In another thread regarding Papal infallibility, I made the assertion (which I have made here at least a dozen times):
The MOST IMPORTANT THING to understand about Papal infallbility is that there is no reason for the average layperson to even know that it exists, much less which teachings fall into this category.
The distinction is of importance only to theologians and the occasional apologist.
As I said, I have asserted this here many times over the years, and nobody has ever challenged me on it (at least, not that I have noticed).
But, I am wondering if I am correct. Are these really the ONLY people who are interested in this distinction? I feel like I’m leaving somebody out (besides the idly curious).
Theologians obviously want to understand this. They advise the Pope, and help shape Church teaching. It would be very embarrassing if a Pope made an ex Cathedra teaching that a predecessor (of happy memory) had already made. And theologians teach in Catholic seminaries and such. They should not be ignorant of such matters.
Apologists occasionally use the definition of “infallibility” to explain why EVERYTHING that a Pope says is not automatically considered infallible doctrine. Furthermore, anti-Catholics often will focus their efforts on “infallible” doctrine because it’s a high-value target - if they can decisively take one out, they destroy the entire Catholic Church. So it’s good for apologists to know the value of the asset they’re defending.
Who am I leaving out? Who else has any reason to bother with the idea at all?