Saturday, April 17, 2010


Today's newspaper has a prominent page-1 story headlined, "Church in Crisis: Area Catholics deeply divided over pope's stance on sex abuse scandal."

I don't have to read the story. I know what it says.

But it did make me wonder about infallibility. Is there anyone anywhere who hasn't at one time or another dearly wished, implicitly or explicitly, to be infallible ... and offered a lot of evidence (if only in a loud and emotionally-vibrant tone of voice) to prove the point?

Building infallibility into a hard-wired human framework is as foolish for individuals as it is for the Catholic church. Simply stated, it's cruisin' for a bruisin'. Why? Obviously because it simply does not square up with the facts.

I don't care much one way or another about the Catholic church's desires and argumentation and self-esteem, but I do think that infallibility is interesting on a human (rather than institutional) level:

What if you actually were infallible? Would you be a fool ... which is the easiest conclusion to draw? Or would you be on to something that was worth investigating?

Infallible ... never wrong. Except when you were wrong. Which would not be wrong.

Worth investigating? I think so.


  1. I don't think you understand what is meant when someone says the pope is infallible. There are certain instances when making about an official statement about dogma that the pope can speak infallibly--only once in the last two hundred years has a pope spoken 'infallibly'. Your forceful verbal blasts have created craters that totally miss their mark....don't worry though, there are scads of blogs about other religions misunderstanding Buddhism and Zen. Happens all the time.

  2. Chris -- If you read a little more closely, I think you might see that the Catholic church -- which does mention an institutional infallibility -- was not my concern so much as the individual's desire to be infallible or right.

    If we were drinking beer together, I believe I might argue that the desire to be "right" or "infallible" (if only for the moment)is human in a way that precedes anything that might be called "religion." Institutional "infallibility" is more dangerous than individual "infallibility" only in the sense that there are more people involved in institutions and thus can wreak more havoc. But individual yearnings to be infallible or right concoct every bit the same unfortunate barrier.

    Or maybe not....