Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that the Church’s infallibility does not protect it from “errors of judgment”.

He made the remarks on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ahead of joining the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, for a service marking the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.

Cardinal Nichols was asked by the presenter, Sarah Montague, about conflict within the Church over issues such as Communion for the remarried.

The cardinal, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “There is no doubt there is tension within the Catholic Church, but one of its great strengths is that we have a Pope – and we have a Pope who can say yes or no and then give you a hug.”

Montague suggested: “And is infallible.”

Cardinal Nichols replied: “The gift of infallibility is something that Christ gives to the Church which is expressed through the Pope. Now, that means that we will never, as it were, drift so far from the core revelation of God in Jesus as to get in a total mess. It does not protect us from every error of judgment, particularly in a conflictual situation.”

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