How to explain to a Protestant that the RC Church is Infallible on all moral issues

Papal Infallibility, RC church authority on all moral issues, Bible evidence, early church evidence, private revelation, writing of the saints

Go ahead–convince me! :popcorn:


Haha, very funny.

As it says in the Bible,

“To he who believes no explanation is neccesary,”

"You are Peter, (meaning RoCk) and on this Rock I will build my church. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven. "

:popcorn: :popcorn:

Infallibility does not extend to all moral issues. Very few Church teachings are “infallible.” The Church does not actually list out which teachings are infallible and not, so it is somewhat hard to say which are which. One could debate endlessly which teachings are truly “infallible” (and this thread may devolve into such a debate). It is also difficult to say because sometimes teachings believed to be infallible may “evolve.” For example, EENS is commonly believed to be an infallible teaching, but EENS has meant different things at different times in Church history.

So how do you convince someone of the basic proposition that some teachings (whichever ones they are) are or can be infallible? I don’t know that you can. Seems to me it is an article of faith to be believed or not.

I’m not infallible …so I don’t know what EENS is. :shrug:

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus

Outside the Church there is no salvation

Have you ever read Salvation Outside the Church? Tracing the History of the Catholic Response, written by Francis Sullivan? His thesis is that it’s not the case that “EENS has meant different things at different times”, but rather, that the various formulations and discussions of ‘EENS’ have occurred in a variety of contexts and with a variety of audiences. Therefore, whereas the principle has remained relatively constant throughout the history of the Church (with the caveat that doctrine can achieve nuance over time), the way that it’s been presented, naturally, has varied.

As a trivial example: suppose I’m a parent, and I want to teach my children about the use of alcohol. My views stay the same, but what I tell a two-year-old (“stay away! this is poison! i’ll make you very sick!”) is different than what I tell a 14-year-old (“just say no! this isn’t healthy for you! you need to wait until you’re 21 before you make any decisions about alcohol use!”) and is different than what I tell a 22-year-old (“if you’re going to consume alcohol, you need to be very mature about it – no drinking and driving, no drinking and putting yourself in dangerous situations, and no drinking to excess!”). This doesn’t mean that my perspective changes, but my message is always tailored to my audience and the situation in which they find themselves!

Current RC teaching for RC Catholics:
Automatic excommunication happens to those;

Incredulity, heresy, apostasy, schism—Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or willful refusal to assent to it. Heresy is obstinate post-baptismal denial of a truth that must be believed with divine and catholic faith. Apostasy is total repudiation of the Christian faith. Schism is the **refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff/**B] or communion with the members of the Church (CCC 2089). These sins break the bonds of unity with the offender and the Catholic Church.

Any world catholic gathering of catholic bishops and their unified council agreements and doctrines, are infallible.

Papal comments on various occasions, under specific conditions are infallible. Also, all Papal teachings RC catholics are to submit to under the mortal sin of immediate excommunication for refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff. Who is Christ’s Vicar and Steward on earth.

Therefore recent examples would be the entire Vatican II (which was a world council of Catholic Bishops offering unified reiteration of Catholic Doctrine) and the Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church which Pope John Paul the 2nd ordered written and he commanded afterwards “I put my Apostolic Authority on this”, as bound for the faithful to submit to under mortal sin (under the three conditions),

Automatic excommunication under the three conditions of mortal sin for RC Catholics who:
Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or willful refusal to assent to it. Heresy is obstinate post-baptismal denial of a truth that must be believed with divine and catholic faith.

Schism is the **refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff/**B]

Yes, and with all respect to Father Sullivan, his changing perspective argument is, at root, simply another way of saying that the Church’s teaching has evolved. The root principle is unchanged, but the way that principle is expressed to the Church (and the specific rules used to support the principle) have changed. Put another way, from the listeners perspective, the “rule” has changed, even if the listener can now better understand the underlying principle. The problem is that some listeners do not get that. All they see is that Dad used to say “stay away, poison,” and now says “be responsible.” That appears to be a change. To the extent that you mean that the real truth underlying the teaching is not changed - I certainly agree.

So the fact that the teaching has evolved (or that our perspective has changed) does not mean the Church is wrong, and it does not undermines the Church’s teaching authority. It just means that the Church has grown in understanding, just like the child in your example.

The entire Catechism is mandatory under Papal Authority and all the teachings of the RC Catholic Church.

The RC Catechism also has all catholic teachings mandatory for faithful RC Church. Including Expounding what is grave matter under each of the commandments.

I know the passage for Peter…but I tried to find one for the first quote. Can you tell me where to find it?



All Church teachings are mandatory, regardless of whether an individual Catholic believes the teaching to be “infallible” or not. If that is your point, it sounds like we are agreeing. I am not sure I agree that all of the Church’s teachings are contained within the catechism, but it is certainly the place to start and it certainly contains most of what Catholics should know.

Convince me too.

St Thomas Aquinas

So it is binding for the RC, Roman Catholic Church but not the Eastern Catholic Churches?

All Catholic beliefs were practiced by Jesus own apostles, and the early church. The Holy Spirit and Jesus guided the apostles from the Resurrection and Pentecost and onwards. The apostles passed on catholic beliefs to their close companions who became known as the Early Church Fathers (the Bishops consecrated at the hands of the apostles themselves). Who passed them down to us.

Historical evidence of Papal Authority being inspired by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and Early Church (which Jesus Himself instituted to St Peter in the Bible), Eucharist as Jesus True Presence (which is Biblical), seeking Mary’s intercession as a saint to pray to God on our behalf, Holy Orders ordination of priests, the authority to forgive sins, etc

This reminds me of the dispute between the SSPX people and the Vatican. The SSPX leaders say that Vatican II changed Catholic doctrine whereas more recently, Pope Benedict XVI has said that Vatican II should be interpreted in the light of Tradition.

I think that it’s a bit more complex than that. Yes, there’s been an evolution of the way that the doctrine has been expressed. More than that, though, the doctrine has been expressed to different audiences at different times. If you’re speaking to a group of Catholics who are in open heresy, you express this truth in a different way than if you’re speaking to, for example, a group of Christians who have never been Catholic. Moreover, if you presume that all humans have received the truth expressed by the Catholic Church, you frame up this principle differently than if you presume that there are those who have not (yet) received this truth.

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