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Old 21st April 2007, 12:09 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,588
Default TS 3: Papal Infallibility

The three ways that the Magisterium can teach infallibly are:

1. Papal Infallibility
2. Solemn Definitions of Ecumenical Councils
3. Universal Magisterium

The Pope can:

1. teach infallibly (Sacred Magisterium)
2. teach non-infallibly (Ordinary Magisterium)
3. express theological opinion (not an act of the Magisterium)

The Pope teaches infallibly only when his teaching meets the criteria for an infallible papal teaching which criteria were infallibly defined by the First Vatican Council, and reiterated by the Second Vatican Council:

The teaching of the First Vatican Council on Papal Infallibility can be conveniently summed up with a list of criteria that a teaching must meet:

1. “the Roman Pontiff”
2. “speaks ex cathedra” (“that is, when in the discharge of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, and by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority….”)
3. “he defines”
4. “that a doctrine concerning faith or morals”
5. “must be held by the whole Church”

Many theologians combine one and two above, so that they list the same criteria, but with a different numbering.

Second Vatican Council reiterated the same criteria, but with different wording:

1. “the Roman Pontiff”
2. “in virtue of his office, when as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (cf. Lk 22:32),”
3. “by a definitive act, he proclaims”
4. “a doctrine of faith or morals” (“And this infallibility…in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of revelation extends”)
5. “in accordance with revelation itself, which all are obliged to abide by and be in conformity with”

As an exercise, write out the numbers 1. through 5. and quote the wording from the infallible papal defintion for the Assumption which meets the criteria for papal infallibility. You will find the definition in paragraph 44:
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