Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not the Vicar!?

A few posts below I raise the question whether the claim of the Roman papacy to be 'the Vicar of Christ' is well founded. This question needs to be asked because it is both an exceptional claim (if true we ought to order the life of the global church accordingly) and a controversial one (remember: it is not just Protestants who do not accept it; Eastern Orthodox reject it).

Let's begin by acknowledging what is unexceptional and non controversial about the office of the Bishop of Rome: among bishoprics it is ancient, eminent, and has a distinctive claim to have begun with the Apostle Peter himself. (It is controversial to move beyond 'distinctive claim' to 'historical fact'). Further, the global church organised in such a manner that the Bishop of Rome is the Pope of the largest church (here I mean the Western rite Catholic church) and the largest communion of churches (here I mean the Western rite Catholic church united with the Eastern rite churches in full communion with the Bishop of Rome) is impressive. It lives according to a coherent theology, faithfully orthodox in very many respects accepted by other churches (here I am speaking as an Anglican, so our church is one of those churches; but viewed with Roman eyes we are an 'ecclesial community'). Perhaps the most impressive achievement of the papacy, to a Protestant, or for that matter to an Eastern Orthodox Christian, used to churches in dispute with other churches, is that it sits at the apex of this very large global church (or, if you will, church of churches) which manages, somehow, to be an exemplar of unity-in-diversity.

It is quite understandable that the impressive achievement of the Roman church over the centuries, indeed millenia has developed two unfortunate capacities concerning the papacy. One is to present the papacy as divinely special: this is the Vicar of Christ with plenipotentiary powers to speak the mind of God infallibly. Another is to continually avoid facing certain historical facts, namely the errors and immoralities of past popes which belies and undermines the claim to being divinely special. There is even, many would argue, a present fact which undermines such a claim: the slowness of the papacy to recognise and then resolutely deal with recent misdeeds of clerics. The tendency of the papal led hierarchy of the church to act slowly, if not to even cover up the abusive behaviour of priests is understandable (but inexcusable) as an expression of the fallibility of human nature. This tendency has occurred in other churches, though many of those churches woke up to their fallibility at least a decade before Rome has. What seems very difficult to explain - I suggest, I can just about imagine some comments which will be made! - is how any person claiming to hold the office of 'Vicar of Christ' could oversee the church of Christ with so many past and present mistakes.

Just to head off one set of imaginable comments in response: I quite understand that the 'infallibility' of the Pope is deemed to refer to a special set of circumstances in which the Pope (in reality after significant consultation, reflection, and maybe even centuries of prior theological discourse) pronounces on some matter and declares it to be infallible, in distinction from other matters on which the Pope speaks and does not declare it to be infallible. My point here is that this amounts to special pleading in respect of the role of 'the Vicar of Christ': it is reasonable to expect that every pronouncement of the Vicar of Christ is as though Christ himself were speaking, and Christ speaks infallibly! In sum, the Pope is not the Vicar of Christ. The history of the papacy does not support this theological claim.

In my view this does not make much difference to the strength of the constant claim from Rome that in any future configuration of churches into one unified, global church, the Bishop of Rome must have 'primacy.' Reasons for that insistence can be mounted on the basis of the ancientness of the bishopric, its status as the preeminent bishopric in the world, and the like. (Think about this: if all Christians voted in a world Christian parliament for this or that bishop to be the 'primate' of a world church, then, presuming Roman Christians did not feel any great persuasion in arguments in favour of (say) Canterbury or Moscow or Antioch, the voting would be overwhelmingly in favour of the Bishop of Rome being the primate!!)

Not that I expect Benedict XVI to agree with me any time soon (!!), but if he did, then what might be different is in Roman attitude to other churches and ecclesial communities. Recognition of the fallibility of the papacy could go hand in hand with a new appreciation of the fallibility of other churches and ecclesial communities, leading to a changed estimation of ecclesial communities, and of 'orders' of ministry currently not recognised. The ecumenical outlook could be as changed as Canterbury weather is when the wind swings from the south to the north-west (i.e. warmer).

30 comments:

Doug Chaplin said...

Peter,

I appreciate the general case you're making. However, allow me to push you on one point.

You say "One is to present the papacy as divinely special: this is the Vicar of Christ with plenipotentiary powers to speak the mind of God infallibly. Another is to continually avoid facing certain historical facts, namely the errors and immoralities of past popes which belies and undermines the claim to being divinely special."

Yet I would assume that in all sorts of ways a whole variety of Christians portray the Church as "divinely special" while often avoiding the past errors and immoralities of previous generations of Christians. RC claims for the pope are – or one could at least make a case that they are – a particular subset of that more general claim for the church militant.

Peter Carrell said...

That's a good point, Doug!

I get the point, for instance, that when Christians say (something like) "We are Christ's hands and feet and heart on earth", we are kind of saying "we (the church or churches) are the Vicar of Christ on earth."

Nevertheless Popes do not seem to be solely representative of the church (or churches) en masse. Each brings something of themselves as an individual to the role (cf claims re Benedict attempting to 'roll bakc' Vatican 2). So the question remains for me, whether Jesus intended any one individual to have such a role?

David |Dah • veed| said...

Why do we need one exalted primate to be a united church. We already have a primus inter pares, and he is one giant pain in the a**. Why increase that potential with someone with a more inflated sense of worth?

Doug Chaplin said...

Peter, excuse my delayed replies. (One of your countrymen was giving me a guided night bike tour of Paris this evening)

I think it depends what you make of a) Christ's promise to Peter and b) how much of a premium you place on visible unity and what that means.

I tend to the view that my problem is not with having a papacy, but that it is exercised both too juridically, and too unilaterally. I think I would have been a conciliarist pre the Reformation, and I also think that if the conciliar party had triumphed in the 15th century, the Reformation might not have split the Church.

Lucia Maria said...

Hi all,

I was directed to this site by someone who thought I might be interested in this conversation.

Just recently I listened to a conversion story of an atheist turned Catholic. One of her conversion points was that despite some of the real scoundrels that sat on the Chair of Peter, that those same scoundrels did not introduce some error into the Faith. This indicated to her that something supernatural was going on in regards to the Papacy and thereby aided her conversion.

I myself am a revert to the Catholic faith. I left in my teenaged years and came back to it, after heaps of reading, nearly 4 years ago. I was convinced there was something in it through my readings of vatican documents and the teachings on contraception. After years of searching for truth, I decided that if the Church wasn't true, nothing was.

All that aside, there is a great deal of Biblical evidence that shows that the Papacy was intended by Jesus. Without repeating all the arguments (there are quite a few), here is a starting point: Scott Hahn on the Papacy. He's a bit wordy, but once you get past his introduction, he gets right into it. In summary, he sets out to show the following three basis issues:

... Papal Primacy, that is, that the Pope is not just the first among equals but that he has a certain primacy, a unique supremacy in relation to all of the Bishops. We have to begin by showing that Jesus conferred this gift upon Peter.

.. Papal succession. If we can prove from the Bible that Peter was granted by Jesus a certain primacy, that doesn't go far enough. We then have to go on to establish Papal succession; that is, Peter had successors to whom would be entrusted the same gift or charism.

.. Papal infallibility, that is that God grants a gift to the successors of Peter for them, not to give new revelations.


He does all three very well, even going back to the Old Testament to show that there is precedence there.

Peter Carrell said...

Brief responses to recent comments!

David: I do not share your assessment of the present ABC, and I tend to think that any organisation needs some kind of primacy.

Doug: I am of the conviction that conciliarism is the way ahead for those interested in both invisible and visible unity. I am interested in the possibility that pre-Reformation conciliarism would have avoided the Reformatiom. I am currently reading MacDiarmaid on Cranmer and am intrigued by (a) Cranmer's commitment to conciliarism, and (b) his failure to achieve a post-Reformation council of leading reformers.

Lucia Maria: I am not persuaded that anything in the Bible supports the idea of Petrine succession via the See of Rome. Succession is via those who continue the apostolic ministry of truthfully proclaiming the gospel. The promise made that the church would be built on the rock can be interpreted as 'on Peter' (ahead of the alternative interpretation that 'the rock' = Peter's confession), but I (and many readers) fail to see in the NT where Peter is the single, dominant leader of the church (let alone that he is a leader gifted with the charism of infallibility). The leadership of the early church is shared, flexible, and inclusive of newly won apostles such as Paul.

David |Dah • veed| said...

Peter, I agree with the idea on conciliarism. Many of our Anglican provinces are led this way, yours and mine for example. The synods of our churches are the ultimate ecclesiastical authorities.

I am definitely in favor of a better organized, better democratically representative Anglican Consultative Council. I am not in favor of a more powerful Primates Meeting or a larger role for the Primates of the AC in the ACC. I would not object to primates being a party to the representatives of a particular province's conciliar participation. But as you know by checking the Canons of many provinces, ACANZP, EC Scotland, TEC, AC Canada, etc., not all primates are created equal.

I concur with you 100% in your reply to Lucia Maria. I would add that I personally am not convinced also of her point that popes have not introduced error into the faith.

Lucia Maria said...

Peter,

Yes, mental gymnastics can contort Peter as the rock to just Peter's faith. However, as one of top evangelical New Testament scholars in the world, R.T. France says (quoted by Hahn in my link), "Look, it's only because we Protestants have over-reacted to the Catholic Church that we are not frank and sincere in admitting the fact that Peter is the Rock. He is the foundation stone upon which Jesus is going to build the Church."

But that's not all. My link also goes further by bringing in the Keys to the Kingdom, which Jesus references. Hahn quotes another Protestant scholar, W. F. Albright:

Albright goes on in his commentary to speak about the keys of the kingdom that Jesus entrusted to Peter. Here's what he says, "Isaiah 22, verse 15, undoubtedly lies behind this saying of Jesus. The keys are the symbol of authority and Father Roland DeVoe rightly sees here the same authority vested in the vicar, the master of the house, the chamberlain of the royal household in ancient Israel. In Isaiah 22 Eliakim is described as having the same authority."

I don't want to copy the whole explanation here, as it is long. In brief, this is a dynastic reference to the House of David. David had been dead for centuries by this time. The Isaiah verse refers to an office that has been made vacant that must be filled. The Papacy is such an office.

Hahn doesn't just write a paper of his own ideas that haven't been tested. He's also argued them with Protestant theologians. The bit about the keys he apparently spent 10 hours in a car ride talking to a guy who in the end said the argument was clever, but that he didn't have to follow the Pope because of that.

Quoting Albright again, "It is of considerable importance that in other contexts, when the disciplinary affairs of the community are discussed, the symbol of the keys is absent, since the saying applies in these instances to a wider circle. The role of Peter as steward of the kingdom is further explained as being the exercise of administrative authority as was the case of the Old Testament chamberlain who held the keys."

Now, what he means there is that nowhere else, when other Apostles are exercising Church authority are the keys ever mentioned. In Matthew 18, the Apostles get the power to bind and loose, like Peter got in Matthew 16, but with absolutely no mention of the keys. That fits perfectly into this model because in the king's cabinet, all the ministers can bind and loose, but the Prime Minister who holds the keys can bind what they have loosed or loose what they have bound. He has, in a sense, the final say. He has, in himself, the authority of the court of final appeal and even Protestants can see this.


As for Peter's pre-eminence (not so much dominance) in the early Church, read his section on Peter's Place in the Early Church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lucia,
I think R.T. France (at least as quoted) is oversimplifying the situation. Peter's confession is a 'rock' upon which the church is built; Jesus was very good at punning; and so on.

Your case builds a lot on one reference to the keys of the kingdom in four gospels!

And there is nothing in the NT which says that the succession to Peter is via successor bishops of a see which is never named.

In the end, the arguments for the papacy are a justification after the event which would be much stronger for claiming the authority of Jesus if he had spoken more clearly and comprehensively before the event of the founding of the papacy!

David |Dah • veed| said...

Lucia, W. F. Albright has been dead for 40 years. The majority of his work, his methods and his scholarship, has been questioned. Most of his major theories have been overturned by more recent archology and scholarship. I went to a United Methodist (US) seminary in the 80s, we did not study Albright. His star had long faded, even by then.

You have biblical scholarship turned on its head here. There is nothing new in the arguments of the folks you offer as scholarship on the subject. These are the same arguments put forward by the Vatican/Papacy for centuries, even to the point that they resorted to falsifying documents a number of centuries ago to prop up their case.

What you are offering is folks who have gone looking for evidence that will support an already existent papacy. That is not how scholarship is carried out. The question is, would someone doing critical scholarship of scripture come to the unique and independent conclusion that there should be a papacy. Highly doubtful.

Anonymous said...

Peter,

It seems to me in your post you have set up a "straw pope".
I do not think any Catholic would describe the papacy as you have, and I'm surprised that Lucia doesn't pick you up on that.
She is the only Catholic who has actually responded here, with, apparently, outdated scholarship.
Would it not be better and fairer to have a dialogue with a current Catholic here - for example as a husband and wife post: he said - she said?

Alison

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,
Which bit of my description is not as a Catholic would describe the papacy?

Are those observers who believe the Pope had a dig at the C of E by wearing Leo's stole (the observation that set this and a preceding post going) misguided? (Wait, some of those observers were Catholic!)

It is always possible that I have an inadequate knowledge of other denominations, especially the Catholic church. After all I am often taken to task here for the paucity of my knowledge of being Anglican!!

Anonymous said...

Peter

You ask, “Which bit of my description is not as a Catholic would describe the papacy?”

Eg. when you write, “it is reasonable to expect that every pronouncement of the Vicar of Christ is as though Christ himself were speaking, and Christ speaks infallibly!”

This is a straw pope. No intelligent Catholic would state this. And so your conclusion, “In sum, the Pope is not the Vicar of Christ” is divisive, and scandalous nonsense. Such disinformation increases polarization and is a disservice to ecumenism.

Your call for “Recognition of the fallibility of the papacy…” is a call for what every Catholic, from pew-sitter to pope already explicitly acknowledges.

I challenge you again: have a dialogue with some real, intelligent Catholics – if not enough visit this site and contribute (at least Lucia made a start, but she was yelled down), and if you won’t pick up my suggestion of a he said-she said as husband and wife, find some intelligent Catholic sites and co-blog or have a blog dialogue. I had a quick search – here is one that looks promising: http://principiumunitatis.blogspot.com/ Bryan Cross crossbr@gmail.com

Looking forward to some real dialogue – not further written-up, prejudiced, inner monologue.

Alison

Anonymous said...

Peter

You ask, “Which bit of my description is not as a Catholic would describe the papacy?”

Eg. when you write, “it is reasonable to expect that every pronouncement of the Vicar of Christ is as though Christ himself were speaking, and Christ speaks infallibly!”

This is a straw pope. No intelligent Catholic would state this. And so your conclusion, “In sum, the Pope is not the Vicar of Christ” is divisive, and scandalous nonsense. Such disinformation increases polarization and is a disservice to ecumenism.

Your call for “Recognition of the fallibility of the papacy…” is a call for what every Catholic, from pew-sitter to pope already explicitly acknowledges.

I challenge you again: have a dialogue with some real, intelligent Catholics – if not enough visit this site and contribute (at least Lucia made a start, but she was yelled down), and if you won’t pick up my suggestion of a he said-she said as husband and wife, find some intelligent Catholic sites and co-blog or have a blog dialogue. I had a quick search – here is one that looks promising: http://principiumunitatis.blogspot.com/ Bryan Cross crossbr@ gmail.com

Looking forward to some real dialogue – not further written-up, prejudiced, inner monologue.

Alison

David |Dah • veed| said...

Alison, someone disagreeing with another's comment is yelling them down?!?! Are you off your meds? I was cordial, I made no ad hominem attacks on her character, and pointed to the flaws as I see them in her argument. BTW, English is not my native tongue.

You seem to think that Peter is obliged to take your suggestion and that if he does not, then his commentary has no value. I disagree with your assessment of Peter and your comments about the Pope. There are tens of millions of Roman Catholics who have no real understanding of their church's beliefs, but for whom El Papa* can do no wrong. They far outnumber the folks of whom you speak.

BTW, there is no real ecumenism as far as the RCs are concerned. Making Anglicans RCs through the Ordinariates is as close as you will get to Rome's ecumenism. El Papa said so himself as he left Great Britain last week.

*This name for him in Latin America cracks me up because papa means potato.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,
Perhaps (with your help) I could make my point (or attempt to make it) in a different form: the Pope is a fallible person, both Catholics and Protestants (and Eastern Orthodox) accept this, therefore that raises the question whether it is appropriate for the Pope to be acclaimed as the Vicar of Christ. Further, if the Pope is fallible, then all claims made by the papacy through the centuries are subject to scrutiny, with the possibility that some errors in pronouncements have been made. In reality this is not the case because many pronouncements are not open for discussion (though sometimes, some Catholics attempt to do so, e.g. the question of the ordination of women as priests).

I had a look at the site you suggested. If this is a good example of a Catholic site engaged in genuine ecumenical dialogue (and it appears to be so) then I am intrigued that the recipe for the reunion of Christianity is simple and narrow: convert to Rome!

Further I note a posting with this content: "We will argue for the following four claims. The hierarchical difference between the clergy and the laity was ordained by God and is supported by the Biblical data. The distinction between presbyters and bishops existed from apostolic times and was intended by Christ. Christian ministers are ordained into a visible priesthood that is distinct from the general priesthood of all believers. Finally, Holy Orders is a sacrament".

The least one could say is that Protestants do indeed think dialogue is to be had on these matters!!!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David
It is very nice to find a number of matters on which we find agreement!!

Alison said...

Peter,

[Finally figured out your blogger system – you have to start a blog! How cumbersome.]

I absolutely agree that “dialogue is to be had on these matters!!!”

I am interested in this dialogue. I may be expressing myself poorly as David so strongly expresses. I continue to think that you are describing the papacy in a way Catholics do not. I am not convinced of their claims. But I am convinced that dialogue is with people who hold a view – not with ourselves and the misrepresentation of the views of others – be that about gays, the covenant, or, in this case, Catholics and the papacy. I found that site through a quick google for Catholic apologetic blogs. There will certainly be other ones and possibly better ones. I do not know if you put a comment on the quote with which you suggest there is dialogue is to be had. If not then you are just saying, “dialogue is to be had” rather than “let’s dialogue”. I am interested in the latter, not the former which just degenerates to pointlessly reinforcing prejudices about straw men.

Alison

Lucia Maria said...

A few comments:

David,

Albright may be dead, but then again, so is Newman (who converted). Hahn is not dead, and I think he quotes Albright not merely because of the position Albright got to, but moreso because Hahn took that journey himself. Hahn is a Protestant convert who found himself getting more and more Catholic in his theology, and as a Protestant "rising star" found his star falling and becoming more and more sidelined for his views.

This reminds me of all those conversion stories that I've read where any denomination is ok for a Protestant to move to, except Catholicism. Hahn himself, if you read his story, found himself more and more frightened as he got closer and closer to the Church.

So, I going to cut you guys some slack. As I also remember how stunned I was that I was returning to my Catholic faith. It takes a supernatural leap to get to this side and that leap looks terrifying if you haven't made it.

Of course there is nothing new. All that is new is explaining the faith to each new generation, who have their own particular idiosyncrasies that must be taken account of. Our particular generation has a real problem with authority in general and believing in absolute truth, so believing in a Pope who has prime ministerial authority of the Church is going to be extra difficult.

However, saying "even to the point that they resorted to falsifying documents a number of centuries ago to prop up their case." is quite the assertion. What documents?

Lucia Maria said...

Peter,

And there is nothing in the NT which says that the succession to Peter is via successor bishops of a see which is never named.

Not explicitly, no. There is nothing in the NT that says God is one in three persons, either. Nor is there anything that says beyond doubt that Jesus is one of those persons. In the early centuries of the Church, there were many who believed that Jesus was not God, that he was only a man (ie the Arian heresy). In fact, there were many heresies in the early Church, if you read the documents, because the NT does not, in explicit detail, spell out the Faith.

In the end, the arguments for the papacy are a justification after the event which would be much stronger for claiming the authority of Jesus if he had spoken more clearly and comprehensively before the event of the founding of the papacy!

However, we do have the early Church Fathers, Clement (the 4th Pope), Ignatius of Antioch and Irenaeus from the 2nd century, who indicate very clearly that Rome has primacy of all the Church. Or is this what David thinks is forged?

David |Dah • veed| said...

The most important among many is the Donation of Constantine, a forgery from the 9th Cent, used by the papacy to assert its temporal and apostolic rights to universal priority.

*****
wv = raciangl

One of the angels that seduced the sons of humans after the expulsion from the Garden?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lucia,
I appreciate that distinguished and ancient theologians asserted, if not argued for the primacy of the See of Rome. But were they asserting the eminence and mana of that see, or its absolute claim to authority over the church?

A general difficulty Protestants and Eastern Orthodox have with the primacy of Rome is not with its claim to ancientness and to eminence but with its claim to authority when it has a record of misuse of that authority when engaging in politics and when developing doctrine. A mandate for sound leadership does not normally last long when its claim relies on past glories and its record is patchy and disputed.

In the particular case of the Christian faith a greater openness by the papacy to reviewing disputed doctrines could lead to a mandate from all the faithful.

Lucia Maria said...

David,

I've just looked up the Donation of Constantine on the Catholic Encyclopedia, and it is recognised as a forgery there. Very interesting history. It's been considered a forgery for such a long time (600 years) that I am surprised anyone would give it any weight anymore.

So you think it was forged by Rome, then? That's not the opinion of a number of researchers, who think it more likely it was forged by the Franks in order to elevate the new Western Empire of Charlemagne against the Byzantines. As proof, they offer the following:

As far as the evidence at hand permits us to judge, the forged "Constitutum" was first made known in the Frankish Empire. The oldest extant manuscript of it, certainly from the ninth century, was written in the Frankish Empire. In the second half of that century the document is expressly mentioned by three Frankish writers. Ado, Bishop of Vienne, speaks of it in his Chronicle (De sex ætatibus mundi, ad an. 306, in P.L., CXXIII, 92); Æneas, Bishop of Paris, refers to it in defence of the Roman primacy (Adversus Græcos, c. ccix, op. cit., CXXI, 758); Hincmar, Archbishop of Reims, mentions the donation of Rome to the pope by Constantine the Great according to the "Constitutum" (De ordine palatii, c. xiii, op. cit., CXXV, 998). The document obtained wider circulation by its incorporation with the False Decretals (840-850, or more specifically between 847 and 852; Hinschius, Decretales Pseudo-Isidorianæ, Leipzig, 1863, p. 249). At Rome no use was made of the document during the ninth and the tenth centuries, not even amid the conflicts and difficulties of Nicholas I with Constantinople, when it might have served as a welcome argument for the claim of the pope.

Not used by the Papacy at all until 1054. A bit strange if it was forged in Rome for Rome's use.

David |Dah • veed| said...

Lucia Maria, you argue points that I have not raised.

But to be concise, the document was forged by whomever to falsely elevate the papacy over all other Christian Sees and was used by said papacy to argue its cause of universal primacy until irrefutably shown to be a forgery. Period.

It would seem that an infallible pope would have known better than to be taken in by a forgery and use it to stake his claim.

The bottom line is that you accept the pope as the universal primate, the Vicar of Christ and the supreme bishop of one of but a handful of organizations which are the true Church. He also argues that he is the supreme prelate of those other organizations that comprise the true church. The other organizations do not accept his arguments or his claim that he is the church's supreme pontiff.

And many others of us do not accept his claim as well. And we know all of the arguments promulgated by Rome throughout its history and are not persuaded by them. Period.

Lucia Maria said...

David,

"Lucia Maria, you argue points that I have not raised."

Er, no, I think you did raise them. Let me remind you. On October 1, at 6:18 am, you said:

These are the same arguments put forward by the Vatican/Papacy for centuries, even to the point that they resorted to falsifying documents a number of centuries ago to prop up their case.

I put forward the argument that "The most important among many" of these forgeries (your words, on October 9 5:48am) was not used by Rome for about 200 years after it first appeared, thus calling into question the notion that it was a forgery by Rome to protect the Papacy.

It would seem that an infallible pope would have known better than to be taken in by a forgery and use it to stake his claim.

You misunderstand what infallibility in regards to the Papacy actually means. It does not mean that they become omniscient like God. All it means is that the Holy Spirit does not allow the Holy Father to err on teaching faith or morals. It's a negative trait, preventing error rather than allowing them to know and see everything.

David |Dah • veed| said...

Then the HS should have prevented him from teaching the error that he was the church's Supreme Pontiff using the forgery, the Donation of Constantine, as part of his proof.

Lucia Maria said...

David,

Considering the Holy Father is the Pontiff of the Church, only the proof used was in error, not the argument itself. However, this example would not be considered to be covered under infallibility.

Here's an explanation for when infallibility comes into it:

Infallibility belongs in a special way to the pope as head of the bishops (Matt. 16:17–19; John 21:15–17). As Vatican II remarked, it is a charism the pope "enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (Luke 22:32), he proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals. Therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly held irreformable, for they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, an assistance promised to him in blessed Peter."

~ Catholic Answers

You really should read the above site, David. It will hopefully clear up any other misconceptions that you have about Catholicism in general.

Lucia Maria said...

I'm going to have to bow out of this conversation, no matter what response is made to my previous comment made yesterday to David which still hasn't appeared as of at 1:30pm on 14 October, as I'm finding the delayed reaction of the moderated comments to be extremely frustrating.

I run a blog as well. It is not moderated. We get trolls and spammers and (and once a horrendous attack on one of our authors), but I just keep track of the comments in my email, and then go and delete any of those that offend. We just require an account, which seems to really prevent many offensive comments.

The advantage of an unmoderated blog is if some people want to have a conversation that doesn't involve the blog owner, then they can. It works much better.

Of course, it's your blog, Peter, and you can do what you want. But as for me, I've had enough of this.

Oh, and Alison, thanks for encouraging me to continue!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lucia
Perhaps I should reconsider my approach to moderation ... it does depend on me! And 'me' does not have access to the internet all the time as I do not have an 'air card' for when I am away at a place without internet access.

What is your blog?

David |Dah • veed| said...

Her blog is here Peter;
http://nzconservative.blogspot.com/

It is unfortunately filled with the hubris of the self-righteous. Check out the post about the exhibit of Maori artifacts and the Maori requirements for exhibiting the items with regard to Maori beliefs regarding menstruating women. Perhaps if Lucia took a few moments away from her blind obsession to the papacy and all things Roman Catholic, she would learn of very similar Israelite sanitary laws concerning menstruating women.

It seems one can find ignorant superstition in almost any faith.