The Apostolic See is free from every grave error

The Apostolic See is free from every grave error

The following teachings from Saints, Popes, and Councils PROVE the DOGMAS of the never-failing faith of Peter and his successors; the impossibility of papal heresy, apostasy, or idolatry; and the freedom from grave error of the Apostolic See as well as other papal charisms [divinely-conferred gifts].

+ supreme, full, immediate, universal ordinary power [1]
+ always remains unblemished by any [grave] error [2]
+ has never wandered from the path of Apostolic tradition [3]
+ has never succumbed to heretical novelties [4]
+ remains unsullied [5]
+ has neither stain nor blemish [6]
+ Blessed Peter lives and presides and exercises judgment there [7]
+ whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering [8]
+ in charge of all those seeking the truth of faith [9]
+ there, dangers to the faith are mended [10]

+ where one cannot think the faith is lacking [11]
+ remains pure and spotless [12]
+ free from all leading into error or heretical fraud [13]
+ enforces silence, stopping the mouths of all heretics [14]
+ remains free from the heretical stench [15]
+ polluted by no crack of depravity and no contagion 16]
+ Peter is less able to err than the Church herself [17]
+ the truth cannot be falsified [18]
+ the faith of Peter can never be shaken or changed [19]
+ pure from all stain of error [20]

+ has never turned away from the path of truth in any direction of error [21]
+ all the venerable Fathers have embraced its Apostolic doctrine [22]
+ the holy orthodox doctors have venerated and followed it [23]
+ has always held and defended the true faith [24]
+ has never erred from the path of the Apostolic tradition [25]
+ has never yielded to heretical innovations [26]
+ remains undefiled unto the end [27]
+ whose authority, there is none greater [28]
+ is to be refused by no one [29]
+ whose decision is not subject to review [30]

+ is to be judged by no one [31]
+ holds perpetual and divinely-rooted and planted privileges [32]
+ the faith of Peter has not failed, nor can it be believed that it is ever going to fail [33]
+ the faith of Peter, which so far neither has failed, nor up to the end will fail [34]
+ whoever resists this authority, resists the ordination of God [35]
+ this authority, given to a man and exercised by a man, is divine [36]
+ every human creature is to be subject to the Roman pontiff [37]
+ Peter is the pilot and navigator of the Ark of Salvation [38]
+ he could never teach something against the faith [39]
+ he is the guardian of dogma and morals [40]

+ and the counselor of princes and peoples [41]
+ Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head [42]
+ guards with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith [43]
+ the refuge from heresy and strife [44]
+ it alone promises safety in extreme crises [45]
+ perpetually assisted by the Holy Spirit [46]
+ charged with guarding, teaching, explaining and spreading Divine Revelation [47]
+ has divine assistance in the integral exercise of its mission [48]
+ homage is most justly due to this Apostolic See [49]
+ in the Apostolic See, the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished [50]

+ the infallible faith of Peter and his successors [51]
+ the perpetual stability of Peter’s faith [52]
+ divine assistance is promised to secure the stability and indefectibility of the Faith in the supreme Teacher and Head of the Church [53]
+ if the Pontiff should fall into an error of faith, the Church would dissolve, deprived of the bond of unity. [54]
+ If this Roman See could fall and be no longer the See of truth but of error and pestilence, then the Catholic Church herself would not have the bond of a society and would be schismatic and scattered — which in fact is impossible. [55]
+ in his government of the Church, he is guided by an intelligence more than human [56]
+ His yoke is the yoke of Christ [57]
+ Christ the Lord, in virtue of His prayers, obtained for Peter that in the fulfilment of his office he should never fall away from the faith [58]
+ Could not Christ, who confided to him the Kingdom by His own authority, have strengthened the faith of the one whom He designated a Rock? [59]
+ when one loves the Pope, there is no discussion about what he disposes or demands, or how far obedience must go, and in what things one must obey [60]

+ the authority of the Pope is not preceded by that of other people however learned [61]
+ whoever is holy cannot disagree with the Pope [62]
+ without the Shepherd, little sheep would go astray and more easily become the prey of false shepherds [63]
+ They walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. [64]
+ the Petrine ministry is not founded on human abilities and strengths, but on the prayer of Christ who implores the Father that Simon’s faith ‘may not fail’ (Lk 22:32). [65]
+ On the rock of this faith and this love, the Lord holds together his mystical Body and assures the permanent unity and mission [66]
+ the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present [67]
+ I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. [68]
+ Roma locuta est; causa finita est [Rome has spoken; the case is closed]. [69]
+ No one has ever boldly raised his hands against the Apostolic Eminence, from whose judgment it is not permissible to dissent [70]

+ it can never be that the church committed to the care of Peter shall succumb or in any wise fail [71]
+ obedience to the Roman Pontiff is the proof of the true faith and of legitimate communion [72]
+ if a man does not want to be, or to be called, a heretic…let him hasten before all things to be in communion with the Roman See [73]
+ if they declare themselves not to be committed to Peter and his successors, they necessarily admit themselves not to be among the sheep of Christ. [74]
+ If anyone does not…confess properly and truly, in word and mind, to the last point, all that has been handed down and proclaimed to the holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of God by the holy Fathers and by the five venerable ecumenical councils, let him be condemned. [75]

+ the Church, indefectible in her essence, united by ties indissoluble with her heavenly Spouse, is here today radiant with eternal youth [76]
+ from the Rock of Peter the light of truth shines forth as brilliantly as on the day when Jesus first kindled it [77]

+ and finally: love the Pope. [100]

1. Canon 331: “The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.”
[Code of Canon Law, 1983: Canon 331]

2. Vatican I: “Indeed, their Apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior to the prince of his disciples: ‘I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren’ [Lk 22:32].”
[Pastor Aeternus, Chapter 4, n. 6.]

3. Pope Saint Lucius I: “The Roman Apostolic Church is the mother of all Churches and has never been shown to have wandered from the path of Apostolic tradition, nor being deformed, succumbed to heretical novelties according to the promise of the Lord himself, saying, ‘I have prayed for thee, etc.’ [Lk 22:32]”
[Pope Saint Lucius I, Martyr, 253-254, Epist. I ad Episcopos Hispaniae et Galliae]

4. Ibid.

5. Pope Saint Felix I, 269-274, on the Roman Church: “As it took up in the beginning the norm of the Christian Faith from its authors, the Princes of the Apostles of Christ, She remains unsullied according to what the Lord said: ‘I have prayed for thee, etc.’ [Lk 22:32]”
[quoted by Saint Robert Bellarmine. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) p. 157-158, Mediatrix Press]

6. Pope Damasus I: “The First See, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it.”
[Ray, Stephen K., Upon This Rock (Modern Apologetics Library: Ignatius Press) p. 85]

7. Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus, chapter 2, n. 2: “For no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the savior and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and forever he lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors the bishops of the Holy Roman See, which he founded and consecrated with his blood [46].”
[46: From the speech of Philip, the Roman legate, at the 3rd session of the Council of Ephesus (D no. 112).]

8. St. Cyprian: “There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one Chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering.”
[Ray, Stephen K.. Upon This Rock (Modern Apologetics Library) (p. 78). Ignatius Press.]

9. Saint Peter Chrysologus, 406-450: “We exhort you, Honorable Brother, that you would obediently attend to that which has been written by the Pope of the city of Rome because Blessed Peter, who lives in his own See and presides there, is in charge of all those seeking the truth of faith.”
[St. Peter Chrysologus; quoted from the book: Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) Mediatrix Press, p. 159]

10. Saint Bernard: “It is fitting that every danger and scandal of the kingdom of God be referred to your Apostolate and especially these which touch upon the faith. For I regard it worthy that there, above all, dangers to the faith are mended, where one cannot think the faith is lacking. For to what other See was it ever said: ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith not fail?’ [Lk 22:32]”
[Saint Bernard, Epist. 190 ad Innocentium [Letter to Pope Innocent]]

11. Ibid.

12. Saint Cyril: “According to this promise of the Lord, the Apostolic Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud, above all Heads and Bishops, and Primates of Churches and people, with its own Pontiffs, with most abundant faith, and the authority of Peter. And while other Churches have to blush for the error of some of their members, this [Apostolic Church of Peter] reigns alone, immovably established, enforcing silence, and stopping the mouths of all heretics; and we, from the necessity of salvation, not drunken with the wine of pride, confess, together with it, the formula of truth and of the holy apostolic tradition.”
[Catena Aurea of St. Thomas on Mt 16:18]

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid.

15. Theodotus of Ancyra, martyr: “This holy See holds the reign of the Churches of the world, not only on account of other things, but also because she remains free from the heretical stench.”
[Theodoret, Epistola ad Renatum Presbyterum Romanum]

16. Pope Saint Gelasius I, 492-496, epistle to the Emperor Anastasius: “This is what the Apostolic See guards against with all her strength because the glorious confession of the Apostle is the root of the world, so that she is polluted by no crack of depravity and altogether no contagion. For if such a thing would ever occur (which may God forbid and we trust cannot be), why would we make bold to resist any error?”
[Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) (p. 161). Mediatrix Press]

17. Pope Saint Gregory the Great, 590-604: “Who does not know that the whole Church was strengthened in the firmness of the Prince of the Apostles, to whom it was said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church … and thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren?’ [Mt 16:18; Lk 22:32]” Saint Bellarmine: “There Gregory clearly teaches the strength of the Church depends upon the strength of Peter, and hence Peter is less able to err than the Church herself.”
[Saint Gregory the great; quoted from the book: Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) (p. 161). Mediatrix Press.]

18. Pope Pelagius II, 590 AD, writing to the Bishops of Istria: “For you know how the Lord in the Gospel declares: ‘Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired you that he might sift you as wheat, but I have prayed to the Father for thee, that thy faith fail not, and thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren.’ See, beloved, the truth cannot be falsified, nor can the faith of Peter ever be shaken or changed.”
[Cardinal Manning, The Vatican Council and Its Definitions; p. 88.]

19. Ibid.

20. The Council of Florence (1438 AD) taught: “the most illustrious profession of the Roman Church about the truth of the faith, which has always been pure from all stain of error.”
[Council of Florence, Session 13; 30 Nov. 1444.]

21. Pope Saint Agatho: “the true confession thereof, for which Peter was pronounced blessed by the Lord of all things, was revealed by the Father of heaven, for he received from the Redeemer of all himself, by three commendations, the duty of feeding the spiritual sheep of the Church; under whose protecting shield, this Apostolic Church of his has never turned away from the path of truth in any direction of error….”
[Pope Saint Agatho, Letter to the Sixth Ecumenical Council]

22. Pope Saint Agatho: “whose authority, as that of the Prince of all the Apostles, the whole Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Synods have faithfully embraced and followed in all things; and all the venerable Fathers have embraced its Apostolic doctrine, through which they, as the most approved luminaries of the Church of Christ, have shone; and the holy orthodox doctors have venerated and followed it, while the heretics have pursued it with false criminations and with derogatory hatred. This is the living tradition of the Apostles of Christ, which his Church holds everywhere, which is chiefly to be loved and fostered, and is to be preached with confidence….”
[Pope Saint Agatho, Letter to the Sixth Ecumenical Council]

23. Ibid.

24. Pope Saint Agatho: “For this is the rule of the true faith, which this spiritual mother of your most tranquil empire, the Apostolic Church of Christ, has both in prosperity and in adversity always held and defended with energy;”
[Pope Saint Agatho, Letter to the Sixth Ecumenical Council]

25. Pope Saint Agatho: “which, it will be proved, by the grace of Almighty God, has never erred from the path of the Apostolic tradition, nor has she been depraved by yielding to heretical innovations, but from the beginning she has received the Christian faith from her founders, the princes of the Apostles of Christ, and remains undefiled unto the end,”
[Pope Saint Agatho, Letter to the Sixth Ecumenical Council]

26. Ibid.

27. Ibid.

28. Pope Saint Nicholas I: “Since, according to the canons, where there is a greater authority, the judgment of the inferiors must be brought to it to be annulled or to be substantiated, certainly it is evident that the judgment of the Apostolic See, of whose authority there is none greater, is to be refused by no one….”
[Pope Saint Nicholas I, Letter Proposueramus quidem to Emperor Michael, 865; Denzinger n. 638-641.]

29. Ibid.

30. Pope Saint Boniface I (422): “there is to be no review of our judgment. In fact, it has never been licit to deliberate again on that which has once been decided by the Apostolic See.”
[Pope Saint Boniface I, Letter to the Bishop of Thessalonica, Denzinger 422.]

31. Canon 1404; Pope Saint Leo IX; Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam (confirmed by Lateran V); Vatican I.

32. Pope Saint Nicholas I (the Great): “The privileges of this see are perpetual, divinely rooted and also planted. One can strike against them but not transfer them; one can drag them but not tear them out. Those matters which were formerly your domain remain, thanks be to God, insofar as they are inviolate; they will remain after you and so long as the Christian name will be preached, they will not cease to exist…. For among other things, these privileges are especially conferred through us, ‘You later being converted,’ he heard from the Lord, ‘confirm your brethren.’ [Lk 22:32] ”
[Pope Saint Nicholas I, Epistlola ad Michaelem Imperatorem.]

33. Pope Saint Leo IX, Epistle to Peter of Antioch: “Without a doubt, it was for him alone, whom the Lord and Savior asserted that he prayed that his faith would not fail, saying, ‘I have prayed for thee, etc.’ [Lk 22:32]. Such a venerable and efficacious prayer has obtained that to this point the faith of Peter has not failed, nor can it be believed that it is ever going to fail in his throne.”
[Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) (p. 158). Mediatrix Press.]

34. Pope Saint Leo IX: “By the See of the Chief of the Apostles, namely by the Roman Church, through the same Peter, as well as through his successors, have not the comments of all the heretics been disapproved, rejected, and overcome, and the hearts of the brethren in the faith of Peter — which so far neither has failed, nor up to the end will fail — been strengthened?”
[In Terra Pax Hominibus, September 2, 1053; Denz. 351.]

35. “But this authority, even though it may be given to a man, and may be exercised by a man, is not human, but rather divine, having been given by the divine mouth to Peter, and to him as well as to his successors, by [Christ] Himself, [that is, to him] whom He had disclosed to be the firm rock, just as the Lord said to Peter himself: ‘Whatever you shall bind,’ [Mt 16:19] etc. Therefore, whoever resists this authority, such as it has been ordained by God, resists the ordination of God. [Romans 13:2]”
[Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, n. 8; confirmed by the Fifth Lateran Council.]

36. Ibid.

37. “Moreover, that every human creature is to be subject to the Roman pontiff, we declare, we state, we define, and we pronounce to be entirely from the necessity of salvation.”
[Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, n. 9; confirmed by the Fifth Lateran Council.]

38. “Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to hold that there is One Holy Catholic and truly Apostolic Church. And this we firmly believe and simply confess: outside of Her, there is neither salvation, nor the remission of sins, just as the Bridegroom in the Canticles proclaims: ‘One is my dove, my perfect one. One is her mother; elect is she who bore her.’ [Canticles 6:8]. And this represents the one mystical body, whose head is Christ, and truly God [is the head] of Christ. [1 Corinthians 11:3] In Her, there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. [Ephesians 4:5] For certainly, in the time of the Flood, the ark of Noah was one, prefiguring the one Church. And She, having been completed by [the measure of] one cubit, [Genesis 6:16] had one pilot and helmsman, that is, Noah. And outside of Her, everything standing upon the land, as we read, had been destroyed.”
[Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, n. 1; confirmed by the Fifth Lateran Council.]

39. Saint Robert Bellarmine, on Lk 22:32: “Therefore, the true exposition is that the Lord asked for two privileges for Peter…. The second privilege is that he, as the Pope, could never teach something against the faith, or that there would never be found one in his See who would teach against the true faith. From these privileges, we see that the first did not remain to his successors, but the second without a doubt did.”
[Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) (p. 156). Mediatrix Press.]

40. Pope Saint Pius X, 1912: “The Pope is the guardian of dogma and morals; he is the depositary of the principles that form honest families, great nations, holy souls; he is the counselor of princes and peoples; it is the head under which no one feels tyrannized, because it represents God himself; he is the father par excellence who in himself brings together everything that can be loving, tender, divine. It seems incredible, and it is also painful, that there are priests to whom this recommendation should be made, but unfortunately we are in our days in this hard unhappy condition of having to say to priests: love the Pope!”
[Pope Saint Pius X, Speech, 18 November 1912; Address of the Holy Father Pius X to the Priests of the Apostolic Union on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Foundation]

41. Ibid.

42. Pope Pius XII, 1943: “But we must not think that He rules only in a hidden or extraordinary manner. On the contrary, our Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth. You know, Venerable Brethren, that after He had ruled the ‘little flock’ Himself during His mortal pilgrimage, Christ our Lord, when about to leave this world and return to the Father, entrusted to the Chief of the Apostles the visible government of the entire community He had founded. Since He was all wise He could not leave the body of the Church He had founded as a human society without a visible head. Nor against this may one argue that the primacy of jurisdiction established in the Church gives such a Mystical Body two heads. For Peter in view of his primacy is only Christ’s Vicar; so that there is only one chief Head of this Body, namely Christ, who never ceases Himself to guide the Church invisibly, though at the same time He rules it visibly, through him who is His representative on earth. After His glorious Ascension into Heaven this Church rested not on Him alone, but on Peter, too, its visible foundation stone. That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same.”

“They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.”
[Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi, n. 44-41.]

43. Pius X: “The office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock has especially this duty assigned to it by Christ, namely, to guard with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body….”
[Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, n. 1]

44. “The ancient Fathers, especially those who held the more illustrious chairs of the East, since they accepted these privileges as proper to the pontifical authority, took refuge in the Apostolic See whenever heresy or internal strife troubled them. For it alone promised safety in extreme crises. Basil the Great did so, as did the renowned defender of the Nicene Creed, Athanasius, as well as John Chrysostom. For these inspired Fathers of the orthodox faith appealed from the councils of bishops to the supreme judgement of the Roman Pontiffs according to the prescriptions of the ecclesiastical Canons.”
[Pope Benedict XV, Principi Apostolorum Petro, n. 3.]

45. Ibid.

46. Pope St. Paul VI, 1968: “founded upon the Apostles and handing on from century to century their ever-living Word and their powers as Pastors in the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him; perpetually assisted by the Holy Spirit, She has the charge of guarding, teaching, explaining and spreading the Truth which God revealed in a then-veiled manner by the prophets, and fully by the Lord Jesus.”
[Pope Saint Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Solemni Hac Liturgia]

47. Ibid.

48. Cardinal Ratzinger, Donum Veritatis: “But it would be contrary to the truth, if, proceeding from some particular cases, one were to conclude that the Church’s Magisterium can be habitually mistaken in its prudential judgments, or that it does not enjoy divine assistance in the integral exercise of its mission.”
[Cardinal Ratzinger, CDF, Donum Veritatis, 24.]

49. Pius X: “May reverence and obedience be perennial and sincere in you, promised with solemn rite to those whom the Divine Spirit made rulers of the Church; and above all, may the homage most justly due to this Apostolic See join your minds and hearts to it every day more closely.”
[Pope Saint Pius X, Haerent Animo, 31.]

50. “So the fathers of the fourth Council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: ‘The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our Lord Jesus Christ, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church” [Mt 16:18], cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honor. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the Apostolic See preaches, for in it, is the whole and true strength of the Christian religion.’ ” [Pastor Aeternus, chapter 4, n. 2]

51. Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, one of the fathers of Vatican I, 1870: “The application of the promise ‘Ego rogavi pro te,’ [“I have prayed for you”] etc. to the infallible faith of Peter and his successors, is made by St. Ambrose; St. Augustine; St. Leo; St. Gelasius; Pelagius II; St. Gregory the Great; Stephen, Bishop of Dori in a Lateran Council [of 649, not Ecumenical]; St. Vitalian; the Bishops of the IV Ecumenical Council AD 451 [Chalcedon]; St. Agatho in the VI AD 680 [Constantinople III]; St. Bernard AD 1153; St. Thomas Aquinas AD 1274; St. Bonaventure AD 1274; that is, this interpretation is given by three out of the four Doctors of the Church, by six Pontiffs down to the seventh century. It was recognized in two Ecumenical Councils. It is expressly declared by the Angelic Doctor, who may be taken as the exponent of the Dominican school, and by the Seraphic Doctor, who is likewise the witness of the Franciscan; and by a multitude of Saints.”
[Cardinal Manning, “The Vatican Council and its Definitions: a Pastoral Letter to the Clergy”]

52. Cardinal Manning: “The interpretation by the Fathers of the words ‘On this rock,’ etc. is fourfold, but all four interpretations are not more than four aspects of one and the same truth, and all are necessary to complete its full meaning. They all implicitly or explicitly contain the perpetual stability of Peter’s faith….”

53. Cardinal Manning: “In these two promises [Lk 22:32, Mt 16:18] a divine assistance is pledged to Peter and to his successors, and that divine assistance is promised to secure the stability and indefectibility of the Faith in the supreme Doctor and Head of the Church, for the general good of the Church itself.”

54. Bishop Vincent Gasser, a father of Vatican I: “This prerogative granted to St. Peter by the Lord Jesus Christ was supposed to pass to all Peter’s successors because the chair of Peter is the center of unity in the Church. But if the Pontiff should fall into an error of faith, the Church would dissolve, deprived of the bond of unity.”
[Bishop Vincent Ferrer Gasser, deputation from Pope Pius IV, Relatio to Vatican I, n. 7-8]

55. Bishop Auguste Allou of Meaux, a father of Vatican I: “If this Roman See could fall and be no longer the See of truth but of error and pestilence, then the Catholic Church herself would not have the bond of a society and would be schismatic and scattered — which in fact is impossible.”
[The Bishop of Meaux, French Bishop Auguste Allou, a father of Vatican I, quoted in the Relatio of Vatican I by Bishop Gasser]

56. Saint John Henry Newman: “I have said that, like St. Peter, he is the Vicar of his Lord. He can judge, and he can acquit; he can pardon, and he can condemn; he can command and he can permit; he can forbid, and he can punish. He has a Supreme jurisdiction over the people of God. He can stop the ordinary course of sacramental mercies; he can excommunicate from the ordinary grace of redemption; and he can remove again the ban which he has inflicted. It is the rule of Christ’s providence, that what His Vicar does in severity or in mercy upon earth, He Himself confirms in heaven.

“in his administration of Christ’s kingdom, in his religious acts, we must never oppose his will, or dispute his word, or criticize his policy, or shrink from his side… We must never suffer ourselves to doubt, that, in his government of the Church, he is guided by an intelligence more than human. His yoke is the yoke of Christ, he has the responsibility of his own acts, not we; and to his Lord must he render account, not to us. Even in secular matters it is ever safe to be on his side, dangerous to be on the side of his enemies.”
[St. John Henry Newman, The Pope and the Revolution, Sermons Preached on Various Occasions, Sermon 15]

57. Ibid.

58. Pope Leo XIII: “And since all Christians must be closely united in the communion of one immutable faith, Christ the Lord, in virtue of His prayers, obtained for Peter that in the fulfilment of his office he should never fall away from the faith. ‘But I have asked for thee that thy faith fail not’ [Luke 22:32], and He furthermore commanded him to impart light and strength to his brethren as often as the need should arise: ‘Confirm thy brethren’ [ibid.]. He willed then that he whom He had designated as the foundation of the Church should be the defense of its faith.”
[Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum 12.]

59. St. Ambrose: “Could not Christ, who confided to him the Kingdom by His own authority, have strengthened the faith of the one whom He designated a Rock to show the foundation of the Church?”
[St. Ambrose, De Fide, bk. 4, n. 56]

60. Pope Saint Pius X: “Therefore when one loves the Pope, there is no discussion about what he disposes or demands, or how far obedience must go, and in what things one must obey; when one loves the Pope, one does not say that he did not speak clearly enough, as if he were obliged to repeat in the ear of everyone that clearly expressed will many times, not only verbally, but with letters and other public documents…”
[Pope Saint Pius X, Speech, 18 November 1912.]

61. Pius X: “…his orders are not questioned, citing the easy pretext of those who do not want to obey, that it is not the Pope who commands, but those who surround him; the field in which he can and must exercise his authority is not limited; The authority of the Pope is not preceded by that of other people, however learned, who disagree with the Pope, who, if they are learned, are not saints, because whoever is holy cannot disagree with the Pope.”
[Pope Saint Pius X, Speech, 18 November 1912.]

62. Ibid.

63. Pope Pius XI, 1933: “without the Shepherd, little sheep would go astray and more easily become the prey of false shepherds…. more than the help of men, We must have confidence in the indefectible assistance promised by God to His Church and in the immense goodness of the Lord toward those who love Him.”
[Pope Pius XI, Dilectissima Nobis, n. 18, 26.]

64. Pope Pius XII, 1943: “They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.”
[Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi, n. 41.]

65. Pope Saint John Paul II: “This is Christ’s promise, our consoling certainty: the Petrine ministry is not founded on human abilities and strengths, but on the prayer of Christ who implores the Father that Simon’s faith ‘may not fail’ (Lk 22:32).”
[Pope Saint John Paul II, 22 February 2000, Homily of the Holy Father]

66. Pope Saint John Paul II: “The assistance that Christ promised to Peter also accompanies his successors, who are entrusted with the same task for the Church: ‘I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren’ (Lk 22:32). So Peter becomes the ‘rock’ on which Christ can build his Church in history, by a gift from on high: the gift of faith, solemnly confessed at Caesarea Philippi: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (Mt 16:16). But it is also in virtue of his response of singular love that he is chosen to be the foundation of the Church: ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?… Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you’ (cf. Jn 21:15-19). On the rock of this faith and this love, the Lord holds together his mystical Body and assures the permanent unity and mission in the varied events of history.”
[Pope John Paul II, Address to the Associations of Saints Peter and Paul, 16 June 2001]

67. Vatican II: “For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith.”
[Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 25.]

68. St. Augustine: “For my part, I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.”
[Willis, The Teachings of the Church Fathers, n. 171.]

69. St. Augustine: “Roma locuta est; causa finita est [Rome has spoken; the case is closed].”
[attributed to Augustine; actual source unknown. But it is a widely used and approved formula.]

70. Pope Saint Boniface I (418-422): “No one has ever boldly raised his hands against the Apostolic Eminence, from whose judgment it is not permissible to dissent; no one has rebelled against this, who did not wish judgment to be passed upon him.”
[Pope Boniface I, Letter “Manet Beatum” to Rufus and the Other Bishops in Macedonia; March 11, 422; Denzinger n. 235.]

71. Pope Leo XIII: “The meaning of this divine utterance [referencing Origen] is, that, notwithstanding the wiles and intrigues which they bring to bear against the Church, it can never be that the church committed to the care of Peter shall succumb or in any wise fail. ‘For the Church, as the edifice of Christ who has wisely built “His house upon a rock,” cannot be conquered by the gates of Hell, which may prevail over any man who shall be off the rock and outside the Church, but shall be powerless against it’ (Origenes, Comment. in Matt., tom. xii., n. ii). Therefore God confided His Church to Peter so that he might safely guard it with his unconquerable power.”
[Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, n. 12]

72. In the same way Maximus the Abbot teaches that obedience to the Roman Pontiff is the proof of the true faith and of legitimate communion. “Therefore if a man does not want to be, or to be called, a heretic, let him not strive to please this or that man…but let him hasten before all things to be in communion with the Roman See. If he be in communion with it, he should be acknowledged by all and everywhere as faithful and orthodox. He speaks in vain who tries to persuade me of the orthodoxy of those who, like himself, refuse obedience to his Holiness the Pope of the most holy Church of Rome: that is to the Apostolic See.”
[Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, n. 13; quoting St. Maximus the Abbot, Defloratio ex Epistola ad Petrum illustrem]

73. Ibid.

74. Unam Sanctam: “And so, the one and only Church is one body, one head, (not two heads like a monster), Christ certainly, and the vicar of Christ, who is Peter and the successor of Peter. For the Lord said to Peter himself, “Feed my sheep.” [John 21:17] He said “my” generally, not solely of these or of those. By this, it is understood that all [universas] were committed to him. Therefore, if either the Greeks or others declare themselves not to be committed to Peter and his successors, they necessarily admit themselves not to be among the sheep of Christ, just as the Lord says in John, “there is one sheepfold, and only one shepherd.” [John 10:16]”
[Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, n. 3; translation by Ronald L Conte Jr.]

75. Lateran Council of 649: “If anyone does not, following the holy Fathers, confess properly and truly, in word and mind, to the last point, all that has been handed down and proclaimed to the holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of God by the holy Fathers and by the five venerable ecumenical councils, let him be condemned.”
[Denzinger, 517; Lateran Council 0f 649 was not Ecumenical. At that time, there were only 5 Ecumenical Councils, the fifth being Constantinople II. Note that “let him be condemned” is “condemnatus sit” in the Latin, not “anathema sit”.

76. “Kingdoms and empires have passed away; peoples once renowned for their history and civilization have disappeared; time and again the nations, as though overwhelmed by the weight of years, have fallen asunder; while the Church, indefectible in her essence, united by ties indissoluble with her heavenly Spouse, is here today radiant with eternal youth, strong with the same primitive vigor with which she came from the Heart of Christ dead upon the Cross. Men powerful in the world have risen up against her. They have disappeared, and she remains. Philosophical systems without number, of every form and every kind, rose up against her, arrogantly vaunting themselves her masters, as though they had at last destroyed the doctrine of the Church, refuted the dogmas of her faith, proved the absurdity of her teachings. But those systems, one after another, have passed into books of history, forgotten, bankrupt; while from the Rock of Peter the light of truth shines forth as brilliantly as on the day when Jesus first kindled it on His appearance in the world, and fed it with His Divine words: ‘Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass’ (Mt 24:35).”
[Pope Saint Pius X, Jucunda Sane, n. 8]

77. Ibid.

100. Pope Saint Pius X, 1912: “It seems incredible, and it is also painful, that there are priests to whom this recommendation should be made, but unfortunately we are in our days in this hard unhappy condition of having to say to priests: love the Pope!”
[Pope Saint Pius X, Speech, 18 November 1912; Address of the Holy Father Pius X to the Priests of the Apostolic Union on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Foundation]

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8 Responses to The Apostolic See is free from every grave error

  1. Robert L Fastiggi says:

    Dear Ron,

    Thank you for this excellent list of references. Congratulations on Volume One of your “Reply to Papal Accusers,” which arrived today. I am honored to be mentioned in the text. More importantly, you provide a proper understanding of Vatican I and the Relatio of Bishop Gasser. I am happy to see so many references to St. Robert Bellarmine. May God continue to bless you and your work.

  2. Robert L Fastiggi says:

    p.s. I posted a positive review of “Reply to the Papal Accusers’ on Amazon.com. I hope it helps draw attention to your book.

  3. Matt says:

    I fully support the Pope and believe he can never lead a Catholic astray in faith and morals.

    However, previous and present day Popes have made serious errors in allowing the collapse of the morals of society these past 50-60 years.

    Having Mass said in Latin is more efficacious than the local language and should be encouraged, if possible.

    Exorcism has been in decline for many years but only recently there has been a renewed interest in it.

    A parish priest has authority over his territory. There are many Old Latin Rite Vatican I prayers that could be said by Priests to end evil in their territories. A Priest has the power from God with specific long Vatican I prayers to drive away evil but unfortunately these prayers were largely modified and watered down in Vatican 2.

    Exorcised Church bells that are rung can drive away demons in the air. Not done anymore.

    Ending the St. Michael’s Prayer at the end of Mass appears to have caused the collapse in the morals of society. Coincidence?

    Previous Popes not aggressively pursuing Priests that committed heinous crimes against children. The Popes must have known. Popes should have publicly stated that any Bishop should call the local police for priests accused of molestation of minors and have them arrested. Cardinals had to go to the Vatican to have a Priest laicized but that was changed about 10 years ago.

    Popes need to be aggressive with calls for Masses said on a Sunday to end abortion, and then other Sundays, end another evil, and so forth. Call for worldwide fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays to end evil. Publicly stating over and over again on Twitter and social media that any Catholic voting for politicians that are for abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and gay “marriage” are matters of moral law that are intrinsic evils that can never be voted for or supported in any way by Catholics. If any Catholic votes for these politicians, they are committing apostasy and should not even come to Church or receive communion, unless they go to Confession and receive absolution.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t think the Popes “allowed” the collapse of morals. People have free will. The three influences on free will towards sin are the flesh, the world, and the fallen angels — in that order. The fallen state is the biggest influence toward sin, not devils.

      I know Latin. It is just a language. It is not magical. The rest of what you said is you deciding that you could run the Church better than the Popes. You don’t know if your suggestions would work. As for child abuse, it is rampant in society, and the Popes do not control that problem. Abortion will not be taken away from the world until people give up their grave sexual sins.

  4. Scott Michael says:

    I enjoy reading these commentaries as I do the works of many Catholic theologians and authors.
    They certainly are cause to reflect on the depth of our shared faith. On this particular topic, I share some disagreement – not out of spite for the Pope or the ideas on the page, but because I find disagreement from the statements of Saints and Doctros of the Church who have opined to the contrary. However, perhaps I misunderstand… My thoughts:

    1) wouldn’t Bellarmine’s commentary on the error of Pope Celestine (recorded in an official papal document) contradict the idea that the Apostolic See can’t err? It would seem that to prove the idea wrong only requires one instance that shows it false.

    2) In 1768, St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote, “We said: ‘if the Pope falls into heresy as a private person,’ because the Pope, as Pope, that is to say, teaching the whole Church EX CATHEDRA, cannot teach an error against Faith because Christ’s promise cannot fail.” St. Alphsonsus’ makes the obvious clarification between the Pope having both a teaching function with a specific charism in that teaching function, and his ability to err, even heretically, as a “private person.”

    3) It appears that many theologians seem to offer a variety of opinions on this topic, and I can understand our merciful and loving Father giving an abundance of grace to the holder of the Petrine Office to assist him. Yet the most common viewpoint regarding what Vatican I taught seems to be best expressed by Cardinal Mazella in De Religione Et Ecclesisa: “it is one thing that the Roman Pontiff cannot teach a heresy when speaking ex cathedra; and it is another thing that he cannot fall into heresy, that is, become a heretic as a private person. On this last questions the Council said nothing; and the theologians and canonists are not in agreement among themselves concerning it.”

    4) Records of the councils deliberations include Cardinal Bellomang’s list of popes (a list greater than 30 previous Popes) who taught error — and he went to great lengths to expand on the nature of each of their erroneous teachings.

    Reading only note 6 in Pastor Aeternus might give the reader this idea, but in concert with notes 7-9, it is clear Vatican I is defining papal infallibility by limiting it to Ex Cathedra pronunciations.

    Note 7: “This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all” -specifically identifies discharing ‘their exalted office’.
    Note 8: “when the salutary effectiveness of the apostolic office is most especially needed, not a few are to be found who disparage its authority, we judge it absol.utely necessary to affirm solemnly the prerogative which the only-begotten Son of God was pleased to attach to the supreme pastoral office.” –again, specifically identifies the ‘apostolic office’.
    Note 9: “Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as divinel;y revealed dogma that when the roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the EXERCISE OF HIS OFFICE as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in definining docrine concerning faith or morals.”

    It would seem that read as a whole, the entire statement in Pastor Aeternus, clearly defines the gift of truth and never failing faith when speaking Ex Cathedra.

    6) In 2004, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    His statement says Catholic “may be at odds with the Holy Father.” The obvious implication is that not every statement, document, and soundbite he produces within his Ordinary Magesterium can possibly be infallible – and that is why the definition of Papal Infallibility belongs to his Extraordinary Magesterium.

    You put much work and thought onto paper, and I look forward to continuing the discussion.

    Yours, In the Peace of Christ,
    Scott M.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Popes can err in non-infallible discipline and non-infallible doctrine, but not to a grave extent. The Apostolic See would be blemished only by grave errors; less than grave errors in what is non-infallible and does not require the full assent of faith is not a blemish.

      Saints writing before Vatican I considered what would happen IF a Pope were a heretic. I believe Liguori had the same opinion as Bellarmine, that Popes cannot fall into heresy due to never failing faith (Lk 22:32), but they did consider the hypothetical. Vatican I dogmatized the never failing faith of the Pope, which prevents a personal failure of faith to a grave extent and prevents teaching heresy.

      Popes have erred, just not to a grave extent.

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