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 Post subject: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:20 pm 
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What does one say to a Catholic who refuses to believe canonizations are infallible despite having heard quotes from Ludwig Ott, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and similar sources? He's like, "Church teachings are only infallible if they've been taught from the beginning. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia only says that most theologians believe canonizations are infallible, not that the Church explicitly teaches it" (at least that's his argument in a nutshell).

Just for the record, this guy claims the Church was wrong to beatify Bl. John Paul II (I won't go into why he believes that) and says that should His Holiness be canonized, he will continue to be "charitable" and pray FOR His Holiness.


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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:58 pm 
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For your info, beatifications are not considered infallible, and canonizations may be infallible.

Below is a web site explaining the process of beatifications/canonizations:

http://www.ewtn.com/johnpaul2/cause/process.asp

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Last edited by lbt on Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:00 pm 
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Mercer wrote:
What does one say to a Catholic who refuses to believe canonizations are infallible despite having heard quotes from Ludwig Ott, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and similar sources? He's like, "Church teachings are only infallible if they've been taught from the beginning. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia only says that most theologians believe canonizations are infallible, not that the Church explicitly teaches it" (at least that's his argument in a nutshell).

Just for the record, this guy claims the Church was wrong to beatify Bl. John Paul II (I won't go into why he believes that) and says that should His Holiness be canonized, he will continue to be "charitable" and pray FOR His Holiness.


I know EXACTLY what I'd say: "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

That probably doesn't help you right now, Mercer, but it seemed strangely appropriate.

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:25 pm 
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technically, beatifications are not infallible. canonizations, however, are. As for, "it had to have been taught since the beginning" ... I suppose that's true if he means seminally, but it didn't have to be explicitly taught. For example: the Immaculate Conception which was very heatedly debated for centuries.

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:29 pm 
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Actually, I'm well aware that beatifications aren't considered infallible. I was referring specifically to canonizations.

And Louis, you're right, but just for the record, I told him that his position is about as absurd as not accepting Mary as Mediatrix since it wasn't always something that was explicitly taught by the Church. Well, he said that he doesn't think one has to accept that either!


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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:31 pm 
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I wouldn't bother to argue with such a person because he does not accept the legitimacy of anything that any Catholic would regard as an authoritative source to 'prove' a doctrinal argument, hence you will never get him to understand anything at all....

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:35 pm 
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ghall512 wrote:
Mercer wrote:
What does one say to a Catholic who refuses to believe canonizations are infallible despite having heard quotes from Ludwig Ott, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and similar sources? He's like, "Church teachings are only infallible if they've been taught from the beginning. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia only says that most theologians believe canonizations are infallible, not that the Church explicitly teaches it" (at least that's his argument in a nutshell).

Just for the record, this guy claims the Church was wrong to beatify Bl. John Paul II (I won't go into why he believes that) and says that should His Holiness be canonized, he will continue to be "charitable" and pray FOR His Holiness.


I know EXACTLY what I'd say: "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

That probably doesn't help you right now, Mercer, but it seemed strangely appropriate.

That is the right answer, sadly.

Your friend's position doesn't make much sense, honestly. Would your friend by OK with canonizing JP II in 100 years, since he would more likely be out of Purgatory by then? (That's given the faulty premise that time in Purgatory has any correspondence with time on earth.) Or does he think that JP II is in Hell?

And how does he answer the problem of dulia being given to someone who is not in Heaven? He has to answer Ott's reason for suggesting that canonizations are infallible.

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Louis-Marie Flambeau wrote:
As for, "it had to have been taught since the beginning" ... I suppose that's true if he means seminally.

No, it isn't. Ott lists the Deposit of Faith and explications thereof as the primary object of infallibility, and that is (he says) de fide. But the secondary object is other truths connected with faith and morals, including canonizations. Ott lists the secondary object as sent. certa, since (as I noted in a previous reply) saying otherwise leaves intractable problems with respect to the holiness of the Church.

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:46 pm 
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I have may reservations about his beatification/canonization (I am generally learly of doing such so quickly after death in general), but one needs to accept the action of the Church here.

St. Thomas Aquinas holds that canonizations are in between two different sort of actions by the Church. Namely, the Church, on one hand, judges particular facts of persons and events. Even a pope may mistakenly believe a man guilty or innocent of a crime, for instance. And it is not impossible that a pope should, say, excommunicate someone wrongly (the course there is still obedience as far as the legal effects go). The Church also teaches on matters of faith and universal truthes. Here the Church is protected from error. Canonization occupies a middle place, insofar as it involves a judgment of the life and virtue of this person it is like any other judgment that may err. But it also pertains to the doctrine of the Church, as we hold to the intercession of the saints. Further the Church would err in her worship were some of the saints to be in hell.

It is fully possible that on a prudential level a person be mistakenly canonized./ Maybe his life was not that great of an example. Maybe the Church was mistaken about him exhibiting great virtue. But were the person to be among the damned rather than the blessed, the Church's error would make it wrong to honor that person in the liturgy

The difference between canonization and beatification, and prior to that formal process, between saints and blesseds recognized through custom, is that blessed are those whom the Church permits to be venerated and/or requires only in a certain place, congregation or local Church. Whereas in Canonization, the person is venerated by the whole Church, not merely by permission, but the Church actively bids said veneration. That is why canonization is infallible, and prior to that formal process, the recognition of people like Augustine as saints is infallible, it would be the universal Church error in her worship and further requiring the faithful to err.

St. Thomas says

I respond. It must be said that something may be judged possible considered in itself, which is discovered to be impossible in relation to some other thing extrinsic to it.

Therefore I say, that the judgment of those who preside over the Church can be in error in whiatever matter, if we look only to their persons. But if divine providence is considered, in which the Holy Spirit directs His Church that she should not err, just as He promised in John X "that the coming Spirit will teach all truth," namely teach of everything necessary for salvation, it is certain that it is impossible for the judgment of the Universal Church to err in those matters which pertain to the faith.

Whence the teachings which are born in judgment of the pope, for whom it pertains to determine matters of faith, are to be upheld over the scriptural opinions of any wise men whatsoever; as is seen with Caiphas who, although unworthy, was still the high priest and is read to prohesy in his ignorance (John 10:51). But in other teachings which pertain to particular facts, as when matters of ownership are treated, or of crimes, or of other things of this sort, it is possible that the judgment of the Church errs because of false evidences.

But the canonization of saints is a means between these two things. Nevertheless, since the honor which we exhibit to the saints is a certain sort of profession of the faith, through which we believe in the glory of the saints, it must be piously believed that here as wll the judgment of the Church cannot be in error.

(Quodlibet IX, q. 8 co.)

This would mean that it is not a dogma (hence not a heresy) to deny the sainthood of a saint, but it would still be sinful error. While the sainthood of X person is not a matter of the deposit of faith, to deny it would go against the profession of Faith which the Church makes in her liturgy.

People mistake infallible for dogma. While all dogmas are infallibly taught, not all infallible teachings are dogma. Besides canonization, there are also teachings about truths of reason that must be held as infallible. They are not dogma (de fide) but still infallible whenever they are inherently presupposed by dogma or necessitated by it. There are also dogmatic facts, e.g., that Trent was an ecumenical council, that Pius IX was pope. If you could not trust those, then how can you trust their teachings?

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:58 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Louis-Marie Flambeau wrote:
As for, "it had to have been taught since the beginning" ... I suppose that's true if he means seminally.

No, it isn't. Ott lists the Deposit of Faith and explications thereof as the primary object of infallibility, and that is (he says) de fide. But the secondary object is other truths connected with faith and morals, including canonizations. Ott lists the secondary object as sent. certa, since (as I noted in a previous reply) saying otherwise leaves intractable problems with respect to the holiness of the Church.


thanks, Father! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:25 pm 
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Blessed Pope John Paul the Second was a very holy man in my reckoning. It is sad to hear someone argue against his elevation.

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:59 pm 
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A couple extra relevant points I read the other day on canonization and martyrology:

"If, remaining seperated from the Church, he is persecuted by an enemy of Christ...and his enemy of Christ says to him who is seperated from the Church of Christ: 'Offer up incense to idols, adore my gods and kills him because he refuses, he could shed his blood, but not receive the crown."

-Saint Augustine-sermon to the people ofCaesarea preached in the presence of Emeritus, a Donatist bishop, No. 6

"Pope Benedict XIV, in his De Servorum Dei beaificatione et beatorum canonizatione, explains that a heretic, in the invincible ignorance of the true Faith, killed for a dogma of the Catholic Church cannot be considered a martyr. Indeed, perhaps he is a martyr coram Deo, but not coram Ecclesia, because the Church judges only on the outside, and the public profession of heresy necessitates the assumption of internal heresy. Cf. De Servorum, c.20 The objection concerning St. Hyppolitus, martyr and anti-pope (217-235), is not significant. In fact, if the martyrology mentions him on the 30th of October, the dies natalis of Pope St. Pontian, it is because Hyppolitus was reconciled to Pontian in the mines of Sardinia, before both suffered martyrdom in 236."

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 Post subject: Re: Infallibility of canonizations
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:48 pm 
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Thank you, everyone. 8-)


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