Friday, March 1, 2013

The Antinomy of the Pope

There is a logical paradox that you have probably encountered (though probably not by name) known as "the antinomy of the liar" (no, not antimony). One simple form is when a man says, "Now I am lying." You know the rest: If he's lying when he says "I am lying," then he's telling the truth. But if he's telling the truth about his lying, then he must be lying. And so on. Some of you may have seen an episode from the original Star Trek series where a version of this paradox caused the beautiful female robots to say, "Norman... analyze..." as smoke started to come out of their heads.

So all the recent news from the Vatican has got me wondering. Papal infallibility has been official Church dogma only since 1870. What if the new pope issues an encyclical saying he's not infallible? Should Catholics believe him?

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