Papal infallibility (letter)

Papal infallibility (letter)

Fr Brian Harrison OS

Father John Crothers' letter (April 2003 AD2000) shows unfortunate confusion on the subject of papal infallibility.

He claims that we do not have to recognise any papal document as infallible until such time as the Pope himself declares it to be infallible. This opinion is gratuitous, with no foundation in any document of the Church's teaching authority.

If Fr Crothers were correct, there would be no papal statements at all that Catholics would be bound to recognise as infallible; for no Pope has ever issued a personal declaration to the effect that any specific document is infallible! The word "infallible" appears nowhere in the 1854 and 1950 papal documents solemnly defining the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption respectively. And no separate papal documents were ever issued subsequently declaring either of those definitions respectively to be "infallible." Yet both of them are of course infallible. So is Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Their own solemn wording makes this clear.

Ponce, Puerto Rico

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