November 27, 2010

If Martin Luther had been elected pope...

...As an Evangelical I had always thought that the claim of papal infallibility was a power grab on the part of the pope. It would give any pope the power to fashion things just to his liking. What I came to see, however, is that the truth could not be more opposite. Infallibility is an entirely conservative doctrine. It means that no present or future pope can change (contradict) any dogma that has been accepted by the Church throughout her history... In an era where people have come to desire change for its own sake, this teaching assures us that the original dogma of the Church will be protected through the ages...
    -- David B. Currie, in Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic

"Papal Infallibility" sounds preposterous to modern ears, but it simply means that the pope is protected from teaching heresy. That's all. Popes can, and have, been bad or misguided in all sorts of ways. But even the worst of them has never even tried to change the basic doctrines of the faith. That's pretty amazing when you think of it

And this is nothing for a pope to brag about. It has nothing to do with him being wise or virtuous. If Martin Luther had been elected pope, he would have immediately ceased his wicked contumacy and become an orthodox Catholic.

You may think I'm telling a stretcher, but in fact there was one pope, Vigilius, who was a heretic when elected. He had been a leader among the Monophysites. He was strong-armed into the office of pope by the Empress Theodora, and the two of them were probably complicit in the deaths of the two previous popes. Yet upon election Vigilius immediately renounced heresy and preached orthodox Christianity, even though he knew it would cost him his life.

Posted by John Weidner at November 27, 2010 2:49 PM
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