[quote=Hitetlen]Infallibility is just another unproven (and unprovable) assumption, and quite dangerous at that. Since we are all humans, ……… To declare anyone “infallible” is to take away the possibility of rectifying an error or mistake this person may have made.
Hitetlen, I realize that you don’t approach this matter as a person of faith but even from a secular viewpoint you should be able to see the organizational benefits that infallibility provides. And I don’t mean in a Machiavellian way but in a way that consistent with the stated purpose of the organization.
If you posit that there is an afterlife and that your actions in this life determine your fate in the next, then making the right choices in this life is very important. (I know that you don’t agree but many do and they are the only ones who will really be concerned with infallibility in the first place so humor me for a moment)
Now even in secular matters humans are capable of almost endless second-guessing, self-doubt, and hand wringing. (We have a multi billion dollar a year therapy business as evidence of that) Above and beyond that on may complicated issues if you ask 4 people for their opinions you’ll get 5 or 6 answers or endless internet forum threads.
So, here we have a situation where making the right life choices is important (eternally important) but sometimes those choices aren’t self-evident. It seems to me that from a purely managerial point of view in an organization whose purpose is to provide guidance on moral issues, having one person with the final say so would be key.
Since one of the core functions of the Church is to provide a mechanism for forgiving sins and easing men’s burdens, She has to claim final authority on moral matters. She has to or the average guy in the pew could always have that nagging feeling.
The alternative would be a ceaseless bickering (even with his authority the Pope always has theologians at straining at their tethers) or the Protestant approach of going down the street and forming a new church whenever there is a disagreement.
As to the possibility of the Pope making a mistake…well you may not believe in the Holy Spirit but since you aren’t a member that doesn’t matter.