I really enjoyed reading this review. I've always been fascinated by history, as well as by doctrinal or dogmatic differences between Catholicism, Protestants, and Mormonism. I thought that Thormaehlen's treatise on the subject was articulated well, yet easily understood. I appreciated the fact that it was written for a lay audience rather than as a scholarly discourse. On a side note, I read the comment by "Joe" with interest and looked up "Papal Infallibility" on Wikipedia. According to the article there, it seems to be an actual doctrine espoused by Catholics. I've got my copy of this book, now I intend to read it. Thanks, Meridian!
To be honest, I probably wrote that one statement about infallibility before 2005. I began the book in 2002. I did not realize this about infallibility, but in context of the whole chapter my discussion is largely about the Catholic Church and inconsistencies with it and the New Testament. I probably should have left about the question of infallibility since I just mentioned it the one time. I agree, we should have better dialogue with others if we expect it in return. I don't have or claim to have all the answers, I just decided to publish what I had to the best of my understanding. You can see more at www.scott-thormaehlen.com. Thanks!
It is clear the author does not understand the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility and spreads the misconception that what the pope teaches is without error. Infallibility occurs only under extremely rare circumstances (the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition definitely did not meet the criteria.) Even Pope Benedict stated "The Pope is not an oracle; he is infallible in very rare situations, as we know."
Simplistically saying Catholics believe the pope is infallible is akin to saying that Mormons believe that Satan and Jesus are brothers. The correct answers would start off, "Well, not quite."
For a better (and more scholarly) explanation of the "election" of a pope, see Erin Ann McBride's excellent article The Papal Election vs. the Calling of a Prophet here on Meridian.
We are LDS folks, let's get it right!
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