Reading some of the responses in the different Threads it appears to me that we have the wrong notion of infallibility.If the church changes certain practises have they failed in infallibility.?My understanding is that the Church is infallible in relation to Dogma and morals and not in practices of worship and liturgy.Am I correct in my assumption?
Yes. I believe you are correct.
“The power of divine grace (not the human strength of its members) cannot allow the Church as a whole to fall away from the truth of God.” from the Catholic Update in my RCIA leader book.
I can remember some of my older relatives talking about the pope being infallible. I don’t think they understood the true essence of the whole idea.
The pope doesn’t claim infallibility by himself. He only speaks about points of faith when there is a total agreement among the college of bishops.
The last time this was used was 1950 (about Mary’s Assumption).
So as you see, it is not some great “power or authority” that the pope uses everyday or as he desires.
Yes the Pope is infallible by himself. Vatican I and Vatican II are extremely clear about this.
Four points are required.
He must be teaching as Pope, and not as a private theologian.
He must be intending to teach.
It must be concerning faith or morals.
It must be a teaching intended for the whole Church.
Unless one of these are missing, the Pope is teaching infallibly.
Thus, they are constantly teaching infallibly, even in their oral teachings.
Practices aren’t teachings. Thus they can be changed.
Examples are times of fasting, rules for fasting, prayers of the liturgy, etc.
Teachings, such as in the Roman Catechism, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the teachings the Popes give in encyclicals are infallible and even when teaching orally, when meeting the above criteria, the Popes are infallible.
On the other hand, Catholic theologians and scripture scholars are never infallible. In fact, all heresies in the Church were started by Catholic scholars and even Catholic bishops. They cannot be trusted. Even St. Augustine didn’t trust whatever he wrote, for he submitted everything he wrote to the judgment of the Church. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia has serious errors. The Popes spend much of their time correcting the errors that Catholic scholars are constantly introducing.
The idea of infallibility is based on the promises Christ made to the Church. To always be with the Church, for the spirit of truth to remain with the Church, for the Church to never be destroyed.
The idea is that if Christ promised to protect the Church then the Church cannot fall into error as a whole.
From this the idea developed that the bishops and Pope have a charism of infallible teaching. The bishops are said to be actively infallible, in that what they teach is infallible. The faithful are passivly infallible, in that they passivly recieve the teachings from the bishops.
There are three ways the bishops can teach infallibly.
The solemn definitions of Ecumenical Councils, when they include an anathema of contrary beliefs, are considered infallible. This is an example of the Extraordinary Magisterium.
The solemn definitions of the Pope, ex cathedra, which have an anathema of contrary beliefs. There have only been two such papal definitions ex cathedra. Let anyone who says otherwise be anathema (just kidding).
The Ordinary Magisterium. This means that whatever is universally taught by the Pope and bishops, such as what is in the catechism, is something that the faithful must accept, although it is not at the same level of certainty as the solemn definitions, nevertheless, the faithful are not allowed to go against it.
That is my understanding.
I think it might be better to look at this from a differenct angle. Dogma and Morals are basically written definitions, and require infallibility.
But “practices” aren’t necessarily a rigorus Black and White requirement, since these situations would include the millions of people’s hearts to be involved. With such a wide diversity of hearts and minds, there really is no desire to make “practices” infallible.
It could be the same with Liturgy. Although the structure and formula of the Liturgy do require solemn attention and behavior, but not necessarily infallibility, since millions of people are also included in the liturgy.
Please stop it! How many threads are you going to interject your stupid and ludicrous comments saying no Catholoic theolgians or scholars can be trusted. Everyone is bored hearing that old broken record.