Understanding infallibility

Hi all,

A question: how do we understand the infallibility of the Church’s magisterium?

Does it mean that the Church is entirely protected from ever teaching error infallibly (i.e., through papal decree or universal magisterium)? Or does it simply mean that whatever the Church has taught infallibly is not in error?

In other words, it is the case that the Church will never ever contradict itself, or is simply the case that if the Church were to contradict itself, the contradiction would not be binding?

When and where, if at all, has the nature of this infallibility been defined?

I ask this because I’m trying to better understand the sedevacantist position, which strikes me as strange.

Do you have a copy of Catholicism for Dummies? A great resource for all new and even experienced Catholics. Among many other things, it speaks to this topic. If they did not, RCIA should have had it and used it, frankly.

As to understanding the SSPX or any other schismatic group, if they were truly correct, they would not be engaged in conversations with the Vatican. Since Eden, disobedience has taken innumerable forms. Better to study obedience than disobedience, IMO.

I do, but haven’t consulted it much. Thanks for the heads-up; this seems like a much higher-level issue than we might expect to see tackled in an introductory catechetical text so I hadn’t thought to look there. I’ll do that tonight.

Of course I’m not trying to understand the sedevacantist position out of sympathy or anything, more of a perverse interest. It seems their position is only tenable on one (potentially questionable) reading of the nature of infallibility.

Since authority is foundational to Christian belief (or should be), it is discussed in the book. Schism, in particular, is discussed on page 178 of the book.

In effect, what they are saying is that only they are correct, and all of the prior generations of Saints, who believed differently from them and remained faithful to the Church, were wrong. It is 100% ego driven.

Oh, welcome home!

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