Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cadaver Synod

Q - What do you make of the Cadaver Synod? Decisions like this certainly raise doubts on Pope elections and having the wrong people at the head of the Church.

A - Thanks for the question. I have to admit, you stumped me with this one. I had to do some research. Apparently, it is quite a story that I missed somehow. Pope Formosus' dead body put on trial by Pope Stephen VI. There is quite a bit to the story, but ultimately what happens is that one pope says the previous pope's decision wasn't valid and this happens through several papacies. Some use this to then question the validity of all Church teaching.

Distinctions in cases like this are very important. First of all, Popes can be scoundrels as well, and we have had some pretty bad popes. But, this has absolutely no effect on the office of the Pope nor on the teaching of the Church. In fact, no Pope has ever taught any doctrine infallibly, that has then been changed by another Pope, council, etc. With the number of scoundrels the Church has had, this is a remarkable record.

Do I think there could have been better Popes at certain times? Certainly. But, God has a mysterious way of bringing good out of evil.

For more on this story, click here.


phill08 said...

I must say that you glossed over all the gory bits in the story - and there were many!

However it is true that in all Christian Traditions there have been shameful things done in the name of Christ.

There is one serious issue to come out of this dark period in Papal history. The declaration of invalidation of orders during the time of Stephen VI(VII) has never been overturned.

Does this affect the unbroken chain of apostolic succession?

Marcel said...

The link I provided answers your question. They might be illicit, but are sacramentally valid.