Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The battle cry of dissent ... "But that's not infallible!!!"

I have heard countless times by those who profess to be Catholic yet dissent with Catholic teaching, that they are not bound by this or that Catholic doctrine, decree, judgment, or ecclesiastical discipline, because "it's not infallible." I don't know why they think this is a convincing argument. It seems they are unfamiliar with Catholic teaching on the matter. Observe,

Law abiding Catholics are not allowed to dissent from Catholic doctrine, judgements, decrees, or norm of ecclesiastical discipline, infallible or not.

Hebrews 13:17:
"Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 892:
892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent" which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.

Code of Canon Law:
"Can. 752 Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff OR the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it."

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 25

"In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. 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."

Pius XII, Humani Generis, 20
"Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you, heareth me"
St. Pius X:

"If one loves the Pope, one does not stop to ask the precise limits to which this duty of obedience extends… one does not seek to restrict the domain within which he can or should make his wishes felt; one does not oppose to the Pope’s authority that of others, however learned they may be, who differ from him. For however great their learning, they must be lacking in holiness, for there can be no holiness in dissension from the Pope." (Pope St. Pius X, allocution of 18 November, 1912, AAS vol. 4 (1912), 693-695. Selection from p. 695)

"We do now declare and expressly order, that all are bound by the duty of conscience to submit to the decisions of the Biblical Pontifical Commission, both those which have thus far been published and those which will hereafter be proclaimed, just as to the decrees of the Sacred Congregations which pertain to doctrine and have been approved by the Pontiff" (From Motu proprio of Pope Pius X, Praestantis Scripturae, Nov 18, 1907, Denzinger 2113)

Pius IX:
"we cannot pass over in silence the boldness of those who "not enduring sound doctrine" [II Tim 4:3], contend that "without sin and with no loss of Catholic profession, one can withold assent and obedience to those judgements and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to relate to the general good of the Church and it rights and discipline, provided it does not touch dogmas of faith or morals." There is no one who does not see and understand clearly and openly how opposed this is to the Catholic dogma of the plenary power divinely bestowed on the Roman Pontiff by Christ the Lord Himself of feeding, ruling, and governing the universal Church." (Pius IX, Encyclical Quanta Cura (1864), Denzinger 1698)
First Vatican Council, Session 4 (18 July 1870):
Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world.

Letter of the Holy Office, approved and promulgated by Pius XII (August 8, 1949), against the dissent and disobedience of Fr. Leonard Feeney from the Archdiocese of Boston:

the same Sacred Congregation is convinced that the unfortunate [Feeneyism] controversy arose from the fact that the [doctrinal matters were] not correctly understood and weighed, and that the same controversy was rendered more bitter by serious disturbance of discipline arising from the fact that some of the associates of the [Feeneyist movement] refused reverence and obedience to legitimate authorities....

... dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church.

... no one will be saved who, knowing the Church to have been divinely established by Christ, nevertheless refuses to submit to the Church or withholds obedience from the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth.

... that one may obtain eternal salvation, it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church actually as a member, but it is necessary that at least he be united to her by desire and longing.

... this desire need not always be explicit, as it is in catechumens; but when a person is involved in invincible ignorance God accepts also an implicit desire, so called because it is included in that good disposition of soul whereby a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God. ... the Sovereign Pontiff clearly distinguishes between those who are actually incorporated into the Church as members, and those who are united to the Church only by desire. ... those who do not belong to the body of the Catholic Church, he mentions those who "are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by a certain unconscious yearning and desire," and these he by no means excludes from eternal salvation... But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith...

... Hence, one cannot understand how the [Feeneyists] can consistently claim to be a Catholic school and wish to be accounted such, and yet not conform to the prescriptions of ... the Code of Canon Law, and continue to exist as a source of discord and rebellion against ecclesiastical authority and as a source of the disturbance of many consciences.

Furthermore, it is beyond understanding how a member of a religious Institute ... presents himself as a "Defender of the Faith," and at the same time does not hesitate to attack the catechetical instruction proposed by lawful authorities, and has not even feared to incur grave sanctions threatened by the sacred canons because of his serious violations of his duties as a religious, a priest, and an ordinary member of the Church....

Therefore, let them who in grave peril are ranged against the Church seriously bear in mind that after "Rome has spoken" they cannot be excused even by reasons of good faith. Certainly, their bond and duty of obedience toward the Church is much graver than that of those who as yet are related to the Church "only by an unconscious desire." Let them realize that they are children of the Church, lovingly nourished by her with the milk of doctrine and the sacraments, and hence, having heard the clear voice of their Mother, they cannot be excused from culpable ignorance, and therefore to them apply without any restriction that principle: submission to the Catholic Church and to the Sovereign Pontiff is required as necessary for salvation."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi dave,

great site, if only it was broacast so all those cafeteria catholics could wake up. They need to learn that the Church is the Pillar of Fire and Truth not "have it your way".
Great work.

-Catholic Dude

1:50 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Thank you.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Scott W. said...

How about JPII?

"It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Catholic Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the clear position on abortion. It has to be noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church’s moral teaching. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the magisterium is totally compatible with being a “good Catholic,” and poses no obstacle to the reception of the Sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching of the Bishops in the United States and elsewhere.” (Pope John Paul II in his speech to the Bishops in 1987)

Scott W.

7:47 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Scott W.,

Thank you for showing that the constant teaching of the Church is what John Paul II was insisting upon. JPII, WE LOVE YOU!

12:49 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

I also love this from St. Catherine of Sienna, a doctor of the Catholic Church:

St. Catherine of Sienna:

"For divine obedience never prevents us from obedience to the Holy Father: nay, the more perfect the one, the more perfect is the other. And we ought always to be subject to his commands and obedient unto death. However indiscreet obedience to him might seem, and however it should deprive us of mental peace and consolation, we ought to obey; and I consider that to do the opposite is a great imperfection, and deceit of the devil. (Letter to Brother Antonio of Nizza)"

And from Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, in agreement with St. Robert Bellarmine:

"I say with Cardinal Bellarmine whether the Pope be infallible or not in any pronouncement, anyhow he is to be obeyed. No good can come from disobedience. His facts and his warnings may be all wrong; his deliberations may have been biassed. He may have been misled. Imperiousness and craft, tyranny and cruelty, may be patent in the conduct of his advisers and instruments. But when he speaks formally and authoritatively he speaks as our Lord would have him speak, and all those imperfections and sins of individuals are overruled for that result which our Lord intends (just as the action of the wicked and of enemies to the Church are overruled) and therefore the Pope's word stands, and a blessing goes with obedience to it, and no blessing with disobedience." [John Henry Newman "'The Oratory, Novr. 10, 1867", The Genius of Newman (1914), by Wilfrid Ward, Vol II, Ch. 26,]

God bless,


12:56 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Vatican II in Gaudium et Spes no. 50) makes it clear that

“The teaching Church does not invent her doctrines; she is a witness, a custodian, an interpreter, a transmitter. As regards the truths of Christian marriage, she can be called conservative, uncompromising. To those who would urge her to make her faith easier, more in keeping with the tastes of the changing mentality of the times, she answers with the apostles, we cannot.” (Acts. 4:20)

1:21 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Ooooops, I just discovered that I attributed the above quote to Gaudium et Spes, when it is instead a quote from Paul VI, from his General Audience address, 19 January 1972:

La Chiesa maestra non inventa la sua dottrina; ella è teste, è custode, è interprete, è tramite; e, per quanto riguarda le verità proprie del messaggio cristiano, essa si può dire conservatrice, intransigente; ed a chi la sollecita di rendere più facile, più relativa ai gusti della mutevole mentalità dei tempi la sua fede, risponde con gli Apostoli: Non possumus, non possiamo (Act. 4, 20).

7:28 PM  

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