After studying the Baltimore Catechism for eight years straight (thank you Seton Homeschool…) I had it pretty well drilled into my head that the pope was infallible. It has been a definite shock to me to learn that the infallibility of the Pontiff is more limited than I had suspected. The Filial Correction posted yesterday has the Church in an uproar, some claiming its high time, some swearing unending loyalty to the successor of Peter. I don’t suppose myself informed enough on the matter to pick a side, and I firmly believe in loyalty and obedience to (and charity towards) the Pope, but I do believe there were some issues that needed to be clarified from Amoris Latetia, and I hope the faithful finally get that clarification.
I kept reading a one liner in every article about the last Filial Correction, which was in 1333 of Pope John XXII. But that was all anybody said. It made me very curious; what in our past had been the thing that caused theologians to publicly declare the pope a heretic, and what ever ended up coming of it? Here’s that story:
Before he was Pope John XXII, Jacques Dueze had published various works wherein he declared that the Beatific Vision was reserved until after the Last Judgment and the resurrection of the body. He gave several homilies in Avignon (this was during the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy) as Pope John XXII that reiterated this position.
Luckily, John XXII was wrong. If the Church Triumphant did not have the grace of the Beatific Vision, then petitioning them would make no sense. The whole point of praying to the saints is that they are in constant full communion with God and can plead with Him on our behalf. Thankfully, the matter had already been settled by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa, but nevertheless, John XXII persisted in his teaching.
After a few years, and lots of heartache, the King of France, Philip VI called a meeting of twenty-nine theologians at the University of Paris. They composed a very respectful letter to Pope John XXII requesting that he clarify his statements. They supposed that he had been teaching as a private theologian, and not teaching ex cathedra (“from the chair”, i.e.: infallibly).
Pope John XXII’s response was to say that he had been only speaking as a private theologian, and that the faithful were not bound to accept that teaching. He continued to hold his position (as a theologian) for a while after the correction was issued. Before he died, he did state that he reached the conclusion that the Beatific Vision was not reserved for after the Final Judgment, and his successor, Benedict XII clarified– ex cathedra– that the Beatific Vision for the saints is immediate after one’s Particular Judgment.
|Galatians 2- Popes aren’t perfect
My heart aches for our Church. The fact that the confusion has gotten this far is astonishing and more than a little disheartening. I long for the simplistic days of my childhood, where I was blissfully unaware of these fights in the Magisterium. I am praying for Pope Francis, as I hope all Catholics are. He has an extremely difficult task. But I also pray that he responds to yesterday’s Filial Correction and clarifies the objections.
Yet saints their watch are keeping
their cry goes up, “How long!”
and soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song