Infallibility: Prolongation of the Incarnation

Human experience and knowledge is less than the DIVINE experience and knowledge of the Word in His human nature, i.e., as Incarnate. That's the key. That Man's experience and knowledge is God the Son's and thus superior to all human knowledge and experience individually or collectively and, indeed, the key to understanding all human knowledge and experience, individually or collectively as to its ultimate and absolute meaning. (And seeing this helps us see the raison d'etre of infallibility.)

That Man's knowledge and experience is extended to the Church from Pentecost on. The ecclesiological point follows from and is caused by the Christological: that Man's personal knowledge and experience, God the Creator and Redeemer. The Church as the prolongation of that Man's knowledge and experience is preserved from error by the One Who so prolongs it in objective ways so that even though individually each member of the Magisterium is fallible a united teaching and sacramental life is kept infallible (no problem for God to do!), so that the victory of that Man over sin and death and error is not defeated in practice in the Church as a whole (otherwise we either have a pretty weak God or we have God operating exactly as in the Old Testament with no improvement in the New and Eternal Covenant in Christ's Incarnate Redemption). The Incarnation changes everything; it changes the nature of the Covenant. While the entire priesthood could go awry in the Old Covenant, since the Incarnation of God among His People He won't allow it; there's an improvement in the union of God with and among His People over and above the prior covenant.

Thus in the Church of Christ, the visible communion of Himself prolonged from Pentecost on no individual or collective human experience can supplant on his own. Indeed, Christ's knowledge and experience is the rule and interpretation of everybody's, either by joining with His knowledge and experience or separating these. The Wisdom of the Ages and of different cultures, the knowledge and traditions of all societies - including our own - therefore, have both doorways to and obstacles to Christ's prolonging Himself and His experience and knowledge in them.

Every prolongation from the Jewish Christian Apostolic times, to the Greek, Syriac, Latin inculturations are nonessential modes of prolongation. They don't constitute the Church, they receive the Church in a cultural mode that lasts for centuries in expressions other cultures can understand and adapt (Germanic and Celtic and Slavic Europe, e.g., or today, in Africa and Asia). So that while one's knowledge and experience is not unimportant, it is not foundational for oneself before God. It must be both altered and incorporated into Christ's; His extended into ours, and a conversion or rearrangement is necessary in us for the good to be saved, redeemed and elevated and the rest left behind.

One's deepest reality is not therefore one's own knowledge and experience, but the Divine Idea of us in the Word as an image of Him, the Image of His Father. We find our true selves, persons, images in Him by losing what we assert is our true self, personhood, image of ourselves. By surrendering ourselves to Him concretely, relinquishing ourselves to Another (and therefore to another's judgment!) we really do find ourselves. We therefore can not be the final arbiter of the Truth for ourselves. Thus our judgment must be altered so as to fit Christ's and Christ's judgment about Himself is prolonged to us through the Church. Unless you die to self, you can not live to God.

by Padro