Is Papal Infallibility relatively new on the historical scale?

I was reading an article on “The Week”, and one of the comments said,

“The church’s claim about infallibility is brand new on the historical scale. It was made official in the 1800s. I’ll know the church is making progress when a woman can be Pope. It would be so easy for women to exert power if they refused to join an organization that made them second-class citizens.”

Is the first part true? I can’t find anything on it anywhere. Feel free to comment on the last part too.

Here is the link if you want it:

This is false. The Pope has been understood to have the charism of infallibility since the beginning of the Church.

Yes, the teaching was made definitive in the 1800’s. That doesn’t mean that it was invented then.

This is not worthy of reply.

No, that is not true at all.

The modern conception of papal infallibility dates to the 1500’s. Brian Tierney describes the Catholic belief prior to this as follows:
Of course modern theology does not deny that a pope can err. But when Catholic theologians have to take note of errors promulgated by popes as heads of the church they discriminate between official infallible pronouncements and official non-infallible pronouncements. The medieval canonists knew nothing of such distinctions. They were content to distinguish between the pope who could err – and err in any of his pronouncement so far as they knew – and the universal church whose faith could never fail. Ideas akin to the modern doctrine of papal infallibility simply never occurred to them.

The Week likes to make ridiculous claims about Catholicism. Don’t listen to them.

If woman refuse to join the Church, how’d one ever become Pope?

And with so many women being revered by the Church, from Mary (you know, the only perfect human other than JC) to Mary (first of witnesses of THE Resurection) to “the other Mary” who helped along the way (no, I mean, the other Mary) lol

I kid because comments like “until a woman is Pope” are just so out to lunch, it’s hard to argue. If Church-o-phobes could see the forest for the trees they have nothing to blog about.

This isn’t true, as even a brief survey of Medieval or Early Church history shows. Study the schism with the EO (well before Trent) or the writings of many Church Fathers and you’ll see how false this is.

It started when Jesus made St. Peter the first Pope. A women will never be Pope, or even a Priest, but that does NOT make them second class citizens unless maybe in your eyes. God Bless, Memaw

Don’t ya know, that the Church knew, as soon as she defined the understanding of papal infallibility, everyone that could, and I mean EVERYONE, would come out of the woods to not only attack this but show where popes in doing what is described here, erred.?

the definition of papal infallibility is simple and is as follows. (all emphasis mine)

*]we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that
*]when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA,
*]that is, when, [LIST=1]
*]**in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, **
*]**in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, **
*]**he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, **
*]he possesses,
*]by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter,
*]that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.
*]Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable.

So it seems to me, the real questions is,
*]how many times in history, going back to the beginning, (there have been 266 successors to St Peter) has a pope defined a doctrine concerning faith or morals, to be held by the whole Church, that was found to be wrong, overturned, etc etc by any pope or council after the definition?
[/LIST]You know that there were and are, lines of people who try to find that smoking gun. Have any made their claim stick? No.
But if you have one to discuss…

It just goes to show how insecure some and I say some of these Protestant denominations are when they start spewing out , printing out anti catholic doctrine which they only have half the side of truth, the rest is made up from a screwed up mind as they spew out what we don’t believe but think we do.

Now as Catholic Christians, that is something we don’t do and for that reason made me look into Catholicism when I was thinking of converting, we don’t do it, we don’t bother with that nonsense, plus its un Christian.

I couldn’t find any early Church fathers that used the term “ex cathedra”. Was it called something else back then?

According to Frs. Trigilio and Brighenti, there have only been two times in the entire history of the Catholic Church that the pope has spoken ex cathedra - the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary. I’m not really sure how you expect anyone to disprove either of these.

The assertion itself reveals that the framer failed to examine the basis of their accusation. As well, that person focused fallibly only on the date in which the teaching was set in concrete. If this person claimed to be Christian, they should bother to actually read their bible instead of merely thumping it. Had they done so, they might find that Christ gave the Holy Spirit to the Apostles to “lead you into all truth.” Where is there room for error in “all truth”?

Shortly after the conclave vote on papal infallibility (1870), James Cardinal Gibbons wrote his extremely popular apologetic book, Faith Of Our Fathers (1976). He addresses infallibility in chapter 7 of the book. In this chapter, on page 58 of a 1914 copy, Cardinal Gibbons writes,

“Notwithstanding these plain declarations of Scripture, some persons think it an unwarrantable assumption for the Church to claim infallibility. But mark the consequences that follow from denying it. If your church is not infallible it is liable to err, for there is no medium between infallibility and liability to error. If your church and her ministers are fallible in their doctrinal teachings, as they admit, they may be preaching falsehood to you, instead of truth. If so, you are in doubt whether you are listening to truth or falsehood. If you are in doubt you can have no faith, for faith excludes doubt, and in that state you displease God, for “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Faith and infallibility must go hand in hand. The one cannot exist without the other. There can be no faith in the hearer unless there is unerring authority in the speaker—an authority founded upon such certain knowledge as precludes the possibility of falling into error on his part, and including such unquestioned veracity as to prevent his deceiving him who accepts his word.”

A few sentences ahead, he writes,

“It is very strange that the Catholic Church must apologize to the world for simply declaring that she speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

So, why would one choose to follow someone who makes no claim of infallibility? Sounds foolish to me.

I generally ask them if they believe in the 8 Commandment. Thou shall not bare false witness against thy neighbor!. God Bless, Memaw

You won’t find the doctrine articulated as it was at Vatican I. As Catholics we believe in the development of doctrine. The fulness of faith was handed down by the Apostles, but gradually over the centuries the Holy Spirit has led us to a fuller understanding of the faith. One analogy often used is an acorn growing into a tree. The Church is infallible, and as seen through the ancient ecumenical councils the Church has always believed this of herself. This is the starting point. If you wish to find belief in papal infallibility as something separate from the Church’s infallibility, you will be lost. The Pope, as head of the college of bishops, can sometimes under very special circumstances exercise the infallibility the Church always had. It is the same infallibility that all of the bishops exercise as a body, when joined to their head the Pope, through both the ordinary magisterium (what has always been taught) and the extraordinary magisterium (dogmatic decrees at councils). For the Pope to exercise the Church’s infallibility is very rare - the norm is for the entire college of bishops to do so united with the Pope.
That being said, we find hints of the “acorn” of papal infallibility in history. Jesus Himself promised Peter that his faith would not fail- we take this promise to apply also to his successors. In the 2nd century St Irenaeous teaches that all churches must agree with the Tradition in Rome due to its “superior origins”. Many Fathers and saints testified to the belief that the Church in Rome (under the presidency of its bishop) would never fall into heresy. The great patriarchates of the East did fall into heresy from time to time, and the East always praised Rome for her immaculate faith.

There is some logical development. There is much in the Fathers that the local Church of Rome, the Roman See, could not fall into error. It was also believed that the whole Catholic Church could not fall into error. Likewise, the whole Church had to agree with the Roman Church–the infallibility of the whole Church and the Roman Church were inseparable. Likewise, the dogmatic decrees of the Roman Pontiff were consdered irreformable and binding on the whole Church. And since the whole Church is infallible, and it is bound to these irreformable decisions, then it means the Roman Pontiff must also be infallible.

The First Vatican Council’s decision, with its distinctions, explains how it can both be true that the Pope can personally fall into error, which has also always been affirmed, and the above principles which requrie his definitive and universal teachings to be infallible.

Papal infallibility, as defined rigorously and scholastically by Vatican I, is new on the historical scale. There was a general sense of papal supremacy and authority at least throughout the middle ages and before.

We must be very cautious about “historical scales”. What was called one thing 2000 years ago is often called something different 1500 years ago.

Take the famous “Tome of Leo” as an instance of what I mean. In 449, Pope Leo of Rome sent a long letter to a group of theological disputants over the subject of the nature of the person of Christ. Some bishops accepted it immediately as a papal pronouncement, but others urged caution, and asked that the doctrine of Leo be compared with that of the recently-deceased Cyril, Pope of Alexandria. It took two years to do so. Part of the motivation for calling the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon was in order to finally settle the matter.

I’m just saying that many parts of the Church did not take the opinions of Roman popes at face-value for doctrine, whether infallible or fallible. For many hundreds of years, they were compared, contrasted, and put up against the writings of other “popes” - i.e. the archbishops of the ancient patriarchates.

Just for full-disclosure, I am very much an Eastern Catholic & have sympathy with the Orthodox in our struggle for unity. I am trying to avoid sounding heretical.

Ignore the feminists. Women cannot be priests, and there will never be a woman pope. Period. End of discussion.

As for infallibility, the evidence for it is found within the pages of scripture beginning here;

Matthew 16:18
New International Version (NIV)
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Basilian #17
I’m just saying that many parts of the Church did not take the opinions of Roman popes at face-value for doctrine, whether infallible or fallible. For many hundreds of years, they were compared, contrasted, and put up against the writings of other “popes” - i.e. the archbishops of the ancient patriarchates.
Just for full-disclosure, I am very much an Eastern Catholic & have sympathy with the Orthodox in our struggle for unity. I am trying to avoid sounding heretical.

Note that the early Church always accepted the Bishop of Rome as head of the Church. In about 80 A.D., the Church at Corinth deposed its lawful leaders. The third successor of St Peter, the fourth bishop of Rome, Pope Clement I, was called to settle the matter even though St. John the Apostle was still alive and much closer to Corinth than was Rome. Clement, wrote to the Catholics of Corinth as early as A.D. 95: “If any man should be disobedient unto the words spoken by God through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and danger… Render obedience to the things written by us through the Holy Spirit.” (I Clem. ad Cor. 59,1). This Is The Faith, Francis J Ripley, Fowler Wright Books, 1971, p 151; 139-141].

About Pope Victor I’s declaration by edict, about the year 200, that any local Church that failed to conform with Rome was excluded from the union with the one Church by heresy, none other than the radical protestant Adolph von Harnack admitted that Victor I was “recognised, in his capacity of bishop of Rome, as the special guardian of the ‘common unity’. " (See And On This Rock, p 118, 1987, Trinity Communications, Fr Stanley L Jaki).

Harnack asked: “How would Victor have ventured on such an edict – though indeed he had not the power of enforcing it in every case – unless the special prerogative of Rome to determine the conditions of the ‘common unity’ in the vital questions of faith had been an acknowledged and well-established fact?”

It’s interesting also that Arnold Lunn in *Now I See *(Sheed & Ward, 1955), could quote from the Anglican Vicar of Oddington, Rev S Herbert Scott, that St Peter and his successors were recognised as the supreme judges in matters of faith by a long succession of great Eastern saints, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Denys, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and others (p 218).

Scott quotes from the Graeco-Slav Liturgy at the Council of Nicea addressing the Pope, St Sylvester, who was not himself present: “…thou didst appear as a pillar of fire, snatching the faithful from Egyptian error (sc. Arius) and continually leading them with unerring teachings to divine light.” [Op. cit. Lunn, p 218-9]. Sir Arnold remarks that “This unwilling tribute from the Greek Church of today to the “unerring teaching” of the Roman Pope is most impressive.”

Why should there be a “struggle for unity” rather than the acceptance of the primacy and infallibility instituted by Christ which cannot be ignored when it suits – such as with the case of the Orthodox Churches over the infallible teaching against contraception, denial of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and the permission of divorce and remarriage?

Jesus left Peter the keys. He also gave power to bind/loose…

So it’s been there the whole time, from Peter to Francis. Can’t think of anything more infallible than that.

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