11 March 2021

"Defending the Faith ... " (2) Some more remarks upon the Book

It has always been the role of the Roman Church to resist Heresy and to establish what is, and what is not, orthodoxy. I venture to quote the great Anglican Papalist writer Dom Gregory Dix on this 'rule':

"It is above all as the norm of Christian belief that Rome is the capital of Christendom in [the second century]. It is at Rome and only at Rome, that all doctrinal issues are then finally settled. This is clearly recognised by the non-Roman writers of the second century, from Ignatius of Antioch at its beginning to Tertullian at its close. The former can write to the Roman Church: 'Ye were the instructors of others. And my desire is that those lessons shall hold good which as teachers ye enjoin'. For the latter the Roman Church is the ecclesia authenticae regulae. To Rome comes every second century Christian teacher, intent on securing the approval of that Church for his teachings. To Rome comes Marcion, already under censure in other Churches; but until Rome has condemned him he is still a catholic Christian. It is at Rome that the controversies with the great Gnostic heresiarchs, which fill the latter half of the second century, were primarily thrashed out. It is at Rome that the answer to their claim to a secret tradition and a succession of teachers from the Apostles is elaborated; it is at Rome that the additions to the baptismal symbol which exclude their interpretations of the Gospel are first made; it is at Rome that the incompatibility of their Hellenistic presuppositions with the concrete thought of authentic Christianity is made plain, in a way that it was not plain even to great Churches like that of Alexandria for half a century afterwards. Above all, in the controversy over Montanus, about which we know more than any other in this period, Rome is obviously the centre and focus of the final issue, even though Montanus never left Asia and the Apostolic Churches of Asia were his chief opponents. It is at Rome that the Montanists, excommunicated in Asia, repeatedly seek the communion of the Church; at Rome that Praxeas intercedes against them; at Rome that the Church of Lyons seeks to mediate between them and their opponents; Tertullian the Montanist reserves his wrath, not for the Asian bishops who had excommunicated and sought to exorcise the new Prophets of the Paraclete, but for the Roman bishop whose refusal of communion had finally cut them off from the Church."


When the Four Cardinals issued their Dubia, they begged their Holy Father to resolve the questions they were putting to him And they put their questions into the form of Dubia because that is the formal style in which to ask the Teacher, the Bishop of the Church of the authentic Rule, to give the formal teaching to which, for nearly two millennia, the Church of S Peter has born witness.  


When some of us put together the Correctio Filialis, we put the central doctrinal problems which were troubling us into Latin (English translation accompanies it). We did this to make clear that we were not simply uttering some grumpy journalistic and gossipy criticism of PF. We were, in the formal and precise official language of the Roman Church, putting formally to the Roman Bishop a request for formal teaching on controverted matters. 

We were begging the Successor of S Peter to teach us.

To do this is not to attack the Pope! On the contrary, it is to affirm the centrality to Catholicism of the Petrine Ministry of the Roman Pontiff. 

The people who attack the Pope are the people who imply ... of even state explicitly ... that a Pope can change Catholic Teaching at will. He cannot. As Vatican I infallibly taught, the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter so that, by His revelation, they might publish new doctrine, but so that, with His help, they might devoutly guard the revelation handed down through the Apostles, the Deposit of Faith, and faithfully expound it."(D3070).



Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. The Pope could discharge his duties to Teach, Rule and Sanctify but instead of actualising the duties of the office established by Jesus Christ, he prefers to establish substitute offices such as "The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity."

Yes, at this time in the history fo the Catholic Church, what we really need is The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity.

davidmorourke said...

Fr. from what I have read of Gregory Dix's writing he certainly was very much a Papalist Anglican. Why did he remain an Anglican and not go over to Rome?

coradcorloquitur said...

Why, of course, such a ridiculous and subversive "Higher Committee" is part of the enactment of the Masonic unholy "trinity" of "egalite, liberte, et fraternite." That is the guiding principle of this pope, and some in this blog claim, with vehemence, that in the history of the papacy there have been worse popes than Francis. I guess for them mistresses and bastard children and nepotism---sinful and evil as they are in the Common Father of Christians who above all is called to holiness---are much worse offenses than the hubristic contempt Francis consistently shows for Tradition and Catholic Truth. I suppose that in that reading of ecclesial reality "pelvic issues" and personal corruption are worse offenses than brazenly despising the Truth defined by the infallible magisterium of the Church: the sexual and social offenses, in this inversion, are worse than trampling on truth---a naturalistic perspective, it would seem. Except that until now Christians knew better because they did not have a Puritanical, warped morality and knew the proper hierarchy of sin, as Dante so vividly depicts in his "Commedia." Liberal sentimentality (and its ancillary: self-righteousness) has indeed wrought havoc with the proper understanding of evil of many Christians.

Francis said...

The Pope refuses to think in terms of a conventional, codex-based articulation of the faith -- "teaching" in your sense of the word -- which for him is the rigid and stuffy "old paradigm." He is trying to engineer a shift to an infinitely flexible, situationist dispensationism in which traditional rules become guidelines, ideals or holding patterns on the journey to a new articulation of the faith. It doesn't work of course, and a future Pope will have to ditch it formally. Great will be the fall of it!

what said...

The mere fact that they are using their magisterial docens function to "nudge" (see Cass Sunstein's book by the same title) doctrine into heresy is sufficient evidence that they intend heresy. We have over two generations of nudging in only one direction: away from orthodoxy.

We must stop playing games with words. Abstractions are insufficient to describe what is happening because what is happening is very real.

The Church's teaching function has been impeded by a foreign secular power (most likely a U.S. intelligence service), and it has been done through vilest moral subterfuge and deception. The consequences of this unprecedented act of war against the Church are nothing less than apocalyptic.

How can we even begin to recover if we refuse to admit the severity of the damage!!

Pulex said...

Regarding the first installment of this post.
"the first time since the Counter-Reformation that bodies of competent theologians, orthodox Catholics, have felt compelled to band together and to oppose, resist, and directly criticise a Roman Pontiff"
Dear Father, what particular event of Counter-Reformation you have in mind?

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Nepotism us not always wrong.

A pope can only have a mistress in addition to his lawful wife (yes - to the (pharasaic) scandal of lots of fellow trads, many a pope has been married).

The Counter-reformation got many things right - it also got some wrong.

Nevertheless, Cor ad cor, your general point is well-taken.


Patrick said...

"Behold the days come, saith the Lord, and I will send forth a famine into the land: not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord. And they shall move from sea to sea, and from the north to the east: they shall go about seeking the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day the fair virgins, and the young men shall faint for thirst." - Amos 8:11-13

Compton Pauncefoot said...

I shall buy this book.

Jared Olar said...

Our copy of "Defending the Faith" arrived via the post today. I look forward to reading it (though I've already read a fair amount of the contents). I expect this volume will prove a great aid not only to the faithful today, but to the Fathers of the eventual Sixth Lateran Council, which will (of course under the presidency of the Roman Pontiff) posthumously rebuke Pope Bergoglio and nullify all of his acts. (OK, a guy can dream, can't he?)