ex cathedra


(Latin: from the chair) The chair, or cathedra, occupied by a teacher or a bishop, came in time to be a term used to denote the authority of the person teaching from the chair. The term “ex cathedra” is applied today in a very technical sense to the exercise of papal infallibility. Its present meaning is defined by the Vatican Council as follows: “We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman Pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that His Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, irreformable.”

MLA Citation

  • “ex cathedra”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 October 2012. Web. 13 June 2021. <http://catholicsaints.info/ex-cathedra/>