Is papal infallibility biblical
Exactly 150 years ago, the controversial dogma of the infallibility of the Pope emerged, which is still controversially discussed today. It is not at all claimed that the Pope can never be wrong.
It was without a doubt the most explosive decree of the entire First Vatican Council (1869/70). With the adoption of the document "Pastor aeternus" on July 18, 1870, the incumbent Pope Pius IX. the long-discussed infallibility of the Pope to dogma. It says:
"If the Roman Pope finally decides that a doctrine about beliefs or morals is to be retained by the whole church, then because of the divine assistance he has that infallibility with which the Savior wanted his church to be equipped in doctrines of faith and morals."
The dispute over infallibility led to the split of the "Old Catholics"
The debate on this question had previously split the Council participants into two camps. But the majority of the opponents of the dogma did not even doubt the correctness of what was said here. However, they considered the definition of infallibility in a dogma to be politically unwise. And even after the decision was made, the discussion was not over. A split developed: The Christians, now known as Old Catholics, did not want to recognize the dogma and left the Catholic Church.
Even today, the infallibility of the Pope is one of the most incomprehensible doctrines of the Catholic Church for many. It is not at all claimed here that the Pope cannot err in his claims and teachings. Contrary to popular belief, this dogma is not about all Utterances of a Pope are infallible or in error. The Catholic Church speaks of infallibility only when the Pope, in his function as supreme teacher, makes a decision that is binding on the whole Church. And only if such a regulation concerns questions of faith or morals. If, for example, there were issues that threaten the very heart of the Catholic faith, the Pope, as the last resort, would have to make a decision before God in which the dogma of infallibility could come into force.
Pope is bound in his "infallibility"
It is important that such a decision must never contradict the Bible or the teaching and tradition of the apostles. So it is not the Pope as a person that is infallible, but only the statement of faith made by him, which is "true in and of itself".
This dogma is justified in the Bible and in the believing conviction that the Holy Spirit will accompany the Church in its struggle for the truth. It is written in the New Testament that Jesus chose Simon Peter to lead the young Christian community.
“But I say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; what you will bind on earth will also be bound in heaven, and what you will loose on earth that will be resolved in heaven too. " (Matthew 16: 18-19)
The promise of Jesus is the reason for infallibility
Later that very Peter becomes Bishop of Rome and thus the first Pope in church history. That is why the Bishop of Rome has a special position to this day. As the successor of Saint Peter, he continues to have special divine assistance, the Church believes. And this is how the First Vatican Council justified infallibility.
Everyday utterances, sermons and lectures of the Pope cannot therefore be infallible utterances. Likewise, it is not in contradiction to the infallibility dogma that popes should show human weaknesses, behave imprudently or perhaps even immorally. Only when the Pope expresses himself "ex cathedra", that is, solemnly in his function as holder of the Holy See of the Apostle Peter, is his judgment considered infallible - and only in explicit questions of faith or morality. And that happens very rarely: Most recently in 1950, when Pope Pius XII. proclaimed the dogma of the bodily acceptance of the Blessed Mother Mary into heaven.
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