ex cathedra

from the chair


A phrase applied to the declarations or promulgations of the Pope when, in communion with the college of cardinals, preserved from the possibility of error by the action of the Holy Spirit (see Papal infallibility), he solemnly declares or promulgates ("from the chair" that was the ancient symbol of the teacher and of the governor, in this case of the church) a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. Used, by extension, of anyone who is perceived as speaking as though with supreme authority.