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Cardinal Newman, and Cardinal Manning, (although at the time Newman was not a Cardinal) opposed the move to dogmatically define Papal Infallibility.

Sometimes the truth is not as simple as it seems. Bottiner and other Anti-Catholics are famous for twisting the truth and making statements like the the one above. On face value it is true, they did oppose the defining of the Dogma, at that time, but not because they did not believe in the dogma, rather because the two of them having been rabid anti-Catholics before they studied Civil and Church History, (from protestant authors no less) came to the conclusion that Christ founded the Church and gave the day to day responsibilities of running the Church to Peter, and his successors in order to have a visible head to it. Newman and Manning understood that the protestant mind which already claimed the Pope to be the Anti-Christ would misinterpret Papal Infallibility and make it into something it was not. They seem to be correct, as many Anti-Catholics believe that Papal Infalliblity means that the Pope cannot sin, or that the Pope can never err. This mistaken view is so common that even Catholics who are not educated in the Faith sometimes believe that the Church holds this when Protestants who have been improperly informed by their ministers claim it to be so. A careful read of their writings from the time * reveals it was the misrepresentaion of the Catholic faith rather than the dogma that was most troublesome for them.

Now Christ Jesus is and will always be the Head of the Catholic Church, but as he reigns from heaven, there was and continues to be a need for somewhere for the buck to stop. (oldtimes like myself will understand the metaphore) So like Abram of old who was renamed Abraham by God when he was appointed by God to be the Father of Israel, Simon had his name changed by Jesus to Kephas, (Aramaic for ROCK, Petros in Greek) Christ also gave him the power of binding, (Whatsoever you bind on earth is bound in Heaven….) Peter was vested with this power not because of his own merit or worth, but because Jesus who is the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus who is God could delegate His authority.

When it comes to infallibilty the dogma does not follow the way secular dictionaries define infallibility. Papal infallibility is a charism in the office of the Pope that when he defines a dogma “Ex Cathedra” (From the Chair of Peter) the pronouncement is infallible, but the Church does not stop there, the Church requires that the what is defined as a dogma deals with a matter of faith or morals, that the pope be speaking to the entire Church, in the fullness of his Apostolic Authority, (every bishop is a successor of the Apostles, so the authority that the Pope has is based on being a successor of the Apostles) So the Pope is not infallible in the sense of not being able to error about anything at all, when he is speaking as a private theologian, to one person or a group of people, he is as fallible as you and me (or rather I am, see I just proved that I am fallible.)

When people who don’t know what the Church Teaches about Papal Infallibility speak of it, they sometimes confuse infallibility with Impeccability, or the inability to sin. The Church has never claimed that the Pope or anyone aside from our Lord and our Lady where without sin. our Lord, because He is God. Our Lady because of Christ’s special grace by which He preserved her, not through her own merit, but the merits of Christ. As Peter failed our Lord and was weak in his faith during his carreer, he acts as an example to us, that it is not so much that we fall from time to time that is most important as that we get back up. That we continue to run the good race, (as St. Paul aptly put it). Our Lord, chose twelve men as His closest disciples, among them was Judas Iscariot, does the fact that he chose men who would fail make His choices wrong, or prove Him to not be God? No. Does the fact that Peter was human, and could err on a day to day basis make him any less the first Pope? No. What made him the first Pope was that Christ Jesus despite Peter’s faults gave him the authority to be Pope. No promises where made by Jesus that the Pope would be perfect like Jesus Himself, no the Popes have remained human.

As for the Pope going to confession, he like all of us is a sinner. He like all of us (should be doing) is on the path to his salvation, (For those who do not read greek, the epistles of Paul in over 90% of the texts translated into english as saved or salvation, justified or justification, use the transitional form of the verb that is more properly translated into english as Is in the Process of being Saved) We also read in the New Testament that we “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” – Philippians 2:12 While in the 1500’s Protestants took a radically different interpretation to this and other texts from what had always been believed by Christians the fact remains that the Pope still has to go to confession, and based on his responsiblity to be a leader and example of Christ’s love, probably needs the graces Christ gives through the sacraments even more than most of us.

* Dishonest Protestant writers like Bottiner quote Cardinal Newman with anti-Catholic remarks and statements in his books. What the anti-Catholic fails to tell his reader is that in his Apolgia (Explanation of why he gave up Evangelical Protestantism for historic Christianity) the then Cardinal Newman was looking back to his Anti-Catholic statemtents of the past, restating them and then explaining why those anti-Catholic statements where made out of ignorance and a mind polluted by inaccurate and fictional facts. The good Cardinal then went on to state what the Catholic and Historical truth was that compelled him to embrace Christ and His Church, and why the original statements where wrong. Bottiner was not quite as honest, he only quoted the anti-Catholic statements that Newman made when he was still Protestant, told his readers, “Look see even a Catholic Cardinal does not believe these Catholic Teachings,” but omits telling his readers that the Cardinal no longer believed what he wrote when he was a rabid anti-Catholic Protestant.

[As far as my challange to Ron, one of the questions (at least in part) was answered here. Although I still want to see how you think the Church defines the other questions, as my experience is that those who think they hate the Catholic Church, really hate what they think the Church teaches as a result of faulty and contorted information rather than the truth.]