Religion: A Question of Infallibility

The doctrine of infallibility—which holds that the Pope cannot be in error when he speaks ex cathedra ("from the throne") on matters of faith or morals —is both a cornerstone of the Roman Catholic Church and an obnoxious obstacle to other Christians. That, and the question of papal authority in general, has been so non-negotiable for both Catholics and non-Catholics that until recently even serious discussion of the problem was ruled out by ecumenical etiquette. Now the papacy and its powers are being studied in official talks between Catholic and Lutheran theologians in...

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