The constitution of 1870: “Pastor Eternus” If you read a papal bull, you will always find two or three words at the beginning which serve also as the title of the bull – e.g. , “Una Sancta,” etc. This means the first words of the text are put into the title.

Pastor eternus has a very full sound – the eternal shepherd – and immediately implies the feeling for the eternal function of the earthly shepherd. First pp the Pope is declared as the universal power of jurisdiction over every power of the Church. There is no legal body which is not subjected to the Pope. Secondly he is declared universal bishop. This means, practically, that he has power over every Catholic of New York, through the bishop of New York; but if this doesn’t work, he can have episcopal power directly and can revolutionize the subjects of the other bishops against their bishops, if he likes to. Thirdly, the Pope is infallible if he speaks ex cathedra. This of course is the most conspicuous decision of the Vatican Council and a decision which has even separated some of the Catholics who, as they called themselves, became “Old Catholics,” but they remained a very small group in Western Germany, and never took over the Roman church. On the contrary. Your generation has experienced, in the year 1950, the first cathedra decision since 1870, and therefore a decision which is de fide, namely, a decision about the bodily ascension of the Virgin Mary. Now here you see how things go – the Pope has asked most of the bishops before he made this decision. The majority was on his side; a minority was not. The Pope asked about the tradition – the tradition is more than a thousand years old; we have pictures in many periods of Church history about Mary elevated to Heaven and crowned by Christ, or received by God. But now the question was: Is this a pious opinion in the Church which is tolerated, and even further? or is it a matter de fide? As long as it is a pious opinion, every Catholic can disagree with it, without losing the salvation of his soul. In the moment in which it is declared de fide, as it was done in the year 1950 by the Pope, in this moment every Catholic is bound to accept it as truth, and nothing can relieve him from this necessity. Many Catholics were deeply shaken about this, but they subjected themselves.