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First, some much-needed background. The pope is infallible only when he speaks ex cathedrawhen he speaks ex cathedra. Ex cathedra is not a linguistic formula, it is simply a way to recognize those times when the pope gives a teaching that is correct and will remain correct forever. Ecumenical councils are another organ of infallibility, but we can talk about just the pope without missing anything important to this question. The pope does not always speak ex cathedra, so papal infallibility isn't called into question over every statement the pope makes. Only those statements about faith and morals would even qualify.

Some people think that when the pope speaks in this way, he is to be seen as creating something, like an artist adding paint to a canvas. That is not what the pope does. Imagine instead an unchanging mural set into a rock. Parts of it are obscured by debris, and other parts are splashed with paint. Some people are performing restoration. Others try to paint on top of paint. The pope, as pope, does not get involved with any of this. The pope does not paint. Instead, he sits down on a chair that's set apart, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, points to the exposed surface of this mural that is (and remains) immaculate, free of all human machination and accumulated grime. If his hand were covered in blood it would still, by the Holy Spirit, point up to truth. If millions of people surrounded him and raised their hands up in disarray, it would be his hand that Catholics would know to look for. His hand is guided by the Holy Spirit and directed at the Word. He sits upon the seat of Saint Peter. Catholics try to raise our hands to point to the same place.

I hope the above is not too metaphorical, but it is difficult to convey what role the pope and magisterium play in Catholicism by just saying that the pope is never wrong and that doctrines never change.

In case things are still not clear, here are some short answers to your questions:

    • No pope has ever infallibly proclaimed that he is fallible.
    • No pope has ever denounced an infallible teaching.
    • Nor has one infallible statement ever been set against another one.
    • Nor has any pope ever made a doctrinal error when speaking in this way:

      The broad fact, therefore, remains certain that no ex cathedra definition of any pope has ever been shown to be erroneous. (The Catholic Encyclopedia on Infallibility)

    • Dogma is not developed and adjusted and fitted over time.
    • Infallible statements are made when confusion begins to arise on a certain clear matter.
    • Doctrines cannot be changed:

      No, the Church cannot change its doctrines no matter how badly some theologians may want it to or how loudly they claim it can. The doctrines of the Catholic Church are the deposit of faith revealed by Jesus Christ, taught by the apostles, and handed down in their entirety by the apostles to their successors. Since revealed truth cannot change, and since the deposit of faith is comprised of revealed truth, expressed in Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the deposit of faith cannot change. (From "Catholic Answers")

Of course, a person might disagree with the Pope, or with Ecumenical Councils, or with the Catholic Encyclopedia, or with the idea of papal infallibility, or even with the idea of there being anything to point to. That would be another hand being raised; we can only pray that all our hands will eventually point up to the same place. This site is not set up for argument, though: if you'd like to know if some particular ex cathedra declaration of the pope has been proven incorrect according to some standard, you would need to ask another question about the particular case.

First, some much-needed background. The pope is infallible only when he speaks ex cathedra. Ex cathedra is not a linguistic formula, it is simply a way to recognize those times when the pope gives a teaching that is correct and will remain correct forever. Ecumenical councils are another organ of infallibility, but we can talk about just the pope without missing anything important to this question. The pope does not always speak ex cathedra, so papal infallibility isn't called into question over every statement the pope makes. Only those statements about faith and morals would even qualify.

Some people think that when the pope speaks in this way, he is to be seen as creating something, like an artist adding paint to a canvas. That is not what the pope does. Imagine instead an unchanging mural set into a rock. Parts of it are obscured by debris, and other parts are splashed with paint. Some people are performing restoration. Others try to paint on top of paint. The pope, as pope, does not get involved with any of this. The pope does not paint. Instead, he sits down on a chair that's set apart, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, points to the exposed surface of this mural that is (and remains) immaculate, free of all human machination and accumulated grime. If his hand were covered in blood it would still, by the Holy Spirit, point up to truth. If millions of people surrounded him and raised their hands up in disarray, it would be his hand that Catholics would know to look for. His hand is guided by the Holy Spirit and directed at the Word. He sits upon the seat of Saint Peter. Catholics try to raise our hands to point to the same place.

I hope the above is not too metaphorical, but it is difficult to convey what role the pope and magisterium play in Catholicism by just saying that the pope is never wrong and that doctrines never change.

In case things are still not clear, here are some short answers to your questions:

    • No pope has ever infallibly proclaimed that he is fallible.
    • No pope has ever denounced an infallible teaching.
    • Nor has one infallible statement ever been set against another one.
    • Nor has any pope ever made a doctrinal error when speaking in this way:

      The broad fact, therefore, remains certain that no ex cathedra definition of any pope has ever been shown to be erroneous. (The Catholic Encyclopedia on Infallibility)

    • Dogma is not developed and adjusted and fitted over time.
    • Infallible statements are made when confusion begins to arise on a certain clear matter.
    • Doctrines cannot be changed:

      No, the Church cannot change its doctrines no matter how badly some theologians may want it to or how loudly they claim it can. The doctrines of the Catholic Church are the deposit of faith revealed by Jesus Christ, taught by the apostles, and handed down in their entirety by the apostles to their successors. Since revealed truth cannot change, and since the deposit of faith is comprised of revealed truth, expressed in Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the deposit of faith cannot change. (From "Catholic Answers")

Of course, a person might disagree with the Pope, or with Ecumenical Councils, or with the Catholic Encyclopedia, or with the idea of papal infallibility, or even with the idea of there being anything to point to. That would be another hand being raised; we can only pray that all our hands will eventually point up to the same place. This site is not set up for argument, though: if you'd like to know if some particular ex cathedra declaration of the pope has been proven incorrect according to some standard, you would need to ask another question about the particular case.

First, some much-needed background. The pope is infallible only when he speaks ex cathedra. Ex cathedra is not a linguistic formula, it is simply a way to recognize those times when the pope gives a teaching that is correct and will remain correct forever. Ecumenical councils are another organ of infallibility, but we can talk about just the pope without missing anything important to this question. The pope does not always speak ex cathedra, so papal infallibility isn't called into question over every statement the pope makes. Only those statements about faith and morals would even qualify.

Some people think that when the pope speaks in this way, he is to be seen as creating something, like an artist adding paint to a canvas. That is not what the pope does. Imagine instead an unchanging mural set into a rock. Parts of it are obscured by debris, and other parts are splashed with paint. Some people are performing restoration. Others try to paint on top of paint. The pope, as pope, does not get involved with any of this. The pope does not paint. Instead, he sits down on a chair that's set apart, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, points to the exposed surface of this mural that is (and remains) immaculate, free of all human machination and accumulated grime. If his hand were covered in blood it would still, by the Holy Spirit, point up to truth. If millions of people surrounded him and raised their hands up in disarray, it would be his hand that Catholics would know to look for. His hand is guided by the Holy Spirit and directed at the Word. He sits upon the seat of Saint Peter. Catholics try to raise our hands to point to the same place.

I hope the above is not too metaphorical, but it is difficult to convey what role the pope and magisterium play in Catholicism by just saying that the pope is never wrong and that doctrines never change.

In case things are still not clear, here are some short answers to your questions:

    • No pope has ever infallibly proclaimed that he is fallible.
    • No pope has ever denounced an infallible teaching.
    • Nor has one infallible statement ever been set against another one.
    • Nor has any pope ever made a doctrinal error when speaking in this way:

      The broad fact, therefore, remains certain that no ex cathedra definition of any pope has ever been shown to be erroneous. (The Catholic Encyclopedia on Infallibility)

    • Dogma is not developed and adjusted and fitted over time.
    • Infallible statements are made when confusion begins to arise on a certain clear matter.
    • Doctrines cannot be changed:

      No, the Church cannot change its doctrines no matter how badly some theologians may want it to or how loudly they claim it can. The doctrines of the Catholic Church are the deposit of faith revealed by Jesus Christ, taught by the apostles, and handed down in their entirety by the apostles to their successors. Since revealed truth cannot change, and since the deposit of faith is comprised of revealed truth, expressed in Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the deposit of faith cannot change. (From "Catholic Answers")

Of course, a person might disagree with the Pope, or with Ecumenical Councils, or with the Catholic Encyclopedia, or with the idea of papal infallibility, or even with the idea of there being anything to point to. That would be another hand being raised; we can only pray that all our hands will eventually point up to the same place. This site is not set up for argument, though: if you'd like to know if some particular ex cathedra declaration of the pope has been proven incorrect according to some standard, you would need to ask another question about the particular case.

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Some people think that when the pope speaks in this way, he is to be seen as creating something, like an artist adding paint to a canvas. That is not what the pope does. Imagine instead an unchanging mural set into a rock. Parts of it are obscured by debris, and other parts are splashed with paint. Some people are performing restoration. Others try to paint on top of paint. The pope, as pope, does not get involved with any of this. The pope does not paint. Instead, he sits down on a chair that's set apart, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, points to the exposed surface of this mural that is (and remains) immaculate, free of all human machination and accumulated grime. If his hand were covered in blood it would still, by the Holy Spirit, point up to truth. If millions of people surrounded him and raised their armshands up in disarray, it would be his hand that weCatholics would know to look for. His hand is guided by the Holy Spirit and directed at the Word. He sits upon the seat of Saint Peter. We Catholics try to raise our hands to point to the same place.

Of course, a person might disagree with the Pope, or with Ecumenical Councils, or with the Catholic Encyclopedia, or with the idea of papal infallibility, or even with the idea of there being anything to point to. That would be another hand being raised, but this site is not set up for argument. Weraised; we can howeveronly pray that, eventually, all our hands will eventually point up to the same place. This site is not set up for argument, though: if you'd like to know if some particular ex cathedra declaration of the pope has been proven incorrect according to some standard, you would need to ask another question about the particular case.

Some people think that when the pope speaks in this way, he is to be seen as creating something, like an artist adding paint to a canvas. That is not what the pope does. Imagine instead an unchanging mural set into a rock. Parts of it are obscured by debris, and other parts are splashed with paint. Some people are performing restoration. Others try to paint on top of paint. The pope, as pope, does not get involved with any of this. The pope does not paint. Instead, he sits down on a chair that's set apart, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, points to the exposed surface of this mural that is (and remains) immaculate, free of all human machination and accumulated grime. If his hand were covered in blood it would still, by the Holy Spirit, point up to truth. If millions surrounded him and raised their arms in disarray, it would be his hand that we would know to look for. His hand is guided by the Holy Spirit and directed at the Word. He sits upon the seat of Saint Peter. We Catholics try to raise our hands to point to the same place.

Of course, a person might disagree with the Pope, or with Ecumenical Councils, or with the Catholic Encyclopedia, or with the idea of papal infallibility, or even with the idea of there being anything to point to. That would be another hand being raised, but this site is not set up for argument. We can however pray that, eventually, all our hands will point up to the same place.

Some people think that when the pope speaks in this way, he is to be seen as creating something, like an artist adding paint to a canvas. That is not what the pope does. Imagine instead an unchanging mural set into a rock. Parts of it are obscured by debris, and other parts are splashed with paint. Some people are performing restoration. Others try to paint on top of paint. The pope, as pope, does not get involved with any of this. The pope does not paint. Instead, he sits down on a chair that's set apart, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, points to the exposed surface of this mural that is (and remains) immaculate, free of all human machination and accumulated grime. If his hand were covered in blood it would still, by the Holy Spirit, point up to truth. If millions of people surrounded him and raised their hands up in disarray, it would be his hand that Catholics would know to look for. His hand is guided by the Holy Spirit and directed at the Word. He sits upon the seat of Saint Peter. Catholics try to raise our hands to point to the same place.

Of course, a person might disagree with the Pope, or with Ecumenical Councils, or with the Catholic Encyclopedia, or with the idea of papal infallibility, or even with the idea of there being anything to point to. That would be another hand being raised; we can only pray that all our hands will eventually point up to the same place. This site is not set up for argument, though: if you'd like to know if some particular ex cathedra declaration of the pope has been proven incorrect according to some standard, you would need to ask another question about the particular case.

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First, some much-needed background. The pope is infallible only when he speaks ex cathedra. Ex cathedra is not a linguistic formula, it is simply a way to recognize those times when the pope gives a teaching that is correct and will remain correct forever. Ecumenical councils are another organ of infallibility, but we can talk about just the pope without missing anything important to this question. The pope does not always speak ex cathedra, so papal infallibility isn't called into question over every statement the pope makes. Only those statements about faith and morals would even qualify.

Some people think that when the pope speaks in this way, he is to be seen as creating something, like an artist adding paint to a canvas. That is not what the pope does. Imagine instead an unchanging mural set into a rock. Parts of it are obscured by debris, and other parts are splashed with paint. Some people are performing restoration. Others try to paint on top of paint. The pope, as pope, does not get involved with any of this. The pope does not paint. Instead, he sits down on a chair that's set apart, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, points to the exposed surface of this mural that is (and remains) immaculate, free of all human machination and accumulated grime. If his hand were covered in blood it would still, by the Holy Spirit, point up to truth. If millions surrounded him and raised their arms in disarray, it would be his hand that we would know to look for. His hand is guided by the Holy Spirit and directed at the Word. He sits upon the seat of Saint Peter. We Catholics try to raise our hands to point to the same place.

I hope the above is not too metaphorical, but it is difficult to convey what role the pope and magisterium play in Catholicism by just saying that the pope is never wrong and that doctrines never change.

In case things are still not clear, here are some short answers to your questions:

    • No pope has ever infallibly proclaimed that he is fallible.
    • No pope has ever denounced an infallible teaching.
    • Nor has one infallible statement ever been set against another one.
    • Nor has any pope ever made a doctrinal error when speaking in this way:

      The broad fact, therefore, remains certain that no ex cathedra definition of any pope has ever been shown to be erroneous. (The Catholic Encyclopedia on Infallibility)

    • Dogma is not developed and adjusted and fitted over time.
    • Infallible statements are made when confusion begins to arise on a certain clear matter.
    • Doctrines cannot be changed:

      No, the Church cannot change its doctrines no matter how badly some theologians may want it to or how loudly they claim it can. The doctrines of the Catholic Church are the deposit of faith revealed by Jesus Christ, taught by the apostles, and handed down in their entirety by the apostles to their successors. Since revealed truth cannot change, and since the deposit of faith is comprised of revealed truth, expressed in Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the deposit of faith cannot change. (From "Catholic Answers")

Of course, a person might disagree with the Pope, or with Ecumenical Councils, or with the Catholic Encyclopedia, or with the idea of papal infallibility, or even with the idea of there being anything to point to. That would be another hand being raised, but this site is not set up for argument. We can however pray that, eventually, all our hands will point up to the same place.