Dr. Momen writes that the Lesser Covenant “obliges individual Bahá'ís to accept the leadership of Bahá’u’lláh’s appointed successors and the administrative institutions of the Faith” and “refers to the agreement between a Manifestation of God and his followers regarding the continuation of authority in his religion”.
Of course the Successor of the Blessed Beauty was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as it is established in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Kitáb-i-‘Ahd. The continuity of this authority in the Lesser Covenant - Shoghi Effendi would agree, was the successor of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that is to say: the Administrative Order. In this respect Mr. Alí Nakhjavani says: “…the Law of Succession as it was applied not only to Shoghi Effendi, as Guardian of the Faith, but also to the Administrative Order which Shoghi Effendi quite often referred to as: "The Child of the Covenant"-(GPB p.243)”.
Now, this “Child of the Covenant” or Administrative Order rests on two Institutions: the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. To these two Institutions, infallibility has been assured, this is a “conferred infallibility”, not an essential one. The sphere of the infallibility of the Guardian was defined by the Guardian himself. The sphere of the House is not yet defined. What we know is that the “interpretation” function is restricted to the Guardian in an infallible way; and “legislation” is restricted to the UHJ, also in an infallible way. Now, in relation with these two functions, I think that the infallibility of the House assures that "Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other" (WOB p.150), do you imagine the House interpreting the Writings? – God forbids it!
When one talk about infallibility, is important to distinguish infallibility of authority. As the Administrative Order is based on obedience, the principal guide is that we obey not because the Institutions are infallible. Or one should obey and be loyal to an LSA or NSA (or even a Government) because he thinks they are infallible? In a pilgrim note is noted the Guardian says: “We must not live in a fool's paradise by thinking all their decisions (local and National S.A.'s) are guided”. So, “instead of saying "We have infallible institutions", one would then say "We have divinely guided bodies, and the House is infallible in the sphere of legislation”. Regarding to these, Dr. Schaefer said:
I can observe two categories of divine guidance in the scripture:
a general divine guidance that is promised to all elected bodies, which is a relative one, because it depends on certain preconditions, "prime requisites for them that take counsel together" and
a specific divine guidance conferred on the twin pillars which is an absolute one, because it is not made dependent on preconditions. This absolute divine guidance is infallibility.
Of course, legislation is not the only function that the House has. They have others administrative functions, executive and judicial functions. Do not forget the “protection” function, in relation to this, the membership of a believer is defined in the Constitution of the House, this was made in a general, abstract way, and is a legislatory act, but to me the decisions on membership in particular cases are not covered by infallibility.
A friend of mine wrote me about the differences he sees between the House of Justice and the Roman curia (which become corrupt); this can help to see the possibility of moral corruption is greatly reduced.
the House is a democratically elected body, whereas the Catholic Church is an authoritarian form of rulership and thus much more prone to getting corrupted by totalitarian practises.
The Universal House of Justice has been divinely ordained in historic documents; but not Papacy, although it claims to have been established by Jesus Christ.
The Universal House of Justice is, in its executive and judicative functions, under the general divine guidance that has been promised to the elected Bahá’í bodies. Papacy must be regarded as the result of a historic development; this means, it is a human organization to which no promise of divine guidance has been given. The Church’s references to Matthew 16:18, 28:20 are not cogent at all as, the existence of schismatic Churches (Orthodoxy, Protestantism etc.) and their theological arguments clearly prove.
According to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament (I:26) a member of the House, who has committed “a sin, injurious to the common weal”, can be expelled from this body. This right of the Guardian has passed to the House of Justice (see art. IV,2a of its statutes). By virtue of this legal mechanism the danger of becoming corrupted is minimized.