When the pope speaks at an International Catholic Conference, can we take his words as infallible truth?

When the pope speaks at an International Catholic Conference, can we take his words as infallible truth?

Also, can we condider these documents to be infallible truth?


No, That is not to say that they do not possibly contain infallible Church teaching. But not because the Pope said them, but because they are what the Church teaches!

Then what’s the use of that Vatican website if we don’t know whether it contains infallible truth?

Why do Church teachings have to be infallible to be obeyed?

What if the teaching is wrong?

What *are *you talking about?

The Vatican website is full of infallible documents such as those produced by Ecumenical Councils as well as ex cathedra statements of the Pope.

In addition, it contains teaching documents such as the Catechism and Papal documents like Encyclicals, Apostolic Letters, etc, which are all part of the ordinary Magesterium.

Therefore, while not infallible we owe them religous assent. From the Catechism:

892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent"422 which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.

Well, it’s not going to be wrong.

Papal documents such as encyclicals typically *explain *a particular aspect of doctrine already in existence, *refute *heretical claims, *clarify *the Church’s teaching or position on a matter.

If in the area of Faith and Morals these documents contain what is *already *a part of the deposit of faith.

If in an area of discipline, then it’s not a matter of “right” or “wrong” but of *obedience *to the lawful authority. Disciplinary laws of the Church are changeable.

In order for a statement from the Pope to be infallible, it has to be delivered so as to meet a high threshold:

He has to speak ex cathedra, that is from the Seat of Peter, to the Universal Church, on a matter of Faith and Morals. He will signal this by using formal language such as “I solemnly define and declare…”

Most of the multidudinous speeches of the Holy Father are not meant this way. That does not mean they aren’t right, or that we shouldn’t accept and obey them.

Infallible teaching is directed at matters of faith and morals and is not meant to limit appropriate speculation, discussion of differing opinions on matters outside Church dogma, such as whether or not priests should be allowed to marry, or even discussion of private revelation. The Vatican website is much broader than simply offering only infallible dogma. It is somewhat up to each of us to know the difference between dogma, non-dogmatic truth, and topics that are simply matters of differing opinion.

Is advice on a matter of the heart something to be judged as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? Is an admonishment to be judged as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’?

I would say that it is wise to deeply consider what Our Holy Father has to say on any matter but most especially on matters of a moral and ethical nature and that of the practice of our faith. We might then reflect deeply on it’s continuity with the Church throughout the ages (i.e Holy Tradition) before we reach any conclusion. Only then should we ponder openly with our spiritual father any concerns or misunderstanding we might have. Most things are not simply right or wrong. There is the matter of interpretation to consider. It is only right if it is interpreted rightly. That, my friend, would include you in the matter and so must be pondered and discussed. Try not to be overly naive in your desire to be obedient to the Church. I mean this in the most respectful manner and wish not in any way to insult you.

Peace and God Bless.

That is not the purpose of the majority of papal documents. That is the purpose of the Magisterium and the Catechism.

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