Saturday, May 29, 2010

Authority of Magisterial Pronouncements

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

This post is a work in progress but I hope it helps you better understand the authority of different pronouncements of the Magisterium of "the Church of God which He has purchased with His own Blood" [Acts 20:28].

1. Extraordinary Magisterium & Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (Divinely Revealed Dogmas)
Persons teaching: "the Supreme Pontiff" alone or "the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council ... together with the Roman Pontiff" (CIC 749 §1-2)
Subject Matter: "all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed" (CIC 750 §1); the Apostles' Creed, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and the first added paragraph of the Profession of Faith
Infallible?: Yes
Type of assent required: to be "believe[d] with divine and Catholic faith" (CIC 750 §1); DS 3011
Consequences of dissent: Automatic (Latae sententiae) excommunication (CIC 1364 §1) for heresy, which is "the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith" (CIC 751)
Examples:
1. In the Name of the Holy Trinity, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, with the approbation of this holy general Council of Florence we define that this truth of faith be believed and accepted by all Christians, and that all likewise profess that the Holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son and has His essence and His subsistent being both from the Father and the Son, and proceeds from both eternally as from one principle and one spiration; we declare that what the holy Doctors and Fathers say, namely, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, tends to this meaning, that by this it is signified that the Son also is the cause, according to the Greeks, and according to the Latins, the principle of the subsistence of the Holy Spirit, as is the Father also. And since all that the Father has, the Father Himself, in begetting, has given to His only begotten Son, with the exception of Fatherhood, the very fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, the Son Himself has from the Father eternally, by Whom He was begotten also eternally. We define in addition that the explanation of words "Filioque" for the sake of declaring the truth and also because imminent necessity has been lawfully and reasonably added to the Creed. -- Pope Eugene IV, Bull "Laetentur coeli" (7/6/1439) [DS 691]
2. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. -- Bl. Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Constitution "Ineffabilis Deus" (12/8/1854)
3. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our Savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the sacred council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed His Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema. -- Ecumenical Council of Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution "Pastor Aeternus" 4:9-10 (7/18/1870)
2. Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (Definitive Teachings Not Yet Formally Declared to be Divinely Revealed Dogmas)
Persons teaching: "the Supreme Pontiff" alone or "the college of bishops ... together with the Roman Pontiff" (CIC 749 §1-2)
Subject Matter: "Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith" (CIC 750 §2); not (yet) formally declared to be divinely revealed dogma; the second added paragraph of the Profession of Faith
Infallible?: Yes
Type of assent required: to be held with firm and irrevocable assent [DS 3074]
Consequences of dissent: "lack of full communion with the Church" because, according to CIC 750 §2, "one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church"; "not heresy" and does not entail excommunication or exclusion from sacraments unless this dissent is aggravated by "factors such as contempt for the Magisterium or scandal" [Avery Cardinal Dulles, Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith 95-96]
Examples:
1. "Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of our ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk. 22:32) we declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." -- Ven. John Paul II the Great, Apostolic Letter "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" 4 (5/22/1994)
Editor: While Holy Mother Church permits Catholic theologians to classify the ban on the ordination of women as belonging to the first added paragraph of the Profession of Faith [Dulles 179], this is, for now, a theologoumenon, since the Magisterium has not yet defined the reservation of priestly orders to men as a divinely revealed dogma, though this does not mean it will not do so in the future. -- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei 11 (6/29/1998).
Editor: At this point, to deny the irreformable teaching of this infallible declaration of Ven. Pope John Paul II the Great is not heresy (CIC 751), since the late pontiff did not propose the truth as a divinely revealed dogma. It would seem, then, that a denial of this infallible declaration is "sententia haeresi proxima." People who commit such a denial are, as stated above, not in full communion with the Catholic Church; unless there are aggravating factors, they can receive the sacraments and are not punished with latae sententiae excommunication for heresy (CIC 1364 §1) but rather "are to be punished with a just penalty" (CIC 1371 §1).
2. In honor of the Blessed Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the growth of Christian life, with the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and our own, after lengthy reflection, having assiduously invoked God's assistance and taken into account the opinion of many brothers of ours in the episcopate, we declare and define Damien de Veuster to be a saint, and we enroll him in the catalogue of the saints, and we establish that in the whole Church he should be devoutly honored among the saints. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. -- His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Declaration of the Sainthood of the Servant of God Damien de Veuster (10/11/2009)
3. St. John Paul II the Great was the legitimate Pope of Rome from 10/16/1978 to 4/2/2005.
Edit: This truth, while "not able to be declared as divinely revealed," is nonetheless "connected to revelation by historical necessity and ... [is] to be held definitively." -- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei 11 (6/29/1998)
4. Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void. -- Pope Leo XIII, Bull "Apostolicae Curae" 36 (9/18/1896)
5.
6.
7.

3. Ordinary Magisterium (Non-Definitive Teachings)
Persons teaching: "the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops" (CIC 752), "bishops who are in communion with the head and members of the college, whether individually or joined together in conferences of bishops or in particular councils" (CIC 753)
Subject Matter: "a doctrine ... concerning faith or morals ... not ... [proclaimed] by a definitive act" (CIC 752); the third added paragraph of the Profession of Faith
Infallible?: No
Type of assent required: "a religious submission of the intellect and will" (CIC 752)
Consequences of dissent:
Examples:

2 comments:

papsttreu said...

The impossibility of "ordination of females" is not only definitive teaching, but also infallible teaching of the ordinary Magisterium and part of the depositum fidei. This calls ino question whether rejection thereof is not actually "heresy" and not mere heterodoxy.



November 8, 1995
The publication in May 1994 of the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was followed by a number of problematic and negative statements by certain theologians, organizations of priests and religious, as well as some associations of lay people. These reactions attempted to cast doubt on the definitive character of the letter's teaching on the inadmissibility of women to the ministerial priesthood and also questioned whether this teaching belonged to the deposit of the faith.

This congregation therefore has judged it necessary to dispel the doubts and reservations that have arisen by issuing a responsum ad dubium, which the Holy Father has approved and ordered to be published (cf. enclosure).

In asking you to bring this responsum to the attention of the bishops of your episcopal conference before its official publication, this dicastery is confident that the conference itself, as well as the individual bishops, will do everything possible to ensure its distribution and favorable reception, taking particular care that, above all on the part of theologians, pastors of souls and religious, ambiguous and contrary positions will not again be proposed.

The text of the responsum is to remain confidential until the date of its publication in L'Osservatore Romano, which is expected to be the 18th of November.

With gratitude for your assistance and with prayerful best wishes I remain,

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

CONCERNING THE TEACHING CONTAINED IN ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS RESPONSUM AD DUBIUM

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

October 28, 1995

Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

Responsum: In the affirmative.

This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.

Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Prefect

Tarcisio Bertone
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli

Will R. Huysman said...

Glory to God in the highest! After I became a full member of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church last year, I warned one of my best friends that he should not take Communion before resolving his obstinate doubts about female ordination, since, I reasoned, he was probably guilty of heresy.

As of 3/16/2011, however, I still maintain the position I expressed in my 5/29/2010 post above: that it is not yet heresy to deny the impossibility of ordination of females. One can only be guilty of heresy if he denies a dogma, and the impossibility of female ordination is not yet a dogma [Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, "Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei" 11 (6/29/1998)], although you correctly point out that it is "infallible teaching of the ordinary Magisterium and part of the depositum fidei."

That being said, people who deny the infallible doctrine that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood are "no longer in full communion with the Church" (Ratzinger-Bertone, "Commentary," §6, 117 qtd. in Dulles, Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith, p. 91).

What I'm having trouble understanding is how someone can lack full communion with the Church and still receive the Body and Blood of Christ. According to Dulles p. 91, the representatives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith at the 1999 meeting in Vallombrosa, California gave the answer "Negative" when +Archbishop Emeritus Daniel Edward Pilarczyk of Cincinnati, Ohio asked "whether this lack of full communion with the Church entailed exclusion from the Sacraments," but also told him that the bishop has "the power ... to impose 'just penalties'." Dulles cites the following work on p. 91 n. 13: Proclaiming the Truth of Jesus Christ: Papers from the Vallombrosa Meeting (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 2000), pp. 66, 81.

Thank you, my brother in Christ, for your readership and prayers, and have a blessed Lent! I always love to read what you have to say.