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Old 25th April 2007, 09:18 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default TS 3: infallibility and Ecumenical Councils

An Ecumenical Council is a gathering of the body of Bishops with and under the authority of the Pope. Sometimes the Pope is not physically present, but he sends a representative. The body gathered must be representative of the universal Church on earth. Every Bishop need not be there, but neither would a gathering of local Bishops with the Pope constitute an Ecumenical Council.

If the Pope dies during an Ecumenical Council, it is no longer an Ecumenical Council. A Council is a body with the Pope as its head. Apart from the Pope, no gathering of Cardinals and Bishops constitutes a valid Ecumenical Council.

Some persons have debated who has more authority, a Pope or a Council, but a Council does not exist apart from the Pope. Therefore, no Council can overrule the current Pope. Also, no Council can remove the current Pope from office. An Ecumenical Council has no authority, other than the proper authority of each individual member by himself, apart from the Pope.

Ecumenical Councils can teach infallibly, can teach non-infalliby, and can exercise the temporal authority of the Church. Each teaching and decision must be approved by the Pope in order to be a valid teaching or decision of a Council.

When Ecumenical Councils teach infallibly, they usually do so in the form of Decrees or Canons. Sometimes these Decrees or Canons have an anathema attached to the teaching, against anyone who rejects the teaching (but this is not essential).

It is a matter of some debate among faithful theologians as to whether or not Vatican II issued any infallible teachings, since it did not issue any specific Decrees or Canons or anathemas. Some of its documents are called 'dogmatic' or 'decree on' but this is not sufficient to make its contents infallible.

There have been many infallible decrees of various Ecumenical Councils in the history of the Church. Often these are issued to rebuke a particular heresy which has arisen among the faithful.
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Old 25th April 2007, 09:26 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Some speculative theology on this topic:

by way of comparision, we can adapt the criteria for papal infallibility to the criteria for infallible decrees of Councils:

1. the body of Bishops led by the Pope (instead of the Pope alone)
2. with the Bishops acting in their official roles as teachers and leaders in the Church, and with the Pope acting in his official role as teacher of the whole Church and leader of the Bishops
3. definitive teaching (i.e. a definition of doctrine)
4. on questions of faith or morals, whose answers are found in Tradition and Scripture, at least implicitly,
5. binding on the whole Church.

I also speculate that this authority of the body of Bishops led by the Pope to teach infallibly can be exercised without a formal Ecumenical Council. This occurred in the case of Evangelium Vitae, in which the Pope gives three infallible definitions on morals, binding on the whole Church, but not from himself alone:

Quote:
Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
Evangelium Vitae, n. 57.

Notice that he proclaims this 'in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church (i.e. the universal Church). This is dealt with in detail in my article:
http://www.catholicplanet.com/TSM/th...arisms.htm#R71

Since this infallible statement against abortion, and another against murder in general, and another against euthenasia, are all expressed in terms similar to an infallible papal teaching, but from the Pope and the body of Bishops, not the Pope alone, this teaching would then fall under the type of infallibility usually exercised by Ecumenical Councils.
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Old 25th April 2007, 09:55 PM
llazcano13
 
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Hello Ron,

Quote:
If the Pope dies during an Ecumenical Council, it is no longer an Ecumenical Council. A Council is a body with the Pope as its head

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Council Vatican II started with John XXIII and continued under Paul VI pontificate, so this would be an exception to your statement above, or is a different case?
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Old 25th April 2007, 10:05 PM
sammy sammy is offline
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Ron, how many Ecumenical Councils that we know of have convened in the history of the Church?
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Old 25th April 2007, 11:50 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llazcano13 View Post
Hello Ron,



Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Council Vatican II started with John XXIII and continued under Paul VI pontificate, so this would be an exception to your statement above, or is a different case?

When John 23 died, the Council ceased. When Paul 6 was elected, he had the option of restarting the Council, or breaking it off. He chose to continue it.

It is not an exception.

I don't know how many Councils there were, and I do not think that the number is known. There may have been some very early Councils that are not recorded.
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Old 26th April 2007, 08:10 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Any questions on the infallibility of Ecumenical Councils?


Ron
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Old 26th April 2007, 08:21 PM
Rob Rob is offline
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Apparently many documents from the Council of Florence were not approved by the pope. So in those instances the bishops were exercising the ordinary Magisterium. Correct? Ron, Have you got any references stating that not all documents were approved by the pope in Florence? I cannot find any. Was the teaching about original sin and limbo in Florence an infallible teaching or not?
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Old 26th April 2007, 09:27 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Apparently many documents from the Council of Florence were not approved by the pope. So in those instances the bishops were exercising the ordinary Magisterium. Correct? Ron, Have you got any references stating that not all documents were approved by the pope in Florence? I cannot find any. Was the teaching about original sin and limbo in Florence an infallible teaching or not?

If a Council's teaching is not approved by the Pope, then it falls under the non-infallible ordinary Magisterium.

I can't find any source that is specific on which were approved.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06111a.htm

Ron
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Old 26th April 2007, 09:28 PM
Rob Rob is offline
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Is there a list of teachings from the council of Florence which have been and haven't been approved by the pope? Where can I find such reference on the net? Thanks
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  #10  
Old 26th April 2007, 09:30 PM
Rob Rob is offline
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Ok, thanks. Is there at least some reference stating that not all teachings have been approved by the pope? I cannot find any.
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Last edited by Rob : 26th April 2007 at 09:36 PM.
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