The Papacy, Vatican I, and Ecumenical Councils: Can the pope act alone during an ecumenical council without his brother bishops?

On Reason and Theology (one of my favorite channel on Youtube), host Michael Lofton had Timothy Flanders, Erick Ybarra, William Albrecht, and Craig Truglia on earlier tonight. The topic of the show was, “Timothy Flanders on Eastern Orthodox Reactions to His Conversion”. Timothy, Erick, and William are all Roman Catholics and Craig is Eastern Orthodox.  Craig made a comment on the show with regards to the papacy which clearly shows that he has a misunderstanding of what the Catholic Church teaches (specifically with regards to the papacy and its relation to Ecumenical Councils). Starting at 49:19 in the video, Mr. Truglia begins talking about Vatican I and how the council says the pope does not need the consent of the bishops and he applies it to Nicaea II (and Ecumenical Councils in general) and concludes that there is a contradiction between what Vatican I is claiming and what first millennium Christianity taught.. The discussion is picked back up at around 1:12:20 where this time, my question is placed on the video for Mr. Truglia to answer. I would recommend listening to those segments before reading on. You may also follow the live chat to see the correspondence between Mr. Truglia in the video and myself (Elijah Yasi) on the live chat.

So, is there a contradiction?  Spoiler alert: No, there is not.  Let’s begin.

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