16 Responses

  1. Avatar Andreas says:

    Great post! Would it be possible the have a whish for an upcoming article? Kardinal Marx has been a “bête noir “ for many Catholics of a conservative or trad leaning. I have however failed to find one article giving a more nuanced view of him. Can he really be all that bad? After the youth synod I read somewhere that he had proposed a synod on chastity, that doesn’t sound like a lib…can he be all that bad?

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      The difficulty with Cardinal Marx, in part, is the language difference. It seems that most what gets reported about him in the English speaking press has an agenda to paint him in the worst possible light.

      Reading between the lines, he seems to try to be walking a fine line, but staying on the side of fidelity. But the English websites that attack him report the most controversial things he says, and in the most negative way possible.

      There’s no way to know how accurate the translations are, unless you speak German.

  2. Avatar Pete Vickery says:

    I nominate you Mike for coining the best new Catholic word of 2019 “Imagisterium” and Pedro Gabriel for coining the best new Catholic expression of the year 2018 “Sola Traditio”. I used to wonder what on earth Gerry Matatics (I’m showing my age) was following when he would sit home and say his rosary because he considered all Catholic Masses in his vicinity to be invalid. Now many of his contemporaries who criticized and even laughed at him are following his footsteps in disobedience wrt the Pope. They may not be sedevacantists yet (like Matatics) and they may not be embracing geocentrism yet (like Robert Sungenis) but they seem to be just as ridiculous. I try to be ridiculous in being a fool for Christ, part of which means following his Vicar on earth. Being a fool for anything else is a waste of one’s life. What is scary is that the aforementioned (and unmentioned contemporaries) are all very intelligent men and women. Yet they are being deceived. I give them the benefit of the doubt in that they must be trying to follow their consciences, yet their division even among themselves, is quite apparent. God bless Where Peter Is and may it continue to flourish in it’s defense of the Church. May all of us pray for Pope Francis and ask the Holy Spirit to continue to guide and guard him.

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      Thanks! I have to give partial credit to Pedro for imagisterium – I was all set to go with “imaginisterium” but he convinced me to shorten it!

    • Avatar QED says:

      Pete, I used to be a sedevacantist.

      I would say that many intelligent or rational thinkers have the ability to fall there. It is because they lean on their own understanding. It works in almost every other aspect of life. I also learned that supernatural faith involves believing what God proposes through the Church, even if it seems unreasonable–we accept it because we trust God, not because it makes sense to us.

      Obedience cannot really be a sacrifice apart from obeying when you don’t want to.

      • Avatar Pete Vickery says:

        Agreed! I hope I didn’t make it sound like the sedevacantists are not intelligent. Gerry Matatics could run circles around me debating just about anything. I remember reading Patrick Madrid saying he wasn’t going to imitate the people bashing and making fun of Matatics while Madrid was still employed at Catholic Answers (Matatics had been let go). I think this is because Madrid knows how smart Gerry and other dissenters are; they’re definitely not idiots. When I look at the Pope I identify with what Peter said, when he decided not to abandon Christ after the bread of life discourse in John 6. Peter didn’t fully understand everything Christ had just said, but he trusted Him enough to say “Lord where can we go? Only you have the words of everlasting life” (I’m paraphrasing from memory). I can repeat the same thing, cognizant of my limitations, except I speak those words mentally to both Christ and Peter. Christ gave Peter and his successors that guarantee. He didn’t guarantee things would always seem to make sense. That is where the trust of faith comes in. It would be ridiculous of me to not recognize my own degree of fallibility. Just ask my wife! Obedience is most definitely a sacrifice. It sounds like I’m just repeating what you succinctly pointed out.

        • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

          QED and Pete,

          Both of your comments here resonate with me. If I were to lean on my own understanding, in terms of what makes the most sense *to me* (at least sometimes), the orthodoxy of Pope Francis would really be a non-issue, because I would be going back and forth, regularly, between theism and atheism. I will attempt to explain that. From a very early age, I experienced sheer terror and emotional chaos (with some happy moments, too, at times, to be fair) in my family of birth, and even after coming to faith in Christ, and, later, becoming a Catholic, the darkness of those early years has never completely left me. (I also experienced seriously traumatic events as a teenager too).

          I do believe that Christ died for my sins and rose again, and I believe that He founded the Catholic Church, with His Vicars, from Peter to Francis, continuing to this day. Still, though, there are times when, given some of what I have experienced in life, and some of what I have seen happen to other people, the tempting pull of nihilism and despair can be very strong– it can make a certain kind of logical “sense” to me, at moments, and sometimes, for longer than just moments. If I were to lean *completely on my own understanding* at those times, I would quite possibly not only leave the Catholic Church, but even this life itself. In that light, especially, I give thanks to God and His grace, truly, for the faith in Christ and His Church that helps to see me through and beyond those times.

          Most of what Pope Francis says and teaches makes eminent sense to me. (This surely has something to do with my being a believing Catholic, but I digress!) For the very few things with which I struggle, I am more than happy– *relieved*, actually— to say, “God has not left me with the burden of responsibility of having to figure out each of these things to the complete satisfaction of my intellect. Yes, I can certainly study, and I can try to understand more and better, but in the end, He has not me in the place of having to be the evaluator of the orthodoxy of the Pope’s teachings. That is a huge part of why the Church *has* a Pope– and I am, happily, not him!”

          • Avatar Pete Vickery says:

            The world is a much better place with you in it, Christopher. God bless you.

          • Avatar QED says:

            Christopher,

            I can relate with trauma and nihilism. Without Christ, there is no hope for me. I have searched for God, and I believe He found me. As far as I am concerned, authentic Christianity and Catholicsm are one in the same. Every other groups has aspects resembling the faith because they took elements from it when they left it.

            I cling onto the Church because I have no where else to go. Only Catholicism expresses my deepest desires and longings as human being. The teachings of Christ are so beautiful that were they not true the universe we live in would be a miserable and insufferable waste of time. It would be like the movie where the mechanical boy loves his human mother so much he vainly and tragically searches for a fairy to make him a real child.

  3. Avatar carn says:

    @Pete Vickery, Christopher Lake, QED:

    You are having a nice conversation in your own echo chamber; good if that helps you.

    But please do not presume that you have a grasp about why or why not those you call dissenters do and say what they do.

    Most of these you call dissenters fail to be obedient, cause they are unable to ascertain what Pope Francis wants them to be obedient to. If one is unable to understand what one is asked to do/believe, then one is unable to be obedient to at least that command.

    I think the reason why you do not realize is that in your echo chamber it is so the (supposed) correct meaning of anything said or done by Pope Francis is understood instinctively without any relevant glimmer of doubt, that you understood him correctly; accordingly, the notion that someone might be listening/reading the exact same words of Pope Francis which are crystal clear for your ears/eyes and might – honestly – be partly or totally at loss, how Pope Francis wanted his words/actions to be understood.

    This might be a matter of lack of humility, there might be also sin behind it; but it might be also something else; and it is certainly no straightforward rejection of obedience.

    • Avatar QED says:

      I don’t think you are grasping what I am saying. The pope, as far as I understand, is not commanding much. For example, he is not commanding laity to give communion to the divorced. He is not commanding anyone to worship Allah. He is setting Church discipline and being diplomatic with world leaders and other religion’s leaders. Therefore the idea that he is giving commands to be obeyed is false, and the claim that no one can pledge obedience to him unless they understand his every command is a red herring. One can pledge to submit to him without knowing in advance the particulars of each and everything he may potentially teach or command out of deference to his office. Faith cannot constitute knowing in advance every dogma or doctrine to assent to (how would someone who doesn’t know theology have faith?), but a willingness to submit to whatever the Church has and will propose to in the future. Same with obedience to the pope. I don’t know how to make this more clear

      People do not feel “confused” because they need clarification on what he is commanding. They are “confused” because they disagree with what he does or how he does it, as though he needs to change what he does to be more in conformance with their standards of what should be done.

    • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

      Carn,

      I do not live in an “echo chamber,” in terms of the viewpoints to which I listen. I read articles at this site. I read articles at sites which are very critical of Pope Francis. Much of the Catholic media/internet world in the U.S. is now quite critical of Pope Francis, so as a Catholic who resides in the U.S., even if I *wanted* to live in a pro-Francis echo chamber (and I don’t), to the extent that I take my interest in Catholic matters to the internet, I encounter writings and videos of Catholics who are quite critical of Francis. I am also a personal friend of people who are very critical, and openly skeptical, of the Pope.

      As for conversations that I engage in *here at WPI* being some kind of “echo chamber,” that is not the case, as I have engaged with you and many other people who are critical of Francis. Moreover, my time on this site is *one part* of my much larger Catholic life, which has many other parts in which I converse with, and, in many cases, spend time in person with, people with various views on Pope Francis. At this point, most of my in-person Catholic friends seem to be more skeptical of Pope Francis than submissive to his teaching authority, so if I’m trying to live in a pro-Francis echo chamber, I am doing a fairly terrible job of it.

      As for my thinking on “dissenters” to Pope Francis, I try to assume the best of people in general, as much as I can. I wouldn’t say that I am certain, myself, that I always understand Pope Francis correctly. Most of what he says and does makes sense to me, but even in some of those cases, I could be misunderstanding or misinterpreting him. There are things that he says and does, at times, with which I struggle. Some of that struggle involves trying to understand what *he intends* to communicate with certain phrases and formulations. What I am saying in *this* particular conversation, here, is that *both* when I understand him (or, at least, I think that I understand), and when I am not sure that I understand him, and I struggle, in both of these situations, I *accept and submit to his Magisterial teaching authority.*

      Do I understand every bit of what Pope Francis says and teaches? Again, no, not always, and certainly, not on all subjects equally. I fully admit that. Do I *need* to understand all of it, in order to submit myself, as a follower of Christ, to the teaching authority which I believe Christ gave to Peter and his successors? Not in my mind. I trust that Christ would not leave us with a teaching office, given by Him, which would then lead us into heresy when it comes to official, binding teachings on faith and morals. If I have to make sure that I fully understand every teaching before I submit to it, then my submission would be to the “authority” and “standards” of my own intellect, and not to the Magisterial teaching authority given by Christ.

      • Avatar carn says:

        “Do I *need* to understand all of it, in order to submit myself, as a follower of Christ, to the teaching authority which I believe Christ gave to Peter and his successors? Not in my mind. I trust that Christ would not leave us with a teaching office, given by Him, which would then lead us into heresy when it comes to official, binding teachings on faith and morals.”

        That leaves me a bit cluless how your mind works.

        If there is some of the “official, binding teachings on faith and morals” of Pope Francis, which you do not understand, how do you know then, what you are bound to in that matters of faith and morals?

        After all, to bind myself to some teaching on faith and moral – for example that abotion is intrinsically evil – i need to have some grasp of what the teaching is about and what is taught. If i am at a loss what the terms “abortion”, “intrinsically” and/or “evil” mean and what that sentence means, i cannot bind myself to that teaching on faith and moral. It is simply not possible that then in my mind i say “Ok, i will try to live up that” cause i do not know what “that” is.

        Somebody not understanding the sentence and/or the meaning of the words therein, would not be dissenting; his only option would be to study the issue further in an attempt to understand it and of course he would be strongly tempted – and that seems to be then immidiately sinful – to ask questions.

        And there are quite a number of things Pope Francis does or say, regarding which i am in that sense at a loss. For starters, am i bound to oppose the death penalty even if i would be certain beyond any doubt that it is the only possible way to keep some criminals from repeatedly slowly torturing small children till they die?

        I am willing to submit either way, but i am at loss whether Pope Francis wanted his teaching to be understood that way.

        Am i to always abstain from committing intrinsic evil acts no matter the consequences or may i in some limited ways commit intrinsic evil acts if i honestly think its the only way from keeping serious harm from children?

        That after all seems to be a path divorce and remarried might travel according to Walford’s latest book, which received praise by at least Cardinals and which argues that divorced and remarried could be due to the mitigating factor of otherwise being unable to be there for their children in the state of grace although they regularly violate number 6 (Pope Francis apparently wrote his foreword before the book was finished, so its not necessarily praise for the content); so maybe its a way i should also travel when i face a situation in which i am honestly convinced that a few small but intentional lies might help the survival of children i think i am responsible for?

        • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

          Carn,

          Pope Francis has stated that the guidelines of the Buenos Aires bishops (concerning the implementation of “Amoris Laetitia”, when it comes to the question of certain situations in which *some* divorced and remarried people could *possibly* be allowed to take communion) are the correct interpretation of AL. He has even specifically, authoritatively, raised this interpretation from the Buenos Aires bishops, and his affirmation of it, to the level what he calls “authentic Magisterium.” I’m not sure what else the Pope can say at this point to make things more clear.

          The Buenos Aires guidelines are here: https://cvcomment.org/2016/09/18/buenos-aires-bishops-guidelines-on-amoris-laetitia-full-text/ Now, as for whether you will *accept and submit to* his Magisterial teaching on this matter, that is up to you. He has stated what is authentic Magisterial teaching on this matter.

          Much of the process, behind individual couples coming to understand whether they should take communion or not, is to be worked out in an internal forum between them and their priest. For myself, I’m not a priest, and as an unmarried, never-married man, I’m obviously not a spouse involved in such an internal forum, and for those reasons, it’s not really my place to engage in a kind of indirect over-scrupulosity by worrying myself with what the details of various couples in *their* internal forums might be with their priests. Those matters are not for me. They are for the Pope, the bishops, local priests, and those couples.

          On the death penalty, you raise the question of “Am i bound to oppose the death penalty even if i would be certain beyond any doubt that it is the only possible way to keep some criminals from repeatedly slowly torturing small children till they die?” Your certainty beyond a doubt here, about the death penalty, is your own subjective judgment, and the Church is directly and authoritatively disagreeing with your subjective judgment in her teaching. The Pope has very clearly stated, to the point of making it a revision in the Catechism, that the death penalty is now not the only way, and is not even, any longer, a morally permissible way, from a Catholic perspective, of protecting society from violent criminals. How much more clear can the Pope be on this issue? It’s in the Catechism. The question is, now, are you going to trust your subjective certainty about what *you believe* on the death penalty over the Magisterium’s authoritative teaching in the Catechism?

          • Avatar carn says:

            a) You did not answer the three (or actually two, one about death penalty, the other about lying to prevent harm from children) questions regarding matters of faith and morals i wrote above; instead you tried to show that i should not ask them an/or that they are based on false premises and/or that i already should know the answer.

            b) “individual couples … matters are not for me”; i did not ask, what some individual couple should or shouldn’t do; i asked whether i based on argument from analogy from Walford’s arguments should consider lying to prevent harm from children; that is my matter; so the argument that i am talking here about something not mattering for me is false.

            c) “They are for the Pope, the bishops, local priests,” My priests shrugged his shoulders when i approached him with some of the issues i have for he had no good advice, my bishop at least as far as i understood his reaction prefers not to be bothered with my issues; and the Pope didn’t answer dubium 2. So i checked already all the sources offered to me as recourse regarding the matter that relates to me.

            d) “Your certainty beyond a doubt here, about the death penalty, is your own subjective judgment,” You missed “if i would” which clearly showed that this is not necessarily my opinion.

            e) “that the death penalty is now not the only way, and is not even, any longer, a morally permissible way, from a Catholic perspective, of protecting society from violent criminals.”

            That is a claim about the capability of various methods to protect society from violent criminals; which is at least to large part a question of criminal, social and political science; hence, as far as i can tell the suggestion of the catechism, that other sufficient means of protection besides the death penalty are available, is not a teaching about faith and morals. Hence, your argument that i have to submit to this sentence in the catechism is false.

            Additional information: i agree that there are other means; but it is one thing, if the catechism makes a claim about criminal science to which i agree, and another if the catechism makes a claim about criminal science and i am to react towards that with “religious submission of mind and will”. Especially, as i certainly should be made aware of, if i would also have to react to for example Papal declarations about physics, chemistry or biology with “religious submission of mind and will”.

            f) answering all your questions, cause maybe you had good reasons to ask them and it therefore be impolite if i start telling you, that you were wrong to ask them:

            “How much more clear can the Pope be on this issue?”

            He could avoid intermingling statements about faith and morals and statements about what according to his opinion or according to the opinion of experts he considers reliable are facts or at least reliable assumptions in various scientific fields. Then it would be easier for me (and probably others) to submit to the former, as submitting with “religious submission of mind and will” to Papal statements about various scientific fields sounds like a pretty dumb idea and the intermingling causes problems to identify which are which.

            Which is evidently from you seemingly mistaking the claim of the catechism that there are methods beside death penalty (which is a claim that certain prison structures exist, which represent this effective alternatives, which clearly is not a claim about faith and morals but about how prison systems function) as something being a matter of faith and morals.

            “The question is, now, are you going to trust your subjective certainty about what *you believe* on the death penalty over the Magisterium’s authoritative teaching in the Catechism?”

            As i said, i think the catechism is (mostly) correct with its non-faith and non-moral claim about the current existence of prison systems being a sufficient alternative to death penalty. I just do not see that i should submit to that with “religious submission of mind and will”.

            As far as i understood, i am not required to offer “religious submission of mind and will” to Papal statements about facts and theories, which are the matter of observation and scientific research.

            Hence, that sentence in the catechism being treated by you (and others) as something to which i supposedly should offer “religious submission of mind and will”, bothers me a lot.

  4. Avatar carn says:

    “I don’t think you are grasping what I am saying.”

    I think i have good reason to return that “compliment”:

    “People do not feel “confused” because they need clarification on what he is commanding. They are “confused” because they disagree with what he does or how he does it, as though he needs to change what he does to be more in conformance with their standards of what should be done.”

    You claim here to know what is going on in other people’s head; probably people you have never ever talked in person to. The rest of what you say is for all i know wrong due to trusting too much in your mind reading capabilities.

    And that is a very, very prominent error on “Team Francis”.

    It is also fascinating, that people writing and celebrating entire books, which boil down to “you cannot know the individual situation of some divorced and remarried, so trust their conscience under guidance of their pastor; trust that the path they are taking leads them closer to God and stop discussing their situations”, without missing a step then claim to know what the individual situation of ALL so called dissenters is and excluding for ALL of them that their so called dissenting is actually happening under conditioning and mitigating factors and that therefore although it is possible that the so called dissenting is an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a so called dissenter can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.

    By thinking that everything regarding the so called dissenters is
    black and white – they just simply refuse to submit to church teaching, you probably sometimes close off the way
    of grace and of growth, and discourage paths – who knows that a path of openly criticizing the Pope might not be such a path? – of
    sanctification which give glory to God.

    You should remember that “a small step, in the midst of great
    human limitations, can be more pleasing to God
    than a life which appears outwardly in order,
    but moves through the day without confronting
    great difficulties”.

    But you do not care to be consistent, so its useless that i try to show how it utterly lacks consistency to talk about mercy, mitigating factors, not thinking in black and white, discernment and not judging others

    and then turn round and give anything that you might think might be dissent a full broadside of black and white judgement.

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