Some folks seem to find relying on councils a comfort. For these folks, there are some inconvenient facts that they must face. This post is the seventh in what has become a multi-part series.
Council of the Vatican I (began December 8, 1869) - Council never Completed
The council last met on September 1, 1870. The council never formally closed, however. As the Catholic Encyclopedia reports:
At the close of the eighty-fifth general congregation a "Monitum" was read which announced that the council would be continued without interruption after the fourth public session. Still, the members received a general permission to leave Rome for some months. They had only to notify the secretary in writing of their departure. By 11 Nov., St. Martin's day, all were to be back again. So many of the fathers made use of this permission that only a few more than 100 remained at Rome. Naturally these could not take up any new questions. Consequently the draft of the decree on vacant episcopal sees, which had been amended in the meantime by the deputation of discipline, was again brought forward, and debated in three further general congregations. The eighty-ninth, which was also to be the last, was held on 1 Sept. On 8 Sept. the Piedmontese troops entered the States of the Church at several points; on Tuesday, 20 Sept., a little before eight o'clock in the morning, the enemy entered Rome through the Porta Pia. The pope was a prisoner in the Vatican. He waited a month longer. He then issued on 20 Oct. the Bull, "Postquam Dei munere", which prorogued the council indefinitely. This day was the day after a Piedmontese decree had been issued organizing the Patrimony of Peter as a Roman province. A circular letter issued by the Italian minister, Visconti Venosta, on 22 Oct., to assure the council of the freedom of meeting, naturally met with no credence. A very remarkable letter was sent from London on the same day by Archbishop Spalding to Cardinal Barnabo, prefect of the Propaganda at Rome. In this letter he made the proposition, which met the approval of Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop Manning, and Archbishop Dechamps, to continue the council in the Belgian city of Mechlin, and gave ten reasons why this city seemed suitable for such sessions. Unfortunately the general condition of affairs was such that a continuation of the council even at the most suitable place could not be thought of.
This incomplete council, and especially the promulgation of a doctrine of papal infallibility, led to the formation of a sect of "Old Catholics," which did not accept the novel dogma of papal infallibility.