PopeWatch: Galloping Infallibility

Share on facebook
Facebook 0
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn 0
Share on reddit
Reddit 0
Share on delicious
Share on digg
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon 0
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on print




Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa notes that Pope Francis has placed greater emphasis on infallibility than his immediate predecessors:


There was an uproar in recent days over the announcement by the theologian Hans Küng that Pope Francis has given an effective green light to “an unrestricted discussion of the dogma of infallibility”:

> Fr. Hans Küng says Francis responded to request for free discussion on infallibility dogma

But curiously, to the contrary of what one might have expected, Küng did not make public the letter that the pope wrote to him in response to one of his previous appeals. He only described it. Perhaps because the letter was not as affirmative as he would like to have believed.

Francis, in fact, turns out to be anything but a pushover when he asserts his papal authority as “supreme, full, immediate, and universal,” both in governing and in teaching.

On the contrary, he is certainly the pontiff who over the past half century has exalted more than any other this supreme authority, not only over the Catholic Church but over all of Christendom, citing in support of this none other than the 1870 dogmatic constitution “Pastor Aeternus” of Vatican Council I, which proclaimed the pope’s infallibility “ex cathedra.”

But first things first.

Küng’s appeal to Pope Francis came out simultaneously in multiple languages last March 9 in various newspapers around the world, for example in Italy in “la Repubblica,” the country’s most important secular and progressive newspaper, ultra-Bergoglian:

> Aboliamo l’infallibilità del papa

No surprise there. Küng has spent a lifetime trying to demolish the dogma of papal infallibility. The process that concluded in 1979 with the revocation of his license to teach Catholic theology was prompted by two of his books from about ten years before, entitled: “The Church” and “Infallible? A Question.”

And it was the whole body of essays that he has written on the topic, collected in the fifth volume of his complete works being published this year in Germany, which provided the cue for him to ask Pope Francis publicly for the opening of “a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion in our church of the all the unresolved and suppressed questions connected with the infallibility dogma.”

Küng sent the appeal personally to the pope by letter, in Spanish. And shortly after Easter he received at his home in Tübingen, through the nunciature in Berlin, the  letter in reply, dated March 20.

The pope’s letter began with a friendly “Lieber Mitbruder,” dear brother, and was written by hand. But these remain the only words cited by Küng in quotation marks in reporting the content of the missive. It is unclear to what extent the rest of it might correspond to the narrative presented by the theologian.

Because it is true that Pope Francis can be relied on to issue exhortations to discuss everything, even the most delicate topics. But it is also his established habit to alternate these “openings” of his with reaffirmations of traditional doctrine, with that continual and never definitive “stop and go” which characterizes his magisterium.

On the dogma of infallibility, however, there is no comparison between his feeble and hesitant support for the reconsideration of the dogma on the one hand and on the other the powerful, thundering proclamation of his own supreme authority that he has made more than once, and always on occasions of great significance.




The key occasions have been two in particular.

The first was the closing speech for the turbulent first session of the synod on the family, October 14, 2014:

> “With a heart…”

Visibly irritated over the development of the synod, far below his reformist expectations, Pope Francis made it clear to the bishops and cardinals that in any case the last word would rest with him, as “supreme pastor and teacher of the faithful,” endowed with “supreme, full, immediate, and universal authority.” Both of these formulations are taken from the code of canon law, precisely that juridical structure of the Church which he doesn’t like but which this time he found it convenient to lean on.

To avoid any misunderstanding, Francis also reiterated to the synod fathers that “the synod takes place ‘cum Petro et sub Petro’,” not only “with” but also “under” the successor of Peter.

The second key occasion was one year later, halfway through the second session of the synod on the family, this too a disappointment for him:

> “As the Ordinary General Assembly…”

It was October 17, 2015, the fiftieth anniversary of the institution of the synod of bishops, and the commemoration gave the pope his cue to describe the dynamics of a synod this way:

“The Synod process begins by listening to the people of God. [. . .] It then continues by listening to the pastors. [. . .] The Synod process culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, who is called to speak as ‘pastor and teacher of all Christians’.”

Attention. Here Francis did not cite again, as he did a year before, canon 749 of the code of canon law, which proclaims the authority of the pope over the “christifideles,” meaning the “faithful” belonging to the Catholic Church.

This time he took the citation from the dogmatic constitution “Pastor Aeternus” of Vatican Council I, in which the authority of the pope is extended to “all Christians,” meaning in theory also to Protestants, Orthodox, Evangelicals, to the whole sphere of the baptized called to make their way back to the one Church.

And that of the pope is an authority as “pastor” and also as “teacher” which, in the same paragraph of “Pastor Aeternus,” is proclaimed as “infallible,” specifying in what sense and within what limits. Immediately followed by the “anathema sit” typical of every dogmatic definition:

“If anyone therefore may have the presumption to oppose, God forbid, this definition of ours: let him be anathema.”

It must be noted that Vatican Council II as well, in the dogmatic constitution “Lumen Gentium,” at no. 25, in reaffirming the pope’s “supreme and full power over the universal Church” and his “infallibility . . . as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful,” also cites “Pastor Aeternus” of Vatican Council I, the bane of Küng and his ilk:

> Lumen gentium

But it stops one step short of what Francis has instead done, extending the pope’s infallible magisterium not only to the Catholic faithful but to “all Christians.”

In his speech of October 17, 2015 Francis then continued by insisting on the “sub Petro” with even more vigor than he did the year before:

“The fact that the Synod always acts cum Petro et sub Petro — indeed, not only cum Petro, but also sub Petro — is not a limitation of freedom, but a guarantee of unity.”

And it can be presumed that he already had in mind what he would write in the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Lætitia,” availing himself of his own supreme authority in order to proceed well beyond where the synod was prepared to go.

Go here to read the rest.  Rest assured that the one Catholic doctrine that is safe and secure in this Pontificate is papal infallibility.

More to explorer

Eating Their Own

  News that I missed, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:   WASHINGTON, D.C.—Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is busy celebrating her victory over the


  1. If the doctrine of Papal Infallibility is so secure in this Pontificate, then how is it that this Pope can so freely and willy nilly contradict the infallible teachings of previous Popes and even our Blessed Lord Himself? Let me guess: infallibility applies to no other Pope and certainly not to our Blessed Lord.
    Depose and anathematize Jorge Bergoglio.
    I should make that a Latin phrase like “Carthago delenda est” said by Cato the Elder at the end of each of his speeches, and repeat that practice at the end of my pitiful writings:
    “Georgius Bergoglius demovendus et anathemandus est.”
    It’s been a long time since I used Latin gerundives. I hope I did it right. Nevertheless, it felt good! 😉

  2. He can’t. And he know’s it. Which is why Amoris Laetitia is a confused mess. So take the win. Nothing in the Churfh’s teaching has changed.
    Now, consistent application of those teachings; that’s another matter altogether. But there’s nothing particularly new about that either.

  3. Shades of Kungian deception yet once again. Let’s go back almost 54 years.

    On pp. 81-82 of Yves Congar’s “My Journal of the Council”(Liturgical Press: Collegeville, 2012), Congar details how Kung came to him in Sept. 16th-17th 1962 to enlist him in the overthrow of the [actually “democratically”] constructed schematas of the not-yet-convened Council of Vatican II (The first day of the Council was Oct. 11th, 1962).

    [The schematas were a result of informatios, interrogatories, that had been sent to all the bishops of the world during the years 1958-1961: the principal request of those bishops? A public condemnation of communism.]Kung specifically was scheming to reject the schematas, and was also clandestinely in conference with Cardinals Lienart (Belgium), Alfrink (Netherlands), Dopfner (Germany), and one Cardinal Montini (Milan; who had not long before been made cardinal by John XXIII in 1958, one of the latter’s very first appointments).

    Kung at that time [Sept 16-17, ’62] said he would gather several well-known theologians to draft a document, along with another Tubingen theologian, Joseph Moller, to derail the Council planning documents. Congar expressed his reservations to Kung that it would appear that the group will be “scheming” (his words; uh, duh, yes): yet, they essentially went ahead with the plan that ousted, for all intents and purposes, Card. Ottaviani (Oct. 30th: this was the day when Ottaviani’s mike was shut off by the command of Lienart), and the rout was on. John XXIII was expected to intervene: but by November it was known to Congar and others that he has ill with cancer (it turned out to be stomach cancer), probably the reason he was in absentia more than any other reason. And Kung and Congar knew of his incapacitation according to Congar’s journal, at least by Nov. 1962 (JXXIII actually first was diagnosed in Sept, but it had been successfully kept secret).
    The purpose for which Vatican II was convened therefore was subverted: and the little good-for-nothing that was at the scheming heart of the subversion lives on today, spinning his endlessly diabolical schemes: Hans Kung. The same man who openly attacked P Benedict XVI starting in 2010 (In Oct 2012, he was quoted in The Guardian/UK that “revolution” against Benedict XVI was necessary), the same man who said in his 2010 book Was ich glaube (“What I believe”) that he essentially did not believe in the Catholic faith any longer, but in a weird pantheism, and who has said in 2013 in another writing that he believes people should be able to end their own lives (he suffers from Parkinson’s), assisted suicide—yet here he is still 54 years later, undoing what is left of the remnant of the Catholic Church.

    It is why they say only the good die young (or, in Spanish, “La mala yerba nunca muere”: the evil herb lives on forever). Usquoque, Domine?

  4. As the playbook of any small child or liberal reads, the more wrong you are, the more you need to insist that you’re right, really REALLY right, and everybody better fall in line or the screamin’ will start.

  5. arggggg!

    To quote Pope John Paul II:
    Hans Kung must have said that infallibly.

    What a sin, to insert Han Kung into the Star Wars franchise! “You do not know the power of writing for the Dark Side”

  6. Kind of puts Bergie in a catch-22: he can’t “open up” infallibility without undermining his own utterances. So not gonna happen.

  7. Georgius Bergoglius certainly didn’t utter these “teachings” infallibly, or did he? AL 296: “The way of the Chruch is not to condemn anyone forever.” AL 297: “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel.” And he covered all sins: AL 297: “Here I am not speaking only of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves.” The take away from BG: Go and sin on more. And please, no “rusehd reading” of BG’s words. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

  8. Infallibility may only be invoked by the Pope when the Bride of Christ, His Holy Church, the saints triumphant in heaven, the militant on earth and the suffering souls in purgatory are in accord and acknowledged as having the infallible truth of Jesus. “I AM THE TRUTH, THE LIFE AND THE WAY.”…Jesus Christ. The Vicar of Christ is the Pope. The lost souls in hell are not remembered by anyone, not even themselves.. The souls in hell, the damned by their own choice, are fallen beneath the beasts and become demons.

  9. Guy McClung. The damned are damned by their own free will and their own choice. Something that even almighty God refuses to revoke. God will not contradict Himself. It is called the law of non-contradiction. One cannot be and not be at the same time. Man cannot have free will and be subject to another person’s will without his free will consent. Yes, the devil is a person who ensnares our immortal human soul and carries us with him to hell. Does the Pope not see Michelangelo’s LAST JUDGEMENT every day?.

  10. Reminds me of Satan quoting scripture to Jesus in a failing attempt to get Jesus to sin.

    Get behind me Satan.

  11. I could actually see Bergoglio wanting to evict infallibility. He would have far more freedom to change church teaching if past teaching were fallible. He needn’t be infallible to be the ultimate authority in the Church, and that would remain. Actually, for Francis, a fallible papacy is far less fettered, and he has far more range.

  12. Can’t be done Clay, even if he wanted to, because it would be a self-refuting contradiction that would literally undermine everything, including anything the Francis wanted to teach “authoritatively” that was contrary to “fallible” doctrine.

  13. Mary, Clay and Ernst, that is the beauty of the liberal/dissenting/schismatic/heretical Principle of NonNonContradiction, ie A Thing Can Be And Not Be At the Same Time. Folks like this and Jorge will have no problem denying infallibility (especially to everything previously declared infallibly) and then declaring infallibly ___________ [fill in with whatever you like; eg. on the horizon, lesbians in a loving nongenital relationship whose internal forum tells them everlasting Hell is only temporary can be ordained deacons]. Have a fullofwonder weekend. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

Comments are closed.