Papal infallibility

Papal infallibility

Peter D. Howard

Michael Daniel's analysis of the historical case for papal infallibility (May AD2000) is a welcome recognition of that infallibility which is, ipso facto, part of those papal declarations found in such important encyclicals as Casti Connubii (Pius XI, 1930) and Humanae Vitae (Paul VI, 1968).

In posting on web discussion boards over some 15 years, I have found one of the most misunderstood dogmas of the Church to be that contained in Pastor Aeternus of Vatican I, and especially as it applies to the doctrine against contraception; but also, as the case of Bishop Morris of Toowoomba revealed, on the doctrine of the priesthood from Christ being only for males in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (Bl John Paul II, 1994).

Readers may like to know that Fr Brian Harrison OS has a most useful article on Humanae Vitae at: on the Roman Theological Forum, and a review of Fr Emenegildo Lio's book, Humanae Vitae e Infallibilit?: il Concilio, Paolo VI e Giovanni Paolo II, at in which Fr Lio affirms the infallible status of the condemnation in Casti Connubii also.

Papal infallibility was covered as follows through EWTN which a decade ago provided an answer to me from David Gregson:

"You are correct in stating that the Pope exercises his charism of infallibility not only in dogmatic definitions issued, ex cathedra, as divinely revealed (of which there have been only two), but also in doctrines definitively proposed by him, also ex cathedra, which would include canonisations (that they are in fact Saints, enjoying the Beatific Vision in heaven), moral teachings (such as contained in Humanae vitae), and other doctrines he has taught as necessarily connected with truths divinely revealed, such as that priestly ordination is reserved to men. Further details on levels of certainty with which the teachings of the Magisterium (either the Pope alone, or in company with his Bishops) may be found in Summary of Categories of Belief."

Springwood, QLD

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