Infallible Statements

Is there a list of stuff Popes have said infallibly? I think it’d be very interesting reading.

Most of the infallible teachings of the Church come from decrees of Church councils (Bishops - including Pope and with Pope’s concurrence, which is necessary for it to be infallible).
I’m not aware of a list that gives infallible teachings that originated and were decreed outside of a Church council. I suppose the first time would be in the Book of Acts, when Peter declared Cornelius could be baptized without becoming a Jew first. See Acts 10 and 11; reaffirmed later in a council setting, Acts 15:7-11.

A good source of Catholic teachings, that gives their doctrinal level and the circumstances of their being decreed, is “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” by Ludwig Ott. It’s in the process of being put online, but is not yet complete.

(When you go to the website and click on a certain topic, you’ll probably get an error message. For some reason, the ending “php” gets changed to “html” and you will have to delete “html” and type in “php”.)

That’s the best I can do for you. Perhaps someone else will know of a list.


What good is infallibility if you don’t have an infallible statement as to what has been infallibly defined? I guess that it is part of defining a doctrine in 1870 and then trying to determine how to apply it retroactively to prior statements.

Same good as the inerrancy of Scripture without an inerrant statement/list of all the inerrant teachings in it.

Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, presents all the statements proposed by the Church for our belief, their origin, when & by whom they were produced, and the level of certainty attached. It goes over Theological Grades of Certainty in the Introduction. Most pronouncements come through Councils (pope WITH bishops). An example of something coming straight from the pope is the Dogma that Mary was Assumed Body and Soul into Heaven–a De Fide statement (must be believed, is declared infallibly to be true). From Ott:

"After Pope Pius XII, on 1st May, 1946, had addressed to all bishops in the world the official query whether the bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven would be defined as a proposition of faith, and whether they with their clergy and people desired the definition, and when almost all the bishops had replied in the affirmative, on 1st November, 1950, he promulgated the Apostolic Constitution “Munificentissimus Deus” as a dogma revealed by God that: “Mary, the immaculate perpetually Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also includes all the statements which must be accepted by Catholics–it is not so clear from this book how/when the statements originated, nor the theological grade of certainty belonging to each statement of belief.

No, it’s not about making a list. It’s about giving us the confidence to know that when the Pope says “the Church must hold and follow this doctrine” we know that we will not be led astray.

When the defintion was made, the Fathers of the Council based their definition on past statements and Catholic teaching in general–they didn’t pull it out of the air and then try to fit past statements into it. They fit the definition to past statements, not the other way around.

As the relator of the Council on this topic states, answering an objection of a bishop who wanted to write a definition without looking at past judgments:

“But, most eminent and reverend fathers, this proposal simply cannot be accepted because we are not dealing with something new here. Already thousands and thousands of dogmatic judgments have gone forth from the Apostolic See; where is the law which prescribed the form to be observed in such judgments?”

Now, he was no doubt not speaking literally here, but the point remains, there are tons of infallible decrees taking various forms.


I cannot recommend this article enough for those who want to understand papal infalliblity. It gives great incite into the intention of the Council and the truth of this dogma.

It anaylizes Humanae Vitae, but the norms discussed are universal.

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