The doctrine of papal infallibility has been overwhelmingly upheld by Catholic students at Oxford University. In a debate held at the university's Newman Society last Sunday they voted by a two to one majority that the doctrine should be "proclaimed and insisted upon."
Speaking in favour of the motion. Fr Roger Nesbitt, the assistant editor of "Faith" magazine, said that when carrying on Christ's mission to the world, the Church must speak with the same authority as Christ himself.
It was important to present the claim of infallibility as offering a clear voice in times of confusion, he said. But he was contradicted by Mr Peter Flebblethwaite, a former Jesuit priest now teaching at Wadham College. Oxford, who said that it was the Gospel that should be proclaimed and insisted upon. While he believed in the infallibility of the Pope he did not think that it came very high in "the hierarchy of truths."
The debate was opened by two undergraduates, Claire Waddelove from north Wales and Mike McParland, a student at Greyfriars. It was arranged by Tim Finigan, president of the Newman Society who is interrupting his studies for the priesthood at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, to take a degree at Oxford.