Which Pope said this?

Which Pope said this?

«The Pope is the guardian of dogma and of morals; he is the custodian of the principles that make families sound, nations great, souls holy; he is the counsellor of princes and of peoples; he is the head under whom no one feels tyrannized because he represents God Himself; he is the supreme father who unites in himself all that may exist that is loving, tender, divine.

It seems incredible, and is even painful, that there be priests to whom this recommendation must be made, but we are regrettably in our age in this hard, unhappy, situation of having to tell priests: love the Pope!
 .
And how must the Pope be loved? Non verbo neque lingua, sed opere et veritate. [Not in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth – 1 Jn iii, 18] When one loves a person, one tries to adhere in everything to his thoughts, to fulfill his will, to perform his wishes. And if Our Lord Jesus Christ said of Himself, “si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit,” [if any one love me, he will keep my word – Jn xiv, 23] therefore, in order to demonstrate our love for the Pope, it is necessary to obey him.
 .
Therefore, when we love the Pope, there are no discussions regarding what he orders or demands, or up to what point obedience must go, and in what things he is to be obeyed; when we love the Pope, we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough, almost as if he were forced to repeat to the ear of each one the will clearly expressed so many times not only in person, but with letters and other public documents; we do not place his orders in doubt, adding the facile pretext of those unwilling to obey – that it is not the Pope who commands, but those who surround him; we do not limit the field in which he might and must exercise his authority; we do not set above the authority of the Pope that of other persons, however learned, who dissent from the Pope, who, even though learned, are not holy, because whoever is holy cannot dissent from the Pope

Pope St. Pius X

Vi Ringrazio

Pedro Gabriel

Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.

61 Shares

13 thoughts on “Which Pope said this?

  1. “in order to demonstrate our love for the Pope, it is necessary to obey him.”

    If someone i have to be obedient to, has some orders which i cannot make sense of however much i try, i would usually resolve it by asking questions aimed at precisely the critical points which i have problems understanding.

    Seems to be not a workable approach in respect to Pope Francis.

    1. “If we love the Pope (…) we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough, almost as if he were forced to repeat to the ear of each one the will clearly expressed so many times”

      If you are truly struggling with this I already told you that I can try to help you in private. However, that doesn’t seem to be your disposition. Every answer we provide you is followed by additional obstacles on your part that eventually overwhelms the ones trying to help you. This is coupled with a nervous and defensive atitude on your part that makes it very difficult for us to ascertain whether you are open to any clarifications in the first place.

      Pope Francis has clarified. The Buenos Aires guidelines are the correct interpretation. Those open communion to certain divorced and remarried people who, along with an accompanying priest, discern that mitigating circumstances diminish subjective guilt so that they are not in mortal sin. The BA guidelines are directed at priests and explicitly say this is not an opening for anyone to access the Sacraments, so the priest’s own discernment is obviously not excluded from this process. Discrepancies in Canon Law and the Catechism will eventually be addressed, but these kinds of revisions don’t happen overnight.

      Having said this, and since (unless you’re a priest accompanying these sinners or a divorced and remarried person) obedience to this only means that you should refrain from questioning the pope in public… how open are you to love the Pope the way this quote urges you to do?

      1. “If you are truly struggling with this I already told you that I can try to help you in private.”

        My problem is that my issue is actually not a private one; i would like to know the official answer by the Church to these questions:

        Are there instrinsic evil acts?

        Shoud one try and have the firm intent to not commit them (and not encourage/help/foster other people committing them) however much one’s own conscience suggests, that doing so would be the most moral or least evil course of action in light of all known alternatives and in light of not acting?

        Alternatively, answers to dubia 2 and 5 would be equivalent. But as you know, no official answer to these can be expected.

        “Those open communion to certain divorced and remarried people who, with along with an accompanying priest, discern that mitigating circumstances diminish subjective guilt so that they are not in mortal sin.”

        I am mostly indifferent to the communion question.

        I am not indifferent to the issue of intrinsic evil acts to which the communion question is connected.

        1. Yes, there are instrinsically evil acts. We have been through this.

          And no, you are not indifferent to the communion question, since you have taken issue with the Buenos Aires guidelines “forcing” priests do give communion and also with the discrepancies between AL and the Catechism / Canon Law.

          1. “Yes, there are instrinsically evil acts. We have been through this.”

            Wonderful.

            Hopefully one day either the Pope or at least some of those high ranking churchmen who claim to interpret AL correctly (e.g. Schönborn; Kasper) will confirm this and also answer the second question.

            “since you have taken issue with the Buenos Aires guidelines “forcing” priests do give communion and also with the discrepancies between AL and the Catechism / Canon Law.”

            If questions are not answered by the Church publically, i have to infer what the answers would be. For that looking at the application of AL and discussion thereof is one thing to look at.

            My current impression is, that the correct answers are yes to both and that some people in the AL debate (not you) try to present issue in such a way, that nobody is realy aware about the correct answers. Or some people are just bungling about with little care for details.

  2. Maybe the question is not whether there is intrinsic evil. Rather the question might be whether the normal remedy or consequences create hardships worse than the good sought by the remedy or consequence. Is the inability of the remedy to achieve/preserve the good as it intends cause not only difficult outcomes, but does it create additional confusion, e.g. further distancing / prejudicing uninvolved parties against the mind of the Church?

    1. “Maybe the question is not whether there is intrinsic evil. Rather the question might be whether the normal remedy or consequences create hardships worse than the good sought by the remedy or consequence.”

      But your second sentence requires an answer to the issue of intrinsic evil.

      Because what you suggest – somehow weighing the good of something vs the ill caused by that something – is only legitimate if there is no intrinsic evil involved.

      May i smash a window without consent of the owner in an attempt to save a human live?

      Legitimate question because smashing a window is not an intrinsic evil, hence one can consider the good vs the bad (and here probably smashing the window is ok to do).

      May i intentionally fire a bullet into the cerebellum of an innocent and defenseless human in an attempt to save a thousand human lives (e.g. some bizzare hostage situation in which shooting at one hostage opens the possibility to save all other hostages)?

      Not legitimate question since intentionally killing an innocent and defenseless human is an intrinsic evil; even if one would conclude that not saving the thousand is worse than killing the one, it doesn’t matter.

      Intrinsic evil. Don’t do it. Never.

      1. Your perception is incorrect.

        An intrinsically evil act is one that can never be rendered morally good in any circumstance.

        However the Church (and orthodox authors) have indeed made allowances that take into account human weakness regarding some intrinsically evil acts, namely the ones related to sexuality.

        The Vademecum for Confessors that I referred to you (and you dismissed) makes such allowances for the intrinsically evil act f contraception.

        Aquinas (who can not be said to be a moral relativist and who explicitly embraced the concept of intrinsically evil acts) postulated that the intrinsically evil act of prostitution should be legal, for its prohibition would be more detrimental than beneficial.
        *************
        And no, we’re not talking about killing an innocent human being, which is categorically different from the other sins I mentioned, as anyone with a modicum of common sense can understand.

        The Vademecum applies to contraception. Period.

        Aquinas question applies to prostitution. Period.

        And Chapter 8 from Amoris Laetitia applies to living more uxorio after a divorce and remarriage. Period.

        It is wrong to read other intrinsically evil acts into such documents, like the Church were not free to discern on a case by case basis what allowances can and should be made to which sin and in what circumstances.

        Just like it is wrong to impute questions of moral theology about intrinsically evil acts into a document that never intended to deal with such matters, let alone to abrogate what has previously been taught about intrinsically evil acts.

        And it is wrong to mount a concerted and public opposition to the Pope based on such misundersrandings, especially when you obstinately cling to them on the face of the various clarifications that have been given to you, just because you think you know better what the Pope should do to appease you, so that you can be more effective at winning a Culture War.

        In the meantime, this quote stands on its own. If you would love the Pope, your atitude would not be the one you’re exhibiting right now. The Pope’s words are not a tool for your objectives, no matter how laudable they may be… they are teachings that you should humbly try to accept, for your own personal conversion and betterment (before you think of how they should apply or be viewed by others), without overthinking undue obstacles to validate a suspicious stance regarding the Holy Father.

        1. “And it is wrong to mount a concerted and public opposition to the Pope based on such misundersrandings, especially when you obstinately cling to them on the face of the various clarifications that have been given to you, just because you think you know better what the Pope should do to appease you, so that you can be more effective at winning a Culture War.”

          As nearly always in such discussions, the other side in the end presumes to know and understand my thinking and my motive and judges my motives it to be ethically lacking.

          Seems to be a matter of mutually somewhat exclusive paths of thinking about issues.

          And BTW:

          “you can be more effective at winning a Culture War.”

          These are not theoretical issues for me.

          I have to be in regular and friendly contact with various people involved in various intrinsic evil acts in various ways; and constantly they want me to declare said intrinsic evil acts to be ok or even help/abet them regarding these intrinsic evil acts.

          Which – as far as i understood – i am NEVER to do. Meaning i am likely less effective in my “war” due to caring about intrinsic evil acts and how to approach them.

          1. I’m really at a loss how I am failing to understand your thinking. You have said from day 1 you think that we are nowadays fighting a Culture War and that you are mainly concerned with how the words of the Pope can be twisted. You admit it as such even in your last comment about your contacts.

            If your friendly contacts are divorced and remarried people living more uxorio, then i suggest you direct them to a priest faithful to the Buenos Aires guidelines for implementing Amoris Laetitia. If they are commiting any other act of intrinsically evil acts, then you can just point to the fact I already pointed to you that Amoris Laetitia doesn’t address them (and, if we’re talking about homosexuality or abortion, you can in fact direct them to quotes from AL that portray such acts in a negative way).

            This seems to me to be a more productive way to address your problems than what you have been doing so far here.

            I would also like to ask you, what are you searching here? We have provided you with good resources and explanations, but ultimately you will say that these are just “our interpretations” and that only the Pope himself coming out and saying it will suffice. Which brings into question what else you expect us to do. And what is the purpose of your comments in one of the few blogs that aims at setting the record straight in an orthodox way faithful to the Pope.

  3. “I would also like to ask you, what are you searching here?”

    On thing is understanding the divisions in the Church.
    One other thing is plainly, whether i can expect from those on what some would call “side of Pope Francis” to agree to the teaching of the Church that there are intrinsic evil acts, which should be avoided whatever the reason. This question gets clouded by the issue of how those committing such acts are to be treated.

    And another thing is, whether i am correct to say that it is teaching of the Church to not commit such acts whatever the reason.

    “direct them”

    The problem is not to tell them what to do or not to do or what the teaching of the Church is; that is neither my job, nor is it productive; the issue is how hard i have to try to avoid getting entangeld in what they do.

    If intrinsic evil acts are to avoided whatever the excuse i should try realy, realy hard. If not, if some excuses can somehow make committing intrinsic evil “somewhat” ok, then i might sometimes have to act differently; cause if any excuse would be sufficient, mine would be sufficient.

    1. I have already told you, as a person on the “Francis side”, I believe there are intrinsically evil acts which should be avoided whatever the reason. As a well catechized person I know that I should avoid those acts as my duty. I also know that people who are not as well catechized may have trouble in following these teachings from the outset and that imperfect responses on their part is better than no response at all.

      As for what you should do on your particular situation, is something that we can’t answer for you, for that is where discernment comes in. I know you would like straightforward answers, but we can’t give them to you without knowing all the details of your particular situation. Not do we have the proper authority to do that.

      If you think you might get entangled on an intrinsically evil act, I suggest you search for an orthodox spiritual director to whom you may present your concerns. Other than that, I can’t do anything else but pray for your situation.

      1. “I have already told you, as a person on the “Francis side”, I believe there are intrinsically evil acts which should be avoided whatever the reason. As a well catechized person I know that I should avoid those acts as my duty.”

        Thank you.

        “Other than that, I can’t do anything else but pray for your situation.”

        “I know you would like straightforward answers,”

        You have given the straightforward answer i have been looking for:

        “I have already told you, as a person on the “Francis side”, I believe there are intrinsically evil acts which should be avoided whatever the reason.”

        That is a straightforward answer. Gives me hope, that some on the “Francis side” and some on [name of other side] are not that far apart as the “optics” suggest.

        “If you think you might get entangled on an intrinsically evil act,”

        Short answer, “might” is a serious understatement; probability might be closer to 1 than to 0. The long answer probably had too much messy details for moderation guidelines (no complaint there; just stating the reason, why i offer only the short answer).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *