When is the Pope speaking infallibly? (encyclicals, CCC, Councils, Papal Bulls??) Is VII a "pastoral council"-(proof please) or a binding infallible council-(again proof please) I just don't see how one can reconcile the CCC teaching/current teaching by Pope Benedict XVI and all with the pre-VII encyclicals etc. by past Popes. On subjects like the Jews, Islam, heretics/schismatics etc. The pre-Vatican II pronouncements seem pretty cut and dried, black and white but since VII they seem not "gray" or "unclear" but quite frankly the opposite of pre-VII Popes. Now I can understand the sedevacantist view, I don't quite get the SSPX view. He's the Pope, he's infallible, but he's been making seemingly heretical comments that don't jive with previous Popes.
These are some excellent questions you bring up, thanks for that.
"The pope speaks infallibly" actually means that when the pope is defining or teaching some doctrine of faith which all Catholics are bound to believe under pain of mortal sin, the Holy Ghost safeguards this teaching from error.
The pope himself is a mere human capable of all the infirmities, afflictions and corruptions we all are capable of - the only difference between you and him is his position of authority as supreme ruler and Christ's Vicar on earth. You can sin, he can sin. You can make mistakes, he can make mistakes. You can go out drinking and partying with friends, he can do the same - and on and on. He is perfectly capable of lying as you are unless he is defining doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.
As supreme ruler, he is also the supreme law maker and is perfectly capable of making both good and bad laws -which if they are bad, we are not bound to follow.
As supreme ruler, he is in charge of defending the faith from the "gates of hell", whose relentless efforts to penetrate undetected into the Church will continue non-stop till the end of time. But he is perfectly capable of dropping all defenses, perfectly capable of choosing to not do his job if he so chooses. Before he is pope, he is human.
For example aka Man for All Seasons, if the pope were to declare the world is flat, would that make the world flat? Same goes for speaking ex cathedra (infallibly). He can only define and repeat those things which had already been revealed to the Apostles at Pentecost for the good of the faith - this very brief and incomplete definition is what is called "the deposit of faith".
Most Catholics believe that everything the pope does is infallible because of his authority, but in reality, he can do very little infallibly because it is usually (not always) limited to repeating that which has already been taught or previously defined. I say "not always" because God can directly reveal (Divine Revelation) something not previously defined, such was the case with the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
The First Vatican Council was infallible and it was about papal infallibility - reading it might help to clear up some things for you: Vatican I
declares: For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter
not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine,
but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.
I don't want to derail this thread so will only reply in regards to the position of the SSPX with what is often called "recognize and resist". IOW, recognize that the pope is the pope but disobey him when his laws are not good. I am no spokesman for the SSPX but can say they are following Church teaching in that regards as per Cum ex Apostolatus Officio
This Constitution teaches: the Roman Pontiff,who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fulness of power over peoples and kingdoms, who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith...........
This teaches that the pope can indeed deviate from the faith. It teaches if and when this occurs that we are not to follow him, it teaches us that we are to contradict him in his error. I think this is a perfect reference that supports the "recognize and resist" position that the SSPX have held since it's beginning.
Additionally, they must have known that the pope can completely deviate from the faith as they continue on:..........Remembering also that, where danger is greater, it must more fully and more diligently be counteracted
I think this is enough support for the SSPX's recognize and resist stance. I know others will disagree, but for me, this is enough to entirely and accurately explain why the SSPX remain loyal subjects of the pope yet condemn ("counteract") his NO.