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CHAPTER III.

THE TERMINOLOGY OF THE DOCTRINE OF

INFALLIBILITY.

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I WILL now add a few words respecting the terms which have been used, not only in the course of the last months, but in the traditional theology of the Schools, on the doctrine of Infallibility.

Certain well-known writers have rendered memorable the formula of “personal, separate, independent and absolute infallibility.” It has not only been used in pastoral letters, and pamphlets, but introduced into high diplomatic correspondence.

The frequency and confidence with which this formula was repeated, as if taken from the writings of the promoters of the Definition, made it not unnatural to examine into the origin, history, and meaning of the formula itself. I therefore set myself to search it out; and I employed others to do the same. As it had been ascribed to myself, our first examination was turned to anything I might have written. After repeated search, not only was the formula as a whole nowhere to be discovered, but the words of which it is composed were, with the exception of the word “independent,” equally nowhere to be found. I mention this, that I may clear away the supposition that in what I add I

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have any motive of defending myself or anything I may have written. I speak of it now simply for the truth's sake, and for charity, which is always promoted by a clear statement of truth, and never by the confused noise of controversy; and also to justify some of the most eminent defenders of Catholic doctrine, by showing that this terminology is to be found in the writings of many of our greatest theologians.

I may remind you, in passing, that in the Definition not a trace of this formula nor of its component words is to be found.

First, as to the word personal, Cardinal Toletus, speaking of the doctrine of infallibility, says, first opinion is, that the privilege of the Pope, that of not erring in faith, is personal; and cannot be communicated to another.” After quoting our Lord's words, “I have prayed for thee,” etc., he adds, “I concede that this privilege is personal.”*

Ballerini says, that the jurisdiction of St. Peter, by reason of the primacy, was “singular and personal” to himself. The same right he affirms to belong also to the Roman Pontiffs, St. Peter's successors." +

This doctrine he explains diffusely.

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*“Prima est quod privilegium Papæ ut in fide errare non possit est personale, nec ipse potest alteri communicare, Luc. xxii. : ' Ego rogavi pro te, Petre, et tu aliquando conversus confirma fratres tuos.' Ad primum concedo esse illud privilegium personale: ob id communicari non potest.”—Toletus. In Summ. Enarr. tom. ii. pp. 62, 64. Rome, 1869.

{"Jurisdictio et prærogativæ quæ eidem sedi ab antiquis asseruntur ratione primatus ejusdem Petri ac successorum singulares et personales judicandæ sunt.”—Ballerini, de Vi et Ratione Prima tus, cap, iii. sect. 5, p. 14. Rome, 1849.

“This primacy of chief jurisdiction, not of mere order, in St. Peter and the Roman Pontiffs his successors, is personal, that is, attached to their person; and therefore a supreme personal right, which is communicated to no other, is contained in the primacy.

Hence, when there is question of the rights and the jurisdiction proper to the primacy, and when these are ascribed to the Roman See, or Cathedra, or Church of St. Peter; by the name of the Roman See, or Cathedra, or Church, to which this primacy of jurisdiction is ascribed, the single person of the Roman Pontiff is to be understood, to whom alone the same primacy is attached.

“Hence again it follows, that whatsoever belongs to the Roman See or Cathedra or Church, by reason of the primacy, is so to be ascribed to the person of the Roman Pontiffs that they need help or association of none for the exercise of that right.”

From this passage three conclusions flow:

1. First, that the Primacy is a personal privilege in Peter and his successors.

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*"Hic præcipuæ jurisdictionis et non meri ordinis primatus S. Petri et Romanorum Pontificum ejus successorum personalis est, seu ipsorum personæ alligatus; ac proinde jus quoddam præcipuum ipsorum personale, id est, nulli alii commune, in eo primatu contineri debet. Hinc cum de jure, seu jurisdictione propria primatus agitur, hæcque Romanæ S. Petri sedi, cathedræ, vel Ecclesiæ tribui.

sedis cathedræ vel Ecclesiæ Romanæ nomine, cui ea jurisdictio primatus propria asseratur, una Romani Pontificis persona intelligenda est, cui uni idem primatus est alligatus. Hinc quoque sequitur, quidquid juris ratione primatus Romanæ sedi cathedræ, vel Ecclesiæ competit, Romanorum Pontificum personæ ita esse tribuendum ut nullius adjutorio vel societate ad idem jus exercendum indigeant.”—Ballerini, de Vi et Ratione Primatus, cap. iii. propositio 3, p. 10.

2. Secondly, that this personal privilege attaches to Peter and to the Roman Pontiffs alone.

3. Thirdly, that in exercising this same primacy the Roman Pontiff needs the help and society of no other.

Ballerini then adds:

“That what was personal in Peter by reason of the primacy, is to be declared personal in his successors the Roman Pontiffs, on whom the same primacy of Peter with the same jurisdiction has devolved, no one can deny.

“ Therefore to Peter alone, and to the person alone of his successors, the dignity and jurisdiction of the Primacy is so attached, that it can be ascribed to no other Bishop, even though of the Chief Sees; and much less can it be ascribed to any number whatsoever of Bishops congregated together; nor in that essential jurisdiction of the primacy ought the Roman Pontiff to depend on any one whomsoever; nor can he; especially as the jurisdiction received from Christ was instituted by Christ un-circumscribed by any condition, and personal in Peter alone and his successors: like as He instituted the primacy of jurisdiction to be personal, which without personal jurisdiction is unintelligible.'

*“Quod autem personale in Petro fuit ratione primatus, idem in successoribus ejus Romanis Pontificibus, in quos idem primatus Petri cum eadem jurisdictione transivit, personale esse dicendum, inficiari potest nemo. Soli igitur Petro et soli successorum ejus personæ ita alligata est propria primatus dignitas et jurisdictio ut nulli alii Episcopo præstantiorum licet sedium, et pinus multo pluribus aliis Episcopis quantumvis in unum collectis, possit adscribi : neque in ea jurisdictione primatus essentiali Romanus Pontifex dependere ab alio quopiam debet aut potest, cum præsertim ipsam a Christo acceptam idem Christus nulla conditione circum

From these statements it follows:

1. First, that what depends on no other is altogether independent.

2. Secondly, that what is circumscribed by no condition is absolute.

3. Thirdly, that what is by God committed to one alone, depends on God alone.

But perhaps it will be said that all this relates not to infallibility, but to the power of jurisdiction only.

To this I answer:

1. That if the primacy be personal, all its prerogatives are personal.

2. That the doctrinal authority of the Pontiff is a part of his jurisdiction, and is therefore personal.

3. That infallibility is, as the Definition expressly declares, a supernatural grace, or charisma, attached to the primacy, in order to its proper exercise. . Infallibility is a quality of the doctrinal jurisdiction of the Pontiff in faith and morals.

And such also is the doctrine of Ballerini, who lays down the following propositions:

“Unity with the Roman faith is absolutely necessary, and therefore the prerogative of absolute infallibility is to be ascribed to it, and a coercive power to constrain to unity of faith, in like manner, absolute; as also the infallibility and coercive power of the Catholic Church itself, which is bound to adhere to the faith of Rome, is absolute." *

scriptam, personalem solius Petri ac successorum esse instituerit, uti primatum jurisdictionis instituit personalem, qui sine personali jurisdictione intelligi nequit.”—Ballerini, de Vi et Ratione Primatus, cap. iii. sect. 4,

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13. * Ballerini de Vi et Rat. Primatus: Unitas cum Romana fide

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