Papal "infallibility" was not established until The First Vatican Council in 1870.http://www.rmbowman.com/catholic/Hist8h.htm
|"Up to the time of this Council the personal infallibility of the Pope was considered nothing more than a ‘pious opinion’ held by a faction within the Church. The larger part of the Catholic Church so little believed in it, that when Protestants reproached them with this superstition, Roman theologians regarded it as a calumny. The Vatican Council was a bold step in an attempt to make what had formerly been regarded as a 'Protestant invention' into the keystone of the Catholic Faith.
|"If the minority could not be heard in Council and wished to have a memoir of their opposition printed, the printing houses of Rome were forbidden to serve them. Pamphlets mailed from out of the country were sequestered and never delivered. Anyone answering the Pope with an appeal to Christian Tradition was silenced with ‘I am tradition.’
"In a last minute appeal to the Pope, when several bishops were allowed an audience, the proud bishop of Mainz, Baron von Kotteler, fell on his knees weeping to implore the Pope not to formulate the fatal dogma of his own infallibility. Finally, when the dogma was met with its first vote, eighty-eight voted against it, ninety-one bishops refrained from voting, and sixty-two voted yea only conditionally. The opposition departed from Rome before a second vote was taken rather than be called upon either to support the hated dogma or personally offend the Pope by voting negatively.
"With all opposition dispersed, the ultramontanists sealed their triumph in the final vote with still two negative voices on July 18th, 1870.
According to the above, this was not truly a Council vote. Far more bishops expressed reservations than acceptance of this decree.
The thing about papal "infallibilty" that everyone seems to blithely ignore (or deny) - is that it was clarified during the Second Vatican Council to exclude the Pope speaking infallibly on his own. Very specific conditions must be met in the case of an ex cathedra
proclamation. The Pope must be in union with all the bishops of the world in order to proclaim an infallible teaching.
of 'em - every single bishop in the world must agree.
|The college or body of bishops, however, has authority together with the Pope as its head. The Pope is the foundation of unity, of bishops as well as of the Faithful; so that supreme authority can be exercised by the college of bishops only in union with the Pope and with his consent.
And, there's no system of checks and balances when it comes to an "infallible" statement - b/c basically it's the one making the statement who gets to decide if all the conditions are indeed met.
In other words, it's not a very objective process.
The other funny thing about an "infallible" teaching is that a pope can retract it or replace it with a different "infallible" teaching.
Uh, if something is supposedly without error, why would you need to retract or replace it?