22 October 2015

Ultraultraultramontanist ultraultraultrapapalists again

Some Cardinal called Wuerl has said "There are always people who are unhappy about what is going on in the Church, but the touchstone of authentic Catholicism is adherence to the teaching of the Pope". Sounds good; sounds obvious. But ....

Note that he says, not popes, but pope. So he must mean just the Pope, the present Pope, the pope-for-the-time-being. And note that he can't just mean "the ex cathedra teaching of the Pope", because in that case his words would mean nothing since Bergoglio has defined nothing and it is questionable, to put it mildly, whether Evangelii gaudium and Laudato si are in any sense Magisterial.

So, when a pontificate follows a pontificate, this strange man clears his mind of the teaching of all the previous popes (except possibly when ex cathedra), so as to have a tabula rasa upon which to inscribe whatever idiosyncrasies and obiter opinions the new pope turns out to possess. And this is what he is recommending to the rest of us. Have I got that right?

I find myself wondering how these rabid ultra-extreme fundamentalist papalists imagine their pronouncements must sound to non-Catholics. Do they seriously imagine that Lutherans, Anglicans, Orthodox are likely to be attracted to the idea of a Papacy in which every whimsy of the current occupant of the See of S Peter has to be swallowed without question, otherwise one has abandoned the 'touchstone' of 'authentic' doctrine? Furthermore: one of the Anglophone circuli reported that 'one bishop' claimed that "the pope can, in effect, twist the hands of God". Oh yeah? Have you tried that crazy idea out on your local Presbyterians and Baptists? And are you absolutely sure you would still believe it yourself if some future ultra-regressive pope started 'binding' all sorts of things you yourself didn't think ought to be bound?

Do these dubious papal extremists have no respect for the Scriptures, the Fathers, the Creeds, the Councils, the Tradition, the (plural) Popes? Are they completely indifferent to our partners in ecumenical dialogue?

Would it be cynical to suspect that the Wuerl Dogma is a convenient and plausible mantra to shout from the rooftops so as to shut other people up when one agrees with a pope, but a principle one quietly buries if one doesn't?


Fr PJM said...

In the liturgical rite of the Reception into Full Communion of an already baptized non-Catholic Christian, the convert, after praying the Creed with all present adds: "I believe everything that the Holy, Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God." He does not say "I believe everything which the pope of today teaches, thinks and mentions in interviews on airplanes."

Anonymous said...

My dear Father

Most Catholic bishops are very loyal to their superiors. That is a very commendable thing, of course. But it can have the danger (I am not, of course, saying this ever happens) of making them company men. They serve loyally, they get preferment. They expect the same loyalty from those under them. Sadly few are Oxford men. Rather they are more like old fashioned army officers. If the General says march to certain death, one just does it. That's what chaps do. As I say, all very commendable.

Look at the late Mons Worlock for an excellent example.

So yes, loyalty to the current leadership is seen as the mark of a good Catholic.

They made a bit of an exception for Pope Benedict. But then he wasn't really One of Us.

GOR said...

Over recent decades I have been amazed when priests have spouted things that are illogical, un-theological, plainly wrong-headed, bordering on - or actually - heretical. Don’t they know better? I asked. Haven’t they studied philosophy and theology? Are they not educated men?

It used to be that for appointment to the episcopacy an advanced degree was a prerequisite, such that priests ‘on the fast track’ to the episcopate, would be sent to Rome for further education to satisfy this requirement when the time came. It made some sense as, if a bishop is to be the teacher in his diocese, he ought to ‘know more’ than the flock.

Unfortunately, as evidenced in this Synod - and elsewhere - this is not always the case. As in the business world, some in the hierarchy seem to have just “risen to the level of their incompetence”.

wywialm said...

The latin text of Laudato Si' is available in Latin at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/la/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html. What is more, the pope refers to himself as "We' in the text.
Father, could you please elaborate more on what suggests that the Encyclical is not of Magisterial status?

www.inquisition.ca said...


It was obvious and I should have seen it. Sorry. I will now
sift through my own web site and carefully add an "S" to
all the places where I claim to be "faithful to the Pope".
Yes, faithful to the Popes! I love it!

Unknown said...

No, this Eastern Orthodox left Roman Catholicism in the 1980s and certainly finds no reason to be attracted to it now....Rather, why don't you find yourself attracted to Orthodoxy, which has the advantage of . . . Orthodoxy.

jasoncpetty said...

Would it be cynical to suspect that the Wuerl Dogma is a convenient and plausible mantra to shout from the rooftops so as to shut other people up when one agrees with a pope, but a principle one quietly buries if one doesn't?

Wuerl, as archbishop of Washington DC, refused to deny Holy Communion to rabidly pro-abortion politicians who publicly, and with media present, make a scandalous mockery of the Sacrament; contrast that with the view of "the pope," Benedict XVI, on canon law and unworthy reception of Holy Communion. This flared up in 2004 and 2008, and will again.

Not cynical at all.

Evangeline said...

As the Marines say, "Oorah!", Fr. Hunwicke! You have made a direct hit here. The politics of convenience is at work. It is manipulation, using words, and not one thing more. Move the masses this way when you want them to believe this, and switch and move it that way when you do not. Were we to enjoy a pope in the future whose worldview differed from Cardinal Wuerl (please God) he would then advise us to consider only the views of whatever opinion was convenient. This is all political chicanery, manipulations and subterfuge, most unseemly in our Roman Catholic church. Too many of these men do not believe in the divinity of Christ. They believe they can do better. Their numbers are sobering, one out of four. Too many.
The eyes of the church, the laity, the world, have now been opened, one of the only good things to come out of this Synod. Now, we see. We see that the laity are often more Catholic than the Cardinals and the highest points. Lo these many decades we suspected it, but now we know, and worse, know why. Or maybe it's better, I can't yet decide.

The Presbyterians and even some Baptists have sold out to the world.
At this point, the remnant are faithful Catholics, and Evangelicals, the Southern Baptists, who are actually separate from the other Baptists.
We're it. It is down to us. We should be able to count on our churchmen to help and support us as we encounter the world today, but to our horror we see so many men who have fled to the other side and are actually opposed to us. We are grateful for the ones who have not, and ask God to sustain and bless them, also give them the kind of courage they will need.

Anonymous said...

You are completely right, Father. As a former Lutheran, I well understand any concerns re. taking a Pope for an oracle or living voice of Christ the Lord, what he is not. But Francis himself is well Aware that he is not part of the Trinity, I guess, so we do not have to worry too much. A Cardinal Wuerl is not, either.

austin said...

The travesty Fr H outlines is precisely the Jack-in-the-Box trick that my nonconformist kith and kin accuse the Church of holding. I spent many years as an Anglo-Papalist studiously disabusing them. Now the princes of the Church are endorsing the same caricature. I wonder how robust the Ordinaries of our little groups will be in standing up for the actual Catholic tradition. Another trial to persevere through.

Ed Ahlsen-Girard said...

As the Marines say, "Oorah!"

That would be the United States Marines, Father. I've no idea what the RM would say.

franciscanhobbit said...

"are you you would still believe it yourself if some future ultra-regressive pope started 'binding' all sorts of things you yourself didn't think ought to be bound?"

Or, why didn't you go along with Pope Benedict XVI, Pope St. John Paul II...

ANNE said...

Cardinal Donald WUERL appears to want to DEMONIZE - Faithful Catholics who care about Christ's Church, and the Saving of Souls.
He is trying to divide and conquer, by pitting us against the Pope.
ALL faithful Catholics are required to adhere to Sacred Scripture (a Catholic Bible),
and the Doctrine of the Faith which is contained in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition" (of 1997; aka CCC; dark green cover in the USA).
And this INCLUDES Donald WUERL.
This is the job of the Pope and the Bishops - including WUERL -
CCC # 81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."
And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.
It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve,
expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."
WUERL's job is not to change Doctrine through - his "Pastoral, Charitable, or Merciful" thoughts which do not conform to the Bible and the CCC.

Equiti Albo Crucis said...

Yes follow the Pope Cardinal Wuerl, unless he says don't give communion to politicians who support abortion and other teachings contrary to the Faith.

Anonymous said...

At the Synod press conference on 14 October, one of the English speaking bishops had this to say:

“I think it is this interplay between the proper responsibilities of bishops to listen and attend to the proper experiences of their Churches, and to bring it here; and the proper responsibility of the Bishop of Rome to give voice in a definitive way to what emerges to be the core and heart of the Church’s teaching and mission.”

I might be reading too much into this bishop's statement (it smacks of Hegelian psychobabble), but the phrase "give voice in a definitive way" sound ominous. Is the bishop trying to attach an aura of infallibility to a post synod report? Besides, surely we already know what is at the "core and heart of the Church's teaching and mission." What needs to be (re)defined?

Anonymous said...

That kind of attitude strikes me as sheer careerism, nothing more nor less. Like the Vicar of Bray, they want to hold on to position, privilege and power, so they twist and turn with every wind of change from those above them. I was taught by sound and holy priests that we didn't need to ring the pope up every morning to know what the Catholic faith is.

As for "twisting the hand of God", what sort of "God" do they believe in that would need someone to do that in any case? And what sort of incompetent, short sighted "Son of Man" do they think the Incarnate Word is, who appointed vicarious caretakers over his Church who have to force His own hand whenever His teaching becomes inadequate or antiquated? These people cannot believe in any of these things in any real and meaningful way.

Long-Skirts said...

"Some Cardinal called Wuerl"


Fool me once,
Shame on you,
Your red birds
Strut with bravada.

Like birds of a feather
Flocking together -
As if the Barque...
A regatta.

Fool me twice,
Shame on me,
Your pink bird
Weurls & twirls...

Our pearls before swine -
Plucked grapes off the vine -
And what’s Papa do?

DJR said...

In a funeral scandal of some years ago, Cardinal Wuerl threw Father Guarnizo under the bus and sided with an admitted Buddhist lesbian. He represents everything that is wrong with the episcopate in the U.S.

It can't be too soon for Wuerl's generation, including all the grey-haired "nuns," to go to their eternal reward so that actual Catholics can rebuild what he and his ilk destroyed.

Mary said...

Read the articles at donaldwuerl.com, the cardinal is one who has nothing but contempt for our Lord and the Catholic faith.

John H. Graney said...

Is there any real, actual proof that the Pope agrees with him? Strictly speaking, I'm not sure that it would matter, but nothing that the Pope has actually said or done makes me think that he does.

Ben of the Bayou said...

Dear Father Hunwicke,

Greetings in the Lord and in the name of Pope St John Paul II.

Dear Father, your point is very well taken and one you have made masterfully several times on this blog. However, this time your fervour may have run ahead of plain reading. It seems to me that it would only be fair to give Cardinal Wuerl the benefit of the doubt here. At least with the bit you have given us, it would be very natural for most people to say "the Pope" and mean t"he office of the papacy." Admittedly other readings are possible. However, charity seems to demand that we give it the best reading. certainly your intellectual prowess has within it that generosity.

Finally, as evidence of the need for circumspection, I note with sadness how quickly the comments have turned to personal attacks against the Cardinal.

Yours sincerely,


Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Wuerl's comments about Francis are nothing new. When Charles Chaput was the archbishop of Denver, he had the audacity to criticize Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's legitimate skepticism about JPII's arbitrary, revisionist stance on capital punishment in "First Things" magazine thus:

"When Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly disputes church teaching on the death penalty, the message he sends is not all that different from Frances Kissling disputing what the church teaches about abortion,... the impulse to pick and choose what we're going to accept is exactly the same kind of 'cafeteria Catholicism' in both cases.”

Kissling is the president and founder of the pro-abortion Catholics For A Free Choice.

As far as JPII's views on capital punishment contradicting centuries of Catholic teaching are concerned, read this:


Because of JPII's arbitrary revisionism, Catholicism has embraced an abolitionist approach as de facto doctrine regarding capital punishment. Despite the fact that JPII's revisionism directly contradicts centuries of teaching from both Scripture and Tradition, the vast majority of Catholic bishops now teach the abolitionist perspective as doctrine -- simply because of JPII's personality cult.

What's the point? JPII and Chaput laid the egg that Francis and Wuerl are hatching.