Religion: Was Vatican I Rigged?

How the Pope became infallible

As a violent thunderstorm raged above St. Peter's Basilica in Rome on July 18, 1870, the bishops of the First Vatican Council adopted a decree that would alter Christian history. A Pope, they declared, is infallible when he defines doctrines of faith or morals ex cathedra (from his throne) and such dicta are "irreformable" and require no "consent of the church." The bishops' lopsided 533-to-2 vote that day masked a deep division in the council and throughout the church. The immediate repercussions included the schism of "Old Catholics" and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!