A new rebuttal for Papal infallability


#1

My Protestant friend told me the Pope can’t be infallable. Peter was the first Pope and we see that he was fallable in the Bible. In Galations 2 we see that Peter backed away from the Gentiles because he didn’t want to be seen with them in front of the Jews. The Paul says he rebuked Peter because he was not acting in line with Gospel Truth.

Well, I told my friend that the Church isn’t impeccable, meaning we are sinners. And that the Pope has to explicitly teach something. And he said 'well Peter was teaching by example!" I just told him that doesn’t count, the Church doesn’t count teaching by example as infallable.

Today he quoted CCC paragraph 76, which says "In keeping with the Lord’s command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways: - orally “by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave”

He was trying to show me that the Church itself claims that it teach’s by example.

Now he is just nit picking at words. And I could tell him that, but I want to give him a solid answer. Any help?


#2

Justin, your Protestant friend apparently no idea what infallibility is according to the Catholic Church.

Peter was impeccable. What he did in Galatians, he did not speak in his teaching office. Instead, we see him not practicing what he preached.

Paul of course rebuke him. The footnote from Douay Rheims Bible states:

“I withstood”… The fault that is here noted in the conduct of St. Peter, was only a certain imprudence, in withdrawing himself from the table of the Gentiles,** for fear of giving offence to the Jewish converts; but this, in such circumstances, when his so doing might be of ill consequence to the Gentiles, who might be induced thereby to think themselves obliged to conform to the Jewish way of livin**g, to the prejudice of their Christian liberty. Neither was St. Paul’s reprehending him any argument against his supremacy; for in such cases an inferior may, and sometimes ought, with respect, to admonish his superior

Paul’s correcting Peter can be comparable to a Saint in the middle ages when she rebuke the Pope for not living up to the Gospel.

Well, I told my friend that the Church isn’t impeccable, meaning we are sinners. And that the Pope has to explicitly teach something. And he said 'well Peter was teaching by example!" I just told him that doesn’t count, the Church doesn’t count teaching by example as infallable.

Today he quoted CCC paragraph 76, which says "In keeping with the Lord’s command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways: - orally “by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave”

He was trying to show me that the Church itself claims that it teach’s by example.

Now he is just nit picking at words. And I could tell him that, but I want to give him a solid answer. Any help?

He left out a couple of words from CCC paragraph 76.

76 In keeping with the Lord’s command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:

  • orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";

  • in writing “by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing”.

I italicize the words he left out. Yes the Church teaches by example, that is why there are bishops who correct other bishops who aren’t in agreement with the Catholic teachings. You also have priest correcting others. You even have laity correcting the clergy when it comes to literal abuses.

I for one had correct a priests that he gave communion to a Non-Catholic, and that he even knew that the personal was a Non-Catholic. I had to speak to him after Mass and on the side to correct his mistakes.


#3

To teach what by example? Moral doctrine? Proper discipline? Theological Truth? Yes to the first two, no to the second. Theological Truth is taught not by actions, but by PREACHING, though the first two can be taught by actions.

Blessings,
Marduk


#4

Yes, I’ve seen this argument. The reply is to ask what doctrine of the faith Peter was teaching to and requiring belief of the entire Church in his capacity as pope. The answer is, of course, none.


#5

“Infallibility” has a very narrow application. It doesn’t cover actions, and it doesn’t cover most words. Even a pope who is writing or preaching about faith and morals still isn’t covered by infallibility when he is speaking just as a theologian or even just as a bishop. Infallibity only applies to a formal doctrinal teaching on a matter of faith or morals.

Popes write books and letters teaching on faith and morals all the time. But the last infallible declaration was in 1950. That fact alone shows that not everything taught by a pope is considered infallible.


#6

That is very true. Did he tell other Jews, “Follow me!” ? I doubt it. In this light, when the Church teaches by example, she must explicitly indicate that it is an example that others must follow. Peter did not do this. So JM100 friend’s appeal to the catechism quote is refuted.

Dear JustinMartyr,

Though a few have suggested it, I believe it is a bad idea to mention infallibility or the conditions under which the Pope acts ex cathedra. It is a can of worms that will lead to more debate. He can just as easily dismiss them by saying, “such conditions are artificial, created by the Catholic Church” or “Peter was not infallible so your argument doesn’t make sense.” I think you should stick to a refutation of his USE of the quote from the catechism.

Blessings,
Marduk


#7

Papal infallibility is not the infallibility of the Pope per se; it is the infallibility of the Holy Spirit which speaks through him.

When Peter reveals what the Holy Spirit revealed to him about Christ’s true nature, he was infallible.

This did not mean Peter could not sin—indeed, he could, and did, then repented and was forgiven.

This did not mean that Peter’s own faith was perfect—as demonstrated when he sank in the water.

But just as Moses didn’t possess supernatural power but was merely the vehicle for God’s power, so too was fallible Peter able to speak infallibly, which is how the Church at Rome remained the bulwark against heresy and was recognized as such.

Indeed, selecting Peter to be the Rock upon which Christ founded the Church, making him foremost among the Apostles (check your gospels—he’s listed first every time, and Judas last, no matter which author writes) makes no sense whatsoever except that Christ promised the least among us would be first, and that he would always be with his Church.

Indeed, if someone were some sort of theological wunderkind, they would be tempted to take pride in their borrowed power, perhaps even to bend it for their own purpose, as Moses did. But for an illiterate fisherman from a provincial backwater to have such wisdom and speak with such evident moral force—that, my friends, can only be the work of the Holy Spirit, much as people speaking in many intelligible tongues unknown to them at Pentecost was.


#8

Here’s how G.K. Chesterton worded it in his book Heretics:

(taken from chesterton.org)

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in a word, a man. Peter. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”


#9

As with so much of what Chesterton wrote:

[SIGN]RIGHT ON![/SIGN]


#10

Ask your friend this. I hope it helps. Let me know?


#11

This is not a matter of faith and morals and was in fact a personal action and not a teaching, so your opponent is talking out his hat to begin with…

Well, I told my friend that the Church isn’t impeccable, meaning we are sinners. And that the Pope has to explicitly teach something. And he said 'well Peter was teaching by example!" I just told him that doesn’t count, the Church doesn’t count teaching by example as infallable.

Today he quoted CCC paragraph 76, which says "In keeping with the Lord’s command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways: - orally “by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave”

This is also no problem since when this issue was addressed he corrected his behavior and that also sets a very good example of humility for us all.

Your opponent is twisting the incident to infer something that it does not and being judgmental in the process. It’s called a specious argument.

He was trying to show me that the Church itself claims that it teaches by example.

So?

Now he is just nit picking at words. And I could tell him that, but I want to give him a solid answer. Any help?

This is nothing more than the usual weak jive that some people will try to offer.

You might also point out to him that Peter also did the very first excommunication (with pretty final results!) in Acts 5. Ask him if he’d like to try Peter on that? :rolleyes:

Moreover, ask if he’d like to take issue with Our Lord Himself who was speaking in the singular to Peter when He told him, [FONT=“Palatino Linotype”]“18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Matthew 16)

If he doesn’t accept it, tell him you thought he was a “Bible Christian”…and just walk away…
[/FONT]


#12

Manny, ‘impeccable’ means sinless. Please don’t go around saying the Pope can never sin!


#13

Peter raised the dead (Acts 9):

36: Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
37: And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
38: And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.
39: Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
**40: But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
41: And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
42: And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. **43: And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

Tell your friend to raise the dead as Peter did and maybe you’ll believe him regarding which of the two had channeled the Holy Spirit.


#14

I know what impeccable means.


#15

A lot of very knowledgeable Catholics would disagree with that assertion. The fact is, there seems to be no consensus on exactly which papal declarations are infallible, outside of the two which are expressly labelled as such, the IC and the Assumption. Joe


#16

Then you know that Popes can and do sin all the time, and confess those sins all the time too, so the Pope is NOT impeccable (incapable of sinning). Rather he is infallible (incapable of teaching error).

And don’t ever say that that the Pope IS impeccable (incapable of sinning) as you have done in several threads.


#17

The lady is right Bro. It’s a weak argument and is not what the Church teaches. :shrug:

That said, I always laugh when someone makes that case against a pope, mainly because it’s one of the weakest of all.:irish1:


#18

Perhaps, there is a misunderstanding when I wrote the thread. I meant to say that the Pope is not impeccable. I probably lost my train of thought when I wrote the it.

I am merely indicting that the pope can make mistakes. He isn’t perfect. Yes, he can sin because he isn’t impeccable. He is as many of us believe is infallible when he teaches ex-cathedra (on faith and morals.

My apologizes. :blush:


#19

I always thought Papal infallability ment that the pope has the final say in things, end of story sort of deal.

I mean, with all the different teachings and ways of looking at Christanity and religion, and all the heresies, there needs to be somebody who draws the line in the sand and says “ok, this is what we accept, and this is what we don’t”.

That way we’re all on the same page. There’s not a thousand different people believing a thousand different things.

It’s not up to me to determine what is morally right and what is morally wrong.

That’s why I have no trouble what so ever with Papal Infallibility.

If anything, I find it brilliantly practical.

Somebody needs to be the supreme arbitrator.

And I’m glad it’s not me. I’d just end up recreating God in my own image, like everyone else has.


#20

Papal Infallibility means, that when the Pope speaks in his teaching office on moral and faith issue, they are infallible. The more theological meaning is that the Holy Spirit preserves the Pope from teaching error on faith and morals.


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