Is the Church a democracy?
#1
One of the things that has disturbed me in the press is that there are many people, who seem to believe that the Catholic Church is some kind of democractic institution and that the Pope should bend to the will of his constituents in the Church.

I decided to check one of my books on Catholic dogma. The Church states that the Pope is the Supreme Head of the Church and that he has the authority to rule not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in other matters of discipline within the Church. This is a de fidei dogma. If any of you want the exact quote, I can haul it out and post it.

If the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, doesn't it then make sense that all Catholics should obey him in whatever he teaches infallibly? Doesn't this also mean that bishops should go along with what he says?

 Any input is thoroughly appreciated.
Reply
#2
Funny asking about the Church being a democracy by asking saying "Any input is thoroughly appreciated" :)
It is not a democracy, and neither is this forum :)
The Pope is tasked with being the head of the Church on earth, it does not mean every word of his is dogma and it does not mean the input of others is meaningless. 
What the pope declares ex cathedra to be dogma (with the form required in Vatican I) cannot be refuted. Munificentissimus Deus does not contain any surprises (it was tradition for a long time) but up until it was declared by the Pope to be dogma, people could (but in the Church, they didn't as far as I see to any degree) dispute the Assumption.
Before, denying the Assumption was not heresy; after, it is.
So all members of the Church are bound by what is dogmatically revealed, including Bishops. The Bishops cannot get together and dispute this dogma. They can however get together and discuss other aspects of the faith with no dogma such as the exact nature of Jesus's birth and their input would be valuable for study, but not dogmatic and if the Holy Spirit revealed this to the Church, then all prior discussions would be meaningless. If the Bishops or any invididual in the Church, including the Pope, expressed personal opinion and reflection on the topic, if the Pope declared something ex cathedra, then all prior discussions would lose their value. Because of this you find many saints who may have personal beliefs which are now known to be false, but at the time there was no dogma.
Reply
#3
Here is a pretty good article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magisterium...agisterium
Reply
#4
I think it is obvious that the modern world views hierarchical structures, especially ones which dictate morality, to be completely archaic.  In a sense, it is the strict libertarianism that has transformed western culture into a place where no one has the right to say a darned thing about how you can or cannot live your life.  Civil rights are nice when your country is mostly made out of level headed people and there aren't any good leaders to elect (or the means in which to do so), but ideally every government and institution should be a hierarchy.

Western society is devoid of an concept of submission and in a world where Catholics have received little to no Catechesis it is not surprising to find Nancy Pelosi having a private meeting with the Pope himself and still thinking that it is just dandy to blow him off.  I think the only positive thing that you can say about this trend is that at least most of these people have no idea what they are doing.
Reply
#5
The Church is both a Monarchy (Pope, Bishops), an Aristocracy (Bishops, Cardinals, Theologians, Monastic Orders, Abbots, Saints, Abbesses) and a Democracy (Papal Conclave, Episcopal Election).

But always top-down. The Church is divine and perfect society.

Our earthly society is not perfect. Only if inspired by the Church, it can become more perfected, but will never reach infallibility.

Our age of Democracy and so-called "Enlightenment" thinks secular society is infallible and trust in its solutions to promote a Materialistic and Naturalistic paradise of heaven on earth, which not even the Church can permanently establish (though the Church mystically and divinely is the Kingdom of God in its early phase on the earth indeed). It is naive belief.

The Church is a perfect society.

We see, that in itself, majority voting and democracy are not wrong, if correct principles lead this form of government.

A mixture of all three forms is the best. Even for secular society.
Reply
#6
Totally in agreement with all that has been said but I would add that in today's world it is worthwhile speaking of the Church as the greatest of democracies which gives the "vote" to not only the living but the dead as well. The "semper, et ubique, et ab omnibus" principle I think demonstrates this and when one considers the declaration fo what is dogmatic it always rests on this principle.

The most profound recent example I feel was Humanae Vitae when the "majority" decision was not that of those who recommended permission but, as Paul VI noted, the constant teaching of the Church in all places and all times. The Church as the mysterious Body of Christ, in its catholicity, in its tradition gives the vote to both the living and the apparently dead.
Reply
#7
brotherjuniper Wrote:One of the things that has disturbed me in the press is that there are many people, who seem to believe that the Catholic Church is some kind of democractic institution and that the Pope should bend to the will of his constituents in the Church.

I decided to check one of my books on Catholic dogma. The Church states that the Pope is the Supreme Head of the Church and that he has the authority to rule not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in other matters of discipline within the Church. This is a de fidei dogma. If any of you want the exact quote, I can haul it out and post it.

If the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, doesn't it then make sense that all Catholics should obey him in whatever he teaches infallibly? Doesn't this also mean that bishops should go along with what he says?

 Any input is thoroughly appreciated.


Collegality runs wild today...but in short answer to post title-NO!
Reply
#8
brotherjuniper Wrote:If the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, doesn't it then make sense that all Catholics should obey him in whatever he teaches infallibly? Doesn't this also mean that bishops should go along with what he says?

 Any input is thoroughly appreciated.

1./ Gal 2:11 But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

2./ There is significant probability that the next pope will be modernist

Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)