Is the Catechism fallible?


Is it?


In its entirety no. However, there are infallible statements in there taken from other Church documents from Vatican Council II, earlier Church councils, Papal Ecyclicals, etc.


The CCC is not an infallible document per se but it summarises all the teachings of the Church including those which are infallible.


That’s about clear as mud, so how does a Catholic know what is infallible and what isn’t? What they should follow and what should be left to their conscience?


Hi Luke__,

Come on! The Catechism is the teaching of the Church. Relatively few things in our faith have been defined infallibly. Jesus gave the Church the mission to teach, and our duty is to be taught. We must believe and observe everything in the Catechism.



Whether we obey, or not, is not dependent on the Church’s infallibility. If a Church’s teaching includes a specific command or prohibition we are bound to obey whether we agree or not.


It makes no difference if a particular teaching is an infallible doctrine or only a discipline. All Catholics must accept ALL the Church teachings relating to faith and morals.
Everything in the Catechism of the Catholic Church must be accepted by all Catholics. Also the conscience of a Catholic must be formed in accordance with the teachings of the Church.


Scriptures, (Sacred)Traditon, Magisterium.

It’s not a “feeling” test. The signposts are always there.

If you doubt and don’t trust The Church’s position on an issue, allign and harmonize all three. (Hmm…like a "Trinity’) You’ll find all three speak as one. Your conscience is only called on to decide whether to accept or deny!

You see, “Truth” exists outside of us at all times, as it were. It is not up to us to decide it.



A book can neither be fallible nor infallible. (It is for this reason that the Church describes the Scriptures not as infallible, but rather as inerrant)

Now if you would ask: *Does the Catechism contain error? *I would answer: None that I am aware of.



So when the Church decided it was O.K. to torture heretics and called on me to slaughter Muslims in the crusades if I decided against it would I have been wrong? If so what’s to say something in the Catechism today that isn’t “infallibly declared” should be ignored? We don’t know, we don’t even know what’s infallibly declared and what isn’t, it’s hopelessly scrupulous…


Do you understand as to where and what aspects specifically, the Catholic Church’s Magisterium’s infallibility fall?


The Catechism is authoritative and accurately presents the teaching of the Church.

Can you give an example of something in the Catechism that you would feel compelled to actively disobey? There are many teachings in the Catechism which are about disciplines. (ie married priests, age for the Sacraments etc.) You may not agree and that’s fine. There are other teachings where you are allowed some variety of opinion, especially in the “how” a teaching is applied. (ie capital punishment, tithing, etc.)

There are lots of things in the Catechism which I “ignore” not because I think they are wrong but because they don’t apply to me.

Maybe you could be more specific on the area where you see a conflict.


This question is best answered by the Pope himself. I direct you to the “introduction” to the Catechism (bolded sections are my personal emphasis):


In this document, the Pope says the following:

The Doctrinal Value of the Text

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved June 25th last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom!

The approval and publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church represent a service which the Successor of Peter wishes to offer to the Holy Catholic Church, to all the particular Churches in peace and communion with the Apostolic See: the service, that is, of supporting and confirming the faith of all the Lord Jesus’ disciples (cf. Lk 22:32), as well as of strengthening the bonds of unity in the same apostolic faith.

Therefore, I ask all the Church’s Pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion and to use it assiduously in fulfilling their mission of proclaiming the faith and calling people to the Gospel life. This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms. It is also offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation (cf. Eph 3:8). It is meant to support ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and wondrous harmony of the catholic faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.

This catechism is not intended to replace the local catechisms duly approved by the ecclesiastical authorities, the diocesan Bishops and the Episcopal Conferences, especially if they have been approved by the Apostolic See. It is meant to encourage and assist in the writing of new local catechisms, which take into account various situations and cultures, while carefully preserving the unity of faith and fidelity to catholic doctrine.

At the conclusion of this document presenting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I beseech the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word and Mother of the Church, to support with her powerful intercession the catechetical work of the entire Church on every level, at this time when she is called to a new effort of evangelization. May the light of the true faith free humanity from the ignorance and slavery of sin in order to lead it to the only freedom worthy of the name (cf. Jn 8:32): that of life in Jesus Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, here below and in the Kingdom of heaven, in the fullness of the blessed vision of God face to face (cf. 1 Cor 13:12; 2 Cor 5:6-8)!

Given October 11, 1992, the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, in the fourteenth year of my Pontificate.


Hi Luke__,

So when the Church decided it was O.K. to torture heretics and called on me to slaughter Muslims in the crusades if I decided against it would I have been wrong?

These questions are much more complex than you seem to realize. Be careful not to judge past events with today’s criteria. We have enough to busy our consciences with today.



There is no teaching of the Church, that it is ok to torture heretics.

Never was and never will be.


The Church is infallible. She has never taught error, and never will teach error.

Since the Catechism has been authorized by the Pope as a sure norm for teaching the faith, then there is no error in the official latin version of the Catechism when it presents anything as a teaching of the Church.

Now the english translation does have at least one error that I know about when it quoted Vatican II, because the quote was not taken from the latin, but from a different translation of Vatican II.


I don’t know if the Catechism is infallible or not but it is infallible in my mind. :slight_smile:


There are statement in the Catechism which aren’t infallible. For example, priestly celibacy. That’s discipline. I would say the only infallible statements in the Catechism are those that fall under moral and faith issues.


Yes there most certainly was:

Ad exstirpanda the Papal Bull issued by Pope Innocent IV most certainly O.K’d the torture of heretics. Since he was the shepherd of the Church if I disobeyed and condemned the Popes teachings would I be wrong?


I don’t find what the Catechism has to say about priestly celibacy or the age of the sacraments to be particularly “disciplinary” or “fallible”?


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