Dogma and Its Unchangeableness

Vatican Council, Session III, Chapter IV (1870):

#6. God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever be in opposition to truth. The appearance of this kind of specious contradiction is chiefly due to the fact that either the dogmas of faith are not understood and explained in accordance with the mind of the church, or unsound views are mistaken for the conclusions of reason.

#13. For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.

#14. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.”

Pope St. Simplicius, Cuperem quidem, (476):

“Let whoever, as the Apostle proclaimed, attempts to disseminate something other, than what we have received, be anathema[ Gal. 1:8 f.]. Let no approach to your ears be thrown open to the pernicious plans of undermining, let no pledge of revising any of the old definitions be granted, because, as it must be repeated very often, what has deserved to be cut away with the sharp edge of the evangelical pruning hook by apostolic hands with the approval of the universal Church, cannot acquire the strength for a rebirth nor is it able to return to the fruitful shoot of the master’s vine, because it is evident that it has been destined to eternal fire. Thus, finally, the machinations of all heresies laid down by decrees of the Church are never allowed to renew the struggles of their crushed attack.”

Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, #7:

“Indeed you will accomplish this perfectly if, as the duty of your office demands, you attend to yourselves and to doctrine and meditate on these words: ‘the universal Church is affected by any and every novelty’ and the admonition of Pope Agatho: ‘nothing of the things appointed ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning.'”

Pope St. Pius X, Lamentabili Sane, Condemned Errors of Modernists(1907):

“With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas.

Condemned Error #22. The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from heaven. They are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious effort.

Condemned Error #54. Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.”

The Magisterium is Infallible

First Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 3: “Wherefore, by divine and catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.”

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum: “#9 The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium…Christ instituted in the Church a living, authoritative and permanent Magisterium, which by His own power He strengthened, by the Spirit of truth He taught, and by miracles confirmed. He willed and ordered, under the gravest penalties, that its teachings should be received as if they were His own. As often, therefore, as it is declared on the authority of this teaching that this or that is contained in the deposit of divine revelation, it must be believed by every one as true. If it could in any way be false, an evident contradiction follows; for then God Himself would be the author of error in man. 

Pope St. Pius X, The Oath against the Errors of Modernism: “I . . . firmly embrace and accept all and everything that has been defined, affirmed, and declared by the unerring magisterium of the Church, especially those chief doctrines which are directly opposed to the errors of this time.

Pope Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri: “(16) Upon this magisterial office Christ conferred infallibility, together with the command to teach His doctrine…(18)Hence it is that in this proper object of her mission, that is, “in faith and morals, God Himself has made the Church sharer in the divine magisterium and, by a special privilege, granted her immunity from error“.

My Comment: There are those who believe that the Magisterium of the Church can err in certain situations. There are others that believe that there is a “type” or “mode” etc… of the Magisterium that is not protected from Infallibility. Neither of these opinions are true. It is true that Theologians have dubbed certain teachings by the Popes as non-Infallible but this is just a poor choice of words to use “magisterium”. Everyone should know that not everything the Pope says is infallible, it just means that those teachings are not part of the Magisterium.

What is clear though, is that whenever the Church Magisterium speaks of itself and its authority, it always describes itself as unable to err and attributes this to the promises of our Lord. One could never find a quote by the Church teaching that there’s a mode of the Magisterium which is not Infallible.