Was Moses infallible?


#1

if so, was his different than the Pope’s?


#2

No. Moses did not have the charism of infallibility.


#3

So, does infallibilty trump revelation?


#4

They each have their need.


#5

I think he was. Whenever he spoke as the prophet of God, God prevented him from teaching error.

Look what Jesus said,

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.” (Matthew 23:2-3)

Moses’ seat refers to the teaching office of Moses. He had not installed any physical seat! The fact that Jesus tells his disciples to do whatever the Pharisees tell them (when they speak from Moses’ seat, i.e. as authorized teachers) implies that whenever the Pharisees speak from the “seat of Moses”, God prevents them from teaching error. We see the gift of infallibility over here.

They themselves can be hypocrites, but when they teach from Moses’ seat, God prevents them from teaching error, since they are the authorized teachers.

I don’t think Moses’ infallibility is any different from the Pope’s.


#6

Wow! I’ve become a **senior member **now! :rotfl:


#7

Was Moses infallible, I’m not sure. Probably yes.

There is a lot of similarity between Moses’ role and the pope’s role. Moses had special revelation; so did Peter–“for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my heavenly Father.” Matt 16:17.

When I read about Moses in Deuteronomy, I think of our late Pope John Paul II. Look how many times Moses (like our late Pope) told the people “be not afraid.”

Also, this verse about the death of Moses reminds me of the time our beloved Pope died:

So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the LORD, died as the LORD had said; and he was buried in the ravine opposite Beth-peor in the land of Moab, but to this day no one knows the place of his burial. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated. For thirty days the Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab, till they had completed the period of grief and mourning for Moses. --Deuteronomy 34:5-8


#8

Let’s not fall into the trap of “infallibility”. Moses was NOT infallible. Neither is the Pope infallible, although he can teach infallibly.

Moses did make mistakes as evidenced when he struck the rock a second time for water after God commanded him to speak the words and water would flow.

Is revelation different than infallibility? I would assume so. Revelation is God talking through His prophets. Teaching Infallibly is coming to understand what God has revealed. For instance, God revealed in the Scriptures that Mary was conceived immaculately. The Pope just came to teach what we now know is true.


#9

Revelation is a positive gift. God reveals His truth in revelation. But infallibility is a negative gift. God prevents the teaching in error. Again, they both have their need, but they are different.

No, you are speaking of the authority to “open and shut” or to “bind and loose”. Jesus indicated that some of these rules prevented others from gaining heaven, so they CAN’T be infallible. But they ARE the authority to bind and loose.

Moses revealed new truths. The Pope teaches us what has already been revealed.


#10

So what do you think ‘‘teaching error’’ means? Do you think it means accuracy in content and interpretation?

Do you think this refers to all scribes and pharisees?

Or do you thnk His point was aimed at the reliability of the ‘‘guidance’’ for the Flock?

Do you think the prevention of ‘‘error’’ relates to the words they teach or to the comfort and assurance of those who follow the words?

Thanks for exressing your own opinion!


#11

Thanks for sharing your opinion. I think I agree with you. But it seems that neither was perfect all the time.


#12

the revelation received, taught and handed down by Moses is infallible. He himself was not and in fact did make a critical mistake in his act of doubt at Meribah.


#13

By ‘the trap of “infallibility”’ do you mean no one is infallible in all things all the time?

So then under what circumstances may the Faithful rely on Moses?

So it seems you would thus limit ‘‘infallibility’’ to interpretting ‘‘revelation’’.

How do you see this infallible interpretation being communicated? Is it fair to say the Holy Spirit guides both, but in revelation it is original or from scratch?


#14

I wonder if ‘‘negative’’ has the right conotation. Perhaps ‘‘original’’ and ‘‘interpretative’’ might work better?

This is getting to the crux in my opinion.

What do you mean by ‘‘error’’? Is it an absolute on ‘‘accuracy’’ or relatve to the times?

Please explain what you mean here.


#15

Many times we are asked, “why do you claim the pope is infallible”. The OP has innocently asked the same thing about Moses. HE is not infallible is what I was trying to stress.

So then under what circumstances may the Faithful rely on Moses?

I think in what Moses wrote, they can, as well as what he said, especially when prefaced with, “Thus saith the Lord…” or something similar.

So it seems you would thus limit ‘‘infallibility’’ to interpretting ‘‘revelation’’.

How do you see this infallible interpretation being communicated? Is it fair to say the Holy Spirit guides both, but in revelation it is original or from scratch?

Yes, Revelation is to reveal, or “unveil” God’s Truth. The Pope unlocks what’s already been revealed and brings us to a fuller truth. For instance, the Immaculate Conception was revealed in Scripture. The Pope helped to teach it in all its clarity (although it had been taught for 1800 years prior to some degree, the Pope hammered it into place).


#16

I too don’t like the term, but that’s the way its been presented to me, and I never had a better way of explaining it, although I do like the terms “original” and “interpretative”.

By positive, though, I mean the prophet may have no idea what he is talking about, but his words are guided by the Holy Spirit. For instance, Isaiah probably had no idea how his prophecy of 7:14 would come about, regarding the virgin’s (or young maiden, which in ancient Israel would have implied a virgin) conception and bringing about a child named Emmanuel. The Holy Spirit told Isaiah to say unveil this prophecy.

With the charism of infallibility, though, the pope must understand fully what he is teaching when he says it. Otherwise, the Holy Spirit will prevent him from teaching it. Let’s look at a real world example. I can claim to be infallible in Math. If given a test with 100 answers, I can answer 50 of them correctly and leave the other 50 unanswered, and I can still claim to be infallible. It’s not until I answer a question incorrectly that I have proved to be fallible. The pope works the same way. If the Pope does not understand fully the teaching behind Purgatory, for instance how long does one stay in Purgatory, then he must remain silent on this issue.

This is getting to the crux in my opinion.

What do you mean by ‘‘error’’? Is it an absolute on ‘‘accuracy’’ or relatve to the times?

There is no “relative to the times” when speaking infallibly. What was the Truth in the 200’s remains the truth in the 2000’s.

When teaching relative to the times, you are speaking of disciplines, which can change, such as priests marrying.

Please explain what you mean here.

You asked this in regards to the power to “bind and loose”. This is different from speak infallibly. It most often regards teaching disciplines.

For instance, the Pope can make something “binding” on the faithful, such as fasting completely on Fridays during Lent.

Then the Pope can decide to make it one regular meal and two light meals, thereby “loosing” the rule on fasting.

Priestly celibacy - "binding"
Lifting the ban on priests being married - “loosing”.


#17

Why even ask this question?
Is somone trying to make a case that Moses was greater than the apostles and the pope and if he was not infallable then how can the pope be fallable? :shrug:

I get a kick at the acrobatics and back doors that some people will try to go through to try to discredit papal infallability. :mad:

James


#18

So in your opinion, the Faithful may rely on 'what Moses wrote…as well as what he said, especially when prefaced with, “Thus saith the Lord…” '. So in this he is infallible?

In other words, the Pope interprets revelation?


#19

But in, say, Genesis or Exodus or any of his books, isn’t much of what was written ‘‘revealed’’ even though no prophecy is involved?

Is that infalible? In what way?

So if the Pope believes he understands something, then he does?

If the Holy Spirit reveals to the Pope whether he understands something, isn’t that also a type of revelation?

How sure about this do you feel?

Do you think the criteria about ‘‘infalibility’’ focuses more on the factual accuracy of the words written or on the Faithful’s ability to rely on those words without risk?


#20

I am not trying to make a case about who is greater. I am not trying to make a case about the Pope not being infallible. I am merely trying to examine what ‘‘infallibility’’, itself, might mean to people on this board.

I am not even vaguely trying to do this.


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