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  #1  
Old 4th September 2010, 09:57 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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Default Infallibality in Vatican II

Ron,

There seems to be an ongoing debate among theologians about infallibility in VII. Some say there is isn't any solemn definitions, others say there are. Did VII 'define' doctrines with a solemn judgment as divinely revealed truths either by the Roman Pontiff when he speaks 'ex cathedra,' or by the College of Bishops gathered in council, or infallibly proposed for belief by the ordinary and universal Magisterium ?
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Old 4th September 2010, 10:40 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Ron,

There seems to be an ongoing debate among theologians about infallibility in VII. Some say there is isn't any solemn definitions, others say there are. Did VII 'define' doctrines with a solemn judgment as divinely revealed truths either by the Roman Pontiff when he speaks 'ex cathedra,' or by the College of Bishops gathered in council, or infallibly proposed for belief by the ordinary and universal Magisterium ?

There are three ways that the Magisterium teaches infallibly:
1. papal infallibility
2. solemn definitions of an Ecumenical Council
3. the ordinary and universal Magisterium

So if Vatican II taught infallibly, it would be only under the second type of infallibility. If a Pope is teaching infallibly with a Council, that is still the second type. Sometimes the Pope proposes the infallible teaching to the Council, and the Council agrees. Sometimes the Pope is not even present at the Council, and the Bishops propose teachings to be approved by the Pope at a later time. So all such teachings would fall under the second type, not the first.

Papal infallibility is when the Pope is teaching alone, by his sole authority.

And the Universal Magisterium would not have any definitions, but rather a series of non-defining acts, spread out over time and place.

There were no discrete Canons in the teachings of Vatican II.

One could argue that the teachings of Vatican II are part of a larger set of non-defining acts of the Universal Magisterium which teach a number of points infallibly.

My opinion is that the teachings of Vatican II contain some infallible definitions, even though these are not in the usual form of a Canon with an attached anathema.

For example, the definition of what constitutes an infallible teaching under the Universal Magisterium is from Lumen Gentium, n. 25. That passage is almost always cited or quoted in some way when the Universal Magisterium is discussed. In retrospect, that passage is a definition, which tells us the conditions under which the Universal Magisterium is exercised.

"Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held."

There are also some very clear and definitive teachings in Dei Verbum on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. But without discrete Canons it is difficult to discern which parts might constitute an infallible definition.
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Old 4th September 2010, 11:23 PM
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There are three ways that the Magisterium teaches infallibly:
1. papal infallibility
2. solemn definitions of an Ecumenical Council
3. the ordinary and universal Magisterium

So if Vatican II taught infallibly, it would be only under the second type of infallibility. If a Pope is teaching infallibly with a Council, that is still the second type. Sometimes the Pope proposes the infallible teaching to the Council, and the Council agrees. Sometimes the Pope is not even present at the Council, and the Bishops propose teachings to be approved by the Pope at a later time. So all such teachings would fall under the second type, not the first.

Papal infallibility is when the Pope is teaching alone, by his sole authority.

And the Universal Magisterium would not have any definitions, but rather a series of non-defining acts, spread out over time and place.

There were no discrete Canons in the teachings of Vatican II.

One could argue that the teachings of Vatican II are part of a larger set of non-defining acts of the Universal Magisterium which teach a number of points infallibly.

My opinion is that the teachings of Vatican II contain some infallible definitions, even though these are not in the usual form of a Canon with an attached anathema.

For example, the definition of what constitutes an infallible teaching under the Universal Magisterium is from Lumen Gentium, n. 25. That passage is almost always cited or quoted in some way when the Universal Magisterium is discussed. In retrospect, that passage is a definition, which tells us the conditions under which the Universal Magisterium is exercised.

"Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held."

There are also some very clear and definitive teachings in Dei Verbum on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. But without discrete Canons it is difficult to discern which parts might constitute an infallible definition.

Ron,

To better understand, your conclusions that VII contains infallible definitions is based on applying the criteria from VI ? Is there a difference between 'defining' and 'teaching' ? Thanks.
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Old 5th September 2010, 12:32 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Ron,

To better understand, your conclusions that VII contains infallible definitions is based on applying the criteria from VI ? Is there a difference between 'defining' and 'teaching' ? Thanks.

The Magisterium teaches by either defining acts, or non-defining acts; but all such acts of the Magisterium are teachings. Also, persons who cannot exercise the Magisterium can teach, but they cannot define and their teaching is not authoritative.

1. an infallible teaching under papal infallibility - defining act
2. an infallible teaching under Concilar infallibility - defining act
3. an infallible teaching under the UM - a set of non-defining acts
4. a non-infallible teaching from an individual Bishop - a non-defining act

My conclusion about V2 is not based on V1. Vatican I taught on papal infallibility. Vatican II taught on all three types of infallibility, and on non-infallible teachings.

My conclusion that Vatican II contains some infallible definitions is based on Vatican II's description of Concilar infallibility and on the teaching of the Universal Magisterium on Concilar infallibility:

"Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held. This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith."

Also, since Vatican II, the Magisterium (e.g. in the CCC) and the faithful have treated the above 'descriptions' of infallibility as definitive teachings on this subject.
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Old 5th September 2010, 11:29 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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Thanks Ron. I also found this text which I found very useful as well.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfadtu.htm
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  #6  
Old 6th September 2010, 02:59 PM
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My conclusion that Vatican II contains some infallible definitions is based on Vatican II's description of Concilar infallibility and on the teaching of the Universal Magisterium on Concilar infallibility:

"Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held. This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith."


Ron,

Was this never defined infallibly before VII ?

Some theologians argue that VII did not define anything. They claim that even the Popes since VII have stated that VII did not define anything infallibly and that according to the 'hermeneutics of continuity', the normal usage (i.e. wording to the effect that something is clearly 'solemny' defined) is not present in VII.

It would seem that the majority opinion is that the council has not sought to define formally (ie in an extraordinary form) new points of doctrine or morals, by engaging its infallibility. This would mean that among the conciliar texts, are only infallible teachings the ones offering a pre-established doctrine (such as the infalliblity of Scripture).

Others claim, according to the 'hermeneutics of continuity', VII defined nothing. But this does not make sense since VII is a Ecumenical council, then it would of had to define and or teach infallibly. It seems that those who reject any VII infallible teaching base their claims on formal wording (used or not used) as found in previous councils. This seems wrong if one looks at the material content of what is being expounded.
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  #7  
Old 6th September 2010, 03:11 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Was this never defined infallibly before VII ?
There was no formal definition of the universal magisterium prior to Vatican II. Vatican I mentions the term, but the mere mention of a term is not a definition:

8. Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.

Vatican II defines (explains the meaning of) ordinary and universal magisterium, but Vatican I only uses the term. The concept was found in theology prior to Vatican I; the development of this doctrine occurred over many years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
Some theologians argue that VII did not define anything. They claim that even the Popes since VII have stated that VII did not define anything infallibly and that according to the 'hermeneutics of continuity', the normal usage (i.e. wording to the effect that something is clearly 'solemny' defined) is not present in VII.

The infallible teachings of a Pope or a Council stand on their own. They do not require, nor are they subject to, any subsequent determination by a subsequent Pope, a subsequent Council, or a subsequent magisterial document, in order to make the teaching infallible. So if a Pope gives an opinion that Vatican II has no infallible definitions, it is only an opinion.

I would interpret the 'hermeneutics of continuity' in this case to refer to the participation of Vatican II in the teachings of the Universal Magisterium, such that non-infallible teachings of Vatican II become infallible as part of a larger set of non-defining acts, both before and after the Council. That is certainly true.

But I also think that there are some definitions in the works of Vatican II.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
It would seem that the majority opinion is that the council has not sought to define formally (ie in an extraordinary form) new points of doctrine or morals, by engaging its infallibility. This would mean that among the conciliar texts, are only infallible teachings the ones offering a pre-established doctrine (such as the infalliblity of Scripture).

It does not matter what the majority opinion is, nor does it matter if the Council intended to exercise infallibility. A Council's teachings are infallible if they meet the same conditions for papal infallibility, except that it is the Pope and the body of Bishops who are teaching, rather than the Pope alone.

As I said above, a Council can also teach infallibly by participating in the Universal Magisterium, such that subsequent acts of the Magisterium combine with the acts of the Council and with prior acts of the Magisterium, making the teaching now infallible, even if it was not so before the Council.

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Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
Others claim, according to the 'hermeneutics of continuity', VII defined nothing. But this does not make sense since VII is a Ecumenical council, then it would of had to define and or teach infallibly. It seems that those who reject any VII infallible teaching base their claims on formal wording (used or not used) as found in previous councils. This seems wrong if one looks at the material content of what is being expounded.

Some Councils in the history of the Church exercised only the temporal authority, not the teaching authority.

Because Vatican II chose not to issue discrete Canons, it is more difficult to discern if the Holy Spirit chose to teach infallibly through the Council (in solemn definitions). I think so, but others disagree. It is an open question.
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Old 6th September 2010, 06:16 PM
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But I also think that there are some definitions in the works of Vatican II.


Ron,

Yes they would be.

1- VII taught infallibly that the body of Bishops led by the Pope teach infallibly when certain criteria are met.

2- The infallibility of the Sacred Scripture

Would there be others as well ? Regarding the infalliblity of Sacred Scripture, does it matter, or is the definition in VII different, not as to contradict, from what Trent says on the matter ?
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Old 6th September 2010, 06:54 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Ron,

Yes they would be.

1- VII taught infallibly that the body of Bishops led by the Pope teach infallibly when certain criteria are met.

2- The infallibility of the Sacred Scripture

Would there be others as well ? Regarding the infalliblity of Sacred Scripture, does it matter, or is the definition in VII different, not as to contradict, from what Trent says on the matter ?

There is nothing to prevent two different Councils from teaching the same truth, each with the authority of the infallibility of a Council. So if a truth has already been taught infallibly by a Council, or Pope, or the Universal Magisterium, it can still be defined infallibly again by a subsequent Council.

If the subsequent definition has different wording, this might shed additional light on the previously defined dogma, or make it more easily understood.

I have not read through all of the documents of Vatican II, especially not with the intention of looking for any infallible teachings. The question as to which teachings of Vatican II are infallible is mostly academic because I find the non-infallible teachings of Vatican II to be very insightful and helpful as well.

What else might be infallible in Vatican II? There are some teachings against birth control, against abortion, against various types of sins. Veritatis Splendor cites a passage from Vatican II listing various grave sins.

The definition of Sacred Tradition that I use is from Dei Verbum, n. 2. I'm not sure if that passage meets the criteria for an infallible definition though.

The infallibility of Scripture has been taught infallibly many times by the Magisterium, under papal infallibility (in my understanding) and in past Councils (Florence, Trent, Vatican I and II). I don't agree with those who claim that Vatican II allowed for errors in Scripture except on matters pertaining to salvation. The teachings of any Council must be interpreted in the light of all the other teachings of the Magisterium and Tradition and Scripture.
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  #10  
Old 7th September 2010, 11:49 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
There are three ways that the Magisterium teaches infallibly:
1. papal infallibility
2. solemn definitions of an Ecumenical Council
3. the ordinary and universal Magisterium

So if Vatican II taught infallibly, it would be only under the second type of infallibility. If a Pope is teaching infallibly with a Council, that is still the second type. Sometimes the Pope proposes the infallible teaching to the Council, and the Council agrees. Sometimes the Pope is not even present at the Council, and the Bishops propose teachings to be approved by the Pope at a later time. So all such teachings would fall under the second type, not the first.

Papal infallibility is when the Pope is teaching alone, by his sole authority.

And the Universal Magisterium would not have any definitions, but rather a series of non-defining acts, spread out over time and place.

There were no discrete Canons in the teachings of Vatican II.

Ron,

When a Council defines and or teachs infallibly, is it teaching a dogma or a new dogma, as would be the case and as opposed say to a doctrine. I have difficulty with both these concepts of dogma vs. doctrine. Or is the definition of a dogma only reserved for the Pope under papal infallibility only ?
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