Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pope admits 'fallibility' and pledges to start using Internet

Ruth Gledhill - Times Online - WBLG: Pope admits 'fallibility' and pledges to start using Internet

A very interesting account by Ms. Gledhill - by far the best religion correspondent around the British press. She has published some comments attacking her for her headline.

What we see in the comments is the usual dodge of over-eager papalists: that the pope is only "infallible" on some occasions.

The rest of the time extreme effort is put into claiming other statements are "binding". This applies to things such as the ordination of women, statements about homosexuality, and on contraception. In my opinion it is a fundamentally dishonest way of arguing, but is so familiar it has a name - "creeping infallibility."

I once wrote up a Syllabus of Papal and Magisterial Errors which is still online.

The comments made by Hans Kung in his 1970 book Infallibility apply now as ever.

"The errors of the ecclesiastical teaching office in every century have been numerous and indisputable: a close scrutiny of the Index of Forbidden Books would be particularly revealing in this respect. An yet the teaching office constantly found it difficult to admit these errors frankly and honestly. Mostly the correction was only made "implicitly," in a veiled way, without any frankness and particularly without admitting the mistake. It was feared that awareness of the admitted falliblity of certain important decisions would restrict or even finally shut out the prospect of claiming infallibility for certain other important decisions

For a long time, too, Catholic theologians in their works on apologetics in service of the teaching office, were able to successfully ward off any questioning of infallibility by the use of a basically simple recipe: either it was not an error or - when at last and finally an error could no longer be denied, reinterpreted, rendered innocuous or belittled - it was not an infallible decision.[...] "

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