Friday, August 27, 2010

CI #96 -- Infallibility of pointy hats

I was baptized and confirmed Catholic, yet still couldn't begin to explain a whole host (pardon the pun) of its arcane and obscure beliefs, like why, for instance, our housing market has tanked because not enough statues of St. Joseph were buried upside down in backyards.

I'm probably committing a venial sin simply by pointing that out. One of those things I could never explain was Papal infallibility. I don't mean to Church-bash. Lord knows (there I go again. Damnit! Er...) there's been enough of that lately. But throw us a bone here.

Just when is the Pope infallible? Always? Holy Days? Birthdays?

I was struck when I recently came across this explanation from Listverse. I did not fact check this because, quite frankly, for the purpose of this post, it's helpful just to assume it's true. Turns out he's not always perfect. Just under these conditions:

I. The Pope must be making a decree on matters of faith or morals

II. The declaration must be binding on the whole Church

III. The Pope must be speaking with the full authority of the Papacy, and not in a personal capacity.

In other words, the Pope is only speaking infallibly (and therefore irrefutably) when the stakes are the highest and most widespread. Hmm... kinda seems a little self-serving, but whatev.

But let me get this straight to be sure.

A Pope with bad taste buds eats this clearly bunk cheeseburger and declares it delicious. FALSE! It's still terrible.

Pope declares that Church-wide you-know-what "ain't no big." TRUE! Ain't no big.

Okay, now I've got it.

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