I offer here some Augustinian thoughts on the subject for reflection:
As a cradle Roman Catholic, I must admit that this teaching on infallibility has always cause me angst. My inmost being has always felt something wrong with this teaching, yet the need to trust in something infinite is also at the core of my being.
+Timothy Cravens in his blog rightly puts into context the two polar extremes of this thinking: biblical infallibility and papal infallibility.
I do believe that the Church is infallible in the sense that she contains all of the Grace necessary for us to be reconciled to God through Christ and be redeemed and restored to our original innocence, again through Christ. Tim, again, here helped me to put into context this general, but important doctrine.
What does the Church contain? The apostolic faith of Trinity, incarnation, and paschal mystery, and the continuing effect of Jesus’ recreation and redemption through the Grace of the Sacraments.
As an Augustinian, I point to the notion of Augustine that we as humans need to know that there is something beyond us that is truth and eternal beauty. Our very being seeks this. We need not to make the mistake of seeing the created for the creator. But, we seek to anchor ourselves with that which is beyond us. We are finite, but need to know and trust in something infinite. Thus, in our inmost yearnings we sometimes make the same mistake as Adam and Eve, turning to something human for eternal be it the scripture, or a church office, or science, or magic, etc.
Human beings, the bible, even the Church are all creations of God, they are not God. What we know and can rely on is that God is infallible, God is truth, God is faithful. God will accomplish in the Church and human history all that is necessary for our re-creation to eternity and complete joy in him(her).
The Church will endure until the end of time because God has promised it and accomplishes this through the Holy Spirit, not because of what we the Body of Christ do, but because of what Christ the Head did and does in the Church and human history now and unto the end of the ages.
“Remember man that thou are dust and unto dust thou shall return+”