Paul Rebuked Peter


Q. In Galatians 2:11-14 Paul rebuked Peter for hypocrisy so it seems pretty clear that Peter was NOT infallible after all.

A. If the definition of the Dogma of Infallibility of the Pope included all the actions of the pope then the Galatians passage would indeed be evidence that Peter was not infallible. However, the Dogma of Infallibility DOES NOT include the actions of the pope. The Pope is only infallible when and ONLY when, he both 1) teaches on faith and morals and 2) when he teaches to the whole church.

In the Galatians passage Peter did not fulfill either one of the requirements for infallible teaching let alone both requirements. He simply did not promulgate any teaching for the whole church. He caved into peer pressure. He was weak at this moment.

Some might insist that he certainly was teaching by his actions. But again this is not the type of teaching referred to in the Dogma of Infallibility. But even if we concede that Peter did teach, still he was NOT teaching error to the whole Church. Therefore, it still would not meet the requirements necessary to be considered a failure of infallibility.

This Dogma does not imply that every word from the lips of the pope is infallible.

He could make errors in his speech as he walks with a Cardinal friend down the hall at the Vatican. (Not taught to the whole Church/not on faith and morals)

He could make arithmetic errors in his checkbook. (Neither about faith and morals nor for the whole Church)

In a meeting and discussion of theology with other bishops he could even make mistakes. (Not taught to the whole Church)

But none of these would disqualify him from being infallible because the Holy Spirit ONLY protects his teaching when it is about both faith and morals and it is being taught to the whole church

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