Sunday, December 22, 2019

Two Questions on the Papacy

Why, with all the historical evidence of the extreme corruption of the papacy, does the church still claim papal infallibility?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
Answered 4h ago
  • According to the actual evidence most of the time papacy was not extremely corrupt or corrupt at all.
  • A corrupt pope has nothing to do with papacy being fallible or infallible.

    Example : it is possible that Savonarola was a saint (St. Filippo Neri thought so). It is possible that it was only by corruption that Alexander VI had him burnt. B U T there was not one single doctrinal statement of Savonarola’s that was condemned, as far as I know, so, Alexander VI did not use any of his infallibility in burning Savonarola.

    Inversely, when he promulgated the feast of Immaculate Conception from local to universal, he was not exercising any of his corrupt personal tendencies.

What are the origins of papal infallibility? How did the rest of Catholicism react to its establishment?

Answer requested by
Daniel Hassel

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
Answered Sat
If by "establishment" you mean the dogmatic declaration it is the Vatican Council of 1869-70.

Nearly all bishops world wide supported it at the council, the ones opposing were a tiny minority from mainly Germany and Netherlands (or nearly only these countries), now known as Old Catholics.

If you want earlier origins, the logical origin is, the Church is infallible (Mt 28:16-20) and the Church has St. Peter as its highest chief, along with his successors.

The origin in debates would probably be more like ... Innocent III and Gregory Palamas arguing (at a distance) over whether the Popes of Rome or each bishop in each diocese are the successors of Peter. But Popes had before that been treated in practise as infallible, including by Orthodox.

Hence some Orthodox this day claim to be the "original Sedevacantists" - they adher to the actual line of Popes up to .... at least Leo III in the time of Charlemagne (they celebrate him as a saint!) but consider some later date the Popes became Heretics and Schismatics ... so now they are "rejecting Antipopes."

The actual conflicts had been not over Papal infallibility but over limits to Papal power. Did the popes have power to impose on Emperors of Germany that the archbishop of Salzburg should be elected by a local election? Did they have power to exclude laymen from the election, as these could be influenced by the lord, a vassal of those Emperors? Did they have power to replace the local election by nomination from Rome? The Emperors in the Middle Ages contested each turn of it. The Popes held strong. Hence, there were a lot of conflict between Emperor or Pope loyals.

Ultimately, without Roman Papal nomination, one would in essence have had Imperial German nomination, and one often had that. One can understand why the Emperors wanted that, the Archbishops of Salzburg ruled over lots of land up to 1806. All of what is now Salzburger Land in Austria (not just the city) had this archbishop as secular ruler as well as as pastor. Nevertheless, to the Popes the important thing was his capacity to be loyal to Christ, not his capacity to be loyal to the Emperor.

No comments: