Jesus instructed his Church to teach all that He taught, promising his Apostles that whoever hears them hears Him. 

He also promised that the Holy spirit would guide the Church into all the truth.

Because of this, the teaching of the Catholic Church, led by the Pope, has been considered infallible.

When teaching ex cathedra (from the Chair of St. Peter) about faith and morals the pope is free from error.

The doctrine of infallibility developed over time and was declared a dogma at First Vatican Council in 1870.

The pope knows who Jesus is:

Protecting what Jesus taught:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven.”

Matthew 16: 18-19

Infallible but not impeccable:

The office is infallible, not the man:

Without error, but not without sin:

“The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,” and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.” This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 891

A superior authority guided by the Holy Spirit:

A dogma influenced by Scripture and history:

And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment.

Pope Paul VI, Lumen Gentium, November 21, 1964

God’s family is united by the infallible authority of the pope:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Growing in everyday holiness:

Share this page with friends and family to start a conversation about your faith.

Don’t miss a post. Learn more about the Catholic Church and strengthen your Catholic faith.

Find more Fiercely Catholic video issues here.

Subscribe here.

Book a Fiercely Catholic program at your next conference, retreat, or other Catholic event.