I’m just curious about this is the lumen fidei infallible document?
No Papal Encyclical or any other papal document is ever infallible.
Popes may and have taught infallibly within a document as for instance the doctrine on male-only priests in Bl Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Epistle Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 1994.
If the Church has not made it clear that it is infallible, then it is not. But, for Catholics, this distinction is completely irrelevant. It is authoritative. Infallibility is totally irrelevant to the Catholic in the pew. It is of interest only to a few Catholic theologians.
What David said.
Non other than the revered Fr John A Hardon, S.J., wrote concerning the great relevance of infallibility from Christ possessed by the Catholic Church through Her Popes and Ecumenical Councils approved by them, consists in the fact that “In the years to come the Church’s prerogative of teaching the truth and teaching it infallibly will be seen as one of God’s greatest gifts to modern man.
“…the whole human race benefits from the continued presence of Christ, who is the Truth, teaching truth through His Church, and thus leading mankind back to God from whom it came and from whom it was made.” How Infallible Is the Teaching Church? In The Teaching Church in Our Time, Daughters of St Paul, 1978, p 119-120].
The key is if there is some definitive judgment as to a truth of faith or morality. Does the Pope in that document lay down definitively the law of belief, so to speak, for the whole Church? I don’t think so, so it would not be considered strictly infallible based on papal authority. The point of this particular encyclical seems to be an aid to help us understand and apply “the law of belief” with respect to Catholic dogma about the theological virtue of faith, rather than a definitive judgment as to what that law of belief is (in fact, it explicitly presumes the law of belief already laid down definitively by the First Vatican Council). We would all, however, be bound to make a sincere attempt to assent to it and apply it with the proper respect for the teaching authority of the Pope.
I hate answering a question with another question, but I can’t help not fall into this temptation.
Why is it that lay people are so concerned with whether a word, a document, a sermon or anything that the Church says is infallible or not?
We don’t do this with civil government. When the law says that you must file your 1040 by April 15, everyone jumps and gets it done or pays a fine. No one sits around asking is this right or wrong? Can I find a loophole so I can file on April 16? At least not many people do. There are probably some who do.
No document coming from the pope can teach doctrinal or moral error. In that regard, anything in the document about faith or about morals in truth.
We look for the truths in the document. Those are always infallible.
I worded that poorly. What I should have said is that we cannot consider it to be de Fide (of the Faith, irreformable - ie, infallible) until the Church tells us so. The Church could, at any time, recognize any teaching as infallible, including this one. Such an action, however, is VERY rare. The Church only recognizes a teaching in this manner if She feels there is a practical need for doing so. This happened fairly recently, when John Paul the Great declared the infallible nature of the teaching that the Church has no authority to ordain women. I’m pretty sure this is the only such example that has occurred in my lifetime (approaching a half-century). And the teaching itself did not come from the Pope, but from the Ordinary Magesterium (the Bishops). JPtG only made it clear that the teaching is infallible.
But, for Catholics, this distinction is completely irrelevant. It is authoritative. Infallibility is totally irrelevant to the Catholic in the pew. It is of interest only to a few Catholic theologians.
I did not word that poorly. Infallibility means nothing to the guy in the pew. There is no reason why most laypeople should care one way or another.