The Second Set of Four Charisms: Indefectibility (7, 8)

These are the 12 papal charisms.

— Authority —
1. The Pope has supreme authority over the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
2. The Pope has supreme authority over the body of Bishops and every Council.
3. As the supreme judge of the faithful, the Pope can be judged by no one but God.
4. Papal decisions under this supreme authority allow no appeal.

— Indefectibility —
5. The Pope is the indefectible Rock on which the indefectible Church is founded.
6. The Pope has the charism of truth and never-failing faith, making him indefectible.
7. The Apostolic See is unblemished by any grave error, making his See indefectible.
8. The Pope is the head of the body of Bishops, which is indefectible due to this union.

— Unity: one Lord, one Church, one Teaching, one Salvation —
9. The Pope is one Head with Christ over the Church and head of the body of Bishops.
10. The Pope is the principle and foundation of unity of the whole Church.
11. The Pope has the charism to teach infallibly, unifying the faithful in doctrine.
12. Subjection to the Roman Pontiff is from the necessity of salvation.

~ This post covers charisms 7 and 8.

7. The Apostolic See is unblemished by any grave error, making this See indefectible.

This charism of indefectibility given to the Roman Pontiff in his See, applies to his exercise of the Keys of Saint Peter. The Pope is personally indefectible in that he has a never-failing faith, and so cannot commit apostasy, heresy, schism, idolatry, or any other grave failing of faith. But this charism of truth and never-failing faith is also of truth, referring to the truths of divine revelation, and so the decisions of the Pope on doctrine and discipline must have a protection from grave failings as well. And this makes not only his faith, but also his teachings and rulings over the Church, from the See of Peter, indefectible.

The basis for this indefectibility of the Apostolic See has been taught by the Church continually, and it might be somewhat surprising to those who have not heard it. Just as Vatican I taught: Peter forever lives, presides, and exercises judgment in his successors, the Roman Pontiffs. So the indefectible of the Apostolic See protects the exercise of the Keys of Peter, and so is rightly attributed to Peter, who dwells in Heaven with Christ, who has the Beatific Vision of God, and who has the role from Heaven to intercede before Christ for his See. This indefectibility of the See is certainly of grace and providence, of Christ as the invisible Head of the Church, of the Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church, and of the Father, who sent the Son to save us by means of this Church. But Peter does continue to have a role from Heaven in His See, just as the Church has always taught. And the indefectibility of his See can be partially attributed to this role.

Example Teachings:

* Vatican I: “For no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and forever he lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors, the bishops of the Holy Roman See, which he founded and consecrated with his blood.”

* “Therefore whoever succeeds to the Chair of Peter obtains by the institution of Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole Church. So what the truth has ordained stands firm, and blessed Peter perseveres in the rock-like strength he was granted, and he does not abandon that governorship of the Church which he once received.”

~ What an Ecumenical Council teaches that no one can doubt, and what was known in every age of the Church, must be an infallible teaching under the ordinary universal Magisterium, as confirmed by an Ecumenical Council. This teaching is indisputable and required belief. But notice the effectiveness of Peter’s role in his See. He does not only live in his See, as if he were doing nothing more than praying for the Pope — something all the faithful must do. He also presides, as with authority, and exercises judgment within that See. Neither can this doctrine be used to undermine any Roman Pontiff, as if we could appeal to Peter against a successor of Peter; for such a plan would be schismatic and heretical. And so this presiding and this exercise of judgment is always in the decisions and actions of his successor. Then a close examination of past teachings shows that this same doctrine has been taught many times in Church history, up to recent times.

* Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus, 6: “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. Indeed, their Apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this See of Saint Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior 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’ [Lk 22:32].”

~ This teaching of Vatican I is required belief. The Holy Spirit guarantees that Peter and his successors will guard and faithfully explain divine revelation (Tradition and Scripture). Then the fathers and doctors always embraced the teaching of the Apostolic See for they know that this See “always remains unblemished by any error”. And this unblemished See, note well, is the result of the divine promise and prayer of our Lord, that the faithful of Peter and his successors will never fail. So the charism of truth and never-failing faith results in an unblemished Apostolic See, says Vatican I, interpreting Luke 22:32.

~ However, the phrase “unblemished by any error” must be interpreted in accord with the teaching of the same Ecumenical Council later in that same document and chapter, that the teaching of the Roman Pontiff is only infallible when certain conditions are met. So we cannot interpret “unblemished by any error” as implying a constant infallibility in doctrine and discipline. Neither is the interpretation compatible with the ancient constant teaching of the Church which says that only that which is infallible has the protection of never-failing faith or of an unblemished See. The expressions “always remains unblemished” and “that you faith may not fail” cannot reasonably be interpreted as meaning only in the case of a Pope teaching infallibly. For the indefectibility of the Church is not intermittent, and neither is the assistance and protection of the most holy Trinity. So the meaning of an unblemished See must be that the Roman Pontiff, in exercising the Keys of Saint Peter from the Apostolic See of Peter, is preserved from grave errors. Despite the wording “an error”, a less-than-grave error in a non-infallible (and therefore non-irreformable) decision of doctrine or discipline, which we know does not require the full assent of faith, is not considered to be a blemish or, in this context, a sufficiently significant lapse to be called an error.

* Saint Peter Chrysologus, Doctor, 406-450, Bishop of Ravenna: “We exhort you, Honorable Brother, that you would obediently attend to that which has been written by the Pope of the city of Rome because Blessed Peter, who lives in his own See and presides there, is in charge of all those seeking the truth of faith.”

* Pope Siricius, in 385: We bear the burden of all who are laden; or rather the blessed Apostle Peter bears them in Us, who, as We trust, will protect Us, the heirs of all his government.”

* Saint Peter Chrysologus, Doctor, 406-450, Bishop of Ravenna: “We exhort you, Honorable Brother, that you would obediently attend to that which has been written by the Pope of the city of Rome because Blessed Peter, who lives in his own See and presides there, is in charge of all those seeking the truth of faith.”

* Pope Saint Leo I: “The order of truth remains; blessed Peter, keeping the strength of the rock, does not abandon the helm of the Church. Whatever We do rightly is his work, whose power lives in his See…. In the person of My lowliness he is seen, he is honored, in whom remains the care of all pastors and of the sheep of their charge. His power does not fail, even in an unworthy heir.”

~ This point is quite important. The power of Peter in Christ and the Holy Spirit to exercise care over his See is never-failing, “even in an unworthy heir”. And this expression necessarily implies the indefectibility of the See, no matter how sinful the particular Roman Pontiff may be. Thus the never-failing faith of the Roman Pontiff, and the indefectibility of his See, are independent of the personal attributes of the Roman Pontiff.

* Francisco Suarez, 1548-1617: “The faith of Peter was catholic and not able to fail; but the faith of the Roman Church is the faith of Peter; therefore, the faith of the Roman Church is the catholic faith, from which this See can never defect.”

~ Here Suarez explicitly teaches the indefectibility of the Apostolic See. And the reason is the faith of Peter himself, who, as we know from Vatican I and other sources, still lives, presides, and exercises judgment in his See.

* Pope Saint Nicholas I to the emperor: “The privileges of this See are perpetual, divinely-rooted, and also [divinely-] planted. One can strike against them, but not transfer them; one can drag them, but not tear them out. Those matters which were formerly your domain remain, thanks be to God, insofar as they are inviolate; they will remain after you and so long as the Christian name will be preached, they will not cease to exist… For among other things, these privileges are especially conferred through us, ‘You later being converted,’ he heard from the Lord, ‘confirm your brethren.’ [Lk 22:32] ”

~ The permanence of the Apostolic See is not merely exterior, that a See of some type would continue, but is also interior and spiritual, in that the Apostolic See will be perpetually divinely-rooted, divinely-planted, and inviolate, due to the power of God himself. And this indefectibility is asserted based on Luke 22:32.

* Pope Saint Agatho: “Therefore the Holy Church of God, the mother of your most Christian power, should be delivered and liberated with all your might (through the help of God) from the errors of such teachers, and the evangelical and apostolic uprightness of the orthodox faith, which has been established upon the firm rock of this Church of blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, which by his grace and guardianship remains free from all error, the whole number of rulers and priests, of the clergy and of the people, unanimously should confess and preach with us as the true declaration of the Apostolic tradition, in order to please God and to save their own souls.”

~ There are often false teachers, who claim to be of the Church, but in every case at every time, the Roman Pontiff is a firm rock for the indefectible Church. The “apostolic uprightness of the orthodox faith” never fails precisely because the Church is led by and founded upon Peter and his successors. And this indefectibility, this freedom from error, is accomplished by the Roman Pontiff, by “his grace and guardianship”.

~ Pope Saint Agatho taught this doctrine on the Roman Pontiff and the indefectibility of the Church in order to contradict and correct those fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople III) who were attempting to accuse Pope Honorius of heresy. As his letter, quoted in part above, was accepted into the acts of the Council, it is the teaching not only of a Pope Saint, but also of an Ecumenical Council.

See also the extensive teachings of Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum (1896), n. 10 to 16, quoted later in this book. The indefectibility of Peter and his Apostolic See is clearly taught in that document, in great detail, with many supporting quotes from Popes, Councils, Fathers, Doctors, and Saints, including the following text:

* Pope Leo XIII: “Wherefore what was acknowledged and observed as Christian faith, not by one nation only nor in one age, but by the East and by the West, and through all ages, this Philip, the priest, the Pontifical legate at the Council of Ephesus, no voice being raised in dissent, recalls: ‘No one can doubt, yea, it is known unto all ages, that St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith and the ground of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the Kingdom from Our Lord Jesus Christ, that is: the power of forgiving and retaining sins was given to him who, up to the present time, lives and exercises judgment in the persons of his successors’ (Actio iii.). The pronouncement of the Council of Chalcedon on the same matter is present to the minds of all: ‘Peter has spoken through Leo’ (Actio ii.), to which the voice of the Third Council of Constantinople responds as an echo: ‘The chief Prince of the Apostles was fighting on our side: for we have had as our ally his follower and the successor to his See: and the paper and the ink were seen, and Peter spoke through Agatho’ (Actio xviii.).”

~ The Keys of Peter represent the authority of the Roman Pontiff over doctrine and discipline, exercised in his Apostolic See. So the papal charisms are of the person and the office of the Roman Pontiff. The Roman Pontiff’s office is his See, in which he exercises the Keys of Saint Peter. Each and all the papal charisms are “individually present” in the Roman Pontiff, such that each truly resides within his person (just as Lumen Gentium 25 says of “the charism of infallibility of the Church”), giving the person of the Roman Pontiff a never-failing faith, but also having the effect of keeping his office, that is, the Apostolic See, indefectible.

~ Notice the expressions of these three cited Ecumenical Councils. Peter lives and exercises judgment in the very persons of his successors. So it is said at Chalcedon, “Peter has spoken through Leo”, referring to Pope Saint Leo I, and at Constantinople III: “Peter spoke through Agatho”. Some wish to attribute these papal charisms, which were clearly given to Peter personally, due to his faith and love, as being handed down to his successors, only in their office, not their persons. But this is contrary to the many teachings quoted and explained in this book. Those who debase or deny the authority and other charisms of the Roman Pontiff, do so to justify their attacks on Popes and Councils which dared to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, contrary to the corrupt opinions of these papal accusers. Yet it is clear that the papal charisms were given personally to Peter, due to his faith and love for Christ. And then the teaching that Peter continues to live, preside, and exercise judgment in the office of his successors, makes it clear that these charisms are also given to each successor of Peter personally, just as Peter received them. For if the same gift is handed down, by the infallible work of the Holy Spirit, it must be truly the same, received in the same way, in person and office, and exercised to the same effect, indefectibly for the salvation of the poor and weak flock of Jesus Christ.

~ The error is widely accepted, claiming that Constantinople III condemned Pope Honorius I for heresy. But nothing is of a Council unless approved by the Roman Pontiff. Pope Saint Agatho rejected the idea that any Pope could fail in faith, and the Council accepted his Letter into its official Acts. Then Pope Saint Leo II, in his three Latin letters approving of the Council, changed the charge against Honorius to only negligence, that is, to not doing enough against the heresy of his day. However, it is clear from the letters of Honorius that if Sergius and Cyrus, two heretical Patriarchs, had listened to the Pope, they would have reformed their ways. And these facts are consistent with the teaching that Peter presides and exercises judgment in his successors, and incompatible with the claim that Popes can teach or commit heresy.

~ And so this continuous role of Peter, regarding the exercise of his Keys by each successor of Peter, in effect guards against heresy in the Pope and in his office, making his See indefectible. Then the prayer and promise of Christ (Mt 16:18; Lk 22:32) making the Church indefectible and the faith of Peter never-failing, guarantees the indefectibility of the Church, the Roman Pontiff, the body of Bishops united to and led by the Pope, and the faithful united to and led by the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops. This indefectibility is one, and it occurs by grace. Then, since it is of necessity, it is not subject to the personal qualities or holiness of each Pope, and so it must be of prevenient grace, which no human person can resist.

* Pope Benedict XV: “Indeed the unique gift of Peter’s primacy is that he might spread everywhere and preserve the riches of charity and faith, as Ignatius Theophorus [Saint Ignatius of Antioch], a man of Apostolic times, beautifully declared. For in those noble letters he wrote to the Roman Church on his journey, announcing his arrival in Rome to be martyred for Christ, he gave testimony to the primacy of that Church over all others by calling it ‘presiding officer over the universal community of charity.’ This was to signify not only that the Universal Church was the visible image of divine charity, but also that Blessed Peter, together with his primacy and his love for Christ (affirmed by his triple confession), remains heir of the Roman See. Accordingly the souls of all the faithful should be ignited by the same fire.”

* Blessed Pope John Paul I: “From the moment we were elected throughout the days that followed, we were deeply struck and encouraged by the warm manifestations of affection given by our sons and daughters in Rome and also by those sending us from all over the world the expression of their irrepressible jubilation at the fact that God has again given the Church her visible Head. Our mind re-echoes spontaneously the emotion-filled words that our great saintly Predecessor, Saint Leo the Great, addressed to the faithful of Rome: ‘Blessed Peter does not cease to preside over his See. He is bound to the eternal Priest in an unbroken unity … Recognize therefore that all the demonstrations of affection that you have given me because of fraternal amiability or filial devotion have with greater devotedness and truth been given by you and me to him whose See we rejoice to serve rather than preside over it’ (Saint Leo the Great, Sermo V, 4-5: PL 54, 155-156).”

* Pope Benedict XVI: “The great bronze throne encloses a wooden chair from the ninth century, which was long thought to be Saint Peter’s own chair and was placed above this monumental altar because of its great symbolic value. It expresses the permanent presence of the Apostle in the Magisterium of his successors.”

~ The indefectibility of the Apostolic See is based not only on the indefectibility of the Roman Pontiff, but also on the continued, and as Pope Benedict XVI said, “permanent presence” of the Apostle Peter in the exercise of Peter’s Keys in his successors. Blessed Pope John Paul I quote Pope Saint Leo I (the great) as saying that Peter is bound to Christ, the eternal Priest, in an “unbroken unity”. This mystical unity of Peter with Christ, and of each successor of Peter with Christ, means that the Church has one head only, while having each Roman Pontiff as the visible head, and Christ as the invisible eternal head. So the indefectibility of the Apostolic See is a consequence of this mystical presence of Saint Peter in “the Magisterium of his successors” and in their exercise of his Keys.

8. The Pope is the head of the body of Bishops, which is indefectible due to this union.

The dogma of the indefectibility of the Church implies that not a single one of the essential characteristics of the Church will ever fail or cease: one holy catholic apostolic Church. But these characteristics must include the very structure of the Church itself, to have a Roman Pontiff, a body of Bishops, and then the body of the rest of the faithful: priests, deacons, religious, and laity. Indeed, Christ himself says of Martha and Mary, interpreted as representing the active life and the contemplative life among religious, that “Mary has chosen the best portion, and it shall not be taken away from her.” (Lk 10:42). Since Christ has promised that religious in the contemplative life will always be a part of the Church, this implies that the rest of the Church is also retained: active life religious, priests, deacons, laity, and of source the body of Bishops with the Roman Pontiff as their head and as the head of the Church.

But indefectibility is not the mere presence of a Pope, body of Bishops, and body of faithful, but also their continued faithfulness to Christ. We are all fallen sinners. But we continue to believe and to practice the faith. The Roman Pontiff has an individual indefectibility, while the Bishops have an indefectibility as a body, always including the Roman Pontiff as their head. When the Apostolic See is vacant, between the death or resignation of one Pope and the election of the next, the body of Bishops retains their indefectibility. And while any Pope reign, no matter what his personal failings or sins may be, the body of Bishops must remain united to, and led by, that Roman Pontiff. For his charism of indefectibility means that he will never go astray from the true faith, nor lead the Church or faithful astray. And so they can always remain united to, and led by him, while still remaining faithful to Christ. The claim that one must choose between faithfulness to Christ and faithfulness to the Roman Pontiff is always false and contrary to dogma. But this indefectibility of the body of Bishops is given to them only as a body, not as individual Bishops.

If the body of Bishops were ever to go astray, as a body, then the Church would no longer be apostolic; and so such a proposition is entirely impossible, as it is prevented by the prevenient grace of God. If the body of Bishops were ever to go astray, as a body, by following a false pope or invalid pope or the like, then the Church would no longer by apostolic, which is contrary to indefectibility and therefore impossible. Therefore, when the validity of a Pope is disputed, the acceptance of that claimant to the papacy by the body of Bishops as the Roman Pontiff and true successor of Peter then infallibly confirms the validity of that Roman Pontiff and his Pontificate.

When Pope Benedict XVI resigned, and Pope Francis was elected, some persons disputed the validity of the resignation, claiming that Pope emeritus Benedict was still the Roman Pontiff, making the papacy of Pope Francis seem invalid. Other persons simply opposed Pope Francis so vehemently that they refused to believe he could be a valid Roman Pontiff, no matter the explanation. But as a matter of fact, known and accepted by the faithful throughout the world, the body of Bishops — after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI — no longer treated Benedict as the Roman Pontiff, but instead fully accepted Pope Francis as the next successor of Peter. Since the Church is indefectible and apostolic, the body of Bishops cannot have been wrong in their understanding that Pope Francis is the next valid successor of Peter, and that Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation was valid.

Similarly, the body of the faithful can never go astray, as a body, from the true faith. They need to remain united to, and led by the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops for this charism to reside in them as a body. But the indefectible Church can never lose her essential characteristic of being Shepherds leading the poor and weak flock of Jesus Christ. The Pope and the body of Bishops are not the Church without their flocks, and the flocks are not a Church without the Pope and the body of Bishops. So the indefectibility of the Church guarantees that the Roman Pontiff, the body of Bishops as a body, and the body of the faithful as a body can never go astray. However, this does not give the body of the faithful, apart from the Bishops, any authority over doctrine or discipline. The faithful cannot refer to their indefectibility as a body as a way to oppose what the Pope or the body of Bishops decides. For the body of the faithful includes the Bishops and the Pope. But the Pope is both a member of the faithful, saved by Christ through the Church, and a fellow Bishops with the other Bishops, and the head of both the body of Bishops and head of the whole Church.

Not every papal charism has a related charism given to the body of Bishops. Peter and his successors are the Rock on which the Church is founded. The body of Bishops is not given that charism, even though they are a part of the structure of the Church, as are the rest of the faithful. Peter and his successors are one head of the Church with Christ, due to a mystical unity of Christ and His Vicar. The body of Bishops are not the head of the Church; and in so far as a Bishop might be the head of another See, even a Patriarchal See, that Bishop is not Head of the Church, but part of the body.

However, some papal charisms have a corresponding charism in the body of Bishops. But this does not imply that the body of Bishops competes with, or can ever contradict their head, the Vicar of Christ. There are not two Magisteriums, but one. The Pope has the charism of supreme authority, and there is not a second supreme authority in the body of Bishops. But instead the body of Bishops exercises the supreme authority of the Church only when united to, and led by the Roman Pontiff. As Lumen Gentium phrases this principle:

* Lumen Gentium 22: “Just as in the Gospel, the Lord so disposing, St. Peter and the other apostles constitute one apostolic college, so in a similar way the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are joined together…. But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head. This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff. For our Lord placed Simon alone as the rock and the bearer of the keys of the Church, and made him shepherd of the whole flock; it is evident, however, that the power of binding and loosing, which was given to Peter, was granted also to the college of apostles, joined with their head.”

So even though the Apostolic College “is also the subject of supreme and full power”, this power is only exercised with its head the Roman Pontiff, never without him, and only with his consent. The body of Bishops can exercise this charism of authority in an Ecumenical Council, or dispersed in the world, but either way, they cannot exercise this supreme authority without the Pope, nor against his consent:

* Lumen Gentium 22: “The supreme power in the universal Church, which this college enjoys, is exercised in a solemn way in an ecumenical council. A council is never ecumenical unless it is confirmed or at least accepted as such by the successor of Peter; and it is prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to convoke these councils, to preside over them and to confirm them. This same collegiate power can be exercised together with the pope by the bishops living in all parts of the world, provided that the head of the college calls them to collegiate action, or at least approves of or freely accepts the united action of the scattered bishops, so that it is thereby made a collegiate act.”

Never can an Ecumenical Council oppose the Roman Pontiff. For without him, they would be a headless body and so be deprived of the authority and charisms that flow to them — from Christ, but only through the Vicar of Christ. And notice that the Pope has the authority to call, preside over, and confirm Ecumenical Councils. Then regarding the exercise of authority by the body of Bishops dispersed in the world, then too, they need the approval or acceptance of their doctrine or discipline by the Roman Pontiff. Otherwise, it is not “a collegiate act”, in other words, they are not truly acting as a body, if they act apart from, or in opposition to their head.

Some of the papal charisms are exercised only by the Roman Pontiff. Other papal charisms have a corresponding charism among the body of Bishops. Speaking of the charism of Papal Infallibility, Lumen Gentium says:

* Vatican II, Lumen Gentium: “And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith. The infallibility promised to the Church resides also in the body of Bishops, when that body exercises the supreme magisterium with the successor of Peter.”

The charism of infallibility is “individually present” in the Roman Pontiff. He can exercise that charism as an individual, and he need not consult with anyone, since he is led by the Holy Spirit, and is one head of the one Church with Christ. But that charism of the infallibility of the Church also “resides” in the body of Bishops, only when they exercise that charism with their head, the Roman Pontiff. Since the Pope is the head of the Church and also head of the body of Bishops, the infallibility of the ordinary universal Magisterium, and the infallibility of Ecumenical Councils, cannot be exercised without his participation. Nothing is of an Ecumenical Council unless approved by the Roman Pontiff. Nothing is of the ordinary universal Magisterium unless also taught by the Roman Pontiff.

Ronald L Conte Jr

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