Hebrews 13:8-9 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching. It is good to have our hearts strengthened by grace and not by foods, which do not benefit those who live by them.
An interesting reflection on councils, doctrine, and heresies in regards to the Pope. I wanted to share this post with AATW to see if there were any thoughts of agreements or refutation on thesis presented here. Note, I did comment for a clarification of what is meant by “judge.” Please refer to that for further explanation.
Many of the laity are falling into the heresy of Conciliarism, which was condemned by the Fifth Lateran Council , 1512-1517.
The heresy of Americanism also involves the heresy of Conciliarism, which limits the power of the pope and indicates that people have a right to judge him.
Here are some of the facts surrounding this heresy, under a few bullet points. In other words, as much as we do not like a pope or what he says, the laity cannot judge him, especially cannot judge his soul.
Many commentators on blogs are in error regarding calling the present popes names or labelling him. Beware, your own soul is in danger of not only false judgement, but inappropriate judgement.
• Because of the tendencies of both religious and secular leaders in the 13th and 14th centuries, that is kings and schismatics, the nature of the papacy had to become…
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Pope Francis’ letter on the present scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church. In the original blog’s comments Gertrude had an interesting analysis of the letter.
Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis
To the People of God
“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in…
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One of the points that I was revealing to me in this particular interview was Dreher’s story of catching up a reporter on the sex abuse scandal of 2002. He began to explain to the reporter that much of what has led to this secrecy within the Episcopate was Homosexuality. The reporter, from FoxNews, informed Dreher that they had been instructed by the higher-ups not to address those issues within the context of the entire story.
How can people ever begin to know the truth and seek justice unless we explore every possible avenue!
Listen to the entire interview: http://issuesetc.org/2018/08/16/2281-the-sexual-abuse-crisis-in-the-roman-catholic-church-rod-dreher-8-16-18/
To: Cardinal Wuerl CC: Pope Francis
Your many actions as bishop of Pittsburgh, thoroughly documented in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, are deplorable.
You covered up sexual abuse and shuffled predatory priests between parishes, endangering children’s safety.
You failed in your duty as a shepherd. The human cost of your actions and inaction – lives ruined, faith destroyed – is incalculable.
I call on you to resign as Archbishop of Washington immediately.
This scandal has irreparably marred your episcopate. Step aside so the victims of the priests you oversaw – and the Church – can begin to heal.
I’ve read a great many articles about the change made by the Pope in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Many apologists, who seem to want to stay both loyal to the Pope and the tradition of the Church’s teachings for the past 2000 years have made attempts to create a bit of ambiguity about what the Pope means by the death penalty is ‘inadmissible.’ What does Pope Francis mean by ‘inadmissible’? Well, in his newly released book titled, A Future of Faith: The Path of Change in Politics and Society, he states quite clearly what he means by this particular language:
“And you French have a lovely phrase from the fifth century–it’s from Vincent de Lerins, a French monk and theologian–which says that “tradition is a movement.” I’m sorry. He say’s that in Latin: “Ut annis scilicet consolidetur, dilatetur tempure, sublimetur aetate” “Even the dogma of the Church must follow these laws, consolidating over the years, developing over time, deepening with age.” Tradition moves forward, but in what ways? So that, over the years, it consolidates itself to grow over time and be sublimated with age. The principles of tradition don’t change, the essence doesn’t change, but it grows, it evolves.
For Example, about the death penalty. We bishops decreed the death penalty in the Middle Ages. The Church says more or less–and we are working to change the catechism on this point–that the death penalty is immoral. Does that mean tradition has changed? No, but conscience evolves, the moral conscience evolves.”
– Pope Francis, A Future of Faith: The Path of Change in Politics and Society (New York: St. Martin’s Essentials, 2018), 222.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (Getty) The Pope has ordered him to maintain a life of ‘prayer and penance’ Pope Francis has accepted the resignation from the College of Cardinals of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired Archbishop of Washington, and has ordered him to maintain “a life of prayer and penance” until a canonical trial examines accusations that […]
“Three months ago, in a country, in a city, a mother wanted to baptize her newly born son, but she was married civilly to a divorced man. The priest said, ‘Yes, yes. Baptize the baby. But your husband is divorced, so he cannot be present at the ceremony.’ This is happening today. The Pharisees, or Doctors of the Law, are not people of the past, even today there are many of them. That is why we shepherds need prayers.”
As presented in the Gospels, the Pharisees were men who cared so much for the letter of the Law that the Spirit of it passed them by; one feels they were the spiritual predecessors of modern Health & Safety experts. Jesus was clear about the importance of not binding the people with extra burdens. Any priest who acted in the manner described by the Pope, should have recognised that his actions were not going to contribute to family stability, or even, perhaps, to the bringing of the cild to baptism. It is hard to know quite what the priest thought he was achieving.
In such circumstances, the ‘rigorism’ condemned by the Pope, seems to stand rightly condemned.
But then when, as last February, the Pope takes the line that rigorism includes priests who tell divorced people that they can remarry, he seems, to many of us, the ignore what the Lord Jesus says in Mark 10:1-12. To accuse any priest who upholds that teaching as a ‘Pharisee’ seems to take the word to that point of uselessness occupied by a word like ‘fascist;’ anyone of whom one disapproves, falls automatically into that category. It is a word for the polemicist, not the apologist.
No Catholic can cavalierly dismiss the insistence on dogma as pharisaism. The Laws of the Church derive from the teachings of Jesus. Yes, and of course, how easy it would have been to have been able to do as the original Pharisees could, and allow divorce on certain grounds; but Jesus was clear on this. We can, as many churches have, choose to caveat His words, and effectively allow divorce; but try as we might, we cannot pretend we are abiding by His words.
All of this is by way of prelude to Fr Thomas Weinandy’s thought-provoking article in In the National Catholic Register. A member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, Fr Weinandy spoke on the theme of the four marks of the Church: “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.” All of these were, he said, at risk, not least from the confusion created by the Holy See itself.
This is a theme we have considered here recently. There is certainly a place of robust discussion and deep questioning, and even for the sort of contrarianism which can make a seminar or lecture go with a swing, but it seems an unlikely role for the holder of the See of St Peter, not least in an age of instant communication. An septuagenarian who, by his own admission, does not read social media, may, perhaps, have an imperfect understanding of how his words are received by millions who do not spend their time in theological controversy. Fr Weinandy has a better understanding, and that gives him cause for concern.
In spite of all the controversy following Vatican II, there was never any doubt over where Blessed Paul VI, St John Paul II and Benedict XVI stood regarding the Church’s “doctrine, morals, and liturgical practice.” But, Fr Weinandy
“Such is not the case, in many significant ways, within the present pontificate of Pope Francis,” Father Weinandy continued. Praising the Pope for his personal holiness and his concern for the young and the marginalised, he goes on to observe:
that “at times” the Holy Father appears to identify himself “not as the promoter of unity but as the agent of division,” and that his desire to — in the Pope’s own words — “make a mess” in the belief that a greater unifying good will emerge, is a cause for great concern.
By doing nothing to calm the doctrinal division and moral discord within the Church caused by some of his own ambiguity, the Pope, Fr Weinandy suggests, may have transgressed has transgressed the foundational mark of the Church – “her oneness.”
It seems hard to counter Fr Weinandy’s thesis. Does that mark him out as a ‘rigorist’? Are there not, as suggested in the opening paragraphs, times when rigor is necessary? I would suggest that Fr Weinandy’s interesting lecture is read by all with a concern for these things. I would further suggest that attempts to write him off as a Pharisee miss the point. Dogma is dogma. doctrine is doctrine, and if one does not like them, then there are plenty of alternative ecclesial communities which will accommodate those of that point of view.
Catholicism poses a fundamental challenge to the contemporary belief that everything is relative (except, of course, the truth that there is no such thing as truth). Truth is the person of Christ, and what flows from that belief. It is precisely for this reason that there is concern when any occupant of the See of St Peter seems not to be giving a clear statement of Catholic belief; if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound … and all that. As an academic I am always happy to stir up thinking by questioning the assumptions my students have about their subject, but what is appropriate in one arena is not in another. I happen to believe that the University where I work is a force for good in the world, and even if I had doubts about some of the things it does (I don’t), I would not raise the issue in public. It remains a mystery to me why Pope Francis cannot follow that simple rule.
One lesson he, and the rest of us, can learn from the postmodernists is that it is not the authorial voice which is authoritative; it is what is heard, as much as what was meant by the author, which counts. If people keep getting a certain impression about what the Pope is saying, that does not mean they are right, but it does mean that those who advise him might point out that greater clarity would be useful.
Of course, there will always be those whose perspective is such that they will misread what is said. One of the things which has concerned me from the start of this Papacy is that from the moment Francis stepped out onto the balcony, there were those who were criticising him. They might want to tell us that everything that has happened since justifies their doubts, even as those who oppose them would tell us that such a reaction os simple self-confirmation bias. From there we descend into the world of ‘fake news’. As with President Trump, those who have no time for him will read everything he does and says as confirmation that they are right. Those on the Right who take the view that such a reaction simply proves the Left will never give Trump a break, might, if they are critical of Pope Francis, like to ponder the irony that in the eyes of the Pope’s supporters, they are doing what liberals do to Trump. As so it goes on.
In all of this, what of the faithful? As with much of our political discourse, it may be a sobering reminder that most people do not follow what obsesses parts of the blogosphere.
The Pope is infallible only in certain matters and on certain issues. If the impression has gained ground over the last thirty years that almost everything the Pope says is to be taken as Gospel, then that certainly would not be the fault of those who spent so much time criticising St Pope John Paul II. The irony of those people now shifting their position to the one they used to criticise is not lost on some of us; nor is the irony of their opponents changing places with them.
Contrary to what is sometimes implied, the Catholic Church has always had a lively intellectual life. How could it be otherwise in a living Church? In a world with 24/7 media this allows more of us access to that process, but we should remember that just as we would object to anyone impugning our good faith in taking up a position, so others will object if we do the same. Tone influences what is heard. From His Holiness down, all who engage in such discussions would do well to remember that.
Of all the topics to approach on my return, that of the present Pope ought, probably, to be the last one. At the moment his reaction to allegations of child abuse in the case of Bishop Barros have raised real concerns about his grasp of such a crucial issue; it is, his critics and supporters (agreeing for once) quite unlike him. But then what would it mean to ‘be like him’?
His critics focus on his reaction to the issue of re-married people within the Catholic Church, rightly pointing to the ambiguity of his stance. If anything is clear in this mess, it is that Francis himself wants to extend mercy to couples he thinks needs it, finds the traditional teaching of the Church an impediment, and is looking to see whether allowing local bishops to make a decision is a way to achieve that objective. In view of the fact that Catholic teaching was formulated to deal with Catholic marriages, and in view of the the fact that many converts contracted marriages in other denominations (whose orders the Church does not recognise) or civilly, there is a case for considering how to deal with a pastoral situation exacerbated by our Society’s inadequate understanding of what a sacramental marriage is; whether Amoris Laetitia is the optimal way of conducting that discussion seems doubtful. But the blunt response that teaching designed to deal with Catholic sacramental marriages has to apply to all marriages, seems worth questioning.
But now the Pope finds himself embroiled in a sex abuse scandal concerning the Chilean Church. Christopher Altieri, a respected Vatican commentator, sums it up admirably in the Catholic Herald:
At this point, there are four possibilities: Collins [Marie Collins, a former member of the Pontifical Commission on abuse and Cruz [who alleges he was a victim of Fr Karadima’s abuse, and who wrote an 8 page letter to the Pope which she gave to Cardinal )O’Malley] are both lying about the letter; Cardinal O’Malley gravely misrepresented the diligence with which he discharged his promise to deliver it directly to Pope Francis (though Collins has expressed full confidence in him on several occasions); Pope Francis received the letter and did not read it; Pope Francis received it and read it, only to forget about it.
We hear much from the Pope about the rigidity of clericalism, but in all of this there is something of that. It is the echo of the way in which Churchmen of the Pope’s generation deal with these cases as they first came to light, that is within the Church and without regard to external standards of safeguarding. At the very least the Pope needs to clear this up swiftly. But, as with the famous dubia, His Holiness has been swifter to condemn his critics than to answer them. At some point, smelling of the sheep involves deal with them in a transparent way. One can only hope.
Why hope? There is an almost open sense of something like schadenfreude among some of the long-time critics of the Pope at the latest trials, but that is to ignore that, as ever, there are two sides to the story. To say that the Pope has attracted praise from non-Catholics is a double-edged sword to those Catholics who feel betrayed by what they see as his departures from the straight way; but if the Church speaks only to itself in language it alone understands, it betrays its Great Commission. One might feel the Holy Father goes too far in the other direction, but Mission matters. It would be a great shame if yet another Pontificate were to be mired by the enduring legacy of child abuse.
Satan knows his enemy, and he will always target the One True Church. Since the late 50s, at least, we had had what amounts to a Catholic Culture war between modernisers and those who feared that the baby was being thrown out with the bath-water. The fruits of modernisation are meagre, and whilst the German Church maybe extremely rich in cash, thanks to the Church tax, it is, like most other European Churches, poor in vocations and people in the pews.
The Catholic Church is far from alone in fighting this culture war. In my own former Church, the Anglican Church, with a patrimony which has much to contribute to the Catholic Church, a route has been taken which Catholic modernisers can only envy; but they might like to ask themselves whether the current situation there is one they would wish to imitate?
The Catholic Church is identified with the successor of St Peter, and it is a matter of regret that any Pope should become the object of partisan manoeuvrings; but it was, history suggests ever thus, just not so widely known in an era before mass media.
As Lent approaches, each of us can only do what we are taught to do, which is to pray for the Holy Father, our Archbishops, Bishops and Priests, and the Religious. They are the front line of the war against Satan, and they need the support prayer provides.