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Scott Hahn explains Papal Infallibility

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  • Scott Hahn explains Papal Infallibility

    Scott Hahn explains Papal Infallibility
    Less than 5 minutes

    Dr. Scott Hahn answers a caller who explains that papal infallibility is a roadblock to his conversion.

    Dr. Scott Hahn was born in 1957, and has been married to his wife Kimberly since 1979. He and Kimberly have six children and are expecting their fifth grandchild. An exceptionally popular speaker and teacher, Dr. Hahn has delivered numerous talks nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith. Hundreds of these talks have been produced on audio and videotapes by St. Joseph Communications. His talks have been effective in helping thousands of Protestants and fallen away Catholics to (re)embrace the Catholic faith.

    He is currently a Professor of Theology and Scripture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990, and is the founder and director of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. In 2005, he was appointed as the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

    Dr. Hahn is also the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb's Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are Many Are Called, Hope for Hard Times, The Catholic Bible Dictionary, Covenant and Communion, and Signs of Life.

    Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a triple-major in Theology, Philosophy, and Economics from Grove City College, Pennsylvania in 1979, his Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1982, and his Ph.D. in Biblical Theology from Marquette University in 1995. Scott has ten years of youth and pastoral ministry experience in Protestant congregations (in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Virginia) and is a former Professor of Theology at Chesapeake Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1982 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia. He entered the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, 1986.

  • #2
    This is a very long web page, so I won't post it all. But having recently heard Dr. Hahn's "Answering Common Objections" while doing a search, I believe this is a transcript of one of his talks. So if you read it, it may not read like a typical paper. You probably need to envision a man talking to a crowd as you read it.

    Here is the link: Dr Scott Hahn on the Papacy |

    And here are the first 4 paragraphs:

    Many people think that Vatican II's primary vision of the Church as a communion was summarized in the phrase, "The People of God," but the Old Testament roots for that phrase, "People of God," "am' Yahweh" actually has as its primary meaning, "Family of God." That term "people," am' literally denotes kinship, so it could be translated "kinsmen" or "Family of God," and that's how most Old Testament scholars translate it. So when we look at the Pope, as we will this morning, we are going to be looking at him, not as some tyrant, not as some authoritarian "know-it-all" and not as some magician who can just kind of concoct a new revelation to satisfy all parties, or anything like that. We are going to be looking at a father figure that Christ has established over the family that He has purchased with His own blood.

    Now, there are many misconceptions that people have. They sometimes think that the teaching of the Church is that the Pope is infallible; therefore, he can't sin. That's nonsense, although the present Pontiff goes to confession, I understand, at least once a week. He's got to have something to confess for it to be a valid sacrament administered to him. Others think that he always says the best thing at the right time. No, the Church has never insisted upon the fact that the Pope will always say the best thing at the right time. Rather, the teaching of the Church would allow for the Pope perhaps to postpone out of cowardice, a right thing. Or when he says the truth, when he teaches the truth, he might do so in a way that includes an ambiguity.

    So we are responsible as Catholics to understand, not only what the Church teaches, but what the Church doesn't teach to help clear up these misconceptions. The Church teaches in a simple summary that the Holy Father, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, as the successor to Peter and the Vicar of Christ, when he speaks as the universal teacher from the Chair of Peter in defining faith and morals does so with an infallible charism or an infallible gift through the Holy Spirit so that we can give to him the full assent of our intellect and our will, and we can hear the voice of Christ coming to us through the voice of the Pope when he is speaking in this capacity.

    Now we are going to flush off on the meanings of this as time goes on, but there are three basic issues or problems. First of all, can we prove Papal Primacy, that is, that the Pope is not just the first among equals but that he has a certain primacy, a unique supremacy in relation to all of the Bishops. We have to begin by showing that Jesus conferred this gift upon Peter. Then secondly, we have to establish the doctrine of Papal succession. If we can prove from the Bible that Peter was granted by Jesus a certain primacy, that doesn't go far enough. We then have to go on to establish Papal succession; that is, Peter had successors to whom would be entrusted the same gift or charism. Then thirdly, we have to establish evidence for Papal infallibility, that is that God grants a gift to the successors of Peter for them, not to give new revelations. The Church insists that no Popes have ever given new revelation. Revelation has been, once and for all deposited by Christ through His Apostles and with the death of the last Apostle came the close of all public revelation. The Popes, in a sense are given the task of preserving and of transmitting, explaining and enforcing that revelation, but not giving new revelation. So that third doctrine is the doctrine of Papal infallibility, that when they transmit, when they explain, when they enforce it, they are granted a charism or a special spiritual gift preserving them from error.......
    Read the rest here: Dr Scott Hahn on the Papacy |