papal infallibility


Definition of papal infallibility

: the Roman Catholic doctrine that the pope cannot err when speaking ex cathedra in defining a doctrine of Christian faith or morals

Examples of papal infallibility in a Sentence

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The idea that the Vatican, with its doctrine of papal infallibility, would invite open debate about official religious doctrine shocked religious and irreligious people around the world. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, "Can Married Priests Help Save the Amazon?," 25 June 2019 In recent years, papal infallibility, a concept officially codified by Pius IX nearly 150 years ago, seems to have been supplanted by papal apology. Ian Austen And Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "A Pope Given to Apologies Has Nothing for Indigenous Canada," 23 Apr. 2018 But when Pius IX secured the declaration of papal infallibility, Döllinger refused to concede and was excommunicated, remaining under church condemnation until his death in 1890. D.g. Hart, WSJ, "Infallibility and Its Discontents," 29 Aug. 2017 That gathering ratified the dogma of papal infallibility, the capstone of Pius’s expansion of the papacy’s power. D.g. Hart, WSJ, "Infallibility and Its Discontents," 29 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'papal infallibility.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of papal infallibility

1831, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near papal infallibility

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papal infallibility




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The first known use of papal infallibility was in 1831

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papal infallibility


English Language Learners Definition of papal infallibility

: the Roman Catholic belief that the pope cannot be wrong when using his official position of power to give instructions about Christian faith or morals

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concealment of treason or felony

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