6 March 2016

"A spirit of audacious and obstinate mendacity".

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?"


mark wauck said...

My I nitpick, or reflect at any rate--off the top of my head?

Isn't the belief that the mandate of the successors of Peter, as of all the apostles, is to devoutly guard and faithfully set forth the revelation handed down through the Apostles, or the Deposit of Faith itself part of that same Apostolic Tradition which is the Deposit of Faith? So that the teaching of Vatican I is merely a systematizing of what was believed from the beginning? Just as Humanae Vitae, to take another example, amounts to the same thing--there being, in fact, no essentially new facts to take into account?

It seems to me that the great crisis of the Church in this late modern verging on post modern age takes several forms. Forms of this crisis have manifested themselves at various times in history and can be said to have been gathering toward a sort of critical mass, rolling downhill, in our own times.

One obvious manifestation of this crisis is the misuse of the unique charism of the Petrine mandate. Certainly it has been seen before, but this dogmatic form seems new to me at least in its intensity and focus. Surely this is what Archbishop Lefebvre, perhaps not always perfectly but insistently, warned against--and I have to believe that his identification of the danger was correct in its essence. Essentially a replacement of true Christian faith by a new faith in a very different sense even of the word "faith." A Protestant spirit such as John N. Collins also seems to warn against.

A related manifestation may be the diminution of a true sense of the Apostolic Tradition, replaced by a sort of organizational spirit. Once again, essentially, a loss of faith. And so we see, for example, the Bishop of Malta suggesting very recently that the Church only seeks to be part of a diverse society, to have a place at the table, as it were.

Donna Bethell said...

No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

GOR said...

I have given up trying to rationalize some of Pope Francis’ utterances. Is it his Jesuit background? Though educated by Jesuits – at a time when most were still doctrinally trustworthy – I cannot fathom the Holy Father’s carelessness in speech and action.

Of all people he should have a care about the consequences. He certainly doesn’t adhere to his namesake’s reported dictum: “Preach the Gospel always - sometimes even using words…”

Janol said...

I read again and again that although our current Pontiff speaks much of collegiality, he does not confer much with others.

His predecessor, in his last interview with Peter Seewald said "Vatican II correctly taught us that collegiality is constitutive element in the structure of the Church. That the Pope can only be first together with others and not someone who would make decisions in isolation as an absolute monarch and do everything himself."

It would be a humble and gracious thing, besides being the prudent thing, to review what he plans to say in public with advisors first.

Banshee said...

Popes once believed in Prester John. Why is it surprising that Pope Francis and Dr. Lombardi might believe a modern urban legend?

In short, I see ignorance rather than malice. (Although Lombardi could have investigated and clarified the facts, and it is his job to do so.)

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Courageous and bold, Farther. Kudos. Thank you for this great post.

Liam Ronan said...

May God rebuke him we humbly pray...

"Beloved, as one who is ever ready to write to you about that salvation which is your common concern, I am compelled to send you this letter of warning; you have a battle to fight over the faith that was handed down, once for all, to the saints. Godless men, long since destined thus to incur condemnation, have found their way secretly into your company, and are perverting the life of grace our God has bestowed on us into a life of wantonness; they even deny Jesus Christ, our one Lord and Master.

Learn one lesson, and you know all. Let me remind you, how the Saviour who had rescued his people from Egypt went on to destroy those who had proved unfaithful.

The angels, too, who left the place assigned to them, instead of keeping their due order, he has imprisoned in eternal darkness, to await their judgement when the great day comes. So with Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities round them, which fell into the same debauchery as their neighbours and pursued unnatural lust; they bear, for our warning, their sentence of eternal fire. And so it is with these as it was with those others; they pollute nature, they defy authority, they insult august names.

And yet, when the archangel Michael held debate with the devil, in their dispute over the body of Moses, he did not venture to accuse him insultingly; he was content to say, May the Lord rebuke thee." Jude 1:9

May God rebuke the Bishop of Rome and may the Faithful and their faithful Bishops pray aloud and publicly for such a rebuke to be granted by the Almighty.

mark wauck said...

I'm pretty sure Fr Hunwicke keeps abreast of blogging at Rorate Coeli. Today RC published a translation of a recent post by Sandro Magister re the anger of the Mexican bishops following the Bishop of Rome's (the "Pope of the Catholic Church's"?) recent visit: Mexican Bishops Livid at Pope. What I find particularly interesting in this is that the Mexican bishops feel pride in their resistance to secularization, "both cultural and political," whereas the Bishop of Rome has recently shared his views on the desirability of secularization. RC adds some value to Magister's account by including information gleaned from El Mundo. Three cheers for parrhesia! Or since this is in reference to Mexico, should I say: parresia?

mark wauck said...

GKirkuk weighs in: Infernal Correspondence

Allen Thrasher said...

Would it be immoral for a nun or other woman threatened by rape to be supplied with or use a diaphragm? Rape is not a marital act, and magisterial pronounements against contraceptiona (at least in recent decades) have mainly talked in terms of violation of the marital relationship. In addition, the use would not be for the sake of lustful pleasure.

I post this as a query, not an assertion.

Allen Thrasher