Limits and definitions of papal authority…

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Neo-con Catholics everywhere have an imbalanced sense of history and perspective, eschewing anything that occurred in the Church before liberal “Good Pope John” XXIII assumed the papal chair in 1958, and definitely nothing happened in Church history before Vatican II started in 1962. For sure.

The hijacked schema of the liberals at V2 takes precedence over Holy Writ and almost 2000 years of:  defined revelation that ended with the death of the last aposlte, St John the Apostle and Evangelist, and the unchanging Magisterial teachings and Tradition.

The fact that Vatican I LIMITED, and not expanded, the scope and authority of the Supreme Pontiff has fallen on deaf ears of Liberaldom. There is really only so much the Holy Father can do and say that is binding on the faithful and it has to be on the limited matters of faith and morals, as that binding, unchanging dogmatic council concluded and set in stone as “irreformable”. None can undo it or change that fact, even a future Pope, as any grade school child who has been catechized correctly knows.

Soon the charges of ‘sedevacantism’ follow from the lips of the ignorant. So, dear readers, go ahead an avail yourselves of the official documents of which ESH speaks and which confirm all that is written here. See it for yourself here…

It’s still true and binding on all the faithful everywhere. That pesky Vatican I Council. Just because someone in touchy-feely newchurch chooses to hide it from the flock makes it no less true and still in force, as were all the other true ecumenical councils of the Church, and ordinary and extraordinary magisterial pronouncements of a given Pope.

The easy rule of thumb is this whether something binds the conscience of the faithful: it has been always taught, for everyone, situated anywhere. Explanations of dogma and doctrine may be better explained and expanded upon, but they cannot be changed. By anyone. This is the Petrine guarantee and the operation of the Holy Ghost.

As for the Vatican I Council, 1869-1870 AD a further explanation:

This council was summoned by Pope Pius IX by the bull Aeterni Patris of 29 June 1868. The first session was held in St Peter’s basilica on 8 December 1869 [feast of the Immaculate Conception just solemnly proclaimed dogma defined in 1854 with the Bull Ineffabilis, by Blessed Pope Pius IX ] in the presence and under the presidency of the same pope.

The purpose of the council was, besides the condemnation of contemporary errors, to define the catholic doctrine concerning the church of Christ. In fact, in the three following sessions, there was discussion and approval of only two constitutions: Dogmatic Constitution On The Catholic Faith and First Dogmatic Constitution on the church of Christ, the latter dealing with the primacy and infallibility of the bishop of Rome. The discussion and approval of the latter constitution gave rise, particularly in Germany, to bitter and most serious controversies which led to the withdrawal from the church of those known as “Old Catholics” in parts of Europe.

The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war led to the interruption of the Council. It was in fact never resumed, nor was it ever officially closed, unlike any other Council. As in other councils at which the pope was present and presided, the decrees were in the form of bulls, at the end of which was the clear declaration: “with the approval of the sacred council”. Very large numbers attended this council, including, for the first time, bishops from outside Europe and its neighbouring lands. Bishops from the eastern Orthodox churches were also invited, but did not come.

The decrees of the council were published in various simultaneous editions. Later they were included in volume 7 of Collectio Lacensis ( 1892) and in volumes 49-53 of Mansi’s collection (1923-1927). The collection which was used here is that entitled Acta et decreta sacrosancti oecumenici concilii Vaticani in quatuor prionbus sessionibus, Rome 1872. Comparison with other editions reveals no discrepancies, indeed absolute agreement.

Return to Table of Contents about Vatican I.

Further explanation of the authority of Vatican I and papal infallibility:


Council Vatican 1
1869 A.D. – 1870 A.D.Formal and Solemn Infallibility of the Roman Catholic Pope

“9. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the christian faith, to the glory of God our saviour, 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.”  (Infallible Roman Catholic Council Vatican 1 [Wednesday, December 8, 1869 A.D. – Monday, July 18, 1870 A.D.], Session 4, Monday, July 18, 1870, First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, Chapter 4, On the infallible teaching authority of the Roman pontiff [i.e. the Pope], ¶ 9).


Pope Pius IX
Giovanni M. Mastai Ferretti
[Tuesday, June 16, 1846 – Thursday, February 7, 1878]

Informal and non-Solemn Infallibility of the Roman Catholic Pope
The Infallible Ordinary and Immediate Magisterium of the Pope

“9. So, then, if anyone says that the Roman pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.”  (Infallible Roman Catholic Council Vatican 1 [Wednesday, December 8, 1869 A.D. – Monday, July 18, 1870 A.D.], Session 4, Monday, July 18, 1870, First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, Chapter 3, On the Power and Character of the Primacy of the Roman pontiff, ¶ 9).

Read the remainder of this excellent discourse on papal authority, infallibility and the Vatican I council here…

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