Dogmatic definition

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In Roman Catholicism, a dogmatic definition is an infallible statement published by a pope or an ecumenical council concerning a matter of faith or morals, the belief in which the Roman Catholic Church requires of all Christians (although Christians who are not Catholic do not recognize the Roman Catholic Church's authority in such matters).

Contrary to the stereotype that Catholics think that everything that the pope says is infallible, dogmatic definitions by popes are in fact very rare. Among them are the definition by Pope Pius IX in 1854 concerning the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the definition by Pope Pius XII in 1950 concerning the Assumption of Mary. Nevertheless, these dogmatic definitions tend to be divisive; anti-ecumenical Protestants say that if Romanist ecumenism was sincere, it would discard them, but the doctrine of papal infallibility precludes this possibility.

Infallibility in non-Catholic churches

See infallibility of the Church for an account of the way in which not only Catholic, but also Eastern Orthodox and other churches understand this concept.

See also

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