Pope and the Bible

When I speak with Protestant friends, the common thread is that they do not believe thsat the Pope or any man can be infalliable, do not believe in Saints, etc. and they go directly to the bible for answers.
What confuses me about this statement is that the bible was written by man with the Holy Spirit working through the writers, and the Holy Spirit works through the Pope.
How is this different?

The difference is that they made no claim for themselves such as this. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit works through the pope, who is a wonderful leader for the whole Church today, but He also works through many Church leaders. For example, when the LCMS President Matthew Harrison sat before the congressional committee to speak out boldly in support of the Catholic Church, and against the HHS mandate, the Spirit was working through him, yet we would make no claim of his infallibility.

And it isn’t just protestants who have a problem with the claim of infallibility.


It’s not any different, but they’ve never thought like that and have been so engrained with the idea that because men are not impeccable, they cannot be infallible, as if they were one and the same thing.

The infallibility of the pope is very narrowly defined. Only when he decides matters of faith and morals/doctrine or dogma does he speak infallibilly. I would ask them to read about the First Council of Jerusalem. What were the Apostles and Peter doing if not deciding on such matters?

The pope’s charism was given to him by Christ who promised to lead his Church into all truth through the office of Peter. It is the office that has the charism more than the man–who only has it as long as he is pope.

Wasn’t geo/heliocentrism considered a matter of faith because of the place of Earth in context of God’s universe…?

No. And the pope never made any pronoucements about it. It was a theory only that most people had believed since very ancient times. After all, it appears naturally to the eye that we are the center of everything we see in the heavens. But, no. The Church never taught this as doctrine.

The Holy Spirit works through many Christians, including the Pope. I am not sure how that makes him infallible. Mind you, I’m not even sure the Bible is itself infallible. Can we truly say there are no passages therein that are not subject to human prejudices?

The Holy Spirit certainly can work through many people. However, the charism of inflallibility is not merely that. Please see my post above. :slight_smile:

The Bible teaches the infallible truths of God. If you wish to read more about how the Catholic Church views the Bible, the Catechism says it better than I can.

Do you mean statement of fact (e.g., 2 + 2 = 7), moral ambiguity, or ambiguity due to interpretation (e.g., historical consideration, culture)?

It is not. Notice that they make an infallible pronouncement regarding infallibility! Who made them infallible? Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would lead the eleven into all truth. We don’t need a bible to believe this because, first and foremost, Jesus said it. It’s a done deal.

Do they consider this: if the men who wrote the Gospels were not infallible, then what? Not one of the Gospels or letters begins with the words “The infallible word of God.” The Church had to determine that the Gospels and letters were inspired. I do not think that your friends are considering what they are saying.

As well, not even many Catholics fully understand the concept and limitations of infallibility.

Who says the Bible is infallible?

I think many people struggle with this. It might help to think of it this way- God would not have left us without a shepherd to guide in the way of truth. He left us a Church, (the pillar and bullwark of truth) to guide us until He comes again. I trust in God and in the perfect plan He established to be able to guide us until the end of time. Thank you God for establishing this amazing Church for humanity and for those you have called to be Pope. What a wonderful gift for us all.

Ain’t that the truth :o

Catholic author Flannery O’ Connor (1964+…39 yrs old) explains “why” in her short story–***“Good Country People”***–with her character Hulga Hopewell.

Hulga’s eyes are “icy blue, with the look of someone who has achieved blindness by an act of will and means to keep it.”

I know this reason well…I used that same type “will” to make myself “blind” too many times in my life…and “I meant to keep it”…but I got “mugged by God’s love, mercy and graces”…and got my “sight” back…well at least well enough to stop “driving off cliffs” and “into brick walls”.

Pax Christi

Can one have reservations about papal infallibility and still be a devout Catholic?

Also, didn’t the Saints Peter and Paul disagree?

From my perspective, I would say no. In other words, I think it would be deceptive of me to go through Catholic Confirmation still holding to the belief that nothing in scripture, nor in Sacred Tradition speaks to the infallibility of the pope *ex cathedra *. I’d rather be an honest Lutheran than a cafeteria Catholic.

Also, didn’t the Saints Peter and Paul disagree?

One can disagree with the pope (I see it here all the time) but not on matters of doctrine and dogma, it seems to me.


As I understand, the disagreement wasn’t about whose favorite ice cream flavor is better — it was very serious in regards to Gentiles, right? In other words, doctrine/dogma?

If even those great servants of God had differences on Earth, then :blush: :shrug: ?

I don’t mean to be argumentative — just want to learn more about the tenets of Catholicism that are necessary.

Disagreement is not the way of the Holy Spirit and therefore not very Christian. Paul and Peter may disagree but there was no continued disagreement when a decision was made.

In my mind-the HolySpirit either works through man or he does not. If a Protestant does not accept the infallability of the Pope, logic dictates that they also cannot accept the Bible as the Truth either. Man is involved with both.

Correct…the Bible is not infalllible…to be infallible, denotes an action and incapable of error. The Bible cannot act…that is why it cannot be infallible…but it is “INERRANT”…in the truth it contains.

These are two different terms that some miss out on.

That is why a final human arbiter is needed…that is incapable of pronouncing error in terms of faith and morals…otherwise…you can see the result of this in the thousands of different denoms…and the splintering of the Anglicans…with regards issues.

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