Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What Is An Ecumenical Council?

What Is An Ecumenical Council? 

Alan: Over time I will expand this article on the history (and implications) of ecumenical councils in order to probe more deeply Catholicism's "infallible" declaration of its inerrant and immutable teaching authority (magisterium).

For now, I will mention that church councils have warranted the Bible's 73 (or 72) books as The Word of God even though exegetes (and other scholars) have determined that every definition of "biblical literalism" is not only faulty but diminishes the actual significance of what will always remain "an interpretive work in progress."

Mistakes In Scripture: 
When The Bible Gets The Bible Wrong

I will also mention a second "curiosity" of conciliar teaching - the doctrinal assertion that "extra ecclesiam, nulla salus," a Latin phrase commonly rendered as "outside the church, there is no salvation."

Note that the original meaning of the word "salus" was "health/wholeness" although the translation of Missouri's state motto, "Salus populi suprema lex esto" illustrates a third meaning: "Let the welfare of the people be supreme."

As a boy educated in a 1950s Catholic "grammar" school (St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit, New York), I was taught (or at least "led to believe") that all non-Catholics "fell outside the fold" and were therefore beyond the reach of salvation. 

Since Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism were barely recognizable words in the 1950s with no significant role in post-war America, Catholicism's rigid denial of salvation to those "not in the fold" meant -- de facto, and probably de jure -- that non-Catholic Christians could not be saved. 

However, the Mercy Sisters who taught at St. Thomas the Apostle belonged to a cheerful, merciful, loving community and did not teach us (at least not in so many words) that "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" meant relegation to The Everlasting Lake of Unquenchable Fire. 

Indeed, the Mercy Sisters held there was no obligation to believe anyone resided in Hell and that we should pray for the salvation of all souls "including Adolf Hitler's." 

John J. Fialka 

Nevertheless, the unavoidable conclusion for "practicing Catholics" was that anyone living extra ecclesiam would NEVER enter The Pearly Gates.  

The 1700 year old teaching of "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" was simply too powerful and overwhelmed the compassionate teaching of St. Thomas' kind-hearted sisters. 

Swept away by this long-standing tsunami of doctrinal spite we all assumed our Protestant friends and neighbors would never penetrate the sanctum of heaven. 

The default was too bleak to consider. 

Why these horrors were taught to children of tender years is a kind of child abuse and a form of spiritual pornography that requires its own essay.

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my frequent critiques of "The Thinking Housewife," a Catholic absolutist whose hunger for rigid, unmerciful justice is fed by the "doctrinal fact" that "many good people are roasting in hell."

The Thinking Housewife: "We Can Be Pretty Sure That Many Good People Are Roasting In Hell"

Why is it that "many good people are roasting in hell?" 

Not just egregious sinners mind you, but good people. 

The Thinking Housewife's perception of nearly universal damnation is attributable to the doctrine of "extra ecclesiam nulla salus," a teaching that persuades Ms. Wood -- indeed, a doctrine which imposes itself as a moral obligation -- that she must believe in divinely-ordained torment (with NO possibility of surcease) lest she stray from the strict dictates of institutional Catholicism and so lose her "ticket to paradise."

Paradoxically, those who are at greatest risk of "perdition" (literally, "lostness") are those who ignore the centrality of mercy, preempting it with the bone-dry pilpulisms of hard-hearted verbiage.

Yeshua Excoriates Fellow Pharisees: "The Woe Passages"

"Love Your Enemies. Do Good To Those Who Hate You," Luke 6: 27-42

"Do You Know What You're Doing To Me?"
Jesus of Nazareth

"Pope Francis Links"

Consider the odd (but readily understandable) mechanism by which "The Saved!" find themselves "in line" with "The Lost": 

"I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. "Well, there's so much to live for!" "Like what?" "Well... are you religious?" He said yes. I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?" "Christian." "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant ? "Protestant." "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?" "Baptist" "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?" "Baptist Church of God!" "Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you reformed Baptist Church of God?" "Reformed Baptist Church of God!" "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heretic scum", and pushed him off.
The Essence of Religious Fanaticism
(Emo Philips cuts to the quick of religious mania)

It will come as a surprise to many putative Christians but "salvation" is not about condemnation, vilification and punishment. 

It is about mercy, celebration and forgiveness. 

Nor are we called to forgive our offenders a stinting 7 times but 70 times 7 times. 

We become "the habits of our minds" and our souls are sculpted by actions rooted in those dispositions.

Absent a heart that loves the lost - a heart that at least admits the goal of loving one's enemies - no amount of "playing at religion," no fastidious dedication to doctrinal "jots and tittles" will forfend The Whirlwind.

In comparison with compassion, doctrinal orthodoxy is less than nothing.

On the feast of St. Nicholas, 1273, Aquinas was celebrating Mass when he received a revelation that so affected him that he wrote and dictated no more, leaving his great work the Summa Theologiae unfinished. To Brother Reginald’s (his secretary and friend) expostulations he replied, "The end of my labors has come. All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me." When later asked by Reginald to return to writing, Aquinas said, "I can write no more. I have seen things that make my writings like straw."

Brought into relief against The Sacred Heart, doctrine is chaff. 

Even so, until the Second Vatican Council, anyone who did not profess every doctrinal tenet of Catholic Christianity was, ipso facto, a "lost soul." 

It was "in the playbook."

"Play by the rules..." or lose your soul.

Continually "refreshed" third degree burns - forever. 

One on top of the other.

Ad infinitum.

Bone deep.

Boiling marrow.

A Universe devised by a sadist.

Torquemada would warm his hands -- and giddily -- atop the ever-renewed holocaust of your God-damned flesh.

According to the routine understanding of traditional Catholic culture, all "lost souls" - everyone living extra ecclesiam - must be counted among The Damned

Pope Francis: There Are Two Ways Of Having Faith: We Can Fear To Lose The Saved," Or...

In the orthodox Catholic view (at least until Vatican II) it was believed that the foundations of The Universe depended on the doctrinal certainty that most human beings would burn in Hell for eternity. 

Even now, there are many "Christians" who believe in a literal reading of "Revelation," a book that vouchsafes the salvation of a mere 144,000 souls. 

Needless to say, each of these literalists is convinced of his personal salvation. 

It will be revealed -- in fact Christian conservatives are revealing it even now -- that the quest for "personal salvation" (to the exclusion of "universal salvation") is an subtle form of selfishness, a frame-of-mind and posture-of-spirit that, ironically, blocks salvation.
Any Religion That Needs Fear To Thrive Is Bad Religion

What I see as the inhuman cruelty of a Universe designed by a putatively "loving" God to include a "place" of never-ending torment where nearly all one's friends and relatives "end up," The Thinking Housewife simply sees "the way it is," a divinely-ordained circumstance that permits neither question nor appeal. 

In the view of Catholic traditionalists, Hell is a "done deal" -- an ontological fact "baked in the cake" from before the beginning of time -- and by God! "many good people are roasting there."

Devout Christian, Blaise Pascal
Just as "one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter" so too is "one person's heartlesss monstrosity another person's salvation assurance."
Assurance Theology

The Agonizing Problem Of The Assurance Of Salvation

Revealingly, The Thinking Housewife promotes favorable views of Donald Trump (who would kill the wives and children of terrorists) although her conservative Catholic citadel does not permit her blanket endorsement. 

Americans, Especially Catholics, Approve Of Inquisitorial Torture

Traditional Catholics Are Determined To Condemn "Infidels" Despite Jesus' Unequivocal Teaching

Here is the rub...

Authoritarians must believe in authority.

They have no choice but to believe in absolute authority.

If not, they risk psychological disintegration. 

Although it is the subject of another essay, this same disintegration creates the raw materials with which to reassemble one's soul in the image of The Living God rather than The Doctrinal God

"You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do."
Fr. Tom Weston S.J.

Unlike The Thinking Housewife, I believe that the psychological nature of institutionalists (as important as they are to the maintenance and perpetuation of institutions) is hobbled (and dangerously so) by its automatic aspiration to establish itself as an "absolute authority." 

Given this "structural mandate" of psychological absolutism, it is inevitable that those who "rise to the top" in any institution will fight, tooth and nail, to invest themselves with self-perpetuating supremacy, a supremacy held in greatest awe if the will of The Supreme Ruler is defined as co-terminous with The Will of God

Ultimately, this urge to impose oneself as The Supreme Authority -- thus creating an institutional lineage that perpetuates supremacy -- is rooted in the pursuit of power, not (at least not primarily) in the pursuit of Truth.

What began as the arrogance of self-arrogated power disguises itself as feigned humility in which the power-seeker represents himself as a lockstep "servant of God-Truth" who merely "channels" power by virtue of his complete submission to The Almighty.

If for no other reason -- and there are other reasons -- the fallacious doctrine of "extra ecclessiam nulla salus" demonstrates that the Church's supposedly infallible authority is not absolute, not even in the very bowels of The Magisterium.

Admittedly, the "pretense of absolutism" served a crucial, crystalizing purpose, solidifying and centralizing political-ecclesiastiacal authority as the medieval world - after 500 years - slowly emerged from the chaos of The Dark Ages.

Then, with the dawn of Renaissance-Reformation -- and later with The Enlightenment (under whose auspice we still live while once again the forces of chaos and benightedness re-assert themselves -- it has become self-evidently clear that living extra ecclessiam is not sufficient cause for eternal damnation and to claim otherwise is to offend God-who-is-love and to obstruct the coming of his Kingdom.

Further excerpts from "What Is An Ecumenical Council?"

NOTE:  In his 1302 Bull UNAM SANCTAM Pope Boniface VIII (1294 - 1303), declared ex cathedra that it is "...absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

The Council of Florence was called in 1431 for Basel, Switzerland, by Pope Martin V, who died that year.  Pope Eugene IV confirmed this decree for Basel, and the first session was held on 14 December, 1431.  Believing it would become unruly, Eugene IV dissolved the council within four days, angering the Bishops at Basel, who began to reassert the heretical decrees at Constance that "a general council is superior to the Pope".  In January, 1438, the Pope ordered a fresh start at Ferrara.  (Some Bishops remained in open schism at Basel, even electing an anti-pope, Felix V -- two "Popes," two "councils" at one time.)  A plague came to Ferrara, and the Pope moved the Council to Florence.  On June 8, 1439, the Greeks accepted the double procession of the Holy Ghost and, by July 5, agreed on some other points, but lasting union failed:  "Better the turban of the Prophet than the tiara of the Pope."  On May 29, 1453, Constantinople fell to the Mohammedans.  Cantate Domino decreed. (Papal Authority More Firmly Established):  ex cathedra: It [the Roman Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that none of those who are not within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of their life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of Ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the Sacraments of the Church of benefit for Salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church. [Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441, Denzinger 714].

The Council of Trent defined the necessity of Baptism for salvation," a teaching imparted to me in the 1950s at St. Thomas the Apostle "grammar" school. At that time, "the necessity of Baptism for salvation" was such an inviolable sine qua non that any child who, upon dying, had neither been baptized nor was yet capable of "desiring baptism" was eternally excluded from heaven - an eventuality that impressed my young mind as surpassingly cruel. It is true that a child died unbaptized was not end up in Hell but rather were consigned to "limbo," a "place" that, curiously (and despite conciliar teaching) the church no longer considers a reality. ttps://

More to come...

(Here the discussion of "Eastern Councils" in the article, "What Is An Ecumenical Council" gives way to discussion of "Western Councils.")

Ninth Ecumenical Council -- Lateran I

SITE:The Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome
YEAR:A.D. 1123
POPE:Callistus II, 1119 - 1124
EMPEROR:Henry V, 1106 - 1125
Decrees on condemning simony (the buying or selling of spiritual things, sacraments, prayers, indulgences, etc); Decrees on celibacy, lay investiture and confirmed the Concordat of Worms. This where the Pope and the Emperor sought to end the dispute over investiture(i.e. the attempt by the secular powers to assume authority in appointing Bishops).
First Lateran Council (1123) held at Rome under Pope Callistus II. 300 Bishops and 600 mitred abbots assisted. It abolished the right claimed by lay princes, of investiture with ring and crosier to ecclesiastical benefices and dealt with church discipline and the recovery of the Holy Land from the infidels.
ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Callistus II, this council confirmed the Concordat of Worms (1122) between Emperor Henry V and Pope Callistus II, which secured that all elections of Bishops and Abbots should be made freely by the proper ecclesiastical authorities (electors).  In Germany the emperor was to preside over these free elections and then bestow temporal power on the bishop so chosen, in return for temporal fealty.  Outside Germany the emperor was to have no part in any elections.
NOTE:  Also dealt with at this council was the subject of clerical marriages.  It was decided that once ordained, a priest may not marry in either Latin or Eastern Rites.
Tenth Ecumenical Council -- Lateran II
SITE:The Basilica of Saint John Lateran (Rome)
YEAR:A.D. 1139
POPE:Innocent II, 1130 - 1143
EMPEROR:Conrad III, 1137 - 1152
Ended a Papal schism by antipope Anacletus II; Reaffirmed baptism of infants; Reaffirmed sacramental nature of priesthood, marriage, and the Eucharist against Medieval heretics; Reaffirmed that holy orders is an impediment to marriage; Promulgated numerous disciplinary canons.
Second Lateran Council (1139) held at Rome under Pope Innocent II with an attendance of 1000 Bishops(prelates) and the Emperor Conrad. Its object was to put an end to the errors of Arnold of Brescia.
ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Innocent II, this council voided the acts of the deceased antiPope, Anacletus II (d. 1138), ending the Papal schism of the time. It also Condemned the heresies of:  1) Peter Bruys (Bruis) and his NEO-MANICHEANS, who denounced the Mass as a "vain show," opposed the Eucharist, marriage, and the baptism of children -- all this leading to Albigensianism ("Material things are evil in themselves"); 2) Arnold of Brescia, who contended that the Church was an "invisible body," not of this world, and should own no property.
NOTE:  St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (d. 1153), preached against the abuses and laxity attendant upon lay investiture, and the Lateran Council set down laws to remove them.
Eleventh Ecumenical Council -- Lateran III
SITE:The Basilica of Saint John Lateran (Rome)
YEAR:A.D. 1179
POPE:Alexander III, 1159 - 1181
EMPEROR:Frederick Barbarossa, 1152 - 1190
Regulated Papal elections by requiring a two-thirds vote of cardinals;Condemned Waldensiansim and Albigensiansim, a form of Manicheanism (an ancient heresy that held matter is evil and thus denied the Incarnation). Albigensians opposed the authority of the Church and of the state, opposed the Sacrament of Matrimony and all external ritual, and practiced ritual suicide.
Third Lateran Council (1179) took place under Pope Alexander III, Frederick I being emperor. There were 300 Bishops present. It Condemned the Albigenses and Waldenses and issued numerous decrees for the reformation of morals.
ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Alexander III, this council regulated the election of Popes (two-thirds majority vote by the College of Cardinals was required for the Pope to be elected,  and the emperor was excluded from voting).  It annulled the acts of three antiPopes:  ANTIPOPE VICTOR IV (1159) and TWO SUCCESSORS.  One of its chapters excommunicated the Albigensians, but dealing with them in greater detail was Lateran IV Council, under Pope Innocent III.
Twelfth Ecumenical Council -- Lateran IV
SITE :The Basilica of Saint John Lateran (Rome)
YEAR:A.D. 1215
POPE:Innocent III, 1198 - 1216
EMPEROR:Otto IV, 1208 - 1215
Defined that God is transcendent, above nature and God's perfect attributes; Defined that God created all things ex nihilo (out of nothing); Defined that human nature is composed on two essential parts: a material body and a spiritual soul; Defined that, at His death, Christ's soul separated from His body and descended into hell and that He rose in the flesh from the dead; Defined that outside the Church there is no salvation; Defined that it is the ordained priest who brings about the consecration of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ; Defined the Real Presence with the term "transubstantiation". Defined that both Heaven (the Beatific Vision) and Hell (along with its pains) are eternal. Promulgated more disciplinary canons (TFW: 8-9, 13, 16, 21, 32-33, 35, 39, 75, 92, 96)
Fourth Lateran Council (1215), under Innocent III. There were present the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem, 412 Bishops, and 800 Abbots and Friars, sovereigns and princes, the Primate of the Maronites, and St. Dominic. It issued an enlarged creed (symbol) against the Albigenses (Firmiter credimus), Condemned the Trinitarian errors of Abbot Joachim, and published 70 important reformatory decrees. This is the most important council of the Middle Ages, it marks the culminating point of ecclesiastical life and papal power.
ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Innocent III [which Pope Defined ex cathedra (Denz. 430):  "There is but one Universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all is saved."], Lateran IV prescribed at least annual confession and communion for all the faithful and made official the use of the word, "TRANSUBSTANTIATION."  Its only failure was the Fourth Crusade.  It reformed discipline andCondemned the heresies of:  1) ALBIGENSIANISM (NEO-MANICHEANISM), which opposed marriage and all sacraments and belief in the resurrection of the body; 2) WALDENSIANISM (anti-clerical heresy), which claimed that laymen living an apostolic life could forgive sins, while a priest in the state of sin could not absolve.  Waldensianism also held that oath taking and assigning death penalties were held to be mortal sins.  They also held that the Evangelical Counsel of poverty was a commandment, thus they forbad all private ownership of property.
Thirteenth Ecumenical Council -- Lyons I
SITE:Lyons, France
POPE:Innocent IV, 1243 - 1254
EMPEROR:Frederick II, 1215 - 1250
Exommunicated and deposed Frederick II(Emperor) for heresy and crimes against the Church; planned the seventh crusade (led by Saint Louis, King of France)
First Council of Lyons (1245). Innocent IV presided the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Aquileia (Venice), 140 bishops, Baldwin II, Emperor of the East, and St. Louis, King of France, assisted. It excommunicated and deposed Emperor Frederick II and directed a new crusade, under the command of St. Louis, against the Saracens and Mongols.
ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Innocent IV, this council excommunicated Emperor Frederick II, grandson of Frederick Barbarossa, for his contumacious attempt to make the Church merely a department of the state.  Lyons I also directed a new crusade (the 6th) under the command of King St. Louis IX (1226 - 1270) of France against the Saracens and the Mongols.
Fourteenth Ecumenical Council -- Lyons II
SITE:Lyons, France
POPE:Blessed Gregory X, 1271 - 1276
EMPEROR:Rudolph I of Hapsburg, 1273 - 1291
Defined that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son as from on Principle(Filioque clause); Defined the primacy and authority of the Roman Church; Defined that there are seven (and only seven) sacraments;
Council of Lyons (1274) with Pope Gregory X, the Patriarchs of Antioch and Constantinople, 500 Bishops, 70 Abbots, and 100 minor Prelates (dignitaries). It effected a temporary reunion of the Greek Church with Rome. The word filioque was added to the symbol of Constantinople and means were sought for recovering Palestine from the Turks. It also laid down the rules for papal elections.
ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Gregory X, this council declared the double procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son:  "Qui ex Patre Filioque procedit."  The return of the Eastern Church to union with Rome, sought by the Popes, failed utterly.
NOTE:  St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (d. 1274), died on his way to Lyons II.  St. Bonaventure, Cardinal and Doctor of the Church (d.1274), was prominent at Lyons II, died there, and was buried by the council. FILIOQUE Defined and added to Nicene Creed.
Fifteenth Ecumenical Council -- Vienne
SITE:Vienne (South of Lyons), France
YEARS:1311 - 1312
POPE:Clement V, 1305 - 1314
EMPEROR:Henry VII, 1308 - 1313
Defined that the Vision of God is a supernatural gift beyond the natural powers of the human soul;
Defined "that there is one baptism which regenerates all those baptized in Christ, just as there is one God and one faith. We believe that when baptism is administered in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, it is a perfect means of salvation for both adults and children."

NOTE: This council does NOT say that administering baptism by water is the only means to reach the same effect of the sacrament, but that Baptism of water is the perfect means to achieve this sacrament, indicating that there are imperfect means to achieve this sacrament as well.
NOTE: Baptism can manifest itself in 3 different ways, water, blood, or desire, but it is still one and the same baptism.
NOTE: There is almost always an exception to a rule as Christ has demonstrated in the Gospels, when he appeared to break Jewish laws due to the fact that the Groom is with His bride. Another example of an exception is the fact that Our Lord said that no one is greater than Saint John the Baptist. "Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of a greater than John the Baptist...".(Saint Matthew 11:11) Our Lord did not list the exception of Our Lady. Another example of an exception is the fact that Saint Paul proclamed that "For ALL have sinned ..."(Romans 3:23) Saint Paul did not list the exception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us look at the words of Saint Augustine (Doctor of the Church) "For whatever unbaptized persons die confessing Christ, this confession is of the same efficacy for the remission of sins as if they were washed in the sacred font of baptism. For He who said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,"[Saint John 3:5] (2) made also an exception in their favor, in that other sentence where He no less absolutely said, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven;"[Saint Matthew 10:32] (3) and in another place, "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it." [Saint Matthew 16:25]" (Christ is supporting Baptism of Blood when he says "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it".)
NOTE: The Council of Trent, 1545-1563, Decree on Justification, Ch. 4: "... and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected without the laver of regeneration(baptism), OR A DESIRE FOR IT, as it is written "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" [Saint John 3:5] (Here Trent interprets Saint John 3:5 to mean we must be baptized either in reality or in desire.)
NOTE: If a catechumen meets some unforseen death, having desired to be a member of the Church through Baptism of water, he can still attain salvation.
NOTE: "Augustine says 'that some have received the invisible sanctification without visible sacraments'...the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire." (Summa Theologica IIIa qu. 68 a 2)
NOTE: "On the other hand, it must likewise be held as certain that those who are affected by ignorance of the true religion, if it is invincible ignorance, are not subject to any guilt in this matter before the eyes of the Lord." Venerable Pope Pius IX
Abolished the Knights Templars; Promulgated decrees on reforms and morals(TFW: 93)
Council of Vienne in France (1311-1313) by order of Clement V, the first of the Avignon popes. The Patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria, 300 Bishops, many Prelates, and 3 kings -- Philip IV of France, Edward II of England, and James II of Aragon -- were present. The synod dealt with the crimes and errors imputed to the Knights Templars, the Fraticelli, the Beghards, and the Beguines, with projects of a new crusade, the reformation of the clergy, and the teaching of Oriental languages in the universities.
ACTION:  Called and ratified by Pope Clement V, first of the Avignon Popes (The "Avignon Captivity" lasted from 1305 until 1377, when Pope Gregory XI returned the Holy See to Rome), this council suppressed the Knights Templars (Master: Jacques de Molay) for crimes charged by King Philip IV of France.  Their confiscated property was given to the Hospitalers or, in Spain, to national orders that had fought against the Moors.  The council also declared that anyone who obstinately holds "that the rational or intellectual soul is not the form of the human body in itself and essentially, must be regarded as a heretic." (Denz. 481) The council also Condemned the Beghards (males) and Beguines ( ), who so stressed "inner union with God". Quietism, that prayer and fasting became unimportant.  Quietism taught that the "spiritual" person is so perfect that he or she can give free reign to fleshly desires.
NOTE:  In his 1302 Bull UNAM SANCTAM Pope Boniface VIII (1294 - 1303), declared ex cathedra that it is "...absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Denz. 469)  He was opposed by the French King Philip IV, the "Fair" (1268-1314), who seems to have given up on gaining a condemnation of Pope Boniface, while gaining one against the Knights Templars at Vienne, 1311.
HERESIES:  The Errors of Peter John of Olivi and QUIETISM.
Sixteenth Ecumenical Council -- Constance
SITE:Constance, Germany
YEARS:1414 - 1418
POPES:Gregory XII, 1406 - 1415; Martin V, 1417 - 1431
EMPEROR:Sigismund of Luxembourg, 1410 - 1437
Ended the Great Schism, wich involved three rival claiments to the Papal throne; Condemned the teachings of John Wycliffe, who taught sola scriptura and denied the authority of the Pope and Bishops; denied the Real Presence and indulgences; Condemned the teachings of John Huss, who denied papal authority and its necessity for salvation and who taught wrongly about the nature of the Church; Promulgated disciplinary decrees
Council of Constance (1414-1418), 200 Bishops and Prelates were present, and was held during the great Schism of the West, with the object of ending the divisions in the Church. It only became legitimate when Gregory XI had formally convoked it. Owing to this circumstance it succeeded in putting an end to the schism by the election of Pope Martin V, which the Council of Pisa (1403) had failed to accomplish on account of its illegality. The rightful pope confirmed the former decrees of the synod against Wyclif and Hus. This council is thus only ecumenical in its last sessions (XLII-XLV inclusive) and with respect to the decrees of earlier sessions approved by Martin V.
ACTION:  Called by Emperor Sigismund and Pope Gregory XII who authorized the convocation as he abdicated the Papacy.  The anti-popes Benedict XIII (Avignon) and John XXIII (Pisa) also agreed to "abdicate" in the interests of unity.  The council elevated Martin V to the Chair of Peter to end the confustion of the Western Schism.  Pope Martin ratified the council ...except the decrees which proposed conciliarism.  In addition to ending the Western Schism, Constance also Condemned the heresies of:  1) John Wycliffe, who rejected the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, emphasized scripture as the sole rule of faith, subscribed to Donatism, asserted the Pope is not the head of the Church, and Bishops have no authority; and, 2) John Huss, who preached the above after Wycliffe's death.
Seventeenth Ecumenical Council -- Florence
SITES with YEARS:Basel (Switzerland, near France), 1431 - 1437; Ferrara (Italy, north of Bologna, southwest of Venice), 1438; Florence (Italy, south of Bologna, north of Rome), 1439 - 1445
POPE:Eugene IV, 1431 - 1447
EMPERORS:Albrecht II, 1438 - 1439; Frederick III, 1440 - 1493.
Reaffirmed Papal primacy against the conciliarist heresy, which held that an ecumenical council is superior to a pope; Reaffirmed Filioque clause concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit; Reaffirmedthat there are seven and only seven sacraments; Defined the necessity of proper form (words), matter and intention for the validity of the sacraments; Defined that Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders produce a spiritual mark which cannot be removed, hence these sacraments cannot be repeated; Defined that it is by Baptism men are made members of the Church; Defined the effects of Baptism and Confirmation; Pronounced the divine inspiration and authorship and and inerrancy of Sacred Scripture; Pronounced the canon of Scripture as containing 73(72) books; Defined the Province of God;Defined that outside the Catholic Church no one can be saved, "even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church." Defined Christ's Second Coming will be in the flesh "intellectually animated"; Decreed and approved of reunion with several eastern churches; (TFW: 5a,c, 13-16, 18, 25, 27, 39, 50, 63, 66, 68, 69a-d, 84a-c, 90-91, 94-99, 101)
Council of Basle (1431), Eugene IV being pope, with 200 Bishops present and Sigismund Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Its object was the religious pacification of Bohemia. Quarrels with the pope having arisen, the council was transferred first to Ferrara (1438), then to Florence (1439), where a short-lived union with the Greek Church was effected, the Greeks accepting the council's definition of controverted points. The Council of Basle is only ecumenical till the end of the twenty-fifth session, and of its decrees Eugene IV approved only such as dealt with the extirpation of heresy, the peace of Christendom, and the reform of the Church, and which at the same time did not derogate from the rights of the Holy See.
ACTION:  This council was called in 1431 for Basel, Switzerland, by Pope Martin V, who died that year.  Pope Eugene IV confirmed this decree for Basel, and the first session was held on 14 December, 1431.  Believing it would become unruly, Eugene IV dissolved the council within four days, angering the Bishops at Basel, who began to reassert the heretical decrees at Constance that "a general council is superior to the Pope".  In January, 1438, the Pope ordered a fresh start at Ferrara.  (Some Bishops remained in open schism at Basel, even electing an anti-pope, Felix V -- two "Popes," two "councils" at one time.)  A plague came to Ferrara, and the Pope moved the Council to Florence.  On June 8, 1439, the Greeks accepted the double procession of the Holy Ghost and, by July 5, agreed on some other points, but lasting union failed:  "Better the turban of the Prophet than the tiara of the Pope."  On May 29, 1453, Constantinople fell to the Mohammedans.  Cantate Domino decreed. (Papal Authority More Firmly Established):  ex cathedra: It [the Roman Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that none of those who are not within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of their life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of Ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the Sacraments of the Church of benefit for Salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church. [Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441, Denzinger 714].  Temporary reconciliation with the Greeks RE: Filoque.
Eighteenth Ecumenical Council -- Lateran V
SITE:The Basilica of Saint John Lateran (Rome)
YEARS:1512 - 1517 (March). (Luther's theses posted 31 October, 1517)
POPES:Julius II, 1503 - 1513; Leo X, 1513 - 1521
EMPEROR:ilian I, 1493 - 1519
Condemned errors concerning the soul; Defined that the soul is immortal and that it is the form of the human body; Reaffirmed the necessity of the submission to the Roman Pontiff for salvation, (but not if that obedience harms faith).; Reaffirmed the dogma of Indulgences; Failed to establish thorough reforms within the Church, thus helping the Protestant revolt
Fifth Lateran Council, sat from 1512 to 1517 under Popes Julius II and Leo X, the emperor being ilian I. 120 Bishops, representatives of kings and princes, took part in it. Its decrees are chiefly disciplinary. A new crusade against the Turks was also planned, but came to naught, owing to the religious upheaval in Germany caused by Luther.
ACTION:  Called by Pope Julius II, this council opened on May 10, 1512; by Feb. 1513 Pope Julius was dying, and the council was reconvened by Pope Leo X in April 1513 and ratified by him.  The most important discussions concerned the "Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges."  In 1438 the King of France, Charles VII, had issued this edict, declaring a general council superior to the Pope and denying his right to nominate Bishops in France.  A later King, Louis XI, had abolished this decree in 1461, but Louis XII (1498 - 1515) had attempted to reintroduce it.  This council clearly rejected the teaching contained in the edict. (The appeal for another Crusade against the Turks met with no enthusiasm, and the situation in Europe relegated such a venture to oblivion.)
Nineteenth Ecumenical Council -- Trent
SITE:Trent, Italy.
YEARS:1545 - 1563
POPES:Paul III, 1534 - 1549 & 1551 - 1552; Julius III, 1550 - 1555; Pius IV, 1559 - 1565
EMPERORS:Charles V, 1519 - 1556 & Ferdinand I, 1556 - 1564
Affirmed Catholic doctrines against the errors of the Protestants; Initiated the Counter-Reformation; Reaffirmed and Defined doctrines of the Bible and Tradition, grace, sin, justification, Mass as real sacrifice, the Real Presence, purgatory, indulgences, jurisdiction of the Pope; Defined numerous points concerning the sacraments; Defined the necessity of Baptism for salvation, whether in reality or desire;Defined the necessity of both faith and good works for salvation; Promulgated numerous decrees on the sacraments and the liturgy; Reformed the clergy and morals; Ordered establishment of seminaries for future training of priests (TFW: 5c, 6, 19-20, 28-31, 37-38, 48-67, 69b-74, 76-89, 98-99)
Council of Trent, lasted eighteen years (1545-1563) under five popes: Paul III, Julius III, Marcellus II, Paul IV and Pius IV, and under the Emperors Charles V and Ferdinand. There were present 5 cardinal legates of the Holy See, 3 patriarchs, 200 Bishops, 7 abbots, 7 generals of monastic orders, representatives of kings and princes. It was convoked to examine and condemn the errors promulgated by Luther and other Reformers, and to reform the discipline of the Church. Of all councils it lasted longest, issued the largest number of dogmatic and reformatory decrees, and produced the most beneficial results.
ACTION:  Called by Pope Paul III, this council was continued by Pope Julius III, and, after 18 years and 25 sessions in all, Pope Pius IV concluded it and solemnly confirmed its decrees.  Trent Condemned the heresies of Luther, Calvin, and others.  It issued decrees on the Eucharist, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments (notably Baptism and Holy Orders) and teachings on marriage, purgatory, indulgences and the use of images. +See canons II and V, BAPTISM.  The remaining tasks begun by Pope Pius IV were continued by his successor, Pope St. Pius V (1566 - 1572):  reforming of the Missal and Brieviary, writing of the Catechism based on the decrees of Trent, appointing a commission to issue a more exact edition of the Vulgate, and the reforming of morals.
NOTE:  St. Peter Canisius, Priest, Doctor of the Church (d. 1597), represented the Pope at Trent, and was an opponent of Melancthon.
Twentieth Ecumenical Council -- Vatican I
SITE:The Vatican (St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City-State, Rome).
YEARS:1869 - 1870
POPE:Pius IX, 1846 - 1878
EUROPEAN RULERS DURING THE COUNCIL:AUSTRIA: Francis Joseph, 1848 - 1916; ENGLAND: Victoria, 1837 - 1901; FRANCE: Napolean III, 1852 - 1870; SPAIN: Republic, 1868 - 1870; PRUSSIA: German Empire Prussian Kingdom William I, 1861 - 1888; RUSSIA: Alexander II, 1855 - 1881; ITALY: Victor Emmanuel II, 1848 - 1861 (King of Sardinia) 1861 - 1878 (King of Italy); Ulyssyes S. Grant, 1869 -1877 (United States President).
Defined Papal infallibility; Defined the constitution, mission and infallibility of the Church; Defined nature of Divine Revelation and dogmas; Pronounced necessity of believing the Catholic Faith for salvation;Condemned errors concerning relationship between faith and reason, revelation and scientific knowledge and other modern errors (TFW: 1-12, 16-18, 21, 34, 36, 38, 40-41, 56)
First Vatican Council was summoned to the Vatican by Pius IX. It met 8 December, 1869, and lasted till 18 July, 1870, when it was adjourned; it is still (1908) unfinished. There were 704 Patriarchs, Bishops, and superiors of Religious Orders present. Besides important canons relating to the Faith and the constitution of the Church, the council decreed the infallibility of the pope when speaking ex cathedra, i.e. when as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.
ACTION:  Convened and ratified by Pope Pius IX, the First Vatican Council Defined the INFALLIBILITY of the Pope when, as Supreme Pontiff, he speaks from the Seat of Peter (ex cathedra), on a matter of Faith and Morals, pronouncing a doctrine to be believed by the whole Church.
List of Illegitimate Councils

Antioch (341 AD)

Arles (353 AD)

Basel (1061 AD) (1438 AD)

Ephesus (John of Antioch) (431 AD)

Ephesus (Latrocinium) (449 AD)

Hieria (725 AD)

Mainz and Brixen (1080 AD)

Milan (355 AD)

Parma (1063 AD)

Philippopolis (343 AD)

Pisa (1409 AD)

Pisa, Milan & Lyons (1511-1512 AD)

Rimini (359 AD)

Rome (1084 AD) (1089 AD) (1098 AD) (1412 AD)

Seleucia (359 AD)

Second Council of Simirium (357 AD)

Synod of Photius (879-880 AD)

Second Vatican Council (1962-1965 AD)

bulletBR. FRANCIS, M.I.C.M., selected notes and texts.
bulletDENZINGER, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Translated by Roy J. Deferrari from the 30th Edition of Henry Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum, St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder Book Co., 1957. (Imprimatur).
bulletHUGHES, Philip, A Popular History of the Catholic Church, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc., 1947. (Imprimatur index, tables of Popes and emperors, 320pp.)
bulletLAUX, Rev. John L., Church History, Rockford, Illinois 61105: Tan Books & Publishers, 1989 (1945 Benzinger Bros.,N.Y.). (Imprimatur, index and appendices, 621pp.)
bulletMURPHY, Fr. John L., The General Councils of the Church, Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1960. (Imprimatur, index 193pp., photos [8 plates], map [opp. p.1] of sites of the General Councils.)

Given by His Holiness St. Pius X, September 1, 1910.
To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious
superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.
Oath Against Modernism
I (name) firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.
And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world, that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated.
Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.
Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.
Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.
Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and Lord.
Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas.

I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion.

I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful.

Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm.

Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles.

I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God which I touch with my hand.

No comments:

Post a Comment