is there any room in the eastern catholic churches for those who question infalliblity?

as i was writing about in the apologetics forum, this is where i am personally:

are there many claims of inerrancy of the pope prior to say, 1000-1300?

i ask, because i’m really starting to think about joining orthodoxy (possibly a strain of Eastern Catholocism) given the notion that I can’t find much in the way of of early teachings that say the pope cannot make mistakes. (he is said to be infallible, when the pope, teaches, the church, on faith and morals) i see plenty that he is a “first among equals” and a highly respected leader, and perhaps even deferred to, but nothing in the way of ‘inerrant’. it’s said that even if that doctrine is true, it wouldn’t just spring up in full force. which i understand. but then again, it wouldn’t take more than a thousand years to say something about the pope being inerrant.

also, i’m trying to understand a critical point in history. 1000 ish was when the East broke from the West. early 1200 ish is when the Latern Council said the pope should be "humbly defer"ed to. (note they didn’t say humbly submit) and late 1200 ish is when a fellow named Olivi (some call him the ‘inventor’ of infalliblity) came along and without question said the pope cannot error. in the early 1300 ish a pope John XXII decried that idea of infalliblity, at least the extent of the definition given. the pope talked about all temporal and civil power and everything being too much for the pope. it is unclear if he thought any perogative of the pope being inerrant was too much, or the extent described. it’s ambiguous… but seems to indicate any inerrancy peroagative was too much. but… and this is a big but, less than a mere decade after that pope, though, another named Terreni came along and defined infallibliity very similar to the way Vatican I defined infallibility.

so i’m wondering what connections there are between Terreni and Olivi? why did Terreni see fit to limit infallibility better? was he influenced by Olivi or did he act on his own accord? he was almost surely influence by the pope’s writing against infallibility, right? and yet he still chose to write it similar to how vatican I would later do it?

that does seem to be pretty compelling in favor of the catholic church. as of now, i just don’t have enough info about all the connections.

but even if this time frame was viewed most favorably to catholics, where is the proof of inerrancy pre1000-1200?
to me, that is becoming the deal breaker in becoming a full fledged catholic.

so is there any room in eastern catholic churches for someone who might not view the pope as infallible… or at least not infallible as often as he is made out to be?

i’m reminded of that thread by me recently where i almost concluded that with some easterns infalliblity is: the pope, intentionally, binds, the church, on important issues, of faith and morals. whereas with the catholic church it is the same, but minus it having to be “important”.

i’m reminded that it was mostly the eastern catholics who were hesitant to vote yes on infalliblity at Vatican I. and i’m reminded of that story of the pope putting his foot on the head of a Melkite bishop and calling him the “stubborn” one. so we see that at least in that time till more recently, there was much more room for criticism of infalliblity.

i’m also reminded of lots of threads here, where posters will tell you that you will hear all kinds of things from easterners about the issue, and that you have to figure it out yourself. then there’s others who say there’s no room for those who doubt infallibility. it sounds like the Melkites are most friendly to the idea of being skeptical.

i’m also reminded of the ‘‘Ratzinger principle’’, that says any communion relationship with Easterners, catholics or orthodox, must be based on them not necessarily following the roman church as infallible, as long as they are open to the teachings.

some links for some of my info…

do melkites believe in infallibility…

also, this is somewhat of a tacit admission by a prominent catholic of the strength of the orthodox claim. though i guess he doesn’t mention eastern catholics specifically.

cardinal ratzinger, later pope benedict, now emeritus pope below.

basically, it’s a model for how a relationship with the orthodox could be. that is, there’s no condemnation of them, just a pius silence. and, it is expected that whatever beliefs the easterns differ on, they should allow that it is possible for Rome to be right. the idea, it was said, was that there shouldn’t be more requirred of soemone who would have passed as christian in the earliest church, than if they were alive today. that is, they would have passed as a full christian then, but now because of their thoughts on infallibility of rome, are not considered christian… and that this shouldn’t be the case


4.22.2008 "The Ratzinger Proposal"

Certainly, no one who claims allegiance to Catholic theology can simply declare the doctrine of primacy null and void, especially not if he seeks to understand the objections and evaluates with an open mind the relative weight of what can be determined historically. Nor is it possible, on the other hand, for him to regard as the only possible form and, consequently, as binding on all Christians the form this primacy has taken in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The symbolic gestures of Pope Paul VI and, in particular, his kneeling before the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch were an attempt to express precisely this and, by such signs, to point the way out of the historical impasse. Although it is not given us to halt the flight of history, to change the course of centuries, we may say, nevertheless, that what was possible for a thousand years is not impossible for Christians today. After all, Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, in the same bull in which he excommunicated the Patriarch Michael Cerularius and thus inaugurated the schism between East and West, designated the Emperor and people of Constantinople as “very Christian and orthodox”, although their concept of the Roman primacy was certainly far less different from that of Cerularius than from that, let us say, of the First Vatican Council. In other words, Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium. When the Patriarch Athenagoras, on July 25, 1967, on the occasion of the Pope’s visit to Phanar, designated him as the successor of St. Peter, as the most esteemed among us, as one also presides in charity, this great Church leader was expressing the essential content of the doctrine of primacy as it was known in the first millennium. Rome need not ask for more. Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while, on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox and legitimate in the form she has always had.

Such a mutual act of acceptance and recognition, in the Catholicity that is common to and still possessed by each side, is assuredly no light matter. It is an act of self-conquest, of self-denunciation and, certainly, also of self-discovery. It is an act that cannot be brought about by diplomacy but must be a spiritual undertaking of the whole Church in both East and West. If what is theologically possible is also to be actually possible in the Church, the theological aspect must be spiritually prepared and spiritually accepted. My diagnosis of the relationship between East and West in the Church is as follows: from a theological perspective, the union of the Churches of East and West is fundamentally possible, but the spiritual preparation is not yet sufficiently far advanced and, therefore, not yet ready in practice. When I say it is fundamentally possible from a theological perspective, I do not overlook the fact that, on closer inspection, a number of obstacles still exist with respect to the theological possibility: from the Filioque to the question of the indissolubility of marriage. Despite these difficulties, some of which are present more strongly in the West, some in the East, we must learn that unity, for its part, is a Christian truth, an essentially Christian concept, of so high a rank that it can be sacrificed only to safeguard what is most fundamental, not where the way to it is obstructed by formulations and practices that, however important they may be, do not destroy community in the faith of the Fathers and in the basic form of the Church as they saw her.
– Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1987), pp. 198-199. (source)

There is no room for half-heart in any church based on tradition. You can’t choose what you agree on, or not. It is harder if you weren’t born in a orthodox family. I was orthodox.

Here is a good link on Infallibility.


doesn’t the following indidate that some melkites would be reductiveist to reduce what they believe in the Bishop of rome pretty much to the same extent an eastern orthodox would?

In 1995, through the tireless work of Archbishop Elias Zoghby, a two-point profession of faith was presented to the Melkite Synod of Bishops. Known as the “Zoghby Initiative,” it states the following:

** I believe in everything which Eastern Orthodoxy teaches.

I am in communion with the Bishop of Rome, in the limits recognized as the first among the bishops by the holy fathers of the East during the first millennium, before the separation.**

The initiative was put up for vote, and all but two bishops supported its application and provided their signatures. Furthermore, the initiative was embraced by Melkite Patriarch Maximos V and Orthodox Antiochean Patriarch Ignatius IV. While there is still much to be done in re-establishing full intercommunion with the Antiochean Orthodox Church, the acceptance of this initiative demonstrates the degree to which the Melkite Church intends to remain true to her Orthodox heritage. This is a gift of untold treasure for the larger Catholic Church, and one which Rome has in recent times taken great care to ensure is protected and made to flourish. The Melkite patriarchs, striving to be truly “Orthodox in communion with Rome,” hope to one day re-establish sacramental participation with the Antiochean Orthodox Church, thus creating a bridge to help restore full union between East and West. Ut unim sint.

John 15: 26 “When the Advocate comes whom I will send* you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. 27 And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

John 16: 12 “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. 13 But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.h He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.

The Holy Spirit Is Infallible! How is this made manifest in His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church?


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