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Debate: Did John Paul II fundamentally renew Catholicism?

Or did he fail to tackle the deepest problems of the Church?

By on Wednesday, 27 April 2011

John Paul II greets a crowd while on holiday in Val D'Aosta, Italy (CNS/ Arturo Mari)

John Paul II greets a crowd while on holiday in Val D'Aosta, Italy (CNS/ Arturo Mari)

A great outpouring of devotion followed Pope John Paul II’s death in 2005. There were calls for him to be beatified quickly, both in St Peter’s Square and inside the conclave itself. Pope Benedict XVI, in his inauguration homily, said the “wonderful experience of these days” was evidence of the Church’s deep vitality. “The Church is alive and we are seeing it,” he said. “We are experiencing the joy that the Risen Lord promised his followers.”

Now, six years later, John Paul II is to be beatified, and the mood is somewhat different. Many have criticised the speed of the process. Others point to possible shortcomings in his handling of liturgy or the clerical abuse crisis. Even his most vocal supporters have seemed apprehensive: George Weigel, his biographer, says he is worried the title “Blessed” will make the late pope a more remote figure.

In 2005, the consensus was that John Paul II fundamentally revived the Church. Is that still the case? Did he really renew the Church, or did his charm, his popularity, lead to only a superficial kind of renewal?

  • Marie

    I believe he laid the groundwork, especially through his groundbreaking Theology of the Body addresses, for a renewal of the Church.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6B7TVQBY5SM3GRLFFJ3EJT5YFY Mary C

    I would not have paid attention to Benedict XVI if it were not for John Paul II. Benedict XVI may not be as popular but is, in his own right, equally important. I’m your average Catholic so my argument is that John Paul was essential for making the papacy something you have to pay attention to.

  • Anonymous

    Oh yes, definitely, Pope John Paul II fundamentally renewed Catholicism. The evidence is all around us.

    Around the world, churches are packed with large families, parents all married and faithfully accepting all the children God sends them; Catholic schools are following Vatican instructions to teach the Faith in a systematic way, so that young people come to know and love their Faith and are able to articulate it, to defend and promote it. 99% of them leaving school practising the Faith (contrary to the black propaganda peddled by extremists, that 99% lapse before they leave school) and they are able to explain clearly why Catholic Faith and Morals is true and must be obeyed. Then, too, you can just hear the rosary beads rattling in the school buses as the youngsters make sure they pray their daily Rosary on their way home from school. Converts are pouring in, thanks to the various inter-religious meetings in the parishes, and seminaries are turning away vocations, pending new buildings currently under construction. The convents, too, are overflowing with young girls and lads anxious to devote themselves to the Lord in the Religious Life. Bishops and priests live exemplary lives, setting a superb example of humble obedience to the Magisterium.

    Oh yes, Pope John Paul II fundamentally renewed Catholicism. Much as Colonel Gadaffi democratized Libya.

  • Jeannine

    At first I thought, “Yes, definitely.” Then I thought a renewal would be legitimate if it brings many to the Catholic Church, stays during the remainder of their lifetime, & continues to grow in the Faith. Yes, many conversions are taking place, but how many are in name only? Do these converted truly believe Catholic doctrine & agree with Catholic moral values? How many converted or cradle Catholics turn into lapsed Catholics? These questions will not be completely answered for many years to come.

    I know a few persons who converted to Catholicism in the 1990s & after. I also know plenty of Catholics who left the Church during JPII’s reign. —— This is definitely not a good sign.

    To give JPII credit, there has been an increase of priestly & religious vocations in some regions of the world that started under his watch. It is a 1st step to what I believe is a renewal.

    Bottomline: it’s too early to tell but I still love & miss him!

  • Jeannine

    Let me rephrase this: “It is a 1st step to what I believe is a renewal.” to “If it is a renewal then this is the 1st step.”

  • Charles Martel

    I will never forget the shallow hype when he visited the UK in 1982. I was at the horror of the Wembley Mass – a rock concert but without any good music. The thing that summed it all up for me was the warm-up music before the Pope’s appearance – ‘Imagine’ – yes, I can’t forget hearing ‘imagine there’s no heaven…it’s easy if you try’ wafting around the stadium. Though just a teenager, I felt deeply uncomfortable, sensing that something was seriously wrong. No one else seemed to notice the spectacular inappropriateness of it. The Faith as I had been taught it by my father simply didn’t match what I encountered in the Church every Sunday. Two years later I discovered the Old Mass and I just knew it was right. That broadcast of ‘Imagine’ encapsulated the whole mess of the Vatican II reforms that Pope John Paul II took even further than Paul VI. Did they really think that it would attract ‘the youth’? Or that it would help to deepen our faith? The whole thing just made us cringe. Pope John Paul II – 50% sound doctrine, 50% humanistic hogwash, 100% liturgical drivel. I am still angry at the sheer irresponsibility of it and the fact that several generations have now been scarred by this disaster.

  • Michel Roi

    Although I have strong reservations about his papacy (I tend to agree with Charles Martel above) I do think you’re spot on with regard to vocations. We saw an increase in my area of Canada and the young people were solid and orthodox, as well as interested in Latin and the Traditional Mass. They all claim (I’ve spoken with quite a few) to be inspired by JP II. The 50% solid Catholicism combinded with his winning personality and obvious prayerfulness (and I think it’s relevent – manliness) did have a good effect

  • Michel Roi

    I tend to agree with you often, but do you think that this might be a bit too harsh? Many forces have been at work in the world and society that poison minds and hearts. These are outside the control of any pope.

    I do think that the situation could have been much better had we been given solid leadership by the Holy Father. Practising, believing catholics might still have been a minority, but I think we could (perhaps) have been a larger, more unified and dynamic minority than is the case at present. As well, had he acted quickly and decisively on the clerical abuse scandals (and the Vatican Bank) the Church’s image would have remained more credible.

  • AJ

    Nice sarcasm, bravo EditorCT!

    Look, let’s cut to the chase. Rad-Trads, at heart, believe that the ills of the Church are all down to the abandonment of the Tridentine Rite as the “Mass for all time.” That’s it. Everything since is just proof that the Tridentine should be made the world standard again.

    Want to get a Rad-Trad going? Mention the words “Mass”, “Liturgy” and “Reverence.” They can ‘bore for their country’ when the buttons are pressed.

    No Pope who accepts the Pauline rite will be seen as worthy in a Rad-Trads eyes. Period. Until, say, Pope Benedict, imposes the Tridentine rite as the Mass for all and does away with the Pauline rite , it matters not what he does in his reign he will always been seen as a liberal. The Rad-Trads, being utterly convinced that the rise of modernism, secularism and over other ‘ism’ going is all down to the submergance of the Tridentine, seek to find flaw in any and all Pope’s who do not force standardisation of the Tridentine.

    Which is why discussion about the flaws of JPII or any other Pope post Vatican II are irrelevant. They are red herrings because, for the Rad-Trad it’s all about the liturgy really. They hold that any Pope that does not restore the Tridentine as the world standard is going to be a hopeless liberal. Conversely, any Pope that did restore the Tridentine, no matter that he beatified Karl Marx, would be lauded as the saviour of the Church.

    Let’s cut through the tape. This is all about proving that the Pauline rite is deficient, indeed, downright demonic. A tool of Satan. The conclusion is known, this is all about (re)-establishing evidence to meet the pre-defined conclusion. “See! See! The Pauline rite has wrecked the Church and we are now led by liberals as a result!”

    Rad-Trads are single issue campaigners which is why defending JPII or any post Vatican II Pope is pointless because it is not really where they are coming from. Catholics are right not to engage with Rad-Trads because they cannot be satisfied on their own terms. Of course, they are not supposed to be satisfied by their own terms but that means changing the terms of the debate from liturgy and ‘reverence’ to more fundemental issues of obedience, humility and faith… which never happens.

    Eventually this discussion will reach the point of “JPII was a liberal who broke with Catholic Tradition and, thus, it’s proof, proof, I say that the smoke of Satan has entered the Church and Satan has brought us the Pauline rite by him and men like him!” The solution will be a return to the Tridentine.

    Been there. Got the T-Shirt and commemorative mug. Attempting to justify JPII now would be like pouring water on a duck.

  • AJ

    Was JPII flawed? Yup. So was Peter. Oh, so was St Paul. He still did more WORLDWIDE to push evangelism than any Pope I know in history! And he carried on in great personal pain to the end of his life. Heroic virtue? Oh yes. Great deeds? Brought down communism, liberation theology, saw through Revival in Africa and the East… Sounds like more than I have done! Plus travelling around the world seven times trying to win souls, yea, even of those of other faiths, with a Catechism to correct any ‘confusion’ among the faithful. (The confusion, as I say, comes from corrupt, liberal Bishops of the West who constantly undermine the faith. I had no idea what Catholics really believed until the internet appeared thanks to the Liberal Bishops here in the UK.)

    Finally, I do not see that JPII need to apologise to Rad-Trads. Whenever I see their like online I notice they are forever obsessing about liturgy and just, well, complaining. I never see the Rad-Trad evangelistic outreaches, the Rad-Trad soup kitchens, the Rad-Trad medical boats… Oh no. It’s always Latin, liturgy and ‘reverence’ (as if reverence was the only permissible human state sometimes.) JPII did things! Pope B16 is doing things. The Church moves on doing things. The Catholic Church in Indonesia is booming! My wife are planning on heading out there and being part of it. (One could say we should stay and fight in the UK but, trust me, the risk to my family is too great given what my wife has already been through.) Oh, and up until recently both my wife and I were involved with the Evangelistic community “Couples for Christ.” It’s a lay community founded in the Philippines committed to evangelism and family support. It’s a high commitment community I can tell you! But it is growing exponentially. Oh look, it was founded under JPII’s watch and given permanent Vatican recognition by him! ‘Cause, you see, real Pope’s are interested in people doing things and spreading the Gospel.

    Odd that.

  • DBMcGinnity

    Well, I imagine that Oxbridge and The Ivy League are missing your penetrating, razor-sharp, incisive style of communication. Your sarcasm is the height of discourtesy and denotes the ‘veneer quality’ of your spirituality that is most un-Christ like. At Jesus’ trial they used sarcasm to belittle him, just as you have done about John Paul II. The changes that took place in the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall can be traced directly to John Paul II, and you have the temerity to denigrate his effort and commitment. You do not even have the moral courage to use your own name and openly stand by your viewpoint but you hide behind a pseudonym, and pontificate from an armchair, or pulpit. Could you do any better than ‘The Blessed’ John Paul II?

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

    “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” And not only that, but the good that men would like to have done remains undone because there just wasn’t time enough. In a thing as large and ungainly as the Church, in a place as large and misguided as the World, it is enough for one man to have started something good.

  • Anonymous

    “There were calls for him to be beatified quickly, both in St Peter’s Square and inside the conclave itself. Pope Benedict XVI, in his inauguration homily, said the “wonderful experience of these days” was evidence of the Church’s deep vitality.”

    Sounds just like all that euphoria after Vatican II. “New Pentecost” ? Not really. New Babel ? Could be.

    “Now, six years later, John Paul II is to be beatified, and the mood is somewhat different. Many have criticised the speed of the process.”

    What happens if something turns up after he is beatified, that puts him in a very poor light ? Paul VI is Venerable already, but at least his cause is not going at this break-neck speed. Surely it would be better to re-instate the 50-year gap between death & the beginning of a cause – then there would be more time for the euphoria to die, & for the supposed holy person, Pope or not, to be seen without the distortion such excitement seems to bring. If the Church is going to beatify or canonise people, she cannot be too thorough in testing every aspect of their characters, without fear or favour: especially as canonisation involves infallibility. It really would be far better if the late Pope had had to wait as long as Blessed Innocent XI did (died 1689; beatified 1956).

  • AJ

    Maybe instead of warning us about the eternal danger the RadTrads thinks our (beatified) Popes pose to our salvation, they would better spend their time seriously meditating and reflecting upon the state of their own mind and souls. And maybe you would better spend your time seriously considering what kind of effect promoting this kind of trash is having on your own mind and soul – not to mention the minds and souls of those who read it.

    Pls. read my post above for more info before you judge.

  • Charles Martel

    Well, AJ, I’ve read both your posts above and I say that you have no real understanding of the Traditionalist movement. It’s a commonplace to say that the traditionalists’ real issues are doctrinal. The Vatican accepts that, and the SSPX continue to maintain it. That is why there are doctrinal talks now going on between the Vatican-appointed theologians and the SSPX. The traditionalists’ problems with the Mass of Paul VI are essentially doctrinal. Please read this: http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/newmass/intervention.htm
    If the problem had been ‘merely’ to do with a preference for one rite of Mass over another, it would have been solved with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. Much more serious are the current teaching and practice on ecumenism, collegiality and religious liberty. If you want to convince anyone, you really should try reading up a bit more and try to be fair to your opponents. That’s something, obviously, that we should all strive to do – me included.

  • Charles Martel

    Hello again, Michel,
    I may have stated my case rather too strongly, as I wanted to give some idea of the feeling of abandonment and confusion of a teenager growing up in the 70s and 80s.
    I do not deny that Pope John Paul II was inspirational and a breath of fresh air after the very dark declining years of Paul VI’s pontificate. Like you, I was impressed by his manliness, his joyful and winning manner and his strength. He made us proud to be Catholic again. That’s why, perhaps, many were disappointed by some of his actions. As an ex-altar boy, I was really stunned by his U-turn on altar girls. I was taught that there were good reasons and firm Catholic principles behind the man-only rule for servers. The Pope himself taught this, and then changed his mind. To me, that is not what Popes should do. The mess at Assisi was even more shocking.
    What I am really saying is that we should be able to criticise aspects of his pontificate without being branded as nutcases, schismatics, disloyal, etc. etc.

  • AJ

    Well, Charles peace to you. Thanks for reading my posts however as I had mentioned before I been to SSPX (and other Radtrad ) website as well and pretty much read most of their articles of faith….practically to which I can say truthfully and bluntly that even heretics (protestants,Sede etc) APPEAL to the Holy Writ and Sacred Tradition and thus appeal to Scripture and Tradition is an appeal to one’s interpretatation of Scripture and Tradition.What they do actually have are just opinions of mere men however eloquent they may be.

    In SSPX site they put articles that consider the Pope TYRANNICAL and a DICTATOR who abused power and all spoofs, prophesies linking and mocking the Pope and the Church are JUST PLAIN RUBBISH.

    Yes you are right that there WERE doctrinal talks between Rome and SSPX lead by Bishop Fellay but it was over already, did you hear the news lately? Bishop Fellay already admitted there won’t be any agreement with Rome on the dispute. Fellay said he won’t bulge in his demands and that he came there at the talks not to clear between disagreements but to show Rome of how she got it wrong with Sacred Tradition. End of the story.

    The authority of the Church HAS passed judgment on the SSPX. John Paul II excommunicated Lefevre and five others for participating in an unsanctioned episcopal ordination in direct contradiciton to Church law. All priests associated with the SSPX were then denied faculties to exercise their ministries, a command they chose to disobey.

    Our current Holy Father has removed the sentence of excommunication from the four bishops still living (he did NOT retroactively declare null all of the excommunications, he said that he is showing CLEMENCY), with the hope that they will return to full communion. The “schism” has been healed partially on the part of the Holy See out of their clemency, however the LACK OF FULL communion still exists as SSPX priests still deny obedience to the Holy Father and bishops in communion with them, and hence their actions are scandalous to the faithful, who deserve clergy who practice what they preach.

    The organization in itself has never been declared heretical, but just because something is not heretical does not mean it is good. The SSPX remains Catholic — as does a pro-gay marriage, pro-choice Catholic politican. That does not mean we should endorse pro-gay marriage , pro-choice Catholic politicians. In fact, we should not. Even though no pro-gay marriage politican has been formally declared a heretic, by their actions they disobey the Church. Likewise, the SSPX disobeys the Church.

    I agree the liturgy is important. My beef is with the Rad-trads who reduce everything to liturgy and ‘reverence.’ But, I hold things in balance. The Pope is but one man to tackle the whole world. The man is based largely in Europe in which liberalism and secularism has a massive hold even years ahead of Vativan II and among some clergy.

    But let us see what JPII did. Remember, he was a Polish Pope appointed when Poland was still under Communism. JPII decisively smashed communism and brought about Polish reform.In addition, he broke the back of Liberation theology preventing South America falling into a communism ushered in by the Church! Catholicism has exploded in South America and Africa on his watch! Revival in parts of Africa are well, well documented. Strange how such a revival in pagan, witchcraft held Africa is not credited to JPII given that they lay all the problems of the Church at his feet. Under the JPII papacy the Philippines overthrew the Macros regime via the Bishops, through the power of prayer requested by Corazon Aquino without a shot being fired. (I have a very soft spot for the small islands.) That is no small feat! I’d like to see a Rad-Trad make such a claim!

    AT THE END OF THE DAY, The question is, why would anyone risk their soul by dabbling in societies that are in an irregular state with Rome to begin with? If Jesus Christ gave the Keys of the Kingdom to Peter ALONE (the Rock) and to his Church to “bind and loose” to settle dispute between two abiding christian (Matthe 16-ff) then why side with people (SSPX, Sede etc) and believe them? It really doesn’t make sense.

  • AJ

    Furthermore Charles may I add:

    You see every abiding Catholic can be a true Traditionalist (like myself, ArchBishop Burke and millions more) without the SSPX. We don’t need the SSPX to be a true Traditionalist. There are traaditionalist groups who broke from SSPX that considered it too liberal and there are those ps who also have separated from SSPX and join in communion with the See of Rome.

    What I can see clearly is, SSPX is undergoing what the protestant sects are undergoing during 500 years after the Reformation…..split from split from split. It is sad but it is real and True.

    I will probably stick and abide with the Catholic Church founded by Christ who gave the Keys to and headed presently by His Vicar named, Benedict XVI. Good luck to you and your church. Peace.

  • Michel Roi

    Well said Charles. I agree with all that you have writen in this post.

  • Saunders9

    Pope John Paul II was a great Pope and I think for me his legacy was the Catechism of the Catholic Church, his Theology of the Body and the Mysteries of light for the Rosary. However, the post Vatican II Church is in a mess, we need to be honest about that and when we are we can renew ourselves. Pope John Paul II was not able to reverse the trend. However, personally I think that is going to be through a remnant of Faithful Catholics who encourage their brother’s and sister’s to practice the Faith properly (or in other words believe the basics like Jesus is really present in the Eucharist and Birth Control is a mortal sin etc.) and may be Pope John Paul II sowed the seeds for that?

  • Anonymous

    I agree and look at the huge queues outside the confessional every week!!

  • Anonymous

    Do you mean ‘practising believing Catholics’ being in a minority in scoiety at large? Or do you mean ‘practising believing Catholics’ within their own church. I have found that a large portion of my fellow Catholics in one particular parish are semi protestant and only a small minority are ‘practising believing Catholics’

  • Anonymous

    And, pascal78, I forgot to mention the one and only apparition of this “Great” Pope
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-487764/Is-Pope-John-Paul-II-waving-grave–Vatican-TV-director-says-yes.html?printingPage=true

    Oh yes, I think we can safely assume he’s fundamentally renewed the Church, which is why he is enjoying the flames of heaven…

    Still, an odd wee prayer for his soul, just in case he’s in Purgatory, wouldn’t go amiss – agreed?

  • Chris Lee

    JP II definitely helped renew the Catholic Church. He assumed the Papacy at a time of uncertainty and crisis. Uncertainity – JP I died only 33 days after being elected. Crisis – the anguish in Paul VI as he watched the Church rotted at the sides and the cancer inched its way into the core of the Church. Of course, there are shortcomings (notably in the sex abuse scandal) and it remains to be seen how this will transpire in the next ten years. Nonetheless, he deserves the title of “Blessed”.

  • Weary Convert

    Sick, sick, sick.

  • Charles Martel

    Dear AJ,
    I answer your points below:
    “even heretics (protestants,Sede etc) APPEAL to the Holy Writ and Sacred Tradition and thus appeal to Scripture and Tradition is an appeal to one’s interpretatation of Scripture and Tradition.”

    Traditional Catholics are the greatest enemy of Protestantism. You seem to be very muddled. Protestants appeal to Scripture AGAINST Tradition and against the Magisterium, not to Scripture AND Tradition against the Magisterium. Traditional Catholics point to Scripture and Sacred Tradition against reformers who, in the name of ‘development of doctrine’, in fact undermine the established doctrine of the church. Novelties in doctrine are by definition suspect. The onus is on the people who disseminate such doctrines to prove their theses are in conformity with Scripture and Tradition.

    ”In SSPX site they put articles that consider the Pope TYRANNICAL and a DICTATOR who abused power and all spoofs, prophesies linking and mocking the Pope and the Church are JUST PLAIN RUBBISH.”

    I don’t know what you are talking about here. Popes can abuse their powers, but should not be mocked. We should pray for our Holy Father.

    ”did you hear the news lately? Bishop Fellay already admitted there won’t be any agreement with Rome on the dispute. Fellay said he won’t bulge in his demands and that he came there at the talks not to clear between disagreements but to show Rome of how she got it wrong with Sacred Tradition. End of the story.”

    You paint a crude picture of a subtle process. Please re-read Bishop Fellay’s rather nuanced statement. This is not the end of the story, AJ, as you will see.

    ”The authority of the Church HAS passed judgment on the SSPX. John Paul II excommunicated Lefevre and five others for participating in an unsanctioned episcopal ordination in direct contradiciton to Church law.”

    Wrong again. Excommunication is not a judgement. It is a remedial medicine. Furthermore, the excommunications of 1988 were simply declared as having taken place automatically (‘latae sententiae’). The declaration said that because of their actions, the bishops had automatically incurred this penalty under canon 1364 §1. Pope Benedict XVI lifted this automatic excommunication because of the expressly stated request from the bishops for it and in response to Bishop Fellay’s declaration: “we continue firmly resolute in our desire to remain Catholics and to put all our strength at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept her teachings in a filial spirit. We firmly believe in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this reason the current situation causes us much suffering”.
    The lifting of the excommunications was not retroactive. So what? That would have been an unthinkable measure politically speaking, as it would have implied that Pope John Paul II had erred in some way. The SSPX understand that this was a pratical impossibility.
    Regarding the lifting of the excommunications, you seem to rather regret that decision, but I would suggest that you see things with a wider perspective, with more charity.
    I would also like to point out that it is possible the bishops were never in fact truly excommunicated. Consider these points based on Canon Law:
    1. A person who violates a law out of necessity is not subject to a penalty (1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 1323, §4), even if there is no state of necessity:
    - if one inculpably thought there was, he would not incur the penalty (canon 1323, 70),
    - and if one culpably thought there was, he would still incur no automatic penalties (canon 1324, §3; §1, 80).

    ”The SSPX remains Catholic — as does a pro-gay marriage, pro-choice Catholic politican. That does not mean we should endorse pro-gay marriage , pro-choice Catholic politicians. In fact, we should not. Even though no pro-gay marriage politican has been formally declared a heretic, by their actions they disobey the Church. Likewise, the SSPX disobeys the Church.”

    No, AJ, a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage ‘Catholic’ is not, strictly speaking, a Catholic. A Catholic must accept all the teachings of the Church on Faith and Morals. It is a seamless robe. The SSPX of course accept all such teachings. They question novelties that have no basis in Sacred Tradition or Scripture, as is their right, and as is the right of every Catholic.

    ”My beef is with the Rad-trads who reduce everything to liturgy and ‘reverence.’”

    I agree with you here. However, such is not the position of most traditionalists or the SSPX, I can assure you. The crisis in the Church is very complex and cannot be reduced to any simple formulation.

    Under the JPII papacy the Philippines overthrew the Macros regime via the Bishops, through the power of prayer requested by Corazon Aquino without a shot being fired. (I have a very soft spot for the small islands.) That is no small feat! I’d like to see a Rad-Trad make such a claim!

    Why would a traditionalist want to make such a claim? The SSPX has stated many times that it is not the Church; it is one tiny fraternity of priests within the Church that does its best to form priests for the Church. It also says that the reform and restoration of the Church must come from the Holy Father.

    “AT THE END OF THE DAY, The question is, why would anyone risk their soul by dabbling in societies that are in an irregular state with Rome to begin with? If Jesus Christ gave the Keys of the Kingdom to Peter ALONE (the Rock) and to his Church to “bind and loose” to settle dispute between two abiding christian (Matthe 16-ff) then why side with people (SSPX, Sede etc) and believe them? It really doesn’t make sense.”

    Let’s make some distinctions. All Catholics must be in union with the Pope. However, there are many different groups and tendencies in the Church. The Franciscans and Jesuits fought nasty turf wars for centuries. No one ever said they should abandon their positions and orders and just be Catholics. That is not how the Church operates. The Church respects all legitimate tendencies and spiritualities.
    I am not a member of the SSPX, but I support them because I think they are contributing to the building up of the Church, and not destroying it, as are many bishops and religious orders these days. I support anyone and any group who does so. Like the SSPX, I appeal to the Pope to use his powers to judge definitively on the major issues causing divisions in the Church. I am confident he will not condemn the SSPX. He cannot do so because the SSPX are Catholic. What is it that we are REQUIRED to believe as Catholics that is different from what Catholics believed in 1961 before the Council? The answer is: nothing. Therefore the SSPX are truly Catholic, in communion with the Pope, though not regularized. It is true that their members are technically suspended, but the real point you are missing here, AJ, in your bitter attacks against the SSPX, is that the Pope respects them and wants to see the issue resolved. Could you find it within yourself to pray for a solution and to hold off on attacks against these people?

    “We don’t need the SSPX to be a true Traditionalist.”
    Of course you don’t. They have never claimed you do. Please stop caricaturing their position. They are a priestly fraternity set up to form priests for the Church. They were unjustly suppressed, but they decided to carry on regardless. You don’t need to support them, but at least don’t attack them for things they have never said.

  • Anonymous

    Are you sure that canonisation involves infallibity? It is not about doctrine or morals. It’s about saying he is in heaven. How do we know where he is ? How can the church say infallibly that he is in heaven for certain? It does not make sense. If it was a question of a doctrine that has always been there but not defined like say the Assumption was then OK. But to say he is in heaven and to say it is infallible is stretching it a bit too far I think.

  • Anonymous

    Some say that canonisationis about being holy not about being a good Pope. I disagree. How can you be holy if you did not do your job well. You could spend all day praying while all kinds of chaos and abuses are going on without the boss attending to them because he is praying. It just does not add up!

  • Michel Roi

    Greetings Pascal (good French name!). I meant both. Here in my region of Canada about 20% of baptized Catholics actually go to Mass every Sunday. In some areas of Quebec, the percentage is as low as 10! I know that on the east coast of Canada, where there are many of Irish descent, the percantage of weekly Mass goers was quite high until the local Church there was shaken by scandals in the late 80′s. I don’t know what it is now. Our neighbour to the south, he US, has a higher percentage of church goers in general than other industrialized country. But even there, the Catholics who go to Mass every Sunday are a minority.

  • Michel Roi

    Pascal, the common teaching is that canonization, not beatification, is infallible at least to the extent that the one canonized is certainly in Heaven. The argument for this teaching is that God would not allow the Universal Church to venerate and invoke one who is not in Heavenly glory. It is debated whether the infallibility extends beyond this (the heroic vitue of the canonized).

  • AJ

    Charles said: “Traditional Catholics are the greatest enemy of Protestantism. You seem to be very muddled. Protestants appeal to Scripture AGAINST Tradition and against the Magisterium, not to Scripture AND Tradition against the Magisterium…”

    ME: You totally missed my point. For your info, particuarly Reformed protestants (Calvinist) have this revival in their apologetics whereby they used a lot of Sacred Tradition, Patristic Fathers’ writings and Bible citations to prove they were proto-protestants espousing early forms of the their novel doctrines and their doctrine of “SOLAS” as true and the CAtholic Church is false. They quoted the Early Church Fathers and when taken as is, it really looked like they were right in their assertion however the difference of course they have taken their writings out-of-context.

    This is where my point rest that even heretics appeal to Bible and Sacred Tradition (including Church Fathers) to prove their point and thus I said, an appeal to the Scripture and Tradition is an appeal to one’s interpretive version of Scripture and tradition. So therefore since everybody can appeal and say theirs is the right one to the point of infinite regress, then WHO is the Authority to settle the dispute between 2 abiding christian? It can’t come from the Bible and tradition because it’s where the disagreement arose from on the first place and besides the fact that the Scripture and Tradition can not make a decision and pass judgment of who got it right and who got it wrong. ( also a claim by orthodox, oriental orthodox, ethiopian, arminian orthodox etc). This is the reason why Jesus founded the Office of Peter through Apostolic Succession. He changed the name of a guy (in those times changing a name is very profound and significant that say something about a new Role and Status to the person e.g.Abram to Abraham) and gave the KEYS of the Kingdom to Peter ALONE,I didn’t find my name, your name,nor SSPX or any Sede.
    Charles said: “I don’t know what you are talking about here. Popes can abuse their powers, but should not be mocked. We should pray for our Holy Father.”

    ME: I agree that popes can abuse their power but should not be mocked which is EXACTLY the point I made…, (if you re-read my post again) that IF you looked at their website their is still an article, actually a letter from their beloved Bishop Marcel Lefebvre objecting to Rome where he said the same exact words as part of their faith and teaching. Why would they published on the first place?
    Charles said: ” You paint a crude picture of a subtle process. Please re-read Bishop Fellay’s rather nuanced statement. This is not the end of the story, AJ, as you will see.”
    ME: a crude story? Please read it for yourself and the exact words of Bishop Fellay, well i hope you are right the story doesn’t end there and hopefully not a story of recalcitrant catholics who believe they got it right with Tradition and the Magistrium of the Church is wrong- again- diatribe.
    See Bp Fellay EXACT WORDS :
    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2011/02/22/vatican-talks-are-almost-over-says-head-of-sspx/
    Charles said: “Wrong again. Excommunication is not a judgement. It is a remedial medicine. Furthermore, the excommunications of 1988 were simply declared as having taken place automatically (‘latae sententiae’).”
    ME: I agree it is a remedial medicine, WHO said it was not? However again you missed the point I’m making.. the automatic sentencing of excommunication is an mechanical response of the Church to those , in this case, occured when participating in an unsanctioned episcopal ordination in direct contradiction to Church Law which he, Bp Marcel Lefebvre as a Bishop of the Catholic Church has a VOW of Holy Obedience to uphold and obey such laws to which he have chosen not to. What I’m trying to drive at by the word “judgment” is, in the sense of, the decision of the Church written in the Canon Law to which every Catholic has to assent their obedience and will – that we are BOUND to the Law, IT IS BINDING by the power to “Bind and Loose” given by God Himself to the Pope and bishops in communion with him.
    Now for the excommunication , we looked at the catholic enyclopedia or dictionary it means: Excommunication (Latin ex, out of, and communio or communicatio, communion — exclusion from the communion), the principal and severest censure, is a medicinal, spiritual penalty that deprives the guilty Christian of all participation in the common blessings of ecclesiastical society. Being a penalty, it supposes guilt; and being the most serious penalty that the Church can inflict, it naturally supposes a very grave offence. It is also a medicinal rather than a vindictive penalty, being intended, not so much to punish the culprit, as to correct him and bring him back to the path of righteousness.
    So Charles, it is both a remedy and penalty at the same time. And oh by the way yes, Bp Fellay was in ” distress” of the current state he’s in (excomm) so the the pope to lifted OUT OF CLEMENCY IN THE HOPE OF THEIR FULL COMMUNION WITH THE CHURCH. AGAIN, the Pope out of CLEMENCY!
    Charles you seemed to imply i take rejoice in the penalty of ex-comm to SSPX and their leaders to which I say you’re greatly mistaken about me. It is sad indeed to have this situation that when there’s a wound created to the unity of the Body of Christ which is the Church when someone tries to be more catholic than the Pope and the Bishops in Communion with him. Do you get my drip, mate?
    Charles said: No, AJ, a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage ‘Catholic’ is not, strictly speaking, a Catholic
    ME: I agree with you however you missed my point again, what I said was the Catholic Church didn’t formally declare them (gay-marriage politician) heretics just like SSPX however, both continue to disobey Church’s teachings and Authority. That’s it. but if I follow your logic then those catholics who committed sins are not considered , strictly speaking “catholics”? Do you sin, Charles? And if you do, do you consider yourself in a strict sense, Catholic?
    Charles said: The SSPX has stated many times that it is not the Church;
    ME: Then why did they choose to continue to disobey the Authority of the Church? They have certain censure in their ministries which they choose to ignore? Throwing all kinds of indignation, criticism etc to Vatican II? NO Mass? To which the Church ratified with FULL AUTHORITY. To me they sound like a “church” of their own.
    Charles said: You don’t need to support them, but at least don’t attack them for things they have never said.
    ME: Charles I don’t attack them, what I’m doing is just putting a defense against their relentless attacks (also protestants I debated with) to undermine the very Authority of the Church, the Pope and Bishops in Communion with him. You got it the other way around, buddy. SSPX and other RadTrad in their websites keep on throwing spoofs, prophesies linking the pope and the Church. I dare you look at them in their websites then tell me on my face they didn’t. They keep on complaining and denigrading the so called “deficiency”, “smoke of satan” stuff to the Pauline rite Mass ,VaticanII and post Vat2 popes without end, that they are the true holders of the One True Faith and not the post Vat2 church, that they are right with interpretive version of Sacred Tradition and the Church got it wrong, blah, blah, blah.

    So Charles really at the end, you and your buddies should stop these nonsense attacks on the Pope and Church, that maybe instead of warning us about the eternal danger they (RadTrads-SSPX) think our (soon to be beatified) Popes pose to our salvation, they would better spend their time seriously meditating and reflecting upon the state of their own mind and souls. And maybe you would better spend your time seriously considering what kind of effect promoting this kind of trash is having on your own mind and soul – not to mention the minds and souls of those who read it.
    Peace

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure.

    Although a canonisation is not a dogmatic definition, it is a judgement of a kind called a dogmatic fact. A DF is something that must necessarily be the case, if the infallibilty of the Church is not to be made meaningless. The legitimacy of a particular Pope is a DF – if Gregory XVII or Pius XIII is the legitimate Pope, and not Benedict XVI, the visibility of the Church is seriously compromised – so the legitimacy of Benedict is a DF: it has to be the case, if certain dogmas avbout the Chuirch are to be the case.

    It is a dogma that the Church is holy – & the canonisation of a “baddie” would amount to saying that a baddie was a fit person for the faithful to imitate. To say that a baddie was a Saint reigning with Christ, would be to malke a nonsense of the holiness of the Church – and therefore, of the act of canonisation which consists in saying that X is a Saint.

    Does that make sense ?

  • AJ

    There are so many more I’ll to add to just straightened some misconceptions of traditionalist groups who still won’t submit to the rightlful Authority of the Magisterium (composed of the Pope and Bishops in communion with him).

    The Magisterium is the Law maker and Law Interpreter…Bp Fellay and his group (SSPX) should be aware of that and wake up that he’s not the Magisterium nor the SSPX. Why do you ask I said this? Well because they still continue to disobeye and NOT submit their will to the righftful Authority which RATIFIED the Ecumenical Council of Vatican II.

    Come to think of it, the very Authority of the Council of Trent which they (SSPX) recognized as indefectible (INDEFECTIBILITY Dogma of the Church) was the very same Authority in the Council of Vatican II. Odd isn’t it?

    Furheter reading on this INDEFECTIBILITY of the Church:

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2004/04/critique-of-remnant-with-copious.html

  • Anonymous

    Parasum. Well not really. What if the Church canonises a baddie by mistake? What then? Well it would be found out and we would all ignore the new ‘saint’ who was not a saint after all. No harm done just a human mistake. It is not the same as dogma which is written in the mind of God. And any way is it a dogma that canonisations are infallible? I wonder? The holiness of the Church is in its dogma, its sacraments, and some of its members. Sorry I am not convinced . . . yet . . .

  • Anonymous

    Hello Michael. Yes I admire Pascal. I like his pensees too. Over here in the UK we have what we call CINOs. Catholics in name only. They go to Mass yet what they really want an easy ride through life and see the Church as an association to provide for the religious needs of man. They are indifferent to the notion of say women priests for example. Mostly its not their fault as they were badly catechised by our liberal RE and led by liberal priests. If they were taught the Faith properly and had good priests they all would be fantastic Catholics, all of them. Leadership comes from the top. A good, dynamic, saintly Pope could change the whole world.

  • Parasum

    ## Canonisation has the same *degree of certainty* as a dogmatic definition – but it’s not, if one is strictly accurate, a dogmatic definition.

    If a bad guy were canonised, that would be very misleading – it would be equivalent to defining as a dogma something that is not true. In practice, this might at first be no big deal for most Catholics – but the logic of such a mistake would eventually undermine the Church’s ability to teach, not with authority, but with Divine authority. Untruths, whether of this kind or not, are never self-contained – they always have effects; like earthquakes or ripples or rot in food. Such a mistake, however innocent, would have devastating consequences – not at once, not in a year or two, but eventually.

    Take a genuine Saint, like St. Philip Neri, Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory. Because he was truly and radiantly holy, he became the the Second Apostle of Rome. He was an influence on St. Ignatius Loyola, a friend of St. Charles Borromeo & St. Camillus de Lellis; St. Francis de Sales was influenced by him, & so, later on were St. Alphonsus Liguori, & even later, Cardinal Newman. That one priest, by the sheer effect of God’s grace in him, has had a life-givinhg and very fruitful effect on later Saints, & through them, on countless Christians. He himself was educated by the Dominicans – so if there had never been a Saint Dominic, there might never have been a Saint Philip, or a Cardinal Newman.

    Suppose that someone without love of God were canonised – how can someone who cares little for God, radiate to other a love absent from his own heart ? How can he be a living flame of love in the Church, and warm & enlighten others by the beauty of Christ’s Holiness that is in him, if his own soul is dead and lifeless ? Someone who is without love of God, cannot be an example to others of how to love God; he cannot give to others what he does not himself have.

  • Anonymous

    Parasum. Thanks for your time and patience in explaining things to me. I think I agree with you. I am on your side. Now lets pray for armies and armies of holy priests and Bishops to convert the world. We the laity are eagerly waiting to be led and inspired by them to do this work. St John Vianney pray for us.

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