The Sovereign Voice ITNJ Commemorative Issue - Page 92

The Sovereign Voice EXTRACTED ARTICLE By Reverend Dr. Nancy Ash, DD, PhD THE PAPAL BULLS’ INFAMOUS LEGACY: “DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY” [Note from the author: This article is not a broad stroke denunciation of Roman Catholicism — far from it. There are many fine Catholics, good people with big hearts. However, we must be aware that there are dark — very dark — moments in the Vatican’s history when it certainly did not live up to its own high moral standards. The following exposes pure truth in an honest, resolute look at shadowy timelines in world history known as the Papal Bulls and their subsequent 500-year doctrine, a ‘Doctrine of Discovery.’] A Papal Bull was (and is) delivered ‘open’ with a seal attached to the bottom of a single sheet of parchment (written on only one side). In terms of context vs. content, let’s say that a Papal Bull is the presentation, format or context for delivering the content or formal decree from any pope. They’ve been in use since the fourth century Bull — the word has connotations, yes? CE, though not formally legitimized until the twelfth century when designated as a ‘valid’ letter For your consideration in this brief article, we from the pope carrying a distinctive bulla – a round shall explore the legal fiction principle ‘Doctrine of metal seal usually made of lead, though on rare and Discovery,’ providing an initial eye-opening history solemn occasions (Byzantine imperial deeds) it was and evolutionary root of Bulla Pontificum, the Papal made of gold. Papal Bulls were usually written in Bull: a highest proclamation document issued by a antiquated characters known as curialis script and Roman Pontiff (pope). then traditionally sealed with the bulla, known as a Great Seal of the Papacy. Looking like an ancient WHAT IS A PAPAL BULL? coin, the round bulla depicted heads of the founders of the Church of Rome, apostles Peter and Paul, with The Papal Bull is a formal statement, decree, their images separated by a cross on one side, with the charter, edict or order that is legally binding as a issuing pope’s signature on the reverse side. command or decision entered on the papal court record (as if entered by a court or judge). Still By the thirteenth century, Papal Bull referred to all issued today by the pope, each and every Papal important documents issued by the Pontiff; and Bull is deliberate and conscious, considered by it morphed to a tersely principal papal record in the Vatican to be absolute original law for all the fifteenth century when an office of the papal eternity. These include statutory decrees, chancery was named, ‘registrar of the bulls’ (registrum dogmatic pronouncements, canonizations of bullarum). Old seals still exist from the eleventh saints, conferring titles to bishops, episcopal century (none in their entirety before 819 CE), appointments, dispensations, excommunications, with original leaden bulls remaining from the sixth apostolic constitutions, convocations, etc. century CE. There are some preserved apart from the document to which they were once attached. page 90