I have been reading about papal infallibility and have a question about some “loopholes” or possible loopholes to infallibility.
My understanding about infallibility is that the Pope, as successor of Peter, is prevented from teaching error when he makes an statement ex Cathedra. However, this does not imply to his personal judgement.
**What part of the infallible statement is infallible? For example, take the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius IX on the Immaculate Conception (December 8, 1854).
This clause is beyond a doubt infallible:
We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.
But is this clause?:
Hence, if anyone shall dare – which God forbid! – to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart.
**Is the pope’s judgement as far as the timing of the declared dogma also deemed infallible? For example, could anyone such as a future Pope ever say that the Immaculate Conception is true, but it was revealed at the wrong time in history. Would that contradict the truth?
Please know I am trying to understand, so please - DON’T HURT ME!!!