The Charism of Infallibility: The Magisterium
Vatican Council II, The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Chapter 25
- Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff
- are to be respected by all
- as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth.
- In matters of faith and morals,
- the bishops speak in the name of Christ, and
- the faithful are
- to accept their teaching and
- adhere to it with a religious assent of souls.
- This religious submission
- of will and
- of mind
- must be shown in a special way
- to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff,
- even when he is not speaking ex cathedra ...
- his supreme magisterium is acknowledged ...
- the judgments made by him ... adhered to ...
- known chiefly
- from the character of the documents,
- from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine,
- from his manner of speaking.
- ... the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility,
- they can ... proclaim Christ's doctrine of infallibility...
- when they are dispersed around the world ...
- maintaining the bond of unity
- among themselves and
- with Peter's successor,
- while teaching authentically on a matter of
- faith or
- concur in a single viewpoint as the one which must be held ...
- This authority is even more clearly verified when,
- gathered together in an ecumenical council,
- they are teachers and judges of
- faith and
- morals for the universal church.
- Their definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.
- This infallibility
- with which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to be endowed
- in defining a doctrine of
- faith and
- extends as far as the deposit of divine revelation which must be
- religiously guarded and
- faithfully expounded.
- This is the infallibility
- which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops
- enjoys in virtue of his office, when
- as the supreme
- shepherd and
- teacher of all the faithful,
- confirms his brethren in their faith,
- proclaims ... some doctrine of
- faith or
- Therefore his definitions,
- of themselves, and
- not from the consent of the Church,
- are justly styled irreformable, for they are
- pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit,
- assistance promised to him
- in blessed Peter ...
- need no approval of others,
- nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment.
- ... the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment
- as a private person ...
- but rather as the supreme teacher of the universal Church,
- as one in whom
- the charism of infallibility of the Church herself is individually present,
- he is
- expounding or
- defending a doctrine of Catholic faith.
- The infallibility
- promised to the Church
- resides also in the body of bishops
- when that body exercises supreme teaching authority
- with the successor of Peter ...
- When either
- the Roman Pontiff, or
- the body of bishops together with him
- defines a judgment
- they pronounce it in accord with Revelation itself ...
- Under the guiding light of the Holy Spirit, Revelation is thus
- religiously preserved and
- faithfully expounded in the Church.
- The Roman Pontiff and
- the bishops, strive painstakingly and by appropriate means
- to inquire properly into that Revelation and
- to give apt expression to its contents.
- ... they
- do not allow that there could be any new public revelation
- pertaining to the divine deposit of truth.
By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-1997, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: January 3, 1997