Author Topic: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"  (Read 1681 times)

Offline TheReturnofLive

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Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« on: January 01, 2020, 11:09:59 PM »
This was an essay by Russian Orthodox theologian Sergei Bulgakov, where he explains his opinions on the dogma of Vatican I - that is, Papal Infallibility, and I posted this thread with the purpose of enabling a discussion on Vatican I, its legitimacy, to look at the events of Vatican II through analogy of Vatican I, to hear people's opinions on how Vatican I, Vatican II, and Pope Francis are reconciable with each other, but moreover, to refute or confirm his opinions.

The full article is here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/articles/39-the-vatican-dogma

But I'll post relevant snippets in this thread:


Intro, Bulgakov's thoughts on Catholicism:

"I do not repent of my infatuation with Catholi­cism, for I think it was a dialectically inevitable stage in the development of my conception of the church, and indeed I believe it was salutary for me if only as a preventive inoculation. The chief thing is that I have lost, I think forever, the spiritual taste for papacy. The dogmatic grounds for it always seemed to me unconvincing and ra­ther far-fetched…. This inward struggle left a theolo­gical trace in my essays Peter and John, the two chief apostles and The Vatican dogma. The polemical cha­racter of both these essays gave me the reputation of an enemy of Catholicism, which I certainly am not. Through­out my inward combat with papacy I wholly preser­ved my respect for Western Christianity, and finally came out on to the broad highway of oecumenical Orthodoxy freed from all provincialism. But speaking generally, the time for a relationship based upon mutual recognition and respect for each other’s individual character has not yet come for Eastern and Western Christianity; and I for my part do not want to increase the chasm between them which is, I think, primarily due to deep-seated psycholo­gical and historical causes...."


On the rigged nature of the Vatican Council:

"The Vatican Council has as much claim to be called a council as the present day meetings of delegates in the U. S. S. R. to be regarded as free expressions of the will of the people.....

When the delegates arrived, they received printed instructions from the pope who had already appointed all the officials of the Council. The instructions made provision for several committees, but the chief commit­tee of projects, apart from which no resolutions could be proposed, had already been appointed by the pope. The two other committees were elected by a simple ma­jority vote, but the majority clearly belonged to the papal party, because of the composition of the Council. The three committees included only about a hundred persons, i.e. one sixth or one seventh of the total num­ber of the members, which varied from 764 to 601. The rest remained in enforced inactivity, and were not even allowed to hold private consultations. They had to languish in the expectation of general meetings for which no definite times were fixed. While the Council was still sitting, the instructions were changed by the pope and made more stringent. General meetings were held in a hall with such bad acoustics that most of those present could not hear the speakers at all; the chairman had the right to determine the order in which the speakers were to address the audi­ence, and to stop the discussions. Members of the Council were presented with certain resolutions drawn up by the committees; they had no books at their dis­posal (the Vatican library was closed to them) and had only a few days to prepare themselves for discussion meetings. There was a general atmosphere of eaves­dropping and espionage, of which many delegates complained. In view of all this, the proceedings can hardly be described as a Council; letters and much other material that has been published make abundantly clear the dejection and even dismay that possessed its members....

The overwhelming number of diocesan bishops were Italian (out of the total number of 541 European bishops, Italy had 276, Austria-Hungary—­48, France—84, Germany— 19). It is clear enough what this preponderance of Italian bishops meant: they were directly subordinate to the pope as their patriarch and entirely dominated by Rome. The non-diocesan members of the Council together with the disproportio­nate number of Italian bishops constituted a majority which could carry any resolution submitted to the meet­ing....

Learned theologians to whom so important a place was assigned at the Council of Trent, had no part at all in the Vatican Council, unless they happened to be bishops or papal officials in clerical garb; only a few theologians were brought in as consultants; thus Professor Fried­rich came with Archbishop Hohenlohe. Altogether, participation of laymen, even as mere advisers or only as members of committees was carefully ruled out. The assembly was to consist of obedient members who, in addition to the general ecclesiastical discipline, would be in direct canonical subordination to the Pope."


On the change of attitude for the non-Ultramontanist faction:

"Conscious and thinking Catholics, free from Ultra­montanist fanaticism, had to face the painful task of reconsidering their attitude to the Church. Those who had originally disagreed with the dogma accepted it out of ecclesiastical obedience—but how did they accept it? Was it merely external submission, from habit and discipline, or an inward one, as demanded by the Vatican dogma and the whole system of papacy? If the Pope is the vicar of Christ, the living incarnation of the Church, his decision must be binding apart from all evidence and even against it. One must sincerely and inwardly disagree with oneself, with the evidence of one’s own reason and make another’s thought one’s own: this is the sweet sacrifice of the intellect, sacrificio dell-intelleto—if it be possible. It is precisely in such self-conquest for the sake of sub­mission to authority, even against one’s whole mind and conscience, that lies the essence of papacy as an ecclesiastical system. But if there is no such inward act of submission, there remains only hypocritical obedience that sanctions falsehood and pretense....

What, then, was the nature of the submission? Some of the former opponents of the dogma changed their attitude so sharply, that there can scarcely be a doubt about the character of the change. But it is in­structive to follow the inner tragedy of the chosen few—of sincere and spiritually responsible men like, for instance, bishops Strossmeyer and Hefele. Both were bitterly opposed to the Vatican dogma and persisted longer than anyone else in refusing to recognise it, but in the end both gave in and submitted. Their letters have been published and enabled us to reconstruct the past. Bishop Hefele writes to Dœllinger from Roten­burg on August 10, 1870 (i.e. after the Vatican dogma had been proclaimed by the Pope): “It would have been best to say once more at the Council non placet and not comply with the demand for obedience. But as there was no unanimity, we acted in the way that had been indicated, and agreed to work together local­ly…I am not yet sure what I will do but I will never accept the new dogma without the modifica­tions on which we insist, and I will deny that the Coun­cil was free or its decisions binding. Let the Romans prohibit and excommunicate me, and appoint someone to administer my diocese. May be God will be merci­ful and before long call away from the scene the perturbator ecclesiae....

On January 25, 1871 Hefele wrote to his friends at Bonn as follows: “Unfortunately, I must say with Schul­te that for many years I thought I was serving the Catho­lic Church, but I served the distortion (das Zerbild) inflicted upon it by Romanism and Jesuitism. It was only in Rome I saw with perfect clarity that what is happening there is Christian in name and appearance rather than in reality; the grain has disappeared and only the husk remains, everything is completely exter­nalized (verausserlicht)” (ib. 228). As the reader can see for himself this is anything but unquestioning submission to infallible authority. Six weeks later, however, Hefele’s tone changes: by re-interpreting the dogma he becomes reconciled to it, and soon sub­mits altogether (ib. 229)."


On the dogmatic questions and realities papal infallibility poses:

"If it be said that papacy is not a special order but only an office, since the pope is in bishop’s orders, that will be quite in keeping with the view of the uni­versal church before the schism, but it will be contrary to the Vatican doctrine. According to it, there is a special grace (charisma) given to Peter and his successors—veritatis et fidei nunquam deficientis—which consti­tutes the order of papacy. Roman Catholic theology has gradually raised St. Peter so high above the other Apostles that he is no longer regarded as one of them but as a prince of Apostles. In addition to the general apostolic charisma he has his own, personal one, similar­ly to the way in which episcopacy includes priesthood. A bishop celebrates the liturgy like a priest, and does not differ from him in this respect, but it does not follow that they are of equal rank. The same considerations apply to the Catholic conception of the pope, for whom a fourth and highest degree of holy orders has been created. True, Catholic literature contains no direct expression of the idea that papacy it the highest of holy orders—that of episcopus episcoporum or episcopus universalis, but this is either evasiveness or inconsisten­cy; the special.and exceptional place assigned to the “primate” in Catholic canonical writings can have no other meaning[13].

But if papacy be understood as a special order of St. Peter (Tu es Petrus is sung when the newly elected pope is carried in procession), the difficulties which have already been mentioned stand out all the more clearly. On the one hand, bearers of lower hier­archical orders cannot ordain to higher orders, so that the consecration of a pope by bishops (cardinals) is canonically and sacramentally unmeaning: the pope ought in his life-time to consecrate his successor. On the other hand, if an order is discontinued because there is no bearer of it, there is a break in the apostolic suc­cession as a whole. The permanent miracle of the existence of a vicarius Christi requires his personal immortality. The dogmatic teaching about the pope must certainly be made less presumptuous and confine itself to regarding the pope as simply a patriarch ­but that, of course, means the fall of the whole Vatican fortress. In any case, as has been said already, the mere fact of the death of a pope has dogmatic implications which have not yet been satisfactorily dealt with by the Roman theologians."



The Council of Constance and the Papacy:

"Even the most ardent adherents of papacy admit that the Council of Constance was necessary, useful and even (in part) œcumenical in character, but they strive at all costs to weaken its dogma­tic decision, accepted at the 4th session and directly contradictory to the Vatican dogma. That decision is as follows: Ipsa synodus in spiritu congregata legitime generale consilium faciens, ecclesiam catholicam mili­lantern representans, potestatem a Christo immediate habet, cui quilibet cujuscunque status dignitatis, etiamsi papalis existat, obedire tenetur in his quae pertinent ad fidem et extirpationem dieti schismatis et reformationem generalem ecclesiae Dei in capite et membris.

At the 5th session this statement, subsequently confirmed more than once at the Council of Basel, was repeated and amplified. It was accepted after the flight of Pope John XXIII when the Council was about to try him for a number of offences. The result of the trial was that the pope was deposed, and another pope, Martin V, was elected; the procedure was re­cognised by the whole Catholic world as legally valid. But according to the principle “prima sedes a nemine judieatur”, and, a fortiori, according to the Vatican dogma, the act of trying and deposing a pope, and elec­ting a new one in his place is unlawful and revolutionary. If, however, the council had a right to act as it did, it obviously had dogmatic and canonical reasons for it, expressed in the resolution passed at the 4th and the 5th sessions. The deposition of one pope and election of another is a dogmatic, or as lawyers say, conclusive fact, either disproving the absolute primacy of popes or interrupting their canonical succession: if Martin V is not a lawful pope, his successors are not lawful either; papal succession is discontinued..."

The oddities of the Council of Basel and Florence:

"While proclaiming papal supremacy, the Council of Florence passed over in silence the burning question of the day—namely, that of the relation of the pope to the council. There is reason to think that at that time the question was not regarded as settled by the Florentine decree. In September or October 1439, when the Council was over, the pope arranged in Floren­ce a debate on the subject in the presence of cardinals and other ecclesiastical dignitaries. Cardinal Cesarini defended the thesis adopted by the Council of Basel, and Juan Torquemada (who was soon after created cardinal) opposed him—so, obviously, it was still an open question[29]. Torquemada himself did not believe in papal infallibility: he maintained that the pope was not subject to any jurisdiction unless he fell into a heresy—which, however, was incredible. Hefele also admitted such a contingency and thought that in that case the pope would cease to be a live member of the church. But of course this was Hefele’s opinion before the Vatican Council took place.

The Council of Basel persisted in its quarrel with Eugenius IV and at the end of 1439 elected an anti-pope, Felix V, who afterwards transferred the Council to Lausanne. The schism was renewed and only after the death of Eugenius (in 1447) the newly elected pope Nicolas V, who succeeded in making peace with the princes and securing their mediation, began negoti­ating with the anti-pope. The following conditions were offered to Felix V: he was to renounce the tiara and receive compensation in money from pope Nicolas, and besides remain first cardinal enjoying all the pri­vileges which this entailed. Felix agreed, and Nicolas V, in a special bull, revoked all the strictures upon Felix, the Council of Basel and their adherents. Felix, on his side, rescinded in a special missive all the censures against Eugenius IV, Nicolas, and their adherents, and confirmed his own privileges and appointements. At the second session of the Council at Lausanne Felix signed his resignation, saying that for the good of the church he had accepted from the General Council his nomination as pope, and that at this very Council which, having been lawfully convoked in Holy Spirit, lawfully represents the universal church, he resigned “pure, libere, simpliciter et sincere, realiter et cum effectu in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”. At the sessions that followed the Council reaffirmed its theses and, in view of the vacancy (sic!) of the papal see, also elected Nicolas V[30]. Then it con­ferred upon Felix the rank of cardinal, the power of jurisdiction, the status of being next to the pope in au­thority and presented him with papal vestments and some of the insignia. The Council was closed. The conclusion of peace was solemnly celebrated in Rome; in the bull of 18.VI.1449 the pope confirmed all the decrees issued by the Council and by pope Felix, who died two years after his resignation in the odour of sanctity.

To begin with, reconciliation or agreement with heretics, stubborn schismatics and rebels is impossible for the Church: the Vatican has always been prepared to excommunicate and anathematize them. And yet, the members of the Council of Basel had in no way sur­rendered their dogmatic and canonic positions and, in spite of the decree issued by the Council of Florence, went on maintaining the supremacy of the council over the pope and its sovereign rights in church administra­tion. They also steadfastly upheld the rights of Pope Felix who abdicated freely, for the good of the church, on most honourable terms guaranteed by the Council and agreed to by the future pope—Nicolas. This new pope too was elected by the Council and not simply accepted by it as an already existing lawful pope whom every faithful Catholic must obey. The terms offered to Felix were faithfully carried out by Pope Nicolas. The question may now be asked, who was this Felix whom Pope Nicolas made a cardinal? Was he an anti-pope, a rebel, and adherent of the Basel heresies? He rejected “the General Council of Florence” and its decree about papal authority—if only because that Council, anathematized by the Council of Basel, was convoked by Pope Eugenius who had been deposed at Basel. And what was this Lausanne assembly with which the pope made agreement, formally accepting the terms drawn up by it? Was it a General Council as it described itself, or a council of the ungodly, a here­tical and rebellious gathering which presumed to judge and depose a pope, to elect a new one, to anathematize a papal council and proclaim new - and from the Vati­can point of view, false and heretical—dogmas about the subordination of the pope to the council? Is it per­missible, even for the sake of “œconomy” to have agreements or even to negotiate with ecclesiastical usurpers and heretics? Surely the man who goes to the council of the ungodly and approves of their designs is to blame—even if it be the pope himself?

It must be one or the other: either the Roman Church fell into a grievous heresy and vitiated its hier­archy by entering into communion with Belial and ac­cepting Pope Nicolas who was elected by an impious as­sembly, or the Roman Church recognized the Council of Basel and its dogmas (not to speak of the Council of Constance which had, in fact, been already recognized). But in that case, a number of other questions inevitably arises. If the Council of Basel had canonical authority in 1449, it means that it had preserved it in spite of all the strictures of Pope Eugenius IV; but if so, the Council’s act of censoring and subsequently deposing that pope was valid, as well as its act of anathematizing and annulling the Council of Florence. The latter is, at best, canon­ically ambiguous and if only for that reason has no binding authority for the universal church. And yet, the Vatican derived dogmatic support from the Council of Florence."

On the ambiguity of "Faith and Morals":

The same must be said of the reservation expressed by the words de fide et moribus. The meaning of “de moribus” is quite indefinite and unlimited, for there is nothing in human activities which has not one way or another, to do with mores. On close inspection the meaning of de fide proves to be equally indefinite. The statement that 2 x 2 = 4 is not de fide but de arithmetica; and yet if at some time there should arise a religious dispute on epistemological grounds in connection with the multiplication table, a papal decree about it would be de fide, though indirectly so. How else could one explain the pope’s condemnation of Coper­nicus’s astronomical theory—a condemnation which is now causing so much trouble to apologists like Hergen­rother? Speaking generally, if the pope addresses him­self in his pastoral capacity to the church represented by any of its organs, he is bound to deal fide et moribus, for there are no other interests in the life of the church; all particular aspects of it, such as canon law, discipline, liturgies etc. are mere auxiliaries. Or, to put it more exactly, every problem has either a direct bearing upon faith and morals or may, according to circumstances, ac­quire such bearing[42]. Thus the reservation made in canon IV is in reality no reservation at all and the pope is given both plena potestas and plena infallibilitas et irreformabilitas; in other words he is tactically proclaimed to be the church. Every papal decree is backed by plena potestas, either actually or in principle.


The contradiction on needing a Council to define Papal Infallibility:

"This brings us to the fundamental self-contradiction which proved fatal for the Vatican council. It was con­voked as a council, because the dogmas of plena potestas and infallibilitas were as yet non-existent—which is proved by the fact that they were discussed at the council as debatable propositions, to which many of the members were entirely opposed. In other words both dogmas were not self-evident truths, not axioms, but theorems. But to proclaim them at the council and in its name was self-contradictory. By proclaiming papal sovereignty the council abolished itself, committed dogmatic suicide, declared its own non-existence. An assembly cannot without self-contradiction pass a decree which forthwith annuls its right to legislate not only in the future but also in the present, as well as its right to have legislated in the past. There is no contradiction if a constituent assembly elects a monarch or a dictator and then annuls itself in submitting to him: it rightfully hands over to him the fullness of its own power,—and the sover­eignty is not interrupted. But the same cannot be said of a council which discusses and adopts a dogma in virtue of which it proves to have neither fullness of power nor indeed any independent significance, since sovereign power in the church belongs, and always has be­longed, to the pope. If this is so, the council is not competent to deal with the subject. An assembly of lower officials cannot decree anything about the power of the chief of the department to whom they are legally subordinated. In an autocratic empire no assembly of any kind can determine anything about the rights of the monarch, weigh them or bestow them upon him. Yet this was precisely what happened at the Vatican Council. How could a council be expected to pass the resolution that it has no power to decide anything and that the pope alone has the right of final judgment? How could the council have consented even to debate such an absurdity? It can of course be argued that the council had to carry out the pope’s behest out of obedi­ence, regardless of its content; but even an infallible pope cannot do meaningless and self-contradictory things, such as submitting to a council’s decision the motion that the power to decide belongs not to it, but to him.
The Vatican zealots in their theological self­-assertion had not sufficiently thought out their plan of utilizing the council’s vote on a subject which from the nature of the case was not within any council’s competence. They inadvertently transformed the council— convoked and opened as such—into the parody of one, or into a mere consultation expressing in the form of a dogma something that had always existed as a fact. Obviously if papal supremacy was established by God Himself and existed from the first, the most that a council could do would be to proclaim this fact, but not to ratify it[49]. The council was set a task known to exceed its competence and it ought to have refused it, or to have passed it over in silence. In any case to discuss it was a mistake."
 
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Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2020, 11:20:31 PM »
And let my intentions be clear: I post this here because I have yet to find a refutation or discussion about Papal Infallibility that answers the questions posed by this essay to a professional degree that's outside the typical Catholic Answers tract, ESPECIALLY in light of Catholicism's existential crises which has been ongoing since the 60s.
 

Offline abc123

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2020, 07:23:22 AM »
And let my intentions be clear: I post this here because I have yet to find a refutation or discussion about Papal Infallibility that answers the questions posed by this essay to a professional degree that's outside the typical Catholic Answers tract, ESPECIALLY in light of Catholicism's existential crises which has been ongoing since the 60s.

I suspect that despite your desire for a scholarly refutation that Patristic quotes yanked from context which in no way address the dogmatic definition of Vatican I are currently being queued up, along with copious amounts of scriptural eisegesis.
"I once laboured hard for the free will of man until the grace of God at length overcame me."- St. Augustine
 
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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2020, 08:53:33 AM »
His last portion, "The contradiction on needing a Council to define Papal Infallibility:" could easily have its same logic applied to any dogma is thus render said dogma null and void (if the premise is accepted); that a truth must be self-evident would surely be surprising to the history of Christendom, and even Christ Himself (for He repeatedly states in the Gospel things which are "self-evident" ONLY to those to whom they are revealed, and that to others they are not -- are we to believe the author argues for ipso facto self-evidentiary realities? THAT is an argument I'd like to see made in the realm of Faith, which requires Grace). It's also problematic for any argument against sola scriptura, since it assumes self-definition/evidence is the only way to = legitimacy (which is in fact part of the very argument against sola scriptura).

Also, its foundational premise is one of self-nullification of the Council, yet the Church doesn't teach that Councils are no longer needed, nor that they never were, and does not teach that Papal Infallibility = no need for a Council. So in this regard it's a red herring. As such, if this is his foundational argument for a fundamental flaw, which he states when he writes, "This brings us to the fundamental self-contradiction which proved fatal for the Vatican council," then his argument is fundamentally flawed.

More like Sergei Bullshit.

Aren't you in Law school? How can you not see the utter stupidity of such argument?
 

Offline abc123

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2020, 09:18:47 AM »


Also, its foundational premise is one of self-nullification of the Council, yet the Church doesn't teach that Councils are no longer needed, nor that they never were, and does not teach that Papal Infallibility = no need for a Council. So in this regard it's a red herring.

In what ways would you say that Councils are necessary, not just advantageous, given the language of Paster Aeternus? It clearly states that the Pope can define doctrine "without the consent of the Church." Indeed a council could be called where every bishop on Earth holds one opinion on a doctrine yet if the pope disagrees, his decision is binding since his office sits above even an Ecumenical Council.

Given the above teachings of Vatican I I cannot see how any ruling body in the Church is strictly necessary aside from the pope. Even individual bishops in their diocese act as little else as vicars since the pope can depose, replace and overrule them anytime he wants. Despite arguments to the contrary, in the current Roman ecclesiastical model, neither bishop or Council exercise either free nor necessary authority or function.
"I once laboured hard for the free will of man until the grace of God at length overcame me."- St. Augustine
 
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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2020, 09:33:59 AM »
A worthy article by Rev. Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, as mentioned there on OC. net, arguing in favor of the Gallican idea of the Church. Let us examine the principal claims of the article.

But first, I want to answer the question made near the end of the excerpt posted, "How could a council be expected to pass the resolution that it has no power to decide anything and that the pope alone has the right of final judgment?"

First, this is somewhat quite different to the sense in which Papal Infallibility in Ex Catehdra definitions of Faith and Morals - because, in such instances, by the perpetual guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Pope speaks as establishing the Faith of the Universal Church - was actually defined: "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"

The argument taken up here in the form of a simple syllogism is - Major: The Church is infallible when defining doctrine (as all relevant parties concede). Minor: But the Roman Pontiff, in Blessed Peter, was given the right and duty to speak, if he chooses to do so, for the Universal Church in questions of faith and morals. Conclusion: Therefore, the Roman Pontiff, when he so speaks, for the Universal Church, enjoys the infallibility the Redeemer willed His Church to enjoy in definitions on faith and morals.

The Major is granted by all relevant here, whether Gallicans, Orthodox Christians, or others interested in the Vatican Council Definition; for it is the same as happened in, say, Nicaea, or Chalcedon. The Minor was copiously proved from Scripture and Tradition in the texts of the Council itself. https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/first-vatican-council-1505 Let us take just a couple of examples, all from the early Councils: "For no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the savior and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and for ever he lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors the bishops of the Holy Roman See, which he founded and consecrated with his blood" - This is from Fr. Philip at Ephesus, EC 3. It says the power of binding and loosing for the Church given to St. Peter descends in a special way to the Roman Pontiffs until the end of time. Hence, the Roman Pontiffs have the right to bind and loose on behalf of the Universal Church, for all they  bind is known to be bound by Heaven; and therefore divinely guided. Second example, quoted in Vatican I, "2. So the fathers of the fourth Council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church [55], cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honor. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the Apostolic See preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the Christian religion [56]." Another proof of perpetual divine guidance.

A second syllogism could be directed to Gallicans: Major: Councils are Infallible (as Gallicans concede). Minor: But a Council declared that Popes, when speaking ex cathedra, are infallible. Conclusion: Therefore, Popes, when speaking ex cathedra, are known infallible.

The syllogism is entirely sound, and there is no circularity involved. We argue from what the opponent concedes to what remains to be proved. It is just the same as Orthodox and Catholics both argue to Protestants, "The Bible tells us to obey the Church. But the Bible is inerrant. Therefore, the Church must be infallible in teaching us, otherwise the inerrant Bible erred in telling us to obey Her." Again, perfectly valid. Likewise, if a bad Catholic says "I believe the Church is infallible, but I refuse to believe the Bible is inerrant"; we could answer, "The Church is infallible in teaching. But the Church teaches infallible that the Bible is inerrant. Hence it of necessity follows that the Bible is inerrant". Again, we build from the premise conceded by the opponent, in order to arrive at the epistemological conclusion he is ignorant of.

Finally, it is easily refuted by three examples from history: For not only did Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople tell Pope St. Leo the Great "Even so, the whole force of confirmation of the acts was reserved for the authority of Your Blessedness.", which itself proves that Papal confirmations of local Bishop's decrees gives it universal or ecumenical force; but also the Sovereign Pontiff exercised a pontifical power very much like a "line item veto" in nullifying canon 28. Next, the Pope nullified the Robber Council of 449 under the heresiarch Eutyches, another proof of Papal Universal Jurisdiction over a local Council of Bishops with particular (or local) Episcopal Jurisdiction.

See: http://www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/a35.htm Third, it is proven by the very Fathers, the 630 odd Bishops, of the Council of Chalcedon themselves, for during that Council, as we read from the Acts, they very often said things like, "Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together with the thrice-blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the Rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped him (Dioscorus, Bishop of Alexandria) of his episcopate, and hath alienated from him all hieratic worthiness." - from which it is evident that the Roman Pontiffs exercised their universal authority in and through the particular authority of the Bishops.

Hence, there is no contradiction. Anything decided by Bishops is authoritative, but not necessarily infallible or the final word. If approved by and promulgated by the Supreme Pastor ex cathedra as definitive for the entire Church, the Council's definitions are infallible. Thus, we see, for e.g. many local Synods of Bishops in the early Church were later confirmed by Ecumenical Councils. But no one argued that because Ecumenical Councils gave it their infallible and complete authority, therefore local Councils were of no value.

Hence, the principal objection of the article does not stand. We will examine the other claims subsequently. For Gallicans, and also Orthodox Christians, the texts from the Councils of Lyons II and Florence, originally agreed to by Greeks and other Eastern Christians, are also worth perusing. An excerpt from Lyons II, What is more, with the approval of the second Council of Lyons, the Greeks made the following profession:"The Holy Roman Church possesses the supreme and full primacy and principality over the whole Catholic Church ...And since before all others she has the duty of defending the truth of the faith, so if any questions arise concerning the faith, it is by her judgment that they must be settled." Anyone who accepts the definition of Florence for e.g. sees that Vatican I hardly defined anything new, but merely codified, in more precise detail (i.e. ex cathedra definitions only, not all other statements also) when the Roman Pontiff spoke "as Father and Teacher of all Christians", and when he did not. And in the language of Lyons II, when precisely "the judgment of the Roman Church" by which questions of faith and morals "they must be settled" are being definitively declared.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 09:46:32 AM by Xavier »
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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2020, 10:19:55 AM »
His last portion, "The contradiction on needing a Council to define Papal Infallibility:" could easily have its same logic applied to any dogma is thus render said dogma null and void (if the premise is accepted);

No, because this dogma concerns infallibility itself and thus the basis for the authority and certainty of dogma.

Quote
Also, its foundational premise is one of self-nullification of the Council, yet the Church doesn't teach that Councils are no longer needed, nor that they never were, and does not teach that Papal Infallibility = no need for a Council. So in this regard it's a red herring.

What exactly was the purpose of Vatican I as it regards papal infallibility when Pius IX already had in mind what he wanted defined?
 

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2020, 10:20:48 AM »
And let my intentions be clear: I post this here because I have yet to find a refutation or discussion about Papal Infallibility that answers the questions posed by this essay to a professional degree that's outside the typical Catholic Answers tract, ESPECIALLY in light of Catholicism's existential crises which has been ongoing since the 60s.

I suspect that despite your desire for a scholarly refutation that Patristic quotes yanked from context which in no way address the dogmatic definition of Vatican I are currently being queued up, along with copious amounts of scriptural eisegesis.

Looks like you were too optimistic.
 

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2020, 10:21:51 AM »
And let my intentions be clear: I post this here because I have yet to find a refutation or discussion about Papal Infallibility that answers the questions posed by this essay to a professional degree that's outside the typical Catholic Answers tract, ESPECIALLY in light of Catholicism's existential crises which has been ongoing since the 60s.

Looks like you'll have to make do with Xavier's response to Gallicanism rather than any response to the actual points of the essay.
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2020, 12:06:45 PM »
Quote from: Fr. Bulgakpv
Roman Catholic theology has gradually raised St. Peter so high above the other Apostles that he is no longer regarded as one of them but as a prince of Apostles. In addition to the general apostolic charisma he has his own, personal one, similar­ly to the way in which episcopacy includes priesthood. A bishop celebrates the liturgy like a priest, and does not differ from him in this respect, but it does not follow that they are of equal rank. The same considerations apply to the Catholic conception of the pope, for whom a fourth and highest degree of holy orders has been created. True, Catholic literature contains no direct expression of the idea that papacy it the highest of holy orders ...

Rev. Father, the Pope does not differ from the Bishops in not being a Bishop like them; nor is there a fourth degree of holy orders; otherwise, once obtained, the Pope would be unable to lose it, and thus unable to resign his office etc; because holy orders once acquired cannot be lost.

But rather, the Roman Pontiff, as Successor of St. Peter, differs from other Bishops, as Successors of the Apostles, in the power of jurisdiction given to him, as represented by the Keys in Scripture, and as spoken by Fr. Philip in Ephesus; his is an absolute and universal authority; the authority granted to Bishops, is truly ordinary and not merely vicarious, but is sub-ordinate to him; and derives from his. Thus, any formally schismatic bishops, who deliberately secede from St. Peter's Chair, do not indeed lose episcopal orders, which cannot be lost, but lose episcopal jurisdiction. Catholic Bishops, however, possess full powers of ordinary jurisdiction attached to their own office as proper to their persons in their own diocese. In an Ecumenical Council, they enjoy additional powers in union with the Pope. In brief, as Pope St. Leo the Great admirably says, nothing at all was conferred on the Bishops apart from St. Peter, yet many things were conferred upon them together with him. A Bishop and a Pope therefore are related as a Commander and a General would be. All the commanders are subject to the General's authority; but in union with the general, the commanders exercise all their authority over the soldiers. Even Patriarchs and Archbishops, by ecclesiastical law, enjoy additional jurisdiction.

As the CE admirably explains it, "To this it is replied that no difficulty is involved in the exercise of immediate jurisdiction over the same subjects by two rulers, provided only that these rulers stand in subordination, the one to the other. We constantly see the system at work. In an army the regimental officer and the general both possess immediate authority over the soldiers; yet no one maintains that the inferior authority is thereby annulled. The objection lacks all weight. The Vatican Council says most justly (cap. iii):

"This power of the supreme pontiff in no way derogates from the ordinary immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, in virtue of which the bishops, who, appointed by the Holy Spirit [Acts 20:28], have succeeded to the place of the Apostles as true pastors, feed and rule their several flocks, each the one which has been assigned to him: that power is rather maintained, confirmed and defended by the supreme pastor (Enchir., n. 1828)." http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm

Cardinal Journet, Church of the Incarnate Word: "The consequence of this doctrine is that as time went on the jurisdictional power would devolve differently on the Pope and on the other bishops. On the Pope it is bestowed immediately by Christ as soon as he is validly elected. To the bishops it is given mediately, through the Pope: the Saviour, says Cajetan, sends down His power first on the head of the Church, and thence to the rest of the body[1] ...

The Encyclical Satis Cognitum of the 29th June 1896 confirms all this. Two passages are cited from St. Leo the Great on the eminent dignity of the Apostle Peter: "The divine condescension. . . if it willed that the other princes [of the Church] should have certain privileges in common with him, has never given save through him what it has not refused to the others [nunquam nisi per ipsum dedit quidquid aliis non negavit] and "Although he received many things for himself alone, nothing was granted to any other without his participation [cum multa solus acceperit, nihil in quemquam sine ipsius participatione transierit]

Footnote: [1] “ Ita in caput primo, quod, per caput, in corpus reliquum, potestatem diffundit Salvator noster “ (Cajetan, De Comparatione Auctoritatis Papae et Concilii, cap. vi, no. 78)"

The Encyclical Satis Cognitum by Pope Leo XIII online, which cites both Pope St. Leo the Great, and many other ancient authorities: http://www.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_29061896_satis-cognitum.html
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 12:21:47 PM by Xavier »
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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2020, 05:44:44 PM »
So many words on Papal Infallibility, but has been invoked, properly, maybe more than once? I see little point in giving it too much thought, as it has functioned as a almost never used last resort, that the Pope's word is final. Yet now Papal Infallibility has been deeply problematic in the popular sense that it has created the distortion that the Catholic Faith is whatever the Pope decides, whoever the Pope is now. Trent paid careful attention to the rights of Cathedral chapters and similar mediators of the Church. They don't exist in that sense anymore, or at all. If there are any left in England, Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands, they are nothing but an honorary committee of locally notable priests. V2 utterly centralised the creation of bishops, and V1, regardless of the careful actual form of Papal Infallibility, make this seem acceptable.
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Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2020, 11:29:27 PM »
Aren't you in Law school? How can you not see the utter stupidity of such argument?

I don't think his argument is that dogmas must all be clear from the beginning.

Instead, this particular dogma is about defining dogmas, and, following the logic of the Vincentian canon, "The Catholic Faith is what has been believed everyone, everywhere, at all times," it's inherently contradictory to assert that the Catholic Church has always believed by everyone, everywhere, at all times that the Pope was the de facto source (in fact, the only source, as abc has demonstrated) of dogmatization, but then to dogmatize said dogma using a contradictory methodology.

On the other hand, it is true that the Pope himself did dogmatize it, by his confirmation of the Ecumenical Council and the fact that Vatican I was a sole product of Pope Pius IX's ultramontanist radicalism, whose council has repercussions that even Saint John Henry Newman easily foresaw.

Nonetheless, the fact that the Pope couldn't easily just assert it and had to use an Ecumenical Council, is, in Bulgakov's eyes, proof that the Catholic Church has violated its own principle of the Vincentian canon. But this was an ancillary argument to his other arguments, primarily the council's history and its repercussions, as well as Rome's own historical inconsistency in claiming that the Pope was always superior to an Ecumenical Council.
 

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2020, 11:34:31 PM »
Quote from: Fr. Bulgakpv
Roman Catholic theology has gradually raised St. Peter so high above the other Apostles that he is no longer regarded as one of them but as a prince of Apostles. In addition to the general apostolic charisma he has his own, personal one, similar­ly to the way in which episcopacy includes priesthood. A bishop celebrates the liturgy like a priest, and does not differ from him in this respect, but it does not follow that they are of equal rank. The same considerations apply to the Catholic conception of the pope, for whom a fourth and highest degree of holy orders has been created. True, Catholic literature contains no direct expression of the idea that papacy it the highest of holy orders ...

Rev. Father, the Pope does not differ from the Bishops in not being a Bishop like them; nor is there a fourth degree of holy orders; otherwise, once obtained, the Pope would be unable to lose it, and thus unable to resign his office etc; because holy orders once acquired cannot be lost.

But rather, the Roman Pontiff, as Successor of St. Peter, differs from other Bishops, as Successors of the Apostles, in the power of jurisdiction given to him, as represented by the Keys in Scripture, and as spoken by Fr. Philip in Ephesus; his is an absolute and universal authority; the authority granted to Bishops, is truly ordinary and not merely vicarious, but is sub-ordinate to him; and derives from his. Thus, any formally schismatic bishops, who deliberately secede from St. Peter's Chair, do not indeed lose episcopal orders, which cannot be lost, but lose episcopal jurisdiction. Catholic Bishops, however, possess full powers of ordinary jurisdiction attached to their own office as proper to their persons in their own diocese. In an Ecumenical Council, they enjoy additional powers in union with the Pope. In brief, as Pope St. Leo the Great admirably says, nothing at all was conferred on the Bishops apart from St. Peter, yet many things were conferred upon them together with him. A Bishop and a Pope therefore are related as a Commander and a General would be. All the commanders are subject to the General's authority; but in union with the general, the commanders exercise all their authority over the soldiers. Even Patriarchs and Archbishops, by ecclesiastical law, enjoy additional jurisdiction.

As the CE admirably explains it, "To this it is replied that no difficulty is involved in the exercise of immediate jurisdiction over the same subjects by two rulers, provided only that these rulers stand in subordination, the one to the other. We constantly see the system at work. In an army the regimental officer and the general both possess immediate authority over the soldiers; yet no one maintains that the inferior authority is thereby annulled. The objection lacks all weight. The Vatican Council says most justly (cap. iii):

"This power of the supreme pontiff in no way derogates from the ordinary immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, in virtue of which the bishops, who, appointed by the Holy Spirit [Acts 20:28], have succeeded to the place of the Apostles as true pastors, feed and rule their several flocks, each the one which has been assigned to him: that power is rather maintained, confirmed and defended by the supreme pastor (Enchir., n. 1828)." http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm

Cardinal Journet, Church of the Incarnate Word: "The consequence of this doctrine is that as time went on the jurisdictional power would devolve differently on the Pope and on the other bishops. On the Pope it is bestowed immediately by Christ as soon as he is validly elected. To the bishops it is given mediately, through the Pope: the Saviour, says Cajetan, sends down His power first on the head of the Church, and thence to the rest of the body[1] ...

The Encyclical Satis Cognitum of the 29th June 1896 confirms all this. Two passages are cited from St. Leo the Great on the eminent dignity of the Apostle Peter: "The divine condescension. . . if it willed that the other princes [of the Church] should have certain privileges in common with him, has never given save through him what it has not refused to the others [nunquam nisi per ipsum dedit quidquid aliis non negavit] and "Although he received many things for himself alone, nothing was granted to any other without his participation [cum multa solus acceperit, nihil in quemquam sine ipsius participatione transierit]

Footnote: [1] “ Ita in caput primo, quod, per caput, in corpus reliquum, potestatem diffundit Salvator noster “ (Cajetan, De Comparatione Auctoritatis Papae et Concilii, cap. vi, no. 78)"

The Encyclical Satis Cognitum by Pope Leo XIII online, which cites both Pope St. Leo the Great, and many other ancient authorities: http://www.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_29061896_satis-cognitum.html

Bulgakov acknowledges this in the rest of the quote you cut off, but claims it's just putting one's head in the sand because of the fact that the Pope, by the very nature of its office in having unique charisms that no other bishop has, it being above all Bishops, and it being a Divinely Instituted office established by Christ Himself (unlike the Cardinals, which was established by man), must necessarily be different as a Holy Order of the Catholic Church than merely a Bishop.

Quote from: Bulgakov
True, Catholic literature contains no direct expression of the idea that papacy it the highest of holy orders—that of episcopus episcoporum or episcopus universalis, but this is either evasiveness or inconsisten­cy; the special.and exceptional place assigned to the “primate” in Catholic canonical writings can have no other meaning[13]."
 

Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2020, 11:41:15 PM »
So many words on Papal Infallibility, but has been invoked, properly, maybe more than once? I see little point in giving it too much thought, as it has functioned as a almost never used last resort, that the Pope's word is final. Yet now Papal Infallibility has been deeply problematic in the popular sense that it has created the distortion that the Catholic Faith is whatever the Pope decides, whoever the Pope is now. Trent paid careful attention to the rights of Cathedral chapters and similar mediators of the Church. They don't exist in that sense anymore, or at all. If there are any left in England, Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands, they are nothing but an honorary committee of locally notable priests. V2 utterly centralised the creation of bishops, and V1, regardless of the careful actual form of Papal Infallibility, make this seem acceptable.

Could you explain how anything I've quoted is invoked improperly? True, he gives his own opinions on what follows from the dogmas of Papal Infallibility, and these opinions may be a result of different inference and deduction on what was read from the texts of the council itself, but still, I think he raises good points.

One of the serious problems with Vatican I, and every Catholic, even those at the Council of Vatican I itself, was where does the power of the Pope end? The First Vatican Council tried to define this by limiting the Pope's infallibility to Faith and Morals, but Bulgakov argues that Faith and Morality are not only amorphous, but can be interpreted such that anything and everything can be defined as relating to Faith and Morality; because there is not a single human activity that does not relate to Morality, and anything can be related to Faith as long as there is a nexus between a doctrine and something not from the Faith - for example, cosmology, which is connected to doctrines related to Creation.

For example, let's take Pope Francis's most recent example in his support for benevolence towards illegal immigration and refugees. Although the direct question is one of policy, many Liberals have argued (and not illogically) that this is actually a question of morality, and the Pope must be obeyed. Certainly, doesn't the treatment of illegal immigrants and refugees require ethics to answer the question of policy?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 11:44:12 PM by TheReturnofLive »
 

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Re: Seregei Bulgakov's "The Vatican Dogma"
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2020, 11:50:40 PM »
And let my intentions be clear: I post this here because I have yet to find a refutation or discussion about Papal Infallibility that answers the questions posed by this essay to a professional degree that's outside the typical Catholic Answers tract, ESPECIALLY in light of Catholicism's existential crises which has been ongoing since the 60s.

I suspect that despite your desire for a scholarly refutation that Patristic quotes yanked from context which in no way address the dogmatic definition of Vatican I are currently being queued up, along with copious amounts of scriptural eisegesis.

One of the advantages Orthodoxy has, in English, in apologia is because it's smaller and in competition with Catholicism, much of its apologia will be directed against Catholicism due to the obvious comparisons that can be drawn between the two religious systems, and will obviously be done at a level of higher proficiency and professionalism than what Rome will do contrary.

This is not only because Catholic apologia, at least in English, spends much of its time sinking to the level of arguing against Protestants, but mostly Evangelicals who think Behemoth refers to a Brachiosaurus, as such Protestants are a more real threat to Catholicism in competition compared to Orthodoxy, but also because of such attitudes towards Orthodoxy since Vatican II, as established by the Catechism ("the communion with the Orthodox is so profound very little needs to be done to fix it"), which despise any real efforts to dismantle the claims of Orthodoxy.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 11:53:10 PM by TheReturnofLive »
 
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