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POPE SIXTUS V, the infallible pope who re-wrote the Bible
 
SUMMARY
 
Pope Sixtus V personally made a botched translation of the Bible though he had no competence as a translator. He wrote a papal bull excommunicating anybody that didn’t believe his Bible was accurate and without error and declared this by the fullness of apostolic authority. “By the fullness of Apostolical power, we decree and declare that this edition …approved by the authority given to us by the Lord, is to be received, and held as true, lawful, authentic, and unquestioned in all public and private discussion, reading, preaching, and explanation”. There is no doubt this was intended to be an infallible statement. The Church burned his Bible after he died for it was full of errors and that was putting it mildly.
 
Sixtus V had given his Bible and the Bull to his cardinals and died just before both were released to the public.
 
The Catholic Church says as he didn’t make his decree public, it was not binding on the Church and doesn’t disprove papal infallibility. But the Church says that infallibility only means that the pope is protected from error while researching something that he plans to speak to the whole Church infallibly about. Infallibility is not inspiration but protection from error while working out a solution to a theological question. So infallibility is at work before the promulgation of the teaching. After all, before the pope can make a promulgation of a new infallible teaching he has to infallibly realise that the teaching is infallible and correct. He has to infallibly proclaim the doctrine to himself first. Or to put it more accurately, the Holy Spirit has to declare the doctrine infallible to the pope first. So doctrines are necessarily infallible before they are voiced by the pope as infallible.
 
The Church says that the Sixtus case proves that God protects the papacy from declaring error infallible for Sixtus miraculously died before he managed to promulgate his travesty of a Bible translation.
 
The Sixtus shenanigans still disprove infallibility for the pope had already used his alleged infallibility. A decree takes effect legally from the time it is made and this decree is in the present tense. It says, “We decree.” The “We decree” indicates that Sixtus and others had already decided that infallibility was at work. Plus the Sixtus Bible was promulgated among the top teachers of the Church with the decree of infallibility and declared binding on them and that is enough. What else did Sixtus V give them a copy of the papal bull for if it wasn’t to make them bound to accept his Bible so that they might promulgate it for him when he said so? He was making an infallible declaration. The public promulgation to everybody was just a formality. The pope as far as he was concerned had used infallibility charism already and was planning a public promulgation despite that. It was to proclaim that he had already used his infallibility. The promulgation and publishing of the Bible to the general public was just to complete the promulgation not the infallibility. Its totally ridiculous to think that when Pius IX used his infallibility to work out the immaculate conception of Mary that it wasn’t infallible until he announced it in St Peter’s.
 
The botched Bible of Sixtus V disproves papal infallibility for the prime purpose of infallibility is to work out and protect what the apostles taught through scripture and tradition. Infallibility would cover declaring a Bible to be the accurate Bible or defining what books belonged in the Bible. The Sixtus farce shows that the Church can't be relied on to tell us what books God inspired in the Bible.
 
Sixtus V and his faulty Bible refute papal infallibility. It was the Church that declared the pope infallible in 1870 so it isn’t infallible either.
 
THE POPE WHO RE-WROTE THE BIBLE
 
Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590) rewrote the Bible and stated that the result was to be unquestioned and regarded as infallible by the fullness of his apostolic authority in his name and in the name of the Church (page 304, Vicars of Christ). St Robert Bellarmine covered up the scandal that ensued with this polluted Bible for the sake of making sure the pope did not lose his credibility (page 309). Some saint.
 
Pope Fiction admits that the pope was arrogant and believed that he had the competence to revise the Bible and give out an accurate translation (page 247). Undoubtedly, the pope was certain that God would inspire him to do the revision. The pope believed he was infallible.
 
In 1590 he showed his new Bible to the cardinals and it was promptly found to be a disgrace. The book also confesses that Sixtus V fulfilled all the conditions for making the pope infallible laid out by Vatican 1 (Pope Fiction, page 249). He was acting formally as pope, he was planning to give the entire Church an unerring Bible translation, he was doing it for faith and morals as official teacher of the Church. He wrote the Sixtine Bull making all this clear and it was to be put on the first page of his Bible. The Bible in its poor state was unofficially circulated and made fairly public (page 250, Pope Fiction). But in the printing he left out that he wanted the Bible promulgated for it occurred to him to check over the Bible and fix it up. The Catholic Church then because of this says that Sixtus V didn’t infallibly declare the Bible infallible because when he didn’t promulgate he didn’t speak to the Church as its teacher (page 250, Pope Fiction). But the Bull claiming to make the Bible infallible had already been written up ages before (page 249, Pope Fiction). So he made an infallible declaration, he just didn’t have it printed and promoted yet.
 
Who in their right mind would say the pope is infallible when he researches and comes to a conclusion to be held binding on the Church but only when he gets the chance to reveal it? When Pius IX infallibly declared the Immaculate Conception of Mary in St Peters on that day in 1854 he was only delivering what decision he infallibly made BEFOREHAND. It was infallible before he taught it because he intended to teach it.
 
Pope Fiction tells us that the useless Sixtine Bible that the pope had “fixed” but which in fact was only a little better than the dreadful first attempt was given to the cardinals with the Bull printed in full saying the Bible was an infallible unerring translation of the original scriptures and was invested by the fullness of papal apostolic authority (page 250-251).
 
The Church says that because Sixtus died and didn’t get the chance to do the official public launch of the Bible and the Bull it doesn’t disprove papal infallibility. It does simply because when the pope promulgates a doctrine it doesn’t become infallible there and then. He promulgates it because the Holy Spirit led him in his research to see that it is infallible. To say a doctrine does become infallible when taught publicly and not before is to say that infallibility must be the same as divine inspiration. It denies the official Catholic teaching that infallibility is only protection from drawing the wrong conclusion while undertaking research and not inspiration. Catholic teaching says papal infallibility must be exercised before he reveals his conclusion. His revealing is only to do with revealing what his infallibility has already led him to conclude.
 
The pope did officially promulgate the Bible when he gave it and the Bull to the cardinals for the cardinals are next in charge of the Church and the future pope would be among them. He gave them the Bull. He gave them the final product. All he had left to do was carry out a further official promulgation.
 
Sixtus intended to have the Bull put on the door of St John Lateran and St Peters to promulgate the Bible (page 250). It is foolish then to believe that he didn’t become infallible until that happened but Pope Fiction says there was no infallibility because he didn’t put the Bulls up. It didn’t happen. He gave his Bible to the teachers of his Church and gave them the Bull to bind them to believe his translation was right. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to deny that this was a promulgation? Isn’t it silly to think that he wouldn’t have expected the Bible to fall into the hands of the world before the posting on the doors? He would have intended his infallible declaration to have taken place with the cardinals getting the Bibles. He just planned to put the Bulls up later. Would you say that Pius IX was not infallible when he announced the Immaculate Conception in St Peter’s for it was announced to the people in the building and wouldn’t become infallible until he told the papers and then the world about it after? Of course not. Nor would you say that Pius IX was not infallible if he announced it to the fathers in the Vatican and warned them to keep it to themselves till after the ceremony. He is promulgating it for the world but just putting conditions on the timing. It’s still a valid and full promulgation. It would be the same thing with Sixtus V. With Sixtus V there is no reason at all to assume that his putting the Bulls on the doors was meant to start the promulgation. The Bulls might only have been intended to advertise a promulgation that has already happened. Would the pope have minded if his Bible was leaked and emerged before promulgation?
 
Are we to believe that Sixtus V who wrote the Bull falsely declaring his pathetic Bible infallible was not infallible until the Bulls were put up by his assistants and what if they threw them away and poisoned the pope? Doesn’t his intention to promulgate stand for anything? The Bull is promulgated the moment anybody gets it. If nobody knows about the promulgation that isn’t the pope’s fault and an infallible teaching has still taken place.
 
Pope Fiction wants us to believe that the cardinals getting the Bible and the Bull was not a promulgation and putting a paper on two doors was! That is ridiculous.
 
Pope Pius IX had his infallible declaration of the Immaculate Conception written weeks before he proclaimed the dogma. When he proclaimed all he did was read it out. There is absolutely no honesty or commonsense in Catholic apologists doing what Pope Fiction does in pretending that a papal declaration is not infallible until its put out. God can't make the declaration infallible or preserved from error when it is put out. It is not the putting out that makes it infallible. It has to be infallible or correct in itself. If the decree is wrong then is it made infallible just by being put out? The question is preposterous. The declaration needs to be put out for it is infallible and it can't be made infallible by being made public.
 
Another tactic used by Catholic defenders of the faith is to say that Sixtus V was infallible but only in matters of faith and morals and not in what Bible was correctly translated or not or misleading or not (page 37, Catholicism and Fundamentalism). But in that case, the Church would have no authority to say what books should be listed as God's word. It would have no authority to say that the versions it has now are the word of God. The Church claims such powers and claims to have infallibly declared what books belong to the Bible and that these books are written by God as they are now and have no error. That cannot be done unless the Church infallibly has the power to correct the text or see that it is correct. The Church excommunicates anybody who argues that the books that the Church claims are the word of God are corrupt. It considers it heresy to hold that the books are God's word but after God wrote them they were tampered with and so we can't depend on them. The Church has proclaimed an infallible interpretation for some Bible texts. The Church decreed that the proper interpretation of a verse where Jesus says that a man must be born of water and the spirit before he can enter the kingdom of God is that baptism in water is a sacrament and necessary for salvation and forgiveness of sin. If the Church can interpret texts infallibly that by implication is infallibly declaring that the text is God's word and worded as God wants it worded. The Church then must have the power to fix the Bible if it is corrupted. The defenders of the faith lie to defend the doctrine of papal infallibility.   They pretend to believe things they don't.
 
Sixtus V is the perfect disproof of papal infallibility.
 
BOOKS CONSULTED
 

APPENDIX, FROM GIFFORD LECTURE BRAND BLANSARD


This inerrancy of the Vulgate text did not mean, of course, the inerrancy of any meaning that the reader or even the scholar attached to it, but its inerrancy as interpreted by the church; and so guarded, the claim seemed safe enough. The Council of Trent could hardly have anticipated the curious way in which this claim was soon to be tested. Not long after the meeting of the famous Council, there appeared upon the Papal throne Sixtus V, who thought that Jerome's version was in need of revision and that he himself was uniquely qualified for the task. With a committee of advisers he set himself to the large work, reserving for his own pen the final correction of all readings. In 1590 he published his Sixtine edition with the announcement: ‘By the fullness of apostolic power, we decree and declare that this edition, approved by the authority delivered to us by the Lord, is to be received and held as true, lawful, authentic, and unquestioned, in all public and private discussion, reading, preaching, and explanations.’ Unfortunately, and to the embarrassment of the scholars whose judgement he had often and arbitrarily overruled, the edition that was to be ultimate was quickly seen to be full of errors; and when the unhappy man soon afterward died, these scholars made it plain to his successor that the edition would not do. The Vulgate was accordingly gone over once again, and a few years later a new version was issued by Clement VIII. Since Clement's version differed from that of Sixtus in more than two thousand places,some explanation was necessary, and a preface was prepared by Cardinal Bellarmine, who sought to save the face of Sixtus by laying the ‘imperfections’ to the printer. But the fact was beyond concealment that Pope Sixtus had erred, not in words only but in interpretation, and many times over. What, then, was the status of the doctine that Scripture, officially interpreted, was inerrant? Both these editions had been backed by the explicit authority of the head of the church. If Sixtus was right in his way of construing Scripture, Clement must have been wrong; if Clement was right, Sixtus was wrong. One need not attempt the ungrateful business of deciding between them, for whichever was in the wrong, and one of them must have been, the official doctrine was no longer tenable.