Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
The Infallibility Shuffle
03/24/2007 - James WhiteSometimes you are tempted to feel sorry for those stuck trying to defend the concept of the infallibility of the Church of Rome. You have to slay your mind upon the Altar of a Thousand Qualifications on a regular basis. We saw this with Gary Michuta telling us that when it comes to whether certain Scriptures are inspired and canonical, he will remain "silent," as the church is "silent"---infallible silence! There's an interesting concept.
The 2005 debate with Bill Rutland likewise produced tornadic Roman Catholic apologetic activity. Spin. Fast spin. And that of necessity, since what Rome has taught about Islam, infallibly, has changed so radically of late. Since I make reference to them in this period of cross-examination, here are sections 841 and 1260 of the CCC:
841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."  [330 = LG 16; cf. NA 3.]It would be good to note Nostra aetate 3 as well:
1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."  Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known of its necessity.
[62 = GS 22 # 5; cf. LG 16; AG 7]
3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure inlinking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.All of this should be read in light of the Council of Florence from 1442 (Denzinger 714):
It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.Yes, yes, I know...I have seen very long papers written to attempt to make all of this hang together, and that is my point. When you have to depend upon all sorts of very fallible, contorted, twisted reasoning to hold the "infallible" stuff together, what good is it?