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Does anyone want to explain papal infallibility?

it was brought up yesterday.

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:56 AM on Sep. 6, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (3)
  • From what I understand, it means that whenever the pope speaks in regard to religion/faith/etc, when he speaks in authority, God protects him from err.

    This isn't saying that the pope is infallible in himself, but instead that when he speaks about/for God God keeps him from speaking in err.

    Hope that makes sense - and if I'm incorrect in my explanation, feel free to correct me!

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 2:08 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • bandgeek has a pretty good explanation. It's the idea that Christ is protecting his flock by giving the Pope the ability to say the right things when making official statements about faith and morals. The Church claims that these proclamations are "infallible," not that Church leaders are "indefectible" or can't make mistakes or don't sin.

    The doctrine of infallibility has nothing to do with the brainpower, intuition, moral fibre, or even the faith of the Pope. Infallibility has everything to do with God protecting His Church and His teachings. Catholics see that Christ promised to guide and protect his Church and to send the Holy Spirit to lead it into all truth. (Mat 16:18-19, 18:18, 28:20; Jn 14:16, 25, 16:13). Even during medieval times when there were some questionable and even bad popes, God kept them silent on issues of faith and morals during their office.

    Answer by eringobrough at 4:23 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • So infalliblity is a gift of the office of the pope, not the person of the pope. A Pope only exercises infallibility on rare occasions - a handful of times in history. Here are the conditions:

    1.The pope must speak ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter) meaning in his official capacity.
    2.The decision must be binding on the whole Church.
    3.It must be on a matter of faith or morals.
    4.He must be intending to teach


    Answer by eringobrough at 4:26 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

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