The press coverage of the Church and the conclave just keeps getting funnier and funnier. First Cardinal Ratzinger’s wonderful pre-conclave homily was referred to as a "hard line stance" in this article.
In 1994, when Pope John Paul II declared the church had no authority to ordain women, it was Cardinal Ratzinger who sought to quell the outcries by invoking a variation of infallibility that seemed to stretch the traditional definition.
Several Catholic observers were not so surprised by the policy, but by the Vatican’s swift stroke in closing the debate. Robert McClory, author of Power and the Papacy: The People and Politics Behind the Doctrine of Infallibility, commented: "The pope said nobody’s supposed to talk about it any more, which is what you tell your six-year-old kid when he wants to go to McDonald’s in the middle of the night. You can’t deal with adults that way."
Infallibility is a subtle idea that has turned into a blunt instrument, he says. "It’s a nuclear weapon and you if use it, you blow yourself up, too."
Wow a nuclear option for the papacy. I guess when Stalin asked how many divisions the Pope had he didn’t know about the nuclear papal infallibility weapon. Of course the nuclear weapon was developed in the Trinity project and papal infallibility was developed by the Most Holy Trinity.
Margaret O’Gara, professor of theology at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, did her thesis on papal infallibility, and now she teaches it.
"Infallibility is a misleading, confusing word," she says. "At its best, it means praise of God, that God is helping. That is different from, ‘God is helping me and you better listen’."