Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Papal Infallibility*

Q: What is meant by the infallibility of the Catholic Church?

A: By the infallibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, by the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, cannot err when it teaches or believes a doctrine of faith or morals.

a) Infallibility, especially papal infallibility, is a doctrine often misunderstood and derided by those outside the Church. The term “infallibility” is often distorted to mean impeccability, that is, freedom from all sin. The Church has never held that the Pope cannot sin.
b) It is unthinkable that an institution established by God for the salvation of souls could lead men into error and turn them away from God. If the Church could and did err in matters of faith and morals, it would not be a true teacher; it would fail in its ministry of sanctification and would not lead men to salvation but would be responsible for their condemnation.
c) A doctrine of faith or morals is a truth revealed by God dealing with what we must believe or what we must do in order to be saved
d) The Church cannot change its defined teachings on faith and morals, though it may restate them more clearly and more completely.
e) We know that the Church is infallible in matters of faith and morals because Christ promised that he would be with the apostles and their successors in their work of teaching until the end of time. It would be impossible for Christ to be with the official teachers of the Church and permit them to error.
“And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16)
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you” (John 14:26)
“Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to thee, but my father in heaven. And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever though shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17-19)

Q: When does the Church teach infallibility?

A: The Church teaches infallibly when it defines, through the Pope alone, as the teacher of all Christians, or through the Pope and bishops, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by all the faithful.

a) The Holy Father must intend to use his supreme, apostolic authority when he teaches infallibly.
b) The Pope can teach without speaking infallibly, for example, he does this in his encyclical letters. Catholics must accept such teachings, not on faith, but in obedience to the authority of the Pope and in respect for his wisdom.

*These questions, answers, and Scripture verses are taken directly from “The New Confraternity Edition Revised Baltimore Catechism and Mass No. 3” Questions 163-164.


Anonymous said...

God never ordained the Pope to be the teacher of all catholics.

Anonymous said...

=D PLEASE don't be offended by any of this. :)
I am a Christian, and have different views. :)

Sweetpea Brandybuck Of Buckland said...

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