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 Infallibility of Dogmatic Facts questioned. 
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Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:53 am
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New post Infallibility of Dogmatic Facts questioned.
Gerard, a poster on Suscipe Domine, has advanced the following historical fact against the infallibility of dogmatic facts:
Quote:
So, if something like a "dogmatic fact" is infallible such as the identity of the Pope. And if the legislation of a Pope is infallible, then how come Pope Stephen ruled that Pope Formosus had not validly been a Pope?

And how was that ruling overturned, subsequently re-affimed against Formosus and later overturned again? Of course, the decrees declaring all of Formosus' ordinations invalid also caused a lot of scandal and harm to both the priests, bishops and faithful that received sacraments from the Formosus line of clergy.

Here is the pertinent quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06139b.htm
Quote:
Under Stephen VI, the successor of Boniface, Emperor Lambert and Agiltrude recovered their authority in Rome at the beginning of 897, having renounced their claims to the greater part of Upper and Central Italy. Agiltrude being determined to wreak vengeance on her opponent even after his death, Stephen VI lent himself to the revolting scene of sitting in judgment on his predecessor, Formosus. At the synod convened for that purpose, he occupied the chair; the corpse, clad in papal vestments, was withdrawn from the sarcophagus and seated on a throne; close by stood a deacon to answer in its name, all the old charges formulated against Formosus under John VIII being revived. The decision was that the deceased had been unworthy of the pontificate, which he could not have validly received since he was bishop of another see. All his measures and acts were annulled, and all the orders conferred by him were declared invalid. The papal vestments were torn from his body; the three fingers which the dead pope had used in consecrations were severed from his right hand; the corpse was cast into a grave in the cemetery for strangers, to be removed after a few days and consigned to the Tiber. In 897 the second successor of Stephen had the body, which a monk had drawn from the Tiber, reinterred with full honours in St. Peter's. He furthermore annulled at a synod the decisions of the court of Stephen VI, and declared all orders conferred by Formosus valid. John IX confirmed these acts at two synods, of which the first was held at Rome and the other at Ravenna (898). On the other hand Sergius III (904-911) approved in a Roman synod the decisions of Stephen's synod against Formosus; all who had received orders from the latter were to be treated as lay persons, unless they sought reordination. Sergius and his party meted out severe treatment to the bishops consecrated by Formosus, who in turn had meanwhile conferred orders on many other clerics, a policy which gave rise to the greatest confusion. Against these decisions many books were written, which demonstrated the validity of the consecration of Formosus and of the orders conferred by him (see AUXILIUS).

As one can read, the dogmatic fact of Formosus's Papacy, was negated by Stephen IV; Stephen IV's decision was reversed by John IX; and in turn, Sergius III, overturned John's decision and re-deposed or annulled the Papacy of Formosus.
Does anybody here have any idea, how to explain this in harmony with the above mentioned infallibility?

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Fri Jul 25, 2014 6:16 pm
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New post Re: Infallibility of Dogmatic Facts questioned.
Well, the first thing is that hardly a fact from that era is historically certain, so you wouldn't take any of that as data of theology. That would be foolish. You'd be building upon shifting sand.

Secondly, even if all of this were certainly factual, it means that Pope Stephen VI erred in a decision which no theologian would consider infallible. So even on the best reading, from the heretics' perspective, it proves nothing. Not every judgement of fact by the pope is infallible.

Thirdly, the most challenging cases against infallibility were debated prior to and at Vatican I by Gallican and Roman theologians, and these debates are summarised in some manuals. If this were such a strong case, it would be found there, but it isn't, as far as I've read. Is Gerard a better historian and theologian than the professors of theology approved by Rome down through the ages? (For what it's worth, I think that the main reason nobody makes something of this affair is the utter unreliability of the data, but that's just my opinion.)

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Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:53 pm
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Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:53 am
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Location: St. Marys, Kansas
New post Re: Infallibility of Dogmatic Facts questioned.
John,
Thank you.

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"The World Must Conform to Our Lord, and not He to it." Fr. Dennis Fahey C.S.S.P.


Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:17 am
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