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How does the average Catholic know which Papal statements are "ex cathedra"?

And is "ex cathedra" viewed differently by the priesthood and Catholic theologians than how it is regarded by the average Catholic layperson?

For that matter, can (and does) the average Catholic layperson name important ex cathedra pronouncements versa important "non-ex-cathedra" teachings? Are these concepts which are emphasized in Catholic elementary schools in the U.S. today, for example?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Ex Cathedra announcements define what the Church has always believed. And when an ex cathedra statement is made, you will know it, cause one of the conditions for an ex cathedra statement is that the Holy Father SAY it is ex cathedra.

    Average Catholics, above average Catholics and lower than average Catholics are obliged to believe an ex cathedra statement to the same degree and with the same fervor.

    There are "non ex cathdra" statements made all the time. Sometimes they are in Papal Encyclicals (like Humanae Vitae), sometimes they are in Apostolic Exhortations (like "Church in the Americas"). Catholics are not bound to accept what is in them, but we understand that it is the present teaching authority of the Church.

    Cannot believe that someone has been a Catholic for 49 years and never heard of an ex cathedra statement.

    Source(s): Went to Catholic school.
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  • 1 decade ago

    The vast bulk of ex-cathedra bulls have to do with appointing bishops, and so aren't of use to most Catholics unless they impact their diocese (and they should know who their bishop is). Previously, Papal bulls were used to excommunicate persons but aside from some schismatic sects (ie, the six Pope Peter II's around the world) these are of little importance to the average Catholic.

    As such, "ex cathedra" is a mostly administrative term that lay Catholics don't often hear or need to worry about. It is far more important to the priesthood and episcopacy because they are generally orders that impact them.

    Otherwise, the ex-cathedra bulls are covered in Catechism classes along with theology, either in RCIA or PSR or CCD or whatever program is attended. The only bulls I'm aware of that contend with theological issues are:

    (1) That Christ is truly human and truly divine.

    (2) That Mary was conceived without sin.

    (3) That Mary was assumed into Heaven.

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  • QUILL
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Setting aside deciding what you actually mean by the term 'average Catholic,' it would seem reasonable to expect that faithful Catholics, perhaps even lapsed Catholics, consider everything the Pope says as ex-cathedra.

    Some Papal writs, Bulls for example, are considered to come from Jesus Christ through Peter's mouth by way of the Vicar of Christ on earth, that is whichever Pope is enthroned.

    I am sorry I cannot answer all your question. Perhaps Catholic websites such as those found via the link below might be able to answer your more detailed enquiries.

    http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=Rioman+Catholic+f...

    You need to be aware that not all the sites look upon Catholicism with any degree of good favour, having slighted, condemned, and harried the RCC since the Protestant Reformations. I suppose they have to do this to attempt to maintain their position that the Reformations were under the hands of the God whom the RCC had abandoned.

    QUILL

    Source(s): .
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In Catholic theology, the Latin phrase ex cathedra, literally meaning "from the chair", refers to a teaching by the pope that is considered to be made with the intention of invoking infallibility.

    The "chair" referred to is not a literal chair, but refers metaphorically to the pope's position, or office, as the official teacher of Catholic doctrine: the chair was the symbol of the teacher in the ancient world, and bishops to this day have a cathedra, a seat or throne, as a symbol of their teaching and governing authority. The pope is said to occupy the "chair of Peter", as Catholics hold that among the apostles Peter had a special role as the preserver of unity, so the pope as successor of Peter holds the role of spokesman for the whole church among the bishops, the successors as a group of the apostles.

    Popes seldom use their power of infallibility, but rely on the notion that the Church allows the office of the pope to be the ruling agent in deciding what will be accepted as formal beliefs in the church."Since the solemn declaration of Papal Infallibility by Vatican I on July 18, 1870, this power has been used only once ex cathedra: in 1950 when Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as being an article of faith for Roman Catholics. Thus, for example, the encyclical Humanae Vitae, issued in 1968 by Pope Paul VI is not considered to be infallible.

    So pretty much, if something is declared EX CATHEDRA, everyone would read about it in the papers and such. It's really not that big of a deal in general use.

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  • 1 decade ago

    We know because he specifically says so.

    All ex-cathedra statements are important and a devout Catholic will follow them (though there are only two of them so far). A cafeteria Catholic picks and chooses what they feel like believing and/or following. It depends on the Catholic school whether or not they teach about it. Some Catholics schools are pretty much secular and some are devout.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They know when the Pope speaks ex cathedra, because he states that he is so speaking.

    Probably only at some very conservative Catholic schools (like those run by the Legion of Christ) would students be taught about or know much about many of the ex cathedra teachings.

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  • 1 decade ago

    A document that is 'ex cathedra' is pretty much laying down the law as to what is to be current Church policy. I would guess that the clergy regard them more seriously than the laity. For the clergy, they are procedural rules, whereas for the laity--they can take them or leave them; the laity may beliee what they wish to, in the privacy of their own minds.

    Usually, the senior pastor in a church will discuss the papal directives in church during a sermon. I suspect the full text can also be obtained online.

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  • 1 decade ago

    These statements are extremely rare having happened only a couple of times in the 2000 year history of the Church and are always matters of faith and morals. All Catholics heed the teaching of the Pope when He speaks from the chair of Peter. God bless!

    In Christ

    fr. Joseph

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    i think that this is not a thing that in which shall become something of none other

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  • mary d
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    What are you talking about? I have never heard of such a term...

    Source(s): 49 years Catholic
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