Episode 10: Papal Infallibility and Papal Supremacy

In this edition of Thinking with the Church: the nature and purpose of Papal authority.

In her Dogmatic Constitution, Pastor Aeternus, on the Church of Christ, the Fathers of the I Vatican Council taught that the Bishop of Rome has direct, immediate, and supreme authority over the whole Church and all the faithful.

This is the doctrine of Papal Supremacy.

The Council also taught that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex Cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of Pastor and Teacher of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the Universal Church, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that His Church should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith or morals: and that therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church.

This is the dogma of Papal infallibility.

These teachings – of an Ecumenical Council – are to be held by all the faithful on pain of mortal sin: to deny them is to separate oneself from the Body of Christ.

Only, what do these teachings mean?

More importantly, what don’t they mean?

Where did they come from?

Why did the Fathers of the I Vatican Council bother with them at all, and why do we bother with them today, when the Papacy as an institution often appears rather to be an impediment to Christian unity than anything else (and don’t be upset with me – I didn’t say it, Pope St. John Paul II did in Ut unum sint, 96).

This week, we explore these questions and others with Christopher Wells, a theologian doing Doctoral work at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, who has written extensively on both subjects, especially their treatment in the thought and writings of the great 19th Century theologian and Churchman, Henry Edward Cardinal Manning.

Henry Edward Cardinal Manning by George Frederic Watts [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

*********** ***********

Friends, the podcasting arm of Vocaris Media is listener-supported, so, your donations really are what make this possible. $1 / show is what we ask – though we’re always happy to receive more.

You can make your donation by going to www.thinkingwiththechurch.wordpress.com and clicking on the “support TwtC” tab in the menu at the top, or by going to www.vocarismedia.com and looking for the “donate” button in the top-right corner of the page.

You can participate in discussions by going to the blog: again, that’s at www.thinkingwiththechurch.wordpress.com and leaving your thoughts in the comboxes.

Follow us on Twitter: @TWTC_Rome

You can write me directly on the emails: the address is craltieri@vocarismedia.com

Subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes, or use the RSS feed to subscribe through your favorite podcast manager.

“Thanks!” as always to Executive Producer Ester Rita.

Our web guru is Christopher Bauer Anderson – “Topher” Anderson of www.lifesiteministries.org.

Sean Beeson composed our theme. Hear more of his musical stylings at www.seanbeeson.com.

St. Gabriel Archangel, pray for us!

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

One thought on “Episode 10: Papal Infallibility and Papal Supremacy

  1. Pingback: Episode 11: Romanitas revisited | Thinking with the Church

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s