Infallibility, Fallibility, and the Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church claims to be the only true church on earth and that it alone retains the authority to infallibly interpret the Word of God.  In fact, it says that no one is allowed to interpret Scripture contrary to what the Roman Catholic Church says.

" one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, -- wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold," (Trent, Session 4, "Decree Concerning the Edition, and the Use, of the Sacred Books")

The question we must ask is how many verses of the Bible has the Roman Catholic Church infallibly interpreted?  This is an important question because, logically speaking, it means that whichever verses the Roman Catholic Church has not infallibly interpreted, means that it has interpreted them fallibly.  Logically, there are only two options: infallibility and fallibility.  There can be no third option.  We must have either one or the other when it comes to interpretation of God's word.  If the Roman Catholic Church claims to be the infallible interpreter, then shouldn't it infallibly interpret Scripture and declare to the world exactly what verses mean?

I have been unable to find a list of the verses the Roman Catholic Church has infallibly interpreted.  My repeated questioning into this has resulted in a consistency of statements from Roman Catholics that the number of verses infallibly interpreted by the Roman Catholic Church is less than 10....less than 10 in 2,000 years!

The Old Testament has 23,214 verses and the New Testament has 7,959 verses.   That is a total of 31,173 verses.  So, if the RCC has interpreted, let's be generous and say 10 verses infallibly, that would mean that it has fallibly interpreted 31,163 verses.  That is .003% infallibility and 99.097% fallibility.  Those aren't good odds for a church that has the absolute authority of God, true apostolic succession, sacred tradition, the Pope, and 2,000 years of existence.  So, it appears, at best, the Roman Catholic Church can infallibly interpret one Bible verse every 200 years.  At this rate, it would take 6,232,600 years to infallibly interpret the entire Bible.

I can't help but wonder what new revelations and infallible interpretations will arise within the Roman Catholic Church.  Will the next 6 million years produce the complete deification of Mary? Will Mary become the creator of the universe in Roman Catholic lore?  Or perhaps the Pope might be elevated to a celestial level here on earth.  Then again, maybe Roman Catholic sacred tradition will tell us new, unfathomable truths such as becoming gods and other such "unrevealed truths" that aren't even slightly hinted at in the Bible, but yet might even now be whispered down through the corridors of time through apostolic succession waiting to be revealed as new truths.



About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.