Ordinary Magisterium

Ordinary Magisterium

Peter D. Howard

It is interesting someone of the status of John Young should assert that Vatican II taught infallibly on a number of questions through the ordinary Magisterium (May AD2000).

The separation of doctrine from dogma is one which many fail to appreciate, and he has shown clearly how quotations from Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Ratzinger were mistakenly used to deny infallibility to Vatican II.

Mr Young apparently accepts that Pope John XXIII in his opening address (Abbot, page 712) declared that 'there will be no infallible definitions.' This is not in my Abbot (1966, Guild Press), nor is it in any of the many translations to be found on the web - all seemingly the same as Abbot's.

Further, regarding Abbot's version of the Vatican II documents, Msgr E. Kevane wrote: 'In opening the Council, Pope John XXIII stated: 'the greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council' was that 'this certain and unchangeable doctrine, to which the obedience of Faith must be given, be studied thoroughly and explained in the way for which our times are calling ... but nevertheless with the same meaning and the same sense'.'

These words, he says, were 'incredibly falsified' in the Abbot- Gallagher translation of the Vatican II documents to, that this doctrine is to be 'studied and expounded through the methods of research and through literary forms of modern thought, ...' (Msgr E Kevane, Creed and Catechetics, 1978, p. 279).

On the other hand, Msgr Kevane wrote of the Flannery translation (page 288): 'It is a work of scholarship which puts an end to the transitory phase represented by the incompetent and biased Abbot-Gallagher.'

To be of the 'greatest concern' is no change of doctrine.

Mr Young states that the term 'infallible definitions' is 'not rightly used of teachings by the ordinary Magisterium.'

This is not supported by EWTN's Dr David Gregson (8 November 2003) who said, 'Doctrines are set forth as infallible by the Magisterium (the Pope, and the College of Bishops in communion with the Pope) in three ways: a) by the Supreme Pontiff speaking ex cathedra, b) by the College of Bishops gathered in an ecumenical council, c) by the universal and ordinary Magisterium. Catholics are bound to believe also doctrines definitively proposed by the Magisterium, not as divinely revealed, but as logically or historically connected with doctrines divinely revealed. Doctrines definitively proposed are also irreformable and set forth infallibly in the same three ways.'

Humanae Vitae, for example, is an infallible, definitively proposed doctrine of the Pope's ordinary Magisterium.

Springwood, Qld

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