What Aquinas Means by Infallibility; Ontological versus Epistemic Infallibility


Deus Ex Machina

There is a passage from the Summa which is frequently appealed to by Roman apologists which goes:

Now the formal object of faith is the First Truth, as manifested in Holy Writ and the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth. Consequently whoever does not adhere, as to an infallible and Divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth manifested in Holy Writ, has not the habit of faith, but holds that which is of faith otherwise than by faith.

– S.T. 2.2.5.3

Thus the moment see “adhere, as to an infallible and Divine rule, to the teaching of the Church”, they instantly infer infallibility to obtain of the Magisterium of the Church.

But there is no justification for that inference for two reasons (1) Aquinas is referring to the propositional content, the things or realities referred to by the teachings…

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