A clarification on papal infallibility

A clarification on papal infallibility

This is what happens when you try to be concise in describing something. I guess you can’t use shorthand when talking about papal infallibility. You must describe it in more than one sentence or there’s ambiguity and accusations of error and all that.

So here’s what I should have said in the post about the Pope’s publishers (as provided by a friend):

  • Before his election to the papacy, Joseph Ratzinger was not simply a theologian. He was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which can issue documents as part of the Church’s magisterium. These documents are not infallible, but they include more than the views of a theologian.
  • It is not true to say that, by virtue of his office, the pope is invested with the divine protection of papal infallibility whenever he teaches on matters of faith and morals. Popes can err in teaching on matters of faith and morals. They cannot err with defining as divinely revealed or to be definitively held matters pertaining to faith or morals. But that isn’t the same as saying they can’t error in teaching on faith and morals.

Is that better?

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