Archive for the ‘Ordination’ Category

The Perspicuity of the Magisterium

June 14, 2011

Code of Canon Law 749

§1. By virtue of his office, the Supreme Pontiff possesses infallibility in teaching when as the supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful, who strengthens his brothers and sisters in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.

§2. The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively.

§3. No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.

This is the “death by a thousand qualifications” clause in terms of Roman dogma. Is there really anything that is so manifestly evidently defined infallibly that someone cannot come along later and question it?

Case in point: “Fr.” John Zuhlsdorf vs. “Fr.” Richard McBrien, Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.

Zuhlsdorf seemingly claims that the ordination of women was infallibly defined as being contrary to the faith by John Paul in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and then subsequently was reaffirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (which, interestingly, indicated that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis did not define this as dogma: “In this case, an act of the ordinary Papal Magisterium, in itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church”). In other words, per the CDF, O.S. did not define the dogma – the dogma is infallible via the mechanism of universal and ordinary magisterium.

Of course, Scripture makes it pretty clear that the eldership is for men only, but is it manifestly evident? I’m sure it is for the conservatives, and not for the liberals. Its lack of manifest evidence is not due to any deficiency in the text of Scripture, but simply in the sinful rebellion of mankind.


The Real Turretin on: Ordination

April 27, 2008

“While the ministry flourishes in the Church, it (the Church) ought indeed to use it (the ministry) in the calling of pastors, nor can pastors be ordinarily instituted except by a ministry already constituted ” (says Turrettin).

(source – p. 270 – no specific citation to Turretin)

Turrettin lays it down that “the pastors exercise the right which belongs to the body, as representing it, and in such away that that right always belongs radically to the body;” and again, “when a ministry is wanting or miserably corrupt, the Church, can elect for itself ministers for its edification even without the intervention of a ministry; as well both because this right it has from God, as because always and everywhere it is bound to preserve a ministry” tenetur ministerium conservare.

(source – p. 275 – no specific citation to Turretin)

Nevertheless, it appears that these translations may be gathered from Part III, Locus XVIII, Question XXV, items XVIII-XIX of Turretin’s Institutes of Elenctic Theology (link).

I thought it worth pointing out that Turretin leaves open the possibility of ministers being ordained from non-ministers – i.e. ordination by the flock, rather than by the shepherds. I’m not sure what Turretin’s Biblical warrant for this is – but perhaps the warrant is simply this: it is necessary that there be elders – and the specifically provided-for way of ordination is the preferred way they be appointed. Nevertheless, ordination is not something magical – necessarily requiring a chain of hand on head contact going back to Christ.


PCUSA Draws the Line

February 17, 2008

Apparently, although the PCUSA will continue to permit women to be ordained, they have drawn the line at allowing practicing homosexuals from being ordained. (link) This is a defeat for the ultra-liberals in the PCUSA. I wonder whether this will bring a welcome split within the PCUSA that would extract the most extreme liberal elements within that church.


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