Four conditions (letter)

Four conditions (letter)

Fr G.H. Duggan SM

I am afraid Father Crothers is mistaken in holding that when Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis declared that the Church has not the power to confer the Christian priesthood on any woman, he was not exercising his prerogative of personal infallibility.

When the First Vatican Council defined the dogma of papal infallibility, it stated that for a papal statement to considered as infallible it must fulfil four conditions. It must concern: a matter of faith or morals; it must be definitive; it must be issued by the Pope as successor of St Peter as Head of the Church and its Supreme Teacher; it must be addressed to the whole Church, not just any part of it.

It will be noted that these do not include an explicit statement by the Holy Father that he is exercising his prerogative of personal infallibility.

FR G.H. DUGGAN SM
Upper Hutt, New Zealand

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