How do we reconcile the fact that the Pope is supposed to be infallible, yet the first one(Peter) denied Christ three times? :confused: One of my fundamentalist friends brought up this up.


Simple. Peter received the source of his infallibility, the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost. Also, this would only point to Peter’s peccability, not his infallibility.



As well as the fact that that has nothing to do with what Papl infallibility is. Popes are infallible only when intending to exercise their ability in order to teach under very specific circumstances on matters of faith and morals. This doesn’t mean they are going to be strong and sinless. They are human just like the rest of us. All Peter did was give into weakness and sin by lying and saying he didn’t know Christ. He never even went so far as to deny that Christ was the Messiah or Son of God or anything of the sort, and even if he had it would still be a stretch to say he was teaching on matters of faith and morals. He was trying to not get stoned!


While we see the primacy of St. Peter in Scripture, we also see that the strength to be bestowed on him as a witness to the truth of Christ has not yet come upon him in the instance you mention. What was promised in the scene depicted in Matthew 16 is fulfilled in the scene depicted in John 21:15-19 where we see his threefold confession to the Lord. When he is showing his lack of understanding of Jesus’ pending death, he is displaying his own weak spirit; and when he denies knowing his Lord, we see fear overtaking his usual quick boldness. Neither incident overthrows his Office as Rock, since the fullness of that will not come upon him until later.

Remember, too, that the Lord prayed for St. Peter that “when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren,” (Luke 22:31-32). This is what St. Peter and his successors do: they “strengthen the brethren”, for those in union with Peter have the surety that what he authoritatively teaches is free from error regarding Faith and Morals no matter what the personal weakness or sinfulness of any individual who holds that Office.


[quote=Aequitas]How do we reconcile the fact that the Pope is supposed to be infallible, yet the first one(Peter) denied Christ three times? :confused: One of my fundamentalist friends brought up this up.


Good article by the Cath. Ency:

Maybe show this to your fundy bud:

2 Peter 3:15, 16 And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.

Here we have a NT example of Peter speaking infallibly declaring Paul’s letters equal to Sacred Scripture. It is this from Peter that the Early Church Fathers pointed to in declaring all of Paul’s writings to be scripture. Since Peter is here speaking on Faith for the entire Church his teaching is infallible. Your fundy buddy will have to cede this point as this is directly from Scripture.

Peter denying Christ on the night of His being betrayed is a GREAT example of how infallibility does and does not work. Peter was not speaking for the Church, he was sinning as an individual, who was granted redemption and forgiveness from our great God and Savior for his unfaithfulness.


It would be nice if the objections people had to The Papacy and The Catholic Church were actually grounded in some truth…This is just another example of how people hate misconceptions about The Catholic Church…but they don’t really hate The CHurch, because they don’t know The Church…oh how right was Archbishop Fulton Sheen…


Infallibility has only to do with teaching, not personal character or sinfulness. When Peter denied Christ, he wasn’t teaching anything; he was just exhibiting human weakness. No pope claims to be sinless.


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