Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More on the Magisterial status of Quanta Cura

I have been discussing with Mr. Schütz at his blog Sentire cum Ecclesia the Magisterial status of the condemnations in Bl. Pius IX’s Encyclical Quanta Cura. I have shown at Mr. Schütz’s blog (and at my own blog some months ago: that it satisfies the four criteria that characterise Acts of the Extraordinary Papal Magisterium (E.P.M.), and that accordingly every Catholic must join with Bl. Pius in condemning those errors as most certainly false. But Mr. Schütz has protested that the errors do not apply universally, therefore (he argues) their condemnation does not belong to the E.P.M. I have also shown at his blog that several of the errors do indeed apply universally. And I have discovered that none other than the Ven. John Henry, Cardinal Newman (in his famous Letter to The Duke of Norfolk) agrees with me on this, on at least one of the errors:

[Firstly, the error in question:] "Liberty of conscience and worship, is the inherent right of all men. 2. It ought to be proclaimed in every rightly constituted society. 3. It is a right to all sorts of liberty (omnimodam libertatem) such, that it ought not to be restrained by any authority, ecclesiastical or civil, as far as public speaking, printing, or any other public manifestation of opinions is concerned."

[Now, Cardinal Newman’s observations:] […] Which of the two in this matter is peremptory and sweeping in his utterance, the author of this thesis himself, or the Pope who has condemned what the other has uttered? Which of the two is it who would force upon the world a universal? All that the Pope has done is to deny a universal, and what a universal! a universal liberty to all men to say out whatever
doctrines they may hold by preaching, or by the press, uncurbed by church or civil power.
(italics in the original,
But Cardinal Newman does not leave it to the reader to infer what he thinks of the status of Quanta Cura—he spells it out for him or her:

who will dream of saying, be he Anglican, Protestant, unbeliever, or on {317} the other hand Catholic, that Honorius on the occasion in question did actually intend to exert that infallible teaching voice which is heard so distinctly in the Quantâ curâ and the Pastor Æternus?
(my bold type,
And if one requires more evidence for the infallibility with which the errors in Quanta Cura were condemned, one need only look to the authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia:

The binding power of the Syllabus of Pius IX is differently explained by Catholic theologians. All are of the opinion that many of the propositions are condemned if not in the Syllabus, then certainly in other final decisions of the infallible teaching authority of the Church, for instance in the Encyclical "Quanta Cura".
So Quanta Cura contains final decisions (Catholic Encyclopedia) on universal moral matters (Cardinal Newman), delivered with Apostolic authority (Quanta Cura, §6) and imposed as binding on all the Faithful (Quanta Cura, §6) . What more does one need to be convinced that the condemned errors of that Encyclical are condemned as an Act of the Extraordinary Papal Magisterium?

Reginaldvs Cantvar
17.XII.2008 A.D.


Schütz said...

Not much more, daear old eminent chap. You have been quite convincing on a number of levels. I share the Ven. Cardinal's thoughts to a large degree.

The fact remains however: how are we best to understand this extraordinary teaching magisterium in this time and in this place? What, in the words of Cardinal Dulles (gosh, you eminent chappies are thick on the ground in this debate), is the unchanging principle behind the timebound expressions of the condemnations?

Cardinal Pole said...

Mr. Schütz,

You speak of

"the unchanging principle behind the timebound expressions of the condemnations?"

But the condemnations don't merely express the principles, they contain them--they are right there, not concealed 'behind' the words. And they are not time-bound--they apply in all times and places. I strongly urge you to read the full Encyclical, read the condemned social errors in the Syllabus and read in full Leo XIII's Libertas and Immortale Dei, because these latter two documents explain quite thoroughly the principles at play here. I'm pressed for time at the moment, but I might try to write a bit more on these matters either tomorrow or after the weekend.

Cardinal Pole said...

I might add that unfortunately Newman appears, in the Letter to The Duke of Norfolk, to be influenced by the contractual view of society. I'll write a bit more on this soon, I hope. Until then I'll just say: society is not a contract, it is a creature of God because of the social nature that God gave us.

Got to go, back tomorrow.