Infallibility


#1

If the Church was not infallible wouldn’t that mean that we would each be responsible for figuring it all out on our own? Why would we ever take instruction from someone else knowing they could be in error. Everyone would have different opinions and the same subject. Why believe this one and not that one? Don’t they both claim to be led by the same Holy Spirit?

That makes no sense to me. Does anyone have any comments on that?


#2

No.

Why would we ever take instruction from someone else knowing they could be in error.

I’m glad I don’t have you as a student, because apparently you would not think you could learn anything from me (since I can certainly err).

Everyone would have different opinions and the same subject. Why believe this one and not that one? Don’t they both claim to be led by the same Holy Spirit?

Why would that put a stop to the process of discernment?

That makes no sense to me. Does anyone have any comments on that?

It sounds like you–and conservative Catholics generally–want to short-circuit the process of discernment.

Edwin


#3

What do you do when two people come to conflicting opinions after they both have gone through the proper discernment?


#4

What is “the proper discernment”? Discernment isn’t some one-two-three formula. Discernment may take centuries, and it may take blood and tears. But eventually the Spirit will guide the Church, whatever it takes.

There is no formula. Stop looking for one. God asks of us humility, charity, and a burning love for truth, not some magic formula that will make these virtues unnecessary.

Edwin


#5

Which leads me back to my original statement. We have no way of knowing who has completed the process of discernment.


#6

Why do we need to?

Edwin


#7

I do not think we are delving into magic here.


#8

Only in the sense that you guys want a quick fix–you want to avoid the process and go straight for the result.

Maybe it takes a few thousand years to figure some stuff out. That’s in God’s hands–He has all eternity to work with. And all He asks of us is faith, hope, and love.

Sometimes I think that a certain kind of Catholic sees the Christian life as an exam which you have to get 100% right. This is no doubt one reason why so many Protestants accuse Catholics of believing in “works righteousness,” though of course many Catholics (probably most today) don’t think that way.

Edwin


#9

Of course, what our OP is driving at is authority. Who decides which doctrines and dogmas are correct and which aren’t. Now, you can’t tell me that’s a discernment process that just anyone can undergo with no more credentials than a high school diploma and no authorization from Christ’s Church.

As for taking centuries, that’s not entirely correct. Certainly the defining of dogmas might take centuries, but the basic truth has been there since Christ founded the Church. And that too is what I believe our OP is driving at.


#10

I know I did not say anything about works righteousness on this thread.


#11

I take umbrage at that statement. Why pick on Catholics? I know plenty of Protestants of every stripe who feel that if they just “check off” the things on some list that they will be saved.


#12

This is a huge problem for Protestants. Some say that, because baptism by total immersion was the Jewish tradition, it is also necessary for a valid Christian baptism. Others say that water is just another natural substance and what is important is the intention to baptise, and so omit water as a superstition. Both have got a plausible case, but they can’t both be right.

If we accept that the Church is the real Church, we must accept that her baptisms are valid. That doesn’t mean that we can’t say that total immersion is to be preferred, but we cannot say that other rites do not constitute baptism.


#13

Our knowledge of geography has little to no bearing on our eternal salvation. Knowing how to get to heaven does.


#14

This is the way I see it, or rather, how our parish priest explained it.

Jesus couldn’t be around forever. He had to go back to Heaven at some point, so therefore He needed somebody to continue His work. At first this was Peter and the other apostles. But then, as we all know, their lives are limited as well, so they, just as Jesus did for them, had to find their replacements for when they died. This is the beginning of what we now know as Holy Orders.

As far as the Infallibility part, the Pope, unlike Jesus, needs help. That’s why he has all those Cardnials to advise him on things, just as the President has Congress to advise him. I would imagine that few, if any infallible decisions were made solely by the Pope himself. These decisions were made after much discussion and information sharing. Now that I think about it, maybe the only reason Jesus had apostles to begin with was simply to set an example for us to show us how things should be done.

I also think that if a wrong decision is made, there’s no law that says you can’t go back through the proper channels to make that decision right.

Tracy


#15

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.