Thursday, June 21, 2012

Papal shiites

The mainstream Papacy taught that by a special charism granting infallible authority in matters of faith and morals, the Pope in the exercise of his teaching office is exempt from this common human condition, and had a true intuition of natural law and a true ability to infallibly formulate its dicta propositionally. This view owed a great deal to the Shiite imamology, which taught that the Imam is sinless, infallible, and thus able to be a perfect heir of prophethood, which for Muslims (both Sunni and Shia) has a politically architectonic office.[4]

[4] Classic expositions of the idea are to be found in al Farabi’s Tahsil as sa’ada, and ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah. For the Papacy’s reception of the same, see Sten Gagnér, “Boniface VIII and Avicenna,” Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, Stephan Kuttner and J. Joseph Ryan , eds., S. Congregatio de seminariis et studiorum universitatibus, Vatican City, 1965.


  1. The Infallibility doctrines in RCC Papal stuff and Shiite Imamate 12er Islam do have similarities, but I am not sure that the RCC actually got it from the Shiites as if there was a one to one historical causal relationship.

    That would be an interesting historical study if it could be shown that the Pope got his doctrines from the Shiites!

  2. From the Wikipedia article on Avicenna (Latinized from Abu Sina) - shows there is some debate as to what form of Islam he ascribed to.

    Aquinas and others in France and Spain were studying Abu Sina's writings in the middle ages, as the Muslims had conquered Spain and Portugal for some 500- 700 years with various back and forth losses and gains over the time period. 732-1492 AD

    "A number of different theories have been proposed regarding Avicenna's madhab. [ religious school of thought] Medieval historian Ẓahīr al-dīn al-Bayhaqī (d. 1169) considered Avicenna to be a follower of the Brethren of Purity.[21] On the other hands, Shia faqih Nurullah Shushtari and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, in addition to Henry Corbin, have maintained that he was most likely a Twelver Shia.[21][20][22] More recently, however, Dimitri Gutas demonstrated that Avicenna was a Sunni Hanafi.[21] Similar disagreements exist on the background of Avicenna's family, whereas some writers considered them Sunni, more recent writers thought they were Shia.[23] "

    It is true that Abu Sina was Persian, and Iran today is 12er Shiite Islam mostly, but they only became Shiite 12er by a decree of a Shah (King) around the same time as Luther and Calvin and the Reformation in Europe. Before then, Persia was mostly Sunni.

    But they adopted Shii-ism as a reaction against the Arabs and the Ottoman Turks, especially the Arabs, as the Persians have lots of ethnic hatred against the Arabs. (as expressed in the Iran - Iraq war of 1980-1988)

  3. I'd like to point out this statement, in particular, as incorrect: "the Pope in the exercise of his teaching office is exempt from this common human condition, and had a true intuition of natural law and a true ability to infallibly formulate its dicta propositionally".

    The charism of infallibility proper to the magisterium of the Pope, as well to that of a General Council, provides only a *negative* protection from teaching error in matters of faith and morals. The charism does not augment nor guarantee human capacities such as understanding, clarity of expression, etc.

    The sentence I quoted (from your post) suggests some kind of *positive* inspiration, perhaps lesser in quality than that granted to the human authors of Sacred Scripture, but nonetheless of the same character. But that's not Catholic teaching.

    Peace of Christ be with you, and may the prayers of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph her most chaste spouse, and Bl. Pope Pius IX help you more and more to love and serve Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  4. Actually, your sinless Imam seems to resemble more the Calvinist or Evangelical teaching of "Perseverance of the Saints" and "once saved, always saved".

  5. In Lvka's brain, somehow "people having been redeemed from total depravity will be kept by God's power" resembles sinlessness.