Are all canonizations infallible? Prof. de Mattei weighs in

excerpted from the article:
CFN: And yet, the majority of theologians, especially the surest, those of the so-called “Roman School” support the infallibility of canonizations.

RDM: Infallibility of canonizations is not a dogma of the faith, it is the opinion of a majority of theologians, above all after Benedict XIV, who expressed it moreover as a private doctor and not as Sovereign Pontiff. As far as the “Roman School” is concerned, the most eminent representative of this theological school, living today, is Msgr. Brunero Gherardini. And Msgr. Gherardini expressed in the review Divinitas directed by him, all of his doubts on the infallibility of canonizations. I know in Rome, distinguished theologians and canonists, disciples of another illustrious representative of the Roman School, Msgr. Antonio Piolanti, these harbor the same doubts as Msgr. Gherardini. They hold that canonizations do not fulfill the conditions laid down by Vatican I to guarantee a papal act’s infallibility. The judgment of canonization is not infallible in itself, because it lacks the conditions for infallibility, starting from the fact the canonization does not have as its direct or explicit aim, a truth of the Faith or morals contained in Revelation, but only a fact indirectly connected with dogma, without being properly-speaking a “dogmatic fact.” The field of faith and morals is broad, because it contains all of Christian doctrine, speculative and practical, human belief and action, but a distinction is necessary. A dogmatic definition can never involve the definition of a new doctrine in the field of faith and morals. The Pope can only make explicit that which is implicit in faith and morals, and is handed down by the Tradition of the Church. That which the Popes define must be contained in the Scriptures and in Tradition, and it is this which assures the infallibility of the act. That is certainly not the case for canonizations. It is not an accident that the doctrine of canonizations is not contained in the Codes of Canon Law of 1917 and of 1983, nor the Catechisms of the Catholic Church, old and new. Referring to this subject, besides the aforementioned study of Msgr. Gherardini, is an excellent article by José Antonio Ureta appearing in the March 2014 edition of the magazine Catolicismo.


CFN: Would you like to summarize your opinion?

RDM: The canonization of Pope John XXIII is a solemn act of the Sovereign Pontiff, which derives from the supreme authority of the Church, and that should be regarded with respect, but it is not a judgment infallible in itself. The exercise of reason, supported by a careful examination of the facts shows quite clearly that the pontificate of John XXIII was not of benefit to the Church. If I had to admit that Pope Roncalli exercised virtue in a heroic way while carrying out his role of Pontiff, I would undermine at the core, the rational presuppositions of my faith. When in doubt, I adhere to the dogma of faith established by the First Vatican Council, according to which there can be no contradiction between faith and reason. Faith transcends reason and elevates it but it does not contradict it, because God, Truth itself, is not contradictory. I feel in conscience able to maintain all my reservations about this act of canonization.


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Are all canonizations infallible? Prof. de Mattei weighs in - by Magdalene - 04-16-2014, 07:33 PM

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