Friday, July 5, 2013


We offer this quote from The Catholic Encyclopedia, for what it is worth in the present cases of two men, John XXIII and John Paul II, whose pontificates were in different degrees disasters for the Church and whose beatification has just been announced:

[Bold emphasis mine.]

Papal infallibility and canonization

"Is the pope infallible in issuing a decree of canonization? Most theologians answer in the affirmative. It is the opinion of St. Antoninus, Melchior Cano, Suarez, Bellarmine, Bañez, Vasquez, and, among the canonists, of Gonzales Tellez, Fagnanus, Schmalzgrüber, Barbosa, Reiffenstül, Covarruvias (Variar. resol., I, x, no 13), Albitius (De Inconstantiâ in fide, xi, no 205), Petra (Comm. in Const. Apost., I, in notes to Const. I, Alex., III, no 17 sqq.), Joannes a S. Thomâ (on II-II, Q. I, disp. 9, a. 2), Silvester (Summa, s.v. Canonizatio), Del Bene (De Officio Inquisit. II, dub. 253), and many others. In Quodlib. IX, a. 16, St. Thomas says: "Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints [quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error." These words of St. Thomas, as is evident from the authorities just cited, all favouring a positive infallibility, have been interpreted by his school in favour of papal infallibility in the matter of canonization, and this interpretation is supported by several other passages in the same Quodlibet.  

This infallibility, however according to the holy doctor, is only a point of pious belief. Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27);

others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash, as Francisco Suárez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church.
What is the object of this infallible judgment of the pope? Does he define that the person canonized is in heaven or only that he has practiced Christian virtues in an heroic degree? I have never seen this question discussed; my own opinion is that nothing else is defined than that the person canonized is in heaven. The formula used in the act of canonization has nothing more than this:
"In honour of . . . we decree and define that Blessed N. is a Saint, and we inscribe his name in the catalogue of saints, and order that his memory by devoutly and piously celebrated yearly on the . . . day of . . . his feast."
(Ad honorem . . . beatum N. Sanctum esse decernimus et definimus ac sanctorum catalogo adscribimus statuentes ab ecclesiâ universali illius memoriam quolibet anno, die ejus natali . . . piâ devotione recoli debere.)
There is no question of heroic virtue in this formula; on the other hand, sanctity does not necessarily imply the exercise of heroic virtue, since one who had not hitherto practised heroic virtue would, by the one transient heroic act in which he yielded up his life for Christ, have justly deserved to be considered a saint. This view seems all the more certain if we reflect that all the arguments of theologians for papal infallibility in the canonization of saints are based on the fact that on such occasions the popes believe and assert that the decision which they publish is infallible (Pesch, Prael. Dogm., I, 552).
This general agreement of theologians as to papal infallibility in canonization must not be extended to beatification, not withstanding the contrary teaching of the canonical commentary known as "Glossa" [in cap. un. de reliquiis et venerat. SS. (III, 22) in 6; Innocent., Comm. in quinque Decretalium libros, tit. de reliquiis, etc., no 4; Ostiensis in eumd. tit. no 10; Felini, cap. lii, De testibus, etc., X (II, 20); Caietani, tract. De indulgentiis adversus Lutherum ad Julium Mediceum; Augustini de Ancona, seu Triumphi, De potestate eccl., Q. xiv, a. 4). Canonists and theologians generally deny the infallible character of decrees of beatification, whether formal or equivalent, since it is always a permission, not a command; while it leads to canonization, it is not the last step. Moreover, in most cases, the cultus permitted by beatification, is restricted to a determined province, city, or religious body (Benedict XIV, op. cit., I, xlii). Some, however, have thought otherwise (Arriaga, Theol., V, disp. 7, p. 6; Amicus, Theol., IV"

 I will leave it to calmer and wiser heads (something conspicuous by it absence on ALL of the Catholic blogs so far) who can give a better understanding of this troubling development to comment.  Hopefully someone of the stature of Roberto de Mattei or Arnaud de Lassus or Anthony Fraser or Rod Pead will let their thoughts be known.  As for me, I am too stunned to comment.


Anonymous said...

I have restraied myself from commenting on this canonization on all but this blog and CathInfo forum. I do not have extensive knowledge of theology necessary to critique the fallibility of this latest action.

My own belief is that this is more about the beatification and canonization of Vatican II than it is of Pope John XXIII and John Paul II. Certain people will do almost anything to add credibility to that disastrous council and deny that it caused any harm. The numerous speeches by Cardinal Dolan and others that essentially say "what crisis?!? .... everything is fine ..... never better in fact"
I hope this isn't a warm-up to the sainthood of Paul VI or Aniballe Bugnini.

All I can add is that the only "light" in which the documents of VII should be seen is that of a bonfire where they are destroyed. I know that this will not happen but I can only pray that soon Church leadership will acknowledge that the emperor has no clothes and that they were removed by the neo-modernism & liberalism which peaked during the Second Vatican Council.

Aged parent said...

I agree with you, Anon, in spades.

What frightens me about this mess is the supposed infallibility issue involved, as stated in the quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia. The confusion that such canonizations will cause in the minds of normally well-balanced Catholics is something too awful to contemplate. Indeed the whole concept of infallibility could begin to be questioned by this move. Consider: if two such manifestly disastrous papacies can be "canonized" then what are we to think of past and future infallible declarations of the Supreme Magisterium? Theological lightweights (and I include myself here) could so easily be led astray by this kind of thing, and your average Catholic who gives little to no thought to such things may be completely boggled.

We know that John Paul cheapened the canonization process ridiculously creating a veritable Saint factory during his reign. Many safeguards to protect the process were jettisoned by him so that now we really cannot be absolutely certain that these canonizations are in fact genuine. And I'm not certain we can rely on the Indefectabilty doctrine in this case, either.

I cannot see how any good can come of this. "Diabolic disorientation" indeed!

aly said...

Aged parent, a lot of people are stunned surely. Thus so much silence. But as for the average Catholic who doesn't give too much thought to these things, because they don't, they'll probably do the same in this matter and think it's
just fine. After all there are a lot of Catholics raised post Vatican ll. I really don't like to say it but, the Church has changed and will never change back
except for the remnants. Your thoughts here are more specific than any I've read yet. And as you, I'm hoping to hear from someone we want to hear from.
Please continue to share with us yours and others' thoughts that you find interesting or enlightening.

aly said...

Oh and Aged parent, I truly believe all of these aberrations are Diabolical disorientation and I
have considered thoughts about the
whos who have assisted greatly.

Anonymous said...

Whether Pope Pius Xll should be canonized and when is to be known
but it does the Faithful no good to watch the machinations and political Capital C Considerations.
Capital M Many Jewish leaders are objecting to any advance of his cause until the release of all Vatican documents of the time. Then
these people will Decide. No wonder
we are horrified.

Anonymous said...

This may be of interest: mundabor.wordpress/2013/07/06/smart_guys ... Yes Vatican ll/ smart guys and expunging of Leonine prayers and a contest with Satan in the century 20.

Anonymous said...

One possible explanation is this, from a good traditional priest who stressed that it was "only [his] opinion":

When JP II substantially altered the process of canonization, he derogated from its infallibility. The formula in use when the Catholic Encyclopedia article was published is, in fact, no longer used.

The thought that both men are in heaven is not offensive: We should rejoice at God's mercy! But the thought that they ought to be imitated is another matter...

It is a canonization of the revolution.

Aged parent said...

Dear Anon@9:12am:

A very interesting analysis.

The thought of these men being in Heaven is not offensive, but a little startling. I certainly hope that they are and, obviously, was not present at their death bed so don't know if they made their peace with God. Please God that they did.

They had much to answer, I guess, do we all.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the other side of this argument is to wait and see if the canonizations take place.

Infallibility is not a positive process, but a negative process. The Holy Spirit does not guarantee what the Pope says is true, rather He prevents the Pope from defining something false as being de fide.

So, if canonizations are infallible, and if John XXIII and JP II should not be canonized, they won't be. After all, "Someone" vetoed JP II when he wanted to give a red hat to von Balthazar. Consistatories are not infallible, yet the 'veto' still went pretty hard on von Balthazar.

I tend to think that canonization is infallible, because these saints become part of the mass, and it would be sacrilegious to include someone not in heaven in the holy sacrifice.

So, I predict that if they push these things through, we'll either need a new pope, or witness some very large distraction (war, natural disaster, three days of darkness, etc.).

Aged parent said...

Anon on Sept 24th:

Very good points.

I was taught that canonizations are correctly labelled "infallible declarations - second class", which does seem to relate to some of the points raised in the Catholic Encyclopedia excerpt I posted. Notwithstanding this, there has been far, far too much tampering with the entire Saint-making business, and prudent men will look at future Vatican proclamations about Sainthood with more skepticism than every before.

I find it incredible that we have been reduced to the state of having to accept papal pronouncements such as these with a fair amount of reserve and, again, skepticism. Terrible.

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