PAPAL INFALLIBILITY OR SELF-INDOCTRINATION?

The Roman Catholic Pope, Pius XI, made a claim in 1870–later extended to bishops as a group–that whenever popes speak formally (ex cathedra) about faith and morals, they speak infallibly.  Is such self-assertion about freedom from error self-evident? Or is it circular in its logic, begging the question?

On March 2016, the Swiss theologian, Hans Kung, finished the fifth of several volumes which he had composed over the last few decades.  In this fifth book Kung insists  that claims of infallibility should be reexamined by the whole church.  His argument is analyzed in detail in The National Catholic Reporter, April 7, 2016.

Kung’s call to reexamine infallibility could result in either repealing the claim to infallibility itself or in reopening discussions in more contemporary contexts about religious and moral issues such as: *birth control,*abortion, *divorce,

*euthanasia, *global economic mal-distribution,

*war, *environmental matters, like climate change,

*other controversial issues

What this blog-post tries to do is to help reexamine whether or not critical thinking can coexist with one or more claims made infallibly.  Would assertions made infallibly amount to ones which are supposedly self-evident rather than arrived at by critical thought?

 

 

 

 

 

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*birth control,

*abortion

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Laura Taylor May 6, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    I believe that critical thinking can coexist with one or more claims made infallibly, because none of us are free from error; that is what makes discussions so necessary when addressing issues such as abortion, euthanasia, climate change etc. Critical thinking should be a part of everyone’s thought process, no matter how evident certain morals and faiths seem to be in life. There are always exceptions to important topics, and each should be addressed with detailed analysis, rather than a generalized ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

  2. Laura Taylor May 7, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    I believe that critical thinking can coexist with one or more claims made infallibly, because none of us are free from error; that is what makes discussions so necessary when addressing issues such as abortion, euthanasia, climate change etc. Critical thinking should be a part of everyone’s thought process, no matter how evident certain morals and faiths seem to be in life. There are always exceptions to important topics, and each should be addressed with detailed analysis, rather than a generalized ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Even with the best intent of following their faith and morals is completely infallible, as no one is perfect.

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