Friday, April 15, 2005

Turns Out, the Pope Is Infallible Only Sometimes

The trick is to know when those times are. And the Roman Catholic Church is the arbiter of infallibility. Avery Dulles, the major pope-dogma expert says the pope is infallible only when he's teaching “faith and morals” ex cathedra (from the chair). That is, when the Pope is speaking for God as head of the church, then he's infallible because he has “divine assistance”. When the pope is making pronouncements on things that don't pertain to faith and morals, he's as apt to talk out his ass as the rest of us. Trouble is, there's no playbook to tell us how to know when he's not teaching faith and morals. And the RCC has typically covered its ass by saying, ”…if anyone presumes to contradict this definition of Ours (on infallibility), which may God forbid: let him be anathema (excommunicated)”. But the RCC has made it clear that infallibility is irrevocable--a pope can't undo previous infallible statements from infallible popes. And canonization is infallible and irrevocable. That's why a dispatch from Vatican City in 1947 and a news flash from the Vatican in 1969 caught the faithful unawares. On January 18, 1947, a Vatican City dispatch said, "...the Vatican's new official directory has dropped six popes from its old list. It placed two others in doubt, as possible anti-popes and listed as a true pope one who had not been included until now... Information was changed on 74 popes. The changes ranged from corrections in the dates of their pontificate to the assertion that one of them, Pope Dono II, who was listed as pontiff for three months in the year 973, never really existed..." In 1969, Pope Paul VI revised the canon of saints and dropped 200 from the liturgical calendar. Saints Philomena, George, Christopher, Nicholas, Ursula and Valentine were among those “dropped”. Now that doesn't mean they were cast out. It just means they were discredited. The RCC says that some of their saints never existed, but you can go ahead and pray to them. Being dropped means you're put on a “local” and therefore less important list. The same RCC that says a zygote is a baby says that a saint who was never born can be venerated like a saint who lived. Whether you can be kicked out of sainthood or not is a matter of semantics in the RCC. If you were actually canonized, then you can't be kicked out…remember, the RCC is never wrong. So a canonized saint who never actually existed is taken off the official liturgical calendar but is still considered worthy of respect. Felix II, who was listed as a saint and as a pope from 363 to 365 wasn't actually removed from the Pope list, he got an asterisk--which is worse--he's an anti-pope (read, he became pope by illegitimate means). The thing you must never forget about the Roman Catholic Church is that the truth is unimportant and has no meaning. An encyclical trumps the truth because in the language of the Vatican, an encyclical makes a lie the truth.

No comments: