Author Topic: Why Canonizations are Fallible  (Read 1258 times)

Offline Counter Revolutionary

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Why Canonizations are Fallible
« on: November 01, 2018, 11:59:50 AM »
http://divineandcatholicfaith.blogspot.com/2018/11/why-canonizations-are-fallible.html

Why Canonizations are Fallible

Many of the prominent theologians of the last few centuries who argued that canonizations of particular individuals are infallible relied on an appeal to the concept of “ecclesiastical faith” to justify their position. It is worthy of consideration that several theologians whom Msgr. Fenton considered to be eminent outright rejected the validity of the concept of a mere “ecclesiastical faith.”1 Faith rests on authority. If the authority we believe a particular doctrine on is God, then we are said to possess divine faith. If the authority we believe a particular doctrine on is human, then we are said to possess human faith. Msgr. Fenton includes a definition of ecclesiastical faith as “the absolutely firm and certain acceptance of a teaching on the authority of the Church which proposes that teaching and not on the authority of God Himself.” Proponents of a mere EF claim that teachings which must be accepted with EF are infallible. Fenton quotes Bishop Garcia Martinez, one of the eminent theologians who denied the validity of the concept of a mere EF, as insisting upon the fact that there can be no such thing as an absolutely certain assent of faith based on something other than the divine authority itself. Fr. Marin-Sola also opposed the validity of EF on the grounds that, “The infallible teaching of the Church cannot propose any new doctrine, but only an explanation of the deposit of public divine revelation.” The reason why theologians have used the term “ecclesiastical faith” in reference to canonizations of particular individuals instead of “divine faith” is because “divine faith” pertains to believing doctrines which God has revealed as part of His public revelation that ended with the death of the last apostle, St. John. Very few would claim that canonizations of particular individuals, excepting perhaps the canonizations of St. Dismas and other unique cases, are contained within this public divine revelation. Hence the need for a new term, at least for those theologians who are bent on arguing in favor of the infallibility of canonizations, and for whom the term “human faith” would be very problematic.

Fr. Blaise Beraza, SJ is another theologian who Msgr. Fenton referenced who argued against the validity of EF. Fr. Beraza appealed primarily to two magisterial documents in making his argument. The first of these documents is Pastor Aeternus. Fenton paraphrases Fr. Beraza's reasoning for claiming that the concept of EF as understood by the majority of its proponents is irreconcilable with Vatican I, “It would be idle to imagine that there could be any such thing as an infallible definition or declaration by the Church's magisterium apart from the assistance of the Holy Ghost. And, according to the teaching of the Vatican Council itself, that help or assistance is given to the Popes (who have the same infallible teaching power as the ecclesia docens as a whole) precisely for the sake of guarding and proposing the actual doctrines which have been given to the Church as divine revelation through the Apostles.” Vatican I explicitly teaches that the Holy Ghost was not given to Peter's successors to make known any new teachings. The very fact that the proponents of the concept of “ecclesiastical faith” eschew using the term “divine faith” in reference to canonizations and other things customarily classified as “secondary objects” shows that they acknowledge that we cannot believe a particular teaching on the authority of God if that particular teaching is not contained within the deposit of faith. The problem with claiming that canonizations are infallible is that the attribute of infallibility was not given by God to the Church to make known novel doctrines.

The other magisterial document Fr. Beraza references is the Tridentine Profession of Faith. He points out that in this Creed we profess as an article of divine and Catholic faith that we firmly “admit and embrace the Apostolic and Ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same Church.” We also profess in the same Creed as an article of divine and Catholic faith that we “receive and admit the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of the aforesaid sacraments.” Fr. Beraza's reason for emphasizing those particular articles of the Creed is to demonstrate that some of what other theologians speak of as being entirely only the objects of mere ecclesiastical faith, such as the liturgical rites used in the solemn administration of the sacraments, are actually objects of articles of divine and Catholic faith. This perceptive observation of Fr. Beraza is very, very important because the concept of EF has been used by the liturgical revolutionaries to undermine divinely revealed dogmas concerning our ecclesiastical traditions, such as, for example, the dogma of the necessity of adhering to the received and approved liturgical rites of the Church, “If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, accustomed to be used in the administration of the sacraments, may be despised or omitted by the ministers without sin and at their pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches, whomsoever, to other new ones, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Session VII, On the Sacraments, Canon 13).

D.M. Drew of SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission expounded upon how the concept of EF has weakened the ability of traditionalists to effectively defend our sacred liturgical rites, “The immemorial traditions of our Church have been repudiated by the conciliarist Church, our neo-Iconoclasts. How were they overthrown? They were reduced to objects of merely human EF and categorized as matters subject to the disciplinary discretion of the Church. If objects of EF are 'the firm and certain acceptance of a teaching on the authority of the Church which proposes that teaching and not on the authority of God Himself,' then they are necessarily contingent human truths. If the Church thinks the objects of EF are historical, contingent truths which have become outdated and no longer speak to the modern mind, then she can change them into other more relevant contemporary truths...Msgr. Fenton goes into some detail what the 'ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church' refers which the EF people reduce to a mere human authority. Take, for example, the most important of the immemorial ecclesiastical traditions, the Roman rite of Mass. It is not and never has been a mere object of Church discipline but that is where the idea of EF has taken us. Fr. Waters and Ss. Peter & Paul Roman Catholic Mission have made a public profession of divine and Catholic faith in our immemorial ecclesiastical traditions. We have refused to consider them as mere objects of human EF but hold them as necessary attributes of the faith which make it known and communicable to others. Since God commands the faithful to make public professions of faith and to worship Him in the public forum, every Catholic possesses a right to these immemorial ecclesiastical traditions that perfectly manifest the faith we hold in the internal forum.”2

Canonizations of particular individuals are, unlike certain aspects of the Church's liturgical rites, not objects of public divine revelation. The arguments against the validity of EF are therefore relevant when discussing whether or not they are infallible. Does acknowledging the fallibility of canonizations mean that chaos will result in the Church and the sanctity of countless heroic souls who have been raised to the Church's altars thrown into question? Canonizations are teachings of the “authentic magisterium”. Regarding teachings of the authentic magisterium, the theologian Dom Paul Nau wrote, If we are not to be drawn into error, we urgently need to remember that the assent due to the non-infallible Magisterium is... that of inward assent, not as of faith, but as of prudence, the refusal of which could not escape the mark of temerity, unless the doctrine rejected was an actual novelty or involved a manifest discordance between the pontifical affirmation and the doctrine which had hitherto been taught.”3 We are not allowed to refuse prudential inward assent to teachings of the authentic magisterium unless we possess grave reason for doing so. I cannot think of any grave reasons for calling into question the truthfulness of any of the pre-Vatican II canonizations of saints who I am familiar with. When it comes, however, to the canonizations of Pope John Paul, the Great Ecumenist, and Pope Paul VI, the Great Secular Humanist, I can think of grave reasons for refusing assent.

1. http://strobertbellarmine.net/fenton_ecclesiastical_faith.html
2. See poster “drew” http://saintspeterandpaulrcm.com/Catholic%20Controversies/Implications_1989%20POF_Religious-Submission_EF.htm
3. Dom Paul Nau, Pope or Church
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 04:46:08 PM by Counter Revolutionary »
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Offline james03

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2018, 12:43:11 PM »
Catholics have a choice:

1.  Accept that Bergoglio has been twice accused of heresy, publicly, and refused to recant.  He is therefore not Catholic and not the Pope.  All of his actions with regards to the Church are therefore invalid.

2.  In humility and obedience, tonight get on your knees to honor and ask for intercession from St. John Paul II, patron of incestuous homosexual pedophilia and protector of Islam, and of St. Paul VI, patron of masons and modernists.  Oh, and you should also throw in St. Romero, patron of marxists.
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2018, 01:28:46 PM »
The OP's point is grounded in the limits of the Catholic magisterium -- and I include the magisterium pre-V2, as well.  The magisterium does not set itself up as the dogmatic arbiter of personal spirituality.  Officially, it limits its authority and enforcement to public prayer, public revelation (a point well hammered home in the original post), and the permanent deposit of faith.

Traditionally, the Church does not enforce private spirituality, and that private spirituality includes both private revelation and private devotion to saints (prayer and veneration).  The faithful are invited to participate in what spiritual resources are efficacious for them and bring them closer to God.  They are not required to participate in optional devotions, including optional traditional devotions such as the blessing of throats of St. Blaise's Feast Day, such as enrollment in the scapular and the wearing of it, etc.

Thus, I do not "pray to" JP2, Mother Teresa, JXXIII, etc.

No member of the hierarchy and no lay person has authority to enforce private (optional) devotions of any kind.  We are required to believe in the precepts of the Apostle's Creed, including the fact that there is indeed a Communion of Saints, but even lay people who believe that JP2 "is a saint," are not obligated ever to ask for his supposed intercession or to acknowledge within his or her heart, his sanctity.  In charity, we should hope that all baptized Catholics have been or will be ultimately saved, including people we dislike, have been scandalized by, etc., but we need not feel affection for such people, let alone pray for their intercession.
 
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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2018, 01:42:49 PM »
This is the rabbit hole you go down when you make everything, even knowledge and truth itself, hinge upon authority.  Authority is subject to truth and not the other way around.  This is, in a nutshell, why the Western Church ran off the rails and why traditionalists are having a difficult time defending tradition - a very difficult time, in fact, because they have to constantly make end-runs around the claim of authority, just as shown in the OP.  The arguments about sacred rites, for instance, are quite weak, because no one is saying the TLM or traditional sacramental rites are evil, which is essentially what Luther maintained and what Trent was condemning.  Anyway, a 100% rebuttal to the argument is to say, "That's what YOU say Trent means.  The Pope says otherwise.  And he, and not you, is the authority."  There is essentially no answer to that in the traditionalist framework.

There is one thing, and one thing only, which qualifies a man to teach and that is knowledge of the relevant subject material.  And there is one reason, and only one reason, why sacred rites should be defended and that is because they are sacred.
 

Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2018, 02:16:54 PM »
What chiefly distinguishes Catholicism from Protestantism is the concept (and reality) of authority outside of the individual believer, an authority decreed by Jesus Christ Himself.

ETA:
not only decreed, but bestowed by Our Lord.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 02:29:17 PM by Miriam_M »
 
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Offline Heinrich

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 02:26:28 PM »
Catholics have a choice:

1.  Accept that Bergoglio has been twice accused of heresy, publicly, and refused to recant.  He is therefore not Catholic and not the Pope.  All of his actions with regards to the Church are therefore invalid.

2.  In humility and obedience, tonight get on your knees to honor and ask for intercession from St. John Paul II, patron of incestuous homosexual pedophilia and protector of Islam, and of St. Paul VI, patron of masons and modernists.  Oh, and you should also throw in St. Romero, patron of marxists.

I thought he was the patron of apostates?
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2018, 06:04:21 PM »
I kind of like the theory held by some SSPX priests, that the pope is "infallible" when (and only when) he speaks and acts in agreement with truth.

But if this theory is correct, then papal infallibility is basically a tautology... and if it's a tautology, then the whole doctrine concerning papal infallibility is seemingly meaningless. It's logically impossible for a man to simultaneously be wrong and speak truth, so of course the pope is "infallible" when speaking the truth. But the fact that there's a dogma concerning papal infallibility seems to imply that infallibility is a power given by God to the pope, preventing the pope from speaking anything that isn't true (though perhaps this power applies only within its scope).
 
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Offline Matto

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2018, 07:35:55 PM »
Daniel, I will delve into potential heresy here, but I have come to the conclusion that every traditional Catholic position destroys papal infallibility and makes it meaningless, including sedevacantism. And that attempts to save it often lead to various forms of insanity. Not clinical insanity, but that people adopt crazy delusions to try to save papal infallibility. Perhaps it is simpler to just reject infallibility instead of rejecting six decades worth or popes in an attempt to save it, or to insist Benedict is still the pope even though he says he is no longer the pope in interviews, or constantly redefining the scope of papal infallibility to be narrower and narrower with each passing year to try to save face as the SSPX is doing. Where does that lead us? I really do not know to be honest.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 07:46:31 PM by Matto »
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2018, 07:44:52 PM »
Daniel, I will delve into potential heresy here, but I have come to the conclusion that every traditional Catholic position destroys papal infallibility and makes it meaningless, including sedevacantism. And that attempts to save it often lead to forms of insanity. Not clinical insanity, but that people adopt crazy delusions to try to save papal infallibility. Perhaps it is simpler to just reject infallibility instead of rejecting six decades worth or popes in an attempt to save it, or constantly redefining the scope of papal infallibility to be narrower and narrower with each passing year to try to save face as the SSPX is doing. Where does that lead us? I really do not know to be honest.

It leads to the same place it came from: confusion about the teaching of infallibility which is rather clear below:

Quote
9. 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.
https://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/v1.htm#6

There have been exactly two Ex Cathedra definitions: the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary.

What the Pope randomly thinks out loud or even writes about is owed, as much as possible, some degree of assent. But only when he speaks/writes Ex Cathedra is he acting in the manner which was defined by Vatican 1.

One of the biggest problems with the Novus Ordo milieu, as well as the more extreme Trad milieu, is the ultramontane misunderstanding of infallibility.

ETA: I fail to see, despite having read many attempts, how any particular person being a Saint is a matter of faith or morals as held by the Church since Her beginning. That sainthood in general is possible, yes. That morals are understood to have been lived, yes. But of faith itself and morals themselves for a particular person post-Apostolic age? That seems to me to be entering into the idea of extending public revelation.

Now, applying those teachings as always held would be different, and could lead to moral certainty of one's sanctity. But moral certainty is not the same thing as an infallible declaration. Even a layman can have moral certainty of a person's salvation: for example, you watch your mother die seconds after the completion of a final confession and absolution, extreme unction, etc. You would have moral certainty she is at least in purgatory.

The entire point of the cultus and miracles previously associated with a declaration of sainthood has gone largely by the wayside. Many point out the quick canonizations of certain saints like Francis of Assisi, Clare, and Anthony of Padua. But they worked miracles even during their lives. Can we say the same of JP2? John XXIII?

In reality, this question on the status of canonizations has never been answered, and its defense was always accompanied by the reality of truly, obviously, and traditionally holy people.

If canonization is an infallible declaration by the Church, over which the Pope merely presides (much like an [true] Ecumenical Council), then the question of an anti-Church and consequently an anti-Pope becomes much more interesting.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 08:06:14 PM by Gardener »
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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2018, 08:29:41 PM »
What chiefly distinguishes Catholicism from Protestantism is the concept (and reality) of authority outside of the individual believer, an authority decreed by Jesus Christ Himself.

ETA:
not only decreed, but bestowed by Our Lord.

But what should chiefly distinguish Catholicism from Protestantism is the concept and reality of truth, and not authority.  Protestants have their own authority (the Bible, and their ministers).

I mean let's be honest here.  All the legal i's were dotted and t's crossed with regard to the Novus Ordo Missae, Vatican II, and all the rest.  You and other traditionalists reject it not due to arguments to authority (for the very authority you recognize promulgated these things) but because of a lost sense of the sacred which is natural or "connatural" (as Thomists would have it, to maintain distinction between nature and grace) to elevated man.  You are not wrong in so doing.  Just don't pretend authority is the acme and the sine qua non of spiritual life.
 
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Offline Philip G.

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2018, 11:28:33 PM »
Daniel, I will delve into potential heresy here, but I have come to the conclusion that every traditional Catholic position destroys papal infallibility and makes it meaningless, including sedevacantism. And that attempts to save it often lead to various forms of insanity. Not clinical insanity, but that people adopt crazy delusions to try to save papal infallibility. Perhaps it is simpler to just reject infallibility instead of rejecting six decades worth or popes in an attempt to save it, or to insist Benedict is still the pope even though he says he is no longer the pope in interviews, or constantly redefining the scope of papal infallibility to be narrower and narrower with each passing year to try to save face as the SSPX is doing. Where does that lead us? I really do not know to be honest.

How about instead of choosing between denial of dogma and acceptance of insanity, you choose between denial of personality cult(current yet quite traditional understanding/practice of the papacy) and acceptance of ecclesial check and balance(indicated by the mysterious relationship between and status of both St. Peter and St. Paul, the fact of there being all 12 apostles gathered at the time of the descent of Holy Ghost, the duo that was St. John and Jesus' Mother Mary.)?

Check and balance is the alternative to insanity, and irreformable(language of the definition of infallibility) precedent of the deposit is the alternative to personality cult.  Use those as starting points.  Have faith Matto.
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Offline clau clau

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2018, 06:16:17 AM »
I wonder when we will hear the 'No True Scotsman of the strict observance' argument.
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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2018, 07:10:23 AM »
Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize shortly after becoming president and having yet to do anything (and never ending up doing anything anyways...).  Will we get a living Pope Saint Francis?  Progress!

My understanding is that canonizations are not infallible.
 

Offline Sempronius

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2018, 07:26:55 AM »
If someone could find the time and resources to read the apologetics by the newly converted protestants from the 16th and 17th century he would find a couple of more doubtful saints that they mention.

A more known example is a saint that followed the false Pope (can’t remember the saints name).
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2018, 07:49:59 AM »
ETA: I fail to see, despite having read many attempts, how any particular person being a Saint is a matter of faith or morals as held by the Church since Her beginning. That sainthood in general is possible, yes. That morals are understood to have been lived, yes. But of faith itself and morals themselves for a particular person post-Apostolic age? That seems to me to be entering into the idea of extending public revelation.
I think it's implicit. The people who promote certain modernists are saints are implying that these modernists are holy and orthodox, which is a denial of the Church's teachings concerning faith and morals. Plus, canonizations can (and sometimes do) impact the liturgical, and it is believed that the liturgy is tied in with faith and morals (hence the SSPX's position that it is sinful to participate in the Novus Ordo Mass... though I personally don't believe that the SSPX is right about that).

Could we perhaps say that even though Pope Francis is the pope, and even though canonizations are infallible, maybe Pope Francis does not act in the office of pope when he does the canonizations, and so these particular canonizations aren't true canonizations, and so they aren't infallible? That's one of my initial reactions, though I'm not sure if that sort of position would be in line with the Church's teachings or not.


Quote
Now, applying those teachings as always held would be different, and could lead to moral certainty of one's sanctity. But moral certainty is not the same thing as an infallible declaration. Even a layman can have moral certainty of a person's salvation: for example, you watch your mother die seconds after the completion of a final confession and absolution, extreme unction, etc. You would have moral certainty she is at least in purgatory.
I don't really understand the technical definition of "moral certainty", but that just sounds like wishful thinking. Since we cannot read minds, and since many mortal sins are committed solely in the mind and in an instant, we can never know who is in a state of grace and who is not. Perhaps she validly received absolution and last rites and then a split second later fell into another mortal sin. Or perhaps her absolution was invalid for whatever reason, and she lacked perfect contrition. We can never know.