Others, while recognizing the supreme authority of the papal magisterium in matters of doctrine, confine the infallibility to those cases alone in which the pope chooses to make use of it, and declares positively that he is imposing on all the faithful the obligation of belief in a certain definite proposition, under pain of heresy and exclusion from the Church; they do not insist on any special form, but only require that the pope should clearly manifest his will to the Church.
The later scholastic Protestant doctrine of verbal infallibility necessarily encouraged critical reaction and proved a widely extended retarding force far down into the 10th century.
The infallibility of the pope was not defined until 1870 at the Vatican Council; this definition does not constitute, strictly speaking, a dogmatic innovation, as if the pope had not hitherto enjoyed this privilege, or as if the Church, as a whole, had admitted the contrary; it is the newly formulated definition of a dogma which, like all those defined by the Councils,continued to grow into an ever more definite form, ripening, as it were, in the always living community of the Church.
The infallibility of the episcopate guarantees the infallibility of a general council in which not the laity and not the clergy in general, but the bishops as successors of the apostles, speak officially and collectively.
On the proclamation of papal infallibility in 1870, the government took the opportunity of declaring that the concordat had lapsed, on the ground that there was a fundamental change in the character of the papacy.
Was guided by the earnest desire to see the doctrine of Papal Infallibility brought to universal recognition.
Some see the guarantee, or at least the indication, of infallibility in the consensus of the Church (quod semper, ubique, et ab omnibus) expressed from time to time in general councils; others see it in the special grace conferred upon St Peter and his successors, the bishops of Rome, as heads of the Church; others again see it in the inspired Scriptures, God's Word.
Except by the obviously absurd assumption of the infallibility of copyists for the centuries before c. 300 B.C., we cannot escape the conclusion that errors lurk even where no variants now exist, and that such errors can be corrected, if at all, only by conjectural emendation.
The substance of the claim to infallibility made by the Roman Catholic Church is that the Church and the pope cannot err when solemnly enunciating, as binding on all the faithful, a decision on a question of faith or morals.
They were as follows: (I) The proclamation of the Infallibility of the Pope on the 18th of July 1870; (2) the fall of the Napoleonic empire and the establishment of the third French republic on the 4th of September 1870; (3) the occupation of Rome by the Italian forces on the 20th of September 1870, resulting in the incorporation of the remaining states of the Church in the kingdom of Italy; and (4) the foundation of the German Empire by the proclamation, on the 18th of January 1871, of the king of Prussia as hereditary German emperor.