Campion victorious in semi-final of Archbishop’s Debating Cup
Campion College’s debating team emerged victorious from last night’s semi-final round of the Archbishop’s Debating Cup, knocking Sydney University out of the competition.
The intense debate centred on the theologically tricky topic, “Is the canonisation of Saints an exercise of Papal infallibility?”, and was again adjudicated by Australian Theologian, Professor Tracey Rowland.
The USYD team, arguing affirmative, made the case that, in canonising saints, the pope is fulfilling all three criteria of papal infallibility, including the contentious point that canonisation is a matter of faith or morals (the only two matters that infallibility covers).
Campion’s team objected that canonisation doesn’t necessarily fall into these narrow parameters, and pointed to the early history of the Church, in which saints still accepted today were not canonised by papal decree.
Campion’s first speaker, Sophia Shogren, disputed the affirmative team’s definition of ‘canonisation’ to refer specifically to the period of time following the Council of Trent in the 16th century. She went on to argue that the canonisation of saints is an example of the collegial authority of the Church, rather than strictly of papal infallibility.
The second Campion speaker, Ashleigh Mills, went into the history of the Church, especially the first millennium, pointing out that saints were recognised as such in a collegial way, via sensus fidelium, or the “sense of faith”.
She also pointed out that some saints who can be celebrated in the Roman missal were canonised by the Russian Orthodox patriarch, but are still accepted as saints by the Catholic Church.
Final speaker and Debating Society President Deon Testore rounded up the debate by reasserting Campion’s position that canonisation is a juridical matter, not a teaching matter, which it must be to be considered infallible.
Prof Rowland congratulated both teams, saying she felt her mind was constantly being changed by the arguments presented, making for an intellectually robust and impressive debate.
She said she liked that the affirmative team hammered the line about faith and morals, and thought the strength of Campion’s case lay primarily in the treatment of saints in the first millennium of the Church’s history.
Prof Rowland concluded that since both teams made strong arguments, her adjudication lay in “who was best at scuttling the other team’s argument, and who was most persuasive at doing so?”
She deemed that Campion, both in persuasiveness and presentation, won the debate.
Prof Rowland also named Campion’s second debater Ashleigh as the best speaker of the debate, closely followed by Deon.
The final debate is set for Thursday 21 October between Campion and Macquarie University, to be adjudicated by the Archbishop himself, Rev. Anthony Fisher, on the topic, “Did Mother Mary undergo bodily death prior to her Assumption into Heaven?”
We congratulate the Campion Debating Society on their hard-earned victory over Sydney University and wish them all the best in the final round of the Archbishop’s Cup.