I received the following piece via email from the Jesuit Institute of South Africa.
I didn’t write it, but I think that it is a useful discussion of what the Catholic concept of “papal infallibility” actually entails.
Infallible? by Raymond Perrier
Infallible must be one of the most misunderstood terms in Catholic vocabulary. Reflecting on the Papacy of Benedict XVI we can remind ourselves what Papal infallibility is and most importantly what it is not.
Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he will be stepping down from the papacy. As he wrote in his resignation letter:
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
“I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.