Starting off my time here with a bang, I'd like to get to the bottom of a question that's been on my mind for some time. I was actually able to ask Fr Mitch Pacwa, S.J. this question during the Audience Questions segment at the Eric Svendsen-Pacwa debate in May 2007. It wasn't well read by the moderator so I asked him face to face afterwards and got the same non-response.
Related to the question of Sola Scriptura is how the Canon of Scripture can be known. Roman Catholic apologists are fond of asking, "But Mr. Sola Scripturist, is your Canon infallible?" knowing that the SS-ist has no structure in his worldview to affirm sthg infallibly. The RC apologist will then go on to claim that his position enjoys an epistemic advantage b/c the RC Church can proclaim things such as the Canon infallibly, and indeed has done so at the Council of Trent.
Leaving aside the question of which Esdras-es were included in the Tridentine Canon, this alleged advantage encounters a difficult problem upon examination.
To the SS-ist, Scripture is the only vehicle for infallible teachings. Thus, the Canon of Scripture is the list of infallible teachings. Indeed, it is the complete list of infallible teachings.
Now, I question whether the RCC has a once-for-all settled Canon of Scripture (see the cross-examination section when James White questioned Gary Michuta), but let's grant they do for the sake of argument. Scripture, however, is not the RC's only source for infallible teachings. Certain Magisterial teachings, such as in particular the ex cathedra statements from a Pope, are also infallible.
So, the big question: The RCC claims that the SS-ist is at a disadvantage b/c he lacks an infallible canon of infallible teachings. Very well, where is RCC's?
If you can produce one, is it itself, being an infallible teaching about infallible teachings, listed?
How do you know it is infallible?
If the RCC cannot produce an infallible list, then a fallible list will suffice, as long as it is complete.
From what I've so far seen, this is an unanswerable question for a RC. I've heard the following suggestions:
-The Enchiridion (aka, "Denzinger").
-The Catechism of the Catholic Church
-"History" (that's a good one!)
-Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma
However, none of these are infallible. Nor are they complete, it would seem.
If RCC can produce an infallible list, it would constitute an epistemic advantage over the SS-ist position.
If RCC can produce a complete but fallible list, it would constitute an equal epistemic position to that of SS.
If RCC can produce neither, then RCC is in fact at a great disadvantage as far as Canon issues go.
Bottom line - the RCC claims the ability to proclaim things infallibly, but it uses this ability so infrequently and so inconsistently and with such completely insufficient communication so as to render this ability, even if it existed, completely worthless to anyone.