I believe that the 21 Ecumenical Councils, from Nicea to Vatican II, are each and all valid Councils. And since an Ecumenical Council is the body of Bishops led by the Roman Pontiff, all that is taught by any Council — teachings of the Magisterium, which is to say, on faith and morals — is entirely without error. But for a teaching to be of a Council, it must be approved by the Roman Pontiff.
St. Robert Bellarmine, at the end of De Conciliis, Liber II, chapter IX says “we hold by Catholic faith that legitmate councils confirmed by the Supreme Pontiff cannot err” (ex fide Catholica habeamus concilia legitima a Summo Pontifice confirmata non posse errare) [per Dr. Robert Fastiggi]
I see no errors at all in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, nor the First, nor any other Council. The source of alleged errors is the sin of pride. People assume that their own understanding is correct, so when a Council or Pope says otherwise, they refuse to change their understanding to fit the teaching of the Faith. Instead of humbling themselves before the teaching authority of Christ in His Church, they condemn a Pope or Council. As for me, I am certain that my understanding is that of a fallen sinner, and I put the teachings of the Popes and Councils above my own mind and heart.
Infallible teachings of the Magisterium can have no error at all; non-infallible teachings can have no grave errors. For the grace of God guards and guides the Magisterium of the Church of Jesus Christ.
And as the First Vatican Council taught, each Pope has the gift of truth and a never failing faith, divinely-conferred on Peter and his successors. Therefore, I know that every valid Pope is preserved from all error when teaching infallibly, is preserved from grave error when teaching non-infallibly, and is preserved from grave failings of faith at all times. If my understanding differs from his, I should assume that he is correct and adjust my understanding according to his teaching. Faithful disagreement with a non-infallible teaching is possible, but never to the extent of accusing any Pope of grave error.
Prayer is very important to maintain faith in the Church and in Her teachings. Along with prayer, we must practice self-denial, and perform works of mercy toward those in need. Otherwise, correct theology will not suffice to save our souls. I recommend the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and the other prayers/devotions mentioned on this blog. Unless you pray, you will not be able to be faithful to the Church and to Christ.
Pope Francis can never err to a grave extent in any of his teachings. Even so, I don’t read looking for errors, but looking for an ever better understanding of the Faith. I trust that Pope Francis is holy and faithful, that he is guided by the grace of God and by his own good intentions. I believe that Pope Francis may well be a future Saint.
And his validity as Roman Pontiff is a dogmatic fact. For the Church is indefectible. Therefore, neither the Pope nor the body of Bishops can go astray. Since the body of Bishops has accepted Pope Francis as the Roman Pontiff, he must be valid. For the body cannot lead the faithful astray by following a false head. And once a Pope is valid, he cannot cease to be a valid Pope, except by resignation or death.
Pope Francis is the valid Pope. He cannot teach grave error. His intentions are holy and he is guided willingly by the grace of God. Like every Pope, Francis is indefectible.
The body of Bishops, not as individuals but only as body, is indefectible. For the Lord Jesus promised that He would, by His own prayer, secure both the faith of Peter and his successors, and also, by means of Peter, secure the faith of the body of Bishops, who are the brethren of Peter [Lk 22:32].
I trust in the Pope and in the body of Bishops, I trust in the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, just as I trust in Christ.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.