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 Contents - Aug 2008AD2000 August 2008 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Humanae Vitae still a sign of contradiction - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
News: The Church Around the World
Priesthood: St Louis: another US vocations success story - AD2000 Report
Benedict XVI reaffirms Humanae Vitae on its 40th anniversary - Pope Benedict XVI
Holy Land: Middle East Christians face a precarious future - Robin Harris
Census shows a strong Church in Singapore - AD2000 Report
Foundations of Faith: How much history do the Scriptures contain? - Frank Mobbs
The tragic dilemmas of China's one-child policy - Babette Francis
Interview: Denise Mountenay on post-abortive women: from silence to lawsuits - Luke McCormack
Education: Progress continues with the new Wagga Wagga independent schools - Barbara Chigwidden
Letters: Climate change - Peter Finlayson
Letters: Infallible? - John Young
Letters: Timeless truths? - John Frey
Letters: Tradition - Anthony Bono
Letters: Lebanon - Richard Stokes
Letters: Body and soul - Elsie Cunningham
Letters: Human rights - Maureen Federico
DVD Review: APOCALYPSE? NO! Why global warming is not a crisis, by Christopher Monckton - Peter Finlayson (reviewer)
Books: MYSTERY OF CREATION by Paul Haffner - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: QUESTION TIME by Fr John Flader - Fr Anthony Robbie (reviewer)
Books: Books available from AD2000 Books
Reflection: World Youth Day: bringing a message of hope to the secular culture - Fr Dennis Byrnes

Dr Frank Mobbs' letter (June AD2000) shows a misunderstanding of what I wrote in my article 'When is it infallible?' (May AD2000), and also a misunderstanding of the text he quotes - or rather, misquotes - from Vatican II.

He claims I doubt the authority of most of the ecumenical councils to teach infallibly. On the contrary, I am absolutely certain they can teach infallibly, and that they have done so on numerous questions.

In my article I was answering a difficulty, namely the claim that an ecumenical council with only a minority of the world's bishops present could be wrong in its teaching. I responded by appealing to the Church's subsequent acceptance of the doctrine involved, but I expressly said that this is not the only reply to the difficulty.

Later I used the words 'if it were suggested' in reference to a view that Nicaea might have been wrong through lacking sufficient bishops; I did not endorse the notion.

Why didn't I go on to show that such councils can teach infallibly? Because that involves a discussion of the extraordinary Magisterium, which was not the subject of my article.

Frank Mobbs also rejects my statement that Vatican II taught some things infallibly - through the bishops' exercise of the ordinary universal Magisterium. He says Vatican II saw this form of infallibility as operative only when the bishops are 'dispersed throughout the world'.

But that is not so. He has left out two key words. Vatican II says, 'even though dispersed throughout the world' (my italics). It would be remarkable if the bishops lost their ordinary universal infallibility when congregated together! I am not aware that any theologian has ever made such a startling claim.

Melbourne, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 7 (August 2008), p. 15

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