father teaching his young children. For the father too, though not infallible, has divine authority to teach and his young children are obliged by divine law to submit to his teaching.

Yesterday I communicated to my children several items of formal teaching, for instance: 1. they must not in any circumstances hit one another; 2. the plants in their garden will die if they are not watered in warm dry weather; 3. it is imprudent to leave a rake on the ground with the tines upwards.

Now while I was telling them these things, I was a "fully functioning" teaching authority. But when I ceased to communicate truths to my children and went about my other affairs, my teaching authority did not simply cease. I continued to be their teacher in that 1. my authority continued to oblige them to believe the teachings they knew I had communicated, and 2. they were also bound to believe any further teaching I might give them in due course.

All of this applies fairly closely to the Church. In our days, the Church is not actively communicating truths to us by new acts of her teaching authority, but she is still our teacher in that we continue to be obliged to believe all the teachings she has already given us and all that she may yet give us. Certainly her present state is not that of the father who is silent for a short time but will resume teaching tomorrow. Her teaching authority resembles more that of the father who is absent for a long time, but who has left detailed instructions for his children and promised to return.


Quote:
2.) How are we to understand the infallibility of the church if we do not have a fully functioning active infallibility? In other words...how is the church infallibly protected from error if we do not have a living magisterium?

JSD: I would answer that, 1. The Church is even today infallibly protected from error in several ways: 1. the teachings she has already given us remain infallibly true; 2. her abiding authority still obliges us to believe them; 3. she remains at least remotely able to resume new positive acts of teaching; 4. the mass of those who remain truly identifiable as faithful subjects of her magisterium do in fact continue to believe her teaching, though the finer, less essential details of their orthodoxy are inevitably often somewhat blurred just as children, even if well disposed, will not follow the written instructions of their absent father as well as if he were present to remind and correct anew each day. This last point is what is sometimes called passive infallibility.

I hope this helps make things clearer. Philosophy has a series of distinctions of what are called first and second acts which could be used to analyse in what sense the Church, even during a prolonged vacancy of the Holy See and almost all episcopal sees, continues to be our inerrant divine teacher, but I suspet that my more homely outline above is more what you were looking for.

Best wishes in Jesus and Mary,

John Daly


Sun Jul 02, 2006 6:45 pm
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Mr. Daly,


Yes, that cleared things up quite a bit, and has given me further avenues of study. Thank you.

Mr. Lane

Thank you as well. I re-posted the question to Mr. Daly because I thought perhaps you missed the initial post...and were "gearing up" for your conversation in the "Cracks appearing" thread (a discussion I'm quite looking forward to). I would certainly appreciate any insights of yours, on the nature of infallibillity in the church today, in the future.

My God bless you both in your continued efforts.


Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:44 pm
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Having read the above and agreeing in principle with much of Mr Daly's thoughts, the question still lingers - In a living Church there are always going to be new questions and new problems that need the 'teaching authority' of the Church to be applied. How could Our Blessed Lord have left us with no guiding hand? Are we to believe that we have no need of the infallible teaching authority in these times? Are we to suppose that the Father has gone away without leaving his children any idea on how to deal with new situations? You have taught your children not to hit each other but what if you have not taught them what to do when someone else comes along and hits them? It is nonsense to suppose that new situations are not going to arise that require the teaching authority (infallible or not) of the Church. Mr Daly has not answered the question - Who has the authority to deal with these situations? :?

"As absurd as it would be to suppose that the power of the English law lapses during the vacations, or that a man dies if he dozes. On the other hand, if the law courts never sit, the legal system collapses; if a man never wakes up he is as good as dead. So it is a grave disaster, though not fatal, if there is for some time widespread uncertainty as between two soi-distant Popes. It would, on the other hand, BE FATAL (my emphasis) to the life of the Church if the Papacy was permanently paralysed."


Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:58 pm
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Pia,

You said Mr. Daly did not answer the question of..."Who has the authority to deal with these situations?". Well, that's o.k. because I never asked that question. My questions revolved around the nature of infallibility given the current situation in the church today. He answered those questions to my satisfaction.

In Jesus and Mary.


Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:30 pm
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Sorry about that Bill- my mistake I thought your points/questions 2 and 3 were in some way asking what I put more simply.

Still perhaps someone - if not Mr Daly - could answer 'my' question?

Pia :)


Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:47 pm
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Pia,

No problem. :D

In Jesus and Mary


Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:39 am
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Dear Pia,

Quote:
Who has the authority to deal with these situations?


I don't know anyone who has.

I agree that this is very grave, very unusual and cannot be permanent.

But I can't see that it conflicts with any Catholic doctrine, as the other explanations of the crisis all seem to.

And it is some consolation that the Church has been teaching us for 2000 years that she will one day undergo an incredibly grave crisis through a massive apostasy.

In Domino et Domina,

John


Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:14 pm
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