Catholic Dogmas and Definitions

Catholic Dogmas and Definitions - Catholic Dogmas and De...

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Catholic Dogmas and Definitions (1854, 1870, 1891) from Hugh T. Kerr. Research in Christian Thought , first edition. (Abingdon Press, 1966, pp. 244-46) This text is not included in the new second edition. Two important nineteenth-century definitions of dogma, plus certain papal encyclicals, gave increased precision to the Roman Catholic interpretation of authority in matters of faith and doctrine. The Decrees and Canons of the Council of Trent (1545-63) gave continuing guidance for Catholic doctrinal instruction following upon the Protestant Reformation. Hence the era after Trent, or the "post-Tridentine" era, may be termed either the period of the Counter Reformation or the period of the Catholic Reformation, depending on the point of view. In any event, this was a time for Catholic doctrinal consolidation. In 1854 Pius IX initiated the first of two epoch-making decrees. Concerned to regularize Catholic doctrine and piety as related to the Virgin Mary, the pope issued the bull known as Ineffabilis Deus (from the first two words of the Latin text). In this statement, Mary is pronounced preserved from original sin at the moment of her conception. Three grades of worship, of significance in this matter, are recognized by the Roman Church: latria, worship reserved for God alone; dulia, veneration of the angels and saints; hyperdulia, the special veneration due the Virgin Mary, who was "full of grace" and the highest of God's creatures. Again, in 1869 the same pope, Pius IX, convened a Vatican Council in Rome primarily for the purpose of defining the nature of the church and more specifically the power and authority of the pontiff himself. Some years earlier, in 1864, Pius IX had issued a Syllabus of Errors which warned against many current trends and movements regarded as dangerous by the Roman Church. During the Vatican Council, on July 18, 1870, the decree issuing from The First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ defined the crucial matter of papal infallibility. Often misunderstood, the decree does not suggest papal sinlessness; infallibility is not impeccability. The purpose of the doctrine is to reassert the church's authority in its teaching function as invested in the office and person of the pope. One of the more important of the papal encyclical letters prior to the turn of the twentieth century was Leo XIII's social manifesto, Rerum Novarum (1891). Sometimes designated as the "Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor," it spoke of the increasing pressure resulting from modem industrialization and put the social problem in the context of religion, the nature of man, and the church's teaching on family and communal life. Technically, an encyclical (or "circular") letter is addressed by the pope to his bishops on a matter of teaching or interpretation. It is not of itself infallible but comes with the authority of the papal office; such teachings are to be accepted by the faithful not on faith but in obedience to and in respect for the teaching
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course REL THEL 352 taught by Professor Tyson during the Spring '08 term at Houghton College.

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Catholic Dogmas and Definitions - Catholic Dogmas and De...

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