“Ah! But it’s not Ex Cathedra”: A Test of Congruence between Traditionalists and Vatican 1 as influenced by Bishop Gasser’s Relatio

The presentation given by Bishop Vincent Ferrer Gasser (1809-1879) to the general congregation of Bishops at the 1st Vatican Council, famously referred to as Gasser’s relatio, is the single best treatise on the subject for anyone interested in the theological rationale of the doctrine on Papal infallibility. That means the relatio, while not being the final and infallible word on the subject, is definitely the chief reference for exploring what Catholics believe on this all-important subject. It has great relevance to the contemporary Pontificate of Pope Francis, whose Papal administration has been what many Catholics would say “the worst Pontificate in history.” I remember when I was an Anglican, after spending months studying the Church Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils, the History of the Church, philosophical argumentation, and the general teaching of Catholicism, I had my initial troubles before entering the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus. Since the first interview I heard of Pope Francis, I knew that the Church was in for a time of testing on the matter of the Papacy as divinely instituted office for the benefit of the body of Christ. In particular, the limits of Papal power and the authoritative reach that the Papal magisterium has over the conscience of the faithful. This piece will be written with a consideration of one part of Gasser’s relatio and how coherent it is under scrutiny. Gasser wrote:

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LOTH Second Edition: July 2021 Updates

Tom's Digest

The USCCB’s Secretariat for Divine Worship has recently updated their Liturgy of the Hours Second Edition progress tracker page with some key updates since the last bishops’ plenary meeting, which included votes on final-draft components of the overhaul.

The changes/updates that stood out to me include (all emphases mine):

  • Making it clear and explicit that as of February 2020, “The Abbey Psalms and Canticlesis authorized for optional liturgical use in the United States andpublished by USCCB Communications.” (Note: I created a handy breviary insert to print, cut and fold, containing all the new approved texts for the Invitatory Psalm 95, the Te Deum, Benedictus, Magnificat, and Nunc Dimittis, available for download here. A good church musician friend also put together chant tones for singing the new Te Deum text, available here.)
  • Providing a tentative timeline for a new hymnal that will contain the nearly…

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The Apostolic See Only Infallible Twice in History? The Catholic Church Implies Otherwise

Most Catholics today think that the infallibility of the Pope is extremely restricted and meticulously conditioned by a set of complex requirements that make for an ex cathedra decree. Bishop Vincent Gasser himself, the one who wrote the famous and influential relatio presented to the congregation of Bishops at Vatican 1 (1870), is of the belief that “thousands and thousands of dogmatic judgments have gone forth from the Apostolic See.”[1] In contrast, the majority of Catholics operate under the impression that, within the vast expanse of 2,000 years of Catholic history, the Pope has only been infallible twice. That is, in Ineffabilis Deus (1854) and Munificentissimus Deus (1950), the decrees on the immaculate creation of the Virgin Mary and her bodily assumption into heaven at the end of her earthly sojourn. It is worth taking a moment to see whether this modern perspective really stands when compared to the many statements about the power and primacy of the Apostolic See in history, including those of the Supreme Magisterium.

The first example worth looking at is the famous Libellus of Hormisdae, or the Formula of Hormisdas (519). In the 4th session of the 1st Vatican Council, the dogmatic constitution on the Church of Christ, normally referred as Pastor Aeternus, cites the Formula of Hormisdas to show forth the historical confession of the infallibility of the Apostolic See. It states:

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Is the Catholic Church a House of Cards? – Eric Sammons

This article, Is the Catholic Church a House of Cards, is a good one. The basic message must be true, at least since Christ said the Church will never be overcome by the gates of hell. But while we are reminding ourselves that the Church won’t be overcome, are we being consistent in the amount of destruction that we do think is capable of settling in? In other words, I notice that some Catholics online (Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Podcasts, etc,etc) feel that the Catholic Church is capable of sustaining so much failure and collapse while also maintaining its status of being the true Church of Christ, the sole custodian of divinely revealed truths. I thought of an imaginative dialogue between a traditionalist Anglican and a traditionalist Catholic that perfecty illustrates how articles like this, as good a reminder as they are, are still only nibbling around the edges of the criticial discussion that needs to be had.

TRAD-CATHOLIC: “How can you possibly be in the Anglican Church? They ordain females to the priesthood, and now ever to the Episcopate and Archepiscopate. They have changed the moral law on sexuality. This is all heretical, and I just don’t understand how you remain in it?”

TRAD-ANGLICAN: “Yes, all these things you mention are lamentable. However, if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that all those synodal events where the Anglican hierarchy decided to allow females into the clergy and homosexuality to be normalized, they were enacted through non-infallible means. Therefore, it doesn’t really impugn the truth of Anglicanism”

TRAD-CATHOLIC: “Hey! That’s my line.”