29 November 2016

"Will they never blush?"

I stumbled across an extremely well-measured and insightful take on the fracas of the possibly heretical exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the unanswered dubia of the four faithful Carndinals at the blog That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill. The title of this post comes from that piece. In what ought to embarrass any Catholic worthy of the name, Francis does not at once--ever?-- defend the faith, and he and his cohorts seem not to show embarrassment. Indeed, will they never blush?

I wanted to post just a few excerpts here. As the article is quite long, I really think it merits your full reading there to give these excerpts the proper context. I agree with the takes, but in the proper context. Just to give a taste, consider the following items:

The Church is the possession of Christ. It doesn't belong to itself. The Church is united to Jesus Christ. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder. The whole Church, including Peter, belongs to Christ. He Who says 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life' (for Peter never says that Peter is the Way, the Truth and the Life, nor does the Lord say that of Peter) is always both the giver and the possessor of authority and it cannot be given by the Giver and yet stolen by the recipient. Christ's authority is never removed from Him, He himself never dispenses it only for it to be taken from Him. The power exercised by the Pope belongs to Christ. That which He gives, He also retains. Christ gives His authority to Peter as His Chief Shepherd on Earth but Christ never ceases to be the Chief Shepherd Himself. He delegates to Peter authority that, even when given, is never lost by the Giver Himself.

Thus we see that Peter is not the possessor of authority. How can he be if he is the recipient of authority - always the recipient. And he exercises papal power by virtue of being the recipient of power from on High. It is not self-generated. He cannot separate his authority from the will of Christ and exercise it divorced from Christ's will without some form of censure from Successors of the Apostles with care for souls. The authority given to Peter will until the Second Coming of Christ pass to another who comes to fill his Office, but it never passes from Christ to another to the effect that Christ's authority is diminished. He is all-powerful. Peter is not. He is the Word of God. Peter is not. He is God. Peter is not! The Supreme Authority in the Church is Jesus Christ, the Divine Head, in Whose name the Pope - we pray - speaks and acts. The authority placed within the hands of Peter is not Peter's own authority but Christ's authority and just as it is that Peter's authority over the Church is not Peter's own possession but Christ's, so it is that the Church founded upon Peter belongs not to Peter but to Christ. Christ will render an account from every Pope for how this donation of power has been exercised in his name.


Yes it is Christ who says, 'Tu es Petrus', not Peter who says, 'I am Peter' and he is Peter as long as he enjoys Communion with Christ in saying, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the Saviour of the World', but like any of us, he is just as easily Judas as long as he breaks faith with Christ or betrays him or hands Him over to the wicked. God regards the free will of the Pope to be as sacred a gift as that of our own. The Pope enjoys papal authority because it is conferred from above, but he himself is not from above. Peter is as bound to obedience to the Faith he receives as you or I. If he wantonly breaks faith with Christ, he is as much cast adrift from the Barque as you or me.

[...]

So when the Pope says such things as 'if the Pope says that black is white then we should believe that it is white' Catholics everywhere can say that if Christ and the Fathers of the Church, if the Magisterium in the service of the Truth and the Salvation of mankind says that white is indeed white and black is indeed black, we can say quite categorically that white is white and black is black. We do not have to believe a lie and be told that to believe a lie is some kind of disloyalty to the Pope. And if the Pope says that pastors exercise their pastoral duty best by rejecting a vision of life which is black and white, signifying a preference for 'shades of grey', we can say that there must be times when the distinction between black and white, or good and evil must be made absolutely clear for the good of souls. For this is in the service of Christ the Lord. And if the Pope says that certain people wish to see things in 'black and white' and uses that as a tenuous justification to refuse an answer to some very simple questions concerning faith and morals from his Cardinals, in the service of Christ, His Church and the Salvation of souls, we can say that this is an injustice to Christ and to the flock over which the Pope has been given authority to tend, to serve, to instruct, to teach and to confirm in the perennial Faith of the Church.

All this can be said and in this critical time even must be said by those who know that the Pope is the recipient of authority given to him for a unique and particular purpose in the service of the truth, in the service Christ and His Church. If a Pope places the souls in his paternal care at grave risk or peril by teaching error or attempting to build a faith at odds with Jesus Christ the Lord, then those who ask questions seeking clarification in line with the teachings of the Magisterium do so not with malice or ill-intent, but in fidelity to their Lord and to Peter, who was once resisted to his face, in person, by Paul. All this can and must be said because Peter does not act in isolation. He is the possessor of nothing in the Church. Nothing belongs to him, not even his Throne and most particularly the Faith of Christ does not belong to him. This belongs to the man or woman in the pew as much as it belongs to the Pope. I am as capable of changing Truth as the Pope is. That is, completely and utterly incapable.

[...]

No Catholic should have to imagine that he may one day have to choose between fidelity to his Conscience and fidelity to the Pope, or that these could ever be in any way contradictory. But if that day comes, choose Conscience, because the Pope is not God nor is he the Voice of Almighty God. Your Conscience, however, is. This will be in the service of Christ and of Peter. For there is but one Judge. Peter will not judge you on the Last Day and read your Conscience to you, to your eternal Salvation or to your condemnation. It is Jesus Christ Who will do that. May He, the Lord of all, preserve His Church from error and schism and make us faithful to Him, until the end, come what may even if what comes our way is Fr Antonio Spadaro implying, 'He's Pope so there!' or Cardinal Tobin saying, 'Suck it up, he's Pope so there!' or the head of the Greek Latin Church, Franciscan Fragiskos Papamanolis saying that to question the Pope's document is 'heresy' or 'schismatic' or 'apostasy' for no reason but 'He's Pope, so there!'

We will hear such things a lot. Such statements may be excitable exclamations of papal power, but such statements do not cover these men in much glory now nor do they give any hint as to whether these men will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away when the Chief Shepherd appears. It is easy indeed for a Pope to decide one day to remake the entire Church in his image and place Christ, His Teachings and throw what has preceded him into what he regards as the dustbin of history. Unfortunately for that Pope, and his entourage, it is intellectually and theologically-speaking impossible for him to do that while he or those who support him in this work of destruction claim that he does so with Christ's blessing. This would be a delusion of gigantic proportions and not a very convincing one at that. A Pope might change his mind, but a Pope cannot change God's mind. God can change the Pope, but the Pope cannot change God. New Popes, true Popes, false Popes may appear, but not, in reality, new Gods, true Gods or false Gods. There is but One True God. He is Eternal. [...]

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