Category: Papal Primacy

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Tribalist Catholicism

Most Catholics, if they take their faith seriously, harbor some critique of modernity, even if they cannot articulate it in detail. This almost goes without saying, since there is much in modern culture that conflicts with Catholic teaching and the Catholic way of life. Many Catholic converts can trace the path of their conversion back to a period of dissatisfaction with modern culture and with the tenets of liberalism. That’s certainly where I started from...

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How Schism is Ignited

In fire safety classes, we’re told about the four1 conditions necessary for a fire to start: Fuel, Heat, Oxygen, and Flashpoint or Ignition. They call it a fire tetrahedron. Without all four conditions, you don’t have a fire. I bring this up because, as I study ecclesial history and the writings of those who wound up separated from the Catholic Church, I’ve noticed that the schismatic movements have similar things in common that brought them about, regardless of...

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The Power of the Half-Truth: Cardinal Müller’s Latest Statement

As much as I try to dismiss and ignore it, I must admit that Cardinal Müller’s endless pontificating often causes me pain. While it never undermines my trust in the Holy Father, it hurts me to think that it may be having that effect on others. Some, I know, actually find the sheer force of his absolutist rhetoric convincing, at least on an emotional level. In his latest statement, published on LifeSite News on October...

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The Terminological Inexactitudes of Cardinal Burke and Bp Schneider

On Tuesday, September 24, Edward Pentin’s blog at the National Catholic Register published a joint statement written by Cardinal Raymond Burke and his close ally in the episcopate, Athanasius Schneider, the Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan. The statement insisted on the two men’s fidelity to the Petrine office and love for the person of Pope Francis. (Mike Lewis touched on the document last week in WPI.) Their statement also makes a number of false claims–or...

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The Synodal Way of the Pilgrim Church

Where Peter Is received some criticism last week in the wake of breaking news regarding the wrangling in the Vatican that took place over the proposed ‘synodal way’ of the Church in Germany. Some asked why we weren’t issuing breathless condemnations over this allegedly real schism in the Church. I don’t know if our accusers realize that Where Peter Is is not a news agency. It publishes work by normal folks who research and write...

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What would Fr. Hardon say?

On April 7, 2018, Cardinal Raymond Burke delivered an address to a conference in Rome dedicated to the legacy of the late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra titled, Catholic Church: Where are you heading? The title of Burke’s address was, “The plenitudo potestatis of the Roman Pontiff in service of the unity of the Church.” Plenitudo potestatis means “fullness of power,” a term frequently used by medieval canonists to describe papal power and authority, and canonized in...

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Cum Petro et Sub Petro

If I had to say what I thought caused the biggest harm to the stability of the Church and acceptance of her teachings, I would say it was the loss of respect and obedience to the Holy Father when he teaches, and the assumption that when the Pope teaches what we dislike it means he must be an idiot or a heretic. In the period of 1968-2013, this behavior was seen in those Catholics who...

Following Christ, but not His Vicar

“They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it” —...

A Warning from History: St Paul VI, the Magisterium, and Theology

As the endless stream of “doctrinal declarations,” “corrections,” and “clarifications” continues to cause confusion and scandal for the Faithful, I feel it is imperative to cast our minds back to the pontificate of Pope St Paul VI, who, like Pope Francis, faced challenges and great criticism from some members of the Church. We may remember that in 1976, he displayed clear frustration and sadness at the anti-papal attitude of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the...

The Real Papolaters

On Monday I wrote a short piece on Pope Francis’s trip to Loreto, where he visited the Holy House that is believed to have been Mary’s home when she was visited by the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation. My piece focused on his address (in which he defended the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage and the family), and the fact that he officially signed his new apostolic exhortation on young people, entitled Christus vivit (“Christ...

Kiss the person, not the office

“Hypocrites, well hath Isaias prophesied of you, saying: This people honoureth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men” — Mt 15:7-9 (DRV) As Mike Lewis noted yesterday, during a pilgrimage to Loreto, Pope Francis made a beautiful address about the significance of family, based on the traditional understanding of marriage as a union between a man and a...

Getting it Half-right: Sedes and SSPX

In recent days, a number of articles defending the legitimacy of Francis’s papacy have appeared on websites that are usually critical of the Holy Father, including a two-part blog post on One Peter Five by Robert Siscoe (click to read parts 1 and 2). Siscoe, who co-authored a 2015 book entitled True or False Pope? Refuting Sedevacantism and Other Modern Errors, appears to be a member of what is colloquially known as the “Recognize and...

St. Francis de Sales: the Pope is the Guarantor of Orthodoxy & Unity

Below you will find a selection from St. Francis de Sales’ great work The Catholic Controversy.  St. Francis is a Doctor of the Church and was a very successful missionary to the Calvinists of his day (he lived from 1567 to 1622), in addition to being a very well-loved and respected devotional writer.  In this section of the book, addressing Protestants and encouraging them to abandon their Protestant ministers who have led them away from the...

When are Catholics permitted to dissent from teachings of the Pope?

Throughout history, there have always been Catholics who have wanted to dissent from the teaching of the popes.  Today, we see this attitude in theological “liberals” who do not like some of the “old fashioned” teaching of the Church, particular with regard to sexual matters.  We also see this attitude today in theological “conservatives” who dislike some of the more recent teaching of popes since Vatican II, some of whom find especially distasteful some of...