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Dissent will not renew the Church, Pope says at Chrism Mass

By on Thursday, 5 April 2012

Benedict XVI celebrates the chrism Mass this morning (CNS)

Benedict XVI said that dissent from Catholic teaching will not renew the Church during a Chrism Mass in St Peter’s Basilica this morning.

Surrounded by more than 1,600 priests, bishops and cardinals, the Pope cautioned against calls for women’s ordination, saying that such campaigns seemed more “a desperate push” to fulfill one’s own preferences rather than a sincere attempt to conform one’s life more closely to Christ.

During the April 5 chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which focused on Holy Thursday as the day Jesus shared his priesthood with the apostles, the pope said he wanted to use the occasion to ask all priests, including himself, to meditate upon what their consecration really means.

“Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him,” which entails a renunciation of oneself and “of the much-vaunted self-fulfillment,” the pope asked.

Being Christ-like means not to be served but to serve, not taking but giving, he said.

If that is the nature of the priesthood, then what should be the response of priests when faced with “the often dramatic situation of the church today,” the pope asked.

Without specifying the country, Pope Benedict said a group of priests from a European nation have issued a call for disobedience of church teaching, specifically regarding the question of women’s ordination.

Last year the president of the Austrian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, condemned a “Call to Disobedience,” signed by 250 of Austria’s 4,200 Catholic priests. The document urged Catholics to begin a campaign in support of women priests and “priestless Eucharistic liturgies”, as well as for Communion to be given to non-Catholics and remarried divorcees.

Also, 311 theologians from Austria, Germany and Switzerland signed a memorandum last year demanding the ordination of women and married men, as well as an “open dialogue” on the Church’s “structures of power and communication.”

Pope Benedict asked, “Is disobedience a path of renewal for the church?” adding that Blessed John Paul II taught “irrevocably that the church has received no authority from the Lord” to ordain women.

Pope Benedict said perhaps such campaigns are motivated by concern for the Church and believe that “the slow pace of institutions has to be overcome by drastic measures, in order to open up new paths and bring the church up-to-date.”

“But is disobedience really a way to do this?” the pope asked.

True renewal must be based on lives that are radically conformed to Christ and God’s will, he said.

Christ did seek to correct errors in human traditions, the pope said, but only those customs that stifled God’s word and will, seeking to eliminate “human caprice” so as to reveal God’s authentic desire for his people.

Being humble, subservient, and obedient to God and following church teaching are not excuses “to defend inertia, the fossilisation of traditions,” the pope said.

The era following the Second Vatican Council showed what a process of “true renewal” looks like, and it can be seen in many of the new movements and ways of life that are “filled with the joy of faith, the radicalism of obedience, the dynamic of hope and the power of love,” he said.

Presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, Pope Benedict blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

Deacons carried the oils in large silver urns to the main altar while catechumens, youths preparing for confirmation, the sick and deacons about to be ordained in the Diocese of Rome wheeled small tables carrying large urns, which also contained sacramental oils.

In his homily, the Pope called on all priests to continue to look to Christ and the saints for guidance in how best to serve and renew the Church and minister to humanity.

“God is not concerned so much with great numbers and with outward successes, but achieves his victories under the humble sign of the mustard seed,” the pope said.

He urged bishops and priests to remember their role as teachers and to use the upcoming Year of Faith to combat “the growing religious illiteracy found in the midst of our sophisticated society.”

“We preach not private theories and opinions, but the faith of the church,” he said. Accurate, authentic guides of what the church teaches can be found not only in sacred Scripture, but also the texts of Vatican II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Pope John Paul II’s writings, which “are still far from being explored,” he said.

But such teaching will only be credible when those preaching live lives that are visibly touched and shaped by Christ and his word, the Pope said.

Later in the day at the Basilica of St John Lateran, the Pope celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which commemorates Jesus’s institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood.

During the evening Mass Pope Benedict washed the feet of 12 priests from the Diocese of Rome. The ritual reflected the call to imitate Christ by serving one another and forgiving each other.

The Pope poured water from a golden pitcher onto the foot of each priest, then gently rubbed each foot dry with a white towel.

In his homily, the Pope said that pride and wanting to be free to do as one wants is “the real essence of sin”.

When Jesus spent the night on the Mount of Olives deep in prayer and wracked with anguish, he asked God to spare him of the evil that awaited him: betrayal, denial, torture and death, the Pope said.

He struggled, looking deep into the night of evil and saw “the filthy flood of all the lies and all the disgrace which he will encounter in that chalice from which he must drink”, the Pope said. “He also sees me, and he prays for me.”

Here, Jesus performs the office of a priest, the Pope said, by taking “upon himself the sins of humanity, of all of us, and he brings us before the father”.

Though he begged to be spared, Jesus puts his life in God’s hands and asks that God’s will be done. Jesus transformed the attitude of Adam and healed humanity.

Adam’s pride can be seen in people who believe they need to be free of God in order to be really free, he said.

“This is the fundamental rebellion present throughout history and the fundamental lie which perverts life.”

Without God, people are alienated from themselves and “we are free only if we stand in the truth of our being, if we are united to God”, he said.

The collection taken up at the Mass was earmarked by the pope to offer humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees.

  • Alan

    Thank you for that, I read the relevant chapter.  I’m not convinced (in particular I don’t think the Old Testament practice is particularly relevant) but we’ll leave it there.
    On the question of what one poster called “Holy Obedience” to the Magisterium, I would quote from the Council of Florence (1442): “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and proclaims that none of those who are outside the Catholic Church – not only pagans, but Jews also, heretics and schismatics – can have part in eternal life, but will go into eternal fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are gathered into that Church before the end of life”.  I’m sure that most Catholics would have regarded that as pretty “infallible”, and there are possibly some who wish it was still in force, but it was well and truly buried by the time of Vatican II. 
    I’m not saying that will happen with this ordination question, simply giving it as an example of what can happen with a ruling once regarded as binding.

  • srdc

    The issue is the interpretation of tradition. We hold that the Magisterium has the final world. They don’t.

  • EditorCT

    Behave yourself!  I didn’t even restrict my analogy to murder. I also said (in my original post) “stealing” – I was trying to show you that the Pope has no more authority to ordain women than he has to CHANGE THE COMMANDMENTS.

    In plain English I was NOT accusing women of being either murderers or thieves.  Can’t you see the point I was making? 

    Rhetorical question.  Tragically, I think the answer is all too obvious. 

    Luv ‘n stuff…

  • srdc


    The Council of Florence implies that without the existence of the church. There is no salvation.

    It means that without the Church, without the presence of Christ in the world in sacrament and Word, there is no salvation for anyone.

    The Holy Spirit can act outside the church, but still works through it.

    This has not changed, but developed.

    This is another article that help you understand the priesthood.

    Like, I said, understanding sacramental theology will help you understand this.

    The Catholic optic on the world is “seeing things as they are”

  • Benedict Carter

    srdc, with this post you show yourself to be an ignoramus. Sorry, but it’s true.

    You know nothing at all about Catholic teaching on non-Catholic Orders, nor of Anglicanism, which officially from Day One EXPLICITLY rejected Catholic sacramental theology. 

    They NEVER had a “little bit” of the Real Presence. Are you mad? You have real Sacraments or you don’t. Protestants don’t (unless they use the valid Catholic formula for baptism). 

    Appalling. Back to school for you.

  • srdc


    Even the church accepted Anglican ordinations as valid until the Edwardian ordeal.

    So it’s incorrect to say that they did not have anything from day one.

     “that there were two classes of men; the first of those who had really received Holy Orders, either before the secession of Henry VIII, or, if after it, and by ministers infected by error and schism, still according to the accustomed Catholic rite; the second, those who were initiated according to the Edwardine Ordinal, who on that account could not be “promoted”, since they had received an ordination which was null.”

  • Honeybadger

    The Roman Catholic Church is not interested in quantity – it is the QUALITY of its members who respect the Magisterium and the Word of God that make the Church.

    Perhaps the people who are falling away are like you – spitting the dummy and acting like spoilt brats because the church is not to your liking or lifestyle! 

    Bye, bye! You won’t be missed – at least, whilst you have this crappy attitude.

    Re-read what you have written and think carefully.

    It is the likes of you and your attitude that have undermined the faith. You won’t be missed.

    If you are ashamed and fed up with the Church (and don’t use women as an excuse), then go and see if the grass is greener.

  • Honeybadger


    Your last paragraph is what I am getting at with Josephine. It’s just that people like her haven’t got the guts to admit that is the bag they have with the Church, which is what I find so telling and so pathetic!

  • srdc

    Yes, I know this. But people want to know WHY?

    Explaining the why does not hurt.

  • srdc


    I get your views, but I would rather focus on why, rather than what the church did or did not say in the past.

  • srdc

    Reality phobia existed before the council.  It stems from a failure to understand sacramental theology.   I think you would do better if you actually made an attempt to explain things to people, rather than try to drive them out, with shut up and listen.

    You are not the Pope or the Bishop.

  • JabbaPapa

    You’re being rather unclear with your use of vocabulary — I think you’re referring to the Anglo-Catholics ; except that you appear to have used a more general term, which can easily give the wrong impression ; and seems in fact to have done so.

    I honestly can’t remember the exact detail myself with enough precision, though — IIRC the Church considers as “churches” those denominations with a valid form of baptism, which in itself requires valid teachings about the nature of Christ ; so that the Anglicans are considered as a “church”, even though they have no valid eucharistic sacrament (because they explicitly deny its possibility in their doctrines) — traditional Anglicans not accepting this heresy and understanding the bread and wine in ways close to Catholicism are in a dubious position, but their clergy are unable to consecrate the essences because their ordinations cannot be validly traced back through the line of licit ordination to the Christ (due to the existence of this heresy)…

    There can exist a _desire_ for the Real Presence in traditional Anglicanism ; but its clergy must be considered as being unable to consecrate the bread…

    The PROOF of the matter is that ALL Anglo-Catholic clergy must be ordained as priests upon joining an Ordinariate of the Church — therefore not even those Anglican priests who are the closest to the Church can consecrtae the bread and wine.

    Some Church of England clergy in the few years in the immediate aftermath of the schism may have been in a variety of (confusing) situations — but this historical perspective, whilst interesting, is of no relevance to the current Anglican ministers.

    I think the point is that your agreement with the original link between the ordination of women in those denominations and the lack of the Real Presence cannot actually be demonstrated — the lack of the Eucharistic Presence certainly leads to all manner of sin and errors ; but it is the more central abandonment of faith that leads to all of these things.

  • Benedict Carter

    Not interested in quantity???? 

    The sole object of the Catholic Church is to get as many of its members into Purgatory at least: its sole business of the Salvation of Souls. 

    This “quality not quantity” rubbish is the clarion call of the liberals, Modernists and wreckers who have overseen, encouraged and even wanted the Great Apostasy. Having re-invented a healthy Church that didn’t need tinkering with, and in the process largely destroyed it, they have left only the excuse that “quality is what we want, not quantity!”

    BUT WHAT DOES CHRIST WANT? He wants as many Men as possible to have their souls saved. 

    But agree entirely with your call for the liberals and wreckers to leave the Church. They aren’t Catholics by anyone’s reckoning.

  • Benedict Carter

    She hasn’t got a clue Jabba. 

  • Benedict Carter

    Your question makes no grammatical sense as it stands. I haven’t got a clue what you are trying to ask.

  • Benedict Carter

    I just quoted two Popes. What narcotic are you on?

    And what is “reality phobia”? Just what is that when it’s at home? You are a crazy, mixed-up kid srdc.

  • Benedict Carter

    That teaching is still current, Alan. What is different is that the definition of the word “Church” has been widened. 

  • JabbaPapa

    This “quality not quantity” rubbish is the clarion call of the liberals

    It’s one of the oldest heretical ideas of them all — the gnostics, the Donatists, the Montanists, the Cathars, the Fraticelli, the Calvinists, all provide this “quality not quantity” rubbish.

  • buckingham88

     Thanks for the heads up.

  • srdc

    Reality phobia is fear of the sacramental or fear of the physical world as an agent of God’s creation and sanctification.

  • srdc

    I was just responding to the fact that they threw Holy Orders out at some point.

    I never claimed they had the fullness of truth.

  • Tommy Ross

    I don’t hold out any hope for the Church in Ireland with these guys as “the future”…. Open dissent at its best/worst!

  • Honeybadger

    I take your point, Benedict, about the quality/quantity bit.

    I take that bit back.

    Questions remain:

    Why do those who are Catholic want a bespoke ‘church’ to suit themselves instead of exercising obedience to the same?

    It is THEY who give people the impression that they speak for all Roman Catholics!

    That’s what annoys me.

  • srdc

    They can go to a Protestant church where they can worship God their way.  We can continue to worship God HIS way.

  • Benedict Carter

    They aren’t Catholics. They’re already protestants: their own authority is what counts. Pride is at the root of it, and ignorance of the Faith. The latter is the fault of the Church Herself, since Vatican II: the former is the spiritual AIDs of our age. 

    I have more respect for the 16th century revolutionaries (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Cranmer, Knox et al) than I do for the Catholic dissenters of today. 

    In fact, I have nothing but contempt for the liberal destroyers of today, if the truth be told. 

    The former had at least enough of a conscience to leave the Church they knew they were no longer part of; this lot think they can change the Faith in their own image and according to their own desires. 

  • Benedict Carter


  • JabbaPapa

    I cannot see that they’ve dissented from the teaching of the Church, except that one of them seemed to be overly hesitant and confused on the question of sex before marriage (which can, as far as I know, often be a difficult area for young, recently ordained priests.

    Concerning the marriage of priests, this is indeed a man-made rule, that the Church could therefore change.

    Concerning contraception, they quite rightly refused to answer (remember, this is 2009 and *before* the latest clarification from the Church on that problem). (except one who gave a simple one-word answer that it’s wrong)

    And generally, the rules/ideals dichotomy that they presented in their answers are accurately representative of orthodox Catholic teaching.

    Concerning the Murphy & Ryan reports, they simply expressed their natural shock and revulsion about the findings, that we all of us must have felt in our own particular ways.

    I’m actually far unhappier with the questions asked, and the somewhat abusive and manipulative manner of asking them (“this is not a philosophical question, it’s a straightforward yes or no question about rules” = a straightforward lie), than I am with the answers that the three tried to give.

  • Tommy Ross

     ….just look at them in civies! Enough for me…… Off with them! They are no addition to the church. Shame on Cardinal Brady for ordaining them in the first place!

  • paulsays

    It is truly shocking that the Church denies communion to divorces. Does anyone know just how difficult to get an annulment it is? Slow and near impossible.

    Men and women some through no fault of their own denied the bread and body of Christ, its quite shocking.

  • Killerk

    How many child abusing priests have been denied communion and how many children are lost to the church, when their parents are rejected..Has Ex-President Berlesconi ever been denied Holy Communion? What about serial cheaters like Newt Gingrich? If you are rich, powerful and divorce your wife on her sick bed,you are okay…if you are an ordinary lay person then if you choose love, the happiness of your family and the chance of a family that you are ex-communicated.

  • EditorCT

    The Church does NOT deny Communion to divorcees.  Only those who have “remarried” are denied Communion and that is their choice. Christ’s own words are clear:  anyone who divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery.  Or maybe He got it wrong?

  • Deax

    OOOkkay here are a few public domain biblical sources that explain the Catholic belief on these things…

     Genesis Chapter 3:16 “To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy
    conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt
    be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.”

     Numbers Chapter 16 – summary: a lot of people killed because they tried to make themselves priests when they were not qualified….not a good idea…

  • Jae

    You are full of hatred and pride Benedict Carter, when you are cornered, you resort to ad hominem attacks and name calling then call yourself a traditionalist catholic, well not surprised a bit because this is the same venom coming from the same groups who constantly attacking the pope and the church. Just look at these traditionalists movement after they split from the church 50 years ago, scattering and splintering much like the Protestants today, well at least they were separated 500 years only!

  • Jae

    Yup like you Benedict and your beloved SSPX who only after 50 years of separation (not on full communion yet) there had been already 5 splinter groups who didn’t agree with SSPXs interpretation of same catholic tradition.

    After this summer is over, though I would like personally for the SSPx to reconcile, I think the pope will declare SSPX in formal schism.

  • EditorCT


    Benedict Carter is NOT “full of hatred and pride” – and anyway “who, precisely, has “cornered” him?   He’s one of the few people who know anything at all about the Church on this blog.  I wish he’d switch to the Catholic Truth blog where he’d be well and truly appreciated, let me tell you.  Having said that, he’s well and truly needed here!

    The fact that you do not know the difference between true Protestant disobedience and Catholic adherence to Tradition, says it all.

    The “venom” of which you speak, comes from YOU, Jae – get a grip.

  • srdc


    Thank You. All the knowledge in the world is pointless if you lack charity. 

    Pope John Paul 2 said, the church proposes, not imposes.

  • srdc

    I would say Luther was a lot better than today’s liberals. He openly rejected the Mass and sacraments as abomination. These snakes want to destroy them indirectly.

  • EditorCT

    So when Christ castigated the scribes and pharisees and called them “whited sepulchres” and “hypocrites” He was being “uncharitable” ?

  • Benedict Carter

    Tommy Ross:

    Hear, hear!

  • srdc

    I agree with the church 100%. I am just fed up of the lack of charity on ALL sides. It goes something like this.

    Liberal: You are a poor indoctrinated soul. Blindly following whatever the Vatican tells you. Learn to think for yourself. You anti-woman, anti-gay hating, faux news watching zombie.

    Conservative: You are an ignorant hippy, brainwashed by Jesuits. You should go become a Protestant. I will report you to the Pope, for attacking Holy Mother Church.


  • Benedict Carter

    Looks like the SSPX is in!

    Goodbye assorted Vatican II die-hards, liberals, dissenters, heretics, apostates, schismatics, neo-Protestants, you Modernist destroyers of the Lord’s Vineyard!

    The Day of the Hippy is definitely numbered!!!!

  • nmfd72

    like everything else Christ said, this is taken out of context!! Do you really believe Christ wants a woman to stay in an abusive relationship?? or one where the man is having extramarital affairs? or is mentally imbalanced??

  • EditorCT

    I didn’t say that. The Church does not require that.  A Catholic IS permitted to divorce – what they cannot do is then remarry. 

  • Conorcrrll

    NO, you are wrong, and they have been explained in triplicate, you just need to go away and look them up. I agree with much of what you have said about dissenters etc, but if you look at what Pope Benedict has and is doing you will see he is stopping dissention, but it takes a long time. Look at what he has done to the leaders of nuns in America or his comments on the Austrian and Irish priests recently. What do you think the year of faith is about? There is a document coming out to coincide with the start of the year of faith which will tell every bishop in the world to review all of its teaching materials from seminary through RCIA and down to first communion books to make sure they are completely in keeping with Catholic doctrine.

  • Conorcrrll

    an annulment is not a divorce, it says that a marriage never took place in the first place. I say this because you suggest they are the same.