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Beginning Catholic: Infallibility: Keeping the Faith [Ecumenical]
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Posted on 07/01/2008 6:10:30 PM PDT by Salvation

 

Infallibility: Keeping the Faith

The topic of infallibility in the Catholic Church is an ironic one: although intended to provide clarity, it is one of the most misunderstood topics within Catholicism.

At least, humbly speaking, it was a big sticking point for me when I was a beginning Catholic. But once I understood it, I saw that it flows from a deep and beautiful faith in the active presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church.

What infallibility means

First of all, let's start with the purpose of infallibility:

"It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error.... To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals." (Catechism, 890)

Infallibility is a gift of Christ and the Holy Spirit that gives us clarity and certainty about the faith itself and morality.

Infallibility just means that certain teachings of the Catholic Church are guaranteed to be without error. That's not to say that they are the full and final word on the topic: later teachings may deepen and further clarify aspects of the original teaching.

(Some fundamental ideas about Catholic Tradition, the Catholic Church's origin, and Church authority are covered in other articles here on beginningCatholic.com. You may find that those articles provide good background for the topic of infallibility.)

Exactly what teachings?

The charism of infallibility is fully engaged only in definitive Magisterial teachings on faith and morals. This can occur in either...

The Magisterium is the teaching office of the Catholic Church. It is exercised by the Pope alone when he teaches officially, or by the whole "college" of bishops together with the Pope.

Most Magisterial teachings are ordinary. The Pope's ordinary teachings are issued in the course his normal activity: his encyclicals and other documents, various addresses, etc.

The college of bishops also has an "ordinary and universal" Magisterium. This is seen whenever the individual bishops teach the same faith — that is, in union with the Pope and each other, even if they're dispersed in their separate dioceses. It's also seen when an ecumenical council teaches definitively but without issuing a solemn definition.

Occasionally, the Magisterium issues extraordinary definitions of doctrine. This occurs when the Pope teaches ex cathedra, officially and solemnly defining some truth of the faith. The official and solemn definitions of ecumenical councils (such as the Council of Trent, the First Vatican Council, etc.) are also extraordinary pronouncements.

Remember, it is the definitive teachings of the Magisterium that are considered to be infallible. This usually means that they explicitly state they're defining some matter of the faith, or put forth a position as to be definitively held.

But not always.

Some things that are taught repeatedly by the Magisterium can also be considered definitive, even if they're not explicitly named to be such.

Infallible teachings require the Assent of faith

The Catholic Church uses its charism of infallibility to give the faithful clarity and certainty about morality and the faith itself.

As such, Catholics are required to give the "assent of faith" to such teachings. This means that our faith in them rests directly on our faith either in the Word of God, or in the Holy Spirit's real & active assistance in the Magisterium.

We take that quite seriously!

How often are infallible teachings made?

You've probably heard a very common myth that infallibility has only been used a few times.

That is not the case!

It's true that the Pope has exercised only rarely his own extraordinary power of defining the faith. But ecumenical councils have issued many extraordinary definitions over the years. And both the Pope and the full college of bishops have issued very many definitions in the course of their ordinary Magisterium. And of course...

...infallibility hinges on whether a teaching is definitive, regardless of whether it's ordinary or extraordinary.

When people claim that infallibility is very rare, often they're trying to justify their own rejection of some doctrine. They're trying to minimize the number of cases where doctrine is binding.

But that's exactly backwards!

The main job of bishops is to teach the Gospel. They do so with a special assistance of the Holy Spirit himself so that we may hear a faithful, accurate proclamation of the one true faith.

Although individual bishops may err in their official teachings about faith and morals, the Magisterium as a whole never does. Nor does the Pope, by nature of Christ's special creation of Peter's office as one that "confirms the brethren" in the faith.

Frequently, the Magisterium sees fit to define some point of doctrine so that we can see, understand, and hold it with great clarity. These definitions are infallible, and we must believe them with the assent of faith.

But much of the time, the Magisterium teaches without making such definitions. Are we free to ignore these teachings that are not infallible?

"Am I free to reject any non-definitive teachings
that I don't like?"

Not at all!

We must believe these teachings, too, although a lesser degree of belief is required. The technical expression is "a religious submission of mind and will". This is less than the absolute assent of faith, but it still means that we must honestly strive to understand and accept these teachings.

As a practical matter, we should assume that the even Church's non-definitive teachings are correct. They are still made with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, although not to the degree that guarantees that they're free of error.

We should have very compelling, objective reasons before challenging such teachings. (And please note that the most frequent topics of dissent are not in this category! Topics like contraception, abortion, divorce, and homosexuality are all addressed by definitive Church teachings.)

Also remember that we tend to prefer our own flawed opinions, rather than admitting that we have to change.

This call to change is the hard and unending work of Christian discipleship. It's known as conversion.

A gift of light & truth

Christ has given us an extraordinary gift in the Catholic Magisterium. It is the means by which Christ ensures that the light of his saving Gospel will shine on every generation.

When the Church teaches infallibly, it gives us great light & clarity.

But even in its non-definitive teaching, the Church still shines with the clear light of truth — a light that is far stronger than the darkness of the world.

"I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

(John 8:12)



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: authority; catholic; catholiclist; pope
Ecumenical thread. Please follow the guidelines put forth by the Religion Moderator for Ecumenical threads.
1 posted on 07/01/2008 6:10:30 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: All

2051 The infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed.
 
891 "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.
 
2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.
 
889 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a "supernatural sense of faith" the People of God, under the guidance of the Church's living Magisterium, "unfailingly adheres to this faith."
 
890 The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:

2 posted on 07/01/2008 6:14:11 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Papal Infallibility [Ecumenical]

Peter & Succession (Understanding the Church Today)

Pope: may all Christians recognize true meaning of Peter’s primacy

THE PRIMACY OF THE SUCCESSOR OF PETER IN THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH

Pope St. Leo the Great and the Petrine Primacy

The Epiphany of the Roman Primacy

THE PRIMACY OF THE SUCCESSOR OF PETER IN THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH [Ratzinger]

3 posted on 07/01/2008 6:19:54 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Beginning Catholic: The Catholic Church's Origin [Ecumenical]

Beginning Catholic: Church Authority In Scripture [Ecumenical]

Beginning Catholic: Catholic Tradition: Life in the Spirit [Ecumenical]

Beginning Catholic: Infallibility: Keeping the Faith [Ecumenical]

4 posted on 07/01/2008 6:22:20 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Under the rules of the [Ecumenical] tag on this thread, I will refrain from commenting on what I think of the RCC. Instead I will offer my belief that God alone is infallible, that His chosen ones are inhabited by His Spirit and, when humbly submitted to Him, each saint can comprehend the Truth the Lord wills to reveal to him. I believe that each Christian has been purchased by the blood of the Lamb of God and by His testimony has access directly to the Father in Heaven.

I believe Christ Jesus will return without prior notice and take His people, judge the nations, and send those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life into the fire of eternal torment. God’s elect will live with Him and all creation - in Heaven and Hell - will glorify God forever. He alone is worthy of praise and able to save.


5 posted on 07/01/2008 6:24:38 PM PDT by Manfred the Wonder Dawg (Test ALL things, hold to that which is True.)
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To: All
Staying Catholic

 

Papal Infallibility
by Sebastian R. Fama

The issue of Papal Infallibility evokes strong reactions from those who oppose it. This is usually due to a misunderstanding of what the Church means by "Papal Infallibility." The most common misconception is that the Church claims that the pope himself is infallible, that in all things he is incapable of error. This, of course, is not true!

It is a necessity of Christian theology that every person be allowed the exercise of free will. Everyone, the pope included, must be free to accept or reject Christ for himself. If God were to make the pope infallible in the ultimate sense, he would be depriving him of his free will.

Infallibility does not mean that a pope is incapable of sin. All popes are human and therefore sinners.

Infallibility does not mean that the pope is inspired. Papal infallibility does not involve any special revelation from God. A pope learns about his faith in the same way that anyone else does--he studies.

Infallibility cannot be used to change existing doctrines or proclaim new ones. It can only be used to confirm or clarify what has always been taught. The teachings of Christ cannot change. As the Scripture says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

Infallibility does not mean that a pope cannot err when he speaks as a private teacher. As a man he is fallible and capable of error.

Infallibility does not guarantee that a pope will officially teach anything. However, when he does teach he is protected. If he decides to teach the truth, the Holy Spirit allows it. If he decides to teach error, either knowingly or unknowingly, the Holy Spirit will stop him.

Infallibility is not something that endows a pope with divine powers, but rather it is a gift of the Holy Spirit that protects the Church from the human frailties of a pope.

All Christians believe that God used men infallibly in writing Scripture. Why then is it so hard to believe that He would work through men to protect it from corruption? Surely such a protection was implied when Jesus said to His disciples, "He who hears you hears me" (Luke 10:16).

The First Vatican Council taught that three conditions must be met in order for a pronouncement to be considered infallible:

The first two conditions can be reasonably deduced from Matthew 16:19: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The acts of binding and loosing in the context of the verse would by necessity be something more than casual remarks. The passage begins with Jesus saying, "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church" (16:18). The acts of binding or loosing would have to be official and meant for the whole Church.

The third condition stems from the obvious fact that Christian teaching is primarily a matter of faith and morals. Christianity's main objectives have always been getting people to heaven (faith) and teaching them how to live here on earth (morals).

Infallibility is also extended to the college of bishops when they, as a body, teach something in union with the pope. Collegial authority is usually exercised in an ecumenical council just as it was at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-29).

Upon leaving the earth Jesus' final command to His apostles was to make disciples of all nations, "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Are we to believe that Jesus left us no means of knowing exactly what He commanded? That would make His parting statement nonsense. The Catholic Church believes the Bible when it teaches that:

  • Jesus requires that we obey all that He commanded (Matthew 28:20).

  • Jesus gives us the grace to obey all that He commanded (Philippians 4:13).

  • Jesus provides us a means of knowing what He commanded (Matthew 16:15-19).

  • Early Christian writers bear witness to the Church's infallibility. Cyprian declares: "If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4, 251 AD). Irenaeus writes: "Where the charismata of the Lord are given, there must we seek the truth, with those to whom belongs the ecclesiastical succession from the Apostles, and the unadulterated and incorruptible word. It is they who …are the guardians of our faith…and securely expound the Scriptures to us" (Against Heresies 4:26:5, 180-199 AD).

    Despite the evidence, critics try to prove their case by appealing to three supposed examples of popes teaching error. The first two are Pope Liberius (352-366) and Pope Vigilius (537-555). Both were made to sign questionable statements of faith while under duress. This of course does not count, as Infallibility only applies to free acts of the pope and not to acts under torture.

    The third example is that of Pope Honorius (625-638). Critics of Papal Infallibility feel that this example demolishes the doctrine once and for all. Here, they contend, is an example of a pope teaching error. After his death, an ecumenical council (The Third Council of Constantinople) condemned him. What could be more contradictory than an infallible pope being condemned by an infallible council? However, in their excitement the critics have overlooked something -- the facts.

    The controversy stems from a letter that Pope Honorius wrote to Sergius, a Monothelite heretic. The Monothelite heresy maintained that Jesus had only one will, a divine will. The Church had always taught that Jesus was fully God and fully man. As such, He had both a divine and a human will. Before the heresy was widely known, Sergius sought to get the pope's approval by deception. In a letter to the pope he stated that Jesus never opposed the Father. Consequently, if two persons agree they may be spoken of as being of "one will." The pope, unaware of Sergius' deception, answered to the subject of Christ's "opposition" to the Father. He wrote in part: "We confess one will of our Lord Jesus Christ…Since Christ's human will is faultless there can be no talk of opposing wills." Subsequently, Monothelites fraudulently used this statement as proof that the pope believed with them that Christ had no human will.

    Pope Honorius was deceived and then misrepresented. Furthermore, the Third Council of Constantinople condemned him for inaction, but not for teaching heresy. In any event, his letter was private. Thus the issue of infallibility never even entered the picture. By the way, if papal infallibility really was just a human invention, don't you think that the list of errors after 20 centuries would fill at least one book? And yet we are presented with only three examples, three examples that are not even plausible. Does this not speak in favor of the Church's position?

    Ironically, many of the individuals who oppose the doctrine of papal infallibility claim to receive special revelations from God. Most believe that they can privately interpret Scripture in direct violation of 2 Peter 1:20. They characterize the doctrine of papal infallibility as arrogant, while claiming for themselves authority that goes far beyond it. And what is the fruit of their claims? Thousands of denominations all claim the Bible as their authority and yet all disagreeing on what it teaches. To make matters worse, many of their teachings change from time to time. Those who object to the doctrine of papal infallibility are the greatest proof of its need.

    An honest examination of the evidence can only lead to one conclusion: That Jesus Christ established an infallible Church. Scripture teaches it, logic demands it, and history confirms it.

    Copyright © 2001 StayCatholic.com 



    6 posted on 07/01/2008 6:25:03 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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    To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg
    I think you missed one very important line in this article!

    So, you see, infallibility is from God! That part of your post is alligned with the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

    Infallibility is a gift of Christ and the Holy Spirit that gives us clarity and certainty about the faith itself and morality.

    7 posted on 07/01/2008 6:28:00 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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    To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; ...
    Catholic Discussion Ping!

    Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

    8 posted on 07/01/2008 6:29:36 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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    To: Salvation

    Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit you end up with.... non-Catholicism. Disjointed, competing beliefs all encompassing Atheistic Christianity.


    9 posted on 07/01/2008 6:41:03 PM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words". ~ St. Francis of Assisi)
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    To: Salvation

    The authority of the Church is the foundation of my life. Without it, there’s just me and my opinion, and I’ve lived long enough to know that’s a bad deal. If there’s a conflict, then Peter is right and I’m wrong, q.e.d.


    10 posted on 07/01/2008 6:51:29 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Tax-chick's House of Herpets. Watch your extremities - we're hungry!)
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    To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg

    In other words, the pope and magisterium of infallible, except where they are fallible.


    11 posted on 07/01/2008 6:53:36 PM PDT by fwdude (If marriage can mean anything, then marriage means nothing.)
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    To: Salvation

    View A: God alone is infallible.

    View B: God is infallible and bestows infallibility as a gift on some human beings.

    These two views are not remotely compatible. There’s no point in any of us pretending they are.


    12 posted on 07/01/2008 6:59:15 PM PDT by Dan Middleton
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    To: Dan Middleton

    I disagree. Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? God alone is good.” But somehow, God bestows Good on human beings, in order for them to live eternally with Him.

    It was said about Jesus, “He taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” God the Father bestowed teaching authority on the man Jesus. He could, and we believe He did - “He who hears you, hears Me.” - bestow authoritative teaching authority on others.

    As an example, why believe anything taught by St. Paul, unless you believe his teaching authority came from God. Why believe anything written by St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, St. John ...?


    13 posted on 07/01/2008 7:10:11 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Tax-chick's House of Herpets. Watch your extremities - we're hungry!)
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    To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg

    Amen, MWD! I agree, wholeheartedly, and share your desire to comply with the rules of this thread. Free indeed, thank you Jesus.


    14 posted on 07/01/2008 7:17:56 PM PDT by MonicaG (Help Wanted: Conservative leadership '08)
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    To: Dan Middleton

    Well said. I’m taking it straight to God, bypassing any and all humans who would have me kneel before any other fallible human (or image thereof).


    15 posted on 07/01/2008 7:19:57 PM PDT by MonicaG (Help Wanted: Conservative leadership '08)
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    To: Tax-chick
    I disagree. Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? God alone is good.”

    Of course, the point of this statement of Christ was to assert His divinity.

    But somehow, God bestows Good on human beings, in order for them to live eternally with Him.

    God does not bestow "Good" on human beings in the sense of giving them the capacity for sinless righteousness, nor is it righteous works which allow us to live eternally with Him.

    God the Father bestowed teaching authority on the man Jesus.

    The phrasing of this doesn't communicate the fact that Jesus was fully God as well as fully man.

    He could, and we believe He did - “He who hears you, hears Me.” - bestow authoritative teaching authority on others.

    When we preach His words, then yes, those who hear us hear Him. When we depart from His words into the realm of our fallible human opinions and reasoning, we cannot claim to speak with His authority.

    As an example, why believe anything taught by St. Paul, unless you believe his teaching authority came from God. Why believe anything written by St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, St. John ...?

    Because Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the other authors of scripture wrote through divine inspiration. The words they wrote under the inspiration of God are infallible, but they as individuals were not infallible otherwise. Furthermore, all of what they wrote through God's inspiration is consistent and in agreement - it does not contradict itself or reflect a change in view over time.

    16 posted on 07/01/2008 7:24:54 PM PDT by Dan Middleton
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    To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg
    Yours is a fine post.

    Anybody with two wits to rub together gets that infallibility is an outrageous claim. Certainly we converts to the Catholic Church have to struggle with it.

    So, believe me, I have at least a little sense of how this claim seems. The arrogance, the sublime and deluded self-confidence seems too much for anyone to accept.

    What is critical, at least for me, is to consider Christ's promises to us.

    It's hard. It's hard, when the dentist approaches our mouth with that horse needle, to believe that he means us well and that acquiescence is the wise choice. It's hard to look at some guy in Rome, wearing a dress, and to think that there might be something in what he and his dress-wearing homies might be saying.

    The classical Protestant can take his Bible and some aids, like Strong's, and say I can work this out; who knows, maybe I'll see something the others didn't see.

    All we have is, "Lord, don't let the Pope or the bishops mess up."

    Most people watch the film clips about the installation of a pope and see only the externals: the vestments, the ceremonial, and so forth. What they miss is that a billion people, give or take, are saying< "Okay God, we're staking our souls on your promise to the Church."

    Being a Catholic, day to day, means saying prayers and rejoicing in the undeserved love of God. But as regards the Magisterium and the Pope, it means a real leap of faith. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

    17 posted on 07/01/2008 7:30:45 PM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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    To: Dan Middleton; Tax-chick
    When we preach His words, then yes, those who hear us hear Him. When we depart from His words into the realm of our fallible human opinions and reasoning, we cannot claim to speak with His authority.

    You seem to argue that God does not delegate His Own power - correct? But what of the keys of binding and loosing? How else do you explain that but the conferring of authority from God?

    Because Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the other authors of scripture wrote through divine inspiration. The words they wrote under the inspiration of God are infallible, but they as individuals were not infallible otherwise. Furthermore, all of what they wrote through God's inspiration is consistent and in agreement - it does not contradict itself or reflect a change in view over time.

    So the inspiration of God can be conferred on men when they are teaching via the written word? But, God cannot confer that same infallibility when another man teaches after the death of the Apostles? And I question your last sentence - what teaching of the Church do you believe has contradicted itself, changed over time, or is inconsistent with Holy Scripture and Tradition?

    18 posted on 07/01/2008 7:46:28 PM PDT by thefrankbaum (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
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    To: Salvation
    Infallibility is a gift of Christ and the Holy Spirit that gives us clarity and certainty about the faith itself and morality.

    Wow, infallibility sure is an awesome, immensely important gift. Given by Christ Himself! Given such importance, I'm sure there's an authoritative list of infallible teachings. Could you direct me to it?
    19 posted on 07/01/2008 7:55:33 PM PDT by armydoc
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    To: MonicaG

    And I say to thee. thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)


    Some how a Man Made or Self Made worship is better than the Church GOD founded!


    20 posted on 07/01/2008 7:55:35 PM PDT by philly-d-kidder (Kuwait where the Weather is over a 120 F and we don't sweat it!! It's the sand we are afraid off!)
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    To: fwdude

    You also missed that one line — please do read it now.

    **Infallibility is a gift of Christ and the Holy Spirit that gives us clarity and certainty about the faith itself and morality. **


    21 posted on 07/01/2008 8:00:20 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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    To: MonicaG

    Please re-read this line.

    **Infallibility is a gift of Christ and the Holy Spirit that gives us clarity and certainty about the faith itself and morality.**


    22 posted on 07/01/2008 8:01:31 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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    To: thefrankbaum
    You seem to argue that God does not delegate His Own power - correct?

    Not correct, actually - you've misunderstood me. I am arguing that God does not delegate His incommunicable attributes.

    So the inspiration of God can be conferred on men when they are teaching via the written word? But, God cannot confer that same infallibility when another man teaches after the death of the Apostles?

    God does not speak to His people through revelation after the death of Apostles because by the time the last of them died, He had already communicated to us, through the inspired writings of Scripture, all of the infallible teaching we would need to obtain salvation through His sacrifice on the cross and live lives of pleasing service to Him - the Word made flesh.

    That Scripture, recognized as such in its own time and by the early church immediately after its composition, has been divinely preserved as the only infallible source of instruction and edification for God's people everywhere down through the centuries to the present day. Praise God!

    And I question your last sentence - what teaching of the Church do you believe has contradicted itself, changed over time, or is inconsistent with Holy Scripture and Tradition?

    A discussion of the teachings of the Roman church and its tradition I believe to be contradiction of Holy Scripture would take many, many threads...and they would probably have to be "Open" ones, at that, not "Ecumenical" ones. On that note, out of deference to the spirit of the thread, I'll say no more on this matter, as the intention of my original post was merely to point out that the ecumenical nature of the thread was no excuse for equivocating or mincing words to camouflage fundamental differences in views.

    A good evening to all. :-)

    23 posted on 07/01/2008 8:07:23 PM PDT by Dan Middleton
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    To: Dan Middleton

    Please remember that this is an Ecumenical thread. Antagonism against another profession is not condoned.


    24 posted on 07/01/2008 8:12:54 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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    To: Dan Middleton

    So you are saying that the Holy Spirit abandoned the Church and/or the faithful when the Apostle’s died?


    25 posted on 07/01/2008 8:22:54 PM PDT by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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    To: Dan Middleton
    FYI

    Guidelines for Ecumenical threads

    26 posted on 07/01/2008 8:29:54 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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    To: Dan Middleton
    I understand you wish to respect the Ecumenical tag on this thread, so I will just make a couple points before I head to bed. Hopefully, we can take this up elsewhere.

    Not correct, actually - you've misunderstood me. I am arguing that God does not delegate His incommunicable attributes.

    See - He communicated His attribute of infallibility when the writers of Scripture were inscribing the Holy Writ. Now, He didn't confer infallibility on them per se, but the Holy Spirit protected them from error - much as He protects the Magisterium.

    God does not speak to His people through revelation after the death of Apostles because by the time the last of them died, He had already communicated to us, through the inspired writings of Scripture, all of the infallible teaching we would need to obtain salvation through His sacrifice on the cross and live lives of pleasing service to Him - the Word made flesh.

    Public revelation is absolutely ended - I could not agree more. However, the Scripture does not speak to every issue we face today, or will face tomorrow; nor is it explicitly clear on each point it does contain. We need to interpret it and understand it, and to do both without error, lest we stray from the Truth. It is difficult to believe He would leave us each an island in understanding His Writ, relying solely upon ourselves to understand His will; Truth is Truth, and it does not vary. There cannot be a multitude of correct answers to a given question - like Him, there is only One. Thus, if He has given us an infallible book, why would He not give us an infallible teacher?

    That Scripture, recognized as such in its own time and by the early church immediately after its composition, has been divinely preserved as the only infallible source of instruction and edification for God's people everywhere down through the centuries to the present day. Praise God!

    Scripture used today by Protestants differs from the Scripture used by the early Church - I pray you understand that. Further, nowhere do I find in Scripture that it is the sole source for instruction. But, definitely Praise God! :-)

    A discussion of the teachings of the Roman church and its tradition I believe to be contradiction of Holy Scripture would take many, many threads...and they would probably have to be "Open" ones, at that, not "Ecumenical" ones. On that note, out of deference to the spirit of the thread, I'll say no more on this matter, as the intention of my original post was merely to point out that the ecumenical nature of the thread was no excuse for equivocating or mincing words to camouflage fundamental differences in views.

    Fair enough, and I appreciate your ecumenical tone in our discussion. I hope we can continue this conversation elsewhere!

    27 posted on 07/01/2008 8:58:17 PM PDT by thefrankbaum (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
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    To: Salvation; All

    I think that those who deny infallibility (as properly defined) deny the truth of the Scriptures.

    Speaking to the Apostles at the last supper, Jesus said (John 14:26), “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

    He promises to send the Apostles the Holy Spirit to teach them ALL things.

    Later on in the same discourse (John 16:23), Jesus continues, saying, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

    Again, he promises to send the Spirit of Truth to guide the Apostles into ALL the truth.

    So if He is telling the truth here (and we have no reason to believe that Jesus ever did anything other than proclaim the truth), He promises to guide the Apostles into the Truth. Any denial of this is a denial of Scripture (a pretty funny thing for a “sola scriptura” person to do, if you think about it — they may as well deny John 3:16).

    The Apostles, operating with this charism of truth, appointed and empowered bishops as their successors. And St. Paul, operating with this charism of truth said that this would continue until the return of Christ (See Ephesians 4:11-13). Deny this and deny Scripture (you may as well deny John 3:16 if you deny the Scriptural support for apostolic succession).

    The method for confirming doctrine or for making dogmatic decisions was originally by Church Councils, consisting of: bishops — the apostles and their successors. The first example of this is shown in Acts 15 (Gee, imagine, councils are scriptural, as well). Again, deny it — and you may as well deny John 3:16.

    And guess who “ratified” Church Councils? Yup, the Pope. And guess what codified the doctrine of Papal Infallibility? A council.

    (To a Catholic, this is confirmed also by the history of the popes...there have been some very “interesting” characters who have been named pope in history. Despite how “interesting” they were — the Catholic Encyclopedia has used the term “disappointing,” in fact — no official doctrine, much less dogma, was ever issued by those “interesting/disappointing” characters)


    28 posted on 07/02/2008 3:06:37 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus)
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    To: Dan Middleton
    I think one of the virtues of the ecumenical thread is that maybe we could use the protocol to clarify what a teaching is, rather than debate it.

    It's not easy to abide by the protocol, at least not for me, especially in view of your excellently made points (with which I disagree but which I would like to explore)

    The one clarifying effort I think I can make is to say that "Infallibility" does not necessarily imply the same kind of revelation that went into, say, the writings of Paul. I would venture to suggest that ONE model of infallibility in action would be the Conference in Jerusalem over what to do about uncircumcised Christians (the ones that weren't female, that is.)

    An aspect of "Infallibility" and its exercise which I think is often overlooked is that as a rule it is exercised in response to contention or outcry. Apparently sincere and pious folk of good will can disagree on the relationship between The Son and the Father, and their disagreements were often as nasty as religious debates on FR!

    (Yes, I know that's hard to believe, but there it is. In those days, though, once Christianity was licit, they knew the identity of the RM -- fellow named Constantine, I think.)

    Then as now, those who thought the Scriptures were clear that the Son was as divine as the Father were amazed and angry that there were others who maintained "There was when the Son did not exist." All of them reading more or less the same texts, and intending to worship whatever it was the Jesus of Nazareth was (and is).

    Questions of this kind have cropped up over the past millennia. You and I may say the Trinity is clearly implicit in Scripture. But my Jehovah's Witness friends will say it's clearly denied in Scripture — and will produce their own translation to bolster their claims!

    To whom can the person who is not a theologian and is just beginning to read the Bible turn? Which translation of the Bible shall he study? Are left saying that if God wants to save Him and wants Him to be at least approaching some kind of truth He will somehow direct him in the right way or to the right group of people?

    (I see that our claims of "infallibility" only push the question back a step in this pluralistic age.)

    Certainly it seems that it cannot be and has not been a case of a person alone with the Bible. There is always at least a temporary companion.

    Okay, I'm rambling. Sorry.

    29 posted on 07/02/2008 3:39:21 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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    To: Dan Middleton

    Public revelation ceased with the death of the last Apostle but the Holy Spirit resides in the Catholic Church and the Holy Spirit has not and will not abandon the Church. It is that same Holy Spirit(God) which keeps the teachings of faith and morals infallible not mere humans.

    It is pretty obvious that the Apostles were also fallible humans yet Jesus chose them to head the church on Earth. It was through the Holy Spirit, not their feeble humanity, that they had the faith and the knowledge—and infallibility—required to lead the early church after Pentacost.

    I could go on for days but the when the Magisterium of the Catholic Church meets all the requirements of infallibility it is God speaking through the Church and not fallible men. There is no new revalation but there can be a more thorough understanding of revelation.

    Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we would not have the Bible we have now which was compiled and infallibly deemed inspired by a council of the Catholic Church. Individuals would be left in the dark as to which books were inspired and which weren’t and then there would likely be millions of different denominations instead of thousands, each with a different theology than the next.

    For centuries the Church was alive and well through Tradition, that revelation that the Apostles handed on and it was through that Tradition of the Apostles that the councils chose which books were inspired and it was through the Holy Spirit that this could be known.


    30 posted on 07/02/2008 9:27:30 AM PDT by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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    To: markomalley

    **He promises to send the Apostles the Holy Spirit to teach them ALL things.**

    So true. Right there in Scripture!


    31 posted on 07/02/2008 9:47:37 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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    To: thefrankbaum

    I appreciate your taking up this question in such a clear and agreeable way. I’d gone to bed.


    32 posted on 07/02/2008 10:58:51 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Tax-chick's House of Herpets. Watch your extremities - we're hungry!)
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    To: Tax-chick

    Willkommen!


    33 posted on 07/02/2008 5:06:31 PM PDT by thefrankbaum (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
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    To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg

    Very well articulated.


    34 posted on 07/02/2008 11:47:33 PM PDT by Fichori (Primitive goat herder, Among those who kneel before a man; Standing.)
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