Why Canonizations are Fallible
#1
http://divineandcatholicfaith.blogspot.c...lible.html

Why Canonizations are Fallible

Many of the prominent theologians of the last few centuries who argued that canonizations of particular individuals are infallible relied on an appeal to the concept of “ecclesiastical faith” to justify their position. It is worthy of consideration that several theologians whom Msgr. Fenton considered to be eminent outright rejected the validity of the concept of a mere “ecclesiastical faith.”1 Faith rests on authority. If the authority we believe a particular doctrine on is God, then we are said to possess divine faith. If the authority we believe a particular doctrine on is human, then we are said to possess human faith. Msgr. Fenton includes a definition of ecclesiastical faith as “the absolutely firm and certain acceptance of a teaching on the authority of the Church which proposes that teaching and not on the authority of God Himself.” Proponents of a mere EF claim that teachings which must be accepted with EF are infallible. Fenton quotes Bishop Garcia Martinez, one of the eminent theologians who denied the validity of the concept of a mere EF, as insisting upon the fact that there can be no such thing as an absolutely certain assent of faith based on something other than the divine authority itself. Fr. Marin-Sola also opposed the validity of EF on the grounds that, “The infallible teaching of the Church cannot propose any new doctrine, but only an explanation of the deposit of public divine revelation.” The reason why theologians have used the term “ecclesiastical faith” in reference to canonizations of particular individuals instead of “divine faith” is because “divine faith” pertains to believing doctrines which God has revealed as part of His public revelation that ended with the death of the last apostle, St. John. Very few would claim that canonizations of particular individuals, excepting perhaps the canonizations of St. Dismas and other unique cases, are contained within this public divine revelation. Hence the need for a new term, at least for those theologians who are bent on arguing in favor of the infallibility of canonizations, and for whom the term “human faith” would be very problematic.

Fr. Blaise Beraza, SJ is another theologian who Msgr. Fenton referenced who argued against the validity of EF. Fr. Beraza appealed primarily to two magisterial documents in making his argument. The first of these documents is Pastor Aeternus. Fenton paraphrases Fr. Beraza's reasoning for claiming that the concept of EF as understood by the majority of its proponents is irreconcilable with Vatican I, “It would be idle to imagine that there could be any such thing as an infallible definition or declaration by the Church's magisterium apart from the assistance of the Holy Ghost. And, according to the teaching of the Vatican Council itself, that help or assistance is given to the Popes (who have the same infallible teaching power as the ecclesia docens as a whole) precisely for the sake of guarding and proposing the actual doctrines which have been given to the Church as divine revelation through the Apostles.” Vatican I explicitly teaches that the Holy Ghost was not given to Peter's successors to make known any new teachings. The very fact that the proponents of the concept of “ecclesiastical faith” eschew using the term “divine faith” in reference to canonizations and other things customarily classified as “secondary objects” shows that they acknowledge that we cannot believe a particular teaching on the authority of God if that particular teaching is not contained within the deposit of faith. The problem with claiming that canonizations are infallible is that the attribute of infallibility was not given by God to the Church to make known novel doctrines.

The other magisterial document Fr. Beraza references is the Tridentine Profession of Faith. He points out that in this Creed we profess as an article of divine and Catholic faith that we firmly “admit and embrace the Apostolic and Ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same Church.” We also profess in the same Creed as an article of divine and Catholic faith that we “receive and admit the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of the aforesaid sacraments.” Fr. Beraza's reason for emphasizing those particular articles of the Creed is to demonstrate that some of what other theologians speak of as being entirely only the objects of mere ecclesiastical faith, such as the liturgical rites used in the solemn administration of the sacraments, are actually objects of articles of divine and Catholic faith. This perceptive observation of Fr. Beraza is very, very important because the concept of EF has been used by the liturgical revolutionaries to undermine divinely revealed dogmas concerning our ecclesiastical traditions, such as, for example, the dogma of the necessity of adhering to the received and approved liturgical rites of the Church, “If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, accustomed to be used in the administration of the sacraments, may be despised or omitted by the ministers without sin and at their pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches, whomsoever, to other new ones, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Session VII, On the Sacraments, Canon 13). 

D.M. Drew of SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission expounded upon how the concept of EF has weakened the ability of traditionalists to effectively defend our sacred liturgical rites, “The immemorial traditions of our Church have been repudiated by the conciliarist Church, our neo-Iconoclasts. How were they overthrown? They were reduced to objects of merely human EF and categorized as matters subject to the disciplinary discretion of the Church. If objects of EF are 'the firm and certain acceptance of a teaching on the authority of the Church which proposes that teaching and not on the authority of God Himself,' then they are necessarily contingent human truths. If the Church thinks the objects of EF are historical, contingent truths which have become outdated and no longer speak to the modern mind, then she can change them into other more relevant contemporary truths...Msgr. Fenton goes into some detail what the 'ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church' refers which the EF people reduce to a mere human authority. Take, for example, the most important of the immemorial ecclesiastical traditions, the Roman rite of Mass. It is not and never has been a mere object of Church discipline but that is where the idea of EF has taken us. Fr. Waters and Ss. Peter & Paul Roman Catholic Mission have made a public profession of divine and Catholic faith in our immemorial ecclesiastical traditions. We have refused to consider them as mere objects of human EF but hold them as necessary attributes of the faith which make it known and communicable to others. Since God commands the faithful to make public professions of faith and to worship Him in the public forum, every Catholic possesses a right to these immemorial ecclesiastical traditions that perfectly manifest the faith we hold in the internal forum.”2

Canonizations of particular individuals are, unlike certain aspects of the Church's liturgical rites, not objects of public divine revelation. The arguments against the validity of EF are therefore relevant when discussing whether or not they are infallible. Does acknowledging the fallibility of canonizations mean that chaos will result in the Church and the sanctity of countless heroic souls who have been raised to the Church's altars thrown into question? No it does not. Canonizations are teachings of the “authentic magisterium”. Regarding teachings of the authentic magisterium, the theologian Dom Paul Nau wrote, If we are not to be drawn into error, we urgently need to remember that the assent due to the non-infallible Magisterium is... that of inward assent, not as of faith, but as of prudence, the refusal of which could not escape the mark of temerity, unless the doctrine rejected was an actual novelty or involved a manifest discordance between the pontifical affirmation and the doctrine which had hitherto been taught.”3 We are not allowed to refuse prudential inward assent to teachings of the authentic magisterium unless we possess grave reason for doing so. I cannot think of any grave reasons for calling into question the truthfulness of any of the pre-Vatican II canonizations of saints who I am familiar with. When it comes, however, to the canonizations of Pope John Paul, the Great Ecumenist, and Pope Paul VI, the Great Secular Humanist, I can think of grave reasons for refusing assent.

1http://strobertbellarmine.net/fenton_ecc...faith.html
2 See poster “drew” http://saintspeterandpaulrcm.com/Catholi...ion_EF.htm
3Dom Paul Nau, Pope or Church
Reply
#2
Without getting into canonizations in particular, the author of the article linked above seems to have missed the entire point of the theologians cited in Fr. Fenton's article (the first footnote above).  When arguing against the validity of ecclesiastical faith, they do not argue that those propositions usually assigned this assent should receive no faith--they argue that they should receive divine and Catholic faith!

Fenton sums this up here:


Quote:Within this category they list theological conclusions in the strict sense of the term (truths which are only virtually revealed, as distinct from those revealed formally, even though in an implicit manner), dogmatic facts, pertinent teachings within the field of philosophy, final approval of religious orders, and the canonization of Saints. Unquestionably the magisterium of the Church can issue and does issue absolutely irrevocable and infallible declarations and decisions on these subjects. These authoritative statements unquestionably demand from the faithful completely certain and irrevocable assent. A great number of the manuals of sacred theology current in our time assert that, in such a case, the assent due to these teachings is that of a strictly ecclesiastical faith.2 Bishop Garcia Martinez, and with him an ever-increasing number of contemporary theologians, believes firmly that the concept of a strictly or merely ecclesiastical faith has no validity, and that the assent actually due to infallible pronouncements of the Church's magisterium in such fields as those of the theological conclusion and the dogmatic fact is that of divine and Catholic faith itself.3  

The blogger then seems to do an about-face and argues that such divine faith should be assigned to certain rites of the Church--granted, he tries to get around this contradiction by claiming such rites to be directly divine revealed.
[Image: catherinesiena-1.jpg]
Reply
#3
(11-08-2018, 10:41 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: Without getting into canonizations in particular, the author of the article linked above seems to have missed the entire point of the theologians cited in Fr. Fenton's article (the first footnote above).  When arguing against the validity of ecclesiastical faith, they do not argue that those propositions usually assigned this assent should receive no faith--they argue that they should receive divine and Catholic faith!

Fenton sums this up here:


Quote:Within this category they list theological conclusions in the strict sense of the term (truths which are only virtually revealed, as distinct from those revealed formally, even though in an implicit manner), dogmatic facts, pertinent teachings within the field of philosophy, final approval of religious orders, and the canonization of Saints. Unquestionably the magisterium of the Church can issue and does issue absolutely irrevocable and infallible declarations and decisions on these subjects. These authoritative statements unquestionably demand from the faithful completely certain and irrevocable assent. A great number of the manuals of sacred theology current in our time assert that, in such a case, the assent due to these teachings is that of a strictly ecclesiastical faith.2 Bishop Garcia Martinez, and with him an ever-increasing number of contemporary theologians, believes firmly that the concept of a strictly or merely ecclesiastical faith has no validity, and that the assent actually due to infallible pronouncements of the Church's magisterium in such fields as those of the theological conclusion and the dogmatic fact is that of divine and Catholic faith itself.3  

The blogger then seems to do an about-face and argues that such divine faith should be assigned to certain rites of the Church--granted, he tries to get around this contradiction by claiming such rites to be directly divine revealed.

Saint Sebastian, thank you for reading what I shared and for your reply. I am the author of the blog post. You are wrong to say that I missed the entire point of the theologians cited in Msgr. Fenton's article. I am aware that some if not all of those critics of the concept of "ecclesiastical faith" cited in the article held that much of what many theologians have classified as being merely objects of "EF" are actually objects of divine and Catholic faith. I enthusiastically expressed agreement in my post with Fr. Beraza in particular who pointed out that there are divinely revealed dogmas concerning our ecclesiastical traditions that must be believed by all of the faithful with divine and Catholic faith. I disagree with Fr. Beraza and the other critics of EF who claimed that canonizations can be believed with divine and Catholic faith. My reason for disagreeing is identical to one of the primary reasons that was offered by those theologians against the validity of the concept of EF: God did not give the Church the attribute of infallibility to make known doctrines that are not contained within the deposit of faith, and canonizations of particular individuals (excepting St. Dismas and other unique cases) are not contained within said deposit.

I agree entirely with the theologians cited in the article that "ecclesiastical faith" is a bankrupt concept that should be done away with. There is no mid-way between divine faith and human faith. I disagree with their contention (if they all even did contend this; Msgr. Fenton is rarely quoting word for word) that canonizations, the approval of religious orders, and other like things can be believed with divine and Catholic faith. I think that this is refuted by the very arguments those theologians used against the concept of EF. Fr. Beraza justified his postulation that canonizations can be believed with divine and Catholic faith by referring to the article of the Tridentine Profession of Faith in which the Catholic professes his embrace of the "apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and the rest of the observances and constitutions of the same Church." I think that he was wrong to hold that canonizations are contained within this article, but I do think that this article is very, very important in that it does clearly teach that our ecclesiastical traditions are not entirely the objects of EF or mere Church discipline. They are objects of divine and Catholic faith.
Reply
#4
Ok, I see where your're coming from now. Maybe it 's just me (you saw my initial reading!), but I think if your goal is to argue against the infallibility of canonizations (reasonable arguments can be made in this regard), most of your article is a distraction of that and doesn't really support the argument.  

There is universal agreement in the Church (and there was when Fenton and the others were writing) that there are things not formally revealed that are "so intimately connected with the actual divine message that the Church could not act as a living and infallible teacher and guardian of divine supernatural public revelation unless it had been empowered by Our Lord to pronounce infallibly on these connected questions."  In fact, this is contained in the definition of papal infallibility of the First Vatican Council which speaks broadly of the Pope and Church being infallible when making a definitive judgment of a "doctrine...to be held."  That the scope of this includes pronouncements as to dogmatic facts has also not been questioned since the Jansenist controversies.  

Both the proponents of ecclesiastical faith and its deniers agree as to infallibility in this regard and they agree that the infallibility is based on authority being granted divinely to the Church and divine assistance also being supplied.  In a nutshell, the deniers of ecclesiastical faith simply argue that since it all traces back to God and faith in His promises, it is really just divine faith.  

So I think if you're going to argue against the infallibility of canonizations, you're not going to want to put canonizations in the middle of the ecclesiastical faith/divine faith dispute since there is no denial of infallibility in that dispute.  You need to go further back and simply argue that it is not a matter of the Church's infallibility--particularly that it is not a dogmatic fact. I think this can be done in a colorable way (some theologians provide a lower and less absolute theological censure to the denial of a canonization than they do to denial of other dogmatic facts).  

I also don't think trying to tie in the liturgical reform really works.  Making the approval of a liturgical rite a matter of divine faith, is a bit of a non sequitor from the topic of canonizations, and actually undermines the traditionalist position on the new rite. 

The rite of Mass is not an example of a truth formally revealed by God. It would be a total novelty to claim this. Rather, it is of divine faith that the Church can order and approve of her own liturgical rites. Theologians who hold such judgments to be infallible--that is, made with divine assistance--do so with regard to the doctrinal judgment inherent in any such approval that the rite is in accord with the doctrine of the faith.   If one accepts the infallibility of such a judgment, whether the assent is of ecclesiastical faith or divine faith, that assent of faith is based on the authority of the Church and the divine assistance it receives. It is not based on direct revelation and never has been.

When the Tridentine Profession of Faith speaks of "ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same Church" it is speaking of things instituted by virtue of the divinely granted authority of the Church, not of things directly revealed by God (thus the term "ecclesiastical.").  Along those lines I think you misunderstand what "reception" means in the canon from the Council of Trent you appeal to. Reception in that context is about who it is received by not who it is received from. In general, reception by the particular Churches is itself evidence of the acceptability of a rite or custom.  To hold a rite in contempt that the Churches had received as worthy would be an inversion of authority.  A particular part of a rite may have been devised in one local Church at a particular time, but its reception by other Churches would be proof of its worthiness for its purpose (this is how the traditional Roman rite itself developed mostly). Reception is not a  reference to divine revelation itself, but rather to the authority of the Church who judges whether to receive it or not.  

The new rite is an ecclesiastical tradition and observance instituted by the authority of the Church with a constitution.  It was approved by the Apostolic See and has been received by all the Churches of the Latin rite (in fact, I don't think it has been condemned by any particular Church of any rite).  If it's the same Catholic Church that approved and received the Roman rite in force at Trent as has approved and received the novus Ordo more recently, then the same principles would apply to both. If you want to give divine faith to the Church's judgment as to the Roman rite at the time of Trent, you'd have to give the same to the approval of the NO.
[Image: catherinesiena-1.jpg]
Reply
#5
(11-08-2018, 05:26 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: Ok, I see where your're coming from now. Maybe it 's just me (you saw my initial reading!), but I think if your goal is to argue against the infallibility of canonizations (reasonable arguments can be made in this regard), most of your article is a distraction of that and doesn't really support the argument.  

There is universal agreement in the Church (and there was when Fenton and the others were writing) that there are things not formally revealed that are "so intimately connected with the actual divine message that the Church could not act as a living and infallible teacher and guardian of divine supernatural public revelation unless it had been empowered by Our Lord to pronounce infallibly on these connected questions."  In fact, this is contained in the definition of papal infallibility of the First Vatican Council which speaks broadly of the Pope and Church being infallible when making a definitive judgment of a "doctrine...to be held."  That the scope of this includes pronouncements as to dogmatic facts has also not been questioned since the Jansenist controversies.  

Both the proponents of ecclesiastical faith and its deniers agree as to infallibility in this regard and they agree that the infallibility is based on authority being granted divinely to the Church and divine assistance also being supplied.  In a nutshell, the deniers of ecclesiastical faith simply argue that since it all traces back to God and faith in His promises, it is really just divine faith.  

So I think if you're going to argue against the infallibility of canonizations, you're not going to want to put canonizations in the middle of the ecclesiastical faith/divine faith dispute since there is no denial of infallibility in that dispute.  You need to go further back and simply argue that it is not a matter of the Church's infallibility--particularly that it is not a dogmatic fact. I think this can be done in a colorable way (some theologians provide a lower and less absolute theological censure to the denial of a canonization than they do to denial of other dogmatic facts).  

I also don't think trying to tie in the liturgical reform really works.  Making the approval of a liturgical rite a matter of divine faith, is a bit of a non sequitor from the topic of canonizations, and actually undermines the traditionalist position on the new rite. 

The rite of Mass is not an example of a truth formally revealed by God. It would be a total novelty to claim this. Rather, it is of divine faith that the Church can order and approve of her own liturgical rites. Theologians who hold such judgments to be infallible--that is, made with divine assistance--do so with regard to the doctrinal judgment inherent in any such approval that the rite is in accord with the doctrine of the faith.   If one accepts the infallibility of such a judgment, whether the assent is of ecclesiastical faith or divine faith, that assent of faith is based on the authority of the Church and the divine assistance it receives. It is not based on direct revelation and never has been.

When the Tridentine Profession of Faith speaks of "ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same Church" it is speaking of things instituted by virtue of the divinely granted authority of the Church, not of things directly revealed by God (thus the term "ecclesiastical.").  Along those lines I think you misunderstand what "reception" means in the canon from the Council of Trent you appeal to. Reception in that context is about who it is received by not who it is received from. In general, reception by the particular Churches is itself evidence of the acceptability of a rite or custom.  To hold a rite in contempt that the Churches had received as worthy would be an inversion of authority.  A particular part of a rite may have been devised in one local Church at a particular time, but its reception by other Churches would be proof of its worthiness for its purpose (this is how the traditional Roman rite itself developed mostly). Reception is not a  reference to divine revelation itself, but rather to the authority of the Church who judges whether to receive it or not.  

The new rite is an ecclesiastical tradition and observance instituted by the authority of the Church with a constitution.  It was approved by the Apostolic See and has been received by all the Churches of the Latin rite (in fact, I don't think it has been condemned by any particular Church of any rite).  If it's the same Catholic Church that approved and received the Roman rite in force at Trent as has approved and received the novus Ordo more recently, then the same principles would apply to both. If you want to give divine faith to the Church's judgment as to the Roman rite at the time of Trent, you'd have to give the same to the approval of the NO.

SS, though we clearly are not entirely of the same mind it has nevertheless been somewhat of an encouragement to me to read your posts in this thread because they demonstrate to me that you have read and understood the main points both of my posts and of Msgr. Fenton's article. I was worried that no one would read everything I posted or that even if someone did, they would not understand it. Hence my joy.

I am aware that a great majority of theologians over the last several centuries have held that the Church can and has pronounced infallibly on facts not formally revealed by God, such as the approval of religious orders, the canonizations of saints, etc., and I think that this contention is wrong. The terms "divine and Catholic faith" and "infallibility" appear multiple times in the Vatican I documents and every time they appear they are associated with public divine revelation and nothing else.

God has revealed that we are bound to adhere exclusively to the "received and approved" rites of Mass and no, I do not have problems comprehending what the word "received" means in the context of Trent's infallible dogmatic definition that I referenced in my original post. John Salza put it better than I could in his article "The Novus Ordo Mass and Divine Law":

Quote:Before St. Paul teaches the Corinthians liturgical and theological details concerning the Holy Mass (consecration formula, Real Presence), he prefaces his teaching by affirming: “For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you…” (1Cor 11:23). St. Paul says again: “For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received” (1Cor 15:3). In these and other verses, St. Paul emphasizes that we must believe and practice only what we have “received” from Christ and the apostles which has been “delivered” unto us, and which includes the liturgical rites of the Church. This is a divinely revealed truth and a matter of Faith.
http://www.catholicapologetics.info/mode...inelaw.htm

"Conservative" Catholics start with the false premise that everything concerning the Church's liturgical rites is entirely the object of "ecclesiastical faith" or mere Church discipline and then conclude, putting aside reason and the evidence of the fruits, that the Novus Ordo rites must be good and holy given that they were, according to their thinking, lawfully promulgated by the pope. Traditional Catholics believe with divine and Catholic faith that no pastor, whomsoever, had the authority to create a new rite of Mass.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)