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If you really think you’re more Catholic than the pope, you’re on your way to the funny farm

The interfaith pilgrimage to Assisi doesn’t compromise a single Catholic belief

By on Thursday, 13 January 2011

John Paul II prays at Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi with representatives of 12 world religions (AP Photo)

John Paul II prays at Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi with representatives of 12 world religions (AP Photo)

As my readers will have gathered by now, I worry about Catholics who think that the Magisterium of the Church is just one opinion among many, and that it is up to them to decide what a Catholic may or may not believe. But at least their view is comprehensible, if defective. To put it crudely, they may be Catholic; they’re just not Catholic enough.
 
I am much more puzzled by those who think that the Pope himself is open to criticism on the ground that he isn’t Catholic enough, and certainly much less Catholic than they are. Predictably, perhaps, the present Pope’s decision to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s meeting with leaders of other world religions to pray for peace has drawn fire from the SSPX, who have recalled Archbishop Lefebvre’s attack on that event: the Church, he pronounced, had never before been “humiliated to such an extent in the course of her history” and that “the scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured”. “The Church,” said the archbishop, “is shaken to its very foundations”.
 
Well, it was rubbish then and it‘s rubbish now. The Church wasn’t shaken to its foundations. On the contrary, John Paul II was the pope who, more than any other in this century, strengthened those foundations. I have to admit that I’m not particularly keen on what I have heard called “interfaith interface”. I think other religions are just wrong. But if those who adhere to them are sincerely praying for peace within their own religious traditions, however they may understand what the word “God” may mean, who am I to say that He, the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, won’t listen to their prayers? I don’t know what good the Assisi meeting did, who can? But it can surely hardly be argued that it did any harm.
 
The fact is that Pope John Paul did more to defend Catholic orthodoxy than Lefebvre could have in a thousand years: for, the fact is that Lefebvre, in separating himself from the successor of Peter in the name of orthodox Catholic belief and practice, did nothing but encourage the notion that orthodoxy, far from being the same thing as ultimate sanity, is on the contrary the mark of the extremist and the nutter.
 
What is the Pope risking by praying with those whose beliefs he does not share? This isn’t an interfaith doctrinal negotiation: he won’t compromise a single Catholic teaching. This isn’t like inviting a Muslim to contribute a prayer in the context of the Mass (as has been done in Westminster Cathedral) on the ground that “we all worship the same God”, when clearly we don’t.

This is the way Pope Benedict understands this event: “I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St Francis,” he said, “inviting my Christian brethren of different confessions, leaders of the world’s religious traditions and, in their hearts, all men and women of good will, to join me on this journey in order to commemorate that important historical gesture of my predecessor, and solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”
 
Well? And how is that a betrayal of the Catholic faith? You may think I’m taking the SSPX too seriously. But there are plenty of people in communion with the Holy See who think they’re more Catholic than the pope on this and other issues; if you doubt that, just look at some of the half-crazed comments to be found under the Herald’s online story headlined “SSPX leader criticises Pope’s plan to hold inter-religious meeting”.
 
Being a Catholic means believing many things, some of them more important than others. But one core principle is surely indispensable. Quite simply, you trust the pope. For, once you start thinking you are a better and more faithful Catholic than he is, you are well on your way to the funny farm.

  • Christina

    Well said Leprechaun_himself. I said somewhere else that, as any psychiatrist will tell you, calling the holders of different opinions insane is a device commonly used to preserve one’s self-esteem when one is uncomfortable with those opinions but unable or unwilling to refute them. After all, if the other fellow’s mad he can be ignored, and all sorts of uncomfortable problems disappear.

  • Christina

    And that cheap reply to Torkay, (just like W. Oddie’s ‘funny farm’ remark), shows that you are unable to oppose an authoritative and reasoned argument, and so you fall back on ridicule in order to preserve your self-esteem while remaining in a state of ignorance.

  • Christina

    There you go again! If you don’t like it it’s loony or bound for the funny-farm!!

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    I agee with Christina’s reply to you, and here are few others who agree with her as well (unless you think Doctors of the Church should not speaketh o the subject?)
    http://www.sspx.ca/Communicantes/Dec2004/Is_That_Chair_Vacant.htm

  • Anonymous

    Er, it goes like this: “I believe in One, Holy,Catholic and Apostolic Church” and “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life – no-one comes to the Father, except through Me.”

  • Anonymous

    Spot on, Christina. I like that psychiatrist. Can you give me his name…

  • Anonymous

    Well, Mr Oddie is wrong. If submission before authority is the mark of true Catholics no matter what a pope tells us too do, then we are up there with the biggest and best of the cults.

    Check out the TRULY Catholic position.
    http://www.sspx.ca/Communicantes/Dec2004/Is_That_Chair_Vacant.htm

  • Anonymous

    Spot on, leprechaun. What ARE you putting in your tea!
    Here’s a link you’ll just love – proves exactly what you are saying to be true.
    http://www.sspx.ca/Communicantes/Dec2004/Is_That_Chair_Vacant.htm

  • Anonymous

    While you are right to say that those who are causing scandal and failing to bring the Faith to non-believers are in a very precarious position before God, it is misleading to talk about the prayers of non-Catholics/non-believers being pleasing to God.

    Do you think, for example, that if a Protestant were to pray to God to fill his, say, Presbyterian, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist church with new believers, God would do so? If members of the British Humanist Association were to try praying for more members, would God listen to that prayer, indulgently?

    God only DEIGNS to hear our prayers – even the prayers of the greatest saints on earth, God only DEIGNS to hear and answer. But Scripture tells us that he finds false worship abhorrent (which is why the current dispute about the new Mass is so critical.)

    God will certainly provide opportunities for non- believers to come to the true Faith and will not withhold His grace from the genuine seeker after truth, but I think a lot of the ecumenical mishmash is causing confusion in this matter, since it sounds a bit like the religious relativism (one religion/one prayer, as good as another) that has led to widespread religious indifferentism. I’ve only ever suggested to non-Catholics that they pray for the grace to see the truth about religion and the Church. That is one prayer God is sure to accept and answer.

  • Anonymous

    But it IS at war! And Pope Saint Pius X wrote his encyclical against Modernism because he could see that these ideas, so prevalent today, would cause precisely such a war within the Church.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “God wills that we be saved through knowledge of the truth” (and “the truth” is in italics in the original – I don’t know how to do that on Disquis) so obviously if we have Modernist bishops and priests teaching false teaching and taking us away from the truth, there WILL be war. That’s why we are confirmed, though, to be Soldiers of Christ, battling, especially against heresy, false teaching.

    Contrary to the nonsense you hear in your local parish, Jamie, the Church is NOT a giant justice and peace group.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t Pontius Pilate the patron saint of diplomats?

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamie MacNab

    Peace be with you, CT.

  • Anonymous

    You are confusing the virtue of prudence, with diplomacy.

    Pope Pius XII was certainly prudent. He didn’t shout from the Vatican balcony that he was making arrangements to save Jews at risk, but that is quite different from the Assisi event. In a million years, Pope Pius XII would not have stood alongside the leaders of false religions and asked them to pray to their false gods while he prayed to his god, all equal and nothing to worry about. Not in a million years.

    Prudence is a virtue. Diplomacy – as Mother Angeica of EWTN once said – stinks!

  • Anonymous

    Jamie,

    God’s law is constant. We must conform our lives to God’s law.

    This means we must obey the divinely authorised Church founded by Christ when She teaches what has always been believed.

    Our duty is to make sure we understand the nature of the Church, the papacy and the episcopate so that can obey God’s law while being clear about the nature, extent and limits of our own conscience.

    I meet regularly with unbelievers, Jamie. But when the subject of religion arises, I do not pretend that anything goes. I would most certainly never dream of saying “let’s pray for world peace; you pray to your god or spirit or whatever, and I’ll pray to God the Father…” That would put my would in danger. Why? Because I am, in effect, denying Christ. I am withholding the information that these false gods are useless, that everyone needs to convert to Christ if they hope to be saved.

    As for “as long as the meetings are dignified” (notice: not “as long as Christ is preached”) that is in the same league as the argument used by abortionists and euthanisers: as long as the procedure is safe, it’s OK to murder the child in the womb or your sick granny.

    It’s NOT OK for these reasons: (1) thou shalt not kill (2) I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no-one comes to the Father, except through Me.”

    Let’s see if Pope Benedict quotes that, in October. Bets anyone?

  • Anonymous

    And also with you.

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamie MacNab

    Good morning, CT. There is so much of interest in what you say that it isn’t possible to deal with it all at once. But, to return to the blog topic : do you think there is anything we can learn from the way the early Christians tried to convert the natives of our own land? Is there evidence that they compromised on the less important matters, so as to achieve their aim? Or did they accomplish everything in a grand slam – pagans one day, Christians the next?

  • Anonymous

    Blank space.

    This post has been edited out because it popped up in the wrong place.

  • Anonymous

    EditorCT: Perhaps you are attributing scandal a little early? After all, we have not yet heard what Pope Benedict XVI intends to say at Assisi. As he enters the twilight of his pontificate, is it not possible that he has convened the gathering expressly to tell it how it is, and to urge the leaders of the world’s other religions to unite themselves to the true shepherd and become recognized members of Christ’s flock? Let us pray for him that he will put this visit to good use and restore all things in Christ.
    That is ecumenism in its true sense.

  • Anonymous

    leprechaun,

    The scandal is that the Pope has called a meeting of the leaders of “world religions” (i.e false religions) to ask them to pray for peace. There is absolutely no question of this being a means of converting non-believers. I’m astonished hat you think this Pope would do that given his commitment to false ecumenism, already demonstrated, most recently when he was here in the UK. Consider the Pope’s own statement on the subject of the meeting HE is organising at Assisi.

    Speaking in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Pope Benedict said the aim of the summit would be to “to solemnly renew the effort of those with faith of all religions to live their faith as a service for the cause of peace”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12103186

    So, Pope Benedict has affirmed these false religionists in their error. He wants them to “live THEIR faith…for the cause of peace.”

    In any event, is it not something of a scandal that the Pope prefers the opinions and prayers of pagans to the solution guaranteed by Our Lady?

    My prayers are, increasingly, not for world peace. I’d settle for someone sent by the Lord to help me on ths blog. I feel like the original Voice in the Wilderness.

  • Anonymous

    Jamie,

    Like leprechaun, you are missing the point. If the Pope was calling the leaders of world religions to Assisi with a view to preaching the truth to them about Christ and the Church, I would be the first to praise him for his dutiful courage, but he’s not doing that. He is affirming them in their false religions. I’m simply taking him at his word:

    Speaking in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Pope Benedict said the aim of the summit would be to “to solemnly renew the effort of those with faith of all religions to live their faith as a service for the cause of peace”.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12103186

    And as for your question – if you read the New Testament and the lives of the early church saints you will find that there is no equivalent of these Assisi meetings anywhere – they went out and about on foot, preaching the faith “in one grand slam” as you put it, in order to win souls for Christ.

    The Gospel message is of urgency – of repenting NOW, of following Christ NOW!

    No time to waste.

  • Anonymous

    Pat,

    Well there is Beryl Hartley as Christina, and Torkay, and myself, and I am
    leaning on Athanasius to support Tradition as well. Perhaps Semperfidelis
    might be sufficiently recovered to join in and maybe Miles Christi Sum, and
    Gloria and Petrus and Kevin and Rebel could be persuaded to come and lend
    their support as well? Perhaps even Daphne? Or some of the priests who
    used to support the CT Blog?

    Besides, what of the many who read the CH Blog and applaud your leadership
    amongst so much woolly thinking?

    I still say we should pray for the Pope and we should hear what he has to
    say – even Pontius Pilate asked why Jesus had been beaten up before He had
    even been been given the chance to speak at His trial.

    God bless the work,

    Howard

  • Kevin

    The late great Dr William Marra was not a member of the SSPX, but his article on papolatry is well worth reading – especially in the light of the papal decision to hold Assisi III. It can be found here:- http://www.cfnews.org/MarraPop.htm

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamie MacNab

    What do you think of the Pope’s aims in having this meeting, CT? Are they worthy of us? Is peace a good thing? If Jews, Moslems, Buddhists and Anglicans prayed for peace, each in their own ways, do you think that God would listen?

  • Anonymous

    I think the aim is obviously to have good diplomatic relations with world religions.

    Yes, peace is a good thing. Which is why Our Lady wants the Pope to consecrate Russia and then peace will follow.

    Do I think God will listen if all these pagans and the pope pray in their own way for world peace at Assisi? Well, this is the third such meeting at Assisi. What do you think?

  • Anonymous

    G.K. Chesterton had a name for a man whose philosophy was quite solid, quite coherent and quite wrong.

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamie MacNab

    What I think doesn’t much matter, CT, but I am interested to know what a public figure like you thinks. I suppose that, if this is the third such meeting, then God is perhaps listening and responding ; on the other hand He might be doing nothing. But, what do you think? Does God listen to other monotheists and to pagans? Does He respond?

  • Anonymous

    William Oddie should have carried out a canonical study of the Church’s Magisterium before misquoting and misrepresenting it to suit his obvious distaste for Catholic Tradition.

    It is quite erroneous to suggest, as he appears to do, that every Papal statement and action carries with it the force of the Church’s Magisterium. Dogmatic teaching is that the Pope is sometimes infallible, not at all times impeccable. A cursory review of Church history will amply demonstrate the truth of this.

    If Magisterial authority, then, is to be authentically claimed in support of a personal Papal initiative such as Assisi, that initiative must at least be in continuity with what the Church has always believed and taught. If it is not, and more especially if it contradicts what the Church has always believed and taught, then Catholics have a duty before God to resist it publicly.

    Now Pope Benedict XVI, like John Paul II before him, has decided that he will gather together the leaders of the world’s religions to pray for peace, during which all will make offerings to their individual deities. But is this planned gathering in line with Catholic Tradition?

    Divine Revelation, particularly Psalm 96:5, declares to the contrary: “All the gods of the Gentiles are devils!” So the gods of these people with whom the Vicar of Christ intends to pray are, says Sacred Scripture, “devils.” St. Paul also declares this in Scripture, as does the blood of the martyrs who gave their lives rather than burn a grain of incense before the gods of the Pagans.

    One also finds this interfaith initiative of the two Popes in question both proscribed and condemned in the Encyclicals of their predecessors. Mirari Vos of Gregory XVI, Quanta Cura of Pius IX and Mortalium Animos of Pius XI are but three of many examples I could quote. I suggest that Mr. Oddie read them.

    Furthermore, if the Pope unites in prayer with Pagans, heretics and schismatics on equal terms, then what becomes of the Church Militant and his sacred duty to win these souls to Christ from the darkness of their various errors? Isn’t silence in the matter of their religious blindness the same as approval of it?

    Pope Gregory XVI certainly wasn’t silent on the issue. Filled with holy zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls he wrote: “With the admonition of the Apostle that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5), may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself who said: “He that is not with me, is against me.” (Luke 11:23), and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore, without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate…”

    This is what the First Commandment states and it is what the infallible dogma ‘outside the Church no salvation’ affirms. So let us have no more Pharisaical rending of garments from Mr. Oddie over a supposed disobedience on the part of Traditional Catholics to the Church’s Magisterium.

    If such Catholics express abhorrence at this planned Tower of Babel in Assisi, it is not because they consider their judgement to be superior to the present Pontiff, which is clearly a Post-Conciliar trait, but rather because they are acquainted with the Church’s unalterable anathema to such interfaith enterprises, which have no precedent in the sacred history of our divine religion.

    Genuine examples of contempt for magisterial authority, on the otherhand, are easily identified in our time in the illicit origins of communion in the hand, altar girls and a veritable plague of Eucharistic ministers, all of which abuses the Popes initially tried in vain to forbid or seriously restrict in accordance with the traditional teaching and practices of the Church.

    In summation, if the Pope wants world peace then let him refrain from these scandalous interfaith and ecumenical fallacies that are so destructive to souls and the true faith, and instead call together the bishops of the world to join with him in a public and solemn consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.

    This is what heaven requested of him through Sister Lucy of Fatima as the only way to obtain world peace. Our Lady expects this request to be granted with similar childlike humility and obedience as exemplified by Her at the Annunciation.

    Anything other than this requested Papal/Episcopal consecration of Russia, especially if it involves pan-religious initiatives, is an insult to the Most High and is more likely to result in an outpouring of divine wrath rather than divine grace, as has already been amply demonstrated through the great demise of Catholicism in Europe since the true “funny farm” liberals took over at Vatican II.

  • Christina

    Jamie MacNab, I know that you have moved on from here and been very well-answered, but the questions in your fourth paragraph are still bothering me somewhat. You have said that you believe that God is trying to educate us, and, after some thoughts on original sin you say:

    ‘Does it (i.e. Original sin??) not suggest that we must continually seek new revelations, new understandings?’.

    Well, we must certainly not seek ‘new revelations’. Revelation concluded with the death of the last Apostle and it cannot ever be changed or added to. The First Vatican Council made this clear:

    ‘…for the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity; but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ (the Church) to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared’.

    This divine deposit, the ‘Deposit of Faith’ entrusted to the Apostles, has therefore been passed down to us unerringly from Apostolic times by the Magisterium of the Church. This is sacred ‘Tradition’, and we must look to that, and only to what is fully in conformity with that, for our understandings.

    So, we must certainly not seek ‘new understandings’ by having anything to do with unbelievers, or with other Christians who have separated themselves from the Church. Our understandings come from searching honestly and assiduously for what the Church has always taught. God indeed wants to educate us, and that is how He will do it. He will not do it through any ‘insights’ from false religions.

    Unfortunately the search is far from easy, for in the past 50 years there has been an unprecedented search after ‘novelty’, by many of those ‘leaders’ whom you suggest we trust, and very great numbers of the faithful have been led astray. Even honest enquirers after truth, such as yourself, are here asking questions about ‘new’ this and ‘new’ that! Test the ‘new’ against sacred Tradition. Any action of our leaders that has been condemned by the Magisterium in the past, and worshipping with unbelievers certainly has been, then you too must condemn it and pray.

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamie MacNab

    Good morning Christina.

    Yes, certainly, a revelation may not be altered ; but the encyclopaedia goes on to say this about our understanding of original sin : “This is a difficult point and many systems have been invented to explain it: it will suffice to give the theological explanation now commonly received.” And it goes on to give that explanation. So, a revelation may not be altered, but its interpretation may.

    On the question of seeking the opinions of unbelievers, we might reflect how much of Augustine’s writing references Plato ; and how much of Thomas’s references Aristotle. Now, these two pre-Christians have not (as far as I know) contributed directly to our doctrines, but they have influenced our interpretations of Scripture. It is possible that some aspects of Eastern thought (for example) might find application in our thinking. The question of the identity of body and soul comes to mind ; I have read that modern Christians have a tendency to dualism ; and that that dualism is an impediment to a proper understanding of our nature.

    The mysteries of our faith deepen when we reflect on the existence of the Son of God ‘from the beginning’. What can this mean except that His presence has always been detectable to all mankind – or for those who have the patience and will to seek it or be open to revelation of it?

    So, in brief, I do not imagine that other religions have much to teach us. But, perhaps we should now look at the other side of the coin : perhaps we have much to teach them. And that is a main point of these meetings.

    Lastly, on common worship. Was it not Paul who said (to the Corinthians?) that it is sometimes proper to join in pagan worship for the sake of friendship – after all, he added, we do not have to believe it.

    I hope that clears up the points you raised.

  • Anonymous

    Superb!

  • SS1

    As the leprechaun says, why not wait until it’s clear what’s going to happen before piling in with condemnation?

  • Anonymous

    Dear Blue Warrior

    How right a choice you have made in opting to stick with the Barque of St. Peter and his successors.

    If only the Conciliar Popes from John XXIII onwards had cast their lot the same way as your good self, the Church would not be in its present state and we could all be engaged elsewhere.

  • Profidebookkstore

    My problem with this kind of argument is that, although I would dismiss it even if the pope were not involved because the Commenter’s view is illustrative of theological diletantism, my difficulty would be to prove to him my points because he implicitly claims infallibility.

  • Christina

    Good evening Jamie,

    With respect, you may have misunderstood me, and in reference to your last sentence I had no wish or intention to raise any further points in this discussion. I intended merely to comment on those few words of yours ‘…does it not suggest that we must continually seek new revelations , new understandings?’. If I have misunderstood you, then I apologise, but I took your words quite literally and they suggest a searching after novelty. All that I said in response was intended to point out the errors of this quest.

    It now seems that you were rather referring to the development of doctrine, and, as Blessed John Henry Newman’s essay on that subject has been so much misrepresented since the Second Vatican Council, I think that arguing about it here would create more confusion.

    However, with reference to your second paragraph, the thoughts of the great pre-Christian philosophers (using their God-given gift of reason) on the existence of a ‘Prime Mover’ and ‘First Cause’ could not, insofar as they were true insights, fail to influence the early Fathers. But modernists, going on from there, claim and teach that the Church which alone has divine authority to teach, can continue to learn from the false religions. You say that you do not imagine they have ‘much’ to teach us. Jamie, they have nothing to teach us that will lead to our eternal salvation. Assisi leads many to imagine that they have.

    Suffice it to say, in illustration of development of doctrine within the Church as traditionally understood, and using the example of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary rather than of Original sin, St. Thomas Aquinas did not believe in this doctrine while Duns Scotus did. But the teachings of theologians, no matter how exalted, are not magisterial until defined as dogmas, and so, until 8th December, 1854, when the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma, you could, in spite of the fact that the feast had already been celebrated in the Church for centuries, have denied the doctrine without committing heresy.

    As to your last point, you have not given the reference for St. Paul’s saying that it is sometimes proper to join in pagan worship for the sake of friendship! However, in I Cor. c.10 vv. 14 – 33, St. Paul teaches very clearly on the topic under discussion (with apologies to anyone who dislikes Mgr. Knox’s translation,):

    ‘Keep far away, then, my well-beloved, from idolatry. I am speaking to you as men of good sense…….We have a cup that we bless; is not this cup we bless a participation in Christ’s blood? Is not the bread we break a participation in Christ’s body? The one bread makes us one body, though we are many in number……………Or look at Israel, God’s people by nature; do not those who eat their sacrifices associate themselves with the altar of sacrifice? I am not suggesting that anything can really be sacrificed to a false god, or that a false god has any existence; I mean that when the heathen offer sacrifice they are really offering it to evil spirits. To drink the Lord’s cup, and yet to drink the cup of evil spirits, to share the Lord’s feast, and to share the feast of evil spirits, is impossible for you…………….I am free to do what I will; yes, but not everything can be done without harm. I am free to do what I will, but some things disedify. Each of you ought to study the well-being of others, not his own’.

    QED I think!

  • Anonymous

    One should first learn to spell “dilettantism” (note the double t) before employing the term as a get out clause for failing to counter the facts presented by another. And I do not claim “implicit infallibility,” but rather express the infallible teaching of the Church which you clearly have no answer to.

    That was the whole point of my earlier post, had it been read correctly. It was to show that nothing but the infallible teaching of the Church throughout the ages should be our guide, neither the personal whims of individual Popes nor the clamour of a liberal laity.

    What do the Encyclicals say? What are the dogmas? What have the Fathers taught? Is there a precedent in Church history for today’s interfaith and ecumenical novelties? The answers to these questions are all Catholics need to guide them through these most confusing times, not forgetting a healthy prayer life.

    At no time in the history of Catholicism have interfaith and ecumenical initiatives been approved, much less encouraged and indulged in, by Popes and senior prelates. Indeed, the Magisterium has always proscribed and condemned such practices most vehemently as “deadly to the Catholic religion.”

    Now if someone can produce evidence to the contrary, then let’s have it. Otherwise, this is the divinely revealed teaching of the Church from which no man on earth, not even a Pope, can dissent or cause others to dissent. The duty of a Pope is to protect and hand down inviolate that which was entrusted to him. Has this been the case since Vatican II?

    Do not the new Mass, lay ministries, communion in the hand (standing), ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, the new Catechism, the new Code of Canon Law and the new ecclesiology speak more of a revolution than of normal organic development in the Church? The like has never before been seen.

    And if the catastrophic decline in vocations, as well as the mass closure of seminaries, religious houses and parish churches since Vatican II, doesn’t screem this at you, then perhaps a rise in marriage annulments from a mere handful in the U.S. in 1969 to 50,000 during the reign of John Paul II, or the numbers of priest and bishops having affairs and fathering children, or the numbers of children abused by clergy (mostly post-conciliar), or the numbers of Catholics living together unmarried and still receiving holy communion, or the numbers who practice contraception and likewise receive, should make you ask a few more questions

    ‘Outside the Church no salvation’ was the dogma reiterated by the Church Militant from Her divine foundation up to, and including, Pope Pius XII. When was the last time anyone heard mention of it? It’s now all human dignity, respect and fawning talk of “different religious traditions” instead of false religions that lead souls to eternal ruin.

    True charity is to desire the salvation of all souls through their embracing the divinely founded Catholic religion, as well as to correct Catholics who deviate from the faith and moral teaching of the Church. False charity is to desire a paradise on earth in which all religions and none are held as of equal value and respect. The former is supernatural in origin and in its ends, the latter purely natural and completely destructive.

  • Profidebookstore

    “And I do not claim ‘implicit infallibility,’ but rather express the infallible teaching of the Church which you clearly have no answer to”, except, if I may answer, that your claim that you “express the infallible teaching of the Church” implies infallibility of the claim, which is an evidence of theological diletantism. But one can expect it from an infallible spell-checker, which is programmed for the spell-checking only.

  • Profidebookstore

    “If the conduct of the shepherd is contrary to the teachings of the Church as demonstrated by the Church’s position down through the ages” is one thing, another is who has the authority to establish that it is the case. If one insists that it is the case, the implication is that he is infallible, which is contrary to the teaching of the Church, because, in addition to the Pope, only I am infallible.

  • Anonymous

    “…except, if I may answer, that your claim that you “express the infallible teaching of the Church” implies infallibility of the claim, which is an evidence of theological diletantism.”

    Well now, if one cannot quote with infallibility the infallible dogmas and declarations of the Church then what becomes of infallibility? What you call theological dilettantism, I call theological certainty. But then, I accept the dogma of infallibility.

    Is there just the slightest possibility that you will now move on to address the general content of my initial post? Can you respond to it with some contrary evidence, or even with a dilettantist attempt at debating the points raised? I will look forward to reading your counter-argument.

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamie MacNab

    Good morning, Christiana,

    I never imagined that I would enjoy such a discussion as this on a blog-site ! Thank you for your detailed explanations, which are quite time-consuming for you. Yes, we have been slightly at cross-purposes. Perhaps also we are drifting a bit. You see, I do not think the Assisi meetings are about formulating new doctrines at all ; nor are they about falsely worshipping false deities for the sake of friendship. They are only about differing friends explaining their doctrines and deepening their friendships. Any other benefits that accrue are incidental ; any new insights gained by any member are a bonus. It seems to me that to be repelled by such meetings smacks of timidity ; as if one might be contaminated in some way.

    I think we must overcome this timidity ; we must be bold. We must not lose sight of our own principles ; we must not be seduced by the novelty of the occasions. I think it is right to engage with unbelievers in all faith and hope and charity.

  • Anonymous

    Does it need authority to establish that someone is in error? Surely, anyone can compare a course of conduct with what is expected and see whether there is a difference?
    In other words, if, on the one hand, the Pope implies that all religions are of equal value in terms of gaining salvation, and, on the other hand, the Sacred Magisterium (underwritten as infallible by the Holy Ghost) says that only the Catholic Church can provide the graces necessary for salvation, then the difference is obvious and nobody needs authority to point it out. Furthermore, in pointing it out, can they really really be accused of being more Catholic than the Pope? Is it true to say they are on the way to the funny farm? I don’t think so.
    I hope i have answered your concern – I was struggling to understand your closing sentence.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t a lot of faith in spill-chuckers myself, for obvious reasons.
    When MartyJo says, correctly, that he is expressing the infallible teaching of the Church, there is no implication on his part that he is claiming to be infallible himself. He does not have to be infallible before he can say that the teachings enshrined in the Sacred Magisterium are infallible.

  • Anonymous

    “If the conduct of the shepherd is contrary to the teachings of the Church as demonstrated by the Church’s position down through the ages” is one thing, another is who has the authority to establish that it is the case. If one insists that it is the case, the implication is that he is infallible, which is contrary to the teaching of the Church, because, in addition to the Pope, only I am infallible.

    A simple understanding of how the Magisterium works is all one requires in order to assess whether or not something is contrary to Church teaching. Catholics love the Pope and pray for him, and, traditionally speaking, have not had much cause to question his judgement. This does not, however, mean that Catholics are slaves to a particular Pope’s personal whims.

    Papolatry is a modern error, although it only seems to kick in when the Pope says or does something completely liberal. The same Pope worshippers are usually posted missing when it’s a question of the Holy Father being disobeyed in matters such as communion in the hand, altar girls and the widespread abuse of Eucharistic ministers (who were supposed to have been so rarely used that they were called “extraordinary”).

    So it comes down to this. Not everything the Pope says or does carries with it the weight of the Magistrium, except in cases where he upholds previous Magisterial teaching or acts in line with it. Papal novelties we are not bound to obey. In fact, our duty to divine truth sometimes means we must disobey, lest by obeying men we disobey God.

  • Profidebookstore

    Your client, having caged himself and lost key, needs a barrister with locksmith experience, but the latter is himself locked without tools to get out. “He does not have to be infallible” and yet implies that he infallibly knows what “the Sacred Magisterium” is; he “does not have to be infallible” to interpret its teaching – and yet implies that he interprets it infallibly, or to put it in the words of his barrister “he is expressing the infallible teaching” and “correctly” so; otherwise the barrister would not be infallible. Even more: he implies that he infallibly interprets the Pope, that he infallibly compares his teaching with his (the client’s) infallibly interpreted “Sacred Magisterium” knowing infallibly what the latter is. This range of infallibilities must have been revealed to him by the holy spirit of Hyde Park Speaker’s Corner (with my sincere apology to the holy spirit).

  • Anonymous

    Your client, having caged himself and lost key, needs a barrister with locksmith experience, but the latter is himself locked without tools to get out. “He does not have to be infallible” and yet implies that he infallibly knows what “the Sacred Magisterium” is; he “does not have to be infallible” to interpret its teaching – and yet implies that he interprets it infallibly, or to put it in the words of his barrister “he is expressing the infallible teaching” and “correctly” so; otherwise the barrister would not be infallible. Even more: he implies that he infallibly interprets the Pope, that he infallibly compares his teaching with his (the client’s) infallibly interpreted “Sacred Magisterium” knowing infallibly what the latter is. This range of infallibilities must have been revealed to him by the holy spirit of Hyde Park Speaker’s Corner (with my sincere apology to the holy spirit).”

    Forget the barrister with locksmith experience. Is there a possibility we can have a Philadephia lawyer to explain the paragraph above! It’s written in remarkably similar fashion to the average ambiguous conciliar document. In other words, it’s a classic piece from a person who is more intoxicated with the exuberance of his own verbosity than with truth.

  • Profidebookstore

    “Does it need authority to establish that someone is in error?” Yes, even in ordinary matters one need competence, not to mention the doctrinal authority for which the teaching authority is necessary in addition to merely human competence.
    “Surely, anyone can compare a course of conduct with what is expected and see whether there is a difference?” Of course, but what he expects is not necessarily what everybody expects, in other words,
    He cannot impose his expectations on others. Still less can a Catholic layman impose his expectation on the Pope.

    “the Pope implies that all religions are of equal value in terms of gaining salvation”. REPLY: Total and utter nonsense.

    “Sacred Magisterium (underwritten as infallible by the Holy Ghost) says that only the Catholic Church can provide the graces necessary for salvation” REPLY: No evidence provided, nor can be.

    The solemn teaching of the Sacred Magisterium of Vatican II is that “only through the Catholic Church, the universal aid to salvation, can the means of salvation be reached in all their fullness” (UR5) and “The Catholic Church possesses the wealth of the whole of God’s revealed truth, and all the means of grace” (UR6).

    While I have no authority, of the kind claimed by you and implying infallibility, to assert that this is “underwritten as infallible by the Holy Ghost”, I can express my opinion that the Vatican II articulations expresse the consensus of the Universal Ordinary Magisterim, and are therefore proposed infallibly in spite of not beeing so defined. I presume you know the difference I have in mind, and the five conditions required for it to be the case are in LG25. You can easily find by gogle-ing: “The Way of The Lord Jesus by Germain Grisez”, select: Other Works, and find Ford/Grisez essay: Contraception and Infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium, and their account of genesis and the meaning of this particular aspect of fundamental theology, on which practically the whole body of the moral doctrine stands or falls, because no moral doctrine, except perhaps one, has been infallibly defined (as different from proposed infallibly by the OM).

  • Profidebookstore

    “Not everything the Pope says or does carries with it the weight of the Magisterium, except in cases where he upholds previous Magisterial teaching or acts in line with it. Papal novelties we are not bound to obey. In fact, our duty to divine truth sometimes means we must disobey, lest by obeying men we disobey God.”

    COMMENT: Typical of the oversimplified Williamson’s DIY “theology” , which CAN’T be found in any document of the Magisterium. Not only that, but it is at variance with what CAN be found in several documents. And is it incompatible with the traditional Catholic moral theology. Google: “The Way of The Lord Jesus by Germain Grisez”, Vol II, Chapters 1 (i) and 3 (d). Or if he is to be classified as “modernist” who has dedicated his life challenging moral revisionists, open page 10 of L.Ott: Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, which I obtained in the SSPX Mass Centre.

    Apart from that, the notion of the Magisterium includes the Pope, and opposition between the two cannot be made, unless one changes the definition of the Magisterium.

    If one were to limit papal teaching to mere repetition or paraphrasing of the previous teaching we would end up, by going so back, with no teaching at all.

    And one must distinguish assent which is due to teaching from obedience which is due to ruling. The epikeia is applicable to the latter, not to the former.

    Papolatry was a product of defective teaching of Vatican I. (I do not mean that the latter was erroneous; it was interrupted before it has accomplished its agenda.)

  • Profidebookstore

    Typical of those who pass judgement on other’s assertions while admitting at the same time that they do not understand the same assertions. They apply the same method to the assertions of the Pope, and the Council, having never tried to grasp what the Pope or the Council teach. In other words, they do not understand the Pope, the Council, they do not understand the “Sacred Magisterium” either, still less what the infallibility is all about, apart from believing that Pius IX Syllabus is infallible – a nonsense by all standards.

  • Christina

    See Editor CT 2 days ago (below).

  • Christina

    The one that begins ‘Like Leprechaun’.