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  #1  
Old 3rd October 2009, 12:08 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default Conciliar infalliblity

The Pope is not infallible, but his teaching is infallible, when it meets certain conditions. Similarly, Ecumenical Councils are not infallible, but their teaching is infallible when it meets certain conditions.

An Ecumenical Council possesses the full authority given by Christ to the Pope and the body of Bishop. Therefore, a Council can exercise the temporal authority, in judgments of the prudential order. But these are not teachings; they are decisions on discipline, not doctrine. Such decisions are changeable and revocable. A Council can also teach non-infallibly, as well as infallibly.

Although there is no formal definition telling us when a Council is teaching infallibly, we can apply the criteria of papal infallibility, with slight modification, to the infallibility exercised by a Council.

Papal infallibility according to Vatican I

1. “the Roman Pontiff”
2. “speaks ex cathedra” (“that is, when in the discharge of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, and by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority….”)
3. “he defines”
4. “that a doctrine concerning faith or morals”
5. “must be held by the whole Church” [Pastor Aeternus, ch. 4]

Conciliar infallibility:

1. the body of bishops with the Pope as their head
2. speaks ex cathedra (that is, when in the discharge of their office as shepherds and teachers of all Christians)
3. they define
4. that a doctrine concerning faith or morals
5. must be held by the whole Church

Not every teaching of every Council is infallible. This is particularly clear in the more ancient councils, when infallible teachings were distinguished as separate Canons with attached anathemas for those who would reject the teaching. But there were also variour teachings that were non-infallible, such as introductory material before a set of Canons.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 05:02 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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Ron, with respect to the Canonization of Saints pronouced in Ecumenical Councils, your article on this topic is of the opinion that these judgements are from the Temporal authority and therefore never infallible.

I would say that given we profess in the Creed that we believe in the "communion of saints", it necessarily follows that the Church must maintain some means for distinguishing who is among the saints that we believe in and confess. This is why I believe the canonization of saints is bound up with the Church's infallibility. Otherwise, would it not be peculiar that through errant canonizations Catholics were led to admire and imitate persons who were among the damned ? In the end, is it not that what is really defined is nothing other than that this person who is canonized is in heaven ?
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Old 3rd October 2009, 05:59 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
Ron, with respect to the Canonization of Saints pronouced in Ecumenical Councils, your article on this topic is of the opinion that these judgements are from the Temporal authority and therefore never infallible.

I would say that given we profess in the Creed that we believe in the "communion of saints", it necessarily follows that the Church must maintain some means for distinguishing who is among the saints that we believe in and confess. This is why I believe the canonization of saints is bound up with the Church's infallibility. Otherwise, would it not be peculiar that through errant canonizations Catholics were led to admire and imitate persons who were among the damned ? In the end, is it not that what is really defined is nothing other than that this person who is canonized is in heaven ?

No Council has ever issued a decree proclaiming someone a Saint.

The 'saints' in the communion of the saints is ALL the faithful, not merely the canonized Saints.

Most of the Saints for most of Church history were not formally declared to be Saints by a Pope, nor by any process of canonization. It is the sensus fidelium that judged them to be Saints.

It is the majority opinion of theologians that the canonization of a Saint by a Pope falls under papal infallibilty. This is a theological opinion, not a teaching of the Magisterum. The Magisterium has not decided the question.

My opinion is that a Pope's decision on canonization requires a prudential judgment of temporal matters. There are documents, witnesses, and various claims, for and against the person, which must be evaluated and judged. This is a temporal decision and so is if the temporal authority.

Nor has the Church ever taught that if a member of the faithful refuses to believe that a particular person is a Saint, that he commits the sin of heresy.

And since holiness is a matter of degree, it again is a matter of temporal judgment as to what that degree may have been. And even for a holy person, their degree of holiness may change over the course of their life. This degree of holiness is difficult to judge, and is not a matter of faith or morals, nor is it a truth found in the Deposit of Faith, (two criteria for a papal teaching to be infallible), when a judgment is made about a recent person (not someone mentioned in Scripture) and their degree of holiness.

http://www.catholicplanet.com/TSM/in...onizations.htm
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Old 3rd October 2009, 06:17 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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No Council has ever issued a decree proclaiming someone a Saint.

The 'saints' in the communion of the saints is ALL the faithful, not merely the canonized Saints.

Yes, this is obvious and implied

Most of the Saints for most of Church history were not formally declared to be Saints by a Pope, nor by any process of canonization. It is the sensus fidelium that judged them to be Saints.

Agree, but we are talking about Ecumenical councils who proclaim Saints, e.g "In honour of . . . we decree and define that Blessed N. is a Saint, and we inscribe his name in the catalogue of saints, and order that his memory by devoutly and piously celebrated yearly on the . . . day of . . . his feast."

It is the majority opinion of theologians that the canonization of a Saint by a Pope falls under papal infallibilty. This is a theological opinion, not a teaching of the Magisterum. The Magisterium has not decided the question.

I don't agree, what is being taught is that this person, a Saint, is in Heaven, i.e the saints’ vision of God in heaven

My opinion is that a Pope's decision on canonization requires a prudential judgment of temporal matters. There are documents, witnesses, and various claims, for and against the person, which must be evaluated and judged. This is a temporal decision and so is if the temporal authority.

I agree that this process is fallible, but the outcome, i.e the person being proclaimed a Saint is in Heaven is infallible.

Nor has the Church ever taught that if a member of the faithful refuses to believe that a particular person is a Saint, that he commits the sin of heresy.

Agree

And since holiness is a matter of degree, it again is a matter of temporal judgment as to what that degree may have been. And even for a holy person, their degree of holiness may change over the course of their life. This degree of holiness is difficult to judge, and is not a matter of faith or morals, nor is it a truth found in the Deposit of Faith, (two criteria for a papal teaching to be infallible), when a judgment is made about a recent person (not someone mentioned in Scripture) and their degree of holiness.

Again, it is not the degree of holiness, but the fact the person is in Heaven because of a formal Canonization process.

http://www.catholicplanet.com/TSM/in...onizations.htm

Last edited by Pontifex : 3rd October 2009 at 06:56 PM. Reason: added comment
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Old 3rd October 2009, 07:35 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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No Council has ever issued a decree proclaiming someone a Saint.

Agree, but we are talking about Ecumenical councils who proclaim Saints, e.g "In honour of . . . we decree and define that Blessed N. is a Saint, and we inscribe his name in the catalogue of saints, and order that his memory by devoutly and piously celebrated yearly on the . . . day of . . . his feast."

**Name an Ecumenical Council that has ever used that formula.**

It is the majority opinion of theologians that the canonization of a Saint by a Pope falls under papal infallibilty. This is a theological opinion, not a teaching of the Magisterum. The Magisterium has not decided the question.

I don't agree, what is being taught is that this person, a Saint, is in Heaven, i.e the saints’ vision of God in heaven

The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints has stated that it is a theological opinion.

No, the declaration that someone is a Saint does not merely mean that they are in Heaven. If so, then what is the difference between Venerables, Blesseds, and Saints? The declaration that someone is a Saint presents that person's life as an example to be imitated by the faithful, because that person imitated Christ in his or her life. Yes, it implies that the person went to Heaven. But it is absurd to claim that that is all that is implied. The Church has always presented the Saints as examples of great holiness to be imitated by the faithful.

I agree that this process is fallible, but the outcome, i.e the person being proclaimed a Saint is in Heaven is infallible.

You may hold the opinion that canonizations fall under papal infallibility.

The process is not at issue. The authority being exercised, in my opinion, is of the temporal authority, because the 'outcome' is not a teaching, and is not a matter of faith or morals, and is not found in the Deposit of Faith, and is not a required belief of all the faithful. None of these conditions for papal infallibility have been met.

Nor has the Church ever taught that if a member of the faithful refuses to believe that a particular person is a Saint, that he commits the sin of heresy. Agree

Your agreement necessarily implies that this condition for papal infallibility has not been met, and therefore implies that it is not an infallible decision.

Again, it is not the degree of holiness, but the fact the person is in Heaven because of a formal Canonization process.

Not true. The teaching of the Church is that the Saints are examples of disciples of Christ who lived the faith to a high degree of holiness. It is not merely a declaration that someone is in heaven.

- in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation. CCC 688

828 By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors.
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Old 4th October 2009, 02:56 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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No Council has ever issued a decree proclaiming someone a Saint.
**Name an Ecumenical Council that has ever used that formula.**

Please see this link:

Here is an example of a Canonization which occured during Vatican II. The formula used and quoted in my previous post is the consecrated formula for all Canonizations (here is an example: http://www.josemariaescriva.info/article/decree-of-canonization). In my view, this formula, in a nutshell, has the hallmarks of definitive teaching of the Church: The Roman Pontiff, Ex Cathedra, declares and defines on faith/morals (in this case faith), to be held by the Universal church.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=NuED...e&q=&f=f alse

The formal declaration of canonization usually occurs during a special Mass conducted by the pope. It usually takes place outdoors in St. Peter's Square.
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Old 4th October 2009, 03:15 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
No Council has ever issued a decree proclaiming someone a Saint.
**Name an Ecumenical Council that has ever used that formula.**

Please see this link:

Here is an example of a Canonization which occured during Vatican II. The formula used and quoted in my previous post is the consecrated formula for all Canonizations (here is an example: http://www.josemariaescriva.info/article/decree-of-canonization). In my view, this formula, in a nutshell, has the hallmarks of definitive teaching of the Church: The Roman Pontiff, Ex Cathedra, declares and defines on faith/morals (in this case faith), to be held by the Universal church.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=NuED...e&q=&f=f alse

The formal declaration of canonization usually occurs during a special Mass conducted by the pope. It usually takes place outdoors in St. Peter's Square.


** St. Josemaria died on June 26th, 1975, so he could not have been canonized by Vatican II. His Canonization was by Pope John Paul II. **

It is irrelevant that the canonization occurs during a Mass, or in St. Peter's square.

You wrote: "In my view, this formula, in a nutshell, has the hallmarks of definitive teaching of the Church: The Roman Pontiff, Ex Cathedra, declares and defines on faith/morals (in this case faith), to be held by the Universal church."

It is not a matter of faith that any particular person is a Saint. As you admit in a post above, no one is a heretic for disagreeing that a particular person is a Saint. But all infallible teachings are required beliefs under penalty of heresy.

The declaration that someone is a Saint is not a matter of faith or morals, and is not a solemn definition, and is not a required belief of the universal Church. Therefore, it is not under papal infallibility.
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Old 4th October 2009, 03:17 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
** St. Josemaria died on June 26th, 1975, so he could not have been canonized by Vatican II. His Canonization was by Pope John Paul II. **

It is irrelevant that the canonization occurs during a Mass, or in St. Peter's square.

You wrote: "In my view, this formula, in a nutshell, has the hallmarks of definitive teaching of the Church: The Roman Pontiff, Ex Cathedra, declares and defines on faith/morals (in this case faith), to be held by the Universal church."

It is not a matter of faith that any particular person is a Saint. As you admit in a post above, no one is a heretic for disagreeing that a particular person is a Saint. But all infallible teachings are required beliefs under penalty of heresy.

The declaration that someone is a Saint is not a matter of faith or morals, and is not a solemn definition, and is not a required belief of the universal Church. Therefore, it is not under papal infallibility.

Ron, you are not viewing the correct link, that one was for an example of the formula used to Canonize a Saint.
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Old 4th October 2009, 05:01 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
Ron, you are not viewing the correct link, that one was for an example of the formula used to Canonize a Saint.

OK, I've read the forumla for canonization on that page. I've also read a number of other document of the Church exercising the temporal authority using similar language. That language does not indicate that the act is of the teaching authority, not the temporal authority.
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Old 4th October 2009, 05:12 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Summary of this thread so far:

1. infallibility of Popes and Councils

My first posts states the conditions for a Pope to teach infallibly, and modifies these to apply to Concilar infallibility. Teachings of a Pope or Council short of these criteria fall under the non-infallible Magisterium. Decisions on matters of prudential judgment fall under the temporal authority, not the teaching authority, and are fallible.

2. canonizations

The Magisterium has not decided the question as to whether or not canonizations fall under papal infallibility. The majority opinion of theologians is that they do; my opinion expressed in my article cited above is that they do not. Members of this group are free to hold either opinion, of course.

Ecumenical Councils have not canonized Saints. Vatican II did not canonize St. Josemaria, nor was he canonized at the time of Vatican II. Pontifex's statements to the contrary are false.

3. the meaning of the canonization

It is contrary to the ordinary teaching of the Church to say that canonizations only mean that the person is in heaven, and not also that the person lived a holy life, in imitation of Christ, and is held up by the Church as an example to be imitated. See my above citations from the Catechism.

4. heresy

The Church ever taught that if a member of the faithful refuses to believe that a particular person is a Saint, that he commits the sin of heresy. But all infallible teachings are required under pain of the sin and penalties of heresy. Therefore, canonizations are not infallible teachings, but declarations of the temporal authority.

To the above arguments, I add:

5. That many Saints were not canonized by any Pope. So if Saints canonized by Popes are infallibly canonized, and other Saints are not infallibly canonized, there would be two classes of Saints. But the Church has never divided the Saints into two classes, so the Saints canonized by Popes cannot be infallibly canonized.
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