PopeWatch: Are Heretical Popes Possible?

Facebook 0
Twitter
LinkedIn 0
Reddit 0
Delicious
Digg
StumbleUpon 0
WhatsApp
Email
Print

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Captains can’t break the law.  They is the law as far as I am concerned.

Third Mate Flask’s response to the contention by First Mate Starbuck that Captain Ahab should be removed from command:  Moby Dick screenplay by Ray Bradbury.

Over at The Catholic Thing Father James V. Schall, SJ, has an enthralling piece on whether a heretical Pope is a possibility:

Under Pope Francis, columnists from all over the world broach the “heresy” question, which he is said to foment. Cardinal Burke remarked that Pope Francis should clarify just what he stands for. William Oddie thinks that, in recent comments on marriage, Francis has done this. Others are not so sure. I know a man who thinks that the pope should simply resign because his comments have caused so much anguish and confusion.

George Weigel noted that the modern world has waited half a century for the Catholic Church to accept its mores. It has not done so under Francis. A correspondent in Argentina, however, writes that only three views of this pope exist: 1) he is a modernist, but covers himself by occasionally talking of the devil, 2) he seeks attention and power by attracting everything to himself, and 3) he is a confused thinker but basically orthodox. The man adds that this last view is no longer tenable. Still he sent a document that Archbishop Bergoglio wrote on the gay question in which Francis upheld the old Roman Law tradition of marriage that referred to a mother and the sons begotten of her. But I would be surprised if Pope Francis did not have a huge following in Argentina.

Some writers hold that a pope cannot be a heretic. I had a professor of theology who held that, if a pope was about to sign an heretical document, he would be dead the next morning. Others maintain that if a heretic is elected to the papacy, he will automatically convert on accepting the Office of Peter.

The technical issue of an heretical pope goes back to Reformation discussions, led by the Jesuits, Robert Bellarmine and Francisco Suarez, among others. Jacques Maritain, Yves Simon, and John Courtney Murray brought up the issue in discussing the difference between political and ecclesiastical authority. We read in Romans that the authority of an emperor, as that of a pope, comes from God, but in differing ways.

Go here to read the rest.  Well, in 2000 years we have had all types of popes.  A few have been evil men by any standard.  A handful have sailed close to heretical winds, although arguably none crossed over into sailing on those heretical winds.  Even considering the possibility of a heretical pope should scare any Catholic, considering how absolutely central the role of Peter is in the Church.  However, even the Apostles had Judas, and to assume that a heretic could never stand in the shoes of the Fisherman strikes me as presuming upon God’s mercy.  If great enough evil flourishes within and without the Church, perhaps God could allow a heretical pope as a chastisement, or as a way to awaken in Catholics a too long dormant spirit of standing up for the teachings of the Church when they are under threat from the highest human authority within the Church.  Ah for the days when “Is the Pope Catholic?” was a proverb rather than a relevant contemporary question.  Let us pray that each one of us will simply have to consider as theoretical the possibility of a heretical pope rather than a practical concern.

More to explorer

Schadenfreude

Well, well, well, Michael Avenatti, perhaps better known as the creepy porn lawyer, is facing a criminal charge: Attorney Michael Avenatti has

Give ‘Em a Point for Honesty

News that I missed, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:   MENLO PARK, CA—In a move to better filter out unapproved positions and

61 Comments

  1. o no Dale – I don’t want to hear that! .
    🙁
    Do you think If the media and the world quit buying this arrangement between B16 and F — if papal authority is seen by the media as legitimate debate ongoing within Church. – coupled with the Kaspar Burke Divide, the push/hype in the media would become the writing of the Church epitaph ?
    .
    Which would be like mark twain’s, but could do damage to the faithful

  2. B16 was careful to say that there would Not be two popes. I think he was tired and that he was trusting his friend the Holy Spirit . I am trying to trust too. I am sure b16 would not wanted his presence to be a cause of further disruption.

  3. This Roman Pontiff’s intentions are clear. He is in league with +Kasper, a clergyman that deserves to be sent to a Trappist monastery for the rest of his days. We all know what +Kasper wants – official tolerance of those divorced and remarried and official tolerance of homosexual relationships. +Kasper wants the German church tax money to keep flowing in and the Roman Pontiff, for all his blathering about the poor, wants the same thing. +Wuerl, +Dolan, +O’Malley and too many others are happy to give Communion out to anyone, just as Cardinal Bergoglio did when he was in Buenos Aires.

    The Roman Pontiff is “ruling” the Church as if he were a South American caudillo. Caudillos rarely meet a happy ending. He wasn’t much of an archbishop for inspiring young men to the priesthood – the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires had few seminarians during his time there. He gives “trads” the back of his hand. He has no clue as to what to do about Muslims terrorizing and killing his flock. In this case, his silence speaks volumes. Even the Moscow Patriarch, who is driven crazy by the existence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, spoke up about poor Asia Bibi. Not our beloved Holy Father, though. He couldn’t be bothered.

    Heresy? The Roman Pontiff hasn’t gone there as Pontiff – yet. So far he has shown himself to be nasty to those who he disagrees and speaks without thinking of the impact of his words. These do not make a heretic. Giving +Kasper what he wants would make him one.

  4. I’d be pleased if some of Benedict’s relatives extracted him from the Vatican and made a home for him wherever they live. I do not like the idea the Benedict is at the mercy of security officers and others answerable to Francis.

  5. Penguins Fan, +Kasper should be sent to work at a KinderCare Learning Center. No time like the present to work for the full satisfaction of sins that have been forgiven. Assuming +Kasper has regularly confessed his sins.

  6. I wonder if Francis would welcome the militant homosexual
    group, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence into the church.

    A number of years ago I saw a picture of gay men at a Catholic church
    in San Francisco, who were standing in line to receive communion.
    One of the gay men was dressed in a white wedding dress with a long
    veil, whose face and beard were covered in white powder, whose lips
    were exaggerated by a large quantity of bright red lipstick, and whose
    hairy shoulders and chest were exposed as he received communion. Other
    gay men were dressed as nuns in bizarre habits and heavy white makeup.

  7. It has always been a maxim of Western Canon Law that “Prima Sedes a nemine iudicatur” – The first see is judged by no one. It is now Canon 1404 of the Code of 1983. It is similar to the rule of the Civil Law, “Princeps legibus solutus est” – The Prince is not bound by the laws (Dig. I, 3, 31) and that his will has the force of law [“quod principi placuit legis habet vigorem” (Dig. I, 4, 1 et Inst, I, 2, 6)

    Thus, Cajetan, writing against the decrees of the Council of Constance, insists, “’Peter alone had the vicariate of Jesus Christ and only he received the power of jurisdiction immediately from Christ in an ordinary way, so that the others (the Apostles) were to receive it from him in the ordinary course of the law and were subject to him’ and that ‘it must be demonstrated that Christ gave the plenitude of ecclesiastical power not to the community of the Church but to a single person in it.’”

    Otherwise, we fall into tautology: “The true church is that which teaches the true faith” and “The true faith is what the true church teaches.” Now, as Mgr Ronald Knox points out, “the Roman theory does give a test for defining the fideles without the question-begging preliminary of ascertaining who the fideles are, from an examination of their tenets.” As he explains, “The fideles, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome. No doubt, in the long run this means the people who are so orthodox that Rome has seen no reason to excommunicate them, so that unity and orthodoxy still react upon one another” and he adds, “in fact there can be little doubt that, in the West, our labelling of this party as orthodox and that as heterodox in early Church history comes down to us from authors who were applying this test of orthodoxy and no other.”

    On this theory, the notion of an heretical pope is simply unintelligible.

  8. “The first see is judged by no one.”

    Which of course is complete rubbish as the first see is judged by Christ as we all are. Popes are bound by Church doctrine, and, to a lesser extent, by the acts of their predecessors. Even a cursory study of Church history reveals the limits to the powers of the papacy. Popes who ignore those limits often have pontificates that end in disaster.

  9. Donald R McClarey wrote, “Popes are bound by Church doctrine, and, to a lesser extent, by the acts of their predecessors…”
    “Tradizione!” thundered Pope Pius IX, at Cardinal Filippo Maria Guidi of Bologna, “La tradizione son’ io!” – “I am the tradition!”
    As Pio Nono teaches in Pastor Æternus, ”We further teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, [From a Brief of Pins VI, Super Soliditate, 28 November 1706] and that in all causes, the decision of which belongs to the Church, recourse may be had to his tribunal, [From the Acts of the Fourteenth General Council of Lyons, A.D. 1274, Labbe’s, Councils, vol. 14, p. 512.] and that none may re-open the judgment of the Apostolic See, for none has greater authority, nor can anyone lawfully review its judgment [From Letter 8 of Pope Nicholas I, A.D. 858, to the Emperor Michael, in Labbe’s Councils, vol. 9, pp. 1339 and 1570] Therefore, they stray from the right course who assert that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman Pontiffs to an Ecumenical Council, as if to an authority higher than that of the Roman Pontiff.

  10. ““Tradizione!” thundered Pope Pius IX, at Cardinal Filippo Maria Guidi of Bologna, “La tradizione son’ io!” – “I am the tradition!””

    Yes, as he convincingly demonstrated was not the case by the many ephemeral actions of his reign that are now forgotten except by those who love history like myself. Other than Vatican I, the influence of that great pope is fairly marginal today. No Pope is the tradition that guides the Church and no Pope is greater than that tradition. You can come up with many citations promulgated at the behest of popes declaring the supremacy of popes. The actual praxis of the Church is quite otherwise as History relates.

  11. Erudite historical and other discussions as to the Catholicity and fidelity of Popes and the possibility of the Supreme Pastor misleading his flock, are always edifying and fruitful, even lending a modicum of a sense of security in the Faith. However, these discussions are often limited to the rarified lounges of the intellectuals, real or self-imagined. For the ordinary faithful, it is indeed the praxis of Popes that inspires imitation: and for the vulnerable, shady praxis leads to shady imitation. Also, the excitement of the non-believers in praising this shady praxis is a signal of corruption. By the latter two criteria, Pope Francis is highly suspect.

  12. Debunking the theory: “the notion of an heretical pope is simply unintelligible.”
    There is nothing new under the sun
    1. Satan was demanding to sift Peter like wheat.
    2. Peter denied Jesus three times.
    3. Peter was fraternally corrected by St. Paul.
    4. There have been bad popes and Antipopes in the Church’s history.
    5. The type in the Old, that the New reveals:
    a) 2 Macc: Jason, the High Priest, introduced hellenism (parallel here modernism?).
    b) Jesus was handed over by the Chief Priests and the scribes. Perhaps the Church, his body will suffer the same fate following in the footsteps of her head and LORD who went before her.
    6. Sooner later it will be revealed who the false prophet of Rev. is.
    7. Sooner or later private revelations that speak of a uniquely bad Pope in the future will be proven true or false (e.g. Peter will become Judas, Jeanne le Royer: “Having vilified celibacy and oppressed the priesthood, it had the effrontery to confiscate the Church’s property and to arrogate to itself the powers of the Holy Father, whose person and whose laws it held in contempt.”, etc., etc.)

  13. There have been great Popes…and lousy Popes.

    When they defend God’s law and His gospel…they are great.

    When they want to be liked by everyone, or when they place man and what he does at the center, instead of the finished work of Christ for sinners…then they are quite a bit less than great.

  14. Sydney O. Fernandes, MD

    Of course the Swiss bishops were quite right, when they pointed out in their pastoral letter, following the definition of papal infallibility in 1870 that “The Pope is not infallible as a man, or a theologian, or a priest, or a bishop, or a temporal prince, or a judge, or a legislator, or in his political views, or even in his government of the Church.”
    Similarly, in his 1875 Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, Bl John Henry Newman insists that a Pope is not infallible in his laws, nor in his commands, nor in his acts of state, nor in his administration, nor in his public policy. Let it be observed that the Vatican Council has left him just as it found him here” and he goes on to ask, “Was St. Peter infallible on that occasion at Antioch when St. Paul withstood him? Was St. Victor infallible when he separated from his communion the Asiatic Churches? Or Liberius when in like manner he excommunicated Athanasius? And, to come to later times, was Gregory XIII, when he had a medal struck in honour of the Bartholomew massacre? Or Paul IV in his conduct towards Elizabeth? Or Sextus V. when he blessed the Armada? Or Urban VIII when he persecuted Galileo? No Catholic ever pretends that these Popes were infallible in these acts.”

  15. @ F M Shyanguya wrote, “Debunking the theory: ‘the notion of an heretical pope is simply unintelligible.’”

    But your arguments do not address the question at all.
    We can point out that the standard Kg in Paris is losing mass. Indeed, it is a matter of concern to the scientific community, who are seeking another method of defining the Kg. But, as long as it remains the pattern or standard of mass, it would be nonsense to say that « le grand K » does not weigh 1 Kg, or to ask what it does weigh. Now, in the same way, it is nonsense to say that the supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful is not orthodox, for his official teaching is the pattern or standard against which orthodoxy is measured.

  16. Unless the Pope is more than a 1 kg weight in Paris. That is unless he is a man. Then we can look at what he says. He may say A is B one day and the next A is not B. Then we could look at the history of the Church in which case A has in fact been B. We could then look with reason at why the Church has said A is B including looking at the natural law and Revelation.

    Then we could say that the Pope is heretical.

  17. I think the question is “Does objective truth change with the times and cultural devolutions?” [I know! Libtards call it “cultural evolution.”]

    Or, “Was the Holy Spirit correct in, say, 1699, and then realized that He was incorrect 315 years later?”

  18. T Shaw wrote, “Was the Holy Spirit correct in, say, 1699, and then realized that He was incorrect 315 years later?”

    No, the question is what is the true meaning of the statement of 1699 and, more importantly, who decides?
    Bl John Henry Newman gives an example of this: “As to the condemnation of propositions all she tells us is, that the thesis condemned when taken as a whole, or, again, when viewed in its context, is heretical, or blasphemous, or impious, or whatever like epithet she affixes to it. We have only to trust her so far as to allow ourselves to be warned against the thesis, or the work containing it. Theologians employ themselves in determining what precisely it is that is condemned in that thesis or treatise; and doubtless in most cases they do so with success; but that determination is not de fide; all that is of faith is that there is in that thesis itself, which is noted, heresy or error, or other like peccant matter, as the case may be, such, that the censure is a peremptory command to theologians, preachers, students, and all other whom it concerns, to keep clear of it. But so light is this obligation, that instances frequently occur, when it is successfully maintained by some new writer, that the Pope’s act does not imply what it has seemed to imply, and questions which seemed to be closed, are after a course of years re-opened.”

    And he adds, “Indeed, excepting such as relate to persons, that is, to the Trinity in Unity, the Blessed Virgin, the Saints, and the like, all the dogmas of Pope or of Council are but general, and so far, in consequence, admit of exceptions in their actual application,—these exceptions being determined either by other authoritative utterances, or by the scrutinizing vigilance, acuteness, and subtlety of the Schola Theologorum.”

  19. Michael Paterson-Seymour:
    In trying to understand and form an approach to this question, on the basis of quoted writings, is it fair to think that there must be a kind of prudent separation between the office and the office holder du jour?
    .
    ” … but that determination is not de fide; all that is of faith is that there is in that thesis itself, which is noted, heresy or error, or other like peccant matter, as the case may be, such, that the censure is a peremptory command to theologians, preachers, students, and all other whom it concerns, to keep clear of it.” and
    .
    “Indeed, excepting such as relate to persons, that is, to the Trinity in Unity, the Blessed Virgin, the Saints, and the like, all the dogmas of Pope or of Council are but general, and so far, in consequence, admit of exceptions in their actual application, …”
    .
    The office, created originally with the intention of being solid as a rock by Whose plan was to increase His followers (Church), is the singular one called Pope. Since, by veering in study and faith in the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus, as well as the ancient divinely inspired prophets of the Old Testament, a man might become a successor to the office and lose sight of the priorities (the world vs. the Kingdom) in teaching the way Jesus taught His Apostles to teach.
    .

  20. Hello MPS, it would be helpful to me, and perhaps others, if you stated what you are for, what you hope to prove, or what you seek to disprove by counterexample, before you begin lengthy quotes. A short declarative sentence at the beginning of your first comment on a post, in charity to orient your fellow reader. We are not all Don McClareys. 🙂

  21. “On this theory, the notion of an heretical pope is simply unintelligible.”
    .
    The Pope’s infallibility engages only as the Pope speaks “ex cathedra” from the chair of Peter in the Magisterium. The rest of the time the Pope is subject to the same fallibility as the rest of us. That is why the Pope has a spiritual director and goes to the Sacrament of Penance.
    .
    In fact, it is worse for a Pope to offer a half-truth than it is for an ordinary man to make half true statements simply because the Pope is the Pope.

  22. T Shaw wrote, “Was the Holy Spirit correct in, say, 1699, and then realized that He was incorrect 315 years ”

    One thing is for darn sure. The Holy Spirit will not suddenly begin telling a pope that homosexual marriage should be accepted & practiced by the Church.

  23. “I’d be pleased if some of Benedict’s relatives extracted him from the Vatican and made a home for him wherever they live. I do not like the idea the Benedict is at the mercy of security officers and others answerable to Francis.”

    Do you think Benedict is at risk of physical harm in their care?

  24. “The Pope’s infallibility engages only as the Pope speaks “ex cathedra” from the chair of Peter in the Magisterium. The rest of the time the Pope is subject to the same fallibility as the rest of us. That is why the Pope has a spiritual director and goes to the Sacrament of Penance.”

    Thank you Mary for this statement as it is very plain. Except I am new at this & do not fully understand the meaning of the phrase “In the chair of Peter inthe Magesterium” nor the meaning of “ex cathedra

  25. “I think the question is “Does objective truth change with the times and cultural devolutions?”

    No.

    Jesus Christ is the Word and He is Truth.

    “”I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. Malachi 3:6”

    “Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Psalm 119:89”

    “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Matthew 5:18”

  26. “The Prince is not bound by the laws (Dig. I, 3, 31) and that his will has the force of law [“quod principi placuit legis habet vigorem” (Dig. I, 4, 1 et Inst, I, 2, 6)”

    I knew Obama has been behaving as if he were royalty instead of an elected president. This quote describees his behavior perfectly.

  27. Barbara Gordon: My understanding of infallibility is that the Pope speaks with infallibility when infallibility is required, defining, teaching and explaining the articles of Faith found in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creed. Doctrines and dogmas require infallibility.

  28. “The Prince is not bound by the laws (Dig. I, 3, 31) and that his will has the force of law [“quod principi placuit legis habet vigorem” (Dig. I, 4, 1 et Inst, I, 2, 6)”
    .
    The Prince is not bound by the law because the Prince is the embodiment of the law.
    .
    “I knew Obama has been behaving as if he were royalty instead of an elected president. This quote describes his behavior perfectly.”
    .
    Obama is an outlaw, a liar and a traitor.

  29. “The Prince is not bound by the law because the Prince is the embodiment of the law.”

    Mary, I was using satire/sarcasm when I referenced Osama (aka Obama) and the actions of a prince & the law. I should have indicated such. Osama believes he is a law unto himself–and is not bound by any written/constitutionally–duly passed law–even the ones he has put forward like Obamacare.

    ” Obama is an outlaw, a liar and a traitor.”

    Indeed. May God have mercy on Osama & our souls.

  30. “My understanding of infallibility is that the Pope speaks with infallibility when infallibility is required, defining, teaching and explaining the articles of Faith found in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creed. Doctrines and dogmas require infallibility.”

    Mary, what is a definition of Catholic doctrines that a 3 year old would understand? And what is your definition of Catholic Dogma that a 3 year old would understand? (i.e. the doctrine & dogma that the pope would speak infallibly?). Are they strictly limited to the articles of Faith found in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creed in your view? And what is the difference between Catholic doctrine & Catholic Dogma in your view? Are they one & the same–are parts overlapping–completely separate areas?

  31. “The Prince is not bound by the law because the Prince is the embodiment of the law.”

    Jesus Christ is the law (i.e. the fulfillment of the law.)

    Matthew 5:17 & 18. “Do not think that I have come to abolish qthe Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but rto fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, suntil heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

  32. Barbara Gordon

    The Decree of the First Vatican Council in 1870 explains the meaning of “ex Cathedra” or “from the Chair” in this way: “when he speaks ex Cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of Pastor and Teacher of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the Universal Church”
    So three conditions have to be met
    1. The Pope is acting as the Universal Pastor and Teacher, not merely expressing a theological opinion, or initiating a discussion.
    2. He definition concerns faith or morals (which may include “dogmatic facts,” such as the fact that X was a pope, not an anti-pope, that a particular council was ecumenical, that a particular book contains heretical statements &c
    3. He intends to make a definitive statement, binding on the whole Church, not merely resolving an individual or local dispute, preaching to a particular congregation, repeating commonly held opinions, without making them binding &c.

  33. Phillip

    No one denies that Bl John Henry Newman was a nominalist and made no secret of it. Quite simply, he held that universals exist only within the mind and have no external or substantial reality.
    This also explains his empiricism, very much in the British tradition.
    His suspicion of logic (what could be more dismissive that his reference to “the expression of a ratiocinative instinct”) springs from his oft-repeated insistence that “inference starts with conditions, as starting with premisses, here are two reasons why, when employed upon matters of fact, it can only conclude probabilities: first, because its premisses are assumed, not proved; and secondly, because its conclusions are abstract, and not concrete.”
    As for “first principles,” he notes: “first principles, the recondite sources of all knowledge, as to which logic provides no common measure of minds,—which are accepted by some, rejected by others,—in which, and not in the syllogistic exhibitions, lies the whole problem of attaining to truth,—and which are called self-evident by their respective advocates because they are evident in no other way.”
    Hence his recourse to the “illative sense,” the faculty of the mind that enables us to grasp the “limit” to which evidence in concrete matters tends, much in the manner of the calculus in mathematics.
    Of course, he insists on the principle of non-contradiction, in its proper sphere: “It is true indeed that I deny
    the possibility of two straight lines enclosing a space, on the ground of its being inconceivable; but I do so because a straight line is a notion and nothing more, and not a thing, to which I may have attached a notion more or less unfaithful. I have defined a straight line in my own way at my own pleasure; the question is not one of facts at all, but of the consistency with each other of definitions and of their logical consequences.”

  34. Barbara Gordon

    “Dogma” comes from the Greek word δόγμα, meaning a belief. It comes from the verb δοκέω, meaning to think, to suppose.

    “Doctrine” comes from the Latin word doctina, meaning a teaching, from the verb doceo, meaning to teach.

    In theology, “dogma” means a teaching that has been formally defined by the pope or a general council, whereas doctrine includes the whole body of the Church’s teaching, as contained, for example, in the Catechism e.g. “Death, judgment, heaven, hell, the four last things;” “There are seven gifts of the Holy Ghost,” “three theological virtues,” “seven capital sins,” things that have never been formally defined, because no one has ever argued about them, but that all Catholics hold.

  35. @Michael Paterson-Seymour Your comments just highlights the confusion in our age. The Pope is NOT the standard nor is his teaching. That is not even the Pope’s function and purpose. His function and purpose is “confirming his brethren in the faith” (safeguarding the faith) and “feeding and taking care of the sheep and lamb” (food = true faith + morals). He becomes exemplary, not the standard, when he fulfills his function and purpose. As far as standards go, I would say Peter is, but that is not standard – no pun intended – Church terminology.
    .
    As regards his teaching, the Pope would be fulfilling his function and purpose if his teaching remained faithful to the deposit of the faith (= Sacred Scripture + Holy Tradition) and consistent with Church and Papal Magisterium from the Apostles through the centuries to our age.
    .
    A Pope is either faithful or he is not.

  36. Where do people get the idea that the Pope is not bound by any law when Jesus himself, his Mother, St. Joseph, kept the law? Did Jesus not ask who could convict him of sin? And wasn’t he obedient to his Father?
    .
    There is no excuse for the Pope to disregard current and valid laws; it is being disobedient and scandalous. If he does not want to follow a law, let him abrogate the laws that his power is able to change or do away with.

  37. @FMShyanguya wrote, “As regards his teaching, the Pope would be fulfilling his function and purpose if his teaching remained faithful to the deposit of the faith (= Sacred Scripture + Holy Tradition) and consistent with Church and Papal Magisterium from the Apostles through the centuries to our age.”
    But documents cannot interpret themselves; when questioned, as Socrates pointed out in the Phædrus, “σεμνῶς πάνυ σιγᾷ” – they preserve a solemn silence.
    The only alternatives are the submission of faith to a living authority or a reliance on private judgment. An appeal to the records of the past is always and inevitably an appeal to one’s own interpretation of them.
    That is what Cardinal Manning meant, when he said that “If you reject history and antiquity, how can you know what was revealed before, as you say, history and antiquity existed? ‘I answer: The enunciation of the faith by the living Church of this hour, is the maximum of evidence, both natural and supernatural, as to the fact and the contents of the original revelation. I know what are revealed there not by retrospect, but by listening.” The first Christians believed the living voices of the Apostles and “The rule and basis of faith to those who lived before either the history or antiquity of which we hear so much existed, is the rule and basis of our faith now.”

  38. @Michael Paterson-Seymour I believe your are correct in pointing to:

    CCC 85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

    That whole section in CCC is worth reading III. THE INTERPRETATION OF THE HERITAGE OF FAITH.

  39. “No one denies that Bl John Henry Newman was a nominalist and made no secret of it. Quite simply, he held that universals exist only within the mind and have no external or substantial reality.”

    Of course that would be Aristotle’s and Aquinas position as relations of reason. And they were not nominalists.

    As for no one denying that Newman was a nominalist, there are many including one of his biographers:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/1994/08/the-prudence-of-john-henry-newman

  40. Doctrine are those truths revealed to man by God through Faith. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. God, the Father, said so on many occasions, the Baptism of Jesus, the Transfiguration. Jesus said: I and the Father are one” Jesus Christ is true God and True Man in the Hypostatic Union. Only a divine person could make restitution to God for the offense committed against God by a human person; man. God is a Trinity of Persons, the Person of the Father, the Person of Jesus Christ and the Person of the Holy Spirit. The Person of the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Blessed Trinity is a Family of Love. All articles of Faith pronounced in the Nicene Creed and in the Apostles Creed are doctrines. All doctrines must be believed if one is to call or consider himself a Catholic.
    .
    Dogma are those truths revealed to man by his ability to reason, and reason correctly in unison with the Holy Spirit. The Immaculate Conception: that Mary, who was chosen by God to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, was preserved from concupiscence, original sin, from the very first moment of her existence through conception, and remained a virgin until her Assumption into heaven. Mary’s will was in perfect conformity to God as was Jesus Christ’s will in perfect conformity to God. Jesus Christ took His human nature from Mary, while remaining the only begotten Son of God, the Father. (I often think that Michelangelo’s Creation of Man depicts, not Adam, but His Son, Jesus, Whom the Father sent into the world to redeem mankind. “Mankind” is inclusive of women who are kind of like man.)
    The Assumption of Mary: Death is the wages of sin. Mary was innocent in body and soul and therefore was not subject to death. Mary’s innocent body was assumed into heaven with her innocent soul. Tradition held that Mary is Immaculate and Mary was assumed into heaven. Tradition held that Mary fell asleep rather than dying and was assumed into heaven by God. Our Lady appeared at Lourdes in France and told Bernadette, now, St. Bernadette: “I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION”. People were not required to believe in the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption until both dogmas were promulgated by the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church. Now, it is necessary for the faithful, to remain faithful, to believe in the dogmas defined by the Catholic Church to call themselves Catholic.
    .
    I am sorry Barbara Gordon that I am so late with this response. Much time was spent in prayer.

  41. Infallibility as taught to children (ca. 7yrs old) preparing for first Holy Communion.

    92. Is the Pope infallible? The Pope is infallible.

    93. What do you mean when you say that the Pope is infallible? When I say that the Pope is infallible, I mean that the Pope cannot err when, as Shepherd and Teacher of all Christians, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals, to be held by the whole Church.

  42. Jesus Christ the son of God was sent by His Father to redeem mankind. Some souls are redeemed and in heaven, some souls on earth are growing in the Faith and some souls have their eternal life fixed after their stay in purgatory.The Catholic Church is the Triumphant saints in heaven, the militant souls on earth and the suffering souls in purgatory. All souls ever created by God to be redeemed are “The Church” except those souls who through their free will choose to separate themselves from God and have perished.
    .
    Doctrine and dogma may not be changed, as they are firmly held by the souls in heaven and in purgatory and some souls on earth. Pope Francis may not change the will, the free will, of the souls in the Catholic Church without destroying the Kingdom of Heaven.

  43. Mary de Voe re. “Doctrine/Dogma”:
    Consider also the definitions by the late John Hardon, SJ, in his inimitable clarity:
    DOCTRINE: Any truth taught by the Church as necessary for acceptance by the faithful. The truth may be either formally revealed (as the Real Presence) or a theological conclusion (as the canonization of a saint), or part of the natural law (as the sinfulness of contraception). In any case, what makes it doctrine is that the Church authority teaches that it is to be believed. This teaching may be done either solemnly in ex cathedra pronoucements or ordinarily in the perennial exercise of the Church’s magisterium or teaching authority. Dogmas are those doctrines which the Church proposed for belief as formally revealed by God. (Etym. Latin doctrina, teaching.)
    DOGMA: Doctrine taught by the Church to be believed by all the faithful as part of divine revelation. All dogmas, therefore, are formally revealed truths and promulgated as such by the Church. They are revealed either in Scripture or tradition, either explicitly (as the Incarnation) or implicitly (as the Assumption). Moreover, their acceptance by the faithful must be proposed as necessary for salvation. They may be taught by the Church in a solemn manner, as with the definition of the Immaculate Conception or in an ordinary way, as with the constant teaching on the malice of taking innocent human life. (Etym. Latin: dogma, declaration/decree). [Modern Catholic Dictionary}

  44. Keeping things simple.
    – Doctrine (as someone said above) = teaching.
    – Dogma = tenet (a belief).
    An Etymology Dictionary may assist in the understanding of some of these words. The important thing to remember though is how the Church uses them.
    .
    Re: The task of interpretation. True interpretation is faithful to the deposit of the faith. The Holy Spirit role is central and key.
    .
    The faith is known. That’s is why the authors of the synod’s interim report purposefully kept things vague and there was hardly any reference to prior Church teaching (unless it was twisted e.g. the law of gradualism or it suited their purpose). That is why the Pope has been saying, “God is not afraid on new things.”

  45. Sydney O Fernandes wrote, “(Etym. Latin: dogma, declaration/decree).
    But Latin borrowed the word from Greek. As I pointed out above, “Dogma” comes from the Greek word δόγμα, meaning a belief. It comes from the verb δοκέω, meaning to think, to suppose.

  46. Just a clarification to all: My note re. doctrine/dogma, including “Etym” was A DIRECT QUOTE from Fr. Hardon’s “The Modern Catholic Dictionary”. There are literally dozens of explanations, and a jolly confusion about doctrine/dogma in the minds of most Catholics: but it matters little if their beliefs and practices follow the mind of the Church.

  47. Sydney O. Fernandes, Md: It seems that I have got doctrines and dogmas mixed up. So, it is dogmas that are in the Nicene Creed. Dogmas become doctrines to be believed. Father John Hardon I believe.

  48. Fr. Hardon wrote on The Crisis of Faith – I read it the other day on Ignatius Insight
    and I think it relates to this post. Here’s a large part of his essay:
    .

    “Wherein precisely lies the crisis? It might be described as a communitarian state of mind which differs somewhat in different people. But many of them are in one of three mental attitudes towards even the most sacred mysteries of Divine revelation.

    Some are in open rebellion against the faith of their fathers. They resent the fact that, as some will tell you, they had been brainwashed to believe what modern science, or scholarship, or study, or the social sciences, or psychology now show to have been useful props in the past, or perhaps convenient labels for the unknown, but these beliefs are no longer tenable today.

    Other people are not yet ready to discard the Faith they may still cherish with one part of their being, maybe for emotional or ritual or personal reasons. But they have serious doubts about so much of what Catholics used to believe with the naivete of children. Some articles of faith they are willing to admit, but others they have strong reservations about.

    There is so much talk nowadays about collegiality that what used to be called the papal primacy is, for such people, no longer an established article of faith.

    There are so many theories going the rounds about transfinalization and transignification that belief in the real bodily presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist, for such people, is uncertain to say the least. That is why some priests are so casual in their indiscriminate giving of Holy Communion to anyone, whether Catholic or Protestant or, for that matter, Jewish or Hindu.

    There is so much speculation everywhere, they feel, about Christ’s personality, that it seems to them that to bring Christ down to our own level we must make Him a human person, who perhaps, in the Nestorian fashion, was also divine; but He only gradually developed His full awareness of who He was. He could not, it is thought, have been truly human if from the first moment of His existence He was conscious of His dual identity.

    There are so many problems raised by the demographic experts, and the social scientists about the expanding world population, that not a few people seriously doubt the teaching of the Church on contraception. And besides, rearing a normal family in contraceptive societies like America would place an intolerable burden on Catholics. So they settle for questioning the Church’s magisterium and follow instead the teaching of the Church’s sworn enemies.

    Among priests, they have heard and read so much about being open to the Spirit, so much about problems of identity, so much about optional celibacy, so much about leadership instead of authority, about relating to the world, about cultic mentality instead of sound involvement, about the Eucharist as a meal, and confession being emotionally harmful, so much about a functional priesthood, so much about the hierarchy as teachers, indeed, but not divinely authorized to command obedience.

    We have acquired a whole new vocabulary about relevance, and involvement and harmonization and power politics and the third way and sensitivity programs and ritual preoccupation and respectful disobedience and communal discernment and institutionalism, that it is no wonder so many have serious doubts not only about this or that feature of Catholic life, but even about its value at all.

    Given all that is happening, a third group of people are not rejecting the Faith or in serious doubt about Catholic doctrine, but they are bewildered. Modern popes have addressed in their documents the synonyms for bewilderment that besets millions of the still faithful faithful. They are confused, and distraught, and perplexed, and worried and some are all but crushed by the spectacle of a post-conciliar Church that is caught up in an interior convulsion of spirit that has rocked all of Christendom to its foundations.”

  49. Prob should have just given you the link. He goes on to say “There is a crisis of faith in the Catholic Church because there has been an intrusion of alien ideas.”

    “What is meant by intrusion is the coercive pressure: psychological and social, economic and legal, academic and professional, educational and governmental that cumulatively can become all but irresistible to conformity with the people and agencies and institutions that are in control of today’s mind-shaping structures and social communications.

    That some of these compulsive elements have also entered the sacred precincts of the Church’s organization is not strange. There is a crusade of conformism in societies like America. Woe to anyone who dares to raise a voice in protest or who invokes the rights of conscience to protect himself from those who, in the name of conscience, are demanding allegiance to doctrinaire theories of a structure-less Church, or a cult-less priesthood, or a ruleless religious life, or that every marriage is open to ecclesiastical annulment.

  50. Sydney O. Fernandes, MD wrote, “ My note re. doctrine/dogma, including “Etym” was A DIRECT QUOTE from Fr. Hardon’s “The Modern Catholic Dictionary””

    I appreciate that and I did not intend any personal criticism. If what Fr Hardon is saying is that “dogma” entered English from Latin (and not directly from Greek), that is true enough.

    Even though derivation does not necessarily determine meaning, it can be useful to show why that particular term was chosen, first by Greek-speaking Christians and then borrowed by Latin-speaking ones.

    New words are coined or borrowed to express new concepts and that is the principle contribution of etymology to semantics.

  51. Anzlyne

    Thank you for your quotation from Fr Hardon.
    The problem he is addressing is simply this: the mediæval synthesis between philosophy and theology has broken down and needs to be reformulated.
    To do this, we must make an important distinction between Revelation (the deposit of faith) and ideas or notions or reflections that are the believing mind’s response to it.
    Bl John Henry Newman drew the distinction very clearly: “Revelation sets before it certain supernatural facts and actions, beings and principles; these make a certain impression or image upon it; and this impression spontaneously, or even necessarily, becomes the subject of reflection on the part of the mind itself, which proceeds to investigate it, and to draw it forth in successive and distinct sentences.”
    In this endeavour, there will be many false starts and blind alleys. That is only to be expected. Fidelity is ensured so long as we firmly believe the truths of our faith. As Newman said of the Apostles’’ Creed, “it remains now what it was in the beginning, a popular form of faith, suited to every age, class, and condition. Its declarations are categorical, brief, clear, elementary, of the first importance, expressive of the concrete, the objects of real apprehension, and the basis and rule of devotion.” Philosophy (and theology) must accommodate those facts as best it can and we should be charitable towards sincere, though misguided, attempts to do so.

Comments are closed.