I think that it is possible for the pope of Rome to be in error personally. I think it is a fact that not every word written or spoken by a pope is protected by the Holy Spirit to be free from error. So there is good cause for all Catholics to be aware that the pope does not expect to be perfectly accurate in all things. He prays to be as accurate as humanly possible and trusts that the Holy Spirit will take care of all things for the salvation of the members of the Body of Christ.
I do not think it is possible for a pope of Rome to formally teach error. He may not teach the full truth every time he makes a comment but when he writes, and when he speaks, with the invocation of the protection of the Holy Spirit and the long tradition of the Church's concourse with the Holy Spirit, he will not err in as much as he has spoken.
Hmm. Is this a somehow measurable or definable condition? As in, before the Pope says something that is meant to be an authoritative teaching (and not just a private opinion, as you've said those may be heretical), does he have to literally, out loud call for the protection of the Holy Spirit? Otherwise, I don't really see how this means anything, because if there are problems it can just be said that it was not meant as an authoritative teaching (e.g., the debates about the CCC: It is intended to be authoritative or not? Some say yes, some say no, and some say either but add various conditions that define/restrict its authority depending on exactly what passages are being discussed).
To me, formally, and we are speaking formally here for the moment, heresy is the active effort to force a false teaching upon the members of the Body of Christ, and to persist in that effort, in the face of every effort to persuade one to cease and desist with that false teaching.
There is not a case in history of a pope who has done that. I realize I am not preaching to the choir...
Haha. That would be one way to stop me from writing what you apparently could sense was coming on in response to that assertion.
I'm fine with agreeing to disagree here.
but I do not think that a pope will resign because an Orthodox layman accuses him of heresy. ...and I believe the Orthodox Primates have stopped doing that publicly so the top of the hierarchy seems to be relatively more peaceful than the rest of us.
Hahaha. Why should I of all people here care for the Roman Pope's hypothetical resignation? He's not the Pope who I'm going to be looking to for any kind of guidance or Orthodox exposition to begin with. Besides, I brought up heresy again because the point isn't resignation, but out and out condemnation and removal. The East and Orient have done this as necessary with leaders of their own sees. Rome used
to do it with leaders of their see, too. When a new Nestorius or Arius comes along (hypothetically), do you wait for him to voluntarily resign himself? I wouldn't, and more importantly, our forefathers, East and West, didn't.