It is time now to review this principle (as good as any), the thought that the pope is infallible. I'm not a theologian or an authority of the Catholic Church, but rather follower of the faith. As you may know, the Church is going through a rough period right now with the scandal that affects the priests and those in power within the Church, and how they have been maliciously robbing the youth (to say it in a understated manner). I predict that the Church will get through this as they always have throughout history, but changes will and should be in store.
One of those changes I think need revision is the principle of infallibility of the pope. It has been obvious in my own opinion that popes have in the past strayed from the path of holiness, yet their authority and power is considered infallible as it is dictated by the teachings of the Church. We as citizens and servants of God must obey the pope for it is his duty given by God to shepherd us. We are led to believe that we are human and that is why we make mistakes to which I agree wholeheartedly. We need the guidance of a holy person to shepherd us toward the light.
I'm not saying the pope cannot guide us to the path toward heaven however. Rather, I would follow a holy pope if he was truthful, enlightened and saw God in everything he did (a core principle of the Catholic faith). Theoretically, that person would act in a righteous manner when given the opportunity to promote justice. It now seems that Pope Benedict in the past may have knowingly or inadvertently caused more harm in his leadership as Bishop and Cardinal Ratzinger, who in high positions of the Church acted in ways perceived as corrupt.
Even if he inadvertently caused harm to others, you would think that as Pope Benedict, he would be remorseful of those decisions. I would still follow him if he were humble and owned up to those mistakes. However, the principle of infallibility will not allow him to do so. In fact, he writes a scathing but justified letter to the Irish congregation about the abuses of the Church in Ireland, without mentioning the problems affecting the German Church which is odd considering his German origin and the abuses there. I assume that would put the pope too close to breaking the infallibility principle.
There are cries out there now in the world for the resignation of the pope. Still others are taking matters to their own hands by with lawsuits (which probably will fail due to the mere fact that heads of state are immune to prosecution). Others have given up and left the faith. What am I to do? Oddly has it may seem, I am still the keeper of the faith. I know we will ride out this storm, but the aftermath of this pain will bring new revisions to Church policy just like Luther and the Reformation did for the Church.
This time, I believe one of those revisions or issues should be the infallibility of the pope. I hope that Pope Benedict will be courageous enough to proclaim that he, like me, is not infallible and that we are all human. According to Catholic teaching, his decrees are like new policies and rules within the Church. The only difference is that he has the calling of God to which I hold in high regard. He can still lead, but current issues obviously affect his leadership. What is a shepherd to do when he abuses his sheep, leaving them out for the wolves to prey?
The Church will be saved. I have no doubt about it as it is an institution run by God, but those within this institution shall have their day of justice if abuses are not corrected. I pray that these changes come soon and swiftly.
I've been thinking about this issue for over several years now and I wanted to just bring them out into public view. I am a follower of the faith, but I believe the current situation in Church is dire and despicable. If these abuses continue to arise, a change shall surely happen and they should already be happening. The only issue then is, will the change be for the good or will this drastically affect the Church in a negative light? To that, I have no clear answer or opinion. It is at a breaking point and I wonder where the cards will fall.
May God help us all.
Disclaimer: This is an opinion of mine and has no bearing or authority on the teachings of the Church (even though I would like it to be taken into consideration). I have not the power to dictate policy or teachings within the Catholic Church.