QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
The Pope only speaks infallibly when he speaks "ex cathedra" (symbolically from the chair of Peter). He has only officially done this twice in the history of the Church. In these cases (and in any case of an infallible statement) this will not be some new teaching, but a reaffirmation of something Biblical or from Sacred Tradition.
The infallible statements made include the teaching on the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the teaching on Mary's Assumption into Heaven (body and soul).
The Pope's infallibility is considered an extension of the Church's infallibility. It should, also, be noted that infallibility is a protection against error. That means that whenever the Pope is speaking "ex cathedra" as head of the Church on matters on faith and morals that he (and the Church) will not be able to say anything that contradicts Christ's teachings.
- Deacon George Kozak (6/01)