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Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - albert - 02-12-2010

What grade of theological certainty applies to ecumenical council pronouncements? 

On the one hand, Catholics seem obliged to unilaterally believe that all ecumenical council pronouncements are infallible.  Reference Dr. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (pg. 300): “It is the constant teaching of the Church from the earliest times that the resolutions of a General Council are infallible.”

On the other hand, recent and historic records show that the Church’s ecumenical council pronouncements contradict Church practice. 

Reference recent examples:
 Vatican II’s De Verbum (paragraph 114): “The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with very great care.” 
 Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium (paragraph 36.1): “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”

Reference historic examples:
 IV Lateran Council (paragraph 68): Jews Appearing In Public.  A difference of dress distinguishes Jews or Saracens from Christians in some provinces, but in others a certain confusion has developed so that they are indistinguishable. Whence it sometimes happens that by mistake Christians join with Jewish or Saracen women, and Jews or Saracens with Christian women. In order that the offence of such a damnable mixing may not spread further, under the excuse of a mistake of this kind, we decree that such persons of either sex, in every Christian province and at all times, are to be distinguished in public from other people by the character of their dress.”
 V Lateran Council (session 10): “We therefore establish and ordain that henceforth, for all future time, no one may dare to print or have printed any book or other writing of whatever kind in Rome or in any other cities and dioceses, without the book or writings having first been closely examined, at Rome by our vicar… and also by the inquisitor of heresy for the city or diocese where the said printing is to take place, and unless the books or writings have been approved by a warrant signed in their own hand, which must be given, under pain of excommunication, freely and without delay.”

Contrary to her own pronouncements, the Vatican II Church has not preserved the Latin language or sacred music (Gregorian Chant) in her liturgy. 

Contrary to her own pronouncements, the Traditional Catholic Church prior to Vatican II ceased and desisted from enforcing its dress codes on the Jews and its theological codes on the publishing industry.

Perhaps “infallibility” is a concept that is applicable only to the Church’s dogmatic pronouncements and not it’s pastoral or moral pronouncements.  What think you?  Sincerely, Albert Cipriani the Traditional Catholic


Re: Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - Walty - 02-12-2010

Man, I'm excited to follow this thread.  Great topic, albert.  Seems to me the answer is quite ambiguous.




Re: Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - Historian - 02-12-2010

(02-12-2010, 03:58 AM)albert Wrote: What grade of theological certainty applies to ecumenical council pronouncements? 

On the one hand, Catholics seem obliged to unilaterally believe that all ecumenical council pronouncements are infallible.  Reference Dr. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (pg. 300): “It is the constant teaching of the Church from the earliest times that the resolutions of a General Council are infallible.”

On the other hand, recent and historic records show that the Church’s ecumenical council pronouncements contradict Church practice. 

Reference recent examples:
 Vatican II’s De Verbum (paragraph 114): “The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with very great care.” 
 Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium (paragraph 36.1): “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”

Reference historic examples:
 IV Lateran Council (paragraph 68): Jews Appearing In Public.  A difference of dress distinguishes Jews or Saracens from Christians in some provinces, but in others a certain confusion has developed so that they are indistinguishable. Whence it sometimes happens that by mistake Christians join with Jewish or Saracen women, and Jews or Saracens with Christian women. In order that the offence of such a damnable mixing may not spread further, under the excuse of a mistake of this kind, we decree that such persons of either sex, in every Christian province and at all times, are to be distinguished in public from other people by the character of their dress.”
 V Lateran Council (session 10): “We therefore establish and ordain that henceforth, for all future time, no one may dare to print or have printed any book or other writing of whatever kind in Rome or in any other cities and dioceses, without the book or writings having first been closely examined, at Rome by our vicar… and also by the inquisitor of heresy for the city or diocese where the said printing is to take place, and unless the books or writings have been approved by a warrant signed in their own hand, which must be given, under pain of excommunication, freely and without delay.”

Contrary to her own pronouncements, the Vatican II Church has not preserved the Latin language or sacred music (Gregorian Chant) in her liturgy. 

Contrary to her own pronouncements, the Traditional Catholic Church prior to Vatican II ceased and desisted from enforcing its dress codes on the Jews and its theological codes on the publishing industry.

Perhaps “infallibility” is a concept that is applicable only to the Church’s dogmatic pronouncements and not it’s pastoral or moral pronouncements.  What think you?  Sincerely, Albert Cipriani the Traditional Catholic

The Church is only infallible when pronouncing on faith and morals. The dress code for Jews or what kind of music is used in the Mass don't fall into either category. The biggest issue I see is the Decree on Religious Liberty which seems to utterly contradict Quanta Cura. I mean Pius IX condemns the idea that the state is obliged to enshrine religious liberty in its laws while DH says that any "properly constituted state" must do just that! The only thing I can think of is that DH was more about politics than the faith. In fact I think John Paul II told Arch. Lefebvre that when DH was written with the atheistic communist countries in mind.


Re: Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - glgas - 02-12-2010

Infallible is only what is explicitly declared infallible. I guess it is the Apostolic Creed, the Nicea-Constantinople Creed, the Roman Canon of the Mass, the Immaculate Cponception, the Assumption and the statement that the Church is not authorized to ordain females to priesthood or as bishops. The decrees or anathemas of a  council are binding, but the Church got the binding and loosing power.


Re: Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - JonW - 02-12-2010

(02-12-2010, 06:13 AM)Servus_Maria Wrote:
(02-12-2010, 03:58 AM)albert Wrote: What grade of theological certainty applies to ecumenical council pronouncements? 

On the one hand, Catholics seem obliged to unilaterally believe that all ecumenical council pronouncements are infallible.  Reference Dr. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (pg. 300): “It is the constant teaching of the Church from the earliest times that the resolutions of a General Council are infallible.”

On the other hand, recent and historic records show that the Church’s ecumenical council pronouncements contradict Church practice. 

Reference recent examples:
 Vatican II’s De Verbum (paragraph 114): “The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with very great care.” 
 Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium (paragraph 36.1): “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”

Reference historic examples:
 IV Lateran Council (paragraph 68): Jews Appearing In Public.  A difference of dress distinguishes Jews or Saracens from Christians in some provinces, but in others a certain confusion has developed so that they are indistinguishable. Whence it sometimes happens that by mistake Christians join with Jewish or Saracen women, and Jews or Saracens with Christian women. In order that the offence of such a damnable mixing may not spread further, under the excuse of a mistake of this kind, we decree that such persons of either sex, in every Christian province and at all times, are to be distinguished in public from other people by the character of their dress.”
 V Lateran Council (session 10): “We therefore establish and ordain that henceforth, for all future time, no one may dare to print or have printed any book or other writing of whatever kind in Rome or in any other cities and dioceses, without the book or writings having first been closely examined, at Rome by our vicar… and also by the inquisitor of heresy for the city or diocese where the said printing is to take place, and unless the books or writings have been approved by a warrant signed in their own hand, which must be given, under pain of excommunication, freely and without delay.”

Contrary to her own pronouncements, the Vatican II Church has not preserved the Latin language or sacred music (Gregorian Chant) in her liturgy. 

Contrary to her own pronouncements, the Traditional Catholic Church prior to Vatican II ceased and desisted from enforcing its dress codes on the Jews and its theological codes on the publishing industry.

Perhaps “infallibility” is a concept that is applicable only to the Church’s dogmatic pronouncements and not it’s pastoral or moral pronouncements.  What think you?  Sincerely, Albert Cipriani the Traditional Catholic

The Church is only infallible when pronouncing on faith and morals. The dress code for Jews or what kind of music is used in the Mass don't fall into either category. The biggest issue I see is the Decree on Religious Liberty which seems to utterly contradict Quanta Cura. I mean Pius IX condemns the idea that the state is obliged to enshrine religious liberty in its laws while DH says that any "properly constituted state" must do just that! The only thing I can think of is that DH was more about politics than the faith. In fact I think John Paul II told Arch. Lefebvre that when DH was written with the atheistic communist countries in mind.

For an excellent treatment of this very subject, see Michael Davies important booklet:

http://www.amazon.com/Archbishop-Lefebvre-Religious-Liberty-Catholic/dp/0895551438/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265999324&sr=8-2


Re: Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - Walty - 02-12-2010

(02-12-2010, 08:56 AM)glgas Wrote: Infallible is only what is explicitly declared infallible. I guess it is the Apostolic Creed, the Nicea-Constantinople Creed, the Roman Canon of the Mass, the Immaculate Cponception, the Assumption and the statement that the Church is not authorized to ordain females to priesthood or as bishops. The decrees or anathemas of a  council are binding, but the Church got the binding and loosing power.

Yes, I agree with you that the only infallible pronouncements are ones which are made, somehow, with the explicit message that they are indeed infallible.  However, how the Church does this does not seem uniform in the slightest.  I have heard it said also that infallible dogmas always explain quite carefully (including thorough definitions of the words used in such a decree) exactly what is being said.

And, while it seems that there is very little which has been expressly said as "infallible" (or worded in a similar fashion or title) it also seems to me that we don't want to limit it to just these things.  I mean, what about the Christological Councils?  Most of the very important bits about Christ's nature, will, person etc. were included in the creeds you specify, but I don't think all of them were and the explanations of those lines (for example, defining homoousios) are not included in the creeds themselves.

It's a tricky bit of business because what is not explicitly infallible (most of what we consider to be our faith) may be thought of in any which way without one being a heretic in the slightest.  So long as you have some thought to back it up no one may call you anathema, no matter how novel or divergent it is from traditional beliefs.  I think this is exactly how guys like Rahner, de Lubac, Congar, von Balthazar et al got away with espousing such bizarre and "innovative" theology.


Re: Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - albert - 02-12-2010

(02-12-2010, 06:13 AM)Servus_Maria Wrote: The Church is only infallible when pronouncing on faith and morals. The dress code for Jews or what kind of music is used in the Mass don't fall into either category.

Agreed.  So wherein does the sin of ecclesiastical disobedience lie?  It lies in that gray area between infallible pronouncements and disciplinarian pronouncements… that’s what makes compulsive-obsessive neurotics out of the best of us.  

On the one hand, we Catholics claim to be in communion with and under the authority of the vicar of Christ.  Yet when the pope exercises that authority in a boneheaded way, we are conscious-bound to disobey him and take the rap of being Protestants.  This is the schizophrenic source of our Traditionalist sufferings.

Yes, dress codes and music styles (being choices that, by definition, are reformable and temporal, not irreformable and eternal) are not moral doctrines.  So did the princes in the 13th century sin who did not enforce the council’s Jewish dress code; and do the churchmen of this century sin who do not enforce the council’s music style preferences?  They disobey an ecumenical council’s pastoral directives.  In that is there no sin?  

I think there is no sin in disobeying the Church’s pastoral directives so long as we are conscious-bound to do so.  I’d really like to know if you guys agree with me on this point.  

(02-12-2010, 06:13 AM)Servus_Maria Wrote: The biggest issue I see is the Decree on Religious Liberty which seems to utterly contradict Quanta Cura. I mean Pius IX condemns the idea that the state is obliged to enshrine religious liberty in its laws while DH says that any "properly constituted state" must do just that! The only thing I can think of is that DH was more about politics than the faith. In fact I think John Paul II told Arch. Lefebvre that when DH was written with the atheistic communist countries in mind.

Religious liberty seems to me to be a pastoral relativistic matter, not a doctrine of dogmatic or moral substance.  For example, in a Communist state antithetical to all religions, religious liberty would be a relative improvement.  In a democratic state open to all manner of religious cults, like a body without an immune system open to all manner of infection, some limitation of religious liberty would be relatively better. – Sincerely, Albert Cipriani



Re: Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - albert - 02-13-2010

(02-12-2010, 08:56 AM)glgas Wrote: Infallible is only what is explicitly declared infallible. I guess it is the Apostolic Creed, the Nicea-Constantinople Creed, the Roman Canon of the Mass, the Immaculate Cponception, the Assumption and the statement that the Church is not authorized to ordain females to priesthood or as bishops.

The Church has infallibly declared much much more than what you’ve listed.  :drowning: I refer you to Denzinger’s The Sources of Catholic Dogma, also known as Henry Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum published by Loreto Publications.  It’s 653 pages long.  It contains the pertinent words of all the councils and papal decrees from the Apostles’ Creed to the Pope Pius XII’s definition of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption in 1950. 

The 30th edition of this book, the one I have, is a compilation of 2,333 infallible proclamations.  And, happily, it doesn’t contain a single VCII proclamation.   :cheers:– Cheers, Albert Cipriani



Re: Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - glgas - 02-13-2010

(02-13-2010, 03:02 AM)albert Wrote: The Church has infallibly declared much much more than what you’ve listed.  :drowning: I refer you to Denzinger’s The Sources of Catholic Dogma, also known as Henry Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum published by Loreto Publications.  It’s 653 pages long.  It contains the pertinent words of all the councils and papal decrees from the Apostles’ Creed to the Pope Pius XII’s definition of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption in 1950. 

The 30th edition of this book, the one I have, is a compilation of 2,333 infallible proclamations.  And, happily, it doesn’t contain a single VCII proclamation.   :cheers:– Cheers, Albert Cipriani

Please note that

- the title of English translation (Sources of Dogma)  is misleading , the title of Latin is : Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitiorum quae in rebus fidei et morum a conciliis oecumenicis et Summis Pontificibus enumerant. 

- the original 1854 461 page  increased by 1956 to 954 pages, and mostly not by the additions of later ages by adding additional documents from the former ages

- in the traditional times the Encyiridion Symbolorum was to be read with the Enchiridion Patristicum and Enchiridion Scripturorum, the three together represented the tradition, which was considered binding, but never was considered as collection of the infallible teaching.

The Church always believed that the Magisterium had to be living Magisterium with binding and loosing power. The infallibility was defined only in Vatican I, and the pre Vatican II interpretation was that the definition referred only to 2 statement, the Immaculate Conception previously, and the Assumption after the definition (recently the statement that the Church is not authorized to order women as priests and bishops was added as third).

To use the Denzinger as the source of Dogma is the exact same sin as the sola Scriptura of the Protestantism: putting the frozen behind the living Magisterium.  Our nature is spoiled, we need the living guidance. Only the living Magisterium can define what is infallible. Denzinger did not defined that the content is infallible.


Re: Infallible Ecumenical Councils? - Stubborn - 02-13-2010

(02-12-2010, 03:58 AM)albert Wrote: What grade of theological certainty applies to ecumenical council pronouncements?  

In regards to  ecumenical council pronouncements and theological certainty, it is actually very - very simple.

First and foremost, any and all infallible declarations come to us, "defined". IOW, they say what they mean and are no longer open to interpretation - period.

Anytime a Pope or Counsel go out of their way to say things like ""We declare, pronounce, and define", under anathema or penalty of sin,  we must accept his/their interpretation, declaration, definition, pronouncement etc. as ex cathedra, i.e. from the Chair of St. Peter - without error!

Whoever decides to expand on that definition will ultimately reduce it to a meaningless formula every time.........another clue to let you know said declaration is infallible.     

Far as I know, the latest infallible declaration was regarding the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother:  http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ineff.htm: "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.

It then goes onto: Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.

Regardless of whether or not we understand what is - and what is not an infallible teaching, if we always use the above formula, we can never err in our understanding of it. IOW, because of it's importance and necessity, there is zero ambiguity and zero need for the learned or theologian to step in and re-define the message for us as it is declared crystal clear to all, even the simple minded faithful.

Finally, if there is any ambiguity whatsoever, it is not infallible.