21 March 2010

Apostolic Visitations in Ireland

Sounds good to me. When there has been a manifest collapse in the Orthodoxy or Orthopraxy of local churches, this is what the Papacy is for: to intervene, to investigate, to judge, to depose, to condemn, to set up new structures, to call to repentance. It is for this that the See of Peter has a jurisdiction ordinary, episcopal, and immediate over each of the faithful both clerical and lay. I only wish that Rome had done something like this sooner. And in a funny sort of way, this move is rather like Anglicanorum coetibus, in which ther Holy Father reached out a sustaining hand to those oppressed by unorthodox and unorthopractic elites closer home.

Of course, Benedict's course of action will be anathema to those who believe in the autonomy of the Local Church, won't it? If the culture of a local church favours the conditions which give rise to a disgrace such as the pedophile priest scandal, well, that's fine, isn't it? It's what we call Inculturation, which can be the pretext for more or less anything. If the self-perpetuating oligarchies called Episcopal Conferences - and their bureaucracies - are happy to carry on business as usual, then obviously we must do nothing to contradict the Spirit of Vatican II.

The Bishop of Rome is the Successor of S Paul, as well as of S Peter. Distant in body, but present in spirit, he has the right to judge the sinner with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 5) and to set straight the crooked ways of the local church. As the deadly legacy of the Conciliar Decade wreaks ever greater havoc on the Flock of Christ, what we need is a more Pauline Papacy.


Unknown said...

bravo and thank you for being one of the voices of sanity.

johnf said...

I echo zadra dario Father.

Of course Bishops should be carrying out their own surveillance of institutions. No institution is perfect and power corrupts. Unannounced inspections at irregular (but not infrequent) intervals is one way to guard against abuses creeping in.

GOR said...

The Holy Father has long been critical of Episcopal Conferences. Many years ago he noted how the Episcopal Conference in Hitler’s Germany was wishy-washy and ineffective about publicly opposing the Nazi regime and that it took the lonely voice of one bishop - Bishop Von Galen - to stand up for truth and the Faith.

Bishops’ Conferences have become bloated bureaucracies, replete with staffs and committees which churn out endless reams of paper, but achieve little. They give cover to individual bishops, allowing them to shirk their apostolic responsibilities and avoid a Pauline witness to the Faith. Here in the US the voices of an Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Burke (when he was still here), Bishop Bruskiewitz and others of that ilk carry more weight than a ton of USCCB pronouncements. Would that there were more like them!

Michael McDonough said...

What GOR said.

Steve said...

No, this will not do. It is because the RC Church has become the sort of church that it is - authoritarian, trading constantly on its view of itself as the only true church, insatiably hungry for power and prestige - that the cover-ups became not merely possible but almost inevitable. Until this changes, the Irish RC church will not be healed.

And to any who would try to tell me that this culture does not go to the very top, I will say just three words: Cardinal Bernard Law.

Dr Nicholas said...

The flip side of authority is always duty (that's an ideal long understood in the Western world, but largely abandoned in modern times). All the successors of the Apostles need to bear that in mind, and we should thank God that Pope Benedict is taking seriously his role as Chief Shepherd of the flock -- seeking out the strays, dragging recalcitrant sheep back onto the strait path, fending off the wolves in sheep's clothing. Steve, your obvious animus against the Catholic Church seems to be making you stupid -- are you saying that bishops who have been negligent, even criminally so, in protecting their flocks -- such as Cardinal Law and, perhaps, some Irish bishops -- should not be identified, reprimanded, or punished? You can't have it both ways -- either the Pope (and bishops) should exercise their authority responsibly or they should not be granted such authority, and let the sheep run wild. Which is it?

Steve said...

Dr Nicholas - Of course I believe that bishops who have been negligent in protecting their flocks should be identified and disciplined. But I don't trust the present Pope, or the RC Church as a whole as it now is, to do it. I believe that the whole ethos of the RC Church militates against this happening - the bottom line will always be the protection or salvaging of the prestige and power of the Church - and that it will not happen without a major change in the Church that goes right to the top. And yes, I think that the present Pope is himself part of the problem and not part of the solution, and that if he actually believes this stuff about the good shepherd laying down his life for the sheep, he should resign.

See Ken Macdonald in today's Times - he's said it better than I could. ( http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article7073217.ece )