Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: Infallible Teaching?

E. L. Core

Appendix IV: Relevant Canon in 1983 Code of Canon Law
(with corresponding canon from 1917 code)

Code of Canon Law (1983)

English Text

Canon 749 §1 In virtue of his office the Supreme Pontiff is infallible in his teaching when, as chief Shepherd and Teacher of all Christ’s faithful, with the duty of strengthening his brethren in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act a doctrine to be held concerning faith or morals.

§2 The College of Bishops also possesses infallibility in its teaching when the Bishops, gathered together in an Ecumenical Council and exercising their Magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals, definitively declare for the universal Church a doctrine to be held concerning faith or morals; likewise, when the Bishops, dispersed throughout the world but maintaining the bond of union among themselves and with the successor of Peter, together with the same Roman Pontiff authentically teach matters of faith or morals, and are agreed that a particular teaching is definitively to be held.

§3 No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless this is manifestly demonstrated.

(Text from Book III: The Teaching Office of the Church.)

Latin Text

Canon 749 § 1. Infallibilitate in magisterio, vi muneris sui gaudet Summus Pontifex quando ut supremus omnium christifidelium Pastor et Doctor, cuius est fratres suos in fide confirmare, doctrinam de fide vel de moribus tenendam definitivo actus proclamat.

§ 2. Infallibilitate in magisterio pollet quoque Collegium Episcoporum quando magisterium exercent Episcopi in Concilio Oecumenico coadunati, qui, ut fidei et morum doctores et iudices, pro universa Ecclesia doctrinam de fide vel de moribus definitive tenendam declarant aut quando per orbem dispersi, communionis nexum inter se et cum Petri successore servantes, una cum eodem Romano Pontifice authentice res fidei vel morum docentes, in unam sententiam tamquam definitive tenendam conveniunt.

§ 3. Infallibiliter definita nulla intellegitur doctrina, nisi id manifesto constiterit.

(Text from Liber III: De Ecclesiae Munere Docendi.)

Codex Iuris Canonici (1917)

Latin Text

Canon 1323 § 1. Fide divina et catholica ea omnia credenda sunt quae verbo Dei scripto vel tradito continentur et ab Ecclesia sive sollemni iudicio sive ordinario et universali magisterio tanquam divinitus revelata credenda proponuntur.

§ 2. Sollemne huiusmodi iudicium pronuntiare proprium est tum Oecumenici Concilii tum Romani Pontificis ex cathedra loquentis.

§ 3. Declarata seu definita dogmatice res nulla intelligitur, nisi id manifeste constiterit.

(Text from Codex Iuris Canonici.)

English Interpretation

By the divine and Catholic faith must be believed all those truths which are contained in the Word of God as written or handed down to us, and which are, either by solemn pronouncement or by the ordinary and universal teaching of the Church, proposed for belief as divinely revealed truths.

The solemn judgment in this matter is reserved to an Ecumenical Council and the Roman Pontiff speaking ex cathedra (that is to say, in his capacity of the supreme teaching authority).

No religious teaching is to be understood as dogmatically declared and defined, unless such declaration or definition has clearly been made.

(Text from A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, Stanislaus Woywod and Callistus Smith, Revised and Enlarged Edition of Combined Volumes I & II, Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., 1957.)

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (lane@elcore.net)
Created December 12, 2001; revised December 15, 2001.