Papal Infallibility – #2

in BDCommunity3 months ago

So basically, infallibility is a protective gift, not a creative gift, that God gives to preserve His Church on the path to eternal life.



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The Four doctors of the Church represented with attributes of the Four Evangelists (St. Augustin with an eagle, St. Gregory the Great with an ox, St. Jerome with an angel and St. Ambrose (Ambroise) with a winged lion), Painting by Pier Francesco Sacchi called "Il Pavese" (1485-1528), 1516. Oil on wood. Louvre Museum, Paris. Image Source

Furthermore, to prevent it from deviating from the path of Truth, the Catechism says the following:

“Christ endowed the pastors of the Church with the charisma of infallibility in matters of faith and morals.” ⎯ Catechism of the Catholic Church, CIC 890.

Infallibility as a dogma, properly speaking, was only formally proclaimed at the First Vatican Council in 1870, so many people end up wondering if, as it is a late dogma, this was not an invention of the Papacy to obtain more power. However, the point is that, for the Church, dogmatic definitions are not given unnecessarily.

If no discussion arises on a certain point and no one disputes it, there is no need for a definition.

However, the point is that, from the 17th century onwards, the question of the Pope's doctrinal authority came increasingly to the fore until, In 1870, the First Vatican Council was asked to resolve this issue once.



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San Gregorio Magno - Image Source


Although the dogma of papal infallibility was officially defined in 1870, this is not a doctrine that suddenly appeared in Church teaching.

The understanding of this dogma is much older; it was already implicit even in the Ancient/Primitive Church and was duly developed by Patristics in the first centuries after Christ.

Let us see some very enlightening quotes from the Fathers of the Church regarding papal infallibility:

— Saint Cyprian of Carthage: “Would heretics dare to come to the very seat of Peter, from where the apostolic faith derives and where no error can reach?” (Letters 59 [55] 256 AD).

— Saint Augustine of Hippo: “Roma locuta; causa finita.” (Sermons 131,10).



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Portrait of Pope Julius II, painting by Raphael Sanzio, 1512 - Image Source

— Pope Saint Clement I writes: "Because of the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes that have befallen us... Accept our advice, and you will have nothing to regret... If anyone disobeys the things that he has said [God] through us [that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will be involved in transgression and in great danger... You will bring us joy if you obey what we have written through the Holy Spirit. You will eradicate the wicked passion of jealousy..." (Letter to the Corinthians 1:1, 58:2-59:1, 63:2 [80 A.D.]).

— Saint Ignatius of Antioch: “...to the Church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification and, for you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and after the Father" (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).



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Pope Clement I, Fresco by Raphael Sanzio, 1520 - Image Source

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyon: “Where the charisms of the Lord are given, we must seek the truth, with those to whom the ecclesiastical succession of the Apostles belongs, and the unadulterated and incorruptible word. ...and safely expound to us the Scriptures" (Against Heresies 4:26:5, 180-199 A.D.).

— Saint Cyprian of Carthage: “If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can they imagine that they still maintain the faith? If you abandon the chair of Peter upon which the Church was built, can you still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4, 251 AD)

To be continued...


Bibliography; History of the Popes by Dr. Agostino Saba and Carlo Castiglioni


Thanks for reading!

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