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25 Nov 2015 Middle East - Africa News Comments (1)

LIVE: Pope Francis arrives in Kenya - Watch

Watch a Live coverage of the Pope's arrival in Nairobi (Kenya) at the start of his papal visit to Africa

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24 Dec 2014 Q&A No comments

May a couple who marry in the Church, divorce, and later reconcile resume marital relations?

Full Question A husband and wife are validly married in the Catholic Church, and after several years get a civil divorce, never seek an annulment, live cha…

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09 Nov 2014 Q&A No comments

Is there a difference between a presider and a celebrant?

Full Question I've recently seen places in the missalette where it lists celebrant and presider. Doesn't it mean priest or deacon? What do these really mea…

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23 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Previewing the Pope at the United Nations: a call to abandon no one

In his much anticipated speech at the United Nations headquarters to be delivered Friday, Pope Francis will likely call on the countries of the world not to aba…

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02 Sep 2016 Uncategorized No comments

Archbishop of Canterbury to join Pope Francis in marking 30 years since Assisi

Religious leaders will participate in a three-day event celebrating the first World Day of Prayer The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will join Pope Fr…

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21 Oct 2015 News Vatican No comments

Sir James MacMillan to compose work for Fátima anniversary

The celebration in 2017 will be attended by Pope Francis Composer Sir James MacMillan has been commissioned by the Shrine of Fátima to write a work for the s…

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31 May 2016 USA Vatican No comments

Pope appoints pastor as new auxiliary bishop for Philadelphia Archdiocese

Mgr Edward Deliman's appointment was announced by the apostolic nuncio to the United States Pope Francis has named Mgr Edward Deliman, who is a priest of the P…

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17 Dec 2015 News USA No comments

A combined Plea of Intervention for Persecuted Christians

On Tuesday, December 15th, the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops had a joint meeting and have sent an appeal to Stéphane …

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20 Oct 2015 News Vatican No comments

Why the Synod of Bishops is more than Rock’em Sock’em Robots

When you talk to people taking part in the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family and ask where things stand, one observation you’ll often hear is that public impr…

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How can the popes be infallible if they can contradict each other?

Full Question

If the Catholic popes are infallible as you claim, then how can they contradict each other? Pope Clement XIV condemned the Jesuits in 1773, but Pope Pius VII favored them again in 1814.


When Catholics say popes can’t contradict each other, we mean they can’t do so when they teach infallibly, not when they make disciplinary and administrative decisions. The example you cited is a case of the latter and not the former.

Pope Clement XIV didn’t “condemn” the Jesuits in 1773, but he did suppress the order–that is, he “shut it down.” Why? Because the Bourbon princes and others hated the success of the Jesuits. They pressured the pope until he gave in and suppressed the order. Even so, the decree which the pope signed didn’t judge or condemn the Jesuits. It merely listed the accusations against them and concluded that “the Church cannot enjoy true and lasting peace so long as the Society remains in existence.”

As you noted, Pope Pius VII restored the order in 1814. Was the suppression of the Jesuits by Clement a mistake? Did it evince a lack of courage? Perhaps, but the important thing to note here is that it in no way was concerned with papal infallibility.





  2. narciso mesquita Reply

    The suppression of the society of jesus has nothing to do with the infallibility of the of the Popes because it was a balanced decision considering the political situation in those days.
    Like wise many have criticised Pope Pious for his silence in protecting thr jews. Here also was governed by the political situations in those days. In his silence he was the for runner to save a million jews.
    Infallibility of the Pope is in concern with the dogmas of faith only. Otherwise he is a human being just like us.
    These are personal views only without prejudice to any person or friend

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