Does infallibility guard against "liberalization of the faith?"

Although I understand that we are in a period of mourning and prayer concerning the death of most holy John Paull II and that asking questions related to anything subsequent to the burial and mourning of the recently deceased Pope might be inappropriate, I’m very concerned about the direction that the Church may take following the election of our next Pope. I know that praying to the Holy Spirit to come upon the cardinals in the conclave to allow them to make the best judgements for the future of the Church is most likely the best way that we can offer ourselves to God in this situation. Still, I find myself constantly dwelling about how things might change if a more liberal Pope was elected. We keep hearing about how there are less orthodox bishops and priests out there, and I’m wondering if there are any cardinals with some of those designs.

Is it wrong to worry that any of the cardinals that might be elected Pope might not have as conservative an agenda as Pope John Paul did? Even if someone was elected Pope did have ideas to relax some of the teachings of the Church (such as women priests, etc.) would Papal infallibility prevent him from such mis-statements and teachings?

Thank you

Dear learning,

While we have had some popes in the past who were more than liberal, they never corrupted the deposit of the faith. They Holy Spirit guards the Church from teaching error. We have nothing to fear on that score. Whoever is elected will be strong in some areas and weak in others. This is the way we human beings are. Only God is perfect in every way.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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