22 April 2021

An Answer to ********, *******, ****, and *********.

Dear ****************************************

I was deeply moved by the tone and content of the comments you offered me. I did not feel able to publish them, but I offer you, in return, the following.

During the Great Schism of the Western Church, there were, at one time, as many as three competing 'popes'! (Even nowadays, there has been no watertight magisterial defintion about which of those ancient claimants were authentic, and which were "antipopes". The big bronze list of popes in Westminster Cathedral contradicts itself and is a pompous nonsense mainly designed to humiliate Anglicans.) Which 'pope' you were in communion with depended on your monarch. In effect, he chose, within the context of international politics. For example, an Englishman would be in communion with the 'Urbanist' 'pope' in Rome; a Scotsman would be in communion with the 'Clementine' 'pope' in Avignon. (When you walked across the border ... ...!)

There were no doctrinal differences between these different competing lines of 'popes'; but it remains true that, if your king did choose the wrong one, he would be dragging you into schism together with himself because he would be dragging you into communion with a spurious anti-pope. The fact that everybody thought they were doing the right thing does not change the fact that you would find yourself not in communion with the true pope if your king had got things wrong. Only God, of course, would know who was right! No wonder the Devil laughed!

So now ...

If you act in communion with "Pope Francis" because your bishop, and the other bishops of your land, accept him as pope and you are in communion with them, then I cannot believe that you are in some way separated from God our loving Father. He accepts you, whatever nonsenses your bishops get up to. That will have to be on their consciences. Medieval Christians were convinced that lots and lots both of bishops and of popes (and kings) went to Hell!! Whether these inferences were based upon sound data, God has not revealed to me.

Even if it transpires subsequently that your bishop has got things wrong, and  PF is not really pope, I do not think that your allegiance to him will be regarded by God as having been grounds for sending you to Hell. In fact, people who were on both opposing sides during the Great Schism were subsequently canonised.

So ... in practical terms ... find out whether your own bishop names PF in the Te igitur and ... bob's your uncle! ... if he does so, it will be safe for you to regard him as pope too. Let His Lordship take the rap! He has broad shoulders! It will do him good!

Even if it turns out that you are right in your suspicions that PF may not be pope!

9 comments:

Paul said...

Bravo!

Thank you, Father.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Father. Great historical recapitulation and excellent advice. Us Christians are to be like little children and once we have been told that Francis is our Dad it makes no sense wasting time reading the personal opinions of the Benedvacantists when one's time is better spent on pursuing salvation and sanctification

PM said...

Not a watertight magisterial definition, but the decision by Papa Roncalli (initially trained as a Church historian) to call himself John XXIII implies that the Holy See does not recognise Baldassare Cossa, who called himself John XXIII early in the fifteenth century. He was the third claimant who emerged when an attempt to resolve the schism misfired and the other two Urbanist and Clementinist claimants refused to resign.

I understand that there is a presumption in favour of the Urbanist line, but making a formal definition could be tricky because Urban VI, though validly elected, seems to have been a homicidal psychopath.

Stephen said...

and still more. This story at the link below, dear Fr. H, would have the reader believe that your allegiance to King James rests on a less than solid foundation...
https://www.abroadintheyard.com/real-king-of-england-dies-in-australia-true-royal-lineage-which-would-have-changed-british-history/

Evangeline said...

Good food to feast upon, Fr. Hunwicke, for us all.

Calvin Engime said...

For that matter, in a highly interesting passage of St Gregory the Great's Dialogues, lib. IV, cap. 42, Gregory tells us about a Roman deacon named Paschasius who went to purgatory because when the papacy was disputed between Symmachus and Lawrence, he remained loyal to Lawrence even after both parties had unanimously accepted Symmachus, acting out of ignorance and not out of malice. This Paschasius is listed as a saint in the old Roman Martyrology on May 31.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

Dear ABS, “WE Christians...”. But perhaps I am missing intended irony as you continue with the delightfully colloquial “Francis is our Dad”. All too true, though I should not have put it thus!

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear JMS. Father Hunwicke was kind enough to tell ABS he was wrong using "We" Catholics because, owing to grammar and whatnot, it ought be Us Christians.

Instead of Dad, one could say, "Our Pope and Our Cross."

Wynn said...

Dear ABS. Maybe I can help. Whether to use “we” or “us” is indeed a matter of grammar – it is not simply that one is always right and the other wrong. Try taking out of those respective sentences the word “Christians“ or “Catholics” (neither of which affect the grammatical structure of the sentence, their rĂ´le being to clarify what the pronoun is referring to) and see what’s left. Would you, in this instance, have written “Us are to be like little children”? No? Then neither should one write “Us Christians are to be like little children.” Apply the same process to the instance in which Fr H corrected you and I’m sure you will see that he was right to do so.