Catholic Chain of Command

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Catholic Chain of Command

Post by Strangelove on Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:13 pm

I was having a discussion with Rick DeLano (a Catholic) on a different platform regarding an article at CatholicAnswers.com about the Galileo affair which states the following:

"Galileo was right in asserting the mobility of the earth"

The entire article can be read here.

Now usually I would assume that a random Catholic website that declares a certain thing as fact would not be in any way binding on your average Catholic. But this particular article is footnoted with the following:

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

Definition of NIHIL OBSTAT here.

Definition of IMPRIMATUR here.

So this is a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church endorsing the article and saying it's free of doctrinal and moral errors. Bishops answer only to the Pope. He is their only superior. But apparently they can stamp an article with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur without permission from their superior.

To give an article endorsement as a very high ranking member of the Catholic Church on an issue like saying it's free of any doctrinal or moral errors is a very serious issue I would say.

My question is, why is a Bishop allowed to do this? And why isn't this endorsement also an endorsement by the Pope himself (Rick claims it isn't) when their dogmatic constitution, the "Lumen Gentium" says that the Bishops are...

"maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held."

So this implies an unbreakable chain of command. Meaning whatever the Bishop says comes straight from the Pope doesn't it? It means they are all in agreement on an issue.

Is Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego "authentically teaching matters of faith and morals" when he gives his official approval to CatholAnswers article which claims the Earth moves? Is this a position in which he AND the Pope are "in agreement on" and which should be "definitively held to"?

If not, why not?

Why isn't a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur binding on Catholics?

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Re: Catholic Chain of Command

Post by Rick DeLano on Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:37 pm

As I already addressed five times on the other thread, Strange, nihil obstat is simply a determination by a theologian or bishop that a given article does not contain heresy.

An imprimatur is simply a permission to publish.

Neither constitute any form of magisterial authority; that is, neither binds a Catholic to any assent of any kind.

It simply allows the work to be published.

Hope this is, finally, clear.

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Re: Catholic Chain of Command

Post by Strangelove on Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:43 pm

Rick, the wiki article on nihil obstat says:

...the phrase is used more particularly to mean an "attestation by a church censor that a book contains nothing damaging to faith or morals

and...

....it merely confirms "that it contains nothing contrary to faith or morals."

Do you agree with this?

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