In recent correspondence with Brian Coyne, he commented:
I do believe the Church, where Church is understood in the fullness of meaning of “the Body of Christ”, can make a claim to infallibility. The Pope and the Bishops certainly have an important role, but it is not an exclusive or singular role, in interpreting what God is saying to humankind through “the Body of Christ”. This is, if I interpret him correctly, precisely the point +Robinson is endeavouring to raise as a critical point that needs wide discussion at the moment. I’d fully support him in that.
I was instantly reminded of a comment Fr Richard John Neuhaus made in the June/July edition of First Things about Prof. Daniel Maquire of Marquette University:
In his pamphlets, Maguire explains to the bishops that they are not the authentic teachers of the Church because there is not just one Magisterium but three magisteria—the hierarchy, the theologians, and the wisdom of the laity. Since he is both a theologian and a layman, he gets two votes to their one. Any other questions?
The various elements that act as “authorities” in the Church do not all act in the same way. The “Sensus Fidelium”, “Magisterium”, “the Scriptures” and “the Tradition” are all authorities in the Church (and thinking with the Church invovles thinking in some manner with all of them), but each is distinct in its nature and in the way in which its authority is exercised in relation to the other authorities. Therefore, the Faithful do not direct their “authority” against the “authority” of the Magisterium, nor is the authority of “The Tradition” to be invoked against the authority of “Scripture”.