The Church cannot teach error, because She was founded by Jesus Christ, God Himself. He sent forth His Apostles with full powers to preach His Gospel. He said: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (St. John 20:21). “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever…But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you” (St. John 14:16, 26).
By the infallibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, by the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, cannot err when it teaches or believes a doctrine of faith or morals.
Christ promised: “All power in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the Consummation of the world” (St. Matthew 28:26). If Christ is with the Church all days, it cannot err in teaching; it cannot lead men away from God.
Think about that. Has the conciliar church led men to God or away from God? The statistics and bad fruits overwhelmingly bear out the latter.
“Infallibility” is often distorted by enemies of the Church to mean “impeccability,” and therefore derided. In fallibility is freedom from error; impeccability is freedom from sin. In an institution established by God for the salvation of men, error in doctrine is unthinkable.
Every teacher in the Church, from the Pope down to the humblest priest, like all of the faithful, is capable of falling into sin. But in the Catholic Church because of the promise of Infallibility, the Holy Ghost cannot permit the purity of a single doctrine to be stained.
Yes, the Church has had bad popes in the history of the Church, such as the scaliwag Pope Alexander VI, the corrupt, criminal Borgia cleric who abused his authority in so many ways that he singlehandedly is often blamed for the uprising of the common-folk against the Church in the tragic Rebellion, aka Protestant Reformation Yet, even Alexander dared not alter the Sacred Deposit of the Faith and the doctrine of faith and morals even though his own morals were atrocious. Yet he remained the Pope because Jesus Christ promised to preserve the Church from error.
If His prediction and promises were false, then He would not be God, since God cannot lie. Christ said: “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
If therefore the Church falls into error, the gates of hell certainly would prevail against it. It hasn't in nearly 2000 years and it will not. Oh, those who usurp it and set up a mirror religion claiming the name and properties can definitely err and that is exactly what has happened in the conciliar church. Without the protection of the Advocate, yes a church can err and the gates of hell will prevail against it, but not the true Church.
Christ promised: “I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever…He will teach you all the truth” (St. John 14). If the Church can err, then the Sanctifier cannot abide in it and Christ has failed to keep His promises on any thing. We know that is absolutely impossible.
A doctrine of faith is something we must believe in order to be saved. A doctrine of morals is something we must do in order to be saved. For example, we must believe the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity; that there are Three Divine Persons in One God. We must believe that Jesus Christ is God. We must believe in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Why? Because it's a proclaimed dogmatic truth that is not open to opinions but has beed decreed by those invested by God under the absolute protection of the Holy Ghost in proclaiming such. That is, what has been declared is infallible.
Jesus commanded all men to listen and to obey the Church, under pain of damnation.
Of the basic things we must do are to assist at Holy Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation: we must fast and abstain when our true bishops so order; mimimally, we must receive Holy Communion at least once a year. Always, we must obey the Ten Commandments. The latter is the first infallible proclamation bestowed on man. As in all doctrines, there are no changes. They remain the same mandates, not suggestions or pick and choose alternatives. There can be no compromise in Catholicism. Ever! It comes down to the fact that if Christ's Church could teach error, then He would responsible for the error, by commanding all to obey. Again, we know that to be absurd since Jesus sent forth His Apostles with full powers to preach His Gospel: “As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you,” “Make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” “Preach the Gospel to every creature.” Christ said: “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe shall be condemned” (St. Mark 16:16).
It's as simple as that.
A just God could not command men under penalty of damnation to believe what is false. So the teaching of Catholic Church must be infallibly true.
Our Lord also said: “You shall be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the very ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Since it was physically impossible for the Apostles to preach to the whole world, the mission must have been intended also for their successors to the end of time, our true Catholic Bishops and Priests.
In addition, Christ said: “If he refuse to hear even the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican" (St. Matthew 18:17) and “He who hears you hears Me; and he who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me” (St. Luke 10:16).
Finally, the Son of God said in St. Matthew 10: 14-16, “And whoever does not receive you, or listen to your words go forth outside that house or town, and shake off the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gommorrah in the day of judgment than for that town."
No Christian denies that the Apostles were infallible. In fact, in the first century, they were the only authority in the Church. The Bible was not completed till the end of that century, not within reach of all; in fact, it was not fully compiled until St. Ambrose translated the Latin Vulgate in the fifth century. That's four centuries without the Scriptures. For Protestants proclaiming "sola scriptura" what do you think happened to all those souls, especially the martyrs who died for Christ? Again, anti-Catholic arguments dissolve when faced with the facts that the Bible was passed down by oral Tradition under the guidance and protection of its author - the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.
It is true that throughout the centuries more came to light, much as more flesh was placed on the skeleton, but the bones were always intact and could never be changed. It is also true that God loves modern Christians today as much as He did the primitive Christians. We have as much need of unerring teachers as they did in their time, even moreso today in this age of confusion. The Apostolic Church of these times must therefore be as infallible as the Church of the Apostles in the first century. Just as at its outset the Church was a minority beginning with twelve men and the holiest of women in the Blessed Mother, look what it accomplished on the wings of a Dove! So today, even though the Church has been reduced to a remnant of true bishops and priests and the faithful, it cannot change and will continue.
An infallible Bible is no use without an infallible interpreter. History has proved this, in the multiplication of the innumerable denominations that deny the infallibility of the Church. By infallibility, the faithful know exactly what to believe and what to do in order that they may be pleasing to God and save their souls.
It is a great blessing that, in the midst of the ever changing views of men and the conflict of human opinion, there is one voice crying out in unerring tones: “Thus saith the Lord.”
It is historical fact that the true Catholic Church, from today back to the first century, has not once ceased to teach a doctrine on faith or morals previously held, and with the same interpretations; the Church has proved itself infallible.
It is also a historical fact that not one Pope, whatever he was in his private life, has ever taught error.
Remember what we said about Alexander VI above. Can the same be said about John XXIII-Roncalli, Paul VI-Giovanni, JPone-Albino or the last two to invalidly claim the Seat of Peter? No, because they have taught error, have altered doctrines, have deviated from the Faith and by those acts proven they cannot be heads of the Church founded by Christ. If they were, then again, Christ lied. Yes, that is preposterous.
And, yes it's true, some high rulers of the Church have gravely sinned. Nevertheless, enemies of the Church have exaggerated even the lack of impeccability. In the long line of Popes the vast majority led virtuous lives. Many of them are honored as saints and martyrs. The enemies of the Church can bring charges against only five or six Popes. Most of the charges are calumnies or exaggerations. But even if the charges were true, they prove nothing against infallibility. More proof that nothing infallible has been proclaimed since November 1, 1950 when His Holiness Pope Pius XII declared the Dogma of the Assumption, a dogmatic truth that had always been believed, but never formally proclaimed. Since that time no man who succeeded Pius has proclaimed anything infallible. They cannot because the Modernist 'popes' have preached many errors. Why? Because they do not have the protection of the Holy Ghost.
Of the Sovereign Pontiffs that have succeeded Peter, 84 are canonized Saints, of whom 32 were martyrs. However holy the Pope, he regularly goes to confession to a priest. No Pope ever considers himself above the laws of the Church and of God. In fact, the Pope considers himself the "servant of the God's servants."
Again, do you see how that contradicts the five men who succeeded Pius?
The Church cannot change its teachings on faith and morals. But it may restate the doctrines more clearly and completely as She did with the Dogmas of the Immaculate Conception officially declared dogma by His Holiness Pope Pius IX and the Assumption by Pius XII as an article of faith. The infallible definition in each case was not a proclamation of a new doctrine, but was merely an announcement of an article of faith true from the very beginning, and publicly defined only in order to make the dogma clear to all and to be believed as part of the deposit of faith left to the Church. Prior to Vatican II, the Church proclaimed the same unchanging doctrines, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, millennium after millennium. Her doctrines need no reform, for they are of Divine origin, the work of the Incarnate God. No Pope or general Council in almost two thousand years has annulled or revoked a single decree of faith or morals enacted by a previous Pope or Council. This is history.
By the very fact that Vatican II and the conciliar antipopes violated the dogmatic decrees of Trent again proves that though they may call themselves 'Catholic' and have usurped Catholic churches and hierarchical privileges, they long ago abdicated authority and the true Faith.
The Church, as the representative or substitute of the Son of God on earth, is infallible, and speaks with His Own words: “This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (St. John 18:37).
Another example is the definition of the Holy Father’s infallibility, was made in 1870 by the First Vatican Council. The dogma was true from the very beginning, and had been universally held. But as in recent times many objections were being made against it, the Bishops in the Vatican Council thought it best, in order to make clear the stand of the Church, to make an infallible definition.
The Church makes infallible pronouncements on doctrines of faith and morals, on their interpretation, on the Bible and Tradition, and the interpretation of any part of parts of these.
The Church also pronounces on the truth or falsity of opinions, teachings, customs, etc., with relation to fundamental doctrines. Another subject on which the Church makers infallible declarations is the canonization of Saints. All whom the Church has raised to the glory of the altar by a solemn canonization are undoubtedly now in Heaven, enjoying eternal bliss in the presence of God. Again, this applies to the true Church and true Popes, not those who have sold out the canonization process to those interests buying or lobbying for sainthood such as the founder of the Legionairres of Christ, Mother Teresa, or JP2 to list but a few.
The Church teaches infallibly through the Pope alone, when he speaks officially or from the "Chair of Peter" (ex cathedra) as the Supreme Head, for the entire universal Church. As a true Pope has authority over the Church, he could not err in his official teaching without leading the Church into error. As Our Lord said to Peter , the first Pope: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith may not fail; and do thou, when once thou has turned again, strengthen thy brethren” (St. Luke 22: 31-32).
In order to speak infallibly, the Pope must speak ex cathedra, or officially from the "Chair of Peter," under the following conditions: He must pronounce himself on a subject of faith or morals. Infallibility is restricted to questions regarding faith and morals. The Church pronounces on natural sciences and on legislation only when the perversity of men makes of them instruments for opposing revealed truths.
If the Pope should make judgments on mathematics or civil governments, he is as liable to error as any other man with the same experience. Letters to kings and other rulers are not infallible pronouncements. However, we should hold the Pope’s opinions on any subject with great respect, on account of his position and experience.
He must speak as the Vicar of Christ, in his office as Pope, and to the whole Church, to all the faithful throughout the world. In his capacity as private teacher, for example, in his encyclical letters, he is as any other teacher of the Church.
He must make clear by certain words his intention to speak ex cathedra. These words are most often used: “We proclaim,” “We define,” etc. The Pope’s infallible decrees are termed “doctrinal,” since they involve doctrine. From the earliest days of the Church, the infallibility of the Pope has been acknowledged.
In the year 417 the Holy See condemned the Pelagian errors; Saint Augustine cried out the famous words, Roma locuta est, finita est. “Rome has spoken: the cause is ended!” The Council of Florence in 1439 called the Pope “the Father and Teacher of Christians.” The Church teaches infallibly through the Pope and bishops when convened in a general (or ecumenical) council. Ecumenical means in this sense all members representatives of the Church, not all kinds of religions or beliefs.
A General Council is an assembly convened by the Holy See, of all the bishops of the world, and others entitled to vote. It represents the teaching body of the Church, and must be infallible. In the year 50 the Apostles held the first General Council in Jerusalem. Its decisions were proclaimed as coming from God, the final decree beginning with these words: “For the Holy Spirit and we have decided to lay no further burden upon you” (Acts 15:28).
Over a General Council, the Pope or his legate presides; as representative number of bishops and others entitled to vote, such as cardinals, abbots, and generals of certain religious orders, must be present. Upon confirmation by the Pope, a General Council’s decrees are binding on all Christians. It must be understood that the decrees of a General Council have no binding authority until confirmed by the Pope. There is no appeal from the Pope to a General Council.
A unanimous vote is not necessary for an infallible decision of a general council; a great majority is sufficient.
The most notable of the General Councils so far held following the Council of Jerusalem have been:
(1) The Council of Nicea, in the year 325, which pronounced against the heresy of Arius;
For the decrees of all the major councils of the Church, see Councils.
(2) the Council of Ephesus, in the year 425, which declared Mary the Mother of God;
(3) the Council of Nicea, in 787, which declared the veneration of images as lawful and profitable;
(4) the Council of Trent, 1545-1563), which declared against the heresies of Martin Luther;
(5) the Council of the Vatican 1870, which defined as an article of faith the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope.
Even when the bishops are not gathered together in one place, they form the teaching body of the Church, united with the Pope. This is called the "Magisterium" of the Church. Therefore their voice must be infallible, otherwise the universal Church would be led into error. For the same reason as above, the daily ordinary uniform teaching of the Church in every place in the whole world is infallibly true.
“Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
The Catholic Church will endure to the end of time, for it is founded on a rock. The powers of evil will beat in vain against it. They will b break themselves and perish, but the Church will remain, indefectible.
The testimony of almost two thousand years proves the perpetuity of the Church. Nothing that malice and envy could invent; nothing that the world, the flesh, and the devil could do have been lift untried in the past 2000 years. Still the Church is with us, exactly as Christ founded it, and stronger than ever.