Are There Limits to Papal Power? by John A. Monaco

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Some hypothetical questions will help us clarify what the Church actually teaches about the papacy, versus the popular and often maximalist understanding of it.

By John A. Monaco, Catholic World Report, October 13, 2021

John A. Monaco is a doctoral student in theology at Duquesne University, and is a Visiting Scholar with the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Following the publication of Traditionis Custodes, there have been numerous pieces written in defense of the usus antiquor, as well as others claiming that Traditionis Custodes was necessary and much-needed. Much of the frenzy surrounding the motu proprio has mostly centered on questions about liturgical reform and its relation to the Second Vatican Council.

But the questions arising from this motu proprio— as well as from much of Pope Francis’ pontificate— can also help us reflect upon Catholic teaching on the papacy. Are there limits to papal power? What is the scope and limits of papal infallibility?  …

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