Citing Ludwig Ott

  • Thread starter Thread starter centuri0n
  • Start date Start date
Not open for further replies.


I have noticed that one of the most popular reference books cited by moderators and Catholic apologists in this forum is Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. I’ve never read it, so fooie on me, but it leaves me wondering about the issue of authority.

Here’s the preface: Dr. Ott was also a Catholic priest as I do my background reading, but not a bishop or Cardinal --and certainly not a Pope. So he was in the rank-and-file of the magisterium, not the apostolic college of Bishops. In that, his summary of RC documentation might carry some academic value (it carries a mighty academic stick, to be sure – so more fooie on me for having never read it), but it doesn’t quite carry the weight of papal authority or magisterial authority, which is certainly a different kettle of fish.

Here’s the question: is citing Ott’s summaries of doctrine a sufficient method of assessing the substance of Catholic doctrines, given the insistence (as demonstrated frequently in this forum in the brief 3 days I have been visiting) by Catholic apologists that a source cannot be sufficiently authoritative if it is not inherently inerrant in nature?

It is extraordinarily peculiar to me that, given the reams of pronouncements from the magisterium over the last 500 years or so – and particularly in the last 40 years, all of which was after Ott’s very exciting work – that the singular source the advocates here for the cause of Catholicism cite is one which is not generated by the college of Bishops and is itself not an infallible document.

FOOTNOTE: check out this view of Ott’s work by a Franciscan priest –
Dear CenturiOn,

What is so valuable about Ludwig Ott for the apologist is that he documents everything. We are not relying on his authority, but on that of the Church! Most of what we believe as Catholics has been around for centuries—certainly before Ott came on the scene.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.
Not open for further replies.