Now, this is my Pope!

Before leaving you with the Pope’s magnificent words which he spoke at the Prayer for the Marian Day on Saturday, 12 October 2013, I want to remind my reader of some ongoing principles that are guiding my codgitations these days. Think of them as hermeneutical principles for understanding my current codgitations.

Bottom line, I honor Pope Francis as the true Vicar of Christ in the one Catholic Church which was established by God for the salvation of all mankind. I also believe Pope Francis is authentically orthodox in his faith.

Why, then, am I going on about some troubling comments he’s made in the past few months? There are two reasons.

First, as the Catechism says (§2088), “The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it.” I have felt the damage the Pope’s reckless words have done to my faith, and I am all too aware of similar damage being wrought in the lives of other Catholics by them. (Dale’s plight is just one example, albeit the one with which I am most familiar.) So, I am responding to the malalpapalisms very much for the good of my own soul. The Year of Faith is drawing to a close, and I think it only makes sense to take the time to plumb the depths of my faith as an act of reclaiming and enriching it.

Second, it is precisely because I have no personal beef with the man Jorge Mario Bergoglio that I am treating his malapapalisms as sources of error that precede and transcend him as an individual. He is, in other words, a thermometer, not a thermostat, of how Vatican II was hijacked. Even if, God willing, the Vatican removes the interview with Fr. Antonio Spadaro and/or the interview with Eugenio Scalfari from the Holy Father’s public witness, the words have gone out like arrows all over the world. In response, I feel compelled to fortify at least one small outpost against the impact of those errors (not that I’m the only one fortifying such an outpost).

Providentially enough, just tonight I read Katrina Fernandez’s characteristically punchy explanation of herself as a “damn Catholic”:

I am Catholic because Catholicism is Truth and outside of Truth there is nothing else.

This explains why I am Catholic but it doesn’t articulate how I became such a big damn Catholic. That too is easy to summarize… the Eucharist and beauty. … Those two reasons alone, and nothing else, is why I sought to convert. You wanna know what had absolutely no bearing on my decision to convert … the pope.

Who was pope didn’t matter to me then, so I suppose it really shouldn’t matter now. It helped that Benedict loves the same things about Catholicism as I do, but it really wouldn’t have made any difference to me if he didn’t. And it just so happens, Francis doesn’t. He’s [sic] still loves the Church, just for reasons that differ from my own. So what of it?

As much as I, another “damn Catholic” Catholic, agreed with her, there was an inchoate hesitancy within me, which a commenter there put into the words that I could not find:

It is only damn Catholics, catholic in their bones like this, who can feel the gruesome, bone-deep pain of modernity, festering afresh with this papacy. This pope tears at the old wounds. A great heroine of mine, Alice Thomas Ellis, wrote this about the Church in her novel The Sin Eater:

“It is as though…one’s revered, dignified and darling old mother had slapped on a mini-skirt and fishnet tights and started ogling strangers. A kind of menopausal madness, a sudden yearning to be attractive to all. It is tragic and hilarious and awfully embarrassing. And of course, those who knew her before feel a great sense of betrayal and can’t bring themselves to go and see her any more.”

This, to put it mildly, is an important and cathartic point.

Just take a multimedia-moment to let it all soak in:


“The Church has appointed this year as a time of renewal, both of faith and of style.”

.

Now that that’s all cleared up…

Even if, as I am compelling myself to believe in charity, the Holy Father were pressed on certain of his claims and qualified and/or retracted them as admittedly badly formed ideas, that might not be enough to cleanse the mind of one whose mind has been infested by such subtle errors. The malapapalisms of Pope Francis are much bigger than Pope Francis; I think they reveal distortions of and defections from Catholic truth that have long been developing in “the Church in the modern world.” I do not have a personal animus against “this Pope” and I do not for a moment think he’s a genuine threat to “the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim 3:15). Indeed, as I have said many times, one of the main reasons I keep probing these malapapalisms is that they are simply beneath the Petrine chrism and orthodox faith that Cdl. Bergoglio freely accepts. The incongruity I am finding between “Our Francis of the Interviews” and the good “Pope Francis” in most other settings, is as fascinating to me as it is disturbing. It is the source of that incongruity––that “Spirit of Pope Guido” that I sometimes discern in Pope Francis––which I am trying to tease out.

Lastly, since I seem to have picked up a couple new visitors to my blog, I need to clarify that I am not a one-trick pony. Two weeks ago, Pope Francis was pretty much just in the background of my mind. I prayed for him as our universal pastor, but generally ignored the media chatter. And long before that, as my long-time reader can verify, I normally don’t fixate so much on the Pope’s comings and goings. If you peruse my archives, you’ll see that I write about a very wide range of topics, but I also do so in a very intensive way. I might write just as intensively about hylemorphism as about these malapapalisms as about economics as about the Thomistic Third Way as about the history of science. Only once I feel I have explored every relevant nuance and implication of a topic on which my codgitator seizes, do I feel “sated” and thus prepared to move on to a new query. I realize, of course, that this “manic” style of blogging is not for everyone. (Did someone say “tl;dr”?) Mine is not a “popular” style, I know, but I think it is one that certain webizens value, for their own perverse reasons.

[The football/chili cook-off we had at my parish this afternoon showed me, almost more clearly than I would have liked to see, how much of a “serious Catholic” I am compared to “the average Catholic.” My parishioners are, as far as I know, as knowledgeable about the faith and as loyal to the Lord as I try to be, but I seem to be an atypically “consumed” type of person. While others were sipping their tea and nibbling their cookies, I was trying to read the preface to an edition of the Vatican II documents. Now and then I was tempted to ask a few of what seemed like the more serious Catholics there what they thought about the Pope’s recent statements, but I knew that they’d have probably just blinked at me. They have jobs, kids, large TV’s, social engagements, they don’t blog, and so on; who cares what the Pope said in some interviews? Such is the awkwardness of being a “damn Catholic,” I guess.]

A penultimate point: If you’ve come this far down the codgitative rabbit hole, you need to know that it’s often highly advisable to read my posts at least twice, some time apart, since I tend to revise and expand them in the following day or two. Kind of like how I give myself haircuts over two or three days. #truestory

Apropos, as I seem to be re-entering my old life as a regular blogger, I want to ask something that I’ve asked every now and then (e.g. here and here): Why do so few people leave comments on my posts? When I first started blogging, the radio silence was, honestly, very troubling. I put a lot of information and ideas out there, saw the page views mount up, yet saw virtually no responses from those anonymous viewers. I quickly became inured to the radio silence, but it always makes me wonder…

In any event, without further ado, I give you some truly wonderful words from Pope Francis about our Mother in faith, the New Eve and the Icon of Redeemed Humanity.

(Oh, and just to remain consistent: notice in the video how the good Pope Francis is reading from a prepared text. No off-the-cuff malapapalisms here!)

+ + +

When we do not listen to [God], when we do not follow his will, we do concrete things that demonstrate our lack of trust in him – for that is what sin is – and a kind of knot is created deep within us. These knots take away our peace and serenity. They are dangerous, since many knots can form a tangle which gets more and more painful and difficult to undo. But we know one thing: nothing is impossible for God’s mercy! Even the most tangled knots are loosened by his grace. And Mary, whose “yes” opened the door for God to undo the knot of the ancient disobedience, is the Mother who patiently and lovingly brings us to God, so that he can untangle the knots of our soul by his fatherly mercy. …

Do I ask Mary to help me trust in God’s mercy, to undo those knots, to change? She, as a woman of faith, will surely tell you: “Get up, go to the Lord: he understands you”. And she leads us by the hand as a Mother, our Mother, to the embrace of our Father, the Father of mercies. …

[W]hat took place most singularly in the Virgin Mary also takes place within us, spiritually, when we receive the word of God with a good and sincere heart and put it into practice. It is as if God takes flesh within us; he comes to dwell in us, for he dwells in all who love him and keep his word. It is not easy to understand this, but really, it is easy to feel it in our heart. Do we think that Jesus’ incarnation is simply a past event which has nothing to do with us personally? Believing in Jesus means giving him our flesh with the humility and courage of Mary, so that he can continue to dwell in our midst. It means giving him our hands, to caress the little ones and the poor; our feet, to go forth and meet our brothers and sisters; our arms, to hold up the weak and to work in the Lord’s vineyard, our minds, to think and act in the light of the Gospel; and especially to offer our hearts to love and to make choices in accordance with God’s will. …

[Mary] precedes us on this pilgrimage, she accompanies and sustains us. How was Mary’s faith a journey? In the sense that her entire life was to follow her Son: he – Jesus – is the way, he is the path! To press forward in faith, to advance in the spiritual pilgrimage which is faith, is nothing other than to follow Jesus; to listen to him and be guided by his words; to see how he acts and to follow in his footsteps; to have his same sentiments. And what are these sentiments of Jesus? Humility, mercy, closeness to others, but also a firm rejection of hypocrisy, duplicity and idolatry. The way of Jesus is the way of a love which is faithful to the end, even unto sacrificing one’s life; it is the way of the cross. The journey of faith thus passes through the cross.

Faith always brings us to joy, and Mary is the Mother of joy! May she teach us to take the path of joy, to experience this joy! That was the high point – this joy, this meeting of Jesus and Mary, and we can imagine what it was like. Their meeting was the high point of Mary’s journey of faith, and that of the whole Church. What is our faith like? Like Mary, do we keep it burning even at times of difficulty, in moments of darkness? Do I feel the joy of faith?

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About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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11 Responses to Now, this is my Pope!

  1. Perennial says:

    I think it’s pretty clear you’re a top-quality Catholic blogger. Lucky to have you.

  2. I think it’s because your posts are so long and interesting and convoluted (NOT in a Bad way really!) I like your manic style and I have only discovered you since the beginning of the “Bergoglio Imbroglio,” my term, I coined it, no one else has used it yet that I am aware of, but oops, I better google it as soon as I get off here and try to to go to sleep instead of scouring every new blog I have found that likes to discuss Francis ad infinitum….or is that ad nauseum? I have no background in Latin, unfortunately.

    The real angst his comments have caused me have made me lose sleep reading you and other blogs that are not afraid to say NOT, “The Emperor Has No Clothes,” about this Pope, but “WTHeck?” I mean he is clearly not a buffoon…so he is kind of scary when he seems to poke at us regular Catholics (me, a revert only since 2006 out of Hinduism, so I’m reeealllllyyy into Orthodoxy and tradition (at least in what I read for spiritual enlightenment; think Francis De Sales, Teresa of Avila and a new found discovery of interest in St Thomas.) I probably own more books from Tan Publishers that anyone within 200 miles of me…

    Anyway, your posts are so complex that I am usually just too exhausted to respond after reading them over several sessions on the web along with The Sensible Bond and Mundabor (whose blog I was actually scolded for reading in a post I made on New Sherwood.)

    So, in my own obviously hypo-manic style, I thank you and will keep on coming here to be challenged and comforted to find that there are others who are genuinely concerned about the Church and the Faith and how what the guy at the top says matters…

    BTW if you want to read something I posted about the whole divorce, remarriage and communion issue, which I will no doubt get more anxious about as the special Synod approaches in 2014, worrying about what Francis might say, check this out at The Sensible Bond:

    http://thesensiblebond.blogspot.com/2013/10/communion-for-divorced-and-remarried.html

    I wrote this before the Synod was announced! I have also been inspired by some of you brilliant guys and have started my own blog: psychthomist.wordpress.com to initiate a conversation about creating a truly Catholic approach to clinical psychology (I have a PhD in it, but it was all based on a totally false view of the nature of man as being “basically good,” ha ha ha…)

    OK, I gotta go to sleep now! I bet you regret asking about comments now huh? God Bless!

  3. PS

    Don’t go to my blog yet cos I haven’t posted anything! Don’t know I am going to do it with raising two teenage boys and working full time!

  4. Brock Fowler says:

    Well, there is not really much to discuss if people are honest and reasonable.

    The disputes are between those who seek to explain away some of the Pope’s statements, and those who do not feel that God wants us to engage in spin. Indeed, surely the time has come to show the Pope the respect of taking him seriously: he keeps using the same approach over and over. He rejects the normal Vatican communication avenues which are designed to accurately report what the Pope said, and control the translation.

    Christ is still with His Church, and this too shall pass. I don’t mean to deny that some of his reported words (which he has not rejected) have been shocking. Western culture is falling at a rate that must surprise even Satan–and I had hoped that the Pope would lead us…or at least have our back…rather than give those who oppose us clubs to use against us.

  5. The disputes are between those who seek to explain away some of the Pope’s statements, and those who do not feel that God wants us to engage in spin.

    Wow, that’s an awfully uncharitable way to put this. I think a better way of saying this that’s a lot fairer to both sides is that the difference is that one side sees him making certain compromises, not in doctrine, but in how he speaks and emphasizes doctrine, and thinks he’s on the right path with what he’s saying, while the other side doesn’t agree that some of the ambiguity in his statements is worth whatever gains he thinks he’s making in other areas.

    In other words – One side thinks his papacy is going in the right direction by emphasizing aspects of the faith that weren’t emphasized before. The other side disagrees, and thinks that the ambiguity in his statements or the errors he might be making are hurting the Church more than his newfound emphasis on different doctrines is helping it. I don’t think it can in any way be characterized as simply “One side is spinning the Pope’s words, the other isn’t”.

  6. Brock Fowler says:

    Malcom, we really need to stop with the “uncharitable” nonsense: it is a word that has actual meaning–not something you say because you disagree.

    We have been FORCED–in some ways–to choose between Vatican II and all the Popes since then, or all that came before. The truth of the matter was clear before the decisions where made, while they were being implemented, and as we are being called back to a failed approach.

    Nobody honestly believes that you can praise error enough to convince people that they need to turn from it. Nobody honestly believes that you can be silent enough about hell to convince people this it is a real possibility. Nobody honestly believes that ambiguity–if not contraction–is a good communication technique (our God is not a God of confusion). Nobody honestly believes that–in a sound bite society–a flood of words will be correctly reported via a hostile press.

    More seriously, no orthodox Catholic honestly believes that the modern Popes are Jesus 2.0: Jesus being, you know, a very great man and all…for his backward times…but we know better today, because we have iPhones!!! Christ is true man and true God: he spoke to our God-given, and God-created human natures. He spoke just the way they needed to hear it in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago, and just the way we need to hear it in the US in 2013–and every other time and place. Yes, we were tired of hearing it in the 1960’s and after: falling cultures always are, but they need to hear it even more!

    Granted, we use modern technology to spread the message, but the message should be the same. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, not the updated version of Christ. The Pope is to follow Christ’s example, not pretend to know better. Christ spoke directly and often about hell. He was confrontative. He did not praise other religions nor error. And so on.

    Christ’s approach was the the ones used by the prophets, the saints, and the Popes prior to Vatican II.

    Nobody can honestly deny that all objective statistics point to a disastrous ongoing decline in every area of Catholic life. (This was most recently complied my Michael Voris’ staff from the annual report put out by the US Catholic bishops.) Shocking declines–including in conversions. And there is a direct connection between refusing to follow the APPROACH of Christ, the prophets, and the saints, and failure in passing along the faith within the Church itself.

    Nobody can honestly claim that the Pope’s communication approach has been an unqualified success, unless he was attempted to communicate confusion or a departure in doctrine. There is no such thing as a successful communication strategy that communicates confusion across many different audiences.

    There is only one issue that we face: are we willing to honestly face the truth?

    Now, those who effectively answer “no” do not possess any love of lying! They are not trying to lie, they are trying to be loyal to Christ and His Church. They think they are being loyal by explaining away that which the Pope does not seem to want to be explained away. By doing what ideologues do to defend a candidate or an ideology.

    But my claim is this: God is truth. All truth leads to God, and all falsehoods lead elsewhere. So, I’m claiming that God does not want us to deal in half-truths, evasions, rationalization: that is not truly being loyal. In fact, it is the greatest contributor to the continuing decline of the Church. That decline will stop when we stop trying to explain away that which is objectively true. And not a moment before…

  7. Brock Fowler :
    Malcom, we really need to stop with the “uncharitable” nonsense: it is a word that has actual meaning–not something you say because you disagree.

    What the Hell are you talking about? It’s uncharitable because you are strawmanning the position of the people you disagree with to make your point. You’re really going to fight my yse of the word there? Fine, call it “You’re wrong” instead. You’re wrong, that’s not the position of those who support Pope Francis. I explained it in very nuanced terms, but you don’t like that because you have an agenda.

    Go ahead, ask Codg – I do NOT equate charity with being “nice”. I DO think somebody should be charitable enough to look to try and understand what people actually think.

    Nobody honestly believes that you can praise error enough to convince people that they need to turn from it. Nobody honestly believes that you can be silent enough about hell to convince people this it is a real possibility. Nobody honestly believes that ambiguity–if not contraction–is a good communication technique (our God is not a God of confusion). Nobody honestly believes that–in a sound bite society–a flood of words will be correctly reported via a hostile press.

    What I “honestly believe” is that Pope Francis has decided that he is not going to emphasize doctrine so much as he is going to emphasize understanding people. As such, yes, there is ambiguity in what he says, but honestly since the media has interpreted everything every Pope said incorrectly then coming across as a Pope who will listen to non-believers and try to understand them is a refreshing change.

    More seriously, no orthodox Catholic honestly believes that the modern Popes are Jesus 2.0: Jesus being, you know, a very great man and all…for his backward times…but we know better today, because we have iPhones!!! Christ is true man and true God: he spoke to our God-given, and God-created human natures. He spoke just the way they needed to hear it in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago, and just the way we need to hear it in the US in 2013–and every other time and place. Yes, we were tired of hearing it in the 1960′s and after: falling cultures always are, but they need to hear it even more!

    I have no idea who you think you’re arguing with here, but it sure isn’t me.

    Granted, we use modern technology to spread the message, but the message should be the same. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, not the updated version of Christ. The Pope is to follow Christ’s example, not pretend to know better. Christ spoke directly and often about hell. He was confrontative. He did not praise other religions nor error. And so on.

    That’s one side of Christ, yes. He’s not a one-dimensional figure, though. Conservatives love to justify being rude or being looked at hostilely by selectively interpreting scripture – it’s just as bad as when the liberals do it. Jesus was truthful and didn’t compromise, yes, but he knew when to show mercy and compassion too.

    Nobody can honestly deny that all objective statistics point to a disastrous ongoing decline in every area of Catholic life. (This was most recently complied my Michael Voris’ staff from the annual report put out by the US Catholic bishops.) Shocking declines–including in conversions. And there is a direct connection between refusing to follow the APPROACH of Christ, the prophets, and the saints, and failure in passing along the faith within the Church itself.

    So wait, are you saying that Pope Benedict was no better than Pope Francis, since we were in a shocking decline under his papacy as well? Pope Francis realizes there’s a decline. That’s the point.

    Nobody can honestly claim that the Pope’s communication approach has been an unqualified success, unless he was attempted to communicate confusion or a departure in doctrine. There is no such thing as a successful communication strategy that communicates confusion across many different audiences.

    Good thing I never said he was perfect, then. I’d love for him to be a little clearer, but I think he has the right approach to things.

    There is only one issue that we face: are we willing to honestly face the truth?
    Now, those who effectively answer “no” do not possess any love of lying! They are not trying to lie, they are trying to be loyal to Christ and His Church. They think they are being loyal by explaining away that which the Pope does not seem to want to be explained away. By doing what ideologues do to defend a candidate or an ideology.
    But my claim is this: God is truth. All truth leads to God, and all falsehoods lead elsewhere. So, I’m claiming that God does not want us to deal in half-truths, evasions, rationalization: that is not truly being loyal. In fact, it is the greatest contributor to the continuing decline of the Church. That decline will stop when we stop trying to explain away that which is objectively true. And not a moment before…

    Once again, I have no idea who you’re addressing here, because it’s not me.

    Look, I don’t really care if you disagree with me, I can work with you then and you with me. What I can’t do is work with somebody who won’t even take disagreements seriously and turns them into “On one side we like truth and on the other side they’ll all lie!”. No, you’re wrong, that’s not my position, it’s not Crude’s position, and characterizing our position that way isn’t going to cut it.

  8. Brock Fowler says:

    Malcolm, you certainly are correct that my comments were not generally directed at your specific comments: I was addressing the larger issues. It is the larger issues that matter. (Now, if you believe that there has been NO LINK AT ALL, then we will just have to agree to disagree.)

    Yes, I’m saying that we don’t need a “refreshing change” from the APPROACH of Christ, the prophets, the disciples, the saints, and the popes through the centuries until recently. We need to follow Christ’s APPROACH.

    You are correct that Christ had more than one side and approach: and that means that the Pope, and us all, are to demonstrate ALL of them. Nor is there any conflict between being merciful and compassionate on one hand, and being direct, truthful, and not compromising on the other. The complement each other. I would go further: it is not being merciful nor compassionate to be confusing and vague–nor to ignore doctrine.

    And yes, I am proposing that when the Church does not follow THE APPROACH, as well as the teachings, of Christ, we will experience decline–without any exceptions. Although Pope Benedict was very different from either Blessed John Paul II and Pope Francis, he did use some of the same approaches: and so got some of the same results–it would be literally impossible for it to turn out other than that.

    I should add another dimension: discipline. Christ let most of his followers walk away in John 6, and he had…might we say “judgmental”?…things to say about Judas, those who lead little ones astray, etc. The prophets also spoke in this very direct way. So did the apostles: who directly attack error and the wolves within the Church. As did the saints and the Popes prior to Vatican II.

    Vatican II famously scorned “hurling anathamas at the world”–note the condescension of that phrasing contains concerning the past. It avoided confrontative language, and pretty much treated every disagreement as an honest, good faith, misunderstanding.

    That allergic reaction to discipline and confrontativeness was, of course, followed after the Council. The predictable result was open dissent from theologians, some priests, some religious, and even some bishops: and 2 generations of appalling catechesis that have left Catholics illiterate in their faith unless they made a personal effort to become otherwise. And it caused the scandal…

    I’m claiming that nobody can honestly claim that the approaches that lead to the scandal were correct, nor that authority conveys no responsibility.

    And yes, I’m claiming that the issue is indeed honesty, versus a very sincere (but I am claiming profoundly misguided) desire to be loyal to Christ by defending the indefensible. (Again, I’m addressing the larger issues, not your specific words or beliefs, but there does seem to me to be some definite links to me–even though I’m in no way intending to suggest that I know your full set of beliefs…nor does it matter for my more general purposes.)

  9. Brock Fowler says:

    An analogy. A Catholic friend with lots of apologetics experience explained this to me.

    If you take a sincere Protestant, and walk him through Romans–what St. Paul is really saying there–he probably will not follow you. But if he does follow you, you will see fear in his eyes, because he thinks you are asking him to stop being Christian. Because in some fundamental, although usually unarticulated, way, to him sola fide IS THE GOSPEL. To him, most fundamentally, sola fide IS Christianity. Sola fide, which is false, has become an idol to him–in fact.

    We have been FORCED to choose between the APPROACH of Vatican II and recent popes, and all that came before primarily–if not exclusively–concerning APPROACH. That is disorienting and unjust, but Christ warned us of crosses.

    So, we have to chose between CURRENT authority and tradition (i.e., past authority). Moreover, it is somewhat difficult for us to even understand past authority, because current authority puts out such an ocean of words that we are partially forced to choose between whether to read current authority or past authority–because there are not enough hours in the day to even keep up with the words of current authority–still less fully understand them.

    But this choice is heartbreaking in its implications: although less heartbreaking if you choose current authority, because you can kind of assume that the approach of past authority was good in its day, and current authority is good in this day. But there can be no authentic new approach (other than the electronic means of delivery), because there is no new man (that’s modernism) and societies are simply the sum total of individual decisions–they are not something apart from our basic human nature.

    Obviously, there are pastoral considerations: but not at the Vatican (world-wide) level! Yes Italian society is different from the societies of Germany and China and Nigeria. And yes, what one would say to an individual Protestant, or atheist, or member of other religions, would vary greatly. BUT WHEN POPE OR COUNCIL SPEAKS THE WHOLE WORD IS LISTENING IN. What is pastoral to one individual or group, is very ill chosen for others. So, at the Vatican level, the fundamental approach of Christ, the prophets, the apostles, and the saints is all that can be prudently, and even faithfully, used.

    It is heartbreaking to even consider that recent Popes and Vatican II may have lead us in the wrong direction: granted in only in very limited areas–but in important areas nonetheless. And it can seem when somebody is suggesting this, that he is asking you to stop being Catholic.

    But the Church never taught that the Popes are infallible save in extraordinarily limited situations, nor that Councils are protected from error in their prudential/pastoral judgements: to hold otherwise would be to make them into…well…an idol–whether consciously or not.

    True, there are special graces that go with being a Pope or being at a Council, but there are also special spiritual attacks: they seem to roughly cancel each other out regarding the non-dogmatic.

    It is for that reason, the Church has always (until recently) been deeply suspicious of new words, new approaches, and novelty–sometimes even to the point of fault. http://thepalmhq.blogspot.com/2007/09/what-is-traditional-catholicism.html

    Public revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle. Yes, there is development of doctrine, but what is the likelihood that nearly 2,000 years later the largest number of words–by far–would need to be issued by a Council? How did Catholics ever manage before?

    Our problem will continue until we are willing to face the truth, and understand that doing so is not disloyal. The Church must follow THE APPROACH of Christ as well as His teachings.

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