For the moment, I will accept the following premises: Petrine primacy. Apostolic succession. A single, unified, authoritative church, led by the Bishop of Rome as Peter’s successor.
What I’ve read makes a pretty good case for the passing on of authority. But what about the passing on of infallibility?
A frequent argument that I’ve read seems to boil down to this: The church is always right (on doctrine) because she has to always be right, otherwise she wouldn’t be the pillar and foundation of the truth. Well…maybe. I’m still thinking that one through. But can’t the church be the foundation of the truth, and still get some “little” stuff wrong. Can’t it still be the pillar of truth, even though the pillar has a few scratches on it?
Very important question (to me): Are there other arguments for the infallibility of the church? An important concept for me that ties church authority to infallibility is this key question:
Did any of the Early Church Fathers teach that the church taught infallibly? Are there any ECF references specifically to the church’s (or the pope’s) infallible teaching, as opposed to the scripture’s infallible teaching?