Compilation of "Ex cathedra" Declarations?

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Michael Sheaver | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Apr 15 2018 11:41 AM

Within Verbum, is there a compilation of all of the "ex cathedra" declarations that were made by the Popes while sitting on the Chair of Peter? If not, that would be a wonderful resource to have.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 16 2018 1:08 AM

"There is no set list of ex cathedra teachings, but that’s because there are only two, and both are about Mary: her Immaculate Conception (declared by Pope Pius IX in 1854 and grandfathered in after the First Vatican Council’s declaration of papal infallibility in 1870) and her bodily Assumption into heaven (declared by Pope Pius XII in 1950)."

And, yes, I know canon lawyers who would question that even these are ex cathedra teachings. :-)

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Nick Steffen | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 16 2018 5:46 AM

MJ. Smith:
And, yes, I know canon lawyers who would question that even these are ex cathedra teachings.

MJ, do you know of any resources that discuss the canon law of these teachings in detail?

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Michael Sheaver | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 16 2018 4:47 PM

So...

All of those truths that we as Catholics are required were not infallibly declared? I am thinking about those fundamental tenets of the faith like the reality of the Holy Trinity, the transubstantiation, the finality of the written Word, etc. They were hammered out in the various ecumenical councils, but I am a bit surprised that none pf these were infallibly declared as non negotiable for the faithful.

Please do forgive me to my apparent ignorance of this topic.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 16 2018 6:00 PM

Michael Sheaver:

So...

All of those truths that we as Catholics are required were not infallibly declared? I am thinking about those fundamental tenets of the faith like the reality of the Holy Trinity, the transubstantiation, the finality of the written Word, etc. They were hammered out in the various ecumenical councils, but I am a bit surprised that none pf these were infallibly declared as non negotiable for the faithful.

I suggest consulting https://www.catholic.com/tract/papal-infallibility as well as the entry "Infallibility" in the Catholic Topical Index.

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Stephen Terlizzi | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 16 2018 8:58 PM

Michael Sheaver:

So...

All of those truths that we as Catholics are required were not infallibly declared? I am thinking about those fundamental tenets of the faith like the reality of the Holy Trinity, the transubstantiation, the finality of the written Word, etc. They were hammered out in the various ecumenical councils, but I am a bit surprised that none pf these were infallibly declared as non negotiable for the faithful.

Please do forgive me to my apparent ignorance of this topic.

Teachings can be considered infallible through papal declarations as discussed above, but can also be defined by ecumenical councils or the teaching of the ordinary magisterium. If you see in the writing the phrase “I define” or “let him be anathema“, then you are probably reading an infallible teaching.

Agape,

Steve

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Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 16 2018 9:58 PM

An example of what Steve mentions can be seen in the language used by John Paul II in the encyclical Evangelium Vitae regarding abortion (para. 62):

"Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops-who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine-I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium."

...by the authority... ...in communion with... ...unanimous agreement... ...I declare...

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Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 16 2018 10:42 PM

Nick Steffen:

MJ. Smith:
And, yes, I know canon lawyers who would question that even these are ex cathedra teachings.

MJ, do you know of any resources that discuss the canon law of these teachings in detail?

Canon Law does not cover content of matters of faith and morals.  It is the law that governs the visible Church.  Here is a link to the Code of Canon Law:

https://www.logos.com/product/18435/code-of-canon-law-collection

Regarding infallibility see Can. 749

You would be served better by the papal documents Ineffabilis Deus (Pius IX) and  Munificentissimus Deus (Pius XII).

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 18 2018 1:47 AM

Michael Sheaver:
All of those truths that we as Catholics are required were not infallibly declared?

I think that the point you need to start to understand your question is levels of theological certainity. One reasonable description:
"

Levels of Theological Certainty

The Catholic Church recognizes a hierarchy of truths, six levels of theological certainty. Although only the highest three levels are infallible teaching, we are to submit with humble fidelity also to the fourth level, certain doctrine. Holy Mother Church explains in Lumen Gentium § 25:

“This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.”

Let us look at these six levels, using as examples the Catholic teaching on angels, taking our information from Father John A. Hardon, S.J., Catholic Catechism on the Angels (Bardstown, KY: Eternal Life, 2000) pp. 11-13.

Dogma is the highest level of Catholic theological certainty. It is a doctrine that has been expressly revealed by God through Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition and formally defined by a true pope, either acting alone or in union with an ecumenical council. The solemn definition, called an exercise of the extraordinary Magisterium, is taught ex cathedra, “from the chair,” because the pope is exercising his authority “from the chair of Peter.” All dogmas are doctrines, because they have been the constant teaching of the Church for two thousand years in every place and at every time. It is a dogma of the Catholic faith that angels and demons exist. “The Son of man will send his angels” Mt 13:41. “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” Lk 10:18.

Dogmatic doctrine, the second level, has been expressly revealed by God in Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition. It is not solemnly defined by a pope, but formed by the constant teaching of the Church for two thousand years in every place and at every time. Because there is no solemn definition, Catholic teaching of dogmatic doctrine is called an exercise of the ordinary Magisterium. It is dogmatic doctrine that God assigns a guardian angel to each baptized Christian. “Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared” Ex 23:20. “For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways” Ps 91:11. “Their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” Mt 18:10.

Infallible doctrine, the third level, is not dogma because it has been only implicitly revealed by God, but is doctrine because it has been the constant teaching of the Church for two thousand years in every place and at every time. These first three levels are infallible, therefore irreversible. It is infallible doctrine that we are able to invoke the aid of holy angels for our guidance and protection.

Certain doctrine, the fourth level, must be believed by the faithful, but is reversible. It is certain doctrine that God assigns a guardian angel to every human person in the first instant of conception. Dr. William May tells us: “Note that the proper way to speak of teachings proposed in this way is to say that they are authoritatively taught; it is not proper to say that they are fallibly taught.”

Probable doctrine, the fifth level, is ordinarily accepted by the Catholic intellect and will, but is less than certain and so a Catholic may question it without incurring sin. It is probable doctrine that all the angels, both saved and lost, were originally created in the state of sanctifying grace.

Permissible belief, the sixth level, is speculative for the mind to believe and permissible for the will to practice because it does not contradict higher levels of Catholic teaching. It is permissible belief that not only individuals but also parishes, dioceses, religious institutes, cities, states, and even nations have their own guardian angels.

We can understand how a doctrine can be certain but reversible by imagining a mother telling her small child that he may cross the street only while holding her hand. It is certain that this is necessary to the small child’s safety. However, twenty years later, the same mother does not ask her son to hold her hand while they cross the street, because he is now able to cross safely on his own. Certain doctrine is always authoritative for the day on which it is taught."

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 18 2018 1:51 AM

Nick Steffen:

MJ. Smith:
And, yes, I know canon lawyers who would question that even these are ex cathedra teachings.

MJ, do you know of any resources that discuss the canon law of these teachings in detail?

What I was referring to was canon lawyers finding "wriggle room" in the declartion of infallibility of these two doctrines for purposes of ecumenical discussions with the Orthodox churches which have different formulations of similar beliefs. As an ecumenical issue is the question of whether or not Mary died before her transit into heaven should not be a divisive issue. (I simplify and exaggerate slightly).

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 18 2018 5:30 AM

An excellent book to read on this topic is Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Ludwig Ott. Alas it used to be in Logos/Verbum, but I don't see it for sale anymore; no sure why. Anyway, it not only describes the grades of certainty (to what degree are Catholics required to assent, affirm, etc. given teachings), it goes through almost c catechism style and outlines the original source for the teaching - is it believed to be divinely revealed, or was it concluded from a divine revelation, is it church discipline, etc. It will go back to the original council, document, etc. It's a true gem and you can still buy the book if it's truly no longer in the Logos universe.

Here are its grades of certainty, there are other classifications too:\

§ 8. The Theological Grades of Certainty

1. The highest degree of certainty appertains to the immediately revealed truths. The belief due to them is based on the authority of God Revealing (fides divina), and if the Church, through its teaching, vouches for the fact that a truth is contained in Revelation, one’s certainty is then also based on the authority of the Infallible Teaching Authority of the Church (fides catholica). If Truths are defined by a solemn judgment of faith (definition) of the Pope or of a General Council, they are “de fide definita.”

2. Catholic truths or Church doctrines, on which the infallible Teaching Authority of the Church has finally decided, are to be accepted with a faith which is based on the sole authority of the Church (fides ecclesiastica). These truths are as infallibly certain as dogmas proper.

3. A Teaching proximate to Faith (sententia fidei proxima) is a doctrine, which is regarded by theologians generally as a truth of Revelation, but which has not yet been finally promulgated as such by the Church.

4. A Teaching pertaining to the Faith, i.e., theologically certain (sententia ad fidem pertinens, i.e., theologice certa) is a doctrine, on which the Teaching Authority of the Church has not yet finally pronounced, but whose truth is guaranteed by its intrinsic connection with the doctrine of revelation (theological conclusions).

5. Common Teaching (sententia communis) is doctrine, which in itself belongs to the field of the free opinions, but which is accepted by theologians generally.

6. Theological opinions of lesser grades of certainty are called probable, more probable, well-founded (sententia probabilis, probabilior, bene fundata). Those which are regarded as being in agreement with the consciousness of Faith of the Church are called pious opinions (sententia pia). The least degree of certainty is possessed by the tolerated opinion (opinio tolerata), which is only weakly founded, but which is tolerated by the Church.

Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company, 1957), 9–10.

An as an example, here is the explanation of the primacy of Peter (which is classifies as De Fide, 'divinely revealed'):

Christ appointed the Apostle Peter to be the first of all the Apostles and to be the visible Head of the whole Church, by appointing him immediately and personally to the primacy of jurisdiction. (De fide.)

The Vatican Council defined: Si quis dixerit, beatum Petrum Apostolum non esse a Christo Domino constitutum Apostolorum omnium principem et totius Ecclesiae militantis visibile caput; vel eundem honoris tantum, non autem verae propriaeque iurisdictionis primatum ab eodem Domino Nostro Jesu Christo directe et immediate accepisse. A.S. D 1823. If anyone says that the blessed apostle Peter was not constituted, by Christ Our Lord, Prince of all the Apostles and visible head of all the Church Militant; or that he (Peter) directly and immediately received from Our Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of honour only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction, let him be anathema.

The invisible Head of the Church is the risen Christ. St. Peter represents the position of Christ in the external government of the militant Church, and is to this extent “the representative of Christ” on earth (Christi vicarius: D 694).

Opponents of this dogma are: the Greek Orthodox Church and the Oriental sects; individual medieval opponents of the Papacy, Marsilius of Padua and John of Jandun, Wycliffe and Huss; the whole Protestant movement; the Gallicans and Febronians; the old Catholics and; the Modernists. According to the Gallicans (E. Richer) and the Febronians (N. Hontheim) the fullness of Christ’s spiritual power was: ansferred immediately to the whole Church and through this to St. Peter, so that he was the first servant of the Church, who was appointed by the Church (caput ministeriale). According to the Modernists, the primacy was not founded by Christ, but was developed to meet the needs of the Church in post-apostolic times. D 2055 et seq.


Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company, 1957), 279–280.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 18 2018 12:35 PM

Don Awalt:
An excellent book to read on this topic is Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Ludwig Ott. Alas it used to be in Logos/Verbum, but I don't see it for sale anymore; no sure why.
There was some kind of issue with the rights to it... I hope the Verbum team can get it back sometime soon. It would sell pretty well, I think!

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