See this legally free ebook:
- The Purpose of the Papacy, by Bishop John S. Vaughan (London: Sands & Co.; St. Louis, Mo., U.S.A.: B. Herder, 1910). Available in various formats at Project Gutenberg, ManyBooks.net, and Internet Archive.
Posted in observance of the Feast of St. Celestine I (6 April), St. Vincent Ferrer (5 April), and Blessed Ursulina of Parma (7 April). For more legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject). From the text:
“When the Holy Father speaks ex cathedrâ, and defines any doctrine concerning Faith or Morals, we are bound to receive his teaching with the assent of divine faith: and cannot refuse obedience, without being guilty of heresy. By one such wilful act of disobedience we cease to be members of the Church of God, and must be classed with heathens and publicans: “Who will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican” (Matt, xviii. 17)…
“What then, it may be asked, is the proper attitude of a Catholic towards the Pope, at ordinary times?
“For a proper understanding of the answer, it may be well to remind the general reader, that the law of God enjoins obedience to all lawfully constituted authority; whether ecclesiastical or civil, and whether Infallible or not: further that the Pope, whether speaking ex cathedrâ or not, is always our lawful superior in all matters appertaining to religion, not only as regards faith and morals, but also as regards ecclesiastical order and discipline…
“… As regards both the Church and the State—each in its own order—the rule is that obedience is to be yielded. And, in doubtful cases the presumption is in favour of authority. If anything were ordered, which is clearly seen to be contrary to, or incompatible with the Law of God, whether natural or revealed, then, of course, it would possess no binding force, for the Apostle warns us that—’We must obey God, rather than man’—but, so long as we remain in a state of uncertainty, we are bound to give a properly constituted authority the benefit of the doubt—and submit.”