Tuesday August 11th 2020

Do Catholics Believe the Pope is Infallible?


Misconception: Catholic’s believe the Pope can never be wrong about anything. They say he is infallible.

True Catholic Teaching: The word “infallible” does not mean that the Pope is perfect. It also does not mean that the Pope knows everything. Instead, “infallibility” only applies when the Pope speaks about solemn, official teachings on faith and morals. This does not happen very often and usually is in response to a doctrine that has been called into question. This teaching is based on the promise Christ gave to His Church in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit would “guide you to all truth.”
A common stumbling block for non-Catholics is the role of the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ and the leader of the Church on Earth. Many misunderstand the actual role of the Pope, and misinterpret the authority that he has been given.

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16:18, Jesus says to Peter “and so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Among Jesus’ twelve apostles, Peter is given a unique mission to preserve the purity and sanctity of the Holy Church, and lead his fellow brothers and sisters in the one true faith. In like manner, Jesus endowed the other apostles with the authority of bishops, with Peter as their head. In this way, they formed a “college”, or stable group dedicated to teaching, and defending the faith. Just as Peter and his fellow apostles together formed an apostolic college, so too does the pope, successor of Peter, and bishop of Rome, along with the other bishops, form an episcopal college, dedicated to instructing and preserving the faith. Since the Church was intended to endure through the ages, until the return of Jesus, succession was necessary in order for this to be fulfilled. In fact, there has been an unbroken succession of popes from Peter to Benedict XV1, the 265th successor.

Peter, along with succeeding Popes and bishops were and are given the authority to govern the Church, make doctrinal judgments, and implement definitive teachings regarding faith and morals. However, the Teaching office of the Church may be exercised by the Pope alone when he teaches officially, or by the whole “college” of bishops together with the Pope. It must be stated however, that the Pope is not infallible on all matters. The word “infallible” does not mean that the Pope is perfect. It also does not mean that the Pope knows everything. Instead, “infallibility” only applies when the Pope speaks about solemn, official teachings on faith and morals. This does not happen very often and usually is in response to a doctrine that has been called into question. This teaching is based on the promise Christ gave to His Church in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit would “guide you to all truth.” However, on the occasion that the Church declares a particular matter as infallible, this means it is something believed to be revealed by Jesus Christ and is without the possibility of error. When a particular matter is declared infallible, Catholics are obliged to adhere in the spirit of obedience. In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, the nature of infallibility is explained:

“Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as witnesses of divine and Catholic truth; the faithful, for their part, are obliged to submit to their bishops’ decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind.” (Lumen Gentium, 25)

The primacy of the Pope, and the recognition of the universal authority he has been given to instruct the faithful, sustains and safeguards the unity of the Church as the communicator of truth. It has been said that the Pope is the servant of the servants of God. That is to say, the Pope’s primary mission is one of service to the people of God, to uphold the oneness of Christ’s Church.

Info Provided by:

Reader Feedback

14 Responses to “Do Catholics Believe the Pope is Infallible?”

  1. Diana says:

    Thank you for these posts. I’ve found them very educative and they have strengthened my faith.

  2. wwwearp says:

    No where in the holy Bible does it reveals that the pope is the successor of Peter. Jesus Christ is the only Potentate! Believing in Jesus Christ is the only way to get to heaven (John 14:6). When you stop exalting this man the pope who is a sinner just like everyone else and stop exalting Mary you will see that Jesus is the Savior of the world!

  3. Povilas Aukseklis says:

    I don’t know of on Roman Catholic who honestly believes the papal office holds this “infallible” quality. It’s a Cluniac modification that reached its fruit in…. What? 1852 or something? The last vestige of a frightened Curia loosing power as modernity took hold. There are so many instances where popes have made proclamations way outside the realm of orthodoxy. I am Roman Catholic and I don’t believe that anything outside a Council is valid. If we think of Sacraments as miraculous then even something as farfetched as infallibility is ridiculous. I love our teaching on the importance of tradition, but this is a joke for the dumbest of sheep.

  4. Great information. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident
    (stumbleupon). I’ve bookmarked it for later!

  5. I myself will admit that I can’t wait to view just what the future may hold
    within the way of new crossbow manufacturers and designs.

    Runners are given an exceptional challenge during hunting season which they rarely need to bother
    about for the rest of the year. This gives you time to
    apply lime and determine what your fertilizer needs will be.

  6. I simply wanted to construct a small comment to be able to express gratitude to you for these great pointers you are writing at this website. My rather long internet research has at the end been recognized with reliable ideas to talk about with my relatives. I would believe that we visitors actually are extremely blessed to be in a wonderful website with so many perfect professionals with very helpful tips. I feel very much privileged to have discovered the web site and look forward to many more enjoyable moments reading here. Thank you once again for everything.

  7. I happen to be writing to let you know of the amazing discovery my princess had going through the blog. She figured out a lot of things, not to mention what it is like to possess an excellent coaching mindset to get other individuals smoothly know some specialized subject matter. You actually surpassed readers’ desires. Thank you for rendering the helpful, safe, revealing and unique thoughts on your topic to Sandra.

  8. I in addition to my pals were studying the nice pointers located on the website then at once came up with an awful feeling I never thanked the web blog owner for those secrets. All of the men became very interested to study all of them and have now extremely been taking pleasure in these things. Appreciate your getting indeed helpful and for making a choice on some incredibly good things most people are really desirous to understand about. My sincere regret for not expressing appreciation to earlier.

  9. Thank you for your whole work on this website. My mom really loves making time for investigations and it’s obvious why. Many of us hear all of the powerful mode you render very important tips through the web site and as well as invigorate contribution from others about this idea plus our own simple princess is now learning so much. Enjoy the rest of the year. You are always conducting a splendid job.

  10. golden goose says:

    I precisely had to thank you so much once more. I am not sure the things I would’ve made to happen in the absence of those advice shared by you concerning my subject matter. It seemed to be a real terrifying dilemma in my opinion, however , considering a specialised form you dealt with that forced me to weep with delight. Extremely thankful for the information and pray you comprehend what a great job you have been putting in educating most people using your website. I am sure you haven’t got to know any of us.

  11. I simply needed to appreciate you yet again. I am not sure the things I might have handled in the absence of those tips and hints shown by you concerning this subject matter. It had been a horrifying scenario for me, however , considering a new skilled approach you handled the issue made me to jump with fulfillment. Now i’m grateful for the guidance as well as wish you really know what a powerful job your are doing training others via your web page. I’m certain you haven’t encountered any of us.

  12. My spouse and i were so contented when Jordan could round up his web research via the ideas he came across from your site. It is now and again perplexing to just be giving out ideas that many men and women have been selling. We see we now have you to be grateful to because of that. The main explanations you made, the simple website navigation, the relationships you will help to instill – it’s many superb, and it’s aiding our son and the family feel that that subject matter is satisfying, which is rather indispensable. Many thanks for the whole thing!

  13. supreme says:

    I precisely desired to appreciate you yet again. I am not sure the things I might have carried out in the absence of the actual hints revealed by you regarding such subject. This has been the depressing crisis for me, nevertheless observing the very skilled manner you dealt with that made me to jump over happiness. I am just thankful for this advice and then sincerely hope you know what an amazing job you are accomplishing instructing many people all through a site. I’m certain you have never got to know all of us.

  14. I must show some thanks to the writer for rescuing me from this instance. Right after browsing throughout the internet and seeing suggestions that were not productive, I assumed my life was well over. Existing without the presence of answers to the difficulties you have fixed by means of your main site is a serious case, as well as the ones that would have in a negative way affected my entire career if I hadn’t noticed your site. Your actual natural talent and kindness in dealing with all things was very useful. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t discovered such a subject like this. I am able to now look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for the specialized and results-oriented guide. I will not be reluctant to propose your site to anyone who needs to have counselling on this problem.

Leave a Reply