Were Peter and his early successors infallible?

I’m asking because he didn’t have the formalized established priestly heirarchy, firmly established theology or Bible, etc etc

Yes, Peter had papal infallibility.

(Edit: Trimmed out the stuff that had little to do with the topic.)


Says whom? Paul’s rebuke in Galatians wouldn’t make any sense if Peter didn’t have some Authority. You are asserting something that you have offered no evidence for

Acts 1, Acts 15. Galatians 1. Remember that, as a seed was planted, it had to die to give new life. The “Farmer” watered it and tended it, but God gave the growth. So it was with the early Church. However, a review of the chapters above reveal that Peter arranged for the replacement of Judas, that the Council of Jerusalem was held to be infallible - as its decision stands today.

Also, that Saint Paul , after years of solitude and then evangelizing traveled to Jerusalem to ensure that his Gospel accorded with that of Peter - to ensure that he had not labored in vain.

The Power of Binding and Loosing as well is clearly infallible, as it is accepted in heaven. So yes, the infallibility was there, as it was given explicitly by Christ; first to Peter and then to the twelve.


Peter made mistakes.

The understanding of Infallibility of say the pope - only exists within very limited situation
and is commonly gravely ill-understood by Protestants and even some Catholics



Best to explain papal infallibility to the poster before going any further. I think he might think everything they do or say is infallible.

When acting alone - the only time a pope speaks infallibly is when he’s speaking ex cathedra

It’s rare…

Doctrines contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and defined with a solemn judgment of the Church as divinely revealed truths by any of the following:
a) the Roman Pontiff speaking ex cathedra
b) the College of Bishops gathered in council
c) infallibly proposed by the ordinary and universal Magisterium

Yes but these restrictions wouldn’t apply to St Peter. He and the other apostles had the greater gift of inspiration… they revealed and definitively taught new doctrine and wrote scripture.

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Not all of the Word of God NT was Scribed by Apostles.

The Apostles are part of Sacred Apostolic Tradition -

Public Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle

The Church can and has introduced new Doctrine

Of course him and all successor Pope’s did. Now, whether or not it was exercised is a completely different question.

It would certainly apply to all in the same way (Peter having additional charisms like the other Apostles).

I think the best way to think about this topic is to understand papal infallibility as a necessary consequence the indefectibility of the Church in general and of the primacy being a constituent, permanent element of the Church. The particular church in primacy (the Church of Rome–the Apostolic See) cannot be separated from the universal Church nor the universal Church exist without it. The universal Church therefore must hold the same faith as the Church of Rome.

Should the Church of Rome require an error to be believed in order to have communion with it, either the Church of Rome would defect from the universal Church or the entire Church would defect into error following Rome–and both things are impossible.

Therefore, in as much as the bishop of Rome–the authorized teacher of the Church of Rome–provides a judgment as to a doctrine that must be held in order for all to maintain communion in the Church, it must be true, otherwise it would lead to one of the two impossible conditions above.

Popes do and say tons of stuff–good and evil–that has no bearing on what is necessary for communion in the universal Church. They also sometimes have to make these judgments that must be true for the Church to remain intact as founded (often done collegially as much as possible with their brethren in council or spread throughout the world).

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No… And that question evidences a lack of understanding of infallibility

But in all 3 instances, the Pope’s consent is necessary before it’s considered infallible.

Infallibility is a negative feature. It doesn’t mean the pope will always speak the truth.

He might say nothing sometimes. He might be fearful of the violent mob raging in the streets. He might not know the answer to some questions. He might decide a certain topic might be handled better by his successors.

But if he decides to teach on a doctrinal matter in a certain way to show it as infallible, then what he says is protected from error. I suspect there have been many teachings popes wanted to give but were held back from delivering.

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And? … .

Not sure what you mean by “And”. Just made a statement of fact - nothing more to add with an “and”!
If you’re wondering why I said it, it’s because some people, especially non-Catholics, might not realize that the pope’s consent is required on the “b” and “c” portions of your post, before it becomes infallible.

Got it. And all together - this has occurred only a quite limited number of times

That is not part of the essence of infallibility. Additionally, he and the other Apostles were the start of that hierarchy, as noted in Acts.

Um - Christ was their theology teacher. And the Holy Spirit (whom we celebrate today, as well as the birthday of the Church) was their guide. Kinda hard to beat that duo.

Um… the Old Testament Scriptures had been around for how many centuries…? And they, or assistants as their scribes, wrote the Gospels and Acts, and St. Paul and James, John, and Jude wrote the Epistles (and someone wrote Hebrews). Like, they were the authors.

Infallibility is a gift of Christ through the Holy Spirit to protect and guide the Church.

I take it you mean the times the pope has spoken ex cathedra, as most doctrinal declarations have come about through Councils and ordinary & universal magisterium which of course required his consent/approval.

As far as I know, the last ex cathedra dogma proclaimed by a pope was the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin by Pope Pius XII in 1950. But prior to doing it, as the decree itself states, he first consulted all the bishops. A quote from the decree of Pope Pius XII:

"…11. And, since we were dealing with a matter of such great moment and of such importance, we considered it opportune to ask all our venerable brethren in the episcopate directly and authoritatively that each of them should make known to us his mind in a formal statement. Hence, on May 1, 1946, we gave them our letter “Deiparae Virginis Mariae,” a letter in which these words are contained: “Do you, venerable brethren, in your outstanding wisdom and prudence, judge that the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith? Do you, with your clergy and people, desire it?”

12. But those whom “the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule the Church of God”(4) gave an almost unanimous affirmative response to both these questions. This “outstanding agreement of the Catholic prelates and the faithful,”(5) affirming that the bodily Assumption of God’s Mother into heaven can be defined as a dogma of faith, …"

Well, St Peter had a chair.

That is a start.

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