Does this refute Papal Infallibility?


I think the general view was JP II issued an ex-cathedra statement, but formally did not excerise it, so it may rise to an infallible statement.

By Cardinal Ratszigner…Responsum ad Dubium
October 28, 1995

Concerning the Teaching Contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith. Responsum: In the affirmative.

This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

Concerning the CDF Reply
Regarding Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Pope’s intervention was necessary not simply to reiterate the validity of a discipline observed in the Church from the beginning, but to confirm a doctrine “preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents,” which “pertains to the Church’s divine consitution itself” (n. 4). In this way, the Holy Father intended to make clear that the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved solely to men could not be considered “open to debate” and neither could one attribute to the decision of the Church “a merely disciplinary force” (ibid).


I answered that earlier.

The answer is yes. All criteria for infallibility are met.


I’m not going to use this to excuse him. Citing his own beliefs is one thing. Attacking papal infallibility while using flawed premises of what Catholicism teaches is not acceptable. If he will argue, then first of all, use our own teachings, not some flawed understanding of it.

the problem is with the OP’s premises, his being Orthodox notwithstanding. He threw out several “proofs” that the Pope is not infallible, when those “proofs” only allege that Popes are sinners, something we have never denied.

FOUR TIMES I provided the limited criteria for infallibility and STILL he did not adjust his arguments.

Anyway, CAF is whining at me to “Let others join the conversation” so I’m leaving.


This one might be interesting, if true. What evidence is there of this? If true, do the statements made by these popes on this rise to the level of defining and declaring for all the faithful? My understanding is that the pope has to intend to be speaking definitively to be infallible. A pope who didn’t believe he had that power would be unlikely to do so, no?

Again, might be interesting, if true, but the church does have the authority, I believe, to change the requirements for form on marriage. Thus, it seems possible to me that such marriages may have been valid during Pope Hadrian II’s pontificate but not at the time of Pope Pius VII’s.

The other issues involve prudential judgment and/or sinful behavior and have no baring on papal infallibility. I’m skeptical of several of them anyway. I don’t think it was the pope who ordered Joan of Arc’s execution or declared her a heretic. I would want to see some evidence that the Vatican encouraged Germans to vote for Nazis, but even if it did, that wouldn’t amount to an infallible statement, just a bad decision.


Then you should have no problem proving your allegation.

What moral issues for example can you present that the Church or Pope has contradicted?

Come on. All you make are allegations, then when called out on them, you resort to abstractions like this. If you indeed know of a moral teaching the Church has backpedaled on, you should have no problems citing a real, concrete example, not some theoretical something that “may” have happened in the past.

You make the accusation, you provide the proof.


Father Francis A. Sullivan,( who was was professor of ecclesiology from 1956 to 1992, at the Gregorian University, serving as dean from 1964 to 1970), and others say No.


I tend to wonder about the purpose of Papal Infallibility if you all are arguing about what is actually considered infallible or not? Wasn’t it in some way suppose to “clear things up” for Catholics?


Canon 749 §3. No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident

On 28 Oct 1995, the CDF issued a response to a dubia about Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Along with it, the CDF (cardinal Ratzinger?) issued some reflection on the issues that stated:

In this case, an act of the ordinary Papal Magisterium, in itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church.

Maybe OS meets all the criteria for a statement of the Pope’s extraordinary magisterium (ie infallibility), but we are not allowed to understand it that way. It is not “manifestly evident” if the CDF says it was not covered by infallibility.


All of the events listed from before 1870 were known to the bishops at Vatican I, and were taken into consideration when defining papal infallibility.

All of the events after 1870 happened with the definition accepted and understood by the Popes involved. If they had thought it relevant, they would have made it clear that it was.


This is how I understood it.


And what precisely would that consist of?


You can think about it as the affirmation of a belief that is right and in accordance with scripture, tradition and the magisterium. It is basically the last voice on anything dealing with morality and faith. For an example, if there was an argument about a taco shop that sold soft shell tacos and two people were arguing that 1, they sell soft shell, and 2 they sell hard shell tacos. Then, the store owner tells them both, We sell soft shell tacos, end of story. He is the last voice and is completely justified and backed up by the fact that it is plain to see and nothing contradicts this fact. The store owner can be the only last and definite voice since he knows for a fact and is not contradicted.

It can’t be applied to arguments over preference, however, but must be about what is truth in the situation. We are then bound to believe once the doctrine has been clarified by the Pope, for it would be just as stupid for them to continue to argue and defy the store owner about his tacos as it would be stupid to deny the final voice on the matter.


Yeah. And any such explanations towards the “not-infallible” position involve a lot of words. I broke this down earlier in the thread showing how it indeed manifestly evident. Something is manifestly evident on its own merits, not on some wordy “reflection” on the Vatican website. So despite protestations from some quarters, clerics or otherwise, the ex cathedra nature of the final clause is glaringly clear.

Yes, I agree that the teaching of OS is infallible not by virtue of the extraordinary Papal magisterium but by the ordinary and constant Magisterium of the Church. Even without OS, the definitive nature of the male-only priesthood stands.

But OS itself contains a formula that constitutes manifest evidence of the Pope exercising his infallibility in this matter as well, thereby further buttressing the teaching with additional authority and support. There is nothing in ecclessiology that requires us to believe that a teaching cannot be covered by infallibility on two fronts.


That’s right. That’s why multi-paragraph “reflections” on what is “manifestly evident” is counterproductive. Because the Church has made clear what exactly constitutes an infallible Papal pronouncement, “manifestly evident” means anyone reading the document can see that it is so on the document’s very face.

Those who write longish “reflections” to defend the OS-is-not-infallible position fall right into the “they doth protest too much” camp. Whereas the OS-is-infallible position is surprisingly easy to break down according to the Vatican I criteria.


Negative. But it makes a good tabloid. Enquiring minds want to know.


Anyone besides me think this is just another trolling post?


Despite the responses already given to you it is clear you still do not understand what Papal infallibility means!


You are not alone in that assessment.


Ordinatio sacerdotalis of St. John Paul II was not an exercise of Papal Infallibility. Your error here is very common and it illustrates one of the reasons that Papal Infallibility in practice is of little worth to the Catholic Church.

Papal Infallibility, Concilar Infallibility, and the more ancient Ecclesiastical Infallibility are wonderful concepts. But much apologetic blood is spilled trying to defend these in light of undisputed history.

Bollinger the greatest living Catholic historian at the opening of Vatican I left the church over the declaration of Papal Infallibility.

The Catholic and future Cardinal Newman believed in Papal Infallibility, but was opposed to it being declared. He celebrated the muted definition finally defined. He also didn’t question Dollingers HISTORY. Newman just claimed Dollinger had a “failure in imagination.”

I encourage Newman’s “imagination” for those committed to Catholicism, but for those outside evaluating, Infallibility is a large group of problems to be weighted and evaluated.

Charity, TOm


If you’re criticizing the concept of infallibility itself, be my guest.

However, if you’re trying to assert that OS is not an exercise of infallibility as defined by Vatican I, then no, I stand by my “error.” I am a Catholic, and I believe everything the Church proposes for belief, including Papal infallibility. Was it prudent to define it at Vatican I? Maybe not. But the fact remains that it is defined, so since I can prove that according to Vatican I’s definition, OS meets the criteria, you then have to point out exactly what my “very common error” is, since the discussion is set within certain parameters.

If you’re trying to assert that I’m in a “very common error” because you believe infallibility itself is wrong, then this is not within the scope of this thread.

And you know, people leaving the Church over something they disagree with is not my problem. I stay with the Church because I believe she possesses the truth. As for other “greatest living theologians” that’s between them and God.

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