Does Infallibility lie in the Pope, Magisterium or both?

A Protestant pastor has made this claim:

“Catholics cannot agree where the alledged infallibility lies. Some have claimed it lies solely in the pope. Others have claimed it lies solely in the “Church Councils”. Some have said it lies in the Magisterium. Some say it lies in the pope and the Magisterium combined or jointly. This particular problem was pointed out by the Catholic theologian, Kung, who questioned how the pope could take a different position from a majority of the Catholic council while agreeing in principle with the majority.”

What would be your response?


I would start by pointing out that Fr. Hans Kung lost his teaching authority years ago (partly due to his erroneous teaching concerning infallibility). Then I would quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church (para. 891) which explains what the Church officially teaches on this matter:

The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys [the charism of] infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful—who confirms his brethren in the faith—he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium, above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine for belief as being divinely revealed, and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions must be adhered to with the obedience of faith. This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.

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