Papal infallibility is the dogma in Catholic theology that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of errorwhen he solemnly declares or promulgates to the Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. It is also taught that the Holy Spirit works in the body of the Church, as sensus fidei, to ensure that dogmatic teachings proclaimed to be infallible will be received by all Catholics. This dogma, however, does not state that the Pope cannot commit sin in his own personal life.
This is an unbiblical and false assumption.
It has been made even more obvious that this is a heretical way of thinking in recent days with the current Pope, Joseph Ratzinger.
The Observer reports:
It is becoming something of a habit with Pope Benedict XVI. First, he says something that causes outrage inside and outside his flock. Then his officials offer “clarifications”. Finally, usually after a short but decent interval, he apologises publicly and humbly for any offence his remarks have caused.
Last week, it was over condoms and Aids. En route to Cameroon, Benedict told reporters on the papal plane that the distribution of condoms was making the spread of HIV/Aids worse rather than better. As the French, German and Belgian governments queued up, along with the UN, to condemn the pontiff for irresponsibility at a time when Africa accounts for three-quarters of all deaths from Aids worldwide, the Vatican’s website was busy tweaking. Condom distribution, the authorised version now read, risked making the problem worse.
If recent experience is anything to go by, before this papal tour of Africa ends in Angola tomorrow Benedict may well have made a limited public retreat. That has been how he handled the furore caused by his decision to readmit into his fold Bishop Richard Williamson, a British-born Catholic dissident and Holocaust-denier. In a public letter to all bishops, Benedict wrote that he “deeply deplored” what he called “a mishap” and added: “I have learnt the lesson.”
And in September 2006, when he was also in the line of fire, this time for quoting the anti-Islamic words of a distant Byzantine emperor during a lecture in Regensburg in his native Germany, Benedict used his regular Sunday Angelus prayer five days later to say he was “deeply sorry” for any offence caused.
Traditionally, popes don’t apologise. The church teaches that they are guided by God (and, since 1870, are officially infallible in certain matters of faith and morals). So Pius XII, the pope who failed in the Second World War to condemn the Holocaust, never subsequently offered a mea culpa. Even when Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, broke with tradition and started making public apologies, he only did so for events that had happened centuries ago, such as the Crusades and the Inquisition.
This pattern of making controversial statements and then backtracking goes to the heart of the enigma that Pope Benedict XVI has become as he nears the fourth anniversary of his election. He is simultaneously medieval in his habit of stating so bluntly what he sees as the church’s monopoly on truth, even when it flies in the face of reason, and modern in his willingness then to listen and react to his audience (and indeed, it might be added, in being the first pope ever to say “condom”).
Full article here.