Did Pope Agatho Teach Papal Infallibility in His Dogmatic Epistle accepted by the 6th Ecumenical Council?

File:Procession of the Apostles. First left - Saint Peter. Part of the mosaic in Arian Baptistery. Ravenna, Italy.jpg

During the 7th century, the error of Monotheletism, the belief that Christ only has an exercising one will, plagued the great Churches of the East in the Roman Empire. Steps toward fixing this problem were taken from the efforts of Sophronius of Jerusalem, Maximus the Confessor, and Pope Martin. The Council of Lateran (649) held in Rome officially condemned the error and served to stamp Rome’s position on the matter from then going forward. In 680, the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IV sought the participation of the bishop of Rome in resolving the dispute in the East. Two significant letters were brought to Constantinople, one written by the Pope himself to the Emperor, and another epistle in the name of the synod of bishops held in Rome which convened to readdress the doctrinal question. Both epistles are dogmatic and were read aloud by the bishops at the Ecumenical Council that convened in Constantinople in 681. My concern here is exclusively with Agatho’s own dogmatic epistle to the Emperor since it is this text which contains the clearest assertion, coming ahead of the Formulary of Pope Hormisdas, of the infallibility of the bishops of Rome. This is especially significant, since the 6th Council not only read the epistle and unanimously accept it as it was written but celebrated the letter as a text written under the divine guidance that Christ promised to St. Peter and his successors. However, some have called this all into question, insisting on a variety of different points in order to deny that Agatho made such extreme Papal claims, and even more so that the Council accepted them. There are a few different ways to spin the claims such that Agatho’s description of Rome is not a claim to a divinely instituted infallible teaching office, but simply a contingent accident which nevertheless merits the language for reasons related to moral superiority, a respect for Rome’s antiquity being the place where the chief Apostles were martyed, or some other accidental decoration which isn’t intrinsic to the structure of Christ’s Church. I have a forthcoming article devoted to looking at further implications that yield from the dogmatic epistle of Agatho, but here I prefer to settle the question on what precisely is communicated by the Pope on the special ministry of the See of Peter.

Note: On the concern over coherence and the anathema of Pope Honorius, I have an article soon to be published after this one that will address that matter.

The primary text wherein Agatho claims the infallibility of the Roman Pontiffs who succeed Peter is below cited from the Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (2nd series) edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace and is available at New Advent’s Third Council of Constantinople (the Latin can be accessed in Mansi 12). In the link to New Advent, one can read the letter of Agatho in full in English translation, and though it is not necessary, I strongly reccomend the reader go and print it out, read it very carefully, takes notes, and then read my article:

For this is the rule of the true faith, which this spiritual mother of your most tranquil empire, the Apostolic Church of Christ, has both in prosperity and in adversity always held and defended with energy; which, it will be proved, by the grace of Almighty God, has never erred from the path of the apostolic tradition, nor has she been depraved by yielding to heretical innovations, but from the beginning she has received the Christian faith from her founders, the princes of the Apostles of Christ, and remains undefiled unto the end, according to the divine promise of the Lord and Saviour himself, which he uttered in the holy Gospels to the prince of his disciples: saying,Peter, Peter, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for you, that (your) faith fail not. And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.’ Let your tranquil Clemency therefore consider, since it is the Lord and Saviour of all, whose faith it is, that promised that Peter’s faith should not fail and exhorted him to strengthen his brethren, how it is known to all that the Apostolic pontiffs, the predecessors of my littleness, have always confidently done this very thing: of whom also our littleness, since I have received this ministry by divine designation, wishes to be the follower, although unequal to them and the least of all.

No one can reasonably deny that Agatho here is claiming that the “Apostolic Church of Christ” is preserved from all error for all times, even unto the end of the world. This gift of infallibility is said by Agatho to be provided in a very precise promise that the Lord Jesus Christ gave to the Apostle Peter in his citation from the gospel according to St. Luke. This promise, henceforth referred to as the Lukan promise, was specifically that the faith of the Apostle would not fail but would endure always. It also comes with a specific commission, i.e. the Lukan commission, which is the duty to strengthen his brothers so that they, too, may be strong in the faith. By way of deduction, Agatho is claiming two things from this promise. The first is that Peter’s faith certainly will not fail because it is divinely guaranteed to never fail for all times, and secondly, that Peter has the duty to strengthen the spiritual sheep of Christ, i.e. the whole brotherhood of believers in Christ. Now, the first question to ask is whether by “Apostolic Church of Christ” (apostolica christi ecclesiae) Agatho means the whole world-wide Catholic Church, i.e. the sum of all believers in Christ, or if he means the Roman Church specifically, and it is to this question that this article will first occupy itself in answering.

The reader will notice that Agatho not only referred to the Church as the “Apostolic Church of Christ” but also called it “this spiritual mother of your most tranquil Empire,” while addressing the Emperor. So, what we have here is an equation between Apostolic Church of Christ and this spiritual mother. It will be useful to see the various ways in which Agatho uses this terminology in his letter, to better understand what he means here in the above citation. The first time the term “spiritual mother” comes up is towards the beginning of the letter where Agatho explains how he commissioned men from his company to serve as representatives of the West to assist at the Council in Constantinople. The text runs as follows:

Therefore, most Christian lords and sons, in accordance with the most pious jussio of your God-protected clemency, we have had a care to send, with the devotion of a prayerful heart… our fellow servants here present, Abundantius, John, and John, our most reverend brother bishops, Theodore and George our most beloved sons and presbyters, with our most beloved son John, a deacon, and with Constantine, a subdeacon of this holy spiritual mother the, Apostolic See (subdiacono sanctae hujus spiritualis matris apostolicae sedis), as well as Theodore, the presbyter legate of the holy Church of Ravenna and the religious servants of God the monks.

Here, Agatho clearly described the Apostolic See, which no one argues is something other than the Roman Church, as a “holy spiritual mother.” It simply could not be that, in the midst of describing clergy legates of Rome and Ravenna, that Constantine could be considered the subdeacon of the whole world-wide Catholic Church. So we have one clear claim that the Roman Church is a mother towards others. Continuing the same section, the Pope goes on with further information about his legates:

To these same commissioners we also have given the witness of some of the holy Fathers, whom this Apostolic Church of Christ receives (quos haec apostolica Christi ecclesia suscipit), together with their books, so that, having obtained from the power of your most benign Christianity the privilege of suggesting, they might out of these endeavour to give satisfaction, (when your imperial Meekness shall have so commanded) as to what this Apostolic Church of Christ, their spiritual mother and the mother of your God-sprung empire (quid haec spiritualis mater eorum ac a  Deo propagate imperii apostolica Christi ecclesia), believes and preaches, not in words of worldly eloquence… but that they set forth this tradition of the Apostolic See (sed traditionem hujus apostolicae sedis) in all sincerity as it has been taught by the apostolic pontiffs, who were our predecessors.

In continuing to describe the men he is sending to represent Rome at the Council, Agatho states that he equipped them with the “witness of the holy fathers,” which is a clear reference to the Patristic citations that are included in his letters that he gave them to be read aloud in the East. But he adds that these fathers are them which “this Apostolic Church of Christ receives.” This is hardly referring to the whole universal Church, though it could possibly be. The use of “this” (haec), makes it less fitting to be a reference to the universal Church. It is much more likely that Agatho is speaking on behalf of the Roman Church and what it receives. The second occurrence of “Apostolic Church of Christ” confirms this because Agatho there envisions that the commissioned men would represent what Rome holds, and this is said to be what “this (haec) spiritual mother” the “Apostolic Church of Christ” believes and preaches. While one might say that Agatho here simply wishes to say that the Papal legates will represent the universal Church, but it is more fitting that, per their vocation as legates of Rome, they are representing the belief and preaching of the Apostolic See of Rome, and this is precisely what is confirmed further down in the last sentence of the above citation where Agatho says the legates will be representing the tradition of the Apostolic see. The Roman Church, therefore, is here being referred to as the spiritual mother of the Roman Empire, and is also the “Apostolic Church of Christ.” Further on in the letter, Agatho again makes reference to “mother” and “Church of christ”: “This is the apostolic and evangelic tradition, which the spiritual mother of your most felicitous empire, the Apostolic Church of Christ, holds.

The next text to observe includes a strong indication that Agatho understands the promise of Jesus to Peter pertains, in an unique way, to the Roman Church:

And therefore I beseech you with a contrite heart and rivers of tears, with prostrated mind, deign to stretch forth your most clement right hand to the Apostolic doctrine which the co-worker of your pious labours, the blessed apostle Peter, has delivered, that it be not hidden under a bushel, but that it be preached in the whole earth more shrilly than a bugle: because the true confession thereof for which Peter was pronounced blessed by the Lord of all things, was revealed by the Father of heaven, for he received from the Redeemer of all himself, by three commendations, the duty of feeding the spiritual sheep of the Church; under whose protecting shield, this Apostolic Church of his has never turned away from the path of truth in any direction of error (hec apostolica ejus ecclesia nunquam a via Veritatis in qualibet erroris parte deslexa est), whose authority, as that of the Prince of all the Apostles, the whole Catholic Church (omnis catholica … ecclesia), and the Ecumenical Synods have faithfully embraced, and followed in all things; and all the venerable Fathers have embraced its Apostolic doctrine, through which they as the most approved luminaries of the Church of Christ have shone; and the holy orthodox doctors have venerated and followed it, while the heretics have pursued it with false criminations and with derogatory hatred.

This passage is especially significant since Agatho here clearly says that the Roman Church, i.e. the Apostolic Church of his [Peter], is divinely protected under the “protecting shield” of Peter, who acts under duty to provide food for the spiritual sheep of Jesus Christ, fulfillin the Johanine commission of Peter to pastor the flock. Thus, Peter fulfills his duty by preserving “his Church”, the Apostolic Roman Church, from all error, in order that the “whole Catholic Church” of Christ might follow its authority. Is that not what is being claimed by Agatho? There is a clear difference between “this Apostolic Church of his [Peter]” and “whole Catholic Church”, and it is the former that is protected from error in the first place, since it is Peter’s Church, but then it is for the greater purpose of feeding others, i.e. the whole Church, and this is why Agatho says that the whole Catholic Church, the Ecumenical Councils, and even the Church Fathers have followed the authority of Peter’s Church. So we see that the divine institution of primacy in Peter is two-fold, namely, that Peter’s faith would not fail and that he would continually support the brotherhood of Christ. This is applied by Agatho in the inerrancy of the Roman Church and how the Roman Church had led the cause of Apostolic truth all up to the point that Agatho was writing.

The next passage from the dogmatic epistle of Agatho echoes the one above:

Who does not hate, and rage against, and avoid such blind errors, if he have any desire to be saved and seek to offer to the Lord at his coming a right faith? Therefore the Holy Church of God, the mother of your most Christian power, should be delivered and liberated with all your might (through the help of God) from the errors of such teachers, and the evangelical and apostolic uprightness of the orthodox faith, which has been established upon the firm rock of this Church of blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, which by his grace and guardianship remains free from all error, [that faith I say] the whole number of rulers and priests, of the clergy and of the people, unanimously should confess and preach with us as the true declaration of the Apostolic tradition, in order to please God and to save their own souls.

Here, Agatho clearly refers to the “Holy Church of God” as the universal Church, and then calls this the “mother” of the Roman Empire, and so there is clearly some flexibility in what Agatho means by mother. The imagery is that of a mother who feeds, nurses, and cares for her children. This could easily apply to the Apostolic See for its special and unique ministry of feeding the universal flock under the authority of Peter, or it could refer to the universal world-wide Church as the people of God. Both serve the Empire, in a sense. But notice what Agatho says right afterwards. Yet again, the universal world-wide Church is to be delivered and liberated from all errors by agreement with the “firm rock” of the “Church of blessed Peter” (Rome), which “remains free from all error”. This harkens the Matthean vocation (Matt 16:16-19) of Peter as the foundation rock. The same imagery as before where the whole Church follows the Church of Peter because it is from that Church that the special prerogatives given to Peter by Christ are continued in the authority of his successors.

The next passage serves as a corroboration to the citations already provided. Here, Agatho pleads with whoever disagrees with the Apostolic See to turn away from error and be saved. They must not “make themselves aliens from our communion, that is from the communion of blessed Peter the Apostle (consortio, imo beati Petri apostoli), whose ministry we (though unworthy) exercise, and preach the faith he has handed down, but that they should together with us pray Christ the Lord, the spotless sacrifice, for the stability of your most strong and serene Empire.” Once again, Agatho refers to the office of the Roman bishop to be that of the Petrine ministry to the whole Church. The communion and ministry of Peter exist in the Roman bishop.

Taking from these observations, we can see that the terminology of “spiritual mother” or “Apostolic Church of Christ” can either be taken to mean the universal Church or the Roman Church, and specific contexts alone can really determine whether it is one or the other. But let’s return to the basic text which clearly claims divine infallibility for the bishops of Rome:

For this is the rule of the true faith, which this spiritual mother of your most tranquil empire, the Apostolic Church of Christ, has both in prosperity and in adversity always held and defended with energy; which, it will be proved, by the grace of Almighty God, has never erred from the path of the apostolic tradition, nor has she been depraved by yielding to heretical innovations, but from the beginning she has received the Christian faith from her founders, the princes of the Apostles of Christ, and remains undefiled unto the end, according to the divine promise of the Lord and Saviour himself, which he uttered in the holy Gospels to the prince of his disciples: saying, ‘Peter, Peter, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for you, that (your) faith fail not. And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.’ Let your tranquil Clemency therefore consider, since it is the Lord and Saviour of all, whose faith it is, that promised that Peter’s faith should not fail and exhorted him to strengthen his brethren, how it is known to all that the Apostolic pontiffs, the predecessors of my littleness, have always confidently done this very thing: of whom also our littleness, since I have received this ministry by divine designation, wishes to be the follower, although unequal to them and the least of all.

Firstly, the opening references to “spiritual mother” and “Apostolic Church of Christ” can be a reference to both Rome or the universal Church, but Agatho has significantly used both to refer to Rome prior in the same letter.

Secondly, when he describes the Apostolic Church of Christ to have been preserved from all error, this was stated twice in the same letter about the Roman Church specifically, which certainly favors that what Agatho has in mind here is the Roman Church.

Thirdly, the “Church” he is referring to is said by him to have “founders”, the “princes of the Apostles,” an obvious reference to St. Peter and St. Paul. Now, I’m not aware of any statements in the Fathers that say that Peter and Paul founded the world-wide Catholic Church. However, I am aware of many statements in the Fathers that say that these two Apostles founded the Roman Church, and that seems to be the position of antiquity.

Fourth and lastly, Agatho draws a straight line, from cause to effect, from the promise of Jesus that Peter’s faith will not fail, and the perpetual infallibility of the “Apostolic Church of Christ”. The other occurrences in the letter where Agatho says the Roman Church has been preserved free from all error were said to have been so because of the “protecting shield” and “guardianship” of Peter, to whom the Lord gave the duty to feed to spiritual sheep of Christ. And thus, even if “Apostolic Church of Christ” were to be interpreted as the world-wide universal Church, the promise of its indefectibility is grounded upon the firm rock of Peter’s Church, as Agatho said elsewhere in the same letter, which Church itself is preserved from all error in order to fulfill the Petrine obligation of feeding and strengthening the brethren. One must see that this interpretation is certain by the simple fact that Agatho finds the infallibility of the Church (whether you interpret this as the Roman Church or the universal Church) in the promise of unfailing faith in Peter. The unfailing faith of Peter has to come into communication with the Church (whether Roman or universal) in some way. And what way has Agatho told us this happens? It happens through the Roman Church inheriting the prerogatives of Peter, such that the Roman Church is Peter’s Church through which his vocation, communion, and unique ministry is exercised. That is the repeated claim of Agatho over and again. This is precisely how Agatho interprets it in this very passage since, once he has cited the promise of Christ to Peter, he proceeds to say that the “Apostolic Pontiffs,” that is the bishop of Rome, have continually strengthened the brethren. But if Agatho draws a straight line from the original commission of Peter to strengthen the Church to the commission of the Roman Pontiffs, that must only be because he also draws a straight line from the unfailing faith of Peter to the unfailing faith of the Roman Pontiffs. Truly, the prayer for unfailing faith is what grounded Christ’s charge to Peter to strengthen his brethren, and so this element of unfailing faith, along with the duty to feed and strengthen, must carry on in the successors of Peter in the Roman bishopric. By this thematic construction, we can see the Lukan, Johanine, and Mathean commissions all converge in the Roman bishop. And so, by way of conclusion, the real referent by “Apostolic Church of Christ”, whether it is universal or the Roman Church, really isn’t the decisive question, since Papal Infallibility is taught with either meaning, but it is certainly preferable, by way of logic and sound reason, that Agatho intends in our primary passage not the world-wide Catholic church but the Apostolic Church of Rome, Peter’s Church which receives Peter’s promise.

End note: The reader who is familiar with this Council will know that one occupant of the Apostolic See, Honorius, was anathamatized for holding to the Monothelite heresy. Anglican and Orthodox controversialists have insisted against Agatho’s claims that “Honorius was condemned as a heretic!” as if it resolves the matter. As I said in the beginning, a forthcoming article addresses this conundrum, but it must be understood that the Council accepted Agatho’s letter solemnly as dogmatic. Suffice it so say, then, that so long as one shouts “Honorius was condemned for heresy! What more do you need?!” one could just as simply retort “But the Council adopted Agatho’s letter as its own, and it teaches Papal infallibility!” The only way to address this seeming contradiction is to allow for an extensive investigation.


13 thoughts on “Did Pope Agatho Teach Papal Infallibility in His Dogmatic Epistle accepted by the 6th Ecumenical Council?

  1. All of which is prior to the Papal decision to abandon the definition of Chalcedon regarding the perfection and irreformabaility of the creed, regardless of the context of any heresy soever.

    It’s no great thing to acknowledge Rome as our spiritual mother so long as she does not despise her own past. But so long as she acts and defines substantially contradictory doctrines (like Florence defining the addition of the Filioque as lawful, against Chalcedon which DEFINES that no heresy whatsoever can justify the alteration of the symbol of faith), there cannot be that development of doctrine which Cardinal Newman RIGHTLY recognizes, “does not despise it’s own past.”

    The papacy exists ever since the time of Pope Sergius IV and formally after Florence, in direct substantial about-face contradiction to its own past as defined and accepted in Chalcedon. The creed of Nicaea and Constantinople are equally accepted as two universal symbols of faith which cannot be falsified by illegitimate addition or subtraction. The creed of Constantinople is NOT a revision of Nicea, it is accepted alongside the Symbol of Nicea. Therefore the argument that would justify the Spanish and Frankish additions is FALSE. This is WHY Leo III considered addition to the creed beyond his ability BECAUSE it’s irreformability is thee object of conciliar dogmatic definition.

    Roman Catholicism post-Filioque is the poster child for proto-modernism. That’s the issue.

      • Have you read the definition of Chalcedon in its entirety? I am willing to cite it, it clearly teaches, in the context of the definition, that what the creed of Constantinople teaches regarding the person of the Holy Spirit is perfect. I assume you know this. It also condemns anyone who would alter the creed regardless of the context of the heresy they are coming from. I assume you would know this as well.

        As for those who interpret it this way- Pope Leo III claiming to change the creed exceeds his power ONLY makes sense if the form of the creed is defined as shut, moreover the Horos of the 879 synod illustrates the fathers of that synod clearly acknowledged the central issue- that to add or subtract from the creed indicates that it is not perfect- yet Chalcedon defined that it was.

        If you insist on chapter and verse, I can give. But do you actually claim to be ignorant of these things? And how then do you justify Florence when Chalcedon defines that he heretical context cannot affect the content of the creed?

      • Yes, I have read Chalcedon’s decrees. I never saw anything in there forbidding future additions. Also, if the pneumatology of the Creed of C’ple (381), then why did the Greeks feel at liberty to develop a doctrine of an energetic manifestation of the Spirit from the Father through the Son in the Tomos of Gregory the Cypriot at the Council of Blacharnae (1285)? Gregory Palamas also felt at liberty to develop this line of thinking, all of which is not clearly stated in the Creed.

        As for the words of Leo III – I don’t recall him ever saying it was beyond his power. It sounded to me he was saying that the decision of the Fathers was not something he would dare to revise. That’s a bit different than saying the Church can’t change the creed. What I find too daring might not , in theory, be completely out of bounds for certain circumstances.

        As for the Horos of C’ple (879), it is my understanding that the Papal legates at the very session in question made it clear that the Creed *could be changed* if the demands of the Church required it, and no one protested that. It is in the Acts. Also, the Horos itself implies there could be conditions for such a change.

      • It seems you fail to distinguish a few points-

        1. To elucidate on what the creed teaches is certainly not beyond the pale of what the Church teaches and has in fact done. But Chalcedon was at paints to explain its own definition of the faith regarding Christology was in no way an addition to the creed nor was it a redaction of the creed of Nicea or Constantinople, which are accepted as two distinct universal symbols of faith, not as one revising the other. Moreover Chalcedon acknowledges the DISCIPLINE of what is set forth at Ephesus in canon 7, which is the context for its respect for the creed of Nicea and its emphasis on not changing the faith of Ephesus.

        2. However, the definition of Chalcedon goes further than the canons of Ephesus, and you must surely know this if you read Price. The Council puts forth it’s notion of the Creed’s perfect teaching on the Spirit in the context of its Definition. “The Synod defines…etc.”

        And the then you must surely not be ignorant of the defined irreformability of the creed so foemulary, not just as pistis, faith, but universal symbol, symbolon. This is why IN the definition Price has it translated as

        “Now that these matters have been formulated by us with all possible care and precision, the holy and ecumenical council has decreed that no one is allowed to produce or compose or construct another creed or to think or teach otherwise. As for those who presume either to construct another creed or to publish or teach or deliver another symbol to those wishing to convert to the knowledge of the truth from paganism or Judaism or from any heresy whatsoever, the council decrees that, if they are bishops or clerics, they are to be deposed, bishops from the episcopate and clerics from the clerical state, while, if they are monks or laymen, they are to be anathematized.”

        Now think of the context. Chalcedon had just got done defining the Christology inspired by Leo as Orthodox. Was THIS added to the creed of Nicea and Constantinople? No, because it was not to be touched. However it was a dogmatic definition elucidating the content of the faith. Yet to say that the Chalcedonian definition was the creed of Constantinople would be a lie, a falsification.

        In the same way, even if the theology of the Filioque was innocuous, it is no justification to add it to the creed and call that creed the creed of Constantinople. It could have been theologically defined by an ecumenical council and explained in the same way as the Chalcedonian creed. But it does not merit the falsification of that creed in the name of truth, which is why Leo III makes the point to Smaragdus and his delegates that plenty of truths of the faith, like the sacraments, are not included in the creed, though they are believed, and merely because they are true is not a justification to add them.

        3. Leo III does say he does not have the ability to alter the creed, and presumably for that very reason- that Chalcedon, building on the discipline of Ephesus, went on to defining that the creed, being perfect, was no longer subject to revision, no matter what heresy one is being received from. Hence he says- “ . It may , I say , it may be sung in teaching , and be taught by being sung : but neither by writing nor by singing may it be unlawfully inserted into that , which it is forbidden us to touch .” Clearly he saw himself as forbidden to alter the creed, as the delegates further comment.

        4. Regarding 879, no, it does not allow for an occasion to add to the creed, this is a misreading on your part. The section where it says that “Thus, having in mind and declaring all these things, we embrace with mind and tongue (τῇ διανοίᾳ καὶ γλώσσῃ) and declare to all people with a loud voice the Horos (Rule) of the most pure faith of the Christians which has come down to us from above through the Fathers, subtracting nothing, adding nothing, falsifying nothing; for subtraction and addition, when no heresy is stirred up by the ingenious fabrications of the evil one, introduces disapprobation of those who are exempt from blame and inexcusable assault on the Fathers” – this is not a conditional allowance to add to the creed.

        Rather, it is saying, that the addition and subtraction to the creed, when it DOESN’T result in heresy at LEAST results in disapprobation. It’s not a clause allowing exception, it’s a clause that explains “even if it isn’t technically generating a heresy, the discord with the fathers isn’t worth it.”

        It all seems rather clear.

      • Do you acknowledge that the definition of Chalcedon goes beyond Ephesus in terms of dogmatically defining that the creed is irreformable?

      • I would love a phone conversation. Can I tell others what you say on the phone and transcribe the conversation?

  2. Why go back to such ancient BS when the current pope is a massive disproof of papal infallibity? Every time he opens his mouth he puts another nail in the coffin of this false and demonic doctrine from hell.

    • Because the 1960’s is not the cause. It’s an effect of a deeper spiritual illness- modernism. And Rome is it’s first and best exponent. Circumstantial needs of the people invalidate doctrinal definitions and allow for dogmatic reformulation.

      THAT is the illness of Rome. And Protestants and modernists arising from her is a surprise? They’re her children.

    • Having an interesting in ecclesiastical actions of the past can be rooted in a variety of interests. Why do you think Protestants continue to study the Ecumenical Councils? Philip Schaff, for example, studied all of history. Not everything is an attempt to try and prove contemporary Catholicism. That would be an assumption on the part of the reader.

    • Or you can read what the Satanists said i.e. Eliphas Levi about a “Ecumenical council” that was going to take place and a new religion was going to be founded. And what Padre Pio said about “Satan Ruling a false church”

      But coming from a dunce that calls dogmatic statements “BS” I wouldn’t expect you to be able to distinguish colors.

  3. Pingback: The Impact of Pope Agatho’s Dogmatic Epistle to the 6th Ecumenical Council and the Condemnation of Pope Honorius on Catholic and Orthodox perspectives on Papal Infallibility | Erick Ybarra

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