Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


infallibility (ĭnfălˌəbĭlˈətē), 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(17) In this work Kfing made a bold move, for which he would ultimately lose his canonical mission to teach: he challenged the Catholic doctrine of infallibility in all its forms.
"After the Chief Justice expressed her belief that she was anointed by the Good Lord as chief magistrate, I hope she would not think she has now the infallibility in her judicial opinions," Arroyo said, tongue-in-cheek.
This summary of doctoral research, completed under William Abraham at Southern Methodist University, offers a Protestant critique of papal infallibility understood as "a proposal in religious epistemology" (p.
of Dubuque), who describes his career as devoted to building the case for an evangelical catholicism that upholds the authority and infallibility of the Bible, and the overall reliability of church tradition as expressed in the creeds and confessions of the patristic Reformation churches.
The latter's views on the infallibility of authority led me to wonder if Mark Mercer was amongst the crowd jeering StephenKiszko; convinced of his guilt as a murderer because police had arrested him.
This of course split the protestant church into two--Church of Scotland and the large break-away Free Church with two smaller secessions, The Auld Licht Church and the Wes Free Church--all still preaching infallibility and total Sabattarianism.
Everton and Aston Villa boast the only unbeaten records and it's 5-6 (Hills) the Blues' infallibility outlasts their rivals.
The Old-Catholic Church in Switzerland traces its history to a movement of some Swiss Roman Catholics against the declaration of papal infallibility in 1870.
That shift had its unlikely roots in the emergence of papal infallibility and Marian doctrine.
Humans can assume no divine guidance as they venture down this path, nor should they assume infallibility. But Hall reminds the reader that, beyond the promise and the peril, progress can sometime occur by accident--as when a spore unexpectedly drifted into Alexander Flemming's window, contaminating one of his Petri dishes, and setting the stage for the discovery of a true scientific miracle: penicillin.
To be fair, Cohen never assumes infallibility in his subjects.
Falwell has announced that the school's professors will be "committed to the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible" and "committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ."