Tuesday, April 22, 2014

De proxima Fide

A happy and blessed third day in the Octave of Easter to you all. The always excellent Unam, Sanctam, Catholicam blog has a new essay which explains how canonizations relate to papal infallibility:
In the original USC article we referenced St. Thomas, as well as Ott, saying:
"when we confess a certain member of the Church to be among the blessed, this belief is an extension of the confession of faith (Quodl. 9,16). If we can say in the Creed that we believe in the 'communion of saints', it necessarily follows that the Church must maintain some means for distinguishing who is among the saints that we believe in and confess. This is why the canonization of saints is bound up with the Church's infallibility; or, as Dr. Ott says, 'If the Church could err in her opinion [of canonized saints], consequences would arise which would be incompatible with the sanctity of the Church' (ibid)."
The fact of the canonization of a Saint, then, is what is referred to as a "secondary object" of the Faith - one that is not dogma itself, but is intricately bound up with the divine revelation, and so to deny it would be to lead one toward the direction of denying an element of the Faith itself.

So it seems, then, the declaration of Canonization does in fact follow the formula for the exercise of infallibility by the Pope, and we can therefore have assurance that whomever the Pope does in fact canonize (while following the formula for an infallible act) will in fact be a Saint in Heaven, and we should have rest in that certainty.
I don't understand why Traditionalists get so upset about the canonization of John Paul II. When he became pope the Church was close to shattering into dozens of different schisms. He had to pick his battles and I think he fought the ones he chose about as well as he could. I was received into the Catholic Church about a week before he died, but even in my days as a heathen John Paul II always impressed me as a man of deep faith and holiness. If I had been in the Shoes of the Fisherman during that time, I'd have probably spent the better part of every day hurling thunderous anathemas and excommunications against 90% of the world's bishops. That's probably why I will never, ever be pope, thanks be to God.

John XXIII, on the other hand, is more difficult for me to swallow. It's going to take the Church centuries to recover from the damage caused by his council. Granted, he undoubtedly had good intentions, but we all know on which road they're used for paving stones. By every quantifiable measure, the Church was doing great before the council and it clearly went into free fall shortly after it ended. God judged him and he has entered into the heavenly kingdom. I suppose I can take that as a sign that there's hope for me yet, heh.

1 comment:

  1. "I don't understand why Traditionalists get so upset about the canonization of John Paul II"

    My theory? For a rather large portion of people who call themselves 'Traditionalists' it is from a combination of misplaced purity and Modernism.
    Let me opine about these so-called Traditionalists (the following is not about everyone who calls themselves Traditionalists, just a very vocal group among them)-

    To them if you aren't a perfect Traditionalist (as defined by them), you aren't a Traditionalist at all; if you aren't a Traditionalist you aren't a 'real' Catholic; if you aren't a 'real' Catholic you can't be a Saint.

    HH John Paul II once did something Traditionalists didn't like (it varies by Traditionalist), so he can't be a Saint.

    The Traditionalist only obeys the Church when he agrees with the Church or when he MUST obey. Of course, if the Traditionalist MUST obey but doesn't wish to they will find something, anything, to "prove" the Church isn't acting infallibly so they can disobey.
    How does that work?

    If the Church names someone a Saint when they can't be a Saint because they weren't a Traditionalist that means the Church CAN'T be acting infallibly, otherwise the Traditionalist would be wrong. Since the Traditionalist can't be wrong, the Church can't be acting infallibly.

    Since the Church isn't acting infallibly the Traditionalist is free to disobey or disregard the Church because they don't really HAVE to if they really disagree, right?

    If you disagree with this you aren't a 'real' Traditionalists, etc.

    I know; many Traditionalists don't think this way. But those Traditionalists are also not shouting from the rooftops that the Church is wrong.