8 July 2016

The Pontificate of Pius XII (1)

Fr Eric Mascall interestingly pointed out that the article 'POPE' in Addis's and Arnold's Catholic Dictionary did at one point in its history ... mutate. Here is a passage from the edition of 1905:

It must not be supposed for a moment that the Pope is an absolute monarch. He cannot ... annul the constitution of the Church ordained by Christ. His power of definition is limited by a multitude of previous definitions due to his predecessors, to the councils, to the ordinary exercise of the Church's magisterium through the pastors united to the Holy See. If the Pope obstinately rejected an article of faith which had already been proposed by the Church, and to which the Pope owes allegiance as much as the simplest of the faithful, he might be judged and replaced. 'It has always been maintained', says F. Ryder ... 'that for heresy the Church may judge the Pope, because, as most maintain, by heresy he ceases to be pope'. Bellarmine and Turrecremata maintain that he would cease to be Pope ipso facto; Cajetan and John of St Thomas require formal deposition.

The last three sentences, which I have rendered into italic type, were omitted by the 1951 edition.

Apparently, this passage gave no offence, seemed in no way problematic, in the quarter-century after Vatican I had, under the presidency of B Pio Nono, defined the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his Infallibility. It is interesting to note that it had become too dangerous ... or tactless? ... to reprint it in the pontificate of Pius XII.

It is sometimes felt that the 'problem' of the Papacy has something to do with the Decrees of Vatican I. I have never believed this to be so. It was in the middle of the twentieth century, under Pius XII, that inflated views of the Papacy reached a dangerous pitch. And, as Joseph Ratzinger pointed out, it was in the years after the Council that the erroneous view spread that "a pope could do anything". And now, under Papa Bergoglio, the disease has become even more acute.

I shall give you later a liturgical example of the same problem from this same pontificate of Pius XII.


Tony V said...

It may have taken a quarter century, but the root of the problem goes back (at least) to Vatican I. Without the 'spririt of Vatican I', there could not have been a Vatican II.

I do find a problem with the 1905 Encyclopedia--specifically the notion that if a pope falls into heresy, he ceases to be pope. Why? If a bishop of any other diocese utters heresy, he's still a bishop. The notion that popes simply can't be heretical is ultramontane, and a sine qua non for the absurdity of Sedevacantism.

Pulex said...

"If a bishop of any other diocese utters heresy, he's still a bishop."

Of course, he still has his episcopal consecration. The idea is, it seems to me, that by falling into heresy (in the sense of canonical crime) anyone (not only a Pope) holding an ecclesiastic office looses it (or at least the right to hold such office). Maybe can. 188, par. 4 (CJC 1917) covers this, and also can. 2314. True, the 1905 edition pre-dates the Pio-Benedictine Code, but this principle apparently is much older.

Tarquinius said...

@Tony V: On the contrary, ordinary jurisdiction itself is incompatible with public heresy, vide can. 188 7°/CIC 1917, can. 194 2°/CIC 1983.

mark wauck said...

"It is sometimes felt that the 'problem' of the Papacy has something to do with the Decrees of Vatican I."

Well, right after our favorite lines from V1, "For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles," we also read this rather fulsome claim:

"... this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.

"This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine."

In my view these claims lack nuance (at the least) and may have contributed to the "problem of the papacy."

Tarquinius said...

Indeed, Pulex, you can find the sources in Gasparri's edition of the CIC (and then look 'em up in his indispensable Fontes): p. 42, footnote 2

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

If a bishop of any other see falls into heresy and there is a pope, who is not a heretic, the bishop remains in office up to being judged as a heretic - since "supplet ecclesia" means "supplet superior" and a Pope who is not a heretic is such. BUT if he is judged as heretic, he automatically looses office as well.

All acts of jurisdiction after date of his being judged are thereby rendered null and void.

However, this normal scenario does not become possible if the Pope himself is the heretic. Here he must loose office or be seen as never having had it, as soon as heresy is a clear fact - since he has no superior on Earth able to supply his lacking jurisdiction, and since this same lack of Superior renders him not just immediately, but long term dangerous, otherwise.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Oh dear! Welcome, Hans, to reading my blog; but if you employ the search engine you will discover my many articles making clear my view that sedevacantism is as foolish a heresy as the ultraBergoglioism which currently afflicts the Body of Christ.