This council represented the culmination of a movement called "ultramontanism," standing for devotion to Rome (across the mountains, the Alps. Go figure.). The council opened in Rome on 8 December 1869. The question of the definition of papal infallibility the item on the agenda. The Catholics had little doubt that the pope as successor of Peter possessed special teaching authority. The only question was how far this authority extended (completely), whether it could be exercised independently from councils (yes) and the college of bishops (again, yes), and what special preconditions would have to be met (none, except that he be alive and breathing when exercising said authority. After all, he might be infallible, but he’s not immortal. Yet. We’ll wait on that vote in a future council. Unless, of course, the Pope ex cathedra infallibly declares he indeed is immortal.).
The vote for the record, on 18 July 1870, was 533 for the doctrine of infallibility. Only two against. (55 uncertain, or dissenting bishops left Rome, with the papal consent, to avoid scandal. They knew they were outnumbered. Whimps.) Thus the Council asserted two fundamental truths (?): the primacy of the pope and the infallibility of the pope. As successor of Peter, vicar of Christ, and supreme head of the Church, the pope exercises full and direct authority over the whole Church and over the individual bishops. Also, when the pope in his official capacity (ex cathedra) makes a final decision concerning the entire Church in a matter of faith and morals, this decision is itself is infallible and immutable, and does not require the prior consent of the Church.
[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, history, Peter, Vatican-Council-I[/tags]