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Elka, that is very legit concern. For me, it was one of those things that took me a while to get over. Only because it takes some honest historical digging to give you some sort of peace. I’m going to attempt to answer your concern by asking the following question.
Can the Pope make mistakes?
He can make mistakes in everything except when he is speaking to the “whole church” in relation to doctrinal matters. Otherwise known as ex-cathedra. He can make mistakes in the following areas:
For many, it may be difficult to grasp that God would allow the Pope to do such things. But what Protestants and the secular world fail to see or understand is that God only promised to preserve TRUTH for the Church. Everything else is subject to free will. Now I’ve read quite a bit of Dave Hunt, James White, Tim LaHaye, James McCarthy, etc. attempts to prove that the Pope has screwed up in the area we say he can’t. But all I have read has fallen under what I noted above. They were either private letters, science, or something in that realm. The next obvious question is:
Has the Pope ever made a mistake in faith and doctrine when speaking to the whole church?
The answer is no. Not only have I not found anything but I don’t believe this can happen. It would be kind of like asking me if I believe that the Word of God in its present form is the same as the early church. Proving this is impossible. But I believe that we still have the Word of God now the same as the early church. If anyone can prove any of these to be false then everything will begin to crumble. I don’t believe God will allow either to fall for the sake of our salvation.
Now I haven’t done any extensive research into why the Pope was praying with African Shamans, Buddhists, and so on. But I can tell you that no changes of the of the Catholic faith occurred in that situation. Not in that situation and not in any situation. Once again he was not addressing the whole of the church.
Hope this helps.