Talk:Papal infallibility

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Scriptural support for Peter's primacy among Christians[edit]

I have included greater detail in one or two verses. Given that our determination of what is true in this regard should not be based on an English translation, being less specific, I believe the citation with the inclusion of the Greek words is closer to completion, especially in light of their being the very foundation of an entire religion. Without them, it's assumed that the lay reader already knows the Greek background, or perhaps the editor is saying that it's insignificant.

Two other verses I removed because of their contextual inaccuracy. In Luke 10, Jesus is speaking to the 70 he sent out, not to Peter, so it's irrelevant in establishing the primacy of any singular man among the 70. Indeed, the context shows us the opposite as it establishes the equal authority given to all of Jesus' apostles, none given any greater authority _in this instance_ than another. In Acts 15, it was not only the apostles who spoke by the unction of the Holy Ghost, as one might suppose from the editor's comment. "The apostles and elders" were the ones speaking, all of whom must be reckoned to have been given at least some authority, and again, no singular man in this instance is reckoned as being given special authority over any other. This citation, then, is also irrelevant in establishing Peter's primacy. If nothing else, it's wrong to say that "the apostles speak," as that's misleading. Actually, both of the citations, without further details, are misleading. Would you leave Luke 10, and include something along the lines of, "When Jesus says the following to a group of 70 men, he's really saying that Peter is chief." It sounds silly, no? But it's the truth of what's being attempted.

Finally, the heading of this section regards the scriptural support for Peter's primacy, not a theologian's support for Peter's primacy. If 1 Corinthians 15:5 is important to establish Peter as chief, why not just cite the verse, instead of citing a man who cites the verse? Additionally, only four of the eight references given hold Peter out in some different regard than others. Perhaps the remaining four can be added with respective comments? Because only four of Mr. Ott's references are in any way relevant, it seems best to remove his citation to maintain the consistency of the "scriptural support."CalebPM (talk) 06:40, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

You should be thanked for drawing attention to this section, whose content violated Wikipedia rules on original research. Wikipedia isn't a place for placing personal arguments or statements or our own personal interpretations of verses in Scripture. Wikipedia is only for reporting what is already said by reputable published sources. I have therefore replaced the previous text with a report of what is stated by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You and others are free to add reports of the interpretation by Ludwig Ott or any other reputable theologian. Neither you nor I nor anyone else is free to post what we think is the significance of verses of Scripture that we claim have significance for the question of the primacy of Peter.
As you will have noticed, I have moved your intervention on this Talk page to the end, which is the place for starting new discussions. Esoglou (talk) 19:29, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Things said NOT ex cathedra.[edit]

Various Popes have obviously made important pronouncements on all sorts of things over the years, perhaps we might have a list of significant things that were not said under papal infallibility? For example, pronouncements about homosexuality, evolution, divorce and remarriage, contraception, priests and marriage, abortion, atheist governments, infant stem cell harvesting. All of these were/are controversial, but were they said ex cathedra, or were they fallible? Old_Wombat (talk) 07:19, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

There are papal statements that were not pronounced ex cathedra but that are considered infallible, not fallible. See what the article says about the apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis. Esoglou (talk) 08:23, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Now I'm even more confused. If they;re not ex cathedra, then under what criteria are they considered infallible? Old_Wombat (talk) 00:31, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Read what the article's section "Instances of infallible declarations" says about the ordinary and universal magisterium. Esoglou (talk) 10:08, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia Errors[edit]

The following page contains a number of issues that should probably be examined and addressed:

http://www.catholicplanet.org/articles/wikipedia-papal-infallibility.htm

Thangalin (talk) 21:33, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 19:39, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

I found that site startling, especially the admission that since Vactican I people don't know how many times the pope spoke infallibly.

What was the point in defining it? Montalban (talk) 03:40, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

I can't believe someone typed this: "The Roman Catholic Church putting all of its moral eggs in one apostolic basket in this way has damaged its credibility and ability to control the fallout of the child molestation crisis it has found itself embroiled in for the past couple of decades, as Pope Benedict became personally implicated in it. Seeking immunity from prosecution hardly fits any definition of "infallibility". [1]" This author wants to attack the church but doesn't have a clue as to what infallibility means. Popes sin like everyone else but these accusations are unfounded. 67.164.140.139 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 01:49, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

1870 Capture of Rome & dogmatic definition of papal infalliability[edit]

Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), under whose rule the Papal States passed into secular control during 1870.

Esoglou appears to be engaging in repeated non-RPOV edits (removing both image files/captions and paragraph providing historical context of the dogmatic definition of papal infallibility in context with the Third War of Italian Independence and the 1870 Capture of Rome) to the Papal Infallibility wiki article without maintaining or disregarding WP:RNPOV and the Esoglou contributions list itself reveals a long list of article edits related to the Roman Catholic Church and suggests to me that Esoglou is attempting to exercise ownership of the article :

Map of the Papal States (green) in 1700 (around its greatest extent), including its exclaves of Benevento and Pontecorvo in Southern Italy, and the Comtat Venaissin and Avignon in Southern France.

"This doctrine of papal infallibility was defined dogmatically during the First Vatican Council of 1869–1870, immediately following the Third Italian War of Independence that was waged by the Kingdom of Italy against the Austrian Empire, with an outcome for the Kingdom of Italy culminating with the Piedmontese troops occuping Rome on September 20, 1870 (Capture of Rome) and collapse of the Papal States[1] within a smaller legal territory known since 1929 under the Lateran Treaty as the Vatican City. Pius IX suspended the First Vatican Council indefinitely on October 20, 1870.[2]"

Placement of image files/captions would follow placement as within the History page of the article (the map of the Papal States was to provide readers with an understanding of the temporal and territorial reach of the Papal States); placed left here with Talk for clarity. This information is all relevant to the Papal Infalliability article.Bee Cliff River Slob (talk) 00:20, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

The proposed caption "Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), under whose rule the Papal States passed into secular control during 1870" does seem less relevant to an article on papal infallibility than the caption at present in the article: "Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), during whose pontificate the doctrine of papal infallibility was dogmatically defined by the First Vatican Council".
The article is about papal infallibility, not just about the dogmatic definition in 1870. However, the supposed relationship between papal infallibility and the extent of the Papal States in 1700, "including its exclaves of Benevento and Pontecorvo in Southern Italy, and the Comtat Venaissin and Avignon in Southern France", is, to say the least, unclear and is certainly unsourced.
The supposed connection between papal infallibility and "the Third Italian War of Independence that was waged by the Kingdom of Italy against the Austrian Empire, with an outcome for the Kingdom of Italy culminating with the Piedmontese troops occuping (sic) Rome on September 20, 1870 (Capture of Rome) and collapse of the Papal States within a smaller legal (sic) territory known since 1929 under the Lateran Treaty as the Vatican City" needs to be demonstrated by citing a reliable source that supports it. The only source cited says nothing whatever about the supposed connection between these events and papal infallibility or even between them and the calling of the First Vatican Council, which it says was called instead to deal with "the rising influence of rationalism, liberalism, and materialism".
An editor who wishes to introduce material stating that the historical situation at the time of the definition of the doctrine influenced either the doctrine or its definition should develop the idea in the body of the article with the support of reliable sources (which may very well exist), not just insert the idea sourcelessly into the lead. One place where it could be introduced is in the section "Claim that Vatican I was to dogmatize papal temporal power", about which one editor has commented: "Is there some reason that these speculations receive attention? Are these opinions generally recognized as of historical importance? Are they the subject matter of any substantive contextualizing WP:RS?" Esoglou (talk) 09:31, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Can you folks give diffs for edits supported ot disputed? This is very hard to follow. Thanks. From what I do understand Esoglou's prefered caption seems much more relevant and he is correct to suggest that any argument tying infallibility to the geopolitical situation needs to be hashed out with good sources in the body of the article. BCRS's desire that a map of the papal states during the relevant era be included also seems reasonable, but the caption for such an image shouldn't be arguing some point. μηδείς (talk) 09:28, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Bismarck's reaction[edit]

Contested section added, removed, re-added.

Removal seems to be on the basis that Non Expedit was not an infallible statement, although there is no contest of the claim that Bismarck was concerned by it. I've re-added this as I consider it relevant: if Non Expedit had concerned Bismarck, then any use of dogmatic infallibility would worry him even further! If political reaction to the power of Papal influence, or Papal infallibility, is considered relevant to this article (i.e. we're covering external politics, not merely theology), then this would seem to belong here. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:19, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

I applaud your decision to bring this question up on the Talk page.
It is undoubted that Bismarck attacked the dogma of papal infallibility (as, I think, did Gladstone and many others). But are you correct in saying that "Bismarck feared that Pius IX and future popes would use the infallibility dogma as a political weapon for manipulating Catholic voters"? Are you, above all, correct in making Wikipedia declare it an absolute fact, not just an opinion, that "this was no idle fear". Just think: in what concrete way could any pope "use the infallibility dogma as a political weapon for manipulating Catholic voters"? Take present-day Pope Francis and the United States or Argentina, for instance. You surely know what papal infallibility means. If so, you do not think that "Papal infallibility" is more or less the same thing as "Papal influence".
That there is no need for this questionable explanation of Bismarck's attack on the dogma is shown by writers who do not posit such a difficult-to-imagine use by popes of the dogma of infallibility. Take: "Bismarck regarded the dogma as an insult to German Protestants and a potential threat to the emerging authority of the German state" (source); "If it is asked: how could the dogma of papal infallibility imperil the relations between Germany and the Church of Rome?, the answer is clear. Germany was a nation in which Protestant principles were dominant. This dogma seemed to Protestants to be anti-Protestant to the core!" (source); or "The First Vatican Council became notorious to liberals everywhere in Europe because it resulted in the Declaration of Papal Infallibility" (source).
(You of course realize that "a potential threat to the emerging authority of the German state" can refer to matters that in the Kulturkampf Bismarck treated as coming under state authority and the Church in Germany saw as exclusively religious.)
I am sure you are quite capable of revising the paragraph in such a way as to make it acceptable. Esoglou (talk) 16:26, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
If you had bothered to read "Bismarck's confidential diplomatic circular to German representatives abroad," Berlin, 14 May 1872. In: F.B.M. Hollyday, Bismarck, (Great Lives Observed, Prentice-Hall (1970) pp. 42-44, you would have seen that it was prompted precisely by the promulgation of infallibility dogma. I am glad that Andy Dingley restored this section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Italus (talkcontribs) 23:37, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Andy Dingley, whom I wrongly supposed to have been the person who made the insertion into this article that I see was yours, doubtless has more sense than to insist that one person's interpretation of one book is sufficient basis for presenting an opinion as a fact. Since Hollyday's book is not freely available, I must ask you to quote Hollyday's statement that Bismarck feared that the popes (not just the Catholic Church, in particular the Catholic Church in the newly extended territory that he ruled) would use the infallibility dogma (not just their papal authority in general) to manipulate Catholic voters. That is one request. But more important is the request that (supposing Bismarck really had this notion) you provide good grounds for your declaration that this notion was in fact "no idle fear". Even if Hollyday did say what you attribute to him, would that mean that Bismarck's alleged fear of the popes' use of the dogma was any better founded than the idea Biesinger in his Reference Guide to Germany from the Renaissance to the Present (p. 517) attributes to Bismarck of a link between German unification and the Catholic Church's definition of the doctrine? Surely, even if Bismarck thought it was because of German unification that the Church defined the doctrine, you can't really think that was in fact the Church's reason for defining it and declare that his idea "was no idle notion". Alan Farmer also says that it is debatable whether Bismarck really believed that the anti-Prussian political alignment in the Reichstag was a papal-inspired conspiracy of malcontents bent on destroying the Reich, or whether he was only putting forward that idea as a politically useful weapon in what David Gibson calls his strategy to eliminate the Catholic Church's political and social influence in the Prussian-dominated German state, from which he had already succeeded in excluding Catholic Austria.
Maybe I am wrong. Show me. Esoglou (talk) 09:25, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I have added a quotation in the article. Scanned segments of Hollyday's book are at http://books.google.com/books?ei=cCIBUoTuIoaHygHs5oHgAQ&id=L17jt4wyy04C&dq=bismarck%3A+great+lives+observed&q=infallibility . Other scanned segments can be found if you search for other keywords.Italus (talk) 16:27, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
The quotation you have given doesn't say Bismarck feared the popes "would use the infallibility dogma as a political weapon for manipulating Catholic voters": it speaks instead of relations between the popes and governments. I think you should rephrase your statement to correspond to what your source says.
You have made no attempt to deal with what I called the more important question: On what grounds do you say that the fear that you attribute to Bismarck was well founded? That statement seems to be just an expression of your own personal judgement alone. That's what is most crying out for sourcing, and it would be doing so even if you found a reliable source for your statement about what it was that Bismarck feared. You shouldn't have removed the "dubious" tag without, as requested, discussing the question. Will you respond now? Esoglou (talk) 20:15, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
A competent editor should read Hollyday's entire translation of Bismarck's confidential circular and determine if what I have posted in the article is relevant.Italus (talk) 21:10, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
A Wikipedia editor who follows Wikipedia rules puts into Wikipedia only what is explicitly stated in a reliable source (see WP:STICKTOSOURCE. He does not, by synthesis or otherwise, impose his own personal interpretation, and if his first edit is found not to correspond to what the cited source states explicitly, he modifies his edit to make it correspond. So please:
  1. Quote in any language the part of the famous Papstwahldepesche that you think explicitly says that Bismarck feared that the popes "would use the infallibility dogma as a political weapon for manipulating Catholic voters";
  2. Cite any reliable source that declares well founded the fear that you attribute to Bismarck.
You know that, if you fail to support an edit by citing an explicit statement by a reliable source, or if you refuse to modify the edit to make it correspond to what a cited source actually says, the edit must be deleted from Wikipedia. Esoglou (talk) 08:23, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
In the scanned segment from Page 6 at http://books.google.com/books?ei=cCIBUoTuIoaHygHs5oHgAQ&id=L17jt4wyy04C&dq=bismarck%3A+great+lives+observed&q=infallibility , Hollyday wrote: "Bismarck's attention was also riveted by fear of what he believed to be the desire of the international Catholic church to control national Germany by means of the papal claim of infallibility, announced in 1870. If, as has been argued, there was no papal desire for international political hegemony [...]"Italus (talk) 17:32, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
That snippet too says nothing about popes manipulating Catholic voters. And since you are still making no attempt to justify placing in Wikipedia your personal opinion about whether the fear you attribute to Bismarck was or was not well founded, your unsourced comment on that question must now be removed. Esoglou (talk) 19:20, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
According to you, what does the snippet say? Perhaps, in my first sentence, I should replace "manipulating Catholic voters" with "establishing international political hegemony" or with "controlling national Germany." I appeal to a competent editor to decide.Italus (talk) 22:17, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
It is indeed an excellent idea to modify your first sentence so that it will reflect something that either Bismarck or Hollyday did say and attributing the statement to whoever said it, perhaps quoting that person's exact words. Esoglou (talk) 12:01, 8 August 2013 (UTC)


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