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Shawn Hughes wrote:

Hello Gang!

I was listening to some old shows on EWTN and in one a caller asked a question that stumped the priest and two other Catholic apologists. They didn't outrightly avoid the question but they talked circles around it exhausting all the time for the caller. There were several follow-up questions people asked too. They actually started telling the listeners to ask another question.

Here it is.

If we claim that:

  • the Church is infallible in her teachings and
  • that She cannot err from false teachings and
  • that the Pope and His Bishops share this infallibility and
  • this is in regards to faith and morals, as well as the doctrines of the Church, that all Catholics are obligated to believe:

    • How is it possible for subjective fallible beings to interpret what an objective authority says?

I'm not saying that what they say is false, quite the opposite!

They are guardians of the truth! but we, as the body can only subjectively understand it because we are not infallible therefore whatever is infallible bounded to us cannot objectively be understood by us.

To be honest, I was in awe of the question and totally understand what the questioner was asking.



  { How can subjective, fallible beings interpret what an objective authority, like the Pope, says? }

Paul replied:

Hi, Shawn —

I don't seem as enamored with that person's question as you seem to be.

I think by virtue of the gift of language and of reason we have, we are able to subjectively interpret simple doctrine properly. It is also the job of the Magisterium to reformulate doctrine for each generation according to common modes of speech and thought.


Sean replied:


And that is a subjective view of the infallible truth. :)

It is impossible for subjective interpreters to absolutely understand and be accountably for objective truth.

When we can't even understand it completely.


Paul replied:

Sean —

Only God has absolute understanding about anything.

For the sound of mind our human understanding is sufficient for grasping the word of God and the teaching of His Church.


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