Reasons for why Popes feared conciliarism?

Nov 2008

I have an essay to do on the above, and was wondering if anyone can help me?

I need some paragraph themes basically. From my notes, and reading, all I can gather is that because they'd lose power - the Councils effectively controlled the Popes, but I thought there must be other reasons too?


Patito de Hule

Ad Honorem
Jan 2009
Minneapolis, MN
I have never given this particular question a great deal of thought, but I can throw out some embryos of thoughts on the subject.

Basically, like you, I have always considered this as a power struggle. But I also see it as an ideological struggle between conservatism/traditionalism vs. liberalism/progressivism. One source of ideas, to me, for the deep assumptions of the two sides is George Lakoff's Moral Politics, but hardly a source for the specific questions here--conciliarism vs. papal sovereignty.

One thing that strikes me is that some had formerly considered the Vatican Council I as the ultimate triumph of papal sovereignty whereas others have viewed Vatican II as the ultimate triumph of liberalism and even conciliarism.

As you know, the issue became quite important during the Reformation. Diarmaid MacCulloch's [ame=""] The Reformation (9780143035381): Diarmaid MacCulloch: Books@@AMEPARAM@@[/ame] is IMO an interesting read and a good source on some of the issues there.

A parallel struggle is seen in seventeenth century England with the issue of divine right kingship or parliamentary sovereignty. It also was a struggle for power, but the ideological grounds were the source and placement of sovereignty. The Whigs argued for compact theory while the Tories argued for divine right or patriarchalism. The notion of the king as "father to his people" was so deeply imbedded in the common sense of people then that it was hard to think of the king as anything else. So also for the traditionalist Catholic of my age (68), it was always hard to think of the pope as anything but the "servant of the servants of God" and a father to his flock. It is yet how many Catholics, including Benedict XVI, think of the pope now.l

I haven't really given an answer to your question here, but I hope you can use some of these thoughts in thinking critically about conciliarism.