Category: teaching authority

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Has the Modern Church Blunted the Sharp Edge of the Gospel?

Dissenters against recent Church teaching–that is, the teaching of the Church since Vatican II and especially Pope Francis’s recent teaching–often try to argue that there are contradictions between the older and the newer teaching. In my experience, Erick Ybarra is one of the more sophisticated of these dissenters. He has argued not so much that newer magisterial teaching contradicts older teaching, but that, while not strictly contradictory, the “spirit” of newer teaching tends to contradict...

48

Dangerous Parallels

One of the things that the anti-Francis Catholics use as a defense is that the Pope is “unclear” or “confusing.” Therefore, they say, it’s not their fault if they think he’s in error and accuse him of heresy. He should just speak clearly and there wouldn’t be this sort of problem. They claim that his predecessors never had this problem with being misunderstood, therefore it must be his fault. I find that claim bizarre. Catholic...

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...