“You Catholics are crazy, teaching that the Pope is infallible and treating him like he’s an Old Testament prophet or New Testament apostle. Don’t you think this is kind of ridiculous to treat a mere man like this?”
Well, is it ridiculous to think of the prophets and apostles as we do — as imperfect and sinful men through whom God communicated infallibly his Word? Is it ridiculous to believe that God could inspire sinful fallible men to write inerrant and infallible scripture?
But the Church doesn’t teach that the pope is a modern-day prophet or apostle with the ability to write inspired Scripture.
What the Church teaches is far more nuanced than that.
It’s not that the pope is inspired as the prophets and apostles were. It’s not that everything a Pope thinks or says at all times is true or said in the best way. Popes are fallible men.
But Jesus gave the keys to Peter and promised to build his Church on that rock, and based on this, what we believe as Catholics is that when the Pope in his role as shepherd of the universal Church intends to speak for all Christians, and from the chair of St Peter formally defines a matter of faith and morals, the Holy Spirit keeps him from error, and therefore from leading Christians worldview into error.
This is what Catholics mean by infallibility.
Check out the short video below from Dr. Scott Hahn on the Infallibility of the Pope and then spend some time watching the other videos on the Pope page of the Calling All Converts site. Learn how to explain and defend what we Catholics believe about the papacy!