Not sure I want to get my finger prints on this thread, but let me give you my two cents, or maybe about 10% thereof.
But as a historian, how could you account for what Philip is saying? It is just a nice gesture?
I don't have anything against those questions, but first I'd like to understand what you said already, in the OP. Do you see infallibility (either of popes in general or of St. Peter specifically) being discussed in the Phillip quote? If so, where?
Infallibility can be seen from the Philip quote if one exegetes the statement in the following manner.
1) Philip claims that Peter, the man, was the firm foundation and pillar of the whole Catholic Church
2) Pillars and foundations are the very thing which gives the whole structure its strength, stability, and its ability to stand
3) Pillars and foundations can never be separated from the whole structure, without the whole structure falling apart
4) The whole Church is the missionary society of Christ to proclaim the gospel to all nations, and therefore it must be infallible
5) Therefore the pillar and foundation of the Church must have this infallible quality
6) Philip claims that Peter continues to be "active" in the Church through his successors, both now and "forever".
7) The bishops of Rome are the infallible heads of the whole Church Catholic
Here is where I am upset. Where does Peter somehow equate with Rome? Antioch has just as much a claim to succession of Peter as Rome, and for that matter, I've never understood why Jerusalem is not considered the center of the Church since it was the center of the faith.
Moreover, I think the Orthodox stance is not that the pillar is not "Peter" per se, but simply that Rome is not de facto "Peter". It was when Roman Bishops had the faith of Peter, but when they abdicated that faith in order to assume authority both temporal and spiritual, they ceased to carry on that faith. In that case, it is not the geographical location that Peter once governed that constitutes his see, it is the see the exemplifies his faith.
As Christ appointed Simon as the Rock of the Church, this was not just his personage, it was also his faith and his revelation that was first conferred to Rome, and is now conferred to New Rome, as the Orthodox view it.
With all due respect, of course.
What I dislike about the Papacy is not the doctrine of infallibility, per se, I do believe the true faith is preserved from error. But the papacy is asserted to be preserved from error by virtue of simply being the papacy. Here is the circular argument:
1. The Church is infallible.
2. How do you know?
3. Because the Church said so.
5. The Church is infallible.
As I see it, the faith is preserved not because we believe in the faith, or because of a dogma ratified by a council, but because we believe God loves us enough that He would not allow the faith to so deviate that future generations would be unable to find salvation.
If every Patriarch of the EOC declared some heresy to be fact, they would simply cease to be Patriarchs. The faith would then prevail through some other means.
And here is a conundrum... what if the Pope declared ex cathedra that he was not infallible?
Of course the thinking is that it would be impossible for the Pope to declare that, as God would simply not allow it.
But, I will tell you, ex cathedra is somewhat arbitrary. I learn doctrine not just by words but by actions as well. As I see faithful people act a certain way it teaches me about the faith. Yet, no Catholic believes the Pope is impeccable, yet his actions speak volumes about his faith notwithstanding.