List of infallible teachings

Hi there again. I know of two instances where Papal Infallibility was used without a counsel Ex Cathedra. Is there a complete listing of instances where Papal Infallibility was used? It’s currently my understanding that only ecumenical councils acting with the Pope (Ignatius Of Antioch def.) or Pope speaking Ex Cathedra (Immaculate Conception and Assumption) are the only instances of Papal Infallibility being exercised.

Google is your friend.

Please don’t give me attitude.

The pope and bishops also teach infallibly via the ordinary magisterium when speaking on matters of morals and faith when teaching in communion with the world’s Bishops. It does not require a council. This can be seen in Dei Filius from Vatican I

Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.

For instance there have been very strong arguments that the teachings against contraception in Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae are infallible because of the ordinary magisterium. The same goes for the prohibition against ordination of women to the priesthood. Neither of those were ex cathedra or from a council.

I know for a fact that the Pope did not exercise Ex Cathedra for the selling of indulgances. I’m going to make this point to a certain protestant I know. I hope it helps him to look to the truth of the Catholic Faith. I’m curious to know if indulgances have been infallibly defined through a council though.

Thanks for the Vatican I mention. I learned that Papal Infallibility was dogmatically defined at Vatican I, but there is basis for it in the Bible and Apostolic Tradition. I find that really helpful to counter protestants who assert that there is no biblical basis for it nor did anyone prior to the 5th or 6th century mention anything about Papal infallibility.

I mean, sure, the word “Trinity” isn’t used in the Bible, but Protestants accept the tradition of the Trinitarian doctrine handed down to us by the councils.

Yes, indulgences were essentially defined as infallible at the Council of Trent. They were also affirmed more than 130 years ealier at the Council of Constance. For more information, including biblical basis, you can read Jimmy Akin’s Primer on Indulgences.

I wouldn’t deem the infallible declarations of Councils as an exercise of papal infallibility. It is the teaching of the entire College of Bishops, united with its head the Pope, that collectively exercises infallibility in this context.

Some “teachings” are so basic, and seemingly obvious, that we take them for granted and forget they were originated at some point.

  • The fact that a written Bible exists for Christians, which is the “inspired Word of God”, and deciding what that means;

  • The identification of an “Old Testament”; the decision that these books would be considered as “inspired”, except where superseded by a “New Testament”;

  • The identification of a “New Testament”; selection of which books would be included, and which excluded;

You will note that the Jews had books that they certainly never called “the Old Testament”, and regard somewhat differently from how Christians regard them. Thus, identification of an “Old Testament” for Christians is an act of the Magisterium. It is true that all of the above was ******later ******confirmed or clarified by the Councils including Trent, Vatican II, etc, but it was authoritatively in place already.

  • The fact that certain councils of the Church would be considered authoritative. (Yes I know there is a council mentioned in a New Testament book, but we don’t know if that council said future councils would be authoritative, and in any event, someone had to canonize that New Testament book in order for ****us ****to take that first council seriously).

It would go a LONG way to clearing up mistaken ideas about Papal Infallibility, if Catholics (or any Christian) would understand that it is the CHURCH which is Infallible. (Church Infallibility.) This was recognized from Apostolic Times because Jesus is our Head, our King, and our High Priest. Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to be with His Church and guide it. This is what accounts for Church Infallibility. It was always and everywhere held by Christians because the Church is a Divine Institution.

Theologically speaking HOW infallibility is exercised in and by the Church, was articulated over time. Because infallibility refers to teaching, it is attached in a particular way to the Magisterium. The Magisterium, in a Council, when in communion with the Pope is certainly another way. Vatican I, after long speculation and generally held belief included the Pope as having an individual exercise of Church Infallibility. After Vatican II, even the LAITY (or more correctly “the Faithful”) were included in this exercise of Church Infallibility, when in union with the Magisterium and the Pope.

Exactly what I was getting at. This tendency to reduce the Church’s infallibility to mere papal infallibility almost turns the Holy Father, in the minds of the faithful, into a Mormon prophet ruling the Church by inspired edict. (No offense intended to any Mormon readers - I just mean that the Pope does not claim inspiration in the sense a Mormon prophet does).

The teachings of the Church, both infallible and non-infallible are summarised in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.There will be no new teachings or change to existing teachings. There is no need for a list of infallible teachings because Catholics are bound by ALL teachings (infallible and non-infallible).

Only disciplines of the Church (also in the CCC) can be changed.

I remember reading on the Vatican web site a discussion of how there will never be an official list of which teachings are infallible even though that is what people want. The reason is obvious if you think about it. If such a list existed, it would immediately imply that everything NOT on the list is debatable.

Although there was no official Vatican list, they did say that a few teachings had to made that were needed to hold the church together and that these were made Ex Cathedra (from the chair). These included only two things as I recall.

  1. Mary was assumed into heaven.
  2. Mary was conceived without sin.

It is wise that these are things that can never be proved. So to make them infallible is no problem and defines the faith.

The church is smart enough to never declare anything infallible that someday could be proved or disproved.

Not an official Church list but everything on this list is an infallible teaching.

[quote=Frankenfurter]The church is smart enough to never declare anything infallible that someday could be proved or disproved.

Because infallibility is a NEGATIVE charism, and because by their very nature, Church doctrines are inextricably intertwined with other doctrines, there is no HUMAN way to say such and such is an infallible teaching. Instead, the Catholic Church, which is the foundation of Truth, simply preaches the Truth under the protection of infallibility. THAT should be enough!

Church doctrines, Like ALL human statements put into human language, is subject to interpretation. If the Church were to say such and such IS an infallible doctrine, then everyone would be at pains to interpret the doctrine in such a way as to make it harmonize with their own pre-conceived ideas, since it is ABSOLUTELY infallible. That would cause ENDLESS debate about HOW the doctrine is actually infallible. Putting emphasis on this word or that, going to the Latin original and translating it to satisfy this party’s agenda or that one. In fact, if the Church knew in advance that a doctrine was going to be declared “infallible” it would almost be impossible to state it properly in human language, to make it unmistakable in its intent on WHAT is the “infallible” part of the Doctrine. IOW, it would be a ridiculous undertaking.

Consider: Ever since Vatican I’s declaration of Papal Infallibility it has itself caused endless debate just as described above. To further expand to a so called list of infallible teachings would actually cause endless turmoil, strife and debate within the Church, perhaps even NEGATING actual Church doctrines!

It strikes me as completely odd that, each and every time the “illegitimate”, “apostatized”, “demon-filled”, “Whore of Babylon” Catholic Church makes a pronouncement, infallible or otherwise, so many who are outside of her wail and protest. Why should they even care?

They unconsciously realize it is part of the template for Christianity. They would say the bible is the only template, but really it is the bible, and Sacred Tradition, as interpreted by the Magisterium.

Someone had infallibly publicly defined that an inspired bible exists, what it includes, and what “biblical inspiration” means in the first place. Some Protestant denominations are realistic enough to concede a place for Sacred Tradition. But they implicitly know that only 1% of traditions are (infallibly) declared to be Christian Tradition. Declared by whom?

It is like ship captains, who deny the need for a landmark, and don’t exactly sail directly at the landmark. But they chart their course maybe 10 degrees west of the landmark, or east of the landmark. So the landmark is still important to them.

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