Pope Benedict has written a book, to be published this spring, on Jesus of Nazareth.  The Pope says the book is not a work of Catholic doctrine and “consequently, everyone is free to contradict me.”  This admission has shocked a number of theologians.  Professor Giuseppe Alberigo of Bologna University writes “what this means is that the Pope is not totally infallible.”  He added that John Paul 11 qwould never have made a distinction between “official” Pope and “ordinary” Pope.

        Professor Luigi Vallauri of Florence University says “this is the attitude of someone who wants to have his cake and eat it, to be both Pontiff and an independent theologian.”  Can the Pope be infallible on Tuesday and a speculative theologian on Wednesday?



  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    I was always taught there are strict limitations to this papal infallibility — it applies to the solemn declarations of dogma (such as the Assumption of the BVM), encyclicals, and the pronouncements of Councils. He is speaking, in those cases, ex cathedra, in a solemn and deliberate fashion. There may be a few other examples, but these come immediately to mind.
    Benedict XVI may be writing a more devotional type of book.
    I am pleased he is not expanding infallibility where it was never meant to be applied. No Pope is infallible in all circumstances.
    An impertinent question — were Popes infallible BEFORE declared to be so in an encyclical? Before the Immaculate Conception was declared dogma, people believed it but were not obliged to assent to it — only thereafter.

  2. 2
    jim Says:

    Wait a minute – Have they done away with the Ordinary Magisterium,part of which includes non-infallable teachings of the Pope. Maybe the Pope wrote his book under this loophole.

  3. 3
    SUZANNE Says:

    The pope is writing a biography. A biography is not Magisterial teaching. If he means to be a personal reflection, that’s what it is.

  4. 4
    Vladimir Says:

    Very respectful comments so far I must say.

    Maybe the reformation hasn’t reached Canada yet?

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