I haven't followed the Pope v. Islam fight going on, because I'm not Catholic or Muslim I guess. But, this article caught my eye. It's an interesting question about papal infallibility.
Commentators have described Pope Benedict's recent expressions of regret as close to a rare papal apology. But how, they ask, can a man believed by Catholics to be "infallible" make a mistake?Well, there you go. He's right when it matters, but not on the little stuff. And, don't call youns infallible says Him.
According to the Roman Catholic Church, the Bishop of Rome IS infallible - but only in specific cases. The current furore over remarks made by the pontiff about Islam does not fall into this category.
Papal infallibility only comes into play with issues of faith that concern the whole Church. It doesn't apply when the Pope is expressing a personal opinion or, in this case, quoting from a historical text.
Papal infallibility was hotly debated for centuries within the Church after the notion that the Pope was the preserver of apostolic - derived from the apostles - truth, was set out in the early 6th Century. But according to Catholic historian Peter Stanford the word infallible wasn't used because it was believed only God could be infallible.