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Old 3rd April 2007, 12:37 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default TS 1: Ecumenical Councils

The Church has two types of authority:

1. spiritual or teaching authority, called the Magisterium

2. temporal authority (for making decisions about practical matters, called temporal decisions of the prudential order)

The Magisterium can teach infallibly or non-infallibly.

Ecumenical Councils can teach infallibly and non-infallibly, and can exercise the temporal authority of the Church (for example, by correcting practices which are disorderly or unbecoming, such as liturgical errors).

One of the first Ecumenical Councils is found in Acts of the Apostles chapter 6, when the Apostles, under the authority of Peter, gathered in Jerusalem and decided to ordain the first deacons.

Another is found in Acts 15, where Peter and the Apostles decided that Christians do not need to follow the external precepts of the OT Law, such as circumcision and dietary laws.

Other Ecumenical Councils have occurred throughout the history of the Church. Some have issued numerous infallible Canons, teaching on various subjects definitively (often in response to heresy or controversy about articles of faith). Some Councils have only exercised the temporal authority of the Church.

The most recent Councils are Vatican I and Vatican II. Vatican I focussed on teachings related to the authority and primacy and role of the Pope. Vatican II focussed on the role of the bishops and of the laity. No one Council's teachings should be taken in isolation from the rest of the Church's teachings.

Often, when a Council makes definitive decisions on doctrine, some Catholics fall away from the Church because they disagree. There are still some Protestants asking when the Catholic Church will renounce the 'errors' of the Council of Trent (answer: never, they are not errors). Some Catholics fell away after Vatican I; they formed the 'Old Catholic Church' which is still inexistance today. Some Catholics fell away after Vatican II; they are called 'sede vacantists' because they claim that no Popes since Vatican II are valid (the seat of Peter is, they say, vacant).

questions on this topic?
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Old 3rd April 2007, 12:44 PM
Nathan
 
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Under what conditions does an ecumenical council teach non-infallibly?
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Old 3rd April 2007, 12:45 PM
Nathan
 
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What is the role of the many local councils? "Non-infallible Magisterium?"
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Old 3rd April 2007, 01:21 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan View Post
Under what conditions does an ecumenical council teach non-infallibly?

Whenever a Council teaches, other than in a formal definition of doctrine, the Council teaches non-infallibly.

It is necessary for Councils to teach non-infallby to expound upon infallible teachings, to participate in the development of doctrine over the course of years and centuries, to teach the Faith in every possible way, not merely by infallible canons.
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Old 3rd April 2007, 07:56 PM
sammy sammy is offline
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When councils convene, do they require all the bishops to gather? Is there a minimum number of bishops who need to be present? Does a simple majority vote usually decide matters? Sammy.
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Old 3rd April 2007, 08:28 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by sammy View Post
When councils convene, do they require all the bishops to gather? Is there a minimum number of bishops who need to be present? Does a simple majority vote usually decide matters? Sammy.

The Council must be representative of the universal Church. It is not necessary for every Bishop to be present, nor for every diocese to be represented. There is no minimum number of Bishops. The voting rules can be established by the Pope, or with his consent by the body of Bishops.

I don't know historically what the voting rules have been like. They may be different at different Councils. There are no rules that exist in Canon Law or elsewhere to govern successive Councils. The rules are made ad hoc for each Council.
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Old 3rd April 2007, 08:50 PM
llazcano13
 
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Are diocesan Sinods of Bishops like a local council for non infallibility discussions?
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Old 4th April 2007, 12:20 AM
js1975 js1975 is offline
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I am not very familiar with the complete history of the Catholic church, but it seems like there are not many ecumenical councils that have been held. What prompts these councils to commence? Is there ever pressure to hold a council to further expound on infallible teachings?
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Old 4th April 2007, 12:58 AM
logue
 
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Those first councils in Acts are clear examples of a hierarchy. Most protestants don't acknowledge a hierarchial Church and find it unneccessary. Yet, they claim to be scriptual.
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Old 4th April 2007, 01:04 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by js1975 View Post
I am not very familiar with the complete history of the Catholic church, but it seems like there are not many ecumenical councils that have been held. What prompts these councils to commence? Is there ever pressure to hold a council to further expound on infallible teachings?

Many Councils were prompted by serious problems in the Church, especially widespead heresy or widespread confusion on important points of doctrine. I don't know if there is any pressure to have a Council. It is the work of the Spirit.
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