Thus Fr Glen Tattersall writes in his newsletter (March 6) from the Personal Parish for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the Archdiocese of Melbourne in Australibus. He is referring to the misinformation, given by the Pope in some recent airliner and 'confirmed' by Father Lombardi, with regard (1) to teaching allegedly (but, apparently, not) given by B Paul VI about the use of contraception by Congolese nuns in danger of rape; and (2) to its relevance in the currently tragic 'Zika and Microcephaly' situation.
"A spirit of audacious and obstinate mendacity". Can you deny that these words speak in the true spirit of that Parrhesia for which our Holy Father has so often and so loudly called?
It does indeed need to be said, with the utmost clarity, that the Roman Pontiff is every bit as obliged as any seven-year-old queuing up outside a confessional to tell the Truth. Possibly, even more so, do you think?? And so is Fr Lombardi. Do any of us really want a revival of the old English Protestant superstition, itself a lie, that Jesuits are all devious liars?
And no Roman Pontiff has any authority to dispense himself or anyone else from the Law of God. His Office is a lofty one, but it is not as lofty as that. Not even nearly as lofty as that. Agreed?
The Pope, moreover, is not above God. He is not even equal to God. Not even nearly equal. Yes?
"The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter so that by His revelation they might publish new teaching, but so that, by His assistance, they might devoutly guard and faithfully set forth the revelation handed down through the Apostles, or the Deposit of Faith." We are all obliged, are we not, to accept that ex animo? Otherwise, might we not be classified as heretics, and rightly, for denying the infallible dogmatic teaching of Vatican I?
Is it not perfectly, absolutely, obvious that were the man who is also Pope to teach otherwise than thus, he would not be speaking qua Pope nor with the assurance of the assistance of the Holy Spirit? OK?
Would there be, also, a risk of scandalum when a pontificate went off-track?
Vatican II taught (will somebody check this?) the importance of the Collegium episcopale in the governance of the Church Militant. Is it not, arguably, the duty of the Episcopal Order to take some action in the event of dysfunctions in the exercise of the Petrine Ministry?
It is true that the law does not provide canonical procedures by which the Episcopate could call an errant Papacy to order. But times can arise - Pope Francis would (am I right?) agree - in which the charisms of the Spirit may be more important than mere canonical procedures. And it is the current Roman Pontiff himself who has insistently drawn our attention to the charism of Parrhesia.
It is good to ask questions. Joseph Ratzinger once asked (about some of his brethren in the Episcopate) "What are [they] so afraid of?"