Examples of the Pope speaking infallibly pre 1200's



My neighbor is telling my that there are no examples of the Pope speaking infallibly before the 12th century. I’m at a loss to argue since I’m not a historian. Can you help me out? Probably the more examples, the better.

He’s also said that the council over rules the pope, therefore the only infallible proclamations of the pope have been through a council?



There are some examples of Councils trying to assert authority over Popes, but that was put to rest very quickly. A Councils decision is not enacted until it is approved by the Pope. There are some examples of this in history.

The specific definition of Papal Infallibility didn’t happen before Vatican I. If you apply the definition to prior papal statements you do find 3 or 4 earlier ones that meet the criteria.



You wrote, "If you apply the definition to prior papal statements you do find 3 or 4 earlier ones that meet the criteria."

Could you tell me what those 3 or 4 were? How about the ones that didn’t meet the definition? Do we hold those as being applicable and binding on us today?

I appreciate the help.



I am interrested too. What are they, documents please.


Pope St. Leo the Great’s Tome.

Pope St. Agatho’s letter concerning monothelitism.

These are two examples.

There are also likewise many examples where the pope condemned various particular errors as heretical. These act also fall under papal infallbility.

If you can get a copy of Denzinger’s* Sources of Catholic Dogma *there are a lot of examples in there.

Remember, not only solemn dogmatic definitions are infallible. The Pope has the same limits of infallbility as the Church as a whole. So any doctrine concerning faith or morals that must be definitively held by the all the faithful is infallible (this includes doctrines that state something is heretical).


Matthew 16
John 6
Acts 2, 10, 15



1 Peter
2 Peter


Actually, no.

Infallible teaching means you can’t teach what is false.
Inspired Teaching means you have been guided by the Holy Spirit to teach this.

Now that I look at it this way, Matthew 16 was inspired, not infallible.


Genesis 315,

If I’m understanding you correctly, the examples of Pope St. Leo, and Pope St. Agatho would be the Pope speaking infallibly in a way that would fulfill the requirements of a Ex Cathedra statement?

Can you give me a few examples of the Pope speaking infallibly, but not according to the later requirements of Ex Cathedra?



Well, can’t we say that by definition, inspired is infallible, but not vice-versa?


Bingo!!! :thumbsup:

B is a subset of A, but A is not a subset of B. Good Call!!!


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