During the papacy of Saint Paul VI, both traditionalists and progressives made the same mistake: they thought they understood things better than the Church. The former said that Pope Paul VI shouldn’t have changed the liturgy because they couldn’t square his teaching with they believed to be true. The latter said that Paul VI should have changed the ban on contraception because they couldn’t square his teaching with they believed to be true.

As Catholics, we believe that what the Church teaches is reasonable and rational. When the Pope teaches something, people should be able to understand that teaching in light of Scripture, Tradition, and their own experience. I’ve heard many educated and faithful people, invoke this idea in their disagreement with the Church’s teaching regarding contraception, “If contraception is so gravely and objectively evil, then reasonable people should be able to reach that conclusion without having to resort to blind obedience to the pope.”

Does our lack of understanding or confusion necessarily mean that there’s a deficiency in the Church’s teaching or in the explanation of that teaching? I don’t think so. Perhaps the Church has insufficiently explained a particular teaching. I mean, part of the Church mission is to present Her teachings to every generation, it’s part of why we have a living Magisterium. But quite often, the obstacle to our understanding comes from us.

Just because the Church’s authoritative teachings are reasonable and rational doesn’t mean that we are always open to them or immediately capable of understanding them. At times, our own biases and sins harden our hearts to the truth. At times we simply don’t have as much information as we think we do.

I have been in this boat many times. When I run into a teaching that I can’t reconcile with what I believe to be true, trust isn’t usually my first response. During those times I usually say things like, “The Church needs to explain Her teaching better because I don’t understand them, and all these other smart and respected people don’t understand them either.” I often refuse to accept that it’s my own ignorance and stubbornness that are at fault. My lack of understanding often comes from both my hardness of heart and a misunderstanding of what the Church actually teaches.

Fortunately, the Holy Spirit usually breaks through to soften my heart and broaden my mind. The Lord is reforming my heart, but the reform is slow. You would think that after all the times that’s happened I’d be able to trust that it will happen in the future? But I still fight. When I encounter a magisterial teaching that I disagree with or don’t understand, I want to give it the benefit of the doubt, but often I view it with suspicion. And without grace, this suspicion can easily turn into bitterness and antagonism towards the Church.

This is precisely what I’m seeing happen to many American conservative Catholics. A steady diet of EWTN, National Catholic Register, and the Catholic World Report plants, and then feeds, a hermeneutic of suspicion towards everything Pope Francis says and does. So much so that otherwise reasonable Catholics begin nodding their heads when they hear theologians accusing the pope of heresy. I know Catholics who refuse to read the pope’s document on holiness with their small group simply because it’s from Pope Francis, who ignore what Francis has to say on a topic because they trust Benedict or John Paul II more, or who refuse to accept and teach what Pope Francis has authoritatively taught because they don’t understand or simply disagree. Such things breed contempt for the Church and refuses the wealth of grace that God is offering to us through Pope Francis.

It’s not good enough to simply avoid viewing the pope with suspicion; we need to trust the Magisterium. We need to give the Church the benefit of the doubt. We should allow ourselves to be challenged by Pope Francis, rather than challenging him. We need to step back and examine our own hearts. We must be open to the idea that we don’t know as much as we think we do. We need to let the Holy Spirit broaden our minds and deepen our hearts.

[Image Credit: “Universal Church” by Roald Credo]

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38 Responses

  1. Avatar Anthony F. says:

    “A Catholic is a person who has plucked up courage to face the incredible and inconceivable idea that something else may be wiser than he is.”
    -G.K. Chesterton, The Surrender on Sex, 1934

    • Avatar Jane says:

      I love it!

    • Avatar Pete Vickery says:

      Right on. Chesterton’s quote reminds me of something St Augustine said which I have to constantly remind myself of : “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels”.

      • Avatar Jane says:

        Oh how beautiful! My husband said just the other day: “We all know how much God despises disobedience. Just look at what happened to the angels that disobeyed.”

        How are we ever to be obedient to someone we are determined to disrespect?!

  2. Avatar Richard says:

    “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.”
    -John Henry Newmann

  3. Avatar jong says:

    The wisdom of man is foolishness to God.
    The Wisdom of the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and only a converted heart can see the Face of God, the Mercy of God.That’s why Pope Francis implore everyone to seek conversion to become docile to the Voice of the Holy Spirit.
    I now grasp the wisdom of St.JP2 why he said the Final Confrontation of the Two Churches is between one who preach the gospel the other Anti-gospel, How?
    Pope Benedict XVi said “The heart of the gospel is Divine Mercy.”
    while satan hated the Mercy of God.
    The Rad Trads who synchorizes their attack preaches the opposite they called the Mercy teaching of Pope Francis as “False Mercy “.
    For me this is the wisdom behind St.JP2 words anti-gospel and the Rad Trads is preaching the Anti-gospel calling it “false mercy” and no wonder whom they received their inspiration.Satan hated the Mercy of God and thats why Stephen Walford is precisely correct to call this slanderous mouthed Rad Trads having a fork tongue a “satanic cult”.
    As Pope Francis stated that Fake News who is now the main weapon of so many Rads Trads channel like Dr.Marshall, John Weston, Anthony’s Return to Tradition, Charles Watchdog for Truth, Michael Matt who’s video introduction depicted the “smoke of satan”, etc. ..are all uttering Truth mix with intentuonal lies that originates from Satan himself the old serpernt.
    Holy Father St.Benedict will simply rebuke all this James3:8-10 tongue host with his famous words “IPSE VENANA BIBAS”
    VRS!3X..we must rebuke the Lies of all Rad Trads channel who continously attack the dignity of Pope Francis playing satan role like day & night accusing and the Book of Revelation identified that this kind of work belongs to the devil.
    “Where there is slander there is Satan.”

  4. Avatar Christopher Lake says:

    Paul,

    I love the humility in this article! I, too, have been in the same boat, at times, that you described. In the not-too-distant-past, I struggled to accept certain developments in Church teaching and practice, not always realizing that the problem was *not* with the developments.

    Sometimes, sadly, I admit that I spent much more time reading and listening to the opinions of certain Catholic commentators whom I believed to be “orthodox” and “well-informed,” than I actually spent with the writings and speeches of the Popes themselves– and, not surprisingly, this practice led me in an unhelpful direction of seeing certain Church teachings as “authoritative” and others as simply matters of “prudential judgment,” about which I was free to dissent.

    If I am brutally honest, for years, I tried to fit my thinking about, and practice of, Catholicism into my already-subscribed-to political conservatism. If I had taken more of the *full writings* of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI more seriously, and allowed those writings to *more fully challenge* me, I likely would have realized, much sooner, that Catholicism simply cannot be *comfortably fitted* into such boxes (Republican *or* Democrat, or so on) without losing important parts of itself in the process.

    Pope Francis helped to really bring this point home to me, and as I’ve opened myself to being challenged by him more, I have also seen that much of his “radical” thinking (by American political standards on both the right *and* the left!) is actually found, strongly, in the writings of his two Papal predecessors. It’s good, as a Catholic, to be finally getting into the practice of spending more time being formed by actual Papal writings, and less time being formed by Catholic pundits and political commentators who are arguing for “traditionalism” or “progressivism” and, often, with that, their chosen political Party over and above (some of) the teachings of the Church.

    • Paul Fahey Paul Fahey says:

      Thank you for this comment! May I share it, or parts of it, on Facebook? What you said here resonated with further thoughts I had earlier today.

      • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

        Yes, Paul, feel free to share, and thanks!

      • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

        Thanks very much for sharing the FB post, Paul!

        Isn’t it wonderful how God works with different people and different perspectives to bring them deeper into understanding and loving obedience to Him? You were being influenced more by “liberal/progressivist” Catholic commentators, and I was being influenced more by “conservative” Catholic commentators, and, over time, we *both* found ourselves being brought to a place of challenging the influence of those non-authoritative (in Catholic terms) voices in our lives by the *Christ-given authority* of the Magisterium! I love it! 🙂

      • Avatar Marie says:

        Paul and Christopher,
        I find this very interesting about coming from a conservative or liberal/progressivist influence. yet ‘finding our way’. If I may add a third ‘way’, I have always been of the persuasion of half liberal (social teachings)/half conservative. Yet, it has been an isolating road, where despite being very social, I actually I have never met anyone who ‘thinks’ like me (other than my parents and now, just one sibling), Over time I have withdrawn from the Church, but never her teachings, just a social disconnect I suppose. Pope Francis has ignited me, and reminded me I’m on the right track, but have a ways to go. WherePeteris has taught me a great deal even though I believe fully, and I have learned so much. Sometimes I need to read it a few times to really get it, which I love the challenge! Equally as important though, is I see kindness and understanding in the comments, where I can sometimes be a bit ‘crabby’. I don’t mean to, it’s just frustrating, but I see your kindness, and recognize I have a ways to go as well. Thank you for that!

  5. Avatar Ralph says:

    I don’t think people like the idea of the Church teaching them unless they already agree with the lessons beforehand. It is like we forget that listening is a skill and think it is something reserved for children. As an adult you are expected to have your own opinions and that is that.

    The funny thing is that the older I get the more I realize how little I know and how valuable listening is. When I was in my early 20s I thought I had all the answers to everything, including religion. Boy, was I wrong. I think we Catholics are lucky to have the papacy and the teaching authority of the Church.

  6. Avatar carn says:

    There is one thing, in which “own experience” can provide an insurmountable obstacle for submitting:

    If the Pope’s teaching includes some claims about facts (and often they do) and the “own experience” indicates or seems to indicate these facts are false.

    E.g. the Pope bases his teachings on the claim that there is man-made climate change, which will cause unimaginable devastation if not stopped, and someone is either of the well-formed opinion that that is not the case (so either there is no man-made climate change and/or it will not cause such a severe devastation).

    E.g. the Pope bases his teachings on the claim that there are numerous pharisees on the loose in Church and Church hierarchy throwing stones at poor sinners just to feel themselves better.

    E.g. the Pope bases his teachings on the claim that there are prison systems sufficient to keep serial/repeated murderers in check.

    E.g. the Pope bases his teachings on the claim that there is poverty due to unfettered capitalism.

    Anyone might – based on his own experience and knowledge – end up regarding any of these claims with a polite: I think that claim is wrong.

    I do not see how the teaching in such a case could then be accepted as anything but a guideline, which one has to adjust for the situation which differs from what the Pope thinks it is.

    Of course one should also humbly check, whether one might be the one with the wrong facts.

    • Avatar M. says:

      Carn, you keep bringing these things up each article, and it seems like no matter what anyone says, your questions are not answered satisfactorily. I personally enjoy your comments and find interacting with you challenges me and makes me think- so this is a good thing.

      With regards to climate change- you are of course free to disagree that it is a problem, or as severe a problem as the pope thinks it is. Climate change is not intended to be a magisterial teaching- care for the environment however, clearly is. So if you use your disagreement on climate change being a problem to disagree with the magisterial teaching that we should care for the environment- then there is a problem with disobedience.

      With regards to the pope basing many of his teaching on the claim that there are numerous pharisees on the loose in the Church and Church hierarchy throwing stones at poor sinners to feel better about themselves: you are free to disagree that there are many pharisees loose in the church throwing stones at poor sinners, as it is obviously not a magisterial teaching that there are pharisees on the loose. If however you use your disagreement that phariseeism (is that a word?) is a problem in the church today, in order to disagree with the magisterial teaching that we should not be throwing stones at poor sinners in order to feel better about ourselves, then you are having a problem with disobedience.

      With regards to the teaching that that there are prison systems suffiencient to keep killers in check- you are free to disagree that this is the case, as the state of prison systems is not a magisterial teaching. If however you use your disagreement with the state of prison systems as a way to disagree with the magisterial teaching that the death penalty is inadmissable- then you have a problem with disobedience.

      With regards to the teaching that there is poverty due to unfettered capitalism. (I can’t see how you can disagree with this one, but ok) I think you are free to disagree that unfettered capitalism is at all a problem or that it leads to poverty. (Here I am not sure, because it seems like capitalism as practice by say, the Chinese, is an absolute evil) If you use that disagreement to disagree also with the magisterial teaching that we must care for and that governments should have protections in place for the poverty stricken- then you are struggling with disobedience.

    • Avatar Marie says:

      Carn- With all respect, you lose credibility as far as your argument regarding guidelines when you come out against papal teachings that are clearly NOT guidelines, like AL and the change to the Catechism regarding capital punishment.

      Do you genuinely believe things are supposed to be so complex, where we spend our time searching for the truth within the clouds? Then we are no different than protestants, who without a pope, must discern from only preachers and scholars. Do you really believe that Christ set up his Church this way ?He gave us the Church, but it is of little assistance to us, because we never know what to believe? He made it crystal clear that their would be no errors in faith and morals, and what is bound and loose will be bound and loose, yet we must still spend all our time trying to figure out if the Vicar of Christ is really doing the right thing? I find that incomprehensible really, I do. Christ gave us a pope, and yet we must seek out ‘the intellectual scholars’ who know better? Seriously, how can that possibly make any sense to anyone?

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        One thing that both Catholics and Protestants have is Scripture, which contains the teachings of the New Testament Church. All can refer to it. The Church recognizes its importance and place. Vatican II, in Dei Verbum 21 says: “Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture.” The pope, preachers, scholars, and the rest of us need to pay attention to it and make use of it.
        The Church had the foresight in the fourth century to compile it for our use. It became more widely accessible when the printing press was invented. We have it as a basis for doctrine even if it can be misused. There was the potential for misuse even in New Testament times; but it is the most important basis for teaching (2Peter 3:16 and 2Timothy 3:16).

      • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

        Peter,

        Catholics and Protestants both have have Scripture, but in some crucial areas, they have Scripture, and they and read and understand it, in very different ways.

        Catholics not only have Scripture, but according to the teaching of the Catechism, the Magisterium (the Pope and the Bishops teaching in communion with him) also has the Christ-given authority to *authoritatively interpret* both Scripture and Tradition in ways that are *actually morally binding* for Catholics to believe and practice. This is very different from the widely popular evangelical Protestant principle of individual people reading the Bible, coming up with their own individual interpretations of what the texts mean, and then joining, or founding, their own churches on that basis.

        You have repeatedly written, in your comments at WPI, about the Pope and the Bishops needing to submit to Scripture. Every Catholic teaching, from the Trinity, to the Immaculate Conception, to the overall Catholic devotion to Mary that you often find troublesome, is based in Scripture and in Scriptural reasoning. These teachings are also based on the Christ-given authority of the Church to interpret Scripture and Tradition.

        The teachings of the Magisterium *do* submit to Scripture. The Church’s teaching authority *canonized* Scripture and has the authority to interpret Scripture, and Tradition, in ways that you and I do not. The Church needing to submit to Scripture is not at all the same thing as the Church needing to submit to *your personal interpretation of Scripture (and/or Tradition).*

        When you interpret Scripture in ways which conflict with the Church’s teaching authority, and you then tell that teaching authority that she needs to “submit to Scripture,” you are ultimately telling the Church to submit to you and your personal interpretation. This is simply not Catholic. Telling the Church to “submit to Scripture” in ways which conflict with Church teaching is stepping outside of the visible, authoritative safeguard that Christ gave to us to protect us from falling into heretical beliefs.

        Quoting one or two passages of Scripture, or one or two passages of “Lumen Gentium,” and then setting *your personal interpretation* of those those passages up as the authority by the Church’s overall teachings should be judged, is a Protestant practice. Your personal interpretations of certain passages of Scripture and Church documents are not simply not an authority to which the Church needs to submit her teachings. We are not “Sola Scriptura” Protestants.

      • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

        Sorry for the typos! Trying to type quickly here (too quickly) before I leave for an appointment! 🙂

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        In terms of authority, the New Testament seems to have a different tone than what we have in today’s Catholicism. Saint Paul, in 2Corinthians 1:24 says: “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand”; and 1Peter 5:3 says to the elders: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock”.
        The clergy has its responsibilities in the Church, and the individuals within the Church also have their own responsibilities. Later Church pronouncements to the contrary cannot change this. We all need to refer to Scripture to help us determine the proper balance. The God-given discernment of those with the Spirit of Truth has to be respected; otherwise, we are quenching the Spirit.
        This may not be as tidy as we would like it to be; but it may be the only alternative. The New Testament Church recognized this because it wasn’t so tidy back then. It doesn’t look like we are doing any better today within the Church.

      • Avatar Jane says:

        Absolutely, Marie, I agree with you 100% 🙂

      • Avatar Jane says:

        Like you, I enjoy keeping things that are supposed to be really simple, simple 🙂

  7. Avatar Jackie Parkes says:

    I’m enjoying this blog as a faithful Catholic who follows the magisterium ☺️

    • Avatar Jane says:

      Hello Jackie and welcome! I have been here following ‘Where Peter Is’ since November of 2018 and have found such joy, peace and comfort from reading all these articles! It has helped me with my faith and with going out there into this world and confidently defending our Holy Father. I too am a faithful Catholic who follows the Magesterium, as you are. You won’t be disappointed I think, with all the articles, which are 100% obedient and humble. My favorite virtues in the whole world are humility, obedience and charity, and you will find that here, for sure.

      God Bless you 🙂

  8. Avatar Christopher Lake says:

    Marie,

    This is a reply to your reply to Paul and me from above. 🙂 I identify with what you describe as your “third way.”

    For years, both as a Catholic, and even when I was away from the Catholic Church (as an atheist, for a time, and then, as a Calvinist Protestant), I had a repeated experience of being “too conservative for the liberals” and “too liberal for the conservatives.” This inner conflict is something that I still experience to some degree– but it is gradually being worked out, as I study, respectively, more of how the Catholic Church has interpreted Scripture and Tradition over 2,000 years *and* more of how she has *applied* those interpretations.

    A crucial part of this, for me, is studying Catholic social teaching– which is, in various ways, “too conservative for the liberals” and “too liberal for the conservatives!” 🙂 Coming to embrace the full teachings of the Church puts me in a, seemingly, odd and strange place as an American. I am neither *and* both “conservative and liberal”– because I am Catholic. Many of my fellow Americans don’t seem to know how to respond to this– and *too many* of them are, often, sadly, fellow Catholics. An American actually trying to be a consistent Catholic can seem quite strange and inexplicable, apparently, to many fellow Americans– but I love trying nonetheless (by the grace of God, of course, not by my own strength)! 🙂

  9. Avatar Christopher Lake says:

    Peter,

    You replied to me, above, as follows:

    “In terms of authority, the New Testament seems to have a different tone than what we have in today’s Catholicism. Saint Paul, in 2Corinthians 1:24 says: “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand”; and 1Peter 5:3 says to the elders: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock”.
    The clergy has its responsibilities in the Church, and the individuals within the Church also have their own responsibilities. Later Church pronouncements to the contrary cannot change this. We all need to refer to Scripture to help us determine the proper balance. The God-given discernment of those with the Spirit of Truth has to be respected; otherwise, we are quenching the Spirit.
    This may not be as tidy as we would like it to be; but it may be the only alternative. The New Testament Church recognized this because it wasn’t so tidy back then. It doesn’t look like we are doing any better today within the Church.”

    My reply to you:

    For several years, I was a very passionate “Sola Scriptura” Protestant. I recognize the thinking and the practice, because I held to them both for years. You are quoting isolated passages in Scripture and setting them in opposition against “today’s Catholicism” (in your words) in the *exact same ways* that I did when I was a vocally anti-Catholic Protestant.

    Peter, your interpretations of Scripture do not always necessarily equate to the actual teaching of Scripture itself. In the same vein, your interpretations of Scripture are not more authoritative than the interpretations of the Magisterial teaching authority that canonized Scripture itself.

    The same Church which gave us the Vatican II documents has also told us how we are to rightly interpret them, and it is *not* in a way that sets those authoritative documents of the Church *against other, equally authoritative documents*– such as the current Catechism, which teaches us the following about rightful authority and interpretation in the Church:

    The Magisterium of the Church

    85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

    86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”48

    87 Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me”,49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.

    • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

      My interpretation of Scripture is not more authoritative than the magisterium, but it does matter. This is my point. The magisterium has its function; and I have mine to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1Thessalonians 5:21). I read and use the Catholic teachings in Scripture to fulfill this obligation because they have benefitted me the most in my personal life. Later development of doctrine that I grew up with did not. Am I prohibited from benefitting from the gospel?
      We are entitled to hear the words of the apostles through our reading of Scripture as well as through pastors. “For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth” (Vatican II’s Dei Verbum 8). We all have a place in the Son.

      • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

        Peter,

        The Church’s Magisterial teaching authority preaches the Gospel of Christ. All of us should benefit from that proclamation of the Gospel and the effects of the Gospel. Of course, that includes you. The problem comes in when you attempt to use *your personal interpretations of Scripture and certain Church documents* to try to say that certain developments in Magisterial teaching and practice which *you happen to find unhelpful* are actually, somehow, contrary to Scripture itself.

        The fact that you are not personally helped by a certain Catholic teaching/development in doctrine does not make that teaching/development contrary to Scripture. The fact that you don’t *agree* with a certain Catholic teaching/development does not make it contrary to Scripture. The Catechism is clear that the Magisterium is the *authoritative interpreter of both Scripture and Tradition* for Catholics. Christ gave the keys of the kingdom, and the apostolic power to authoritatively teach, bind, and loose, to St. Peter and his successors, not to Christopher Lake or Peter Aiello.

      • Avatar Peter Aiello says:

        It’s up to the magisterium to discern whether any of its development of doctrine is contrary to Scripture or not. I know what worked for me. The teachings of the New Testament that I read for myself made the difference in my life. These enabled the spiritual realities which I experienced. What I was taught by the priests, brothers, and nuns was insufficient at the time.
        I believe that the New Testament emphasis on the Holy Spirit, and the peace and strength from the fruit of the Spirit made the difference for me (Galatians 5:22-23). This requires humility toward God for receiving grace (1Peter 5:5-7). Scripture taught me this.
        I am glad that the Church and the printing press have made Scripture so easily accessible. Everyone else also needs to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

  10. Avatar Ed says:

    I agree with much of this, but I think’s a mistake to suggest that preferring the old liturgy is equivalent to dissenting from Humanae Vitae (or indeed any other authoritative Church teaching). Paul VI’s attempt to replace the traditional liturgy with something new was based on a prudential decision and his personal judgement, and was certainly not an exercise of the Magisterium.

    A preference for the older liturgy, and a belief that it was wrong to suppress it, therefore doesn’t imply any kind of dissent, any more than it is dissent to suggest that Pius IX should not have tried to defend the Papal States, say. The legitimacy of preferring the Old Rite was borne out by Benedict XVI’s document Summorum Pontificum, which placed it beyond doubt that you could be a traddie without being disloyal.

    I’m English, and I observe with regret the fact that in the States a preference for the traditional liturgy is becoming associated with a rather shrill antagonism towards the current Papacy. It isn’t like that here though, and it isn’t like that is most of the world, so I really don’t think we should go tarring all Latin Mass-goes with the same brush.

    • Avatar M. says:

      Ed that is good to hear! There are some of us who tried to help renew the Mass in various ways, through the introduction of Latin to the diocese, trying to introduce Gregorian chant and so on- and our efforts have been stopped because of the reactionary attitudes of most trads. It is natural for bishops to view trads with suspicion when they tend, as a rule, to take a very negative approach to the bishops and hierarchy of the church. It is almost like they approach the bishops with their fists raised, ready for a fight, and of course they get put into Latin mass “ghetto” parishes, where their attitudes won’t harm the rest of the church. If only they would approach their bishops with love and friendship and trust, I believe this wouldn’t happen as much. But then, some seem to actually prefer being in a “ghetto parish,” that has no influence on the rest of the diocese and also does not receive any influence from the rest of the diocese. Maybe they just like doing their own thing. Here on “our side of the pond” this attitude of negativity towards bishops and any hierarchy that isn’t super traditionalist themselves- has done more to harm the integration of Latin and chant back into the Roman liturgy than anything else. It seems to be a losing battle, to the point where many of us desiring a more vertical liturgy have started to attend eastern Catholic parishes and even have switched rites.

      • Avatar Ed says:

        I know, it’s all a bit sad. I travel to an FSSP parish myself so as to go to a Latin Mass. It feels slightly silly (we drive past three Catholic churches on the way!) and I often wonder if we should just go to our local parish regularly instead, but my wife and I get so much more out of the traditional liturgy that it feels worth it. Luckily it’s a very nice and friendly parish we go to, where the people are orthodox but not “rad trads” and there are lots of children for our son to play with.

        My own view is that the Latin Mass should become so mainstream that it no longer attracts the fringe element and just becomes part of the normal life of normal parishes. That seems healthy. Losing the Western liturgical tradition would be tragic, and I think it’s only by embracing it that the Church can solve the problems sometimes associated with it.

        Anyway, I’m probably a bit off-topic so I’ll shut up now. God bless!

    • Paul Fahey Paul Fahey says:

      Preferring the Extraordinary Form is one thing. Rejecting the validity of the Ordinary Form and rejecting Pope Paul VI’s reforms are another.

  11. Avatar Jane says:

    Hello Paul, You would greatly love this article, which reiterates your comment: It’s not good enough to simply avoid viewing the pope with suspicion; we need to trust the Magisterium. We need to give the Church the benefit of the doubt. We should allow ourselves to be challenged by Pope Francis, rather than challenging him. We need to step back and examine our own hearts. We must be open to the idea that we don’t know as much as we think we do. We need to let the Holy Spirit broaden our minds and deepen our hearts.

    I could say it was largely written by St. Thomas Aquinas himself. The real author, Joanne Baker, is a homeschooling mother of 8 who attended Thomas Aquinas College and currently runs a study of his works.

    Enjoy! https://www.hprweb.com/2019/04/is-it-virtuous-to-criticize-the-pope/

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