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Monday 14 January 2013

Perfection series continued--like people asleep

This is my longest series. I suggest those who read any of the posts read all of the series. Here is a great section from Garrigou-Lagrange on his own work. I am backtracking a bit, but some readers have plunged in at the end of the purification stage without looking at the whole. If one does not believe this holiness is the call of all men and women, do not bother to follow the series.

Follow the tags.

And, read St. Bernard of Clairvaux, as well as SS. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila and others.

Lastly, it is of prime importance to remark that the normal way of sanctity may be judged from two very different points of view. We may judge it by taking our nature as a starting point, and then the position that we defend as traditional will seem exaggerated. We may also judge it by taking as a starting point the supernatural mysteries of the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity, the redeeming Incarnation, and the Blessed Eucharist. This manner of judging per altissimam causam is the only one that represents the judgment of wisdom; the other manner judges by the lowest cause, and we know how "spiritual folly," which St. Thomas speaks of, is contrary to wisdom.(44)
If the Blessed Trinity truly dwells in us, if the Word actually was made flesh, died for us, is really present in the Holy Eucharist, offers Himself sacramentally for us every day in the Mass, gives Himself to us as food, if all this is true, then only the saints are fully in order, for they live by this divine presence through frequent, quasi­experimental knowledge and through an ever-growing love in the midst of the obscurities and difficulties of life. And the life of close union with God, far from appearing in its essential quality as something intrinsically extraordinary, appears alone as fully normal. Before reaching such a union, we are like people still half-asleep, who do not truly live sufficiently by the immense treasure given to us and by the continually new graces granted to those who wish to follow our Lord generously.
By sanctity we understand close union with God, that is, a great perfection of the love of God and neighbor, a perfection which nevertheless always remains in the normal way, for the precept of love has no limits.(45) To be more exact, we shall say that the sanctity in question here is the normal, immediate prelude of the life of heaven, a prelude which is realized, either on earth before death, or in purgatory, and which assumes that the soul is fully purified, is capable of receiving the beatific vision immediately. This is the meaning of the words "prelude of eternal life" used in the title of this work.

January and April

Today in Malta is like April in the Midwest. The sky is bright blue and the clouds puffy and sometimes pink.

There is a little rain, and temperatures in the low 60s Fahrenheit. If there was a Latin Mass SOMEWHERE on this island on a regular basis, I could consider this home.

But, there is not, and my heart has been breaking because of the abuses and lack of reverence in the churches.

This fact has been eating at my soul for two weeks. I cannot understand the laissez faire attitudes and protestantization of the liturgies.

So sad. This island is not a Mecca for liturgical splendour.

London has several Latin Mass venues, and I shall be glad to go again.

Tears for the soul of Malta. The rain is like the tears for the lost heritage of liturgy here.

Blessed Karl, pray for us...

“The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church - read on - and give his life for her (Eph. V, 25). This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is - in her own mere nature - lease lovable. For the Church has not beauty but what the Bride-groom gives her; he does not find, but makes her, lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man's marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs.” The Four Loves

A man must assume headship. He must be the authority over his children. We need such leaders more than ever in these days of chaos.

I have written a lot on the male person on this blog.

I grew up with three brothers and a dad.

I have a son.

I was a bit of a tom-boy.

But, I am continually praying for my single, female friends to find real men.

Less and less am I convinced this will happen.

Too many men have abdicated their roles as leaders in society, in the Church, in their families.

They think that being pals with the kids is being a dad.

They think that women can protect themselves.

They think that they do not have to take responsibility for the lives of family members

Blessed Karl of Austria is one of the patrons of this blog. He gave his life for his country.

He was a man. He will be canonized for his holiness, sacrifice and manliness.

His example is one of Christ on the Cross.

He faced the evils of socialism and apostasy in his country. Some men turn a blind eye to such.

They think that they can ignore apostasy, deceit and pride in their friends.

Some even ignore sin in their friends and families.

C.S. Lewis had a few things to say on the character of men, friendship and love. The first I chose is above. Blessed Karl taught by example, but a few words seem apropos.

"Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light." 
Mere Christianity

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” The Four Loves

“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” The Abolition of Man

Countries which have a long history of matriarchy have more problems with real masculinity than patriarchies. This might surprise some readers. Matriarchies insist on the women taking control of the household entirely. Matriarchies keep the boys at home too long, turning them into "momma boys". Matriarchies take the power away from men. We in the West find such paradigms funny, but these are deadly for raising boys.

Men must lead not only by example, but becoming strong Catholic men, obedient to Holy Church, but obvious in the prayer life of the family. The kids should see dad praying the rosary, going to Holy Communion, getting to Adoration and regular Confession. Otherwise, words are useless. A weak and pliable dad is a bad example. He will be accountable to God for his over-lenience or misplaced tolerance.

This leads to the lack of discipline of the children and sometimes, the lack of protection for the women. Men need to lead by example and in humility, but not weakness.

To lead is to be able to suffer and to love without counting the cost.  Women friends, do not settle for less....

Infallibility Three

Just in case those of the JPII Generation do not think that Blessed had much to say of infallibility, here is a third quotation from him. Christ gave this gift to the Church for our protection. This is one way we know God's Will in our lives.

The Roman Pontiff Is the Supreme Teacher

General Audience  March 10, 1993

The New Testament passages we have seen several times in the preceding catecheses show that Jesus revealed his intention to give Peter the keys to the kingdom in response to a profession of faith. In it Peter spoke in the name of the Twelve and by virtue of a revelation coming from the Father. He expressed his faith in Jesus as "the Messiah, the Son of the living God." This assent of faith in the person of Jesus was not a simple attitude of trust, but clearly included the affirmation of a Christological doctrine. The role of foundation stone conferred on Peter by Jesus thus has a doctrinal aspect (cf. Mt 16:18-19). The mission of "strengthening his brothers" in faith, also entrusted to him by Jesus (cf. Lk 22:32), has the same meaning. Peter is the beneficiary of the Master's special prayer in carrying out this role and helping his brothers to believe. The words "Feed my lambs.... Tend my sheep" (Jn 21:15-17) do not express a doctrinal mission explicitly, but rather imply it. Tending the flock means providing it with the solid food of the spiritual life, and this food imparts revealed doctrine to nourish the faith.
The Gospel texts demonstrate that the universal pastoral mission of the Roman Pontiff, the Successor of Peter, entails a doctrinal mission. As universal pastor, the Pope has the mission to proclaim revealed doctrine and to promote true faith in Christ throughout the Church. This is the integral meaning of the Petrine ministry.
The value of the doctrinal mission entrusted to Peter stems from the fact that, according to the Gospel sources, he shares in Christ's pastoral mission. Peter is the first of those apostles to whom Jesus said: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (Jn 20:21; cf. 17:18). As universal pastor, Peter must act in Christ's name and in harmony with him throughout the broad human area in which Jesus wants his Gospel preached and the saving truth brought: the entire world. The Successor of Peter in the mission of universal pastor is thus the heir of a doctrinal munus in which he is closely related, with Peter, to Jesus' mission.
This relationship in no way detracts from the pastoral mission of the bishops, who have among their principal duties that of preaching the Gospel. According to the Second Vatican Council, they are "preachers of the faith...who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice" (LG 25).
Nevertheless, the Bishop of Rome, as head of the episcopal college by the will of Christ, is the first herald of the faith. It is his task to teach revealed truth and to show how it should be applied in human conduct. He has primary responsibility for spreading the faith in the world. The Second Council of Lyons (1274) asserted this about the Bishop of Rome's primacy and fullness of power, when it stressed: "He has the duty to defend the truth of the faith, and it is his responsibility to resolve all disputed matters in the area of faith" (DS 861). Along the same lines the Council of Florence (1439) acknowledged the Roman Pontiff as the "father and teacher of all Christians" (DS 1307).
The Successor of Peter fulfills this doctrinal mission in a continual series of oral and written interventions that represent the ordinary exercise of the Magisterium as the teaching of truths to be believed and put into practice (fidem et mores). The acts expressing this Magisterium can be more or less frequent and take various forms according to the needs of the time, the requirements of concrete situations, the opportunities and means available, and the methods and systems of communication. However, given that they derive from an explicit or implicit intention to make pronouncements on matters of faith and morals, they are linked to the mandate received by Peter and enjoy the authority conferred on him by Christ.
The exercise of this Magisterium can also take place in an extraordinary way when the Successor of Peter (alone, or with the college of bishops as successors of the apostles) makes an ex cathedra pronouncement on a particular point of doctrine or Christian morals. However, we shall speak of this in future catecheses. Now we must concentrate on the usual, ordinary form of the papal Magisterium, which has a broader extent and an essential importance for the thought and life of the Christian community.
In this regard the first point to be stressed is the positive value of this mission to proclaim and spread the Christian message, to make the authentic teaching of the Gospel known, to respond to old and new human questions about the basic problems of life with the eternal words of revelation. To think that the papal Magisterium consists merely in condemning errors against the faith would be reductive and erroneous. This somewhat negative aspect is doubtless part of his responsibility for spreading the faith, since it is also necessary to defend it against error and deviation. However, the essential task of the papal Magisterium is to explain the doctrine of the faith, and to promote knowledge of the mystery of God and the work of salvation, bringing out all the aspects of the divine plan as it unfolds in human history under the action of the Holy Spirit. This is the service to the truth that has been primarily entrusted to Peter's Successor, who in the ordinary exercise of his Magisterium is already acting not as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, according to the precise statement of Vatican II regarding definitions ex cathedra (cf. LG 25).
In carrying out this task, the Successor of Peter expresses in a personal way, but with institutional authority, the "rule of faith" which the members of the universal Church (the ordinary faithful, catechists, religion teachers, theologians) must adhere to in investigating the meaning of the permanent content of the Christian faith. This is true also in relation to the discussions arising within and outside the ecclesial community on various points or on the whole of doctrine. Everyone in the Church, especially the theologians, are called to perform this task of continually making it clear and explicit. However, the mission of Peter and his successors is to establish and authoritatively confirm what the Church has received and believed from the beginning, what the apostles taught, what Sacred Scripture and Christian Tradition have determined as the object of faith and the Christian norm of life. The Church's other pastors, the bishops as successors of the apostles, are "strengthened" by the Successor of Peter in their communion of faith with Christ and in properly fulfilling their mission. In this way the Bishop of Rome's Magisterium indicates to everyone the way of clarity and unity, which seems indispensable especially in times of great communication and discussion such as ours.
The mission of Peter's Successor is exercised in three basic ways: first of all, by word. As universal pastor, the Bishop of Rome addresses all Christians and the whole world, carrying out in a full and supreme way the mission Christ conferred on the apostles: "Make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19). Since today the communications media allow his words to reach all nations, he fulfills that divine mandate in a way never before possible. Because the means of transportation allow him personally to visit the most distant regions, he can bring Christ's message to the people of every country, thus carrying out the divine command to "go" in a new and previously unimagined way: "Go...and make disciples of all nations...."
The Successor of Peter also fulfills his mission by writing: beginning with his addresses that are published so that his teaching is known and documented, up to all the documents issued directly--and here the encyclicals, which formally have the value of universal teaching, should be mentioned first--or those issued indirectly by the departments of the Roman Curia which operate under his mandate.
Lastly, the Pope carries out his task as pastor with authoritative initiatives and institutions of a scholarly and pastoral nature: for example, by initiating or fostering activities of study, sanctification, evangelization, charity and assistance, etc., throughout the Church; by promoting authorized and accredited institutes for teaching the faith (seminaries, faculties of theology and religious studies, theological associations, academies, etc.). This is a broad range of initiatives for formation and action under the auspices of Peter's successor.
In conclusion, we can say that the teaching of Peter's successor (as that of the other bishops) contains, in its essence, a witness to Christ, to the event of the Incarnation and the redemption, to the Holy Spirit's presence and action in the Church and in history. In its form of expression it can vary according to the person who exercises it, his interpretation of the needs of the time, his style of thought and communication. However, its relationship to the living truth, Christ, has been, is and will always be its vital force.
This relationship to Christ definitively explains the difficulties and opposition that the Church's Magisterium has always encountered from Peter's day to our own. For all the bishops and pastors of the Church, and especially for the Successor of Peter, Jesus' words are valid: "No disciple is above his teacher" (Mt 10:24; Lk 6:40). Jesus himself exercised his Magisterium amid the struggle between darkness and light, which was the context for the Incarnation of the Word (cf. Jn 1:1-14). That struggle was intense during the apostolic period, as the Master had warned: "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (Jn 15:20). Unfortunately, it took place too in some Christian communities, so much so that St. Paul felt it necessary to urge Timothy, his disciple: "Proclaim the Word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching...[even] when people will not tolerate sound doctrine" (2 Tim 4:2-3).
What Paul recommended to Timothy also applies to bishops today, and especially to the Roman Pontiff, who has the mission of protecting the Christian people from errors in faith and morals, and the duty of guarding the deposit of faith (cf. 2 Tim 4:7). Woe to him if he should be frightened by criticism and misunderstanding. His charge is to give witness to Christ, to his word, his law, his love. However, in addition to being aware of his responsibility for doctrine and morals, the Roman Pontiff must, like Jesus, be committed to being "meek and humble of heart" (Mt 11:29). Pray that he may be so and will become ever more so.

The last days in Malta

I have only a few days in Malta left. I shall be in England soon.

I have mixed feelings about being here. The people are great, but the island is a liturgical wasteland. The songs we sang in the 1970s are popular here and there are abuses, things which have been proscribed by Rome, ignored.

The most serious today was instrumental music during the Consecration. In Redemptionis Sacramentum, (link on names for those not use to reading blogs),

[53.] While the Priest proclaims the Eucharistic Prayer “there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent”, [cf. GIRM 32] ….
[53.] Dum Sacerdos celebrans Precem eucharisticam «profert aliae orationes vel cantus non habeantur, atque organum vel alia instrumenta musica sileant», 

and from GIRM

32. The nature of the “presidential” parts requires that they be spoken in a loud and clear voice and that everyone listen to them attentively.[Cf. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction, Musicam sacram, March 5, 1967, no. 14: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 59 (1967), p. 304.] Therefore, while the Priest is pronouncing them, there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent.
32. Natura partium «praesidentialium» exigit ut clara et elata voce proferantur et ab omnibus cum attentione auscultentur. Proinde dum sacerdos eas profert aliae orationes vel cantus non habeantur, atque organum vel alia instrumenta musica sileant.

In addition,  the use of flat screens, eight to be exact, are used up to and today, during the Consecration, for the words of the hymns and parts of the Mass.

Horrible. And, guitars, which the present Pope said are not liturgical instruments, are used on Sunday as well as during the week.  Candles are sometimes only one one side of the altar, and not in the proper places. No one, except two people I know, kneel for Holy Communion, no one.

No TLMs in Malta...none

Catching up on St. Hilary

Defender of the Incarnate Word

Today, is the feast of St. Hilary, and the beginning of Hilary Term in England. But, he has been This is from the Catholic Encyclopaedia on line. I love his defence of orthodoxy.

Bishop, born in that city at the beginning of the fourth century; died there 1 November, according to the most accredited opinion, or according to the Roman Breviary, on 13 January, 368. Belonging to a noble and very probably pagan family, he was instructed in all the branches of profane learning, but, having also taken up the study of Holy Scripture and finding there the truth which he sought so ardently, he renounced idolatry and was baptized. Thenceforth his wide learning and his zeal for the Faith attracted such attention that he was chosen about 350 to govern the body of the faithful which the city had possessed since the third century. We know nothing of the bishops who governed this society in the beginning. Hilary is the first concerning whom we have authentic information, and this is due to the important part he played in opposing heresy. The Church was then greatly disturbed by internal discords, the authority of the popes not being so powerful in practice as either to prevent or to stop them. Arianism had made frightful ravages in various regions and threatened to invade Gaul, where it already had numerous partisans more or less secretly affiliated with it. Saturninus, Bishop of Arles, the most active of the latter, being exposed by Hilary, convened and presided over a council at Béziers in 356 with the intention of justifying himself, or rather of establishing his false doctrine. Here the Bishop of Poitiers courageously presented himself to defend orthodoxy, but the council, composed for the most part of Arians, refused to hear him, and being shortly afterwards denounced to the Emperor Constantius, the protector of Arianism, he was at his command transported to the distant coasts of Phrygia.
But persecution could not subdue the valiant champion. Instead of remaining inactive during his exile he gave himself up to study, completed certain of his works which he had begun, and wrote his treatise on the synods. In this work he analysed the professions of faith uttered by the Oriental bishops in the Councils of AncyraAntioch, and Sirmium, and while condemning them, since they were in substance Arian, he sought to show that sometimes the difference between the doctrines of certain hereticsand orthodox beliefs was rather in the words than in the ideas, which led to his counselling the bishops of the West to be reserved in their condemnation. He was sharply reproached for his indulgence by certain ardent Catholics, the leader of whom was Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari. However, in 359, the city of Seleucia witnessed the assembly in synod of a large number ofOriental bishops, nearly all of whom were either Anomoeans or Semi-Arians. Hilary, whom everyone wished to see and hear, so great was his reputation for learning and virtue, was invited to be present at this assembly. The governor of the province even furnished him with post horses for the journey. In presence of the Greek fathers he set forth the doctrines of the Gallic bishops, and easily proved that, contrary to the opinion current in the East, these latter were not Sabellians. Then he took part in theviolent discussions which took place between the Semi-Arians, who inclined toward reconciliation with the Catholics, and theAnomoeans, who formed as it were the extreme left of Arianism.
After the council, which had no result beyond the wider separation of these brothers in enmity, he left for Constantinople, the stronghold of heresy, to continue his battle against error. But while the Semi-Arians, who were less numerous and less powerful, besought him to become the intermediary in a reconciliation between themselves and the bishops of the West, the Anomoeans, who had the immense advantage of being upheld by the emperor, besought the latter to send back to his own country this Gallicbishop, who, they said, sowed discord and troubled the Orient. Constantius acceded to their desire, and the exile was thus enabled to set out on his journey home. In 361 Hilary re-entered Poitiers in triumph and resumed possession of his see. He was welcomed with the liveliest joy by his flock and his brothers in the episcopate, and was visited by Martin, his former disciple and subsequently Bishop of Tours. The success he had achieved in his combat against error was rendered more brilliant shortly afterwards by the deposition of Saturninus, the Arian Bishop of Arles by whom he had been persecuted. However, as in Italy thememory still rankled of the efforts he had made to bring about a reconciliation between the nearly converted Semi-Arians and the Catholics, he went in 364 to the Bishop of Vercelli to endeavour to overcome the intolerance of the partisans of the BishopLucifer mentioned above. Almost immediately afterwards, that it might be seen that, if he was full of indulgence for those whom gentleness might finally win from error, he was intractable towards those who were obstinate in their adherence to it, he went toMilan, there to assail openly Auxentius, the bishop of that city, who was a firm defender of the Arian doctrines. But the EmperorValentinian, who protected the heretic, ordered Hilary to depart immediately from Milan.
He then returned to his city of Poitiers, from which he was not again to absent himself and where he was to die. This learned and energetic bishop had fought against error with the pen as well as in words. The best edition of his numerous and remarkable writings is that published by Dom Constant under the title: "Sancti Hilarii, Pictavorum episcopi opera, ad manuscriptos codices gallicanos, romanos, belgicos, necnon ad veteres editiones castigata" (Paris, 1693). The Latin Church celebrates his feast on 14 January, and Pius IX raised him to the rank of Doctor of the Universal Church. The Church of Puy glories in the supposedpossession of his relics, but according to one tradition his body was borne to the church of St-Denys near Paris, while according to another it was taken from the church of St-Hilaire at Poitiers and burned by the Protestants in 1572.

The promised infallibility posts.

Many weeks ago, I said I would return to a discussion on the levels of teaching in the Catholic Church. We live in an age of rebellion, the cafeteria Catholic,  and even so-called traditional Catholics who like to pick and choose what they want to accept from the Church's Magisterium.

The CCC states that "It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error.... To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals." (Catechism, 890)

There are ORDINARY and EXTRAORDINARY teachings of the Catholic Church.

Most of the teachings you here or see online are the ordinary types. These include weekly addresses, documents, books, and other writings of the Pope. We cannot ignore these. These are for our sanctification and the building up of the Body of Christ. As adults, it is our duty to keep up, as much as possible, with these teachings. This is necessary for an adult appropriation of the Faith. But, parents must teach their children on these points, especially in Confirmation preparation.

There are many definitions of the Faith in these documents and letters, which would make them fall under the level of infallibility. Our own present Pope has been using every means to clarify doctrines and he, plus the previous Pope, Blessed John Paul II, used Apostolic Letters for infallible definitions or re-clarifications of such. Here is a link to one, which is also linked on the side of my blog here.

However,  the extraordinary teachings are the ones which are usually concerned with doctrine and include the encyclicals regarding Faith and Morals, as well as doctrinal statements from the Councils.

We cannot ignore these at all. These are the stuff of our Faith.

Here is where some people get confused. Some Catholics think they do not have to believe in these documents. They do not even know which encyclicals are infallible.

Humanae Vitae is infallible.

Here are a few links and some quotations to help with your understanding of this important point.

The Successor of Peter Teaches Infallibly------------------------- from Blessed John Paul II

General Audience,  March 17, 1993

The Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, which we explained in the preceding catechesis, belongs to and marks the high point of the mission to preach the Gospel that Jesus entrusted to the apostles and their successors. We read in Vatican II's Constitution Lumen Gentium:
"Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice.... Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent" (LG 25).
The magisterial function of bishops, then, is strictly tied to that of the Roman Pontiff. Therefore, the conciliar text goes on aptly to say:
"This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme Magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking" (LG 25).
This supreme authority of the papal Magisterium, to which the term apostolic has been traditionally reserved, even in its ordinary exercise derives from the institutional fact that the Roman Pontiff is the Successor of Peter in the mission of teaching, strengthening his brothers, and guaranteeing that the Church's preaching conforms to the "deposit of faith" of the apostles and of Christ's teaching. However, it also stems from the conviction, developed in Christian tradition, that the Bishop of Rome is also the heir to Peter in the charism of special assistance that Jesus promised him when he said: "I have prayed for you" (Lk 22:32). This signifies the Holy Spirit's continual help in the whole exercise of the teaching mission, meant to explain revealed truth and its consequences in human life.
For this reason the Second Vatican Council states that all the Pope's teaching should be listened to and accepted, even when it is not given ex cathedra but is proposed in the ordinary exercise of his Magisterium with the manifest intention of declaring, recalling and confirming the doctrine of faith. It is a consequence of the institutional fact and spiritual inheritance that completes the dimensions of the succession to Peter.
As you know there are cases in which the papal Magisterium is exercised solemnly regarding particular points of doctrine belonging to the deposit of revelation or closely connected with it. This is the case with ex cathedra definitions, such as those of Mary's Immaculate Conception, made by Pius IX in 1854, and of her Assumption into heaven, made by Pius XII in 1950. As we know, these definitions have provided all Catholics with certainty in affirming these truths and in excluding all doubt in the matter.
The reason for ex cathedra definitions is almost always to give this certification to the truths that are to be believed as belonging to the "deposit of faith" and to exclude all doubt, or even to condemn an error about their authenticity and meaning. This is the greatest and also the formal concentration of the doctrinal mission conferred by Jesus on the apostles and, in their person, on their successors.
Given the extraordinary greatness and importance that this Magisterium has for the faith, Christian tradition has recognized in the Successor of Peter, who exercises it personally or in communion with the bishops gathered in council, a charism of assistance from the Holy Spirit that is customarily called "infallibility."
Here is what Vatican I said on the matter:
"When the Roman Pontiff speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in exercising his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians he defines with his supreme apostolic authority that a doctrine on faith and morals is to be held by the whole Church, through the divine assistance promised him in the person of St. Peter, he enjoys that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished to endow his Church in defining a doctrine on faith and morals. Therefore, these definitions of the Roman Pontiff are unreformable per se, and not because of the Church's consent" (DS 3074).
This doctrine was taken up again, confirmed and further explained by Vatican II, which states:
"And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (cf. Lk 22:32), by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but, as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith" (LG 25).
It should be noted that the Second Vatican Council also calls attention to the Magisterium of the bishops in union with the Roman Pontiff, stressing that they too enjoy the Holy Spirit's assistance when they define a point of faith in conjunction with the Successor of Peter:
"The infallibility promised to the Church resides also in the body of Bishops, when that body exercises the supreme Magisterium with the Successor of Peter.... But when either the Roman Pontiff or the body of bishops together with him defines a judgment, they pronounce it in accordance with revelation itself, which all are obliged to abide by and be in conformity with, that is, the revelation which as written or orally handed down is transmitted in its entirety through the legitimate succession of bishops...which under the guiding light of the Spirit of truth is religiously preserved and faithfully expounded in the Church" (LG 25).
The Council also says:
"Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the Successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held. This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith. And this infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of revelation extends" (LG 25).
These conciliar texts codify as it were the awareness which the apostles already had when they assembled in Jerusalem: "It is the decision of the Holy Spirit, and ours too..." (Acts 15:28). This awareness confirmed Jesus' promise to send the Spirit of truth to the apostles and the Church once he had returned to the Father after offering the sacrifice of the cross: "He will teach you everything and remind you of all I told you" (Jn 14:26). That promise was fulfilled at Pentecost and the apostles continued to feel its life. The Church inherited that awareness and memory from them.

The Holy Spirit Assists the Roman Pontiff------------------------ from Blessed John Paul II

General Audience  March 24, 1993

The infallibility of the Roman Pontiff is a very important topic for the Church's life. For this reason a further reflection on the conciliar texts seems appropriate in order to state in greater detail the meaning and extent of this prerogative.

First of all the councils assert that the infallibility attributed to the Roman Pontiff is personal, in the sense that it falls to him by virtue of his personal succession to Peter in the Roman Church. This means, in other words, that the Roman Pontiff does not enjoy merely an infallibility that really belongs to the Roman See. He exercises the Magisterium and, in general, the pastoral ministry as vicarious Petri: thus he was often called in the first Christian millennium. He personifies, as it were, Peter's mission and authority, exercised in the name of him on whom Jesus himself conferred them.
It is clear, however, that infallibility was not given to the Roman Pontiff as a private person, but inasmuch as he carries out the office of shepherd and teacher of all Christians. Furthermore, he does not exercise this office as one having authority in himself and from himself, but "with his supreme apostolic authority" and "through the divine assistance promised him in the person of blessed Peter." Lastly, he does not possess it as if it were available or he could count on it in every circumstance, but only "when he speaks ex cathedra," and only in a doctrinal matter limited to truths of faith and morals and to those closely connected to them.
According to the conciliar texts, the infallible Magisterium is exercised in "doctrine concerning faith and morals." This refers to the matter of explicitly or implicitly revealed truths that require an assent of faith, which the Church guards in the deposit entrusted to her by Christ and handed on by the apostles. She would not guard them properly if she did not defend their purity and integrity. These are truths about God in himself and in his creative and redeeming work; the human person and the world in their creaturely status and destiny according to the design of Providence; eternal life and earthly life itself in its basic demands regarding truth and goodness.
It is a question, therefore, of "truths for life" and of applying them in human conduct. In the mandate to evangelize, the divine Master ordered the apostles: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28:20). The area of truths that the Magisterium can definitively teach includes those principles of reason that are not contained in the truths of faith but are closely related to them. In actual fact, both in the past and today, the Church's Magisterium, especially the Roman Pontiff's, preserves these principles and continually rescues them from the obfuscation and distortion they suffer under pressure from partisan viewpoints and bad habits well established in cultural models and currents of thought.
In this regard the First Vatican Council said that the object of the infallible Magisterium is the "doctrine on faith and morals to be held by the whole Church" (DS 3074). In the new formula of the profession of faith recently approved (cf. AAS 81 [1989]: 105, 1169), a distinction was made between divinely revealed truths and truths definitively taught but not as divinely revealed, which therefore require a definitive assent that nevertheless is not an assent of faith.
The conciliar texts also indicate the conditions for the Roman Pontiff's exercise of the infallible Magisterium. They can be summarized in this way: the Pope must act as "the shepherd and teacher of all Christians," pronouncing on truths regarding "faith and morals," in terms clearly showing his intention to define a certain truth and to require definitive assent of all Christians. That occurred, for example, in the definition of Mary's Immaculate Conception, about which Pius IX stated: "It is a doctrine revealed by God and for this reason it must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful" (DS 2803), or in the definition of the Assumption of Mary most holy, when Pius XII said: "By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we declare and define as divinely revealed dogma...etc." (DS 3903).
With these conditions one can speak of the extraordinary papal Magisterium, whose definitions are unreformable per se, and not “from the consent of the Church" (ex sese, non autem ex consensu ecclesiae). This means that these definitions do not need the consent of the bishops in order to be valid, neither an antecedent consent, nor a consequent consent, "since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment" (LG 25).
The Supreme Pontiffs can exercise this form of Magisterium, and in fact they have done so. Many Popes, however, have not exercised it. But it must be noted that in the conciliar texts we are explaining, a distinction is made between the "ordinary" and "extraordinary" Magisterium, emphasizing the importance of the first, which is permanent and ongoing, while the second, which is expressed in definitions, could be called exceptional.
Alongside this infallibility of ex cathedra definitions, there is the charism of the Holy Spirit's assistance, granted to Peter and his successors so that they would not err in matters of faith and morals, but rather shed great light on the Christian people. This charism is not limited to exceptional cases, but embraces in varying degrees the whole exercise of the Magisterium.
The conciliar texts also point out how serious is the Roman Pontiff's responsibility in exercising both his extraordinary and ordinary Magisterium. He thus feels the need, one could say even the duty, to explore the sensus ecclesiae before defining a truth of faith, in the clear awareness that his definition "expounds or defends the teaching of the Catholic faith" (LG 25).
This occurred prior to the definitions of Mary's Immaculate Conception and Assumption through a broad and precise consultation of the whole Church. In the Bull Munificentissimus on the Assumption (1950), Pius XII mentioned among the arguments in favor of the definition that of the faith of the Christian community: "The universal consent of the Church's ordinary Magisterium provides a certain, solid argument to prove that the Blessed Virgin Mary's bodily assumption into a truth revealed by God" [1] .
Furthermore, in speaking of the truth to be taught, the Second Vatican Council states: "The Roman Pontiff and the bishops, in view of their office and the importance of the matter, by fitting means diligently strive to inquire properly into that revelation and to give apt expression to its contents" (LG 25). It is a sign of wisdom that finds confirmation in the experience of the procedures followed by the Popes and the offices of the Holy See assisting them in carrying out the duties of the Magisterium and governance of Peter's successors.
We will close by noting that the exercise of the Magisterium is a concrete expression of the Roman Pontiff's contribution to the development of the Church's teaching. The Pope (who not only plays a role as head of the college of bishops in the definitions on faith and morals that the latter make, or as the notary of their thoughts, but also a more personal role both in the ordinary Magisterium and in his definitions) carries out his task by applying himself personally and encouraging study on the part of pastors, theologians, experts in different areas of doctrine, experts in pastoral care, spirituality, social life, etc.
In this way he fosters a cultural and moral enrichment at all levels of the Church. In organizing this work of consultation and study too, he appears as the Successor of the "rock" on which Christ built his Church.

More to come.....