Apologetics help on Papal infallibility, please!


#1

On the forum I recently mentioned, a link to an interview with Karen Armstrong (ex-nun writer) was given. I read this interview, and I find her thoughts to rather drag along and uninspire, but somehow she seems to be popular and enthralled with Islam).

I have a question about the following comment she made in teh itnerview excerpt about papal infallibility being a “recent invention”. I highly doubt this! Has anyone heard this assertion? And how would you respond?

LAMB: But–but what about the Roman Catholic Church that you used to believe, that you just threw away? You said…

Ms. ARMSTRONG: Oh, I don’t–I don’t believe in a–an–anybody telling other people what to believe. The–the–the–the whole idea of, say, an infallible papacy, for example. This is something created–ca–the infallibility of the pope was made obli–an obligatory belief for Catholics in 1870. It was about the same time that Protestants in the United States were in–evolving a belief
in the infallibility of Scripture, that people were seeking certainty in the changing world of modernity.


#2

Just reading Ms. Armstrong’s quotes, it’s obvious to me that she hasn’t the faintest notion of what she’s talking about.
Jaypeeto3


#3

[quote=Eliza10]Ms. ARMSTRONG: Oh, I don’t–I don’t believe in a–an–anybody telling other people what to believe.
[/quote]

People like that won’t even let God tell them what to believe. It’s too much of an inconvenience.


#4

The dogma of papal infallibility was declared at the First Vatican Council, in 1870. Prior to that, faithful Catholics could hold to either side of the question as to whether the Pope was infallible.


#5

[quote=Eliza10]On the forum I recently mentioned, a link to an interview with Karen Armstrong (ex-nun writer) was given. I read this interview, and I find her thoughts to rather drag along and uninspire, but somehow she seems to be popular and enthralled with Islam).

I have a question about the following comment she made in teh itnerview excerpt about papal infallibility being a “recent invention”. I highly doubt this! Has anyone heard this assertion? And how would you respond?

LAMB: But–but what about the Roman Catholic Church that you used to believe, that you just threw away? You said…

Ms. ARMSTRONG: Oh, I don’t–I don’t believe in a–an–anybody telling other people what to believe. The–the–the–the whole idea of, say, an infallible papacy, for example. This is something created–ca–the infallibility of the pope was made obli–an obligatory belief for Catholics in 1870. It was about the same time that Protestants in the United States were in–evolving a belief
in the infallibility of Scripture, that people were seeking certainty in the changing world of modernity.

[/quote]

This claim comes from a misunderstanding of the definition of doctrines. Papal infallibility was defined at Vatican I Council. However, that does not mean that the Church did not already believe this and practice it. In fact, we see good evidence of this office in the Scripture itself. This accusation just comes from a place of ignorance.


#6

Infallibility is just a certainty of belief that we have always had in the Catholic Church. It needed to be defined as relativism and different versions of the Gospel have come up with question to the certainty of the Catholic Church on belief.

It is not like people didn’t believe in absolute truth in the Catholic Church before Papal Infallibility was confirmed. There has always been absolute truth, just as I can make an infallible statement right now even if I am not a Pope.
January 1987 was before February 1987

People who deny infallibilty are claiming infallibility for themselves if they believe their statement that infallibility can’t be true. Denying infallibility then is denying that there is solid truth and it can be identified.

She misrepresents infallibility as a power play instead of a defense of the truth. Didn’t God say we would know the truth, He didn’t say that there would be many different versions of the truth and we could pick which ever one we wanted to.

God Bless
Scylla


#7

[quote=redbandito]This claim comes from a misunderstanding of the definition of doctrines. Papal infallibility was defined at Vatican I Council. However, that does not mean that the Church did not already believe this and practice it. In fact, we see good evidence of this office in the Scripture itself. This accusation just comes from a place of ignorance.
[/quote]

This is a good point! Thanks.

[quote=scylla]Infallibility is just a certainty of belief that we have always had in the Catholic Church. It needed to be defined as relativism and different versions of the Gospel have come up with question to the certainty of the Catholic Church on belief.

It is not like people didn’t believe in absolute truth in the Catholic Church before Papal Infallibility was confirmed. There has always been absolute truth, just as I can make an infallible statement right now even if I am not a Pope.
January 1987 was before February 1987

People who deny infallibilty are claiming infallibility for themselves if they believe their statement that infallibility can’t be true. Denying infallibility then is denying that there is solid truth and it can be identified.

She misrepresents infallibility as a power play instead of a defense of the truth. Didn’t God say we would know the truth, He didn’t say that there would be many different versions of the truth and we could pick which ever one we wanted to.

God Bless
Scylla
[/quote]

Thnaks for clarifying about the infallibility. And great insight - yes, it is so often, for ex-nuns and other discontented ladies who want to be priests, all about power.

Thank you for great feedback on this!


#8

Let me remind the posters here that there is indeed a Scripture for papal infallibility Surprised? Don’t be. It comes from Acts 15, which is the Scriptural precedent for papal authority. In Acts 15, Peter determined, solely, unalterably, and without any** DIRECT SCRIPTURAL MANDATE**, that circumcision would no longer be required of converts to the Christian faith. It is crystal clear that our first Pope, Peter , without use of Scripture, made the determination for the Church for all time. Acts 15 is the precedent of authority and setting of dogma that Scripture gives us.


#9

[quote=Redbandito]This claim comes from a misunderstanding of the definition of doctrines. Papal infallibility was defined at Vatican I Council. However, that does not mean that the Church did not already believe this and practice it. In fact, we see good evidence of this office in the Scripture itself. This accusation just comes from a place of ignorance.
[/quote]

Actually that is the whole nature of infallibility. He declares infallibly that which we already know to be true. This is something many Catholics and most non Catholics do not understand. When the Pope declares infallibly, it is never something new. It is old, sound, grounded, practiced and believed. People act like he wakes up one morning with a new idea and presto, we have a bunch of new beliefs we have to believe. But that is kind of understandable since most other christian churches do change their doctrines repeatedly.


#10

[quote=Pythagoras]Let me remind the posters here that there is indeed a Scripture for papal infallibility Surprised? Don’t be. It comes from Acts 15, which is the Scriptural precedent for papal authority. In Acts 15, Peter determined, solely, unalterably, and without any** DIRECT SCRIPTURAL MANDATE**, that circumcision would no longer be required of converts to the Christian faith. It is crystal clear that our first Pope, Peter , without use of Scripture, made the determination for the Church for all time. Acts 15 is the precedent of authority and setting of dogma that Scripture gives us.
[/quote]

This is commonly referred to as the “Council of Jerusalem” and the Scripture citation is more often used as a model for ecumenical councils.


#11

Thank you all. I need more help now. I posted some of what you wrote here, and a reader clipped it and came up with some other od thing. I am putting it in a new thread, if anyone can please help. Thanks.


#12

[quote=katewithak]Actually that is the whole nature of infallibility. He declares infallibly that which we already know to be true. This is something many Catholics and most non Catholics do not understand. When the Pope declares infallibly, it is never something new. It is old, sound, grounded, practiced and believed. People act like he wakes up one morning with a new idea and presto, we have a bunch of new beliefs we have to believe. But that is kind of understandable since most other christian churches do change their doctrines repeatedly.
[/quote]

Uhhhh…yeah, I know. That was exactly what I stated.


#13

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.