How are we supposed to determine which Magesterial pronouncements are required to be believed by the laity? I’m a former Baptist who is now 100% convinced that the Catholic Church is the one established by Christ, and that the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra. However, I’ve also heard of debates (disputes?) among bishops and cardinals over various issues. How are we to know which statements we’re required to believe, and what criteria should we use when choosing books, articles, web sites, etc.?
There are several issues which I’m wrestling with, but at the present time, I’m particularly interested in applying this to the Iraq war. Zenit.org posted something recently which says that the Pope is against the actions taken by America. My personal opinion is that we saved many Iraqi lives from Saddam, and are improving life there dramatically. The recent statement I read would indicate that I am wrong to believe this way, and I’m having quite a bit of difficulty accepting that. It sounds like the Pope would have been against us stepping in to stop Hitler, but I just can’t believe we’re not supposed to help those less fortunate than us, even though it means using force.