Were all the Popes really infallible?


#1

I believe the Pope is the head of the church, but I don’t personally see any Pope as infallible. Because they are only human and could decree teachings that might not really be true. What if I personally didn’t believe what the present day Pope of some Pope in the past decreed ex cathedra? What if some future Pope for example would decree Mary as a Co redeemer, alongside of Jesus being one. Would you accept that? I’ve also been told no Pope can err because the Holy Spirit keeps him from error. I just don’t believe that, do you?


#2

[quote=justcatholic]I believe the Pope is the head of the church, but I don’t personally see any Pope as infallible. Because they are only human and could decree teachings that might not really be true. What if I personally didn’t believe what the present day Pope of some Pope in the past decreed ex cathedra? What if some future Pope for example would decree Mary as a Co redeemer, alongside of Jesus being one. Would you accept that? I’ve also been told no Pope can err because the Holy Spirit keeps him from error. I just don’t believe that, do you?
[/quote]

Yes, actually I do believe it. 2,000 years is a long time to prove they don’t teach in error. You’d expect some errors in “only humans” in 2,000 years, yet in official teachings, there are none. The problem with infallibility is most peoples idea of it. It does not mean the pope cannot be wrong. He most certainly can be wrong. The Holy Spirit does not protect him from error, it protects the Church from teaching error. The same reason you believe the pope is head of the Church, Scripture, is why the Church never teaches in error. Why do you believe only part of Scripture? I recommend you research infallibility, the “official” Church teaching, not what most people think they know. There are some excellent articles on CA web site, dive in.


#3

[quote=justcatholic]I believe the Pope is the head of the church, but I don’t personally see any Pope as infallible. Because they are only human and could decree teachings that might not really be true. What if I personally didn’t believe what the present day Pope of some Pope in the past decreed ex cathedra? What if some future Pope for example would decree Mary as a Co redeemer, alongside of Jesus being one. Would you accept that? I’ve also been told no Pope can err because the Holy Spirit keeps him from error. I just don’t believe that, do you?
[/quote]

I think you “don’t believe it” because you don’t know what it is and how it works. If you did, you wouldn’t state your reservation this way. Try this:
catholic.com/library/Papal_Infallibility.asp


#4

[quote=justcatholic]I believe the Pope is the head of the church, but I don’t personally see any Pope as infallible. Because they are only human and could decree teachings that might not really be true. What if I personally didn’t believe what the present day Pope of some Pope in the past decreed ex cathedra? What if some future Pope for example would decree Mary as a Co redeemer, alongside of Jesus being one. Would you accept that? I’ve also been told no Pope can err because the Holy Spirit keeps him from error. I just don’t believe that, do you?
[/quote]

Aside from your apparent lack of understanding on what infallibility is and is not, your reasoning is faulty. I’m presuming you accept Scripture as infallible? Scripture, however, was written by men, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In addition, the canon (list of inspired books in the Bible) was also compliled by** men,** under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if you acknowledge this, how can you not acknowledge that it is possible (and reasonable) for God to guide **men ** (the Popes) to keep them from teaching error when they are speaking under the special circumstances that constitute infallibility? Why would God give us an infallible Bible but not provide a means for an infallible interpreter? It would boil down to all being their own interpreter, which is what has led to the 1000s of competing Protestant denominations we have today.

Before you rattle off a relpy, I suggest you take Tom and Mercygates advice and find out more about what you are arguing against. Then come back and we’ll talk. :slight_smile:


#5

We’ve had some really horrible popes in the last two thousand years, and I watched an interesting show about them on the Biography channel not too long ago. The thing is some were elected illegally…(swords at the Cardinals throats for instance) But…the amazing thing was that bad popes never did much in office…they were there for wrong reasons (some for the power and priveledge) and so didn’t care enough to make changes or even infallible statements.

I wish I could remember the name of that program…sorry!:nerd:


#6

[quote=justcatholic]I believe the Pope is the head of the church, but I don’t personally see any Pope as infallible. Because they are only human and could decree teachings that might not really be true. What if I personally didn’t believe what the present day Pope of some Pope in the past decreed ex cathedra? What if some future Pope for example would decree Mary as a Co redeemer, alongside of Jesus being one. Would you accept that? I’ve also been told no Pope can err because the Holy Spirit keeps him from error. I just don’t believe that, do you?
[/quote]

If you disagree with the dogma of Papal infallibility, then you’re not fully Catholic and are in trouble. Papal infallibility is required to be believed. Please read the Catholic Answers tracts on it: catholic.com/library/church_papacy.asp

Also read the following scripture:

13 8 When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi 9 he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, 10 others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 11 Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood 12 has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, 13 and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. 14 Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 15 Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.- Matthew 16:13-20

Source: usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew16.htm


#7

I think it might be a good idea if JustCatholic were to tell us all in his/her own words what the teaching of infallibility means, what the limitations on it are, (hint - there are more than just applying it to faith & morals). In other words tell us everything yoiu know about… Once we know what JustCatholic thinks it means we can discuss it intellegently … until then we are shooting in the dark.


#8

[quote=justcatholic]I believe the Pope is the head of the church, but I don’t personally see any Pope as infallible. Because they are only human and could decree teachings that might not really be true.
[/quote]

You possibly don’t understand what the charism of infallibility is. It is only in matters of Faith and Morals when declared ex-cathedra. It does not mean that the pope can’t make mistakes.


#9

[quote=justcatholic]I believe the Pope is the head of the church, but I don’t personally see any Pope as infallible. Because they are only human and could decree teachings that might not really be true.
[/quote]

Do you also believe that the writers of Scripture, being only human, were not able to write the inerrant word of God? If God could guide “only human” men to write Scripture without error, why can’t He also guide the Church and in particular the Pope to teach without error? Did God have this power 2000 years ago but now He no longer has it?


#10

Let’s look at it this way. What the apostles wrote down, we know there was no mistake. Why? Because they walked with God, who was God in the flesh, right?

                    But the Popes of centuries later have not. They were all elected religious officials. Most were elected by cardinals or somebody like that. Now just how does a Pope during a certain century come up with a new ex cathedra decree? Well. he would consult the teaching order of the church on a teaching. Then he see how the Catholic people thought about it in general and then decide just what he felt about it himself.

                    This is pretty much how two Popes decreed the ex cathedra doctrines of the immaculate conception and the assumption. They saw that the church throughout the centuries highly regarded Mary as sinless and their were some writings of her be assumed to heaven. The Popes read where certain writers in church history felt Mary was sinless. The Popes then decided to make it an actual teaching for all time, based on this methodology.

                     I can understand that. But what happens when some future Pope declares something that never was written about in history or the Catholic people never pushed for anyway? Will what he decrees, still have to be accepted?  Like I last posted, where he might decree Mary as a co redeemer, along with Jesus, where she can forgive sins, just as God? What then? That was my point. Are Popes infallible irregardless? I don't believe so.

#11

[quote=justcatholic] I can understand that. But what happens when some future Pope declares something that never was written about in history or the Catholic people never pushed for anyway?
[/quote]

It doesn’t work like that.

Will what he decrees, still have to be accepted? Like I last posted, where he might decree Mary as a co redeemer, along with Jesus, where she can forgive sins, just as God? What then? That was my point. Are Popes infallible irregardless? I don’t believe so.

Relax. This stuff isn’t as troubling as it appears at first blush.
The idea of Mary as co-redemptrix has nothing to do with co-equality with Christ, or with her being able to forgive sins. When you think about it for five minutes, everyone who cooperates with Christ, especially in his Body, the Church, is a co-Redeemer because we are in Christ and he in us.


#12

[quote=justcatholic]But what happens when some future Pope declares something that never was written about in history or the Catholic people never pushed for anyway? Will what he decrees, still have to be accepted? Like I last posted, where he might decree Mary as a co redeemer, along with Jesus, where she can forgive sins, just as God? What then? That was my point. Are Popes infallible irregardless? I don’t believe so.
[/quote]

It doesn’t make sense to base your opposition to anything, including papal infallibility, on something that hasn’t happened yet–or may not at all. If new Marian dogmas were to be declared, it would not be done in a vacuum or created out of whole cloth. The Pope can only recognize and define what has always been believed by the Church. Always has, always will.


#13

[quote=justcatholic]Let’s look at it this way. What the apostles wrote down, we know there was no mistake. Why? Because they walked with God, who was God in the flesh, right?
[/quote]

wrong. many books in the New Testament do not have a name on them claiming apostolic authorship - who tesifies as to their authenticity? Many more books were written as “scripture” than appear in the bible. Who testifies to their lack of authenticity? The bible, as catholics know it today, did not finally come together until the end of the forth century. Who tesitifes to its inspiration? What is the pillar and foundation of truth? (hint: it is not the bible).

But the Popes of centuries later have not. They were all elected religious officials. Most were elected by cardinals or somebody like that. Now just how does a Pope during a certain century come up with a new ex cathedra decree? Well. he would consult the teaching order of the church on a teaching. Then he see how the Catholic people thought about it in general and then decide just what he felt about it himself.

                    This is pretty much how two Popes decreed the ex cathedra doctrines of the immaculate conception and the assumption. They saw that the church throughout the centuries highly regarded Mary as sinless and their were some writings of her be assumed to heaven. The Popes read where certain writers in church history felt Mary was sinless. The Popes then decided to make it an actual teaching for all time, based on this methodology.
                     I can understand that. But what happens when some future Pope declares something that never was written about in history or the Catholic people never pushed for anyway? Will what he decrees, still have to be accepted?  Like I last posted, where he might decree Mary as a co redeemer, along with Jesus, where she can forgive sins, just as God? What then? That was my point. Are Popes infallible irregardless? I don't believe so.

Since you brought it up as something you seem to disagree with; what does the idea of co-redemptorix mean? You obviously don’t know. It does not mean Mary can forgive sins. It has nothing to do with equality with God or Jesus - absolutely nothing! It is co- as in “co-operate” not “equal.” Kinda like “as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” The bible is full of this kind of thing, where the faith of one works for the salvation of another. We are all called to co-operate in the redemption. Mary had a special role that the doctrine would recognise.

Question for you: Let’s pretend that the church taught that the pope was infallible in calculus. Now lets say we lock the pope in a room with the toughest calulus test in the world. Further lets say we give the pope one hour to complete the test of 100 toughest questions. What is the LEAST number of correct answers the pope might produce at the end of one hour?

So you reject infallibility based on the fear of what a future pope might do? What of the past pope that was forced on the church by a powerful emperor. The emperor chose him because he promised to teach the emperor’s favorite heresy - a hersy that the bishop in question also believed. Do you know what happened to that pope? As pope he found he could not teach the heresy. The emperor was … displeased … and he made life for the new pope quite unpleasant. But nothing could persuade the new pope to teach something he already believed.

Before you begin rejecting teachings, learn about them first.


#14

[quote=justcatholic] I believe the Pope is the head of the church, but I don’t personally see any Pope as infallible. Because they are only human and could decree teachings that might not really be true.
[/quote]

Well, this is precisely why infallibility is absolutely necessary.

Either the Pope individually, and the Bishops collectively, possess the charism of infallibility or they do not. If they do, then you can be certain that what the Church teaches, and consequently all that you believe, is true.

If they do not, then you cannot be certain that anything you have been taught about God is true because it is from the Pope and Bishops that you receive the teachings of Christ.

[quote=justcatholic] What if I personally didn’t believe what the present day Pope of some Pope in the past decreed ex cathedra?
[/quote]

Then you would be in error.

[quote=justcatholic] What if some future Pope for example would decree Mary as a Co redeemer, alongside of Jesus being one. Would you accept that?
[/quote]

Yes, I would.

[quote=justcatholic] I’ve also been told no Pope can err because the Holy Spirit keeps him from error. I just don’t believe that, do you?
[/quote]

Yes, I do.


#15

[quote=justcatholic] Let’s look at it this way. What the apostles wrote down, we know there was no mistake. Why? Because they walked with God, who was God in the flesh, right?
[/quote]

Problem #1. Paul never “walked with” Jesus while Jesus was in human form walking the earth. Mark and Luke (writers of sacred Scripture) were not Apostles. Many of the epistles have been attributed to disciples of the Apostles, not the Apostles themselves. Your contention that Scripture is inerrant because it was written by the Apostles is incorrect. The rest of your argument is false because it is what you think happens, which is totally false, where did you get these ideas anyway? In all honesty, please do some research on the teaching of infallibility, stick with Catholic teaching.
Try the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) you can find it online at: scborromeo.org/ccc/index/i.htm
Infallibility
charism of infallibility must be extended, 2035
of the Church, 889-91
of the Magisterium of the Pastors, 2051
of the Supreme Pontiff, 891
I highly recommend reading the entire chapter you’re interested in NOT just the verse, it’s easy to take things out of context here just as it is in Scripture.
There are many good tracts on the Catholic Answers home page. Research, it’s fun.


#16

[quote=justcatholic]Let’s look at it this way. What the apostles wrote down, we know there was no mistake. Why? Because they walked with God, who was God in the flesh, right?

But the Popes of centuries later have not. They were all elected religious officials. Most were elected by cardinals or somebody like that. Now just how does a Pope during a certain century come up with a new ex cathedra decree? Well. he would consult the teaching order of the church on a teaching. Then he see how the Catholic people thought about it in general and then decide just what he felt about it himself.

This is pretty much how two Popes decreed the ex cathedra doctrines of the immaculate conception and the assumption. They saw that the church throughout the centuries highly regarded Mary as sinless and their were some writings of her be assumed to heaven. The Popes read where certain writers in church history felt Mary was sinless. The Popes then decided to make it an actual teaching for all time, based on this methodology.

I can understand that. But what happens when some future Pope declares something that never was written about in history or the Catholic people never pushed for anyway? Will what he decrees, still have to be accepted? Like I last posted, where he might decree Mary as a co redeemer, along with Jesus, where she can forgive sins, just as God? What then? That was my point. Are Popes infallible irregardless? I don’t believe so.
[/quote]

**Okay, hold on. **

The Apostles were infallible, but not because they walked with God in the flesh. Jesus is God in the flesh. Once he ascended into heaven the Apostles no longer walked with God in the flesh. The Apostles were utilized and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can not be seen, it is not flesh. The Apostles went on to appoint their successors by laying their hands on them and giving them their blessing. Those successors then had the authority and power to appoint others as successors of the Apostles. The Cardinals are successors of the Apostles and they elect the Roman Pontif. In the early church the clergy (which were also successors to the Apostles) and the lay faithful appointed the Pope (the one in the office of Peter) while guided by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also prevents the Pope from error in teaching matters of faith and morals. The Holy Spirit also makes the ecumenical councils free from error.


#17

[quote=justcatholic] Now just how does a Pope during a certain century come up with a new ex cathedra decree? Well. he would consult the teaching order of the church on a teaching. Then he see how the Catholic people thought about it in general and then decide just what he felt about it himself.

This is pretty much how two Popes decreed the ex cathedra doctrines of the immaculate conception and the assumption. They saw that the church throughout the centuries highly regarded Mary as sinless and their were some writings of her be assumed to heaven. The Popes read where certain writers in church history felt Mary was sinless. The Popes then decided to make it an actual teaching for all time, based on this methodology.
[/quote]

**First of all, you must also consider the fact that not everyone knew or believed in the Immaculate Conception prior to its declaration. St. Thomas Aquinas rejected it and he’s one of the most influential theologians. The Popes can consult with advisers and I am sure not all agree. However, in the end it’s his decision guided by the Holy Spirit. When he declared it, all had to agree to it because of his infallible primacy. **

[quote=JustCatholic] I can understand that. But what happens when some future Pope declares something that never was written about in history or the Catholic people never pushed for anyway? Will what he decrees, still have to be accepted?
[/quote]

Yes, of course, if it has to do with matters of teaching faith and morals. The Pope is infallible and prime.

[quote=JustCatholic] Like I last posted, where he might decree Mary as a co redeemer, along with Jesus, where she can forgive sins, just as God? What then? That was my point. Are Popes infallible irregardless? I don’t believe so.
[/quote]

It seems that you don’t believe in the sacrament of confession either. The priest in confession absolves you of your sins, so he is being a co-redeemer, he is helping the Lord who is the redeemer, so it makes him part of redemption. You can not baptise yourself, there needs to be a priest or deacon there to do it for you, and in grave circumstances a lay person or religious can do it. These are not part of redemption in Jesus? Yes they are. Jesus became redeemer so that we can be redeemed and also help redeem others.


#18

Let’s stick to the point. Jesus gave the Church the power of Infallible Teaching. What you bind on earth is bound in Heaven… If the Pope makes a decree on Earth, then that same decree has power in Heaven. You can not have a falsehood in Heaven now, can you? The Holy Spirit prevents the Pope from teaching anything false. It doesn’t make every teaching true, it just prevents a false teaching from occurring.

There was a case in the Past (and I hope this isn’t an Urban Legend, no pun intended) where Pope Stephen was going to make a new decree that was patently false. Stephen was one of the most crooked Popes we had, but up til then, he’d spent too much time carousing and cavorting, instead of teaching. It seems he died 9 days before the decree was issued. Is this a case where the Holy Spirit prevented a Pope from teaching a fallible doctrine? Hmmmmmm.

NotWorthy

P.S. I would appreciate if someone who is more familiar with this story can verify this, as I’ve just tapped out my entire knowledge on this incident.


#19

[quote=justcatholic]I’ve been told no Pope can err because the Holy Spirit keeps him from error. I just don’t believe that, do you?
[/quote]

No, I don’t.

Popes Innocent I and Gelasius I declared infant communion to be so indispensable that those who died without it go straight to hell.

The Council of Trent later anathematized this doctrine.

So which is correct, the teaching of two different popes or the pronouncements of Trent?

They can’t both be correct when they have opposing views on the same matter of faith.

Peace


#20

[quote=EA_Man]No, I don’t.

Popes Innocent I and Gelasius I declared infant communion to be so indispensable that those who died without it go straight to hell.

The Council of Trent later anathematized this doctrine.

So which is correct, the teaching of two different popes or the pronouncements of Trent?

They can’t both be correct when they have opposing views on the same matter of faith.

Peace
[/quote]

The Popes are infallibles when they speak “ex cathedra”.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.