THE ORDINARY MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH AND ITS ORGANS
J.-M.-A. VACANT 
Master in Theology, Professor at the Major Seminary of Nancy
Printed with the permission of Monsignor the Bishop of Nancy and Monsignor the Archbishop of Paris.
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This study  is intended for Catholic readers; it is not written to refute the errors of Protestants, schismatic Greeks or Gallicans on the authority of the Church and the infallibility of the episcopal body or the Supreme Pontiff. Let no one therefore seek the demonstration of the principles admitted today by all the submissive children of the Roman Church! We will find there only a simple exposition of the doctrine of this Church on its ordinary magisterium, with some clarifications on the subject of the difficulties that this doctrine raises.
We will first try to give a general idea of the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church which the Vatican Council declared a rule of divine and Catholic faith; then we will say what are the organs by which this magisterium is exercised, in what ways it is expressed, what obligations it imposes in matters of doctrine; finally we will study, in particular, the part which returns to the dispersed bishops in the exercise of this magisterium and that which belongs to the Sovereign Pontiff.
I. GENERAL IDEA OF THE ORDINARY AND UNIVERSAL MAGISTRY OF THE CHURCH
First, here is the text in which the Vatican Council speaks of the magisterium: " Fide Divina and catholica ea omnia credenda sunt quae in verbo Dei scripto vel tradito continentur and ab Ecclesia sive solemni judicio sive Ordinario and universali my-gisterio tanquam divinitus credenda poponuntur  ”.
By studying the faith, the Holy Council wanted to declare which are the truths which one must believe of divine and catholic faith, that is to say under penalty of being heretic in the eyes of the Church and of being excluded. from her breast. Now, as we know, these truths are those that the Church offers to our faith as revealed. They must therefore meet two conditions:
1 ° be revealed or contained in the word of God;
2 ° to be proposed as such to our faith by the Church which explicitly affirms that they are in divine revelation and which, consequently, clearly manifests to all her children the obligation to believe them.
The Council indicates these two conditions: which leads it to explain incidentally in what ways these truths can be found in the word of God and in what ways they can be offered to our faith by the Church.
They can be found in the word of God in two forms:
1 ° in written form, if they are contained in divinely inspired Scripture;
2 ° in the form of tradition, if we look for them in the teachings of the Church.
Moreover, Jesus Christ entrusted all His teachings to His Church, so that she infallibly transmits them to all men until the end of the centuries. We are therefore certain that it preserves the deposit of divine teachings in its integrity. If therefore the revealed truths  were not all recorded in our holy books by the inspired writers, all nevertheless have their place in the doctrine of the Church. As, moreover, the custody of the Old and New Testaments was committed to the Church, with the mission of interpreting them infallibly, it is through his hands that the word of God is transmitted to us, in all its forms. authorized, under that of inspired Scripture, as well as under that of tradition.
But, let it be remembered, the Church is not an automatic instrument which repeats, through the centuries, the formulas used by the Savior and His apostles; she is like a living master who knows what he is saying. It therefore adapts to the intelligence and needs of each generation its teachings, or rather those of God, without adding anything, without taking anything away, but by varying the form it gives them. It successively presents its multiple aspects, enlightening and expressly proposing to the belief of the faithful points which previously had remained in the shadows, hidden in a way in the midst of other points from which one did not dream of distinguishing them.
This explicit proposition is, one understands, only a way of affirming with more clarity, precision, certainty and insistence the revealed truths which have always been believed at least implicitly. It is simply a new form of the same teaching which is fundamentally immutable. Now, according to the doctrine expressed by the Vatican Council, in the text which concerns us, this explicit proposition is the second of the conditions required for a truth to be of the Catholic faith, and it can be done in two ways. The Church has, in fact, two means of affirming that a particular point is revealed and must be believed as such: her solemn judgments and her ordinary and universal magisterium.
All our readers know that a solemn judgment of the Church is a definition given by a Supreme Pontiff or by an ecumenical council, in forms which show its authenticity. But what should we understand by the ordinary and universal magisterium? This is the question we have to resolve. Let us first see if our text will put us on the path to a solution.
The Fathers of the Holy Council have already made us understand that this magisterium is a way of teaching; but we can derive still further information from their words. They put this magisterium on the same footing as the solemn definitions of the popes or universal councils and attribute to it full authority; because they give it as a rule of the Catholic faith. It is therefore a mode of teaching employed by the sovereign authority of the teaching Church, by the Pope and by the episcopal body: it has the same infallibility and the same binding force as the solemn definitions, from which it nevertheless differs. The qualifications, by which our text characterizes either the solemn judgment,either the ordinary and universal magisterium " sive solemni judicio siveordinario et universali magisterio ”, to distinguish them one from the other, show us, moreover, that the ordinary magisterium has nothing of the solemnity of the decrees of the councils or of the popes, that it is not like them an extraordinary event, but that it is exercised habitually and that it manifests itself by the whole Church. These, then, are the characteristics of the ordinary magisterium; but let us see if these characteristics are found in a mode of teaching employed by the Church: did the Fathers and the theologians invoke the authority of this magisterium? does it exercise, does it exist among us?
Yes there is. This ordinary magisterium is nothing else, in fact, than that of which the whole Church continually offers us the spectacle, when we see her speaking incessantly through the mouths of the Pope and of all the Catholic bishops, putting herself everywhere. universe available and within reach of all men, infidels and Christians, ignorant and learned, to teach them to regulate according to divine revelation not only their faith, but also their feelings, their worship and all their conduct. This mode of teaching, which is exercised today everywhere and on all things, it is easy to show that it has always been exercised in the same way and that its infallible authority has always been recognized.
It is, in fact, this mode of teaching which, by itself, responds most fully to the mission with which Jesus Christ entrusted His apostles; for He commanded them to be scattered throughout all the nations, to teach all His doctrine daily. His words are formal:
“Go and educate all the people and teach them to keep everything I have told you, and I will be with you every day until the end of time. Euntes docete omnes gentes, docentes eos servare omnia quæcumque mandavi vobis. Ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus usque ad consummationem sœculi ”.
It is by this teaching that the Church was established and that the doctrine of Jesus Christ was manifested to the world, before the solemn definitions of the Councils and of the Holy See, and it is the first rule of faith of which the holy fathers invoked authority.
This is the teaching to which Saint Ignatius the martyr wants the faithful and priests to conform their beliefs, when he writes: “I have recommended that you unanimously keep the doctrine of God. Indeed, Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the doctrine of God, just as the bishops constituted to the ends of the earth are in the doctrine of Jesus Christ. This is why it is fitting that you unite in the doctrine of your bishop and that is what you do ... It is therefore clear that you must regard your bishop as the Lord Himself ... "( Epist) . ad Ephes ., n. 3, 4 and 6).
It is the same teaching of which Saint Irenaeus said ( Adversus hæreses , lib. Iii, vs. 3): “As for the tradition of the Apostles, manifested by the whole universe, it is easy to find it in the whole Church, for anyone who sincerely seeks the truth. We only have to produce the list of those who have been instituted bishops and of their successors until us ... But as it would be too long, in this volume, to show this succession for all the Churches, we we will be content to mark the tradition of the greatest and oldest of all, of that which is known throughout the world, which was founded and established in Rome by the glorious apostles Peter and Paul. By relating this tradition which she received from the apostles, this faith which she announced to men and transmitted to us by the succession of her bishops, we confound all those who,in any way,… make illegitimate assemblies… ”
This teaching, finally, has been regarded as infallible by all the Holy
Fathers and all the theologians. To be convinced of this, it suffices to go
through the testimonies that Cardinal Franzelin has accumulated in his
masterful work on
Particular councils began to be held from the second century onwards, and then ecumenical councils were convened which passed solemn judgments. These judgments were respected, as the authentic and certain expression of the doctrine of the bishops assembled from all parts of Christendom under the presidency of the successor of Saint Peter; but they did not lose any of its authority in the daily teaching of the dispersed bishops.
It was the same with the solemn definitions that the Sovereign Pontiffs promulgated over the centuries, when they deemed it necessary; for, remarkably, the partisans and opponents of papal infallibility always admire the infallibility of the dispersed Church. It is, in fact, from the assent of the bishops scattered throughout the dioceses and their agreement with the Pope, that the Gallicans wanted to derive the authority which they were forced to grant, in practice, to the pontifical definitions; and, if the defenders of true doctrine held that these definitions are infallible in themselves, they simultaneously proclaimed that the body of scattered bishops cannot fall into error.
Moreover, the Sovereign Pontiffs, as well as the Ecumenical Councils, had repeatedly affirmed this truth, and, a few years before the Vatican Council, on December 21, 1863, Pius IX echoed these testimonies of all. centuries, in a letter he wrote to the Archbishop of Munich, to remind the theologians of Germany of their duties vis-à-vis all doctrinal decisions of the Church and, in particular, vis-à-vis -visited by the teachings of his ordinary magisterium. We need to stop for a moment to study this document.
The illustrious pontiff begins by saying that it is not enough that theologians accept the dogmas which are of the Catholic faith, by virtue of the solemn decrees of the Church; then, developing his thought, he distinguishes between revealed truths and those which are not. Now, he declares that revealed truths require an act of divine faith not only when they are taught by express definitions, but also when they are taught by the daily magisterium of the dispersed Church. For doctrines that are not revealed, they will not be the subject of an act of divine faith; but they could become obligatory and be imposed with the assent of the theologians, following decrees of the Roman congregations or by virtue of the common and constant consent of the Catholics.These are the declarations of Pius IX in his letter to the Archbishop of Munich.
Here is the part of this document which deals with the faith due to revealed truths that the ordinary magisterium of the dispersed Church presents as such: “When it comes to the obligation to make an act of divine faith, it should not be. restrict to the points expressly defined by the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, or of the Roman Pontiffs and of the Apostolic See; but it should also be extended to the points which are given as divinely revealed by the ordinary magisterium of the whole Church dispersed on the earth and which, for this reason, by unanimous and constant consent, the Catholic theologians keep as belonging to faith  ”.
This letter from Pius IX prepared the declaration which was to be made, seven years later, by the Vatican Council; for it is clear that the ordinary magisterium of the dispersed Church of the papal letter is the same that the council calls ordinary and universal magisterium , in the passage which we examined at the beginning.
Also the theologians who have written on this subject for fifteen years have brought these two texts together. They also recognized, in the ordinary magisterium that the Vatican Fathers and Pope Pius IX declare to be a rule of faith, the same daily teaching which had been regarded by all centuries as the infallible interpreter of tradition. It is enough to be convinced to read P. Hurter ( Ecclesia , No. 667) or Cardinal Mazzella ( Ecclesia , No. 793, and of Virtutibus infusis , n o 423, 432 and 528).
We can therefore apply to the magisterium that the Vatican Council calls ordinary what the ancient theologians said of the authority of the dispersed Church, which they regarded as equal to that of the councils and of the Supreme Pontiff.
The infallibility of this magisterium extends not only to the truths of the Catholic faith, as defined by the Vatican Council, not only to the truths which, without being of the Catholic faith, belong to tradition, as Pius IX teaches in his letter to the Archbishop of Munich, but also to all the points which have some connection with the revelation. It therefore extends to theological conclusions, to dogmatic facts, to discipline, to the canonization of saints.
The general laws established by a legitimate custom cannot therefore be in contradiction with divine law and revealed doctrine; and, when the whole Church, during the first centuries, agreed to honor a personage as a saint, the judgment which she thus passed, with the tacit consent of the Holy See at least, was no less infallible than the decrees of canonization that the Sovereign Pontiff carries today  .
Moreover, since infallibility in teaching belongs only to the episcopal body and to the Pope, it is to the episcopal body and to the Pope that the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church owes its sovereign and infallible authority.
- But, one will ask, when do the Pope and the bishops make this magisterium benefit from their infallibility?
- It is, I will answer with tradition, when, speaking of a common agreement, they impose on the whole Church one of the points of doctrine which has just been discussed.
These conclusions are accepted by all Catholic theologians; they follow from the principle that the ordinary magisterium has the same authority as the solemn judgments of the teaching Church and that it differs from them only in the form it takes.
II. MINISTERS WHO SERVE AS ORGANS AND INSTRUMENTS OF THE ORDINARY MAGISTRY
We have just given a general and still somewhat superficial overview of the ordinary magisterium of the Church; we must now study it more in depth, by considering successively the main aspects under which it can be considered.
And first we are going to show how, not only the Pope and the bishops, but also the inferior ministers of the Church, the simple faithful and almost all men lend their voice to this ordinary magisterium and become its instruments.
But before entering into this subject, it will be useful to recall what the life of the Church consists of; for we have to understand this life, to understand how everything contributes, in the Church and even in the world, to the exercise of the ordinary magisterium that we are studying.
According to the profound doctrine of Saint Paul, the Church is the mystical body of Jesus Christ, made up of multiple and living members and organs. In this Church, the Savior established a head and a quorum of pastors charged with continuing the work He began on earth and communicating His life to His mystical body in all its forms and manifestations. Assisted for this work by the Holy Spirit, these ministers of Christ are the light of the world to whom they give supernatural life, they are the salt of the earth where they prevent this life from being corrupted. I will say nothing of the exercise of their power of order, by virtue of which they offer the holy Sacrifice and confer the sacraments; I will deal here only with their jurisdiction or the mission they have received to govern andteach the Church. Now, the reader will not be unaware of it, it is the exercise of papal and episcopal jurisdiction which preserves within the Church and which maintains there the evangelical doctrine, by an infallible teaching; Christian morality and perfection, by the maintenance of divine laws and the establishment of ecclesiastical laws; worship, through the various forms of the liturgy.
All divine gifts therefore come to us from the hands of the episcopate. If the Church is the mystical body of Jesus Christ, the bishops united to the Pope are like the soul and the substantial form which vivifies this Body, through the virtue of Jesus Christ whose place they occupy here below. This explains the principle, which we established earlier, that it is to the episcopal college that the exercise of the ordinary magisterium of the Church belongs, in its own right and by divine right.
But what they own, the bishops who form the teaching Church, can communicate it, to a certain extent, to the members of the taught Church  ; just as the soul puts something of its life into the organs of our senses.
To leave the figures, Jesus Christ having transmitted his mission to living men, gave them the ability to fulfill it, as living men, that is to say by acts due to their own initiative. He undoubtedly assists them and thus ensures the fulfillment of their ministry; but this assistance does not deprive them of the choice of the means which they deem advisable to help themselves; it even leaves them the liberty to take these means not only in the supernatural order, but also in the natural order; for everything is done for the elect and for Jesus Christ.
And indeed, since the divinely constituted pastors have made use, as we will see later, the data of the human sciences for the development of Christian doctrine, why should they not have sought co-operators, in the members of the Church? taught who are their children? They did it. They gave themselves help, by entrusting priests and clerics with ecclesiastical functions; they accept auxiliaries who are offered to them in the ranks of the laity.
Jesus Christ made them His ministers, and they are pastors of the Church by virtue of a divine institution. They constitute a clergy and give themselves lieutenants there who are also pastors in the Church, but by virtue of an ecclesiastical institution. These inferior ministers receive a share of the authority of the Pope and the bishops; but, however large this part may be given to them, they always remain instruments of the episcopal body and do not exercise a ministry instituted directly by Jesus Christ. As a result, they teach, but in the name and in the place of the bishops, without being part of the teaching Church and without possessing, by themselves, the infallibility promised to the Pontiff and to the successors of the apostles.
This participation in the attributions of the Holy See and of the apostolic college is granted in various ways and by various institutions.
We know that these attributions are multiple, that they are doctrinal, legislative, judicial. However, the Pope and the bishops can communicate them all, in a marked measure, to the same person, while limiting for him the exercise of these attributions to a restricted territory. It is in this way that the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff has been shared between the patriarchs and the metropolitans and that of the bishops of each diocese is transmitted to the parish priests.
It also happens that the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops communicate only one or the other of their powers, for example that of judging a certain type of case, but without limiting the exercise of this partial jurisdiction to a restricted territory. It is in this second way that the successor of Saint Peter shares his numerous responsibilities among the Roman congregations whose authority extends over the whole universe. We can, I believe, also fit into the same category the mission of studying and helping to study the true doctrine, which Catholic universities receive from the Sovereign Pontiff.
These various communications from the authority of the Holy See and the episcopate received stability when the needs of the church demanded it; they have therefore turned, quite often, into permanent institutions. The episcopal body has thus given itself, for the accomplishment of its mission, organized and living instruments; why shouldn't I say, after the explanations we have just read, that organs have been created which participate in his life?
Besides, besides these permanent organs, there are some transitory ones which owe their ephemeral existence to various delegations of spiritual power. Finally, in addition to the instruments that the bishops create for themselves, they are offered auxiliaries who help them to fulfill their mission, without leaving the dependence which is due to them and without having received any ministry from them. Such are the writers who submit their works to ecclesiastical approval, such are still the laity, who, without being charged with instructing their brethren in the truths of religion, do so with the express or legitimately presumed approval of the pastors; such are the parents who bring up their children in the principles of the Catholic faith and the teachers who contribute to the Christian education of the young.
All these aids contribute to the work of the teaching Church, all are the more or less authorized instruments of her daily magisterium. Each of them, in fact, expresses the doctrine of the Church in its own way, and the multitude of these instruments means that this doctrine is heard everywhere as a resonance.
The ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church, although it is entirely under the action of the episcopal body, is therefore formed by the concert of an infinite number of voices which rise constantly from end to end. other of the universe. It is like the sound of the vast ocean, where the murmur of the smallest waves mingles with the crashing of great waves. But, while there issue from the bosom of the sea only confused bellowings, all the voices that we hear in the Church become the instruments of the magisterium of the episcopate: they are like living echoes or, according to the beautiful comparison of Saint Ignatius, martyr ( ad Ephes.), like the strings of a lyre which constantly harmonize with the voice of the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops; for an organ exercises no function except under the influence of the vital principle and an instrument acts only under the impulse of the one who employs it.
The foregoing considerations would be incomplete if we did not add that this harmony is guaranteed not only by the excellent dispositions of the priests and the faithful, but also by the promises of Jesus Christ.
In fact, the Savior was not satisfied with assuring infallibility to the successors of Saint Peter and of the Apostles, he also undertook to maintain, in the bosom of His Church, a perpetual and indissoluble unity and to preserve the faith of its members of any alteration. This Church will therefore always remain united to the successor of Peter, on whom it leans like an edifice on its foundations, and the efforts of hell will not be able to destroy it, nor to shake its beliefs. Super hanc petram ædificabo Ecclesiam meam and portæ inferi non prævalebunt adversus eam . By virtue of these repeatedly renewed promises,the faith of the faithful is infallible like the teaching of the pastors, and we do not have to fear the slightest disagreement between this faith and this teaching. It is also a principle accepted in theology that the faith of all the Christian people is always in conformity with the doctrine of the episcopate which is that of Jesus Christ .
It is therefore God Himself who keeps the faith of the faithful , keeping it in accordance with the teaching of the first pastors: it is He who guarantees the docility of the instruments that the ordinary magisterium gives itself and the fidelity of the echoes. which he finds in the members of the Church who do not belong to the episcopal college.
Also to know the teachings of the ordinary magisterium, it is not necessary to listen to all the voices which serve as its organs or which echo it; it suffices that one is aware either of the doctrine of the dispersed episcopal body, or of the faith of all the faithful; it is often enough even to study them in one of their manifestations.
In fact, in a living being, all the members and all the organs harmonize so perfectly that only one of them, when it is important, is enough for a trained naturalist to reconstitute all the others. It is the same with the ordinary magisterium of the Church.
Thus the constant and universal doctrine of the Holy Fathers or of the theologians, to which we will have to return, allows, by itself, to know the teachings of this magisterium, as Pius IX made it clear in the letter to the Archbishop of Munich that we have already cited  .
The words of the martyrs recounted in their acts, the inscriptions placed on their tombs, the various monuments in which the faith of the Christian people is expressed may also manifest the beliefs of the universal Church.
But we will find them even more surely in the symbols of faith accepted by all Catholicity, I mean those of the Apostles, of Nicaea and of Saint Athanasius, in the professions of faith imposed on all those who must exercise an ecclesiastical ministry, finally in the Catechism of the Council of Trent and in all the diocesan catechisms, written to guide the clergy of the parishes in the daily instruction of the faithful. These are in fact documents in which the Apostles and their successors formulated rules of faith for the faithful and, for pastors, rules of teaching, with the help of which the unity of doctrine is maintained. We will see moreover the role of these doctrinal formulas, by studying how the ordinary magisterium is expressed.
III. HOW THE ORDINARY MAGISTRY OF THE CHURCH IS EXPRESSED.
If the acts of the ordinary magisterium of the Church form a complex and varied whole, because of the multitude and the unequal authority of those who serve as its organs or instruments, this variety is more striking when one considers the various ways in which these organs are expressed. Sometimes the Church speaks expressly, she presents to us her doctrine mixed or not with other elements; sometimes she acts or traces the path that her children must follow, and her acts become an implicit teaching; more often than not, she is silent and, by letting us speak and act in accordance with her previous teachings and the rules she laid down , she exercises a tacit magisterium which confirms the acts of her express magisterium and of her implicit magisterium.
We are going to study these three kinds of teachings quickly, focusing more on the first one that we have called on purpose . It can be given in solemn judgments or by the ordinary magisterium. The purpose of solemn definitions is to clearly determine a point of doctrine which they impose on our adherence. Also, they free it from any foreign element and usually indicate in what capacity it is obligatory, as one can see it by the canons of the Council of Trent.
When the magisterium of the dispersed Church wants to achieve the same end and is exercised on fully elucidated truths, it expresses itself in the same way and borrows the formulas of the solemn definitions which have been brought to the subject, or other similar formulas; but most often it is not so.
long as the ordinary magisterium is exercised everywhere and always, that it
speaks through the mouth of the missionary who announces the Gospel to those
who have been brought up in false religions, through the mouth of the
catechist who explains it to the children of the people, by that of the
theologian who synthesizes revealed truths, by that of the apologist who
shows the agreement of Christianity with all the sciences as they develop,
as long as it is addressed to all time, to all countries, to all conditions,
that it adapts to all civilizations, that it responds to all concerns and
all needs, raising the unbeliever of knowledge of the sensitive world to
science of God,leading the believer from the knowledge of the main truths of
the faith to a higher intelligence of creation, making its powerful imprint
on all that has anything to do with
The Church, the keeper of doctrine, keeps what is mixed up from blending together. Through its Sovereign Pontiffs, by its bishops, by its theologians, by its preachers, it makes it possible to discern the sacred from the profane, what is of faith and what is certain from what is opinion, what is obligatory from what is free ; but this discernment is not always made clearly, nor always easy to make; for, in the exposition of a truth, how many times is it not impossible to mark the separation between what is the ground and what is only the envelope, between what is the principle and what is which is only an application.
We find, moreover, in the teachings of the Church elements of human origin which form part of divine doctrine.
The infallible magisterium is, in fact, a living organism, divinely constituted to develop in the midst of all civilizations and which has received the power to incorporate all that is true and just. As the bishops create for themselves, in the priests chosen from among the people, organs which facilitate the accomplishment of their mission, so also, by the free action of those who teach and under the assistance of the Holy Spirit, sacred science assimilates the materials which are provided to it by the profane sciences and in form like the channels in which circulates the sap of the revealed doctrine. This is how the plant creates and renews the different tissues that constitute it.
suffices to recall here that the theological conclusions are deduced from
divine dogmas, with the aid of principles of reason, and that they develop,
like so many branches and twigs born from the trunk of
We cannot be made to grasp any doctrine without the help of language in which we have to somehow incarnate it, and the language that we will be spoken to will have to be composed of elements all the more in conformity with our usual conceptions, that we will want to put within the reach of limited intelligences truths which are more above them.
Therefore, in the Old Testament, God seems to attribute to Himself the body and the passions of men, in order to make the Israelites understand His conduct and His feelings. Likewise, when it was necessary to express, in the New Testament, mysteries which go so far beyond human conceptions, the apostle Saint Paul created for himself a language made up of images and comparisons which could bring these divine thoughts into the world. spirit of the humblest Christians. The ordinary magisterium could not act otherwise. In the Church, those who teach the revealed doctrine in a scientific way are not afraid to employ theories and methods which have been perfected by philosophers, while catechists, preachers and writers who do not speak not to scholars put it, toexample of Jesus Christ, in the form of parables. Could Saint Thomas have left us with such an admirable synthesis of theology, if he had not known Aristotle's philosophy and had not found there a host of frameworks and general views which seemed to await their application? to the exposition of Christian doctrine? Did not Saint Francis de Sales take from the science of his time those charming comparisons which make men of the world understand and love the devout life?exposition of Christian doctrine? Did not Saint Francis de Sales take from the science of his time those charming comparisons which make men of the world understand and love the devout life?exposition of Christian doctrine? Did not Saint Francis de Sales take from the science of his time those charming comparisons which make men of the world understand and love the devout life?
The ordinary magisterium therefore diversifies its teachings almost infinitely, in order to accommodate all our needs. But how is the unity of Christian doctrine preserved, in such a variety and in the midst of so many elements which tend to alter it? This is what remains for us to seek.
One can answer, without doubt, that this unity is the consequence of the infallibility promised to the Church and to those who govern her; but, since this infallibility is safeguarded by the assistance of the Holy Spirit and not by constantly renewed miracles or revelations, since this assistance leaves to their free action all the means that the ordinary magisterium possesses to elaborate and promulgate its teachings, it is necessary to examine which are the principles of uniformity which, in the exercise of this magisterium, counterbalance the causes of diversity which struck us just now.
If we consider the large number of people who exercise the ministry of the word, we would show that harmony is maintained between them by the authority of the Episcopate and by that of the Supreme Pontiff; it is, moreover, a point to which we have already touched and on which we propose to return to §§ V and VI, but here it is with the development and the form of the teachings of the ordinary magisterium that we are concerned with. After having noticed what makes these teachings so varied and so mobile, we are therefore going to study, from the same point of view, what they contain in uniform and constant.
What they contain everywhere and always is obviously what the universal Church regards as obligatory, whether it is a question of the basis of the doctrines or of the formulas which express them. However, what the universal Church regards as obligatory was proposed as such as of apostolic times or in the course of the following centuries. It is understandable that the prescriptions of the apostles are respected in the Churches which they have established and in all those which have emerged from them; it is also understandable that everywhere we bow before the express decisions of the Ecumenical Councils and the Sovereign Pontiffs; but what we have to look for is how the ordinary magisterium was able to put into circulation,to introduce in all the Churches and to make obligatory beliefs which until then one was free to rally. This research is all the more interesting since most of the solemn definitions were prepared by the same mysterious action, which, before the judgment of the Holy See or of the Council, had made the doctrines or the doctrines accepted by the whole Church. formulas promulgated therein.
We have seen the divergences which tend to occur, either between the numerous formulas in which one tries to fit the doctrines which are not yet fully elucidated nor, a fortiori, defined, or between the multiple exhibitions of the best doctrines. thinnings; but what we have not noticed is that there is, at the same time, between them like a struggle for life, by the effect of which the defective formulas and the imperfect exposures disappear, to leave little to little field with exact formulas and happy exhibitions.
is easy to study, in the writings of the first centuries, how certain
It is not difficult to see that this struggle for life occurs not only between the short and precise formulas which make up our symbols of faith and our catechisms, but also between the long-term works. Treaties in which the Church does not find her doctrine expounded with exactness, clarity and neatness disappear or are not used; on the contrary, the remarkable writings remain, are spread in all hands, and the pastors recognize in them the faithful expression of the teachings of Christianity.
This is how the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church became witnesses and immortal organs of these teachings. What, in fact, does it take, according to theologians, to deserve the title of Father of the Church and to enjoy the doctrinal authority attached to it?
Four conditions: great holiness, great antiquity, eminent doctrine and the sanction of the Church.
Now, these are precisely the conditions which were to give immortality and authority to the writings of the Holy Fathers, in this always open competition of which we spoke earlier. Indeed, what is required, to survive the multitude of works which disappear and fall into oblivion, is a pure doctrine, exposed in a superior manner and which receives the assent of the Church. Now, the Holy Fathers had an eminent theological science, that is to say, the means of recognizing the faith of the Church and of presenting it in all its purity and in its true light; they had holiness, therefore an inviolable attachment to revealed truths and a deep horror of anything that would tarnish their purity; many suffered martyrdom rather than deny the faith,all would have preferred to die than to alter its integrity. To these advantages, they added that of their antiquity: they lived at the time when the dogma was beginning to develop and they applied themselves to expose it with exactitude and to defend it against heresies, rather than to unfold, as theologians have done it ever since, the chain of consequences it contains. This is why, in its struggle against the great heresies, the whole Church has aligned itself behind the Athanasius, the Hilaires and the Augustines, as behind the representatives of orthodoxy; that is why she has never ceased to make use of their writings and to profess complete confidence in their orthodoxy through the mouths of her Sovereign Pontiffs, her bishops and her theologians.integrity. To these advantages, they added that of their antiquity: they lived at the time when the dogma was beginning to develop and they applied themselves to expose it with exactitude and to defend it against heresies, rather than to unfold, as theologians have done it ever since, the chain of consequences it contains. This is why, in its struggle against the great heresies, the whole Church has aligned itself behind the Athanasius, the Hilaires and the Augustines, as behind the representatives of orthodoxy; that is why she has never ceased to make use of their writings and to profess complete confidence in their orthodoxy through the mouths of her Sovereign Pontiffs, her bishops and her theologians.integrity. To these advantages, they added that of their antiquity: they lived at the time when the dogma was beginning to develop and they applied themselves to expose it with exactitude and to defend it against heresies, rather than to unfold, as theologians have done it ever since, the chain of consequences it contains. This is why, in its struggle against the great heresies, the whole Church has aligned itself behind the Athanasius, the Hilaires and the Augustines, as behind the representatives of orthodoxy; that is why she has never ceased to make use of their writings and to profess complete confidence in their orthodoxy through the mouths of her Sovereign Pontiffs, her bishops and her theologians.they lived in the time when dogma was beginning to develop and they applied themselves to expounding it accurately and defending it against heresies, rather than unrolling, as theologians have since done, the chain of consequences it contains. It is for this reason that, in its struggle against the great heresies, the whole Church has aligned itself behind the Athanasius, the Hilaires and the Augustines, as behind the representatives of orthodoxy; that is why she has never ceased to make use of their writings and to profess complete confidence in their orthodoxy through the mouths of her Sovereign Pontiffs, her bishops and her theologians.they lived in the time when dogma was beginning to develop and they applied themselves to expounding it accurately and defending it against heresies, rather than unrolling, as theologians have since done, the chain of consequences it contains. It is for this reason that, in its struggle against the great heresies, the whole Church has aligned itself behind the Athanasius, the Hilaires and the Augustines, as behind the representatives of orthodoxy; that is why she has never ceased to make use of their writings and to profess complete confidence in their orthodoxy through the mouths of her Sovereign Pontiffs, her bishops and her theologians.expounding accurately and defending it against heresies, rather than unwinding, as theologians have since done, the chain of consequences it contains. It is for this reason that, in its struggle against the great heresies, the whole Church has aligned itself behind the Athanasius, the Hilaires and the Augustines, as behind the representatives of orthodoxy; that is why she has never ceased to make use of their writings and to profess complete confidence in their orthodoxy through the mouths of her Sovereign Pontiffs, her bishops and her theologians.expounding accurately and defending it against heresies, rather than unwinding, as theologians have since done, the chain of consequences it contains. It is for this reason that, in its struggle against the great heresies, the whole Church has aligned itself behind the Athanasius, the Hilaires and the Augustines, as behind the representatives of orthodoxy; that is why she has never ceased to make use of their writings and to profess complete confidence in their orthodoxy through the mouths of her Sovereign Pontiffs, her bishops and her theologians.The whole Church is aligned behind the Athanasius, the Hilaires and the Augustines, as behind the representatives of Orthodoxy; that is why she has never ceased to make use of their writings and to profess complete confidence in their orthodoxy through the mouths of her Sovereign Pontiffs, her bishops and her theologians.The whole Church is aligned behind the Athanasius, the Hilaires and the Augustines, as behind the representatives of Orthodoxy; that is why she has never ceased to make use of their writings and to profess complete confidence in their orthodoxy through the mouths of her Sovereign Pontiffs, her bishops and her theologians.
Doctors of the Church who have lived since the twelfth century, especially those whose doctrine has been more especially recommended by the successors of St. Peter and who enjoy great authority in Catholic schools, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, can be assimilated to the Holy Fathers; because if they do not have this title, it is only because of the time when they were born. They came after the Holy Fathers: they lived in a time when human philosophy, more studied, offered its framework for the exposition of revealed truth; but they made a point of not teaching anything which was not in conformity with the tradition, and, by seeking the means of expounding the catholic doctrine with more sequence and precision,they have safeguarded the purity of this doctrine and distinguished the dogmas of faith and the certain truths from the opinions given to the discussions of men.
Finally, our great theologians participate in the authority of the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church, insofar as they come closer to them through their attachment to tradition, through their doctrine and through the confidence they inspire in pastors and the faithful.
The care with which all these venerable writers have exposed the faith of the Church and the approval they have received from her make their writings to be regarded as expressing the teachings of her ordinary magisterium. Nevertheless, it should be noted that it is not to each of their statements taken in isolation, but rather to their teaching as a whole, that this authority is granted.
It follows that an isolated proposition borrowed from a holy Father is not considered as the certain teaching of the ordinary magisterium, if it is not found in the greatest number of other Fathers or of theologians.
But when a point of doctrine is unanimously admitted, or nearly so, by all the Fathers of the Church or authorized theologians, it is an indubitable sign that it is part of the revealed truths taught by the ordinary magisterium. . Indeed if it were otherwise, how could he have obtained, during such a long series of centuries, the assent of all the authorized witnesses of this magisterium, in preference to so many opinions which have disappeared or which have not got that membership from a few authors? How would it have been presented by them all, not as an assertion more or less well proven, but as a point of doctrine, that is to say as a point taught by theChurch ? We must therefore regard as certain doctrine and accept as exact any dogmatic formula which has for it this constant and unanimous agreement.
We could cite a large number of declarations in which the Supreme Pontiff and the Councils recognize this irrevocable and consequently infallible authority of the Holy Fathers  or of theologians  . It suffices to recall the prescriptions of the Council of Trent and that of the Vatican, which impose to interpret Sacred Scripture "in matters of faith and manners which belong to the construction of Christian doctrine according to unanimous consent. of the Fathers ”, and who do not attribute to this consent any less authority than the judgments of the Church itself  , as does the letter of 21 Dec. 1863, where Pius IX says thatone is obliged to believe what Catholic theologians unanimously and constantly teach as belonging to the faith .
We see that besides the causes of divergences and variations, the ordinary magisterium has the means to maintain the unity and the purity of its express teachings. It is therefore clear that with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the Church is no less infallible in her daily magisterium than in her solemn judgments.
But this magisterium, which is exercised by the express teaching of revealed truths and the doctrines which are attached to it, is still expressed, in an infallible, though implicit, manner by the discipline and worship of the Church and through the guidance of pastors and the faithful. This is a truth admitted by all theologians and which it is unnecessary to demonstrate at this time.
It is, undoubtedly, because of the close connection of all these bodies which give rise to the various attributions of ecclesiastical authority, that Jesus Christ did not divide these attributions among the heads of His Church, as we share today the attributions of the civil power between several people of which some have the legislative power, the others the judicial power or the administrative power. He gave all the functions of ecclesiastical authority to all the members of the episcopal body. The Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops are at the same time priests, doctors, legislators and judges, and their acts as priests, legislators and judges show us the doctrine that we must believe, less explicitly perhaps,but no less really than those where they mainly fulfill their ministry as doctors.
There is more. All those who have
received a ministry from the Pope or from the bishops become the instruments
of their magisterium. We have already seen how the authority of the
episcopal body is communicated and shared among inferior ministers. A part
of these ministers of ecclesiastical institution participate, we said, in
all the attributions of papal power; but the others receive only one
department; the pope, surrounded by his various congregations of cardinals,
resembles the modern head of state surrounded by his minister of justice,
his minister of war and his other ministers. Now, even though the Pope's
auxiliaries or those of the bishops are not responsible for teaching,as they
act in dependence on the Supreme Pontiff or on the bishops who are at the
same time doctors and legislators, all that they do enters, for its part, in
the exercise of the implicit magisterium. The daily magisterium of the
Supreme Pontiff therefore acts, in a certain way, not only through the
doctrinal decisions of
All the functions of supernatural life which are exercised in the mystical body of Jesus Christ, under the action of the government of legitimate pastors, therefore become permanent manifestations of the Savior's doctrine.
The Church is therefore holy: despite the personal faults of her children and even of her pastors, her conduct through the ages is a teaching similar to that of the examples of Jesus Christ; for the Savior always lives in the mystical body of which He is the head.
This teaching is before our eyes, in all the works of the Church, in its discipline, its liturgy, its institutions, its religious orders, its temples and its monuments, in the devotions and practices of charity, zeal or piety. of her children, in her history, in the life of the saints that she places on her altars, in the life of the most humble Christians who are docile to her voice, in the civilization, the customs, the language, the arts of the peoples of which she did education.
We see that each generation adds something to the unbroken chain of express or implied teachings which manifest the doctrine of the Church. In this way, the documents of various origins which express this doctrine are constantly increasing. It is a capital placed in the hands of the Church and which it increases without slackening by the express teachings of its solemn judgments and its ordinary magisterium, as well as by the laws which it carries, and by the conduct which she holds. This capital is formed mainly from the canon of the Holy Scriptures, from the doctrinal definitions, from the disciplinary laws, from the rules of the liturgy, as well as from the works of the Fathers, theologians and other ecclesiastical writers; but it is under the care of the ordinary magisterium of theChurch that this family treasure is placed. She keeps it with jealous care, preventing anyone from questioning the decided or defined points. It modifies its discipline according to the times and needs, but does not allow us to question the legitimacy of the general laws it has enacted. She enforces all these venerable monuments and ensures that no part of them perishes. It is also the Church which continually interprets them through the mouths of the Supreme Pontiffs, the bishops and all those to whom they have given this ministry.we question the legitimacy of the general laws it has enacted. She enforces all these venerable monuments and ensures that no part of them perishes. It is also the Church which continually interprets them through the mouths of the Supreme Pontiffs, the bishops and all those to whom they have given this ministry.we question the legitimacy of the general laws it has enacted. She enforces all these venerable monuments and ensures that no part of them perishes. It is also the Church which continually interprets them through the mouths of the Supreme Pontiffs, the bishops and all those to whom they have given this ministry.
It is therefore necessary to add to what we have said of the express teachings and the implicit teachings of the ordinary magisterium that he can, at any moment, renew all these teachings and, in addition, all those which are expressed in our holy books and in the definitions of popes or councils.
But here is an observation to which I call the reader's attention. The ordinary magisterium of the Church makes these treasures bear fruit and offers them to its children, not only when it interprets the doctrine contained in these monuments of past ages, but also when it is silent about them, and it is thus exercised in this way. 'in a tacit way .
The Church, in fact, has repeatedly placed these monuments in the hands of the pastors and the faithful, as authentic witnesses of her doctrine. Now, as the Church is infallible and that she cannot reverse her decisions , all these documents are constantly imposed on our faith, in the same way that a law once passed and promulgated by the legislator is required. forever to the obedience of those who are subject to him.
It is admitted, moreover, that by virtue of the promises of Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Church perpetually extends to all revealed truths. Now, how can this be done, if not through this magisterium which tacitly imposes on us all the doctrines which it once taught and which are expressed in the various monuments which it constantly presents to us as the rules of our belief and of our conduct? The ordinary magisterium is therefore exercised by this tacit teaching.
The express teachings of the Church will not even be understood, more often than not, unless she offers them to us as framed in the tacit teaching of which I have just explained the nature. Indeed, let us be careful, the doctrinal judgments made for four centuries, on the Immaculate Conception, on grace, on the various points denied by the Protestants, these judgments, I say, would they have been included in the form in which the Church expressed them, if they had been promulgated in the tenth century, before the works of the scholastics, or in the third century, before those of the Fathers of the Church? No ! the dogma would not have been sufficiently developed to realize the meaning and the scope of most of these definitions. If we grasp this meaning and scope, it isis because we contemplate these definitions throughout Catholic doctrine. The Church therefore offers us certain points of this doctrine in a tacit manner, by the very fact that she offers us others in an express manner; the formal teachings of the Church contain, if you will, as a tacit and new promulgation of the previous definitions and assertions which have brought these teachings to their present form.as a tacit and new promulgation of previous definitions and statements which have caused these teachings to take their present form.as a tacit and new promulgation of the previous definitions and assertions which caused these teachings to take their present form.
We can therefore, from this point of view, consider the doctrinal documents that the Church holds in its custody and offers to our beliefs as organs of its ordinary magisterium. She forms these organs for herself by her own vital force, or rather she brings them out like so many branches of the doctrine that she received from the apostles and she constantly extends them in all directions. Indeed, according to the beautiful comparison of Saint Paul, the Church is an animated body which lives and grows; now, it lives and grows not only by the multiplication of its members who are the Christians, but also by the development of the formulas and the monuments which contain its doctrine. Pastors and Doctors came after the apostles to work on this development, dedit pastores et doctores in ædificationem corporis Christi, and they added new theological monuments to those the apostles had left us. This increase takes place according to a continuous plan and according to the direction given from the beginning, as in living beings. Each generation adds, in fact, something to the developments which theology had received from past generations, and the ancient monuments of tradition are like the trunk and the mother branches from which comes the sap which produces the new monuments. As, on the other hand, the youth of the Church is eternal and her doctrine is infallible, death or corruption never come to destroy the branches or the tissues once formed. Thus, each year, a vigorous sap shapes, in the secular oak of the forest, new woody layers, whichit is pushing new branches and creating new channels for the future.
The ordinary magisterium therefore extends to all Christian doctrine , it expresses it by express teachings, among which the writings of the Holy Fathers and theologians have a very considerable role; he also manifests it by implicit teachings which result mainly from discipline and liturgy; he affirms it finally by a tacit proposition of all that has been believed since the time of the apostles and of all that is contained in Sacred Scripture and the monuments of tradition.
IV. OBLIGATIONS THAT THE ORDINARY MAGISTRY IMPOSES, IN MATTERS OF DOCTRINE.
We have seen that the ordinary magisterium preserves and develops Christian doctrine. As a result, the question we are addressing can be understood in two ways.
We can indeed ask ourselves:
1 ° if the proposal of the ordinary magisterium is sufficient for a doctrine to impose itself on our adhesion;
2 ° if this proposal has the force to make obligatory even a point freely controversial until then.
These two questions deserve to be considered separately.
The first is moreover resolved very clearly by the texts that we have studied above, in particular by the Vatican Council and by the letter of Pius IX to the Archbishop of Munich. These documents show, in fact, that the ordinary and universal magisterium enjoys the same infallibility and the same authority as the solemn definitions .
The signsto whom we recognize a doctrine infallibly taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium must therefore show that this doctrine is proposed to the belief of the Church by the sovereign authority of the Roman Pontiff or of the episcopal body. We can, moreover, draw this conclusion from the fact that a doctrine is believed and regarded as obligatory by all the faithful, since their faith is always the echo of the teaching of the pastors. Although the ordinary magisterium extends to all the doctrine of the Church, it can happen, moreover, that an obligatory truth is not taught expressly by the majority of bishops, nor expressly believed by the majority of the faithful. There are, indeed, certain points of doctrine and imposed as such, even by solemn judgments,and which are beyond the reach of most laymen. So it would be wrong to seek to realize the faith of the Church on these points by the faith of the people. As much would be worth, said, Melchior Cano (De Locis theol ., I. IV, c. VI, ad 14), ask a blind person to see the colors. We will not be able to realize it either by the express teaching which the episcopal body formulates every day, since this teaching is addressed mainly to the people and that, consequently, it relates most often only to the only truths which are to its scope.
this mean that the subjects whose intelligence requires
are not the object of daily education? It would be a
to think so; for this magisterium extends to all the doctrine of the Church,
as we have observed on several occasions. The episcopal body infallibly
teaches and the faithful people accept all the obligatory points of
Christian doctrine; but the principal truths of the faith, those of which
the knowledge is easy to all, are taught expressly by the bishops, while the
truths which are hardly understood outside the schools of theology are
mainly the object of their tacit teaching. Indeed, if these truths studied
in schools have been the object of solemn definitions, it is from the pope
or the bishops, who formerly carried these definitions, and their successors
who continue to affirm them tacitly, that the he teaching of theology
derives its authority. S 'they are, on the contrary, truths on which the
Pope nor the bishops have never pronounced themselves and which,
nevertheless, are certain by virtue of the unanimous agreement of the Holy
Fathers or the theologians, they are still declarations repeated by the
Pope, the councils and the dispersed episcopate, that this unanimous
agreement draws its authority. Moreover, the Christian people, by accepting
everything that the Church teaches, implicitly believe everything that the
college of bishops tacitly teaches.that this unanimous agreement derives its
authority. Moreover, the Christian people, by accepting everything that the
Church teaches, implicitly believe everything that the college of bishops
tacitly teaches.that this unanimous agreement derives its authority.
Moreover, the Christian people, by accepting everything that the Church
teaches, implicitly believe everything that the college of bishops tacitly
It follows from these observations that, if we have classified the Holy Fathers and the theologians among the instruments of the express magisterium, when we study how this magisterium is expressed, it is better to place them among the organs of the tacit magisterium, when we study their authority. That's what we'll do here.
We have indicated the main manifestations of the express teaching, the implicit teaching and the tacit teaching of the ordinary magisterium. It will therefore suffice for us to show quickly by which signs we can recognize that they express a doctrine imposed on the Church by the Supreme Pontiff or by the episcopal body. When these signs are realized, we will be faced with an infallible teaching to which it is an obligation to adhere . This obligation may, moreover, be imposed on pain of heresy, error, temerity or impiety , depending on the various cases.
The express teachings of the daily magisterium are found above all in symbols, in professions of faith and in catechisms.
The catechism of the Council of Trent and the diocesan catechisms, considered as a whole, express the doctrine of the Sovereign Pontiffs and of the bishops who had them written; at the same time, they manifest the belief of the faithful, since they are its immediate rule.
As the purpose of these catechisms is to expose not what is opinion, but what is the faith of all , we must consider as proposed to our faith most of the points that they agree to teach without restriction. There is nevertheless the affirmation of some opinions which, while being the most probable, are disputed by theologians. The editors stopped at these assertions, because it was necessary to choose a sentiment, because they could not inform the simple faithful of a controversy beyond their reach, well because they wanted to be brief. and avoid long developments.
The implicit and infallible teachings of the ordinary magisterium are provided to us by the universal practices of the Church , by the liturgies , in what they have in common, and by the general laws of the Church.. All acts in accordance with these practices, liturgies or laws are sanctioned by the custodians of infallibility; they cannot, therefore, be evil, nor detract us from salvation. Each time, therefore, that these acts manifestly presuppose the truth of a doctrine, there is an implicit proposition of this doctrine by the Church. The adoration of the Eucharist would be an act of idolatry, if Jesus Christ were not present in the host; now, everywhere the faithful adore the Eucharist which priests and bishops offer for their adoration; therefore, by this conduct, the Church implicitly teaches the dogma of the real presence, and this teaching is infallible.
the connection of a dogma with a universal practice were real, but not
manifest, one could conclude from it that this dogma is true and that it is
contained in the tradition, but not that it is currently proposed to the
explicit faith of the faithful. So the feast of
Finally, if there is no necessary connection between the legitimacy of a practice and a given doctrine, it is clear that this practice cannot be invoked as an unmistakable sign that the doctrine is imposed by the Church. . Here is an example. The worship rendered to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord is justified and explained without having to admit that it is the heart which is the organ of the passions in man; therefore, in adoring the Sacred Heart, the Church does not impose any opinion on this last question.
The universal uses of the Church which have a marked purpose, such as the rites of the sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice , manifest, in another way, the infallible faith of the Church . The latter only uses them because it believes in their effectiveness . It must be admitted, for example, that the Church regards the matter and the form used in the administration of the various sacraments as capable of producing their effects , and that she is not mistaken on this point.
The tacit magisterium is expressed, we have said, by all the documents of which the Church keeps the deposit and which she never ceases to present to us endowed with the authority that she has recognized or conferred on them over the centuries. . It is this continuous and silent proposition which perpetually imposes on our acceptance the solemn definitions and the various manifestations of tradition. But the writings of the Holy Fathers and theologians derive their value more especially from this tacit magisterium.
We have seen, in fact, that the Church regards as certain all the points of doctrine which the Holy Fathers or the theologians are unanimous in proclaiming. These points are therefore proposed, at least tacitly, to the faith of the faithful by the depositaries of the ordinary magisterium; they are, therefore, infallibly true.
This unanimous agreement of the Holy Fathers or theologians presupposes two conditions.
- The first is that they adhere to the truth in question, because they regard it as taught by the Church, that is to say as revealed or related to revelation. It is usually expressed by saying that it is necessary that the Holy Fathers where the theologians speak not as private doctors , but as witnesses of tradition .
- The second condition is that this truth be taught by the moral unanimity of the Holy Fathers or theologians, that is to say by most of those who have had to deal with it. Moreover, if it was a question which was only elucidated from a given epoch, the Holy Fathers or the theologians who lived after that epoch would alone be taken into account.
We see that these two conditions are of such a nature that they must be assessed morally. It is therefore not always easy to decide whether they are fulfilled. When they certainly are, where is there a teaching which belongs to the faith and to which one is bound to adhere. When it is obvious that they are not, opinions remain free. Nevertheless, there is an obligation to respect or even to admit, on pain of temerity, a teaching of the Holy Fathers or theologians which approaches appreciably unanimous agreement.
It would be a long and difficult task to set the limits at which these various obligations begin. I will confine myself to presenting here a few observations which may help to recognize whether the two conditions which have just been indicated are fulfilled.
Needless to say, the Holy Fathers and theologians have no particular authority in matters foreign to revelation or in anything they mix up purely secular assertions with the exposition of Christian doctrine. So we were not required to adopt the theory of the four elements, although all the Fathers and theologians admitted it. There is no need, either, to rank among the number of dogmas proposed to our faith the religious doctrines which the Holy Fathers and the theologians consider as not being indisputable, even in the unlikely event that they all share on these doctrines the same opinion. Such an agreement would indeed be the result of their reasoning and their personal ways of seeing, rather than the effect of the teaching of theChurch. As, moreover, the thoughts of the Holy Fathers are not always clearly indicated, we may sometimes wonder whether a sentiment which they agree to embrace is a free opinion in which they meet, or a binding doctrine. Here is what Melchior Cano says on this subject: "In matters which do not belong at all to faith (whether they concern or whether they do not concern religion), the authority of all the saints Fathers is a probable argument, not a certain proof"In questions which do not at all belong to faith (whether they concern or whether they do not concern religion), the authority of all the Holy Fathers is a probable argument, not a certain proof."In questions which do not at all belong to faith (whether they concern or whether they do not concern religion), the authority of all the Holy Fathers is a probable argument, not a certain proof. ”. But Franzelin  criticizes this assertion. This principle should not, in his opinion, apply to matters relating to religion. “If we were certain, on the other hand,” he said, “that a doctrine does not belong to the faith, it would be necessary to admit that the Fathers who unanimously admitted it expressed a simple opinion; but, as what is in question is whether this doctrine belongs to the faith, it must be judged by the way in which the fathers present it, rather than by the opinion which one would have formed in advance on the faith. question". This remark by Franzelin seems correct and it should serve as a rule.
Nevertheless, I believe there is a point to add to it. If the Fathers seemed to unanimously affirm a religious doctrine which the Church allowed to be discussed freely in the following centuries, it would be necessary to think that the affirmations of the Holy Fathers expressed simple opinions, and that they did not fulfill the first condition required for it. moral unanimity in teaching; for a dogma which has been proposed to the faith of the faithful can never be transformed afterwards into a free opinion.
As to the number of the Holy Fathers or the theologians necessary to form moral unanimity, it is impossible to determine; but it will have to be more considerable, when some ordinarily orthodox theologians will have expressly opposed the doctrine taught by their contemporaries and by those who lived before them. If the theologians who oppose this doctrine are in sufficient number, or of considerable authority, this will even be reason enough to deny that this doctrine is common and binding. In fact, for a truth to be offered to our faith by the Church, it is not enough that it is really found in tradition, it must also be seen clearly; now, as long as serious and orthodox theologians do not see it, it is a sign that the duty toto accept this truth is not manifest, and that it is not affirmed by the moral unanimity of the authors.
Nevertheless, this consequence should not be drawn from negations which have their source in prejudice or ignorance.
In 1863, Pius IX reminded certain German theologians that we must give our faith and our adhesion, not only to the truths imposed as of faith by solemn judgments of the Church, but also to all the points that it declares certain and obligatory by its ordinary and universal magisterium.
Now, would it not have been wrong to invoke the feeling of these theologians, who regarded as certain and obligatory only the truths of the Catholic faith, to maintain that no other truth could claim in its favor the common teaching? theologians. We know, moreover, that the writers of Germany were not alone in this sentiment; because many books published, even nowadays, on religious questions, admit or let think that it is enough to reject everything which is heretical, in order to have nothing to reproach on the side of the faith.
Some theologians may moreover be inclined to reduce the number of obligatory truths by a tendency in which the desire to open the doors of the Church more widely to the blind who remain distant from her has the greatest part. In the face of heretics, rationalists and infidels, the defenders of the truth have in fact, at all times, but today more than ever, let themselves be dominated by different concerns which have made them walk in two opposite directions.
The apparent and momentary needs of apologetics also lead writers very devoted to religion to cut several truths from the catalog of those which have been proposed to our faith by the infallible magisterium of the Church. They are soldiers who, in order to defend us, burn our weapons and our treasures, for fear that the enemy will use them against us. It is necessary to have followed the adventures of contemporary apologetics, constantly challenged to explain oneself on a thousand unexpected and poorly understood questions, to explain this tendency, which has manifested itself in our century.
The conclusion to be drawn from these observations is that today especially, it is necessary to examine the reasons which make certain authors deny that a doctrine is obligatory, when one must apply the general rule that I I asked: knowing that the negation of serious and orthodox theologians is enough to show that a doctrine has not been proposed to our faith by the Church. This rule is true, but when it comes to real theologians who know the rules of faith well and want to follow them.
When a doctrine has no serious and authorized adversaries, the affirmations of a notable section of the Holy Fathers or theologians sufficiently demonstrate that it has the unanimous consent of the Church for it. We will even be entitled to assume this unanimous consent if some authors who have specially studied the subject, or if doctors of the Church of exceptional merit, such as Saint Augustine or Saint Thomas Aquinas, insist on the obligation to admit a truth and give it as manifestly taught by the Church. One must think, in fact, that doctors of such great authority are not mistaken on clear and important points and that their feeling is shared by all the orthodox authors. Moreover, each time the ordinary magisteriumexercises under the conditions that we have indicated, its teachings, whether express, implicit or tacit, possess in themselves an authority equal to that of the solemn definitions.
There is one more question that remains for us to consider. Among the truths which are essential to our adhesion, there are some which, from the origins of Christianity, have been proposed in an explicit manner to the faith of the faithful; there are others which are obligatory, because since then they have been the object of a solemn judgment by the Church. The ordinary magisterium must impose all these truths on our membership, because in this it only affirms an existing obligation. But can this magisterium, by its own force, create for us new obligations in matters of doctrine, make certain a point which until then was doubtful, or else render of the Catholic faith a truth which was only certain? This is the question before us.
One thing strikes me first of all: it is that in several solemn circumstances the Church behaved, as if she were incapable of creating any new Catholic dogma , other than by a solemn definition.
I will cite just two examples.
The Fathers of the Council of Trent had prepared a decree which condemned, as heretics, those who would affirm that consummated marriages are dissolved by adultery. Then the ambassadors of Venice observed that this decree would strike the feeling supported by the Greeks and make it heretical. The Council yielded to these representations and formulated its definition thus: " If anyone says that the Church is mistaken in teaching, according to the doctrine of the Gospel and of the Apostles, that the bond of marriage cannot be dissolved because of the adultery of one of the spouses, ... let him be anathema . Si quis dixerit Ecclesiam errare, cum docuit et docet, juxta evangelicam et apostolicam doctrinam, propter adulterium alterius conjugum matrimonii vinculum non posse dissolvi, ... anathema sit". (Conc. Trident. Sess. 24, con. 7. - Cfr. Pallavicini, History of the Council of Trent , book XXII, chap. IV, n. 27-30). This decree condemned the Lutherans, by defining, as of the Catholic faith, that the Church is not mistaken in its teaching ; but it did not directly affect the Greeks, since it did not define that the teaching of the Church was of the Catholic faith. (. Perrone From Immaculato BV Conc ., Part II, cap 7 -.. Matri-monio n 134 and 148.).
Note that this is a point of doctrine which seems immediately revealed, since the Council affirms its conformity with the Gospel and the teaching of the apostles. Now, that being said, do we not find ourselves facing the ordinary and universal magisterium, which teaches a point of doctrine as revealed and which does not make it of the Catholic faith? Does not the conduct of the Fathers of Trent suppose that the solemn definition of a Pope or of a Council is necessary to make a doctrine heretical? Indeed, the direct definition of the indissolubility of marriage, which the Fathers abandoned, for fear of classifying the Greeks among the number of heretics, expressed only what the same Fathers regard and represent as the ordinary and universal teaching of the Church. 'Church.If therefore they affirm, on the one hand, the teachings of the ordinary magisterium of the Church, without fear of making the Greeks heretics, and if, on the other hand, they do not want to formulate the same teachings, in a conciliar decree, in order not to make it a dogma of the Catholic faith, is it not that, in their thought at least, the proposition of a truth by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church is not sufficient for it to become of Catholic faith and that, for this, ain their thought at least, the proposition of a truth by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church is not sufficient for it to become of the Catholic faith and that, for this, ain their thought at least, the proposition of a truth by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church is not sufficient for it to become of the Catholic faith and that, for this, asolemn definition ?
borrow my second example from contemporary history. Did not the universal
Church unanimously admit the Immaculate Conception of
In the presence of this morally unanimous teaching, how could one regard a solemn definition, as necessary to make of the Immaculate Conception a dogma of the Catholic faith? Was it not, in a way, to question the authority of the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church? If the Pope and the bishops had believed this magisterium capable of placing the privilege of Mary among these dogmas, while desiring, for the glory of the Blessed Virgin, a solemn definition which would confirm the faith of the Church, and without sharing the feeling of some theologians  , to whom " it seemed superfluous to define a doctrine that no one disputed, that everyone professed", Wouldn't they have thought, at least, that the definition of Pie lX was not necessary?
I could have multiplied these examples; because, more often than not, before promulgating definitions on the points which until then had not been of the Catholic faith, the Sovereign Pontiffs and the Fathers of the councils noted that their solemn judgment would be in conformity with the teaching of the universal magisterium from the church. But the facts which have been reported are sufficient to show the difficulty that we are going to seek to resolve.
Let us note first of all that, in the examples which have just been cited, these are definitions of the Catholic faith and not of decrees which would condemn a doctrine, by applying a lower grade to it than that of a heretic.
I also ask the reader to observe that no doctrine can be declared of the Catholic faith if it is not revealed and if it is not found in tradition. It is thus understood that to know this tradition kept whole by the ordinary magisterium of the Popes consult the scattered Church, before enacting their solen-tional judgments  .
Now, could the ordinary magisterium of this scattered Church, without the intervention of any solemn judgment, transform into a dogma of faith a revealed truth which had previously been regarded as free, or make certain a point which was in doubt? This is what we need to examine.
We have seen, moreover, how he develops Christian dogmas, elucidates in them what was obscure and draws conclusions previously unnoticed. So we could cite many doctrines, once freely discussed, which have become certain and have imposed themselves with the assent of the whole Church, and this without the intervention of any solemn judgment. The ordinary magisterium can therefore, by its own resources, make certain and obligatory a feeling which was classified among free opinions.
However, when it comes to increasing the catalog of dogmas of the Catholic faith, the Church proceeds with extreme reserve. These dogmas impose themselves, in fact, on the belief of all Christians, on pain of heresy. Also, for a truth to be regarded as a dogma of the Catholic faith, the proposal must have been made, with clear clarity, certainty and an intention to oblige manifest, and should we not qualify as heretics as proposals which formally and directly contradict the dogmas thus proposed. Now, as a solemn definition provides the Church with the most suitable means to mark her intentions energetically and to clearly formulate her doctrine, it is the solemn definitions , and not the ordinary magisterium, which,in fact have always beenused to condemn as Hereti-c proposals which until then had been spared this qualification. Also it is generally admitted that the common feeling of the Fathers or the theologians can make a doctrine certain, but that it does not make it of the Catholic faith, if it is not already.
“It is obvious,” says Cardinal Franzelin ( de divina Traditione , 2nd ed., P. 159) when explaining when an assertion must be treated as a heretic, it is obvious that it is to the Supreme Pontiff and to the Ecumenical Council that 'it is up to define the revealed truths which have not yet been the object of a sufficient proposition ”. And further (ibid., P. 161): “Theologians generally think that one cannot regard a truth (to which one gives the note of certain) as of the Catholic faith, before there intervenes a definition of the Church ”. Cardinal Mazzella, after having said that the censorship of close to heresy is being applied, proxima hæresi, to the propositions which contradict a doctrine which is imposed undoubtedly, but not as of the Catholic faith, by virtue of the consent and of the almost unanimous teaching, continues ( de Virtut. infusis, not. 533): “Other theologians understand this censorship differently. They say, in fact, that if a doctrine were given as certainly belonging to the faith by all the Fathers and theologians, that would suffice for it to form part of the divine faith; but, in the absence of a definition of the Church, it would not yet belong to the Catholic faith. This doctrine could receive the note of close to the faith, because it would be close to the Catholic faith. The opposite proposition could, conversely, be called close to heresy. It would, in fact, be as close as possible to falling under a solemn definition; because she would meet all the conditions required to be declared a heretic ”. Cardinal Mazzella further notes,that theologians who would not classify this proposition among those which are close to heresy would regard it as erroneous. It is therefore that all theologians agree in recognizing that she would not be heretical. This supposes that a teaching, even unanimous, cannot make a proposition heretical, which was not heretical before.
also appears to be the opinion of de Lugo (
, disp. XX, n. 67), although I do not find any definite doctrine on this
point, nor in this author whose treatise on
The ordinary magisterium is therefore infallible in all its affirmations; but so far he has not proposed and he can hardly  propose other dogmas of the Catholic faith than those which have been such since the time of the apostles or which have become so by virtue of a solemn judgment. Without doubt, it clarifies the revealed truths, it develops them and draws conclusions from them, it even shows that one must qualify as erroneous propositions whose falsity was not previously obvious; but he does not seem to have ever made assertions which were not heretics. That said, it is easy to explain to us the conduct the Church took in the circumstances discussed above.
The doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage, in cases of adultery, has never been a dogma of the Catholic faith; and this is why the Council of Trent avoided carrying a definition which placed it among the dogmas of faith and which would have condemned the feeling of the Greeks as heretical. Nevertheless, he defined the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium which gives this truth as conforming to revelation; and thus, he did not decide whether this truth is a revealed doctrine or a theological conclusion, and he only condemned as heretics those Protestants who accused of error the teaching of the ordinary magisterium of the Church.
As regards the Immaculate Conception, it was admitted throughout the Church, before the definition of Pius IX. Nevertheless, no theologian then regarded this truth as a dogma of the Catholic faith; but the unanimous sentiment of Catholics was regarded as a pious belief. This belief was accentuated and the dogma was elucidated little by little by the combined action of the ordinary magisterium of the Church and of the decrees, in which the Sovereign Pontiffs had, on several occasions, repressed and silenced the adversaries. of the Immaculate Conception, then confirmed the defenders of this truth in their feeling.
could not put before the reader's eyes a more remarkable example of the way
in which solemn judgments and the ordinary magisterium lend each other
mutual aid to increase the clarity and certainty of a doctrine initially
shrouded in some darkness. A question arises for the attention of
Christians; two opposing solutions are present, and the struggle could not
be more lively. By the influence of the ordinary magisterium, the proofs of
true feeling appear more and more convincing and conquer adherents; devotion
Let us stop and conclude that the ordinary magisterium can elucidate a feeling initially obscure, doubtful and free and make it certain and obligatory, to the point that the contrary proposition will deserve all the lower marks than those of heresy; but that, up to now, he does not seem to have transformed any doctrine, even certain, into a dogma of faith, and that it would be difficult for him to do so.
DOCTRINAL AUTHORITY OF
It is time that our attention turned to the main element of the ordinary magisterium , to that which makes it an infallible and obligatory rule of our faith and our feelings , I mean on the authority which presides over it.
This authority is that of the Pope and of the episcopal college united to the Pope .
It is to this leader, it is to this body that all the promises of infallibility are made and that all the powers over the Church are given.
Everything is in the dependence and under the supervision of this sovereign authority; all the elements of which we have spoken enter into the ordinary and universal magisterium only through its action; they are its organs, or rather its instruments, and receive from it all their virtue, as the branch receives its life and its nourishment from the trunk of the tree, as long as it remains attached to it.
Let us deal first with the dispersed episcopal college, to which theologians seem to attribute, ordinarily, the infallibility of the daily magisterium; we will speak later of the Sovereign Pontiff, who is the head of the bishops.
We have already said that Jesus Christ promised the successors of the apostles that they would always be the stewards and faithful preachers of his doctrine. This is why all bishops are the organs of the ordinary magisterium, by virtue of the institution of the Savior, and the faith of each particular Church is governed by the doctrine of its bishop  . This is also why, throughout the centuries, there will be bishops subject to the Pope and united among themselves to teach, by common accord, the revealed truths. Nevertheless, although the body of the episcopate can never perish or be mistaken, each bishop, considered in isolation, can fall into error and even separate from his brethren by schism or heresy.
How important it is, therefore , in the midst of the struggles and divisions which have sometimes shared the Church, to recognize the true body of the episcopate, the infallible depositary of the truth.
The main sign, the only sign always certain, by which we can recognize him, is his communion with the Sovereign Pontiff . Saint Peter was constituted by Jesus Christ the perpetual head of the apostolic college; it is to the successors of the apostles subject to the successor of Saint Peter that infallibility belongs. This infallibility will prevent them, moreover, from parting with the successor of Peter, just as it will prevent them from abandoning the truth.
But will the bishops who will remain united with the Pope and be infallible in teaching the truth still form the majority of the episcopate? Can we surely discern them by this sign that they will be the great number ?
On this point, the most authoritative theologians disagree.
Several, like Brugère ( from Ecclesia . N. 55). Bonal ( de Ecclesia , n. 193), Palmieri ( de Romano Pontifice , n. 583 and 584), Muzzarelli ( Religion and Philosophy , n. 95), Ballerini ( de potestate Summorum Pontiflcum , cap. II, § 2) think that the majority of bishops cannot be wrong. According to this opinion, when the majority of bishops, acting as judges of the faith, agree to teach a point of doctrine, it would be impossible that this point was not in conformity with the teaching of the Pope and with the truth.
Melchior Cano ( de locis theologicis , lib. V, cap. V) maintains, on the contrary, that the major part of the episcopate can pronounce on a doctrine which it wants to impose on the Church, without the Pope teaching this doctrine. It is also the feeling of Benedict XIV ( de Synodo , lib. XIII, cap. II, n. 3). According to this opinion, the teaching of the greatest number of bishops could be wrong.
Moreover, apart from the Gallicans, all the theologians, even those who do not admit that the majority of the episcopate can be mistaken, believe that the Pope retains all the independence of his judgment, even though the greatest many of the bishops are said to have spoken.
Before deciding the question, allow me to put it in other terms.
When we speak of the majority of the episcopate we certainly have in mind the Catholic episcopate; however, there is no Catholic except the episcopate united with the Pope. We can therefore maintain, with some partisans of the first opinion, that the catholicity of the Church requires that it have in its midst the majority of the bishops of order, that is to say of those who have received the consecration. episcopal, as it must bring together the majority of baptized Christians. But here is a point that should not be forgotten. The catholicity of the Church (besides the extension by everyone known) assures her, without doubt, a number of faithful notably more considerable than that of the adherents of any separate sect; cornthis catholicity would always belong to us, even though the number of Catholics would be lower than that of all the heretics and all the schismatics put together . Now, should it not be the same for those who have received episcopal consecration? Therefore, although it never happened, there would be no cause for scandal, if the Catholic bishops were found to be less numerous than the bishops of order widespread in all the heterodox sects taken together, since these sects are separate. from each other and do not form a body between them. Besides, it is clear, it seems to me, that it was not to schismatic or heretical bishops that the Savior promised infallibility , just as it was not to false sects that he promised the privileges which should distinguish the true Church. So it is not, I believe, the bishops who have the episcopal character; it is the Catholic bishops who have episcopal jurisdiction and the power to teach, which must be reckoned with in order to determine the majority of the episcopate in question here. It is, in fact, because of the power to teach, received with jurisdiction, that bishops enter, as members, into the teaching Church.
Let us therefore study our question with regard to the bishops who have jurisdiction in the Catholic Church. I do not wish to approach the problem of the origin of the jurisdiction of the bishops, nor to examine whether it is Jesus Christ himself or the Pope who gives it to them immediately; that would take me too far. Moreover, whatever this question may be, it is a point admitted today by all theologians that the Supreme Pontiff can restrict the jurisdiction of bishops and set limits within which they must remain, so that the acts of their ministry are valid. This is how the Holy See reserved absolution for certain sins; it is thus that he reserved for himself many other causes, for which the bishops are, consequently, without jurisdiction.When it comes to disciplinary matters, this doctrine is accepted by all authors. Now, it seems to me that, if it is true for what concerns these matters, it is no less true for what concerns the magisterium and the power to teach, since the magisterium derives from jurisdiction. Therefore, the Supreme Pontiff can set limits to the teaching power that bishops receive. A fortiori, he can mark the limits which exist by divine right. Thethe Sovereign Pontiff can set limits on the power to teach that bishops receive. A fortiori, he can mark the limits which exist by divine right. Thethe Sovereign Pontiff can set limits on the power to teach that bishops receive. A fortiori, he can mark the limits which exist by divine right. Theacts of a bishop who, in the exercise of his doctrinal authority, would go beyond the limits fixed by Jesus Christ or by the Sovereign Pontiff, would therefore be invalid , as would be invalid the acts of a bishop who, without delegation, would give absolution of sins reserved for the Pope or would dispense with impediments to marriage for which recourse must be had to Rome.
We know, on the other hand, that the causes which concern the faith are reserved for the Holy See and that no bishop has the power to impose or condemn a doctrine, except to the extent that it is imposed or condemned. by the Church . This reservation enshrines what the Savior Himself has established. Moreover, even if it would be a restriction brought by the Pope to the doctrinal authority of the bishops, our demonstration would retain its value, as long as this restriction is maintained. But, as this reservation is of divine right, it will always exist, and the Pope can only lift it, to a certain extent, by communicating a part of his own authority to those in whose favor he does so. Also, even though he has called an ecumenical council, the prohibition of imposing anything in matters of doctrine, which is not imposed by the Church, remains and is binding not only on each bishop, but also on all the bishops assembled. ; for, even in a council, they cannot define anything except with the Pope.As a result, the council's judgment on faith is not passed definitively until after the confirmation of the Roman Pontiff, and that the latter can always give or refuse this confirmation. But it is leaving our subject to deal with the question for the case of the general council, since it is with the ordinary magisterium of the dispersed Church that we are concerned and that, the dispersed bishops acting in isolation, it is clear that they never had the power to impose any doctrine, except to the extent that it was imposed by the universal Church or by the Pope.is to leave our subject to deal with the question for the case of the general council, since it is with the ordinary magisterium of the dispersed Church that we are concerned and that, the dispersed bishops acting in isolation, it is clear that they do not have never had the power to impose any doctrine, except to the extent that it was imposed by the universal Church or by the Pope.is to leave our subject to deal with the question for the case of the general council, since it is with the ordinary magisterium of the dispersed Church that we are concerned and that, the dispersed bishops acting in isolation, it is clear that they do not have never had the power to impose any doctrine, except to the extent that it was imposed by the universal Church or by the Pope.
So if it happened that a bishop proposed to the faithful as obligatory a point which was not obligatory, he would not act by virtue of the jurisdiction and the power to teach which he has received, he would not act in accordance with successor of the apostles; because he would exceed his powers. Moreover, what would be true of a bishop would be true of all, since we suppose them dispersed.
As, moreover, the assistance of the Holy Spirit is assured to the successors of the apostles only for the exercise of the authority which they have received; if they went beyond their rights, could they count on this assistance? How could the infallibility promised to the episcopal body extend to a teaching which would not be in the attributions of the one who would give it! If we wanted such a teaching to be infallible, should we not admit that the power that Jesus Christ granted to priests to remit sins guarantees the validity of all the absolutions they would like to give, even of those which they would grant for cases reserved to the Pope over which their jurisdiction does not extend?
But, it will be said, do not the promises of Jesus Christ to the episcopal body guarantee us that the bishops will not exceed their power to teach, just as they guarantee us that the Supreme Pontiff will not bear definitions on what is foreign to its jurisdiction? It does indeed appear to have been promised to the faithful episcopal body; and this is why it seems impossible that the majority of Catholic bishops, not only teach error, but also take precedence over the Sovereign Pontiff, to impose doctrines that he would not impose.
If therefore it is a question of a point which has not been obligatory until then, which has not been imposed either by the Supreme Pontiff or by an ecumenical council, the majority of the episcopate will not be able to teach this point. as obligatory for all the faithful, as far as this teaching has also become that of the Pope. It may happen that, in their personal opinion, the majority or even the unanimity of the bishops regard this point as true, and as certainly revealed, without the Holy See yet forcing it to our consent; but, in the exercise of their episcopal authority, they will always teach this point, as the Holy See teaches, and they will never condemn the opposing doctrine, except in so far as the Holy See condemns it. This is what we could notice,during the definition of the Immaculate Conception. All the bishops of the Catholic world regarded this privilege of the Blessed Virgin as true, most thought that it was formally revealed, they wanted to see it defined; but, as long as Pius IX did not adopt his definition, they did not propose it as a dogma of the Catholic faith.
If, therefore, it ever happened that a doctrine was imposed on the belief of the faithful by most of the members of the episcopal body, while the Roman Pontiff remained silent, this silence could be regarded as an approval. The doctrine in question would therefore be the subject of the ordinary teaching of the Sovereign Pontiff, which we will call (§ VI) tacit. One should also think that the bishops saw an approval in the silence of Rome and that it is for this reason that they believed themselves entitled to impose this doctrine on the faithful.
Let us now consider the case where the Holy See imposes a truth hitherto discussed on the faith or the assent of the Church. Immediately the majority of the episcopate will teach this truth as obligatory. This is the consequence of the promises of Jesus Christ to the episcopal body, and tradition has thus interpreted these promises, since it has always regarded the teaching of Catholic bishops as a certain rule of faith.
Let us not forget, however, that the doctrinal decisions of the Church do not obligeall the faithful to adhere explicitly to the particular point which is the object of it. Also we will not find the explicit teaching of all the obligatory truths in the mouth of the majority of the bishops. It may even happen that, for fear of more serious inconvenience or through negligence, the bishops around them tolerate the teaching of false doctrines, especially if they do not touch the very substance of the faith. Finally, it is also not impossible that the bishops themselves are mistaken in their personal view. In all this, in fact, there would be no episcopal act that would contradict the teachings of the Supreme Pontiff. But what will never happen is that, in acts, where they speak as successors of the apostles,the majority of bishops teach a doctrine which does not conform to all the sentiments which have been imposed by the Holy See, as of faith or as obligatory in another capacity.
This will be achieved through the assistance of the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus Christ to His Church. As this assistance does not dispense with the use of human means which can maintain the bishops in the unity of the faith and in communion with the Supreme Pontiff, the main means which has always been employed in the Church to achieve this goal , it is the choice by the Holy See or those who represent it, of bishops who make profession of an entirely pure faith and of a great love for unity.
It is therefore impossible that the majority of bishops having jurisdiction in the Church, that is to say Catholic bishops , teach a feeling that the Supreme Pontiff would not teach either expressly, or at least tacitly. It is impossible , therefore, for it to fall into error and separate itself from the Holy See. If God, moreover, allowed some bishops to get lost in a certain doctrine, it would usually be because they had not sought, above all else, to follow the teachings and prescriptions of the Church and of the Roman Pontiff and that they would thus have approached the schismatic or heretical bishops , who have received episcopal consecration, but who are deprived of any jurisdiction, any power to teach, and, consequently, any participation in the assistance promised to the college of bishops.
Any doctrine taught as obligatory by the majority, and especially by the unanimity of the Catholic bishops, is therefore obligatory for the whole Church insofar as they affirm it; for we can be sure that they propose it to the belief of the faithful, in union with the Sovereign Pontiff, and that, consequently, this doctrine is infallibly taught by the entire episcopal body, that is to say by the Pope and the bishops united with the Pope.
We can therefore recognize the episcopal body not only, which is beyond doubt, by its union with the Sovereign Pontiff, but also, it seems, by the number of Catholic bishops who agree in the exercise of their magisterium. . These two signs, in fact, seem to always unite.
VI. PART THAT THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFIED PERSONALLY TAKES
IN THE EXERCISE OF THE MAGISTRY Ordinary
According to the Gallicans, the definitions of the Sovereign Pontiff would be irreformable only after they would have been sanctioned by the consent of the bishops, and it would be from this sanction that they would derive their infallibility. The Vatican Council condemned this doctrine as heretical  : it is believed today that the definitions of the Supreme Pontiff are infallible by themselves. The magisterium of the successor of Saint Peter is therefore infallible, by itself, whenever it imposes on the whole Church a doctrine which relates to faith or morals.
Now, we have to wonder if this personal infallibility is only given to the Pope in his solemn judgments, on faith, or if Jesus Christ did not also promise it to the ordinary and daily magisterium of the successor of Saint Rock.
We have seen that the episcopal body is infallible in the daily magisterium which it exercises with the Pope and that, consequently, the Pope, head of the episcopal body, is infallible in the magisterium which he exercises with the body of dispersed bishops. It is unnecessary to return to this point. But can we not distinguish the ordinary magisterium of the episcopate united with the Pope and the personal ordinary magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff, as we distinguish the solemn judgments of the councils and those of the Popes? I believe him. So I am going to put forward a proposition which I have not read so far, in express terms, in any work, but which seems to me to conform to the doctrine of all the authors who have maintained the infallibility of the Pope, namely thatthe Pope personally exercises his infallible magisterium not only by solemn judgments, but also by an ordinary magisterium which perpetually extends to all the truths obligatory for the whole Church.
I cannot base this assertion on authorities, so it must be supported by reasons.
The Sovereign Pontiff, as I have noticed, communicates part of his powers to a large number of organs which serve him as instruments. It is in this way that he makes the Patriarchs and the Metropolitans, the Catholic universities and especially the Roman congregations participate in his ministry as supreme doctor. Some theologians maintain that the doctrinal decisions of the Roman congregations, approved by the Supreme Pontiff, are infallible. The partisans of this opinion could regard the infallibility which they grant to these decisions as proof that the exercise of the ordinary magisterium of the Sovereign Pontiff is infallible; for these decisions are not solemn judgments. But the feeling which admits the infallibility of congregations does not appear to me to be well founded. It seems to me,in fact, that the Sovereign Pontiff can exercise through delegates the functions which belong to him, in his own right, by divine right; but that it is not in his power to communicate his infallibility; that he can oblige us to submit, even internally, to the doctrinal decisions of the congregations, but that he cannot attach infallibility to these decisions, unless we promulgate them in his name and make papal definitions of them. This is the sentiment of Cardinal Franzelin (he cannot attach infallibility to these decisions, unless he promulgates them in his name and makes pontifical definitions of them. This is the sentiment of Cardinal Franzelin (he cannot attach infallibility to these decisions, unless he promulgates them in his name and makes pontifical definitions of them. This is the sentiment of Cardinal Franzelin (de divina Traditione , th.XII, corol. II, p. 128) who has studied the question in depth. Although the decrees of the Roman congregations are acts by which the Holy See exercises part of its ordinary magisterium, we cannot therefore attribute to these decrees the continual infallibility promised by the Savior to Saint Peter.
But, every day , doesn't the Vicar of Jesus Christ personally exercise the ordinary magisterium, in all its forms? Does he not exercise it by the express teaching of the doctrine, by the implicit teaching which is expressed in the discipline and the liturgy , finally by the teaching which we have called tacit and by the maintenance of all the rules which apply to the faith and to the adhesion of the Church? I will try to demonstrate it.
One can consider, as types of solemn judgments, the definitions clothed in all the appropriate forms to express clearly either the truth which is the object of it, or the intention which the Pope has to impose it on the faith or on the assent of the whole Church. Such was, for example, the definition of the Immaculate Conception.
On the contrary, we will find the exercise of the ordinary magisterium in a host of acts where these forms are not kept. We have examples of this in the talks the Pope has with the bishops who come to visit ad limina Apostolorum , when these talks relate to the doctrine to be taught. We can see others in the recitals of the solemn definitions. Indeed, as Cardinal Franzelin remarks ( de Traditione , p. 148), these recitals are not solemn judgments, but they are assertions which cannot be questioned without great recklessness. Let us add that they express the current doctrine , that is to say the daily and ordinary teaching of the Holy See.
Now, there are a host of papal acts which more or less come close, some to solemn judgments, others to daily teaching, and, if a complete list were drawn up, it would be impossible to mark, in this list, the point where the ordinary magisterium begins and the point where solemn judgments cease. In fact, as the characteristics of these judgments are multiple, many papal acts only bear part of these characteristics. Should we, for example, classify among the solemn judgments or among the acts of the daily magisterium the various apostolic letters which are not addressed to all the bishops of the world, the consistorial addressesand those that the Sovereign Pontiff gives in certain public audiences? I will not try to determine it. What is certain is that these acts do not fulfill all the external and, if I may say so, formal conditions which characterize the solemn definitions which I have taken as a type. They therefore hold, to a certain extent, to the ordinary and daily magisterium; because, I ask the reader to remember it, it is not the substance and the authority of the teachings, but their form and the manner in which they are presented, which make all the difference between the solemn judgments and the ordinary magisterium. .
Let us not forget either that Pius IX had a famous document published which, we agree to admit  , is not covered by the conditions demanded by canonists for authentic laws. The Syllabus , in fact, was not written by Pius IX himself. It is a summary of the main errors of our time, pointed out in the consistorial addresses, encyclicals and other apostolic letters of this Pope, which he ordered to be sent, with his encyclical Quanta cura, to all the bishops of the world, so, said Cardinal Antonelli, that they may have before their eyes all these condemned errors. Note the character of this document. Pius IX had taught the doctrine of the Holy See in letters which had not been addressed to all the bishops, nor displayed in the usual manner for the promulgation of laws; he had taught it in speeches which had only been known to the Catholic world through the intermediary of the press; he had returned to these teachings on several occasions; in all these acts he was clearly exercising the ordinary magisterium which we have called on purpose. But he feared that these reiterated teachings would remain ignored by a part of the episcopate, and, to make them known by the whole Catholic universe,he had them drawn up a summary which served as a doctrinal rule for the dispersed bishops. He could have offered this summary to the Church in a solemn definition; he preferred to have it sent to all the bishops with his encyclical Quanta cura . The Syllabus is therefore a document in which the Pope exercised his ordinary magisterium , addressing the whole Church, by virtue of his sovereign authority.
But, one will ask, can these acts of the Pope's daily magisterium be infallible ? Yes ; for we find there doctrines which the ordinary magisterium imposes, by these very acts, on the faith or the assent of all Catholics. This is what Pius IX said, claiming that he had condemned the principal errors of our time, in several encyclicals, as well as in speeches and other consistorial apostolic letters that were able-bliées  ; for to condemn an error is to forbid adherence to it, and, when the Pope makes such a defense by virtue of his supreme authority, he does so infallibly, in whatever form his thirsty act takes.
With regard to the Syllabus in particular , Pius IX did not impose it formally by a solemn judgment; but exercising his ordinary magisterium, he manifested that his will was that it should serve as a rule for the daily teaching of bishops, that it should therefore be accepted by the whole Church as containing the doctrine of the Holy See. On the other hand, the bishops of the whole world have given their adhesion to this document. The Syllabus is therefore infallible . So many theologians have placed it among the ex cathedra definitions .
If one applies, in fact, the name of definition ex cathedra to all the acts of the Sovereign Pontiff which fulfill the conditions under which the Vatican Council declares that the successor of Saint Peter is infallible, it is necessary to place the acts from which we come to speak among these definitions; but, in this case, it is necessary to distinguish two kinds of definitions ex cathedra : those which are carried by solemn decrees and those which are carried by the daily magisterium of the Sovereign Pontiff . It is, among other reasons, to have confused the solemn decrees, carried according to the rules that Canon law requires for a law, with the definitions ex cathedra, where the conditions set by the Vatican Council are met, that very respectable authors have denied the infallibility of the Syllabus  .
Is it necessary to add that there is no reason to reject the infallibility of the Syllabus and of the teachings of the ordinary magisterium which would resemble it, because the censure deserved by each of the condemned propositions is not indicated therein and that, in order to better understand the meaning of these propositions, it is good to have recourse to the addresses and letters from which they are taken and to which the Syllabus itself refers? No ; because all theologians admit the infallibility of condemnations in globo, where a series of affirmations are solemnly censored, without the censorship applicable to each of them being determined, and, on the other hand, we have seen above that all the teachings of the Church stand and serve to s 'interpret each other; however, these rules must be applied to the teachings of the ordinary magisterium, as well as to solemn judgments.
The ordinary magisterium of the Church is exercised not only by express teachings, but also by the teaching which we have called implicit , that is to say by the discipline and the liturgy which can manifest to us certain dogmatic truths or moral . This is why it is certain that the Church is infallible in the general laws which it carries. Now, if we go through the Decretals and all the collections of ecclesiastical laws, we will see that most of these laws are the work of the Popes. The Sovereign Pontiff therefore still exercises his ordinary magisterium personally, when he fulfills his ministry as legislator of the universal Church.
Finally, we have seen that the teaching of the dispersed Church exists perpetually, in a tacit form , by the permanent maintenance of all the doctrinal and disciplinary rules that past ages have promulgated. Now, this role of silent guardian of doctrine still belongs, more than to anyone, to the successor of Saint Peter, responsible for confirming his brothers in the faith. As Vicar of Jesus Christ and supreme teacher of all Christians, he makes the lights of the Gospel shine through the whole universe, and sees to it that they are not obscured in any particular Church. It is for this role by the whole Catholic world, that he gave organsin the patriarchs and the metropolitans who preside, in his place, the particular councils, whose decrees must, moreover, be submitted for his approval, in the Universities which are under his immediate dependence, in the Roman congregations which sit around his apostolic pulpit, to receive inspirations and respond to consultations from the whole universe. Through all these organs, Peter, motionless in the midst of catholicity, everywhere keeps the deposit of faith and strikes down errors and heresies from their birth, letting the instruments of his authority act, as long as they are sufficient for their mission, intervening itself when needed. He sometimes tolerates the evil in some members of the mystical body of Jesus Christ, like a physician who leaves time to cure certain illnesses;but if a doctrine spread throughout the whole Church and imposed itself as linked to the faith, Peter would speak to condemn it or to adopt it, before it had made rapid progress; or else, if he was silent, his silence should be regarded as an assent which, according to the rules of tradition, would impose this doctrine on the belief of all .We have seen, in fact, that the Sovereign Pontiffs offer us the unanimous feeling of theologians and the faithful, as a rule to which we must conform our faith. It follows that it is by their authority that this unanimous feeling is obligatory, even though it occurs without any intervention of the Holy See; just as, in matters of discipline, custom covered with conditions marked by law, has the force of law not because of the people who introduce it, but because of the legislator who tolerates it and who tacitly admits it. This explains the infallibility which we have attributed to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers and theologians. It comes from the ordinary magisterium of the teaching Church,and especially of the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff who approves their teachings formally or tacitly.
After having seen how the ordinary magisterium of the Pope offers us Christian doctrine in a way that is sometimes express, sometimes implicit and sometimes tacit, it is perhaps appropriate to ask ourselves a question to which, moreover, we have touched on everything. time. Does the Vatican Council's definition of the infallibility of the Supreme Pontiff apply to acts in which the Pope's daily teaching is carried out that we have just studied?
My answer will be brief.
The definition of the Holy Council does not relate directly to the object of papal infallibility. What is of faith, by virtue of this definition, is that the Pope possesses the infallibility, promised by Jesus Christ to His Church, and that, therefore, the judgments of the Supreme Pontiff on doctrine are infallible by them. themselves and not by the consent of the dispersed Church. It follows, moreover, from this definition that, in matters where it was of faith that the Church is infallible, it is of faith that the Pope is; that in matters where it was only certain that the Church is infallible, as for example for the canonization of saints, the infallibility of the Supreme Pontiff is simply certain.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that, without having as its aim to determine the object of papal infallibility, the Vatican Council nevertheless restricted the direct scope of its decree to the case where the Pope speaks ex cathedra , that is to say in case he formally teaches a doctrine . We cannot therefore apply this decree to the implicit magisterium that the Pope exercises through disciplinary laws, nor even more so to his tacit magisterium. One can only establish the infallibility of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, in this implicit magisterium and in this tacit magisterium, by a theological conclusion, founded on the principles which justify the definition of the council. But nothing prevents the conditions of an ex cathedra definitionto be fulfilled in certain express teachings of the ordinary magisterium. We would be mistaken, therefore, to think that the Vatican Fathers only wanted to speak of the solemn judgments of the Sovereign Pontiff.
Since we are dealing with the object of the ordinary magisterium of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, it should be noted that this object will be absolutely the same as that of the ordinary magisterium of the entire episcopal body.. This body cannot in fact separate itself from its head and we have shown that the doctrine of the successors of the apostles will be in conformity with that of their leader. As a result, the Pope and the bishops will never have more than one teaching. We can therefore ask for this teaching either from the Sovereign Pontiff or from the episcopal college, since this college is infallible as well as its head. Sometimes it will be easier to judge the teaching of the bishops by that of the Pope, for it is easier to grasp the thought of one man than the thought of several. At other times, on the contrary, it will be easier to know the teaching of the Church through the dispersed bishops than through the Pope. Indeed, in the event that the intention which the Pope has to oblige appears doubtful, we could know it byexamination of the conduct of the majority of bishops and of the faithful; Whereas the teaching of the pastors and the belief of the Christian people will always conform to the rules laid down by the Holy See.
From the moment that the doctrine of the episcopal body cannot be in disagreement with that of the successor of Saint Peter, from the moment that the episcopal body is made up of bishops who are united to the Supreme Pontiff and who act in his dependence, we understand that, until here, the ordinary magisterium has been studied above all in the episcopal body. Indeed, the infallible authority of the Sovereign Pontiff being put under discussion before the Vatican Council, it was then natural to consider the ordinary magisterium of the Church in all the bishops dispersed and united with the Pope, rather than in the Pope considered separately.
But today that the errors of Gallicanism are condemned, it seems appropriate to open other paths and to study the daily magisterium, not only in the universal Church and in the episcopal college, but also in the Roman Pontiff who is the head of the Church and the prince of its pastors.
We have seen that the ordinary magisterium is an infallible mode of teaching, distinct from solemn judgments and employed by the teaching Church, in her daily life, with the same authority that she claims for her solemn judgments.
Then examining this magisterium more fully, we recognized that it is exercised everywhere and always, with the help of many ministers to whom the power to teach, given to the Pope and to the episcopal body by Jesus Christ, is delegated or left in various measures.
We have said that it expresses itself in a thousand ways. It is exercised, in fact, either by the express teaching of Christian doctrine, or by an implicit teaching which is manifested above all in ecclesiastical discipline and in the liturgy, or finally by a tacit teaching which embraces and makes available to us the writings of the Holy Fathers, the treatises of theologians and, in general, all the documents in which revelation is contained and in which it develops under the ceaseless influence of the life of the Church.
We have also studied the obligations that the daily magisterium imposes on us . We have determined in which cases its authority is equal to that of formal judgments. We have seen that he keeps and does not cease to increase the treasure of truths to which we are obliged to adhere; that he shed light on what was obscure; that he makes certain and obligatory what was doubtful and free, although so far he has not gone so far as to create new dogmas of the Catholic faith; for that requires a proposition made with an insistence and clarity which are hardly found except in solemn judgments.
We have also considered this magisterium in the members of the teaching Church. We have said that the episcopal body which has received doctrinal infallibility is made up of the pope and the bishops who have jurisdiction in the Catholic Church; that the majority of these bishops will always be in the truth and that they will continually follow the Supreme Pontiff in the authentic teaching of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, without ever taking precedence over him.
Finally, we have entered a new path that the definition of the Vatican Council seemed to open for us; we followed the successor of Peter personally exercising the ordinary magisterium by teachings sometimes express, sometimes implicit and sometimes tacit; we have established that papal infallibility extends to the various forms of this ordinary magisterium as well as to solemn definitions. We have recognized, in closing, that the magisterium of the dispersed bishops is the same, as to its object, as that of the Roman Pontiffs; but it is this last which is, at all times, the supreme rule of all teaching and all belief in the Church of Jesus Christ.
 J.-MA Vacant is better known as one of the authors of theDictionary of Catholic Theology(DTC) by Vacant and Mangenot.
The basis of this work is a dissertation sent to the theological
competition that Father J.-B. Jaugey, director of
 "We must believe, of divine and Catholic faith, all the truths which are contained in the written or traditional word of God and which the Church proposes to our faith as divinely revealed, that it makes this proposal by a solemn judgment or by its ordinary and universal magisterium (Const.Dei Filius, c. 3of Fide) ”.
I do not intend to speak, in this study, of private revelations which
are not addressed to all men; but only from
 Etiamsi ageretur de illa subjectione quæ fidei divinæ actu est præstanda, limitanda tamen non eset ad ea quæ expressis oecumenicorum conciliorum aut Romanorum Pontificum, hujusque Apostolicæ Sedis decretis definita sunt, sed ad ea quoque extendenda quæi ordinario totem Eccanquister divinitus revelata traduntur, ideoque universali et constanti consensu a catholicis theologis ad fidem relevant retinentur(Litteræ apost. 21 Dec. 1863, ad archiep. Monacensem; ap. Denzinger, n. 1536).
I have followed the interpretation of Hurter ( Compend. De Ecclesia , n. 382) and of most theologians who do not think that theological conclusions should be placed among the points which Pius IX says should be believed. by an act of divine faith. Another is the sentiment of the learned Cardinal Franzelin ( de Tradit . P. 449); but its interpretation does not seem to me to conform to the pontifical text. Moreover, it is in no way opposed to what is said of the ordinary magisterium in this study.
 Benedictus XIV,of serv. Dei beatificat. and B. canonizat. lib. I, c. 39, n. 3.
 Theologians give the name of teaching Church to the pope and to the bishops, successors of the apostles, and the name of taught Church to all the other members of the Church.
 Quæ ordinario totius Ecclesiæ per orbem dispersæ magisterio tanquam divinitus revelata traduntur, ideoque, universali et constanti consensu a catholicis theologis ad fidem relevant retinentur(Litter.Apost. 21 Dec. 1863, ad archiep. Monac. Denzinger, n. 1536) .
 See Denzinger,Enchiridion definitionum, n. 218, 219, 220, 22l, 243, 245, 272, 283.
 See Denzinger, ibid, n. 505, 1439, 1442, 1508, 1511, 1532.
See Fr. Corluy,of
the interpretation of
 After having said that the act of divine faith, should not be restricted to the truths defined by solemn judgments, he adds:"Sed ad ea quoque extendenda quæ ordinario totius Ecclesiæ per orbem dispersæ magisterio tanquam divinitus revelata traduntur, ideoque universali et constanti consensu a catholicis theologis ad fidem relevance retinentur”. Denzinger, n. 1536.
 Cano,from locis theologicis, lib. VII, c. 2, n. 2, 3; vs. 3, n. 1, 9.
 Franzelin,de traditione, p. 181.
 In eam ætatem incidimus, in qua piaculum videretur vel dubitando affirmare originalem quam diximus noxam ad sanctissimam Dei Matrem, eamdemque integerrimam Virginem vel punctum temporis adæhsisse. Qua in re, tanta catholicos inter viget consensio ut nemo fere hoc decus eximium virgini non deferat libentissime, non omni qua potest opera prædicet, non omni obsequiorum genere testetur. Quamobrem illurn abundure, and non immerito, diceres qui sibi hoc Virginis decus asserendum and vindicandum proponeret. Quid enim hoc rei esset nisi actum agere et ligna, ut fert adagiurn, in silvam conferre? At enimvero alio plane mea hæc pertinet disquisitio. Quorsum autem? Eo nimirum ut argurnenta afferam atque expendam quæ ferendæ dogmaticæ de immaculato conceptu sententiæ vel officere videntur vel suffragari. (Perrone, De lmmaculato BV Mariæ conceptu, an dogmatico decreto definiri possit, disquisitio theologica , 1848. Prœmium.)
 EncyclicalUbi primurnof February 2, 1849.
 Non solum singularem suam et proprii cujusque cleri, populic fidelis erga Immaculatam Beatissimæ Virginis conceptumpietatem, mentemque. denuo confirmarunt, verum etiam communi veluti voto a nobis expostularant ut Immaculata ipsius Virginis conceptio supremo nostro judicio et auctoritate definiretur. (BullaIneffabilis, Dec. 8, 1854).
See Mgr Matou (The
Immaculate Conception of
 Romani Pontifices, prout temporum et rerum conditio suadebat, nunc convocatis oecumenicis conciliis aut explorata Ecclesiæ per orbem dispersæ sententia, nunc per synodos particulares, nunc aliis quæ divina suppeditabat Providentia, adhibitis auxiliis, ea tenenda definiveris traditionibus Apostolicis traditionibus , Deo adjutore, knocking. Neque enim Petri successoribus spiritus sanctus promissus est ut, eo revelante, novam doctrinam patefacerent, sed ut, eo assistente, traditam per Apostolos revelationem seu fidei depositum sancte custodissent et fideliter exponerent (Constit.Pastor æternus, cap. IV).
 Hurter,Theologiæ compend. not. 667; - Mazzella,De Virtutibus infusis, n. 528.
 Namque, etiamsi ageretur de illa subjectione quæ fideidivinæ actu est præstanda, limiting tamen non esset ad ea quæ expressis ... decretis definita sunt; sed ad ea quoque extendenda quae Ordinario totius Ecelesiæ per orbem dispersæ magisterio tanquam divinitus revelata traduntur, ideoque universali and constanti consensu has catholicis Theologis ad fidem pertinere retinentur(Litter ad episc Mo-nac.., December 21, 1863. -... Ap Denzinger, n . 1536).The reader will notice that among the revealed truths, which are all the object of the ordinary magisterium, Pius IX deals here only with those which have not been solemnly defined.
 If he did so, it would be by acts of the Holy See, rather than by the spontaneous agreement of theologians.
 See in the works of Canon law what are the rights and obligations of the bishop, as doctor and guardian of the faith in his diocese.
 Cfr. Vincent,from Ecclesia, n. 205, III. We could be satisfied with this observation, if the teaching of the episcopate concerned only the truths of the Catholic faith, and thatone could notalter themwithout falling into heresy;but it is also aquestionofknowing whether the Catholic episcopate can teach false, reckless or dangerous propositions, or even if it can profess, in good faith and ignorance, heretical doctrines in themselves, this which would not make him formally heretical or schismatic.
 See Benoit XIV,de Synodo, lib. VI, c. IlI, n. 7 and lib. VII, c. XI; - Bouix, by Episcopo, lib. V, c. VI; Craisson,Manuale, n. 954; and all the canonists.
What is said here is generally true: it is, in fact, only, by exception,
that heretical bishops keep a greater or lesser share of jurisdiction in
the Church. - We know the discussions of which, for several centuries,
the jurisdiction of the schismatic Greek bishops was the object. See Fr.
Thomas de Jesus, from
 Ecône falls into the same Gallican heresy: the definitions of the conciliar Popes are irreformable only after they have been sanctioned by the consent of Ecône.
 See Mazzella,de Ecclesia, II. 1652, notes"Novimus,he says,Syllabum non præ se ferre formas seu formalitates adhiberi solitas in constitutionibus dogmaticis edendis".
 Perhaps someone will object that, theSyllabushaving been drawn up bysomeoneother than the Pope, it should be denied infallibility, as well as the doctrinal decisions of the Roman congregations. But we want to be remarked that theSyl-labusexpresses somehow the teachings of the Pope, while the decrees congregations express decisions the congregations themselves and not those of the Supreme Pontiff. The Syllabusis, on the contrary, the expression of the doctrine of the Pope, in his ordinary magisterium, and not the expression of the doctrine of the one who wrote it.
 Cum videremus ... nunquam satis lugenda damna quæ in christianum populum ex tot erroribus redundant, pro Apostolici nostri ministerii officio, illustria prædecessorum nostrorum vestigia sectantes, nostram extulimus vocem, ac pluribus in vulgus editis encyclicis epistorolis et habitution aliisque apostolicis litteris præcipuos tristissimæ nostræ ætatis errores damnavimus(Encyc.Quanta cura, 8 Dec. 1864).
 Cardinal Mazzella says of those who support this sentiment that theyare "viros aliquot, paucos tamen haud mediocris ingenii" (de Ecclesia, p. 822). He alludes to Bishop Fessier whom he names. I do not know if he has in mind other characters distinguished by their science; but I have in front of me the notes taken in Rome, in 1883-84, at the conferences of a famous canonist, and in which it is argued that the Syllabusis not an infallible definition, because it is a private collection, similar to Gratian's decree and which was not promulgated by the Pope himself, according to the rules of law. I do not know if the lecturer's doctrine was well conveyed by the student who wrote these notes; but the notes make the mistake of assuming that, to be infallible, the papal teachings must all be edited in the form required for the authenticity of the laws.