note on papal infallibility

NOTE infallibility PONTIFICIA

A further clarification of the theologian John Cavalcoli about the infallibility of the Pope in reference to his previous article [WHO] and a recent article published in church&Postcouncil [WHO] in which it quoted an interesting essay written by the late and valiant Passionist Father Enrico Zoffoli.

Author John Cavalcoli OP

John Cavalcoli OP

Mrs. Maria Guarini has published on its website church&Postcouncil an interesting essay written by the late and brave Father Enrico Zoffoli, real fighter of faith, which once denounced “heresies of the Neocatechumenal Way” [see WHO] fondato nel 1972 Madrid's Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez.

But I would make a clarification dictated by my well-founded fear that a statement of this revered father Passionist might be misunderstood, and it is this: "The Pope is infallible only to the circumstances known to all".

First, we clarify what it means “infallible in fatto di dottrina. It means “it can not be fake“. Well, say that the Pope is infallible, it means that he tells the truth without being able to make mistakes. A tal riguardo, probably the Father Enrico Zoffoli refers to the dogma of papal infallibility defined by the Second Vaticano I [Denz. 3074], where you make precisely the conditions of such infallibility.

It should be noted here, however, the risk of a misunderstanding. The Council puts certain conditions infallibility, that is, when the Pope declares that a given proposition is contained in divine Revelation: the so-called “dogmatic definition”, which constitutes a proposition of faith defined as such, be believed with divine faith. But the Council does not say that the Pope is infallible only to those conditions, because there are other conditions, more common and less solemn, even the most basic, necessary and sufficient for the infallibility. They are not indicated by the Council, but we find them in other places of the Magisterium and Tradition.

The conditions laid down by the First Vatican represent the supreme authority of the Magisterium of the Church; they give the utmost certainty that a proposition is of faith; but these conditions occur very rarely and in very exceptional circumstances.

There are therefore also lower grades of infallibility, most common, simple and ordinary, in which the Pope teaches a doctrine final and immutable, assolutamente vera, although not with type formulas defining how the dogmatic definitions. Si tratta quindi, anche qui, a doctrine that can never be false, and therefore is infallible. In fact, the infallibility of a doctrine does not depend accent, the mode or form of expression with which it is taught, but the value or weight of the contents.

The only certainty so far is not the truth of a doctrine. What is the Ministry of Transport or the policeman told me that in the historical center of the city is prohibited car traffic, does not touch the truth of the content, but his authority. So in the doctrines of faith and morals. When the Pope teaches, do it in a simple or solemn, pastoral or dogmatic, defining or non defining, new or traditional, the main thing is that whatever doctrine of faith or at least connected with faith.

In the case of the doctrines new Vatican II, This question comes up, for instance, in the Dogmatic Constitution The light, where you give the definitions of the Church, carismi, di gerarchia, of faithful, lay people, di religiosi, etc.. Even then you give infallible doctrines, ossia assolutamente vere, even if you have not defined solemnly under the conditions prescribed by the Vatican.

In fact today it seems that the conditions of infallibility are not just “all notes”, says ottimitisticamente Father Enrico Zoffoli. Precisely for this reason St. John Paul II in 1998 published the Apostolic Letter To protect the faith, accompanied by an appendix of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [see WHO], which exposes three degrees of infallibility, of which only the first corresponds to that established by the Vatican.

It is therefore not honest method followed by some to take only as infallible doctrines of First Instance to have the pretext of considering fallible or even false doctrines of Vatican II on the grounds that they are not expressed in the way of definition of First Instance. This absolutely does not mean that all the teachings of the Council are infallible, but they are only those doctrinal. And it is false, come sostengono alcuni, that the Council was only pastoral and not doctrinal. Indeed, dealing with Lefebvre, Benedict XVI said that some teachings of the Council are questionable, making express reference only to those precisely pastoral. Conversely, however,, increasingly turning to Lefebvrians, told them that, if they wanted to be in full communion with the Church, had to accept the doctrines of the Council: obvious reference to their infallibility, which instead is denied by Lefebvrians.

So also in the teachings of the Popes we must distinguish between those dogmatic dottrinli and those pastoral-disciplinary. The Pope is infallible only in the first, not in seconds. Striking example of this is the dramatic story of the relationship of Alexander VI with Savonarola, about which we have just recently published an article. The Pope treated unfairly Savonarola, ma come Papa, teacher of the faith and pastor of the Church, always fulfilled his duty.

Varazze, 28 March 2015


This paper is a further explanatory note to this my previous article, see WHO

2 replies
  1. Gianluigi Bazzorini says:

    Definitorie formulas is not unique to the proclamation of dogma, but you can also find … [COMMENT CENSORED]

    the reasons are explained in the response of Ariel's father that follows

    • Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo
      Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo says:

      Dear Suresh Babu.

      With his comments you're placing ridicule before all those who, without disturbing the theology, just know the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
      The drafting of’Patmos Island you honestly torn between the trashing these writings or publish them, seen that comes into question freedom of expression that requires us to not only publish comments welcome, or those of Thanksgiving and often even for authors and praise the work of our Telematics Journal.

      For this I decided to still lose valuable time to answer, declaring my despite this time as “perso” departing several times because we responded both in serious tones both playful tones, ma senza esito.

      For starters I invite you to have a sense of proportion for these obvious reasons:

      1. the father John Carlson is a Dominican priest 74 year old, namely a senior priest, You must respect as Minister bosomes;
      2. is a member of a glorious historical Order composed mostly of scholars, especially by theologians and philosophers, who donated to the Church over the centuries beati, santi, doctors of the Church and personalities which the philosophical and theological world is still grateful, then you must bring to this member of the order of Friars Preachers due respect, because otherwise lacks compared to an entire order;
      3. the man to whom she addresses with posts sometimes truly delusional and almost always imbued with apparent ignorance not based on its knowledge of the rudiments of the faith and of Catholic doctrine, It is a metaphysical philosopher and a dogmatic theologian with a life dedicated to the teaching of philosophical and theological disciplines at ecclesiastical institutions praiseworthy, and is remembered with grateful veneration from dozens of his former students, Today members of religious families, members of the secular and regular clergy, laymen and laywomen who are dedicated to the philosophical and theological studies. Therefore, lacking of respect to him, She lacks respect for reflection at many other people, including me and my direct collaborator;
      4. the theological level of father John is such that the Holy See wanted him ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of theology, which, to explain the whole thing to non-insiders, in the secular world would be equivalent in all respects to be elected members of the Academy of France. For this you must respect his father John, because otherwise lacks compared to the Holy See who wanted him in the most prestigious academic and theological institution of the Catholic Church.

      She is not able to “explain” his father John, or below – and I say again below – even me, Neither the Secretary of our editorial staff, young and thomist philosopher and theologian valente, But even to our cat philosopher Hypatia, What is the dogma, the history of the dogma in General, the Catholic tradition, the dogmatic and sacramental liturgy.

      Clarified once and for all that she can't be a partner but only a pseudo-Catholic fanatic who, as they say in slang to play electronic troll [1], the drafting of the’Patmos Island informs that from now on it will clear some of his messages without prejudice in any way the freedom of expression and without being able to be accused to publish only comments of approval toward the magazine and its editors, Why on’Patmos Island the debate is always welcome and indeed Benedict, as long as you are not pretending to correct blatant error and foolish, often in insulting tones, those who live, respects, know and apply the Catholic doctrine and the Church's Magisterium.


      [1] Entity that interacts with others through provocative messages, irritating, off topic or just gibberish, with the aim of disturbing the communication and foment the souls of others.

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