Eastern Catholic views on Papal Infalibility

  • I believe in papal infallibility and think that every Catholic is bound to
  • I believe in papal infallibility but do not think that every Catholic is bound to
  • I do not believe in papal infallibility
  • I am not an Eastern Catholic but I like voting in polls

0 voters

Please explain your view in the comments if you’d like to (and try to keep it civil yall’) :slight_smile:


This is a tricky topic because the issue of papal infalibility as define by Vatican I is very highly nuanced. Most Catholics aren’t aware of just how nuanced the dogma is, which leads them to accepting a misunderstood version of the dogma, or rejecting an equally misunderstood version of the dogma.


Catholic is Catholic. Sadly, we have enough difficulty with Western Catholic beliefs in Papal Infallibility.


I thought it was basically (to put it crudely)

"The pope is infallible on matters of faith and morals when speaking ex cahtedra "

In your opinion what are some commonly misunderstood nuances?


The biggest misunderstanding is that there have been more than very few ex cathedra statements. It is a very rare event, and V I set forth the narrow circumstances in which it applies.

It’s not like the pope can get up in the morning and decide to issue one that day, nor that you can pose a question and get a direct ex cathedra answer.

It’s really a matter of how the pope expresses the infallible teaching of the church.



Dochawk definitely gives the biggest example of how the dogma is misunderstood.

Another example - that actually flows from Doc’s example - is the misguided belief that any time the pope speaks or sets pen to paper theological gold pours forth in abundance.

We were blessed in that our two previous popes were both brilliant theologians. That sort of set a standard in the minds of many Catholics. Now that our current pope isn’t quite the academic that our previous two were, it has many people confused. Don’t get me wrong, Pope Francis has his own “genius,” and I respect him for that. But his is a very different “genius” from St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

Another misunderstanding is that every document written by the pope must necessarily be infallible. It is forgotten that papal documents themselves have their own hierarchy and not all are of equal weight.

And finally there is this mistaken notion that the pope can just wake up one morning and make an ex cathedra statement without any sort of context, and without consulting his brother bishops. It’s forgotten that the pope works with the bishops as much as the bishops work with him, and ex cathedra statements are a response to an ongoing theological controversy that has reached a boiling point.


Many Catholics erroneously believe that the pope is infallible in everything he says and does, whereas Vatican I (1869-1870) clearly defined under what circumstances the charism of infallibility comes into play. If ALL those requirements are not met, then the pope isn’t infallible, e.g. he makes a statement re the weather.

The charism of papal infallibility is to protect the pope AND the Church from error as Our Lord promised.


How is this a mistaken notion? Can you show what contradicts this. I thought the writings in Vatican 1 explain clearly that the Pope can do these things without any other Bishop. Just because it is highly unlikely that he would ever do such a thing, it does not mean that it is a mistaken notion of what is possible. Usually when non-Catholics use this a reason for explaining their problem with it, it is to demonstrate the level that the RCC was willing to go with giving the Pope so much power.


The official “relatio” that guided the document which officially defined papal infallibility contradicts this notion. It affirms that the pope always acts in communion with the bishops, and the bishops always act in communion with him. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states as much as well… although I don’t have the official paragraph numbers off hand.

Admittedly it’s been quite some time since I’ve bothered to discuss the topic of papal infallibility, so my knowledge of direct references is a little rusty.


As an Eastern Catholic I hold to the view of the Bishop of Rome as it was during the first millennium. This is a very interesting read from the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church:



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