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 Strongest arguments against sedevacantism 
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
RJS wrote:
Suffice it to say that the current confusion, errors, and double-speaking coming from members of the hierarchy does not constitute teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.


Dear RJS,

There is nothing unclear about the doctrine of religious liberty taught by all of the bishops of the New Church. The only ones who are unclear about it are people like Brian Harrison and you (i.e. not members of that hierarchy) who are not reading the text objectively.

Have a look at this mumbling misfit, who passes as one of the most conservative and orthodox of the members of that hierarchy, and who is lionised by conservative Novus Ordoites as a great white hope against "real" Modernists. Is is he a proponent of your reading of Dignitatis Humanae, do you think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Kt2PMa4zY


John,

Just to be clear. I detest Dignitatis Humanae, and do not agree with Fr. Harrison regarding religious liberty. I am pretty sure you and I are in perfect agreement on religious liberty. I have gone through D.H. in great detail to see if there was any way to "interpret" it in accord with what the Church teaches. About half way through, I got so disgusted and so angry that I stopped.

I also realize that Paul VI and John Paul II "the great" (and now Benedict XVI) have used this horrible document to promote false religious liberty - exactly what was condemned by the prior popes! I think the only area of disagreement that you and I have over D.H. is that you think it was protected by infallibility and I do not.


Last edited by RJS on Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:10 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
quaerere wrote:
How does he come up with the implied assertion that the SSPX believes that a Catholic civil authority can coerce belief in the Catholic faith? I've never read such a statement.

It's the old lie that preventing false religions from publicly performing their false rites, or punishing Christians for breaking their baptismal vows publicly, is the same as forcing people to convert.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:11 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
RJS wrote:
I asked this in my last post: Please explain the difference between the act of teaching an infallibly defined doctine, and the act of defining a doctrine infallibly.


Why? You're the one claiming that there's a difference. I don't see what it is, except on the hypothesis that you reduce infallibility to solemn definitions.


OK. That is the problem. Now everything makes sense. It is late here and I have to get to sleep. I will be busy at work all day tomorrow and won't be able to reply until the evening. In the meantime, try to figure out the difference between teaching infallible truths and teaching infallible definitions, and the act of defining a doctrine.

To help you grasp the difference, consider that you yourself, and I myself, can teach our children infallibly defined truths, and we can also teach our children doctrinal definitions, yet neither you nor I are able to infallibly define a doctrine. This should help you to arrive at the answer on your own.


Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:19 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
OK. That is the problem. Now everything makes sense. It is late here and I have to get to sleep. I will be busy at work all day tomorrow and won't be able to reply until the evening.


There's no hurry, I don't mind if you're away for a month, or even if you drop the entire thing. You don't have any serious objection to offer.

RJS wrote:
In the meantime, try to figure out the difference between teaching infallible truths and teaching infallible definitions, and the act of defining a doctrine.

To help you grasp the difference, consider that you yourself, and I myself, can teach our children infallibly defined truths, and we can also teach our children doctrinal definitions, yet neither you nor I are able to infallibly define a doctrine. This should help you to arrive at the answer on your own.


You crack me up.

The difference between the two cases is that you and I can't teach infallibly whereas the magisterium does. What you're looking for is the means to identify when it is exercised infallibly and when not. On your present theory - you're not clear on what that precisely consists of, since you prefer instead to rely on general statements indicating that there are conditions limiting infallibility and the assertion that JSD and myself don't recognise them, which is uselessly imprecise as well as wrong - you appear to think that the magisterium is only infallible when it is exercised solemnly.

To prove that this is not your error, you can follow the suggestion I have now given three or more times - go and identify one or more specific cases in one of the categories mentioned by Zapalena. Your resistance to this suggestion indicates a lack of confidence that you could do it, which in turn proves that you have no clear idea of what to look for - that is, you don't understand the theologians.

The reason it is clear that you don't grasp what is at issue is that you don't use the terms correctly. I've said this several times. The act of defining a doctrine (solemnly or not) is the act of making something clear. It is simply an act of teaching, a teaching activity. You've got this notion that it is some special thing which is done occasionally. It isn't. It's fundamentally necessary to any teaching activity, infallible or not. It's part and parcel of every act of the magisterium, by everyone who exercises it. It's true that in one case an individual bishop may simply adopt a ready-made definition from St. Thomas or a dogmatic text, in his teaching activity, but he may easily not do so and use his own words instead, as long as they are clear. His aim is to get the doctrine into the mind of his auditors. He does this by defining it clearly and presenting it authoritatively. He is a true teacher and he behaves like one, using means appropriate to his audience and the circumstances. This is why there are dozens of catechisms in existence, all with different formulations of the exact same doctrines, which ultimately are of course the objects of the deposit of faith.

Now the act of issuing a catechism is an authoritative act, an act of the ecclesiastical magisterium. It is not in itself, taken as a single act, infallible. That is, the bishop may err in some particular. But insofar as he agrees with all of the bishops around the world (including the Roman pontiff), he is infallible. There is a temptation, very commonly yielded to by incautious thinkers, to reduce this truth to a bad and misleading formula, which effectively inverts the order or reality and makes the doctrine itself the test of the infallibility of the various acts of the magisterium. This is disastrously bad theology and never found in the approved theologians (but almost universal amongst sedeplenist traditionalists). The doctrine is not the test of infallibility, the agreement of the bishops is.

The bishops do not need to announce that they are teaching with the fullness of their power, nor do they need to state explicitly that all must accept their doctrine on pain of grave sin or heresy. This is all implicit in the very fact that they teach authoritatively. What is to be examined is agreement with each other, and that's it. The same is true of the Roman Pontiff when he teaches the whole Church. He is always teaching authoritatively when he addresses the universal Church, that is a given. He may not be teaching a doctrine as such in every word he utters, for example when he only recommends something or reproves something as not safe, but when he teaches a doctrine he is really teaching it and all must accept it. When by the manner in which it is presented it is clear that the definition given is irrevocable, he is infallible.

The Vatican Council defined the infallibility of the pope with all of its essential characteristics. What it did not do is explain all the different ways that those characteristics are verified. That's the job of the theologians, and that's why if we want to understand it we need to consult them.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:08 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
I think the only area of disagreement that you and I have over D.H. is that you think it was protected by infallibility and I do not.


From reading the article by Mr. Daly:

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewtopic.php?p=8267

Quote:
conditions for infallibility were apparently fulfilled


On the universal nature of the ordinary and universal magisterium:

Quote:
The term “universal” implies universality in place, not in time. In technical terms, it is synchronic universality, not diachronic universality, which conditions the infallibility.


Elsewhere, stated by Mr. Lane:

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=29

John Lane wrote:
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.


Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:19 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Mr. Lane, I was wondering about another part of your post, commenting on Dom Nau:

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=29

John Lane wrote:
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.


Reading that and seeing what Fr. Cekada has written:

http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=72&catname=14

Quote:
(b) The reading of St. Vincent's dictum that Mr. Ferrara and SSPX promote — you're not bound by anything a live pope or council teaches, unless it conforms to "tradition" (as understood by lawyers, excommunicates and sundry layfolk) — is dead wrong.

In a lengthy article, the pre-Vatican II theologian G. Bardy demolished this theory, because the right "to fix and define authentic tradition... belongs to the Church, as inheritor of apostolic succession." Without this, St. Vincent's dictum "appears to leave each individual free to seek out which dogmas are accepted everywhere, always and by everyone," thus leaving "to personal choice the right to judge in the last resort."


Also adding Van Noort:

http://strobertbellarmine.net/van_noort_infallibility.html

Quote:
Assertion 1: The Church's infallibility extends to theological conclusions. This proposition is theologically certain.

[. . .]

2. From the mind of the Church. The Church surely makes no mistake when it determines the force and extent of its infallibility, for the greatest of harm would result if the Church, by stretching infallibility beyond its limits, could force everyone to give unqualified assent to a matter about which it is liable to be mistaken. But the fact is that the Church has often and openly expressed its conviction of being infallible in the matter of theological conclusions. It has expressed this conviction at least in an active, practical way, by irrevocably repudiating doctrines which, while not directly opposed to revealed truths, are opposed to theological conclusions. See, e.g., DB 602, 679, 1542, 1748.


To illustrate your point about time and tradition would this example suffice: we don't accept Vatican II's teaching on religious liberty because we look at what the early Church fathers held, but we use the magisterium of the Church as our rule of faith, authentic tradition being one source of that. We don't look to see if religious liberty is something that has been accepted "everywhere, always and by everyone", per Fr. Cekada's quotation of St. Vincent, but seeing that religious liberty has been condemned in the past, per Van Noort.


Last edited by quaerere on Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:52 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
It seems that when the Church condemns teachings opposed to theological conclusions and when there is moral unanimity about following that condemnation by the bishops that comprises a teaching of the universal, ordinary magisterium.

This is different from moral unanimity with certain doctrines like every Catholic having a guardian angel, or baptism of blood and desire. There isn't a condemnation, but affirmative teaching.

Although, concerning the latter there's the condemnations of certain errors by Michael du Bay.


Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:10 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
quaerere wrote:
It seems that when the Church condemns teachings opposed to theological conclusions and when there is moral unanimity about following that condemnation by the bishops that comprises a teaching of the universal, ordinary magisterium.


No, condemnations by the sovereign pontiff are infallible in themselves. Condemnations by the Holy Office, when only approved by the sovereign pontiff in general, are not infallible acts, but when approved specifically, they are infallible also because they are his acts directly.

[Edit: By the way, this is an excellent example of the distinction between those occasions when the Roman Pontiff employs the fullness of his power and those occasions when he does not do so. The cardinals of the Holy Office are granted delegated authority to deal with the matters proper to the Holy Office. When the Roman Pontiff approves their acts generally, he does not make them his own direct acts - he leaves their status untouched, which is that they are acts of his delegates. It is his authority they wield, but not in its fullness. However when the Roman Pontiff approves a particular decision specifically, he makes the act his own and thereby employs the fullness of his power, which is infallible.]

No theologian that I've seen deals with the situation you suggest, which is a condemnation which is not per se infallible but which is accepted by all the bishops, but that would be because the role of the bishops isn't to condemn doctrines but to teach. Condemning errors authoritatively is the exclusive realm of the pope.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:20 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
quaerere wrote:
To illustrate your point about time and tradition would this example suffice: we don't accept Vatican II's teaching on religious liberty because we look at what the early Church fathers held, but we use the magisterium of the Church as our rule of faith, authentic tradition being one source of that. We don't look to see if religious liberty is something that has been accepted "everywhere, always and by everyone", per Fr. Cekada's quotation of St. Vincent, but seeing that religious liberty has been condemned in the past, per Van Noort.


Yes, that's right.

You might also notice that Van Noort in the passage you quote is arguing as follows:

Major: If the Church improperly extended the scope of infallibility this would cause the greatest harm.
Minor: The Church teaches theological conclusions infallibly.
Conclusion: Therefore the scope of infallibility must extend to theological conclusions.

RSJ thinks that this text is a warning against extending the scope of infallibility too far. In fact, the meaning of this passage is almost the exact opposite of his reading. This illustrates how hopeless it is to read these things rapidly and with preconceived notions, looking (even unconsciously) for texts that support one's prejudices.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:27 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Dear RJS,

Do you think you've been clear and consistent regarding Dignitatis Humanae?

Here's what you said before:
RJS wrote:
But , even if it was a doctrinal definition (which I am willing to concede for the sake of argument), the statement is not false. As I showed in a prior reply, man DOES have a right to religious liberty, as long as this is understood correctly. Man has a moral right, based on his "dignity", to practice the true religion. Every single man without exception has this right.


And now you assert this:
RJS wrote:
Just to be clear. I detest Dignitatis Humanae, and do not agree with Fr. Harrison regarding religious liberty. I am pretty sure you and I are in perfect agreement on religious liberty. I have gone through D.H. in great detail to see if there was any way to "interpret" it in accord with what the Church teaches. About half way through, I got so disgusted and so angry that I stopped.


I'm glad you changed your mind, but it would be better to say so when this happens.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:02 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Mr. Lane, I'm a little perplexed about an objection made against Mr. Daly's position on the universal nature of the universal ordinary magisterium. There is an individual that has the theological position of recognize and resist. He thinks that when one says that the conditions for infallibility were apparently fulfilled at Vatican II that we can't reject the council, but must accept it. I believe from his reasoning he means to say that when Mr. Daly states this about the universal ordinary magisterium:

Quote:
The term “universal” implies universality in place, not in time. In technical terms, it is synchronic universality, not diachronic universality, which conditions the infallibility.


He concludes that tradition plays no part in determining the infallibility of the universal ordinary magisterium. I think his reasoning is that if we don't make authentic tradition as the essential component of the universal ordinary magisterium, then we can't utilize tradition in rejecting Vatican II.

My thoughts are that Mr. Daly's point is correct, because we don't utilize tradition to reject the Vatican II documents, but past teachings of the Church's magisterium. This goes back to the point I made that we don't look to the early Church fathers, but the magisterium of the Church who interprets the sources of revelation, of which the early Church fathers are a part of authentic tradition. Although, I wonder if he thinks the past teachings of the magisterium are considered as part of tradition, but it seems we must make a distinction between authentic tradition and the magisterium of the Church. Otherwise we run afoul of what Fr. Cekada mentions:

http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=72&catname=14

Quote:
(b) The reading of St. Vincent's dictum that Mr. Ferrara and SSPX promote — you're not bound by anything a live pope or council teaches, unless it conforms to "tradition" (as understood by lawyers, excommunicates and sundry layfolk) — is dead wrong.

In a lengthy article, the pre-Vatican II theologian G. Bardy demolished this theory, because the right "to fix and define authentic tradition... belongs to the Church, as inheritor of apostolic succession." Without this, St. Vincent's dictum "appears to leave each individual free to seek out which dogmas are accepted everywhere, always and by everyone," thus leaving "to personal choice the right to judge in the last resort."


We refer back to the magisterium of the Church, not authentic tradition. It's the Church's job to interpret what is, and isn't authentic tradition, not each individual.


Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:04 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
I believe he also reasons that when it's stated that the conditions for infallibility were apparently fulfilled at Vatican II, we mean to say that everything is infallible truth. I don't think we say everything is such, but everything in a document of a general council is certainly infallibly safe. Is this correct?


Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:07 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Dear RJS,

Do you think you've been clear and consistent regarding Dignitatis Humanae?

Here's what you said before:
RJS wrote:
But , even if it was a doctrinal definition (which I am willing to concede for the sake of argument), the statement is not false. As I showed in a prior reply, man DOES have a right to religious liberty, as long as this is understood correctly. Man has a moral right, based on his "dignity", to practice the true religion. Every single man without exception has this right.


And now you assert this:
RJS wrote:
Just to be clear. I detest Dignitatis Humanae, and do not agree with Fr. Harrison regarding religious liberty. I am pretty sure you and I are in perfect agreement on religious liberty. I have gone through D.H. in great detail to see if there was any way to "interpret" it in accord with what the Church teaches. About half way through, I got so disgusted and so angry that I stopped.


I'm glad you changed your mind, but it would be better to say so when this happens.


John,

No, there wasn't a change in my position. In the first quote you cited (above), I was referencing the specific statement from D.H. that you said was a "doctrinal definition". Although I disagreed that the statement was inteded to define anything, I said I would condede the point for the sake of the discussion, and then showed that, even if the specific quote was a "defintion", the citation in question (the "definition") allowed for a correct interpretation, and therefore was not heretical. Remember, according to the quotation from Van Noort that I quoted over and over again, within a dogmatic council document, only the definitions are protected by infallibility. Since what you claimed to be a "definition" allowed for a correct interpretation, the fact that other parts of the same document may be inexcusable did not touch on the question of infallibility, since those parts were separate from the "definition".

Regarding the second quote that you cited above, I wanted to make it clear that I was not trying to defend Dignitatis Humanea in this discussion. My only point is that I do not believe it violated infallibility since 1) It didn't "clearly define" anything, and 2) even if the citation you quoted was a definition, it was not heretical since it allowed for a true interpretation.


Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:35 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
quaerere wrote:
I believe he also reasons that when it's stated that the conditions for infallibility were apparently fulfilled at Vatican II, we mean to say that everything is infallible truth. I don't think we say everything is such, but everything in a document of a general council is certainly infallibly safe. Is this correct?


Yes, and yes.

What's really weird is when you show these types what the Church teaches, they turn around and accuse you of believing that every word of a pope or council is infallible, or something equally crass. Every time. It's like they live in a parallel universe where we must be wrong and everything else, including reason itself, will bend to fit their desire.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:40 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
RSJ thinks that this text is a warning against extending the scope of infallibility too far. In fact, the meaning of this passage is almost the exact opposite of his reading. This illustrates how hopeless it is to read these things rapidly and with preconceived notions, looking (even unconsciously) for texts that support one's prejudices.


John,

I was aware of exactly what the quote I provided was referring to. The statement that the greatest danger would result if the Church extended infallibility to far was used to show that, since the Church DOES extend infallibility to theological conclusion, it is proof that theological conclusions fall within the scope of infallibility. My only point for quoting what I did was to show that Van Noort believed (as I do) that stretching infallibility to far can result in the greatest danger.

We have examples of this danger today. On the one hand, the Novus Ordos think Papal infallibility means the pope can do not wrong, and therefore whatever he says must be true. That is taking infallibility to far.

Some Sedevacantists fall into the same error in the opposite direction. Taking Papal infallibility too far, the see the Pope apparently falling into error, and conclude that he must not be the Pope.

In that day of complete confusion, we have to be careful not to deviate one way or the other, which can easily happen if we take infallibility to far. That was my point.


Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:54 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
Regarding the second quote that you cited above, I wanted to make it clear that I was not trying to defend Dignitatis Humanea in this discussion. My only point is that I do not believe it violated infallibility since 1) It didn't "clearly define" anything, and 2) even if the citation you quoted was a definition, it was not heretical since it allowed for a true interpretation.


Dear RJS,

I accept that you don't think Dignitatis Humanae is clear. Unfortunately for you, everybody except those few of us who don't like it think it is clear. It's objectively clear. If you applied the interpretative principles you and Brian Harrison apply to DH, there would be hardly a clear definition in the history of the magisterium.

Heresy isn't the issue as such, of course. Error is. Infallibility is opposed to error, not necessarily heresy.

You also have to try and find a theory of the ordinary, universal magisterium which will accommodate the plain fact that all of the bishops preach the heretical doctrine of religious liberty, not yours and Brian Harrison's. But the bishops are infallible when they agree, so if those are your bishops, you must believe them.

But you don't believe them, do you? You don't look to them to teach you a darn thing, nor Benedict and for the same reason. That is, you have zero trust in them as teachers. They are not your proximate rule of faith, as Pius XII and his bishops were to the faithful in his pontificate, and as is dogmatically always the case in every era of the Church.

So you need a new theory of infallibility generally, especially in relation to the ordinary, universal magisterium, and you need a new theory of the role of the hierarchy so as to restrict it to a kind of ceremonial role only (with ugly, profane ceremonies nevertheless, not beautiful Catholic ones).

When you have those theories sorted, let us know and we'll set you another score of similar challenges. There isn't much left of the constitution of the Church once you insist that Paul VI was pope.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:01 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
My only point for quoting what I did was to show that Van Noort believed (as I do) that stretching infallibility to far can result in the greatest danger.


Well that isn't what he said, so your quote is entirely out of context.

The danger envisioned by theologians is in artificially minimising infallibility, actually.

But leave that aside. The fact is that I have written a great deal on infallibility and pointed you to whole threads on it, so you know full well that I accept that infallibility has limits, and I have said what they are. So your point is merely begging the question. The argument is precisely about what those limits are.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:04 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
quaerere wrote:
I believe he also reasons that when it's stated that the conditions for infallibility were apparently fulfilled at Vatican II, we mean to say that everything is infallible truth. I don't think we say everything is such, but everything in a document of a general council is certainly infallibly safe. Is this correct?


Yes, and yes.

What's really weird is when you show these types what the Church teaches, they turn around and accuse you of believing that every word of a pope or council is infallible, or something equally crass. Every time. It's like they live in a parallel universe where we must be wrong and everything else, including reason itself, will bend to fit their desire.


The problem that "those people" have is that, whereas you concede that not everything in a council document is protected by infallibility, when you then see an error in a conciliar document you conclude that the Pope who ratified the document must have not been a real pope, since infallibility would prevent a real pope from ratifying a document that contained an error.

You then point to an ambiguous passage within a bad document and claim that this passage was intended to be a doctrinal definition. But, as Van Noor teaches, in order for a statement within a conciliar document to constitute a definition, the authorities must "clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they 'define'..." the doctrine, (which would then be protected by infallibility.

And then when these people quote the pope who ratified the Council saying that the Council "avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church's infallible teaching authority" you claim that the ambiguous statement should have been protected by infallibility, not by virtue of a solemn definition, but because it constitutes a teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, as if an ambiguous statement within the document of a council that itself is marked by ambiguity and double-speak, is equivalent to a doctrine that all the Bishops of the world agree is “to be definitively held”.

The following are the problems with that position:

1.) The statement itself is ambiguous and allows for a true interpretation, even if other parts of the document do not.
2.) The statement, which the Council "declared" was not "clearly intended" to be a definition
3.) The ambiguous statement does not constitute an error being taught by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.


Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:43 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Quote:
AD. Tanquerey, A Manual of Dogmatic Theology, transl. by Rev. Msgr. John J. Byrnes, Desclee, New York, 1959, pp. 176-182. All emphasis in the original. Tract V, The Sources Of Revelation, Tradition, The Organs of Tradition.

B The Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church.

The ordinary and universal magisterium is that which is carried on daily through the continuous preaching of the Church among all peoples. It includes:

1. The preaching and proclamations of the Corporate Body of Bishops,
2. universal custom or practice associated with dogma,
3. the consensus or agreement of the Fathers and of the Theologians,
4. the common or general understanding of the faithful.


John,

In your opinion why does Tanguerey included the consensus of the Fathers in the teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.


Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:44 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
The ambiguous statement does not constitute an error being taught by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.


But isn't the "ambiguous statement" actually taught by all the Conciliar bishops and the Conciliar pope as being the true teaching of the Church today?

In my experience, most Catholics today think infallibility extends only to what is between, "He who says...let him be anathema". Thus they can easily claim that Vatican II taught nothing infallibly because there were no solemn definitions.

If all the bishops of the world can be completely wrong today (for example, concerning religious liberty, the inadmissibility of capital punishment, or that the Jews can be saved through the Old Covenant and need not believe in Jesus Christ) and still be considered the ordinary and universal magisterium, just not exercising infallibility, then the faithful can never, ever know when the bishops are teaching the Catholic faith or when they are just talking. If this is the case then Catholics can simply never listen to the bishops today without constantly looking to all the old theology manuals, encyclicals, general councils, etc. But the problem is that if we can't reliably listen to what the bishops teach today, what makes anyone think that we can listen to what they taught yesterday, last century, or last millennium?

If all the bishops today can teach error in one era because infallibility requires both space and time, and there is a discrepancy between what was taught yesterday and today, then by what principle is yesterday's teaching always the infallible teaching while today's teaching must be the error. If all the bishops today can teach error because infallibility requires both space and time, is it not possible that all the bishops in the past teaching that man did not have a fundamental God-given right to worship false gods was in error while today's bishop who teach that man has a fundamental God-given right to worship false gods and that it is actually wrong to seek their conversion be the infallible doctrine? By what principle could anyone actually know?

In fact, we could never know what the Church truly teaches on any subject unless it were solemnly declared in General Council or by solemn declaration of the pope. But, frankly, that is really what most Catholics today think. Everything else is up for grabs which is why many people no longer believe many teachings of the Church in regards to the Sixth and Ninth Commandments since those issues were never solemnly declared and so many priests and bishops say things that seem to make allowances that they didn't used to make.


Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:28 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
TKGS wrote:
RJS wrote:
The ambiguous statement does not constitute an error being taught by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.


But isn't the "ambiguous statement" actually taught by all the Conciliar bishops and the Conciliar pope as being the true teaching of the Church today?


The Pope sure seems to be teaching the false notion of religious liberty. And while I don't claim to know what all the Bishops believe on this point, I can say that I don't know of any with the courage to reisist what the Pope appears to be teaching.

TKGS wrote:
In my experience, most Catholics today think infallibility extends only to what is between, "He who says...let him be anathema". Thus they can easily claim that Vatican II taught nothing infallibly because there were no solemn definitions.


I agree to an extent. But I think most informed Catholics realize that Vatican II didn't define any new doctrines. The only infallibly defined teachings of Vatican II are those that were defined prior to the Council. Any teachings of Vatican II which had not been previously defined, but which form part of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are also binding.

TKGS wrote:
If all the bishops of the world can be completely wrong today (for example, concerning religious liberty, the inadmissibility of capital punishment, or that the Jews can be saved through the Old Covenant and need not believe in Jesus Christ) and still be considered the ordinary and universal magisterium...


First, we don't know what they all teach. Secondly, any errors being taught by Bishops today do not contittute teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium. The only thing universal about the teaching of the ordinary magisterium today is confusion.

TKGS wrote:
... the faithful can never, ever know when the bishops are teaching the Catholic faith or when they are just talking. If this is the case then Catholics can simply never listen to the bishops today without constantly looking to all the old theology manuals, encyclicals, general councils, etc. But the problem is that if we can't reliably listen to what the bishops teach today, what makes anyone think that we can listen to what they taught yesterday, last century, or last millennium?


Because then the Bishops all taught the same thing, and the "same thing" was the Catholic Faith. They knew the faith and they taught it. Today the Bishops are in a state of confusion, which has left the faithful to fend for themselves. But God never allows us to be tempted without providing what is necessary for us. Notice that today, when there is so much confusion in the Church, we have access to more information than at any time in the entire history of the Church. Just about anything we can image is at our fingertips. In our day of heresy and confusion, we have to use what God has given us to learn the faith on our own. That is the situation that we are in. If we do our part, God will help us. That is certain.

But let me also add ths: We have to be very careful to not fall into a rash judgment and false conclusion. We have to keep our will as neutral as possible, and remain as honest as possible with ourselves. Arriving at a conclusion regarding Sedevacantism, for example, and then holding firm to this position is extremely dangerous. Consider how many errors there were over our Lord's Passion. Some could not understand how God could suffer what He did. As a result there were errors on both sides. Similarly today, when the mystical body is suffering what the Head of the Church suffered, we should expect to find errors on both sides of the truth. I don't know if the Sedevacantis position is correct, but so far I have not been persuaded. In fact, after the debate I had in this thread I am more convinced than ever that it is not correct, although I am still willing to consider the issue further.

TKGS wrote:
If all the bishops today can teach error in one era because infallibility requires both space and time, and there is a discrepancy between what was taught yesterday and today, then by what principle is yesterday's teaching always the infallible teaching while today's teaching must be the error.


Revelation ended with the death of the last apostle, at which time the Deposit of Faith was complete. The hierarchy then had the duty to protect this Deposit by defining the doctrines contained within it when necessary, and condemning the contrary errors. For 1950 years the Church did this. The result is that virtually every error has been condemned, and a vast majority of the doctrines defined. The pre-Vatican II catechisms provide the official teachings of the Church - including those doctrines that have been defined and those that have been taught, at least implicitly, from the beginning. So much has been defined, and so many errors condemned, that a Catholic who puts in the effort can know what the Church teaches on just about any point.

TKGS wrote:
If all the bishops today can teach error because infallibility requires both space and time, is it not possible that all the bishops in the past teaching that man did not have a fundamental God-given right to worship false gods was in error while today's bishop who teach that man has a fundamental God-given right to worship false gods and that it is actually wrong to seek their conversion be the infallible doctrine?


Nope. An error of yesterday will never become a truth of tomorrow. Therefore, what was condemned in the past (including the Syllabus of Pius IX) can never become true in the future, regardless of how many bishops teach it and how many remains silent when others teach it.

TKGS wrote:
By what principle could anyone actually know?


Here's the answer to your question:

Quote:
St. Vincent of Lerins: "Moreover, 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,” which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

"What then will a Catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member? What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty.

"But what, if in antiquity itself there be found error on the part of two or three men, or at any rate of a city or even of a province? Then it will be his care by all means, to prefer the decrees, if such there be, of an ancient General Council to the rashness and ignorance of a few. But what, if some error should spring up on which no such decree is found to bear? Then he must collate and consult and interrogate the opinions of the ancients, of those, namely, who, though living in various times and places, yet continuing in the communion and faith of the one Catholic Church, stand forth acknowledged and approved authorities: and whatsoever he shall ascertain to have been held, written, taught, not by one or two of these only, but by all, equally, with one consent, openly, frequently, persistently, that he must understand that he himself also is to believe without any doubt or hesitation".


Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:34 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
The problem that "those people" have is that, whereas you concede that not everything in a council document is protected by infallibility, when you then see an error in a conciliar document you conclude that the Pope who ratified the document must have not been a real pope, since infallibility would prevent a real pope from ratifying a document that contained an error.


But that's not the case you're answering, is it? JS Daly built a case which is very specific, quoting various theologians and Paul VI etc. You have been silent about all of those specific points, preferring to attack the problem in a more general way by discrediting him as ignorant of the doctrine on infallibility. I can only conclude that you either don't know how to argue a case or you prefer not to do so.

It's never too late to go back and do this properly, so feel free to start now.

Quote:
You then point to an ambiguous passage within a bad document and claim that this passage was intended to be a doctrinal definition.

No, we disagree over the question of whether it is ambiguous. I say that any ambiguity is incidental, in that it definitely teaches something, and that something is the doctrine of religious liberty which was universally preached by the bishops and Paul VI from then on, and which only traditional Catholics refuse to accept.

Quote:
But, as Van Noor teaches, in order for a statement within a conciliar document to constitute a definition, the authorities must "clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they 'define'..." the doctrine, (which would then be protected by infallibility.

And I say that you are as confused about the meaning of that text of Van Noort's as you were about his comments on the scope of infallibility.

You think his words are intended to narrow the cases of infallibility down, when in fact he is merely stating the precise nature of the conditions for infallibility. Any parallel from theology would make this clear. For example, only a sane, Catholic, male is valid matter for the papacy, by divine law. This is what the theologians say. Somebody with your approach would seize upon such language and suppose that great care must be taken to ensure that a putative pope is really a male (obviously all popes who haven't been certified as truly male by a panel of cardinal-physicians must be considered objectively doubtful), and really sane (cue the panel of cardinal-psychiatrists), and really Catholic (a certificate from the holy Office, perhaps?).

Likewise a sacrament to be valid requires the use of valid matter, valid form, a proper minister, and the right intention (as well as a proper subject in the case of those sacraments applied to souls directly, such as Baptism). Oh dear, this will never happen. How would we know the intention, which is an internal factor, impossible to be metaphysically certain of? What about the minister? How do we know his baptism was really valid and that he is therefore really a priest?

And you know what? There are people who apply this kind of irrationality to Holy Orders, just as you apply it to infallibility. They run about questioning the validity of the Thuc line and even the Lefebvre line, on the basis that the requirements for validity are so very strict and therefore must be very hard to meet.

Infallible acts are not particularly rare. When the bishops all propose a doctrine to the faithful, whether in a catechism, or in their official preaching, or when gathered together in a general council, they are acting authoritatively (requirement #1 met), they are addressing the whole Church (requirement #2 met), they are acting within the scope of infallibility (requirement #3 met), and if they are clear (requirement #4) they are infallible.

And if you feel that this collides with your prejudices so violently that it simply can't be true, go look at that text from Van Noort again about the scope of infallibility - the one you inverted the meaning of - and ponder how he takes as a given that the scope of infallibility includes whatever the Church has infallibly taught. That is right, it doesn't work the other way around. The faithful, not even the theologians, get to look at the preaching of the bishops and the pope and question whether perhaps their doctrine might just have slipped outside of the scope of infallibility. No, we learn about the scope of infallibility from a docile consideration of the actual preaching of the Church. Why? Because the Church is infallible in determining the scope of infallibility, just as she is in defining what belongs to the deposit of faith, and just as she is in condemning errors more or less opposed to the faith, and just as she is in defining theological conclusions, canonising saints, defining that a particular doctrine is present in a given book, etc.

So if Vatican II was a true general council, when it stated that its erroneous doctrine is divinely revealed, then it did so infallibly. It was infallible in the doctrine itself, and in the fact that this doctrine was revealed by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Quote:
And then when these people quote the pope who ratified the Council saying that the Council "avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church's infallible teaching authority"

He was as wrong about that as he was about religious liberty. But leave that aside, his statement only applies to dogmas. It is not a denial of infallibility generally, and JS Daly makes that point in his article and I've made it here, and you ignore it, just as you ignore the other quotes Daly gives which say the opposite of what you seem determined to believe.

I might add that even if I was wrong about all this I'd still be a sedevacantist, because the New Church doesn't fit the definition of the Catholic Church, doesn't look like the Catholic Church, doesn't act like the Catholic Church, doesn't have the laws that the Catholic Church has, doesn't pray like the Catholic Church and, unlike the Catholic Church, isn't a safe guide for souls. It is the fundamental premise of all traditional Catholics, something every one of us shares, that in order to save our souls we need to maintain the old, true religious beliefs and acts, and avoid the new ones given by "rome." That can only mean one thing - "rome" is not Rome.

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Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:16 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John,

I admit that I haven't read John Daly's article or Van Noort (beyond what is in these posts) etc.
But I just want to check my understanding of what you've said to RJS on a couple points.

Van Noort wrote:
Assertion 1: The Church's infallibility extends to theological conclusions. This proposition is theologically certain.

...

Proof:

...

2. From the mind of the Church. The Church surely makes no mistake when it determines the force and extent of its infallibility, for the greatest of harm would result if the Church, by stretching infallibility beyond its limits, could force everyone to give unqualified assent to a matter about which it is liable to be mistaken. But the fact is that the Church has often and openly expressed its conviction of being infallible in the matter of theological conclusions. It has expressed this conviction at least in an active, practical way, by irrevocably repudiating doctrines which, while not directly opposed to revealed truths, are opposed to theological conclusions. See, e.g., DB 602, 679, 1542, 1748.


Van Noort wrote:
Furthermore, the Church must be infallible not only when it issues a formal decree, but also when it performs some action which, for all practical purposes, is the equivalent of a doctrinal definition.


John Lane to RJS wrote:
...the way you read Van Noort's definition of infallibility itself, you think there must be some solemn formula expressing "supreme magisterial authority" and the intention to bind the Church irrevocably. But no such formula is required, just clarity of meaning.


John Lane to RJS wrote:
... you will look in vain for what you are claiming is necessary for an infallible teaching - that is, the clear statement that this is binding on all and the clear statement that the supreme authority is being invoked. In such a case [action of the Church] there was merely unambiguous actions. Not unambiguous to all, obviously, in the sense that the ill-informed missed the full meaning of them, but sufficiently clear to the learned, that is objectively clear.


John, would you agree that while there needs to be no explicit statements or formula expressing supreme authority and the intention to bind, these things do need to be clearly implied? I think that is (part of?) why you say that Vatican II fulfills all criteria for infallibility, is that right? Its meaning may be ambiguous but its statements certainly appear to be written authoritatively for the entire Church.


Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:21 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
In your opinion why does Tanguerey included the consensus of the Fathers in the teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.


Dear RJS,

I don't have an opinion on that. I have the truth, which is what Tanquerey himself explains at length in those very pages (176ff). These men are witnesses to the teaching of the Church. That is, not official teachers, but witnesses. The same principle underlies his assertion that the unanimous belief of the theologians and even the faithful can be used to prove the doctrines taught by the ordinary magisterium. The principle is: If everybody believes it, the magisterium must have taught it.

But haven't you read it? It's a good presentation. Everybody should read it: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... f=11&t=727

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Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:27 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
TKGS wrote:
But the problem is that if we can't reliably listen to what the bishops teach today, what makes anyone think that we can listen to what they taught yesterday, last century, or last millennium?

Exactly. The Old Catholics didn't accept papal infallibility, precisely because their leaders were historians who were convinced that the doctrine was new, not really traditional.

Quote:
In fact, we could never know what the Church truly teaches on any subject unless it were solemnly declared in General Council or by solemn declaration of the pope. But, frankly, that is really what most Catholics today think.

Except that this is not rational either, because how do they know that a pope whose infallible decrees they seek to rely upon was truly pope? The answer is that the validity of a pope or a general council is taught by the ordinary universal magisterium. No solemn definitions, no fanfare, just day to day preaching.

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Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:34 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
So much has been defined, and so many errors condemned, that a Catholic who puts in the effort can know what the Church teaches on just about any point.


This is simply untrue. There are a huge number of doctrines which have never been solemnly defined, and which may never be solemnly defined, although I wager that a whole swag of them will be solemnly defined when the Church is in a position to deal with Vatican II and its aftermath.

Even the infallibility of the Church has never been solemnly defined. Nor has the infallibility of the ordinary, universal magisterium. The perpetual virginity of Our Lady has never been solemnly defined. Those are just three really striking ones. I could give you three-score examples, I imagine, without even consulting a theology manual. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration - but only because my memory is failing. The number of truths which are definable but not solemnly defined is simply huge.

And on St. Vincent of Lerins, see Cardinal Franzelin (The True Sense of the Vincentian Canon): http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... ?f=2&t=740

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Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:45 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
EaglesWings wrote:
John, would you agree that while there needs to be no explicit statements or formula expressing supreme authority and the intention to bind, these things do need to be clearly implied?


Yes, but that doesn't mean that they need to be particularly implied by the text, in the sense that if the bishops gather together under the Roman Pontiff in a general council and issue a doctrinal text, they are definitely teaching faith or morals to the entire Church authoritatively. That much is implied clearly by the very act.

In the case of the Roman Pontiff acting alone, the situation is slightly more complex, although not particularly hard to understand. An encyclical, for example, is by definition directed to the entire Church, but it is not necessarily all concerned with teaching faith or morals. It may be aimed at edifying the faithful, or recommending a devotion, or warning against particular errors (without infallibly condemning them), etc. Also, I gave the example of the pope as head of the Holy Office, in which he exercises his authority either directly and infallibly, or by delegation and therefore fallibly (but still authoritatively).

But a pope teaching a matter of faith or morals, directly, in an encyclical, is teaching infallibly. And this is especially clear when he gives a judgement on a hitherto disputed point (as Pius XII did in Humani Generis on the immediate source of episcopal jurisdiction: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... ?f=2&t=207).

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Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:59 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
Any teachings of Vatican II which had not been previously defined, but which form part of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are also binding.


Dear RJS,

The magisterium is an office, the teaching office of the Church, as I have pointed out several times. You continue to use the term in a way which indicates you don't accept this fact (you have done this repeatedly). If you don't accept that the magisterium is an office, then you really are not welcome here, because it is a part of the very constitution of the Church. If on the other hand, you merely haven't grasped the importance of precision in these matters (not that this is a very fine point - it's about as fine as a basketball), then this should be a useful wake-up call.

The magisterium is not a collection of teachings, and the ordinary, universal magisterium is not a collection of teachings, and therefore no doctrine forms "part of" the magisterium. A doctrine can only be taught by the magisterium or not taught by the magisterium.

I really believe that if I could break through your carapace in such a way as to get you to go back and actually read the theologians properly, with an open mind, and learn the various terms so that you grasp what each of them actually means, you would enjoy a great deal clearer view of these matters than you currently do.

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Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:12 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
RJS wrote:
Any teachings of Vatican II which had not been previously defined, but which form part of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are also binding.


Dear RJS,

The magisterium is an office, the teaching office of the Church, as I have pointed out several times. You continue to use the term in a way which indicates you don't accept this fact (you have done this repeatedly). If you don't accept that the magisterium is an office, then you really are not welcome here, because it is a part of the very constitution of the Church. If on the other hand, you merely haven't grasped the importance of precision in these matters (not that this is a very fine point - it's about as fine as a basketball), then this should be a useful wake-up call.


John,

I understand that the magisterium is a teaching office. When I used the term "form part of the magisterium", I was referring to the body of teachings coming forth from the ordinary and universal magisterium. While I should have worded that part more clearly, I did phrase it better in the very next paragraph of the same post when I said that any errors being taught by Bishops today do not "constitute teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium". Then, in the sentence after that, I again showed that I realize the magisteriuam is a teaching office when I said "the only thing universal about the teaching of the ordinary magisterium today is confusion".


Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:21 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Infallible acts are not particularly rare. When the bishops all propose a doctrine to the faithful, whether in a catechism, or in their official preaching, or when gathered together in a general council, they are acting authoritatively (requirement #1 met), they are addressing the whole Church (requirement #2 met), they are acting within the scope of infallibility (requirement #3 met), and if they are clear (requirement #4) they are infallible.


John,

Again, you are confusing the act of teaching an infallible truth, with the act of defining a truth infallibly. The Ordinary magisterium is indeed infallible when it teaches an already defined truth, and it is also infallible when it teaches a truth that the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium presents as being definitive.

But when a statement is made within the body of a council, which can be interpeted contrary to what Catholics believed previously (or, due to its ambiguity, in accord with what Catholics believed previously), such a teaching (and by that I meaning the heretical "interpretation" of the teaching) does not fall into either category. The heretical interpretation of the ambiguous statement does not constitute an infallibly defined doctrine, nor does it constitute an error being proposed by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium as something that is to be definitively held.


Quote:
I might add that even if I was wrong about all this I'd still be a sedevacantist, because the New Church doesn't fit the definition of the Catholic Church...


I agree that if you are wrong about this point, it does not necessarily mean that the Sedecavantist position is incorrect. Each point has to be looked at and examined individually.


Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:48 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
Again, you are confusing the act of teaching an infallible truth, with the act of defining a truth infallibly.


OK, please, tell me which theologian you got this distinction from.

Yes, I know you see it all the time on Angelqueen or from SSPX clergy, and everybody is deeply in love with it, but it's actually a load of rubbish. The men who exercise the magisterium teach. Period. They do so fallibly and infallibly. So far so good. But their infallibility has NOTHING to do with those occasions when they are passing on precisely the words of an earlier solemn definition. Nothing at all. No theologian even hints at such a notion. It's rubbish, rubbish, rubbish.

I can repeat the words of a solemn definition. Am I infallible in doing so? No, I'm not, just in case you are tempted to answer "yes." Please don't answer "yes" to that question. Please.

The men who exercise the magisterium are infallible when they fulfill the conditions of infallibility, which is very, very commonly the case. They are fallible when they don't fulfill those conditions. Now watch this sentence closely. None of the conditions of infallibility has anything to do with whether the doctrine taught has been solemnly defined, or indeed whether it has ever been taught before at all. If you disagree, quote a theologian who thinks that the doctrine which is being communicated has any bearing at all on the infallibility or fallibility of the act of teaching. (And the infallible teaching determines the scope of infallibility, not vice versa, as Van Noort tells us.)

And no, St. Vincent of Lerins doesn't even hint at it. Nobody does. Infallibility is a charism given to the teacher, for his act of teaching. The whole point of it is so that we can trust him when he tells us he is teaching us the truth.

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Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:22 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John,

I agree that teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are infallible, and I am not limiting what is definable or what can be proposed for belief by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (not limiting it beyond the limits set by the Church). If a new error emerged, for example, the Church could infallibly condemn it, and it could also infallibly teach the contrary truth, even if the point itself had never been raised.

What it all comes down to is this: The ambiguous statement regarding religious liberty does not violate infallibility in any way, since 1) Due to the ambiguity, it allows for a true interpretation, and 2) the pope was not clearly intending to define an error. Therefore, to say there was no way a true Pope could have ratified Vatican II is simply false.

Now I think I have exhausted everything I can possibly say on this subject. I will be out of town on business for the next few weeks, but I would like to end with two questions if you don't mind.

1.) Do you agree that the citation you provided on religious liberty was not clearly intended to be a doctrinal definition?
2.) Do you agree that the citation you provided is ambiguous enough to be interpreted in a way that is true?


Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:15 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
1.) Do you agree that the citation you provided on religious liberty was not clearly intended to be a doctrinal definition?

No, it clearly was. But for you to have an opinion on that you'd need to know what the conditions of infallibility are and how they are verified. But you won't follow the theologians on this, so we're certainly unable to get any further.

RJS wrote:
2.) Do you agree that the citation you provided is ambiguous enough to be interpreted in a way that is true?

No, it is sufficiently clear. Only those who don't like it look for wriggle room. In this you are exactly like the Feeneyites on Trent. They discovered the true meaning several hundred years later.

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Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:30 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
As a simple reminder that you are not a divine oracle possessing all the knowledge of the theologians, nor are you infallible in your private interpretation of them (as you sometimes seem to forget) let me quote the following false teaching of yours from our dscussion.

John Lane wrote:
Also, read some more theology and see how theologians classify documents as "infallible" or not. They don't say, "Apostolicae Curae was infallible in specific point X and only specific point X and not in its arguments, reasons, and obiter dicta... blah, blah, blah."


You advised me to “read some more theologians” so that I would see that I was mistaken and your were correct. Yet as I showed, your teaching was exactly contrary to Van Noot, whose teaching was in perfect agreement with what I said.

Van Noort wrote:
“The teaching office of the Church or, as they say, “the teaching Church,” is made up of those to whom God entrusted the right and the duty to teach the Christian religion authoritatively. The words “in matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent” are included in the proposition because, according to Catholic teaching, the Church's rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fullness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition, and not the historical observations, reasons for the definition, and so forth. And if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith: a doubtful law is no law at all.”


The Catholic encyclopedia teaches the same.

Catholic Encyclopedia wrote:
“It need only be added here that not everything in a conciliar or papal pronouncement, in which some doctrine is defined, is to be treated as definitive and infallible. For example, in the lengthy Bull of Pius IX defining the Immaculate Conception the strictly definitive and infallible portion is comprised in a sentence or two; and the same is true in many cases in regard to conciliar decisions. The merely argumentative and justificatory statements embodied in definitive judgments, however true and authoritative they may be, are not covered by the guarantee of infallibility which attaches to the strictly definitive sentences — unless, indeed, their infallibility has been previously or subsequently established by an independent decision.


And you didn't even thank me for pointing out your error, and helping you to discover the truth. Or did you hold to your error in spite of what Van Noot taught?


Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:14 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS,

John said:

John Lane wrote:
Also, read some more theology and see how theologians classify documents as "infallible" or not. They don't say, "Apostolicae Curae was infallible in specific point X and only specific point X and not in its arguments, reasons, and obiter dicta... blah, blah, blah." There's no need. If the question is whether Apostolicae Curae is infallible or not, those distinctions are all taken for granted.


I think that you're reading "They don't say" as if it meant "They do not agree" (that Apostolicae Curae was infallible ... [but] not in its arguments, reasons and obiter dicta). But I think that John means what he says, that theologians do not always need to say what they do agree on and take for granted.

So I think John is in agreement with the quote from Van Noort in your last post.

But this is just my interpretation. I probably should just shut up and let you and John speak for yourselves.


Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:16 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
As a simple reminder that you are not a divine oracle possessing all the knowledge of the theologians, nor are you infallible in your private interpretation of them (as you sometimes seem to forget) let me quote the following false teaching of yours from our dscussion.


Good to see you looking up sources. But now you're misquoting me instead of the sources. Go read what I wrote again please. if you can't understand it, and you still think I disagree with the theologians you quote (who are saying exactly what I say) then I can't help you.

I remind you, we were discussing how theologians discuss a particular document, such as Apostolicae Curae, not how they explain infallibility as such. Wow this is hard work!

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Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:48 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
EaglesWings wrote:
But I think that John means what he says, that theologians do not always need to say what they do agree on and take for granted.


That's right. And I made that point because RJS criticised JS Daly for failing to mention every distinction relating to infallibility every time he mentioned it in his article.

So RJS, did you find a theologian discussing a specific document, any document (encyclical, bull, rescript, anything) and see if theologians write like Daly, or not? No, of course you didn't.

I might also point out that your criticism of Daly rested in turn on your mistake about the text of Van Noort, in which you took a statement of fact by Van Noort as a warning not to extend infallibility too far. With that mistake in mind, you fixed upon Daly's presentation as a perfect example of somebody disregarding Van Noort's "warning." So as always, a small error in the beginning leads to chaos in the end.

I can think of four theologians off the top of my head who spent considerable effort combating the notion that infallibility is rare. Mons. Fenton, Canon Smith, Dom Paul Nau, and Fr. de Zulueta. I have never seen one who was concerned that people might take infallibility too far (except for Gallicans and ex-Anglicans prior to 1870, of course). So you're in interesting company.

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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
I might also point out that your criticism of Daly rested in turn on your mistake about the text of Van Noort, in which you took a statement of fact by Van Noort as a warning not to extend infallibility too far. With that mistake in mind, you fixed upon Daly's presentation as a perfect example of somebody disregarding Van Noort's "warning." So as always, a small error in the beginning leads to chaos in the end.


John,

No. You got that completely wrong. First, the comment you are referring to came late in our discussion, and none of my arguments were a result of anything I learned from reading that particular statement of Van Noort. Second, the only reason I quoted it was to respond to something you wrote. This is what you said.

John Lane wrote:
The truth is that your own thesis is misleading by inaccurately narrowing the scope and manner of teaching of the infallible magisterium, and that is truly dangerous.


Since you said it was "truly dangerous" to inaccurately narrow the scope and manner of infallibility (which I wasn't doing), I responded with the quote from Van Noort saying "the greatest harm would result" if the Church extended infallibility too far, because it was clear to me (and it still is clear to me) that this is exactly what you are doing. I knew when I quoted it that Van Noort was dealing what what is definable (whether or not theological conclusions are definable), not the manner in which something is defined, but the statement in an of itself made my point, which is why I quoted it.

John Lane wrote:
I can think of four theologians off the top of my head who spent considerable effort combating the notion that infallibility is rare. Mons. Fenton, Canon Smith, Dom Paul Nau, and Fr. de Zulueta. I have never seen one who was concerned that people might take infallibility too far (except for Gallicans and ex-Anglicans prior to 1870, of course). So you're in interesting company.


But the problem is not me trying to limit infallibility beyond the boundaries established by the Church, but you doing the opposite by claiming that an ambiguous document met the criteria for infallibility so that you can justify your position. No ambiguity within the Vatican II documents was an attempt to define an error, nor what it an attempt by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium to propose an error to be definitively held.

I am going to try this one last time, and then briefly address the issue of the infallibility of the ordinary and universal magisterium.

You admit that the magisterium is infallible when it meets the conditions for infallibility. So far so good. Now, even though Vatican II "was merely pastoral Council" which "defined no dogmas at all", to quote Ratzinger, even within a dogmatic degree of a council, infallibility is only guaranteed when the Bishops use "the fullness of their authority" and "clearly intend to bind everyone" with a "full and absolute assent".

Quote:
Van Noort: “The teaching office of the Church or, as they say, “the teaching Church,” is made up of those to whom God entrusted the right and the duty to teach the Christian religion authoritatively. The words “in matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent” are included in the proposition because, according to Catholic teaching, the Church's rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fullness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition, and not the historical observations, reasons for the definition, and so forth. And if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith: a doubtful law is no law at all.


Nothing in the pastoral council of Vatican II met that condition. Therefore, if a Pope ratified the documents of Vatican II, infallibility would not be violated.

Secondly, while it is true that the ordinary magisterium meets the condition for infallible when a doctrine is proposed that Bishops agree is to be held definitively, the ambiguous teaching on religious liberty from the ambiguous council Vatican II, is not equivalent to an error that all the Bishops of the world agree is to be definitively held. Most of that horrible document allows for a true interpretation. And, if memory serves, in Michael Davies book on religious liberty, he states that one of the final additions to the document, which ended up satisfying some of the more conservative Bishops, was the part that said "therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ".

With all the debate that took place at the Council over that confusing document, and with the addition near the end of the debates of the part quoted above (which is actually located near the beginning of the document), it is certainly rash to claim that the ambiguity within the documents is equivalent to an error that all the Bishops of the world agree is to be definitively held. If you are honest, I think you would have to concede this point.

Vatican II launched the Church into a state of confusion. It did not clarify anything; nor did it "clearly intend" to define anything. While I agree that extreme liberal/heretics emerged at Vatican II and quickly raised like-minded men into positions of authority with along them; and while I also agree that many of them now openly teach the false notion of religious liberty, this point is the topic for another conversation, since this conversation is dealing with Vatican II specifically, and whether or not a real Pope could have signed the documents. If we look only at Vatican II it did not violate infallible, which means it is possible for a real Pope to have signed those documents.

I’m really surprised you are not conceding this point.


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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
No. You got that completely wrong. First, the comment you are referring to came late in our discussion, and none of my arguments were a result of anything I learned from reading that particular statement of Van Noort.


Well that's certainly a pity. I was hoping you got something from an authority instead of just saying what seemed likely to you.

And in case you think that I am just being clever with that comment, stop and think about exactly what you are saying. You are saying that you had an idea and then you came across a text which seemed to confirm it, so you quoted it here. I think it is clear that this is your procedure in every case. The texts come after the ideas. In this present case you had the embarrassment of finding our afterwards that the text you had quoted was essentially saying the very opposite of what you had thought. Wouldn't that be a good reason to rethink your entire approach?

Quote:
But the problem is not me trying to limit infallibility beyond the boundaries established by the Church, but you doing the opposite by claiming that an ambiguous document met the criteria for infallibility so that you can justify your position.

Right, or perhaps I am actually following what the best doctrors say and arriving at a postion based upon that, without pre-judging the case at all.

We both agree that infallibility has limits, so why don't you stop begging the question and reply to what JS Daly actually wrote? Do I have to paste in here each step of his argument, and each quote he gives in support of it, and then instruct you on pain of banning to answer what he actually says?

Quote:
No ambiguity within the Vatican II documents was an attempt to define an error, nor what it an attempt by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium to propose an error to be definitively held.


This is a statement of what has to be proved, but you keep avoiding any attempt actually to prove it. You are clearly under the impression that any ambiguity in a doctrinal statement renders it unclear in such a way as to exclude the possibility that it is sufficiently clear to be a definition, solemn or otherwise. This is completely unfounded. Ambiguity of a certain kind is extremely common in Roman doctrinal statements, and it is used when the author does not wish to alter the status of a subsidiary question but still wishes to make a clear and definitive statement on the main question at issue. We recently discussed on these forums the case of the Suprema Haec Sacra, the Holy Office Letter, which used the device of quoting Holy Writ to the effect that all must believe in God and that He is the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked, instead of making any assertion about what must explicitly be believed by all in order to achieve salvation. Other examples which comes to mind are Pius XII's Sacramentum Ordinis, in which he leaves untouched the question of whether the transmission of the instruments had ever been necessary for validity, deciding only that it will not be necessary for validity in future, and Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae, in which the Holy Father touches but does not decide the question of whether surrounding material may suffice to make sufficiently definite a sacramental form which in itself is not very definite. And those are just three examples off the top of my head without consulting the books. This is how Rome speaks, with precision and without clumsily appearing to decide what she does not wish to decide. Now go and look any of the three up and see if you can grasp this point, because it is vitally important.

The point is, Dignitatis Humanae does indeed contain ambiguity, even within the text that JS Daly has cited as a definite doctrinal statement which ought to have been protected by infallibility. But that ambiguity does not touch the main assertion which that statement makes, which I remind you is that all men have a right to religious liberty which makes it unlawful for the civil power to coerce anybody in matters of religion. That much, the central doctrinal point of the statement, is crystal clear and even Michael Davies and Brian Harrison don't touch it. What they focus on, if memory serves, is the qualification "within due limits", as if that could on any reading mean "within the limits of Catholic doctrine", which if it did mean that, would vacate the entire statement of force and meaning. The statement would then be, "All men have a right to religious liberty which makes it unlawful for the civil power to coerce anybody in religious matters, but in fact coercion is lawful except insofar as it is applied to non-Catholics with the intention of making them convert." A forced interpretation is not an interpretation at all, it's an imposition on the text.

Likewise you fix upon the second of these earlier sentences, "Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ."

Again, the first of these sentences only reinforces the natural meaning of the definitive text which follows, since it makes it clear what that text is about. It's about the question of coercion by the civil power. But the civil power does have the right of coercion, and the Church has always maintained this truth and acted in accord with it. The text is erroneous.

Quote:
Nothing in the pastoral council of Vatican II met that condition.

You keep asserting this but it's just your opinion. We can all quote the brief passages of theologians stating the conditions of infallibility. Just as we can all quote the brief statements of the theologians of the conditions for validity of sacraments, or any other scholastic formula of that kind. But what we need for our purposes here is to look at how these conditions are verified in the concrete. And that's what JS Daly did in his article, but which you haven't even tried to do here, and it is perhaps why you simply refuse to address Daly's actual points.

Quote:
I’m really surprised you are not conceding this point.

Which illustrates nicely quite how far you are from understanding any of this. But there's no hurry.

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Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:59 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Here is Monsignor Fenton discussing how the criteria of infallible papal teaching are verified in concrete cases. Having quoted the Vatican Council definition of papal infallibility, he then proceeds to explain how each of these conditions may be verified in an encyclical (one of the many instruments which the Holy Father uses to teach the entire Church).

Here's the Vatican Council definition: "…We teach, and we define it to be a divinely revealed dogma, that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, exercising his function as pastor and teacher of all Christians, he defines on his supreme apostolic authority a doctrine about faith or morals to be held by the Universal Church, enjoys, through the divine assistance promised to him in the Blessed Peter, that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished his Church to be equipped in defining doctrine about faith or morals; and that therefore the definitions of the same Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not by reason of consent of the Church."

Quote:
Obviously the first of these conditions is fulfilled in the encyclical letters. These are documents which the Sovereign Pontiff sends out to the episcopate of the Church universal either directly or indirectly. Most of the encyclicals are, as a matter of fact, sent directly to the Catholic episcopate of the entire world. Others, those sent to the episcopate of one country or region, are promptly entered into the Acta of the Holy Father, and are thus indirectly sent, as normative documents, to the faithful of the entire world.

The same, it should be noted, can be said of those allocutions and other papal instructions, which, though primarily directed to some individual or group of individuals, are then printed in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis as directives valid for all the Church militant. We must not lose sight of the fact that, in the encyclical Humani generis, the Holy Father made it clear that any doctrinal decision printed in the pontifical Acta must be accepted as normative by all theologians.(15) This would apply to all decisions made in the course of the Sovereign Pontiff’s ordinary magisterium.

The second condition requisite for the issuance of an ex cathedra and infallible pontifical definition may likewise be verified in the Holy Father’s encyclical letters and in the other acts of his ordinary magisterium. This is the use of the Pope’s supreme apostolic doctrinal authority.

In itself, the apostolic doctrinal authority is nothing else than the power to issue doctrinal judgments which the followers of Jesus Christ Our Lord are obligated in conscience to accept with a sincere, internal, and religious assent. The supreme apostolic doctrinal authority, with can be exercised only by the Holy Father himself or by the apostolic collegium of which he is the divinely constituted head, is the power to issue an irrevocable and definitive doctrinal judgment on matters of faith and morals, which decision the faithful are bound in conscience to accept with an absolute and irrevocable assent. If that supreme power is exercised within the field of dogma itself, that is, by declaring that some particular truth has been revealed by God and is to be accepted by all men as a part of God’s revealed message, then the assent called for by the definition is that of divine faith itself. If, on the other hand, the Holy Father, using this supreme apostolic authority, does not propose his teaching as a dogma, but merely as completely certain, then the faithful are bound to accept his teaching as absolutely certain. They are, in either case, obliged in conscience to give an unconditional and absolutely irrevocable assent to any proposition defined in this way.

In other words, when we examine the matter closely, what I have listed as the second of the five conditions requisite for the existence of an ex cathedra pontifical doctrinal decision turn out to be not a distinct condition at all. It is necessarily present whenever and wherever the other four elements are to be found. Whenever the Holy Father speaks precisely as the spiritual ruler and the supreme authoritative teacher of the universal Church militant, dealing with matters concerning faith or morals, and definitively settling some point hitherto controverted or subject to controversy, in such a way that the faithful are bound to accept this definitive decision for what it is, then certainly he is using the supreme apostolic doctrinal power he has received from the divine Head of the Church.

If any of the other four characteristics for an ex cathedra utterance should be wanting, then there is definitely no use of the Sovereign Pontiff’s supreme apostolic doctrinal power. But, where these other four conditions are verified, the Holy Father is by that very fact speaking ex cathedra, speaking from the Roman chair of Peter, to instruct the flock which Our Lord has entrusted to his care. It would be unthinkable that the Vicar of Christ could speak, in his official capacity to the entire Church militant, on a matter of faith or morals, definitively settling a question by a decision which he wishes to constitute as irrevocable and which he commands the faithful to accept as irrevocably and absolutely true, without being protected by his charism of doctrinal infallibility.

Thus, circumstantial solemnity, as such, has no absolutely necessary connection with the infallibility of a pontifical definition. That solemnity, of course, is a good and glorious thing within the Church of God. Those who saw and heard the Holy Father solemnly define the dogma of Our Lady’s bodily assumption into heaven know from happy experience the spiritual good engendered by an act of this kind. Yet it remains obvious that the visible head of the universal Church militant does not require or depend upon such solemnities in order that he may speak effectively and infallibly to the flock for which he is responsible to Christ.

The third condition can be and is surely verified in the doctrinal encyclicals. It would be extremely difficult to deny that these documents deal with matters of faith or morals.

The fourth condition can be and, it would seem, not infrequently, is, verified also in the papal encyclical letters. It is, however, a condition which demands very close examination.

It is, I believe, to be presumed that the Vicar of Christ speaks to the faithful in a way they are able to understand. If he is proposing something as morally certain, as a statement which, though quite firm as it is now proposed, may still possibly turn out to be erroneous, it is presumed that he will, in his very expression of that statement, bring out its ultimately conditional character. If, on the other hand, he makes an absolutely unqualified assertion about some matter that concerns faith or morals, it would seem that he should be presumed to be presenting a teaching that is definitive and irrevocable. That, at least, would seem to be the presumption or line of conduct most consistent with the presentation of truth, and with the reception of doctrine in the Catholic Church.

In other words, if we examine the content and the immediate implications of the Vatican Council’s teaching on an ex cathedra or infallible papal definition, it appears that the Council had nothing to say about the more or less solemn character of the papal document in which a teaching is set down, but had everything to say about the quality of the judgment or decision rendered by the Holy Father in the course of his teaching. What is required for the issuance of an ex cathedra judgment is a pontifical definition, an absolutely definitive and irrevocable decision on some point which had hitherto been subject to free discussion among Catholic theologians. In any infallible papal teaching it goes without saying, the absolutely definitive and irrevocable character of that decision must be apparent.

It is quite clear that one way in which these qualities may be apparent is through the use of the solemn formulae employed in dogmatic bulls and constitutions. But it is also clear that these solemnities need not be employed for every absolutely certain and definitive decision issued by the Sovereign Pontiff. Any man who is teaching, and who is setting forth some doctrine which, though “morally certain,” might still turn out to be incorrect, will present his teaching for what it is. He certainly will not be in a position to propose such a doctrine in an absolutely unconditional categorical statement, particularly when he is a teacher who is recognized as competent to propose infallibly true doctrine.

The fifth and last condition indicated by the Vatican Council as requisite for an ex cathedra papal definition is that the Sovereign Pontiff should show that he intends to bind all the faithful to accept his definitive and irrevocable decision by an absolutely certain and irrevocable assent. There has, it would seem, been a certain amount of misleading discussion about this condition. Sometimes the Catholic scholar is led to believe that for every doctrinal statement by the Holy Father, there must be a definite warning or command that this statement is to be accepted with firm and sincere inward assent by the faithful. They are likewise led sometimes to imagine that there could be no such thing as an infallible definition by the Holy Father without an explicit and solemn accompanying warning that this decision is to be accepted by all with an absolutely unwavering assent.

The fact of the matter is that every doctrine taught by the Holy Father in his capacity as the Vicar of Christ must, by the very constitution of the Church militant of the New Testament, be accepted by the faithful for what it is. If it is an infallible declaration, it is to be accepted with an absolutely firm and irrevocable assent. If it is a non-infallible statement, it must be accepted with a firm but conditional mental assent.

Actually there is no such thing as a teaching issued by the Holy Father in his capacity as the spiritual ruler and teacher of all the followers of Jesus Christ which is other than authoritative. Our Lord did not teach in any other way than authoritatively, nor does His Vicar on earth when he teaches in the name and by the authority of his Master. Every doctrine proposed by the Holy Father to the entire Church militant is, by that very fact, imposed upon all the faithful for their firm and sincere acceptance.

Hence, if we find in an encyclical letter, or, for that matter, in any document of the Holy Father’s ordinary magisterium which has been registered in his official Acta, a doctrinal declaration proposed precisely as morally certain, all the faithful owe to that declaration a full and morally certain assent or adherence. If, on the other hand, we find in these same documents some teaching set forth absolutely without qualification, either directly, or through unqualified condemnation of its contradictory as heretical or as erroneous, it would seem to follow that all Christians are bound to give that proposition an absolutely certain and irrevocable assent.

Thus it would appear that there is nothing whatsoever in the Vatican Council’s explanation of an ex cathedra declaration by the Holy Father which could be said to militate against the presence of such ex cathedra pronouncements in the papal encyclical letters. If we are to follow the directions of the Council, we shall look for infallible pontifical teachings, not by examining the solemnity of the documents in which these teachings are set down, but by considering the expression of the teachings themselves as they have been proposed by the Vicar of Christ.

From: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=319

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Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:01 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
What it all comes down to is this: The ambiguous statement regarding religious liberty does not violate infallibility in any way, since 1) Due to the ambiguity, it allows for a true interpretation, ...


Fr. Gleize, professor of philosophy and theology at Econe, and one of the four theologians delegated by the SSPX to present the SSPX understanding of Vatican II to the Vatican in the recent "talks" characterises the doctrine you think potentially orthodox as follows:

"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."

That's JS Daly's view, and mine also. Do you think perhaps you have misunderstood the text?

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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS,

The link below is a work by the theologian William George Ward. To help you understand what John is trying to convey to you, I highly suggest that you at least read Essay 1.

http://books.google.com/books?id=-UctAQ ... &q&f=false


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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
Quote:
Van Noort: “The teaching office of the Church or, as they say, “the teaching Church,” is made up of those to whom God entrusted the right and the duty to teach the Christian religion authoritatively. The words “in matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent” are included in the proposition because, according to Catholic teaching, the Church's rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fullness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition, and not the historical observations, reasons for the definition, and so forth. And if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith: a doubtful law is no law at all.


Dear RJS,

When you've replied to the points on the thread you originally started, read carefully through the papal document Mirari Vos < http://strobertbellarmine.net/encyclica ... 6MIRAR.HTM > and see if you can identify the features enunciated by Van Noort in the passage above. They are all there, just not in a form you would recognise, according to your comments so far on this thread. I might as well be clear up front - this is an encyclical, it contains no anathemas as such, it does not use the word "define", and it does not explicitly say that everything it teaches is to be held by all the faithful, and in no place in it does Pope Gregory invoke his supreme authority or state that he is employing it in issuing this letter. Indeed, he does not even mention that he is teaching at all. It's a letter of introduction and welcome, so to speak, to his bishops, since he has only recently been elected, and it reads as an exhortation to the bishops to reinvigorate their efforts to preach the truth and root out error. But it is certainly an infallible decree, and not only is this admitted by all theologians of every school, it was explicitly described by Gregory XVI as a "definition" and infallible in a later letter of his.

So as I have said several times in this thread, you manifestly have not understood the text of the Vatican Council concerning infallibility, nor have you understood Van Noort's explanation of it.

I hope that a consideration of this example along with the explanation of Monsignor Fenton of how the conditions of infallibility are verified in an encyclical will give you a better foundation for understanding what the Vatican Council defined, and what Van Noort is really saying. And obviously it is only when you have that understanding that you could hope to examine the question of the status of Dignitatis Humanae.

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Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:34 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Lance Tardugno wrote:
The link below is a work by the theologian William George Ward.


Dear Lance, I am embarrassed to admit that I've never read Ward, despite reading plenty about him over the years. I have to thank you for pointing me to this book, which is a treasure-trove!

To anybody who might read it, please note it was written before 1870, and the Gallican errors were not yet outside the realm of permissible opinion (despite the fact that Ward detested those errors, he was perfectly polite about them and treated them as permissible). After 1870, obviously the Gallican error on papal infallibility is heretical.

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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Lance Tardugno wrote:
The link below is a work by the theologian William George Ward.


Dear Lance, I am embarrassed to admit that I've never read Ward, despite reading plenty about him over the years. I have to thank you for pointing me to this book, which is a treasure-trove!

To anybody who might read it, please note it was written before 1870, and the Gallican errors were not yet outside the realm of permissible opinion (despite the fact that Ward detested those errors, he was perfectly polite about them and treated them as permissible). After 1870, obviously the Gallican error on papal infallibility is heretical.



Yes John, he is fantastic. If you look to the lower left of that Google page you will see "related books" one of which is his "Essays on Church's Doctrinal Authority". I have had this book in my library for a while but am not sure if I had it when you visited last. This volume is very large and contains many of his collective writings.

Oh happy day, not very often when I get to something before you! :mrgreen:


Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:42 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS, if you think JL is exaggerating his claim with regard to Mirari Vos, the following is from page 460 of Ward's "Essay's on the Church's Doctrinal Authority".
"Even Dr. Dollinger, at the time, regarded the "Mirari Vos" as quite certainly ex cathedra. I found this statement on M. de Haulleville's letter; to which I refer in p. 27 of this volume, and which I reprinted from the " Month " in January, 1876. "Lacordaire went up to " Dr. Dollinger "and said : ' Is the Encyclical 'Mirari Vos' in your opinion a doctrinal document imposed on our faith?' The answer of the Bavarian Priest was point-blank (carrement) affirmative : and Lacordaire became silent.""


Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:12 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS, here is another digital book I personally own that is excellent and supports our position:

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query ... allibility

This is a must read. Knox explains the Teaching Office of the Church very, very well. You will learn much from him.


Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:19 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Lance Tardugno wrote:
You will lean much from him.


It would be better to lean to him, surely. :)

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Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:33 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Lance Tardugno wrote:
You will lean much from him.


It would be better to lean to him, surely. :)



:lol: Fixed! Now you see why I don't like writing too much! :oops:


Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:53 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Lance Tardugno wrote:
RJS, here is another digital book I personally own that is excellent and supports our position:

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query ... allibility


Dear Lance,

I've now read this book and it is indeed excellent. Really excellent. Another great example of pre-1870 theology too, which cannot rely upon the definition of papal infallibility and therefore explains and proves the Church's infallibility purely from her practice and less direct doctrinal texts.

Ward's book is also really great, although less accessible, as the academics say, to modern readers, and more controversial in its method (Knox is simply explaining the truth, Ward is also arguing against errors).

Ward makes the same comment I have made here about the parallel between minimising Catholics and the private interpretation of Protestants. The same point applies to Feeneyites. This is why when we last had the forums open, I refused to permit actual Feeneyite arguments to be put, until and unless the proper method of learning from the Church was discussed and understood. No one of the many Feeneyites at one time or another who came on the forums would cooperate with this requirement, I suppose because instinctively they sensed that it would be the end of their "proofs" as indeed it would have been.
Quote:
He who holds that the Church is infallible only in her definitions of faith, studies divine truth by a method which we must maintain to be characteristically Protestant.

He takes for his principles these definitions (as contained e. g. in Denzinger's small volume) and manipulates them according to his own private views of history and logic, with no further deference or submission to the living Church. Now such an extravagance as this is by absolute necessity confined to highly educated intellects: the ordinary believer has no more power of proceeding by such a method, than by the more openly Protestant maxim of private judgment on Scripture. A few unsound Catholics, we repeat, may be led astray by intellectual phantoms or blinded by intellectual pride; but the great mass have imbibed one and one only method of acquiring Catholic truth. The Church, as they have been taught, in her full practical exhibition, is their one infallible guide. They well know that, if they would learn their religion, they must open their heart unreservedly to the Church's full influence; study for their guidance those manuals and spiritual books which she places in their hand; listen with docility to the instruction of her ministers; practise those duties which she prescribes in the very form in which she prescribes them; labour, in one word, that that great body of truth may sink silently and deeply into their heart, which her whole system of practice and discipline inculcates and implies.* Now it is a principle of Catholicism, that wherever the body of the faithful has unanimously imbibed one impression of fundamental doctrine, a strong presumption arises of such impression being the true one. But even otherwise — is there anyone who would openly say that there is a "royal road" to religious truth that the highly cultivated intellect is to seek it by a method, essentially different from that accessible to the ordinary believer? that far less deference is due to the Church's practical guidance from the former than from the latter? An affirmative answer to this question is involved in the opinion which we are combating; but such an answer is so obviously and monstrously anti-Catholic, that no one will venture expressly to give it.

The legitimate benefit to be derived from intellectual cultivation is not (we need hardly say) that men should be less loyal and submissive to the Church; but on the contrary that their docility to her, while remaining formally the same, may become materially far greater, from the far more extensive knowledge opened to them, of her true mind, of her implied teaching, of her multifarious traditions.

* "As the blood flows from the heart to the body through the veins ; as the vital sap insinuates itself into the whole tree, into each bough and leaf, and fibre ; as water descends through a thousand channels from the mountain top to the plain ; so is Christ's pure and life-giving doctrine diffused, flowing into the whole body through a thousand organs from the Ecclesia Docens.” — Murray, de Ecclesia, disp. XI., n. 15.



At a glance it is also clear that this text demolishes any pretence by traditionalists that the hierarchy of the New Church is the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. No traditionalist possesses this kind of attitude toward the "ordinaries" of the New Church and would not dream of adopting such a docile and childlike position.

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Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:26 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Quote:
He who holds that the Church is infallible only in her definitions of faith, studies divine truth by a method which we must maintain to be characteristically Protestant.

He takes for his principles these definitions (as contained e. g. in Denzinger's small volume) and manipulates them according to his own private views of history and logic, with no further deference or submission to the living Church.


This is a marvelous quote, and I do see how it applies to traditionalists.

But in what ways can a sedevacantist claim to be deferring to or submissive to the living Church?

---
James


Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:17 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
James Francis wrote:
This is a marvelous quote, and I do see how it applies to traditionalists.

But in what ways can a sedevacantist claim to be deferring to or submissive to the living Church?


It's a cracker, isn't it?

We're submissive to the Church in all of her laws, doctrines, practices etc. We're not submissive to heretics. The problem with sedeplenism is precisely that it maintains that the heretics are truly the bishops of the Catholic Church yet they are not treated in practice as such. The solution to this contradiction is to see that the sedevacantist position is true. Even the Indult/St. Peter's society position doesn't resolve the conundrum, because those people don't and can't - without losing their faith - take the approach to the Modernists that Catholics must take to their bishops.

If on the other hand you are pointing out that sedevacantists don't recognise an actual hierarchy teaching today, you are right. And this is indeed a problem. But we didn't cause it, we're merely observing a fact.

My own view is that the hierarchy still exists (as it must always exist) and it consists of all those bishops appointed validly to office and who have remained Catholics. I am not aware of any such bishops who are actively teaching the faithful, of course, so the Church is presently in a state of eclipse. This is the Holy Saturday of the Church.

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Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:46 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
James Francis wrote:
I ask this because I recently lost an argument about the heretical nature of Gaudium et Spes 22 (my opponent argued- with perhaps some justification- that GS 22 did not claim that the Second Person of the Trinity is united hypostatically with every man, but rather asserts that Christ is the Head of all men as per Summa part 3 q 8 art 3). I had thought that I had a very strong argument for GS 22 being a very plain heresy- but apparently not. Many people argue heresy based on a quote from Ratzinger which seems to deny the Real Presence, but which on closer inspection could charitably be understood as repeating Thomistic teaching on substantial v local presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
I am rather chary of claiming heresy on the basis of a couple of sentences which, for all I know, have been ripped out of context. I wonder if anyone can point me in the direction of a scholarly appraisal of Ratzinger heresy?

Any help with these matters would be so much appreciated.

James


Dear James,

Have you seen this article? http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles ... &catname=5

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Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:24 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Lance Tardugno wrote:
RJS, if you think JL is exaggerating his claim with regard to Mirari Vos, the following is from page 460 of Ward's "Essay's on the Church's Doctrinal Authority".
"Even Dr. Dollinger, at the time, regarded the "Mirari Vos" as quite certainly ex cathedra. I found this statement on M. de Haulleville's letter; to which I refer in p. 27 of this volume, and which I reprinted from the " Month " in January, 1876. "Lacordaire went up to " Dr. Dollinger "and said : ' Is the Encyclical 'Mirari Vos' in your opinion a doctrinal document imposed on our faith?' The answer of the Bavarian Priest was point-blank (carrement) affirmative : and Lacordaire became silent.""


Yes. I don't think anybody denied it. And Gregory XVI himself insisted that it was an infallible condemnation.

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Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:26 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Anyway, your objections to Daly's application of the term "infallible" to Vatican II as a whole are entirely specious. You think that this shorthand is misleading, but it could only be misleading to an ignorant person, and even then not dangerously so. The truth is that your own thesis is misleading by inaccurately narrowing the scope and manner of teaching of the infallible magisterium, and that is truly dangerous.


I can think of something even more dangerous, namely, extending the scope and manner of infallibility beyond the limits the Church herself has established. Realizing this danger, the Church itself does not extend infallibility beyond its proper limits.


Dear RJS (if you still exist), :)

Here's a typical statement of infallibility (of the Roman Pontiff) by a theologian - this time Cardinal Manning, whose activity at Vatican I was decisive and who in human terms was one of the two men most responsible for the definition of papal infallibility. In other words, he knew what the dogma meant.

Quote:
The Definitions and Decrees of Pontiffs, speaking ex cathedra, or as the Head of the Church and to the whole Church, whether by Bull, or Apostolic Letters, or Encyclical, or Brief, to many or to one person, undoubtedly emanate from a divine assistance, and are infallible. [Note, no qualifications about the solemnity, or the form, of these definitions and decrees, just a plain statement that when the pope addresses the universal Church - even if he does so in a document addressed directly only to one person - he is infallible.]

S. Augustine argues as follows of the Head and the body: "Therefore as the soul animates and quickens our whole body, but perceives in the head by the action of life, by hearing, by smelling, by the taste, and by touch, in the other members by touch alone (for all are subject to the head in their operation, the head being placed above them for their guidance, since the head bears the personality of the soul itself, which guides the body, for there all the senses are manifested), so to the whole people of the saints, as of one body, the man Christ Jesus, the Mediator between God and man, is head."

Now the Pontiffs, as Vicars of Jesus Christ, have a twofold relation, the one to the Divine Head of the Church of whom they are the representatives on earth, the other to the whole body. And these two relations impart a special prerogative of grace to him that bears them. The endowments of the head, as S. Augustine argues, are in behalf of the body. It is a small thing to say that the endowments of the body are the prerogatives of the head. The Vicar of Jesus Christ would bear no proportion to the body if, while it is infallible, he were not. He would bear also no representative character if he were the fallible witness of an infallible Head. Though the analogy observed by S. Augustine between the head and the members cannot strictly apply to the Vicar of Christ and the members upon earth, nevertheless it invests him with a preeminence of guidance and direction over the whole body, which can neither be possessed by any other member of the body, nor by the whole body without him, and yet attaches to him personally and alone as representing to the body the prerogatives of its Divine Head. The infallibility of the Head of the Church extends to the whole matter of revelation, that is, to the Divine truth and the Divine law, and to all those facts or truths which are in contact with faith and morals. The definitions of the Church include truths of the natural order, and the revelation of supernatural truth is in contact with natural ethics, politics, and philosophy. The doctrines of the consubstantiality of the Son, of transubstantiation, and of the constitution of humanity, touch upon truths of philosophy and of the natural order, but being in contact with the faith, they fall within the infallibility of the Church. So again the judgments of Pontiffs in matters which affect the welfare of the whole Church, such as the condemnation of propositions. In all declarations that such propositions are, as the case may be, heretical or savouring of heresy, or erroneous, or scandalous, or offensive to pious ears, and the like, the assistance of the Holy Spirit certainly preserves the Pontiffs from error; and such judgments are infallible, and demand interior assent from all.

From, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost 1865 (and republished unchanged in 1885), pp. 81-84.


What do you think a Catholic would take from that statement of doctrine, if such a Catholic had never heard of the conditions of infallibility before? That is, if he hadn't gotten all confused by misreading texts and interpreting them for himself? Seriously, what would he think of this? "The Definitions and Decrees of Pontiffs, speaking ex cathedra, or as the Head of the Church and to the whole Church, whether by Bull, or Apostolic Letters, or Encyclical, or Brief, to many or to one person, undoubtedly emanate from a divine assistance, and are infallible."

Would he think, oh, yes, of course the pope is infallible, but only rarely, and only when he really uses all of his authority, which he doesn't do when issuing mere encyclicals, etc.? No, of course not.

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Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:57 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
W.G. Ward, Essays on the Church's Doctrinal Authority, Burns and Oates, 1880, Preface.

Quote:
I have mentioned in my Preliminary Essay, what were the circumstances which compelled me to dwell so earnestly, in the "Dublin Review," on the Church's Infallibility in her ordinary and unintermittent magisterium. It is really no caricature of what used to be implied by certain writers, to say that, on their view, it is the business of a cultured and leisured Catholic to construct for himself his own religious system.

He must base that system indeed partially on the Church's Definitions of Faith; i.e. on those Definitions, of which the contravention is actual heresy: but in no other way need he submit to her authority
. Of course as regards the enormous majority of Catholics - those who are not fitted for theoretical speculation - to profess such a Rule of Faith would be self-evident foolery. But the "Home and Foreign Review" virtually maintained, that the highly-cultivated intellect should seek religious truth by a method essentially different from that accessible to the ordinary believer. Indeed the Editor described "the instructed minority" as the Church's divinely-appointed teachers; whose lead the Pope, the Episcopate, the ignorant herd, are slowly and laboriously to follow in each other's company. This amazing position I had to meet with the most emphatic of negatives; and no other part of my controversial duty was so indispensable.


Is that first italicised section not a description of the theoretical and practical position of the sedeplenist traditional Catholic? Does he not reject what he regards as the living magisterium of the Church, in favour of his own interpretation of older data? In this way the preaching of the Church as the proximate rule of faith is made void. Is not that last italicised section a perfect description of the theoretical and practical position of the leadership of the SSPX, as it goes cheerfully to Rome to instruct the pope on what he must believe in order to lead the rest of the bishops and the less-informed faithful back to orthodoxy?

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Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:15 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
W.G. Ward, Essays on the Church's Doctrinal Authority, Burns and Oates, 1880, pp. 68,69.

Replace "England and Germany" in the latter part of this quote with "Menzingen" and see what impression is created.

Quote:
It has been implied in fact unless we misunderstand the meaning of various expressions which have been used that she has actually suffered in the purity of her teaching, through the defection of Protestant England and Germany. It has been implied that Rome's authoritative lessons (apart of course from actual Definitions) are less simply orthodox in tendency, than they would have been had all Europe remained Catholic. Such a notion simply inverts the Church's whole constitution. God teaches the Holy See, and the Holy See teaches the Church; it is Peter whose faith fails not, and who in his turn confirms his brethren: whereas, according to the above notion, he would not be simply the Church's Teacher, but in part her disciple. Rome, let it never be forgotten, is commissioned to teach England and Germany, not England or Germany to teach Rome. So far as any Englishmen or Germans are at variance with what is authoritatively inculcated in Rome, they are quite certainly in error. Rome no doubt may often wish to correct her impressions of fact by special communication e.g. with England; but she cannot, without abandoning her essential claims, seek correction from any source on matters of doctrine or of principle.

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Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:38 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
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