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C.K. wrote:

Hi, guys—

  • Does the Pope still have the title of "Infallible"?

C.K.

  { Does the Pope still have the title of Infallible? }

Bob replied:

Dear friend,

Yes, the Pope is Christ's vicar. Jesus is the one who said to Simon Peter alone, "to you I give the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:13-20) You may note that in Matthew 18 he addressed the rest of the apostles in a similar manner, but Christ entrusted the keys to Peter alone.

To understand the significance of this you must read Isaiah 22:15-25 which says:

15 Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: 16 What have you to do here and whom have you here, that you have hewn here a tomb for yourself, you who hew a tomb on the height, and carve a habitation for yourself in the rock? 17 Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you, 18 and whirl you round and round, and throw you like a ball into a wide land; there you shall die, and there shall be your splendid chariots, you shame of your master's house. 19 I will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station. 20 In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23 And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father's house. 24 And they will hang on him the whole weight of his father's house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. 25 In that day, says the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a sure place will give way; and it will be cut down and fall, and the burden that was upon it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.”

This is where Jesus borrowed the essential context and phraseology. Note especially verse 22.
In the Old Testament, God established within the kingdom of David, ministers, who wheeled the authority to run the kingdom. Amongst them, was in effect a "prime" minister, Shebna, who was corrupt. God replaced him with Eliakim.

"I will thrust you from your office, and pull you down from your station."

Verse 19.

This particular phrase is important because it tells us that the "office" transcended the individuals. Likewise, Peter's office transcends the man and continues in succession.

So in summary, the Old Covenant had to do with the Davidic Kingdom: in the New Covenant,
the kingdom of Heaven is larger, more universal ("Catholic" means universal) and the keys belong to the "prime" minister or the one who succeeds the "rock". Since God is the ultimate rock who holds all keys, the one He entrusts on earth to uphold that authority down here would be known as his Vicar.

Hope that clarifies it for you.

Peace,

Bob K.

Mike replied:

Hi, C.K. —

In addition to my colleague's fine answer, this posting will assist you in understanding the differences between infallibility and impeccability.

As Bob said, Yes, he is infallible, but not impeccable.

Mike

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.