As you might know, gentle reader, I attended a nominally Catholic, a Jesuit, university, and I am half-Cath (which is all bastard according to the summary of Catholics marrying outside the faith found in So What’s The Difference), so I have had some exposure to Catholic teachings. But not a lot of formal theological training in that regard.
Over twenty years ago, I got the phrase Ex Cathedra in my head, and I “remembered” from my university days (twenty years ago, my university days were already memories, but fresh memories, unlike today where I am not entirely sure about most of my university education, including why? and why there?) that Ex Cathedra means the instances where the Pope spoke infallibly, almost as though Jesus and/or God were speaking. I thought the Pope had done so twice, the divine incarnation and the assumption of Mary into Heaven. Shortly thereafter,I was out to lunch (gentle reader, you might think that I still am, metaphorically speaking) with a Jesuit initiate, so I asked him, and he told me that those were not Ex Cathedra pronouncements. And I believed that for twenty plus years.
Until I was researching a comment I wanted to leave on this post (I wanted to make sure I spelled Ex Cathedra correctly).
Which lead me to the Wikipedia entry on papal infallibility which indicates that the Pope spoke Ex Cathedra not twice, but seven times.
Including the two I thought were the only two.
Interestingly, the Pope spoke Ex Cathedra once about beatification, twice about Jesus Christ, twice about the Virgin Mary, and twice about…. Cornelius Jansen? That’s not a heresy with which I was familiar, and it’s interesting that Wikipedia includes these as infallible.
However, the Wikipedia entry on Ineffabilis Deus, that is, the Immaculate Conception says:
Ineffabilis Deus (Latin for “Ineffable God”) is an apostolic constitution by Pope Pius IX. It defines the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The decree was promulgated on December 8, 1854, the date of the annual Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and followed from a positive response to the encyclical Ubi primum. Mary’s immaculate conception is one of only two pronouncements that were made ex cathedra (the other in Munificentissimus Deus regarding the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin) and is therefore considered by the Catholic Church to be infallible through the extraordinary magisterium.
Which is what I said, what the Jesuit denied, and not what Wikipedia said in the infallible Pope entry.
Which is why Wikipedia is a good starting point for interesting research but should not be considered the final word.
Unlike this blog or Friar’s comments thereupon, gentle reader. These you can take to the bank.