Infallibility

Discussion in 'Catholic Theology' started by Mungo, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. Mungo Member
    Mungo

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    This tread is a response to a statement by TheWordsmithSmith in another discussion -

    "I am sorry my friend but there is not now nor has there ever been any man “infallible” on this earth. Jesus is the only one who can claim that." - and a promise I made to raise thread ion the topic.

    Let me take TheWordSmith's statement that: "...there is not now nor has there ever been any man “infallible” on this earth. Jesus is the only one who can claim that."

    This is both true and false. True because no-one in their natural state can be infallible. We are not omniscient. But God can gift us infallibility on occasions for his own purposes. We believe that the authors of scripture wrote infallibly. When Peter stated to Jesus: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Mt 16:16) that was a profound and infallible statement.

    In a similar way, no-one in their natural state can raise someone from the dead. But God can gift someone the power to raise someone from the dead, as Peter did to Tabitha in Acts 9:40 and Paul did to Eutychus in Acts 20:10.

    When the issue of Infallibility and Catholicism is raised it is usually in the context of the infallibility of the Pope. This is unfortunate because it misses out the basic foundations of the doctrine.

    When we use that word in the context of the Catholic Church we mean that the Church will not teach error on those doctrines it solemnly defines – faith and morals. It says nothing about the holiness or the impeccability of individuals in the Church but that God will prevent the Church from teaching erroneous doctrine.

    Jesus founded a Church (Mt 16:18); he founded it on the Apostles and Prophets (Eph 2:20). It is described as the pillar and foundation of truth (1Tim 3:15)

    He gave that Church one set of doctrines (Jud 3); a unity of belief (Phil. 1:27, 2:2).

    He told the leaders of this Church “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). He promised them that he would be with them "always, to the close of the age." (Mt 28:20). That means that mission of the Church, to make disciples and teach, will continue through time.

    He made promises to this Church, covenant promises, which he guarantees (Heb 7:22)

    He promised his Church would be indefectible. – the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Mt 16:18). Satan would not prevail, which he would do if the Church taught error

    Jesus promised the Church would be preserved from error by the Holy Spirit by reminding the apostles of all that Jesus had taught them (Jn 14:26) and guide them into the truth in the future (Jn 16:13). Since the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church we are guaranteed by the Holy Spirit that the Church will teach the truth.

    He prayed that the Father would consecrate the Apostles in the truth (Jn 17:17), and the Father always hears Jesus (Jn 11:41-42). We are therefore guaranteed by the Father that what Jesus’ Church teaches is the truth in all that it solemnly defines.

    Jesus promised he would not leave them on their own (Jn 14:18) but that he would be with them until the end of the age (Mt 28:20). Since the mission was to continue throughout time, and Jesus would be with them throughout time, those promises must be valid throughout time – not just to the apostles but their legitimate successors who carry on the mission.

    Therefore these promises remain with his Church and it is Jesus’ infallibility that the Church exercises in his name when it makes solemn definitions of true doctrine in matters of faith and morals.

    In doing this the Church draws on what God has taught either that which has been committed to writing (Scriptures) or passed on orally (Tradition).

    That infallibility can be exercised in three ways:
    “God, who is absolutely infallible, thus deigned to bestow upon His new people, which is the Church, a certain shared infallibility, which is restricted to matters of faith and morals, which is present when

    “the whole People of God unhesitatingly holds a point of doctrine pertaining to these matters, and finally which always depends upon the wise providence and anointing of the grace of the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church into all truth until the glorious coming of her Lord…..”

    “….the bishops scattered throughout the world but teaching in communion with the Successor of Peter present a doctrine to be held irrevocably.(27) It occurs even more clearly both when the bishops by a collegial act (as in Ecumenical Councils), together with their visible Head, define a doctrine to be held …..."


    “when the Roman Pontiff speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, exercising the office of Pastor and Teacher of all Christians, through his supreme apostolic authority he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church.”
    Quotes from Mysterium Ecclesiae.
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/c...aith_doc_19730705_mysterium-ecclesiae_en.html
     
  2. Illuminator New Member
    Illuminator

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    Just a few points off the top of my head. I don't usually do this, I normally spend 1/2 - 1 hr. doing research to make an informed post.
    • Infallibility means teaching without error, it does not mean impeccability, living without sinning.
    • The Pope, as a man, is not infallible.
    • His opinions, public statements, books and sermons are not infallible.
    • Infallibility is a special charism God gives to the Church that prevents her from teaching errors on faith and morals.
    • Infallibility does not come from Popes or councils, it comes from God.
    • Not every document produced by the Church is infallible, very few in fact.
    • It does not mean the Pope can pick winning lottery numbers.
     
  3. Illuminator New Member
    Illuminator

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  4. Anthony D'Arienzo is a Verified MemberAnthony D'Arienzo Moderator
    Anthony D'Arienzo

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    Not one of these verses teach apostolic succession.
     
  5. Mungo Member
    Mungo

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    If we are going to discuss Apostolic Succession can I suggest we do it in one thread not two, I also suggest I start a separate thread for it.
     
  6. Mungo Member
    Mungo

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    I've started a thread "Authority" in General Theology. I see this this as a necessary precursor.
     

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