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Old 23rd April 2007, 07:37 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default TS 3: the Ordinary Papal Magisterium

Since First Vatican Council infallibly defined the criteria under which a Pope teaches infallibly, when those criteria are not met, the teaching of the Pope is not infallible. To say otherwise is to nullify or contradict an infallible definition by an Ecumenical Council.

The Pope most often teaches the Church through the ordinary non-infallible Magisterium. Such teachings are most often found in encyclicals and other papal documents. And even a document which contains an infallible papal teaching, may also contain other teachings which are non-infallible.

Non-infallible teachings of the ordinary Papal Magisterium are subject to the possibility of error, but never to such an extent as to lead the faithful away from the path of salvation.

The Pope can also teach under the ordinary non-infallible Magisterium verbally. However, when the Pope is speaking to a small group, such as to a group of Bishops, or to those present at a Mass (during a sermon), he generally is not teaching the whole Church, and so his words are more by way of exhortation, and might not be an act of the Magisterium itself.

Similarly, when the Pope chooses to publish a book as a private person, such a book is not an act of the Magisterium, instead falling in the area of theological speculation, which is fallible and not binding on the faithful.
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