How does Galatians Chapter 2 go along with Papal Infallibility?

Hi!

I think am probably breaking the forum rules by asking this question, because I imagine it has already been asked and answered. If that’s the case, I hope you’ll point me to an older thread with the answer!

I’m wondering how the second chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians meshes with the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility. St. Paul says that St. Peter “clearly was wrong” (according to the translation on the USCCB website usccb.org/bible/galatians/2).

I will guess that the answer is that Cephas’ actions described in that chapter are not a part of the official teaching of the Church, and thus does not contradict the doctrine of infallibility. However, I’m eager for more clarity on this question.

Thanks in advance!
Ben

PS I also notice that St. Paul continues to refer to St. Peter by the name that Our Lord gave him – “Cephas.” I think that’s an indication that St. Paul continues to recognize his authority.

PPS Could anyone point me to more sources on this question, perhaps in the form of a book?

You are correct in your assumption about the answer. Papal Infallibility means that the Holy Spirit protects the teachings of the Pope on faith and morals, it does not mean the Pope will be perfect in his actions.
So what was it that Peter was wrong about:

And when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised.

The dispute was not one over teaching. Peter shared Paul’s views on the matter (Acts 15), but rather Peter caved in to “peer pressure” and stopped eating with Gentiles.

For further reading: Catholic Answer’s tract on Papal Infallibility

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