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(ĭnfăl'əbĭl`ətē), in Christian thought, exemption from the possibility of error, bestowed on the church as a teaching authority, as a gift of the Holy Spirit. It has been believed since the earliest times to be guaranteed in such scriptural passages as John 14.16,17. The analogous attribute of the Bible is usually called inerrancy. Protestants widely reject infallibility of the church. The Orthodox Eastern Church holds that only the church, taken as an integral community and spiritual body guided by the Holy Spirit, is infallible. Roman Catholics hold that the infallibility of the church is vested in the pope, when he speaks ex cathedra (i.e., from the chair of Peter, as the visible head of the church) on matters of faith and morals. Definitive pronouncements resulting from an ecumenical council, when ratified by the pope, are also held to be infallible. The pope speaks ex cathedra only rarely and after long deliberation. The dogma of papal infallibility was enunciated by the First Vatican Council (1870).


See B. Tierney, Origins of Papal Infallibility, 1150–1350 (1972).

References in periodicals archive ?
Where there is no infallibility, there can be nothing certain, as the Church of England wisely intimates, except, of course, the obligation of doubting.
The obligation of the whole body of the faithful to give their definitive assent to what is taught definitively by the magisterium, along with the inability of their whole body to err in matters of faith and morals, explains why the pope and college of bishops are given the divine gift of infallibility in their definitive teaching on matters of faith or morals.
There are two millstones hanging around Pope Francis' neck: infallibility and birth control.
He introduces three basic considerations in dealing with an apparent point of conflict between the Bible and science: Does the infallibility of Scripture rest on a literal interpretation of the passage?
They do not 'serve' the will of the people - they impose their own ideology and inflate their own sense of infallibility.
Nor does he mention that Brown was so sure of his infallibility that he sold much of our gold reserves at knock-down prices, or that his meddling with pensions caused many people to give up contributing to them.
In addition, ARCIC reconceptualizes infallibility so that it is placed within history; infallibility becomes a process within history in which the Holy Spirit leads the church into all truth.
There are essays on specific areas of his work: the Church Fathers, revelation, the nature of faith, justification, the church as communion, infallibility, authority in the church, conscience, and preaching.
They followed that up with victory in the 1972World Cup but, since then, it has been heartbreak all the way for the Brits, with New Zealand twice ending the Australians' supposed infallibility, most recently in last November'sWorld Cup final.
Specific topics include infallibility, social trinity and tritheism, Aquinas' metaphysics of the Incarnation, original sin and divine justice, and penal non-substitution.
This issue alone shows Papal infallibility to be rank nonsense, even before the kickoff.
As for the men in power, they are so anxious to establish the myth of infallibility that they do their utmost to ignore truth.