Boundaries of infallible teaching

When Pope Benedict XVI used the word “infallible” in reference to the ban on women’s ordination in a recent letter informing an Australian bishop he’d been sacked, it marked the latest chapter of a long-simmering debate in Catholicism: exactly where should the boundaries of infallible teaching be drawn?

On one side are critics of “creeping infallibility,” meaning a steady expansion of the set of church teachings that lie beyond debate. On the other are those, including Benedict, worried about “theological positivism,” meaning that there is such a sharp emphasis on formal declarations of infallibility that all other teachings, no matter how constantly or emphatically they’ve been defined, seem up for grabs.

Read John Allen’s article in National Catholic Reporter

Image: World Catholicism Week

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