History of Catholic infallibility


I’m looking for a brief history and or timeline of how infallibility (papal, council, or otherwise) has developed in the Church.

I understand the bare essentials. Please keep it simple.


First infallible papal decree: Peter opens up the Church to Gentiles by ordering the baptism of Cornelius and company, Acts 10:48.

First infallible council decree: Peter, the Apostles, and presbyters meet in Jerusalem and decided that Gentile converts don’t need to be circumcised, Acts 15:28.


From Creative Fidelity: Weighing and Interpreting Documents of the Magisterium by Fr. Francis A. Sullivan, page 97:

While the first known reference to the infallibility of ecumenical councils dates from the ninth century,(15) and the first reference to the infallibility of popes to the thirteenth century,(16), the conviction that the consensus of the universal church in its faith is an infallible norm of truth goes back to the second century, with Irenaeus, and is a consistent element of Christian belief.

Both footnotes are to Fr. Sullivan’s earlier book, Magisterium: Teaching Authority in the Catholic Church, which I don’t have a copy of.


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