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Document Details :
Title: The Hierarchy of Truths and Christian Unity
Author(s): HENN, W.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 66 Issue: 1 Date: April 1990
It has always seemed a bit ironic that Edmond Dublanchy's exacting seventy-nine column article on papal infallibility for the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique includes near its end a list, 'à titre d'exemples', of thirteen possible candidates from the entire breadth of Christian history which might be classified as ex cathedra papal teachings. Best of all, Dublanchy adds in several cases the opinions of a few theologians about the correctness of the classification. The irony lies in the fact that this well documented and carefully elaborated argument for papal infallibility in the end must resort to very fallible means in order to ascertain when the gift of infallibility has been exercised. It is one matter to provide the historical background and systematic elaboration of the doctrine of papal infallibility; it is quite another matter to apply this doctrine to the actual teachings which have occured in the course of Church history. Which of the many papal teachings is ex cathedra and who has the competence to determine that fact?