More Catholic than the Pope

The fact that this expression exists, and that to accuse someone of “trying to be more Catholic than the pope” is to make that person sound silly, is a sign of everything that’s wrong in the Catholic Church today.  That we’re not supposed to try to be “more Catholic than the pope” usually means three things

  1. One should not take a stricter view on moral matters–especially matters of sexual morality–than the pope.  (E.g.:  “How can you say that there’s something wrong with natural family planning?  Even the pope is okay with that!”)
  2. One should not express concerns over matters of doctrinal orthodoxy or liturgical orthopraxis if the pope himself has not expressed these concerns.  (E.g. “How can you call Tielhard de Chardin a heretic?  Even the pope thinks he’s great!”)
  3. One should not express a higher opinion of the Catholic clergy or the historical record of the Catholic Chruch than the pope does.  (E.g. “How can you say the media is exaggerating the prevalence of clergy sexual abuse?  Even the pope has admitted that it’s really bad!”  or “How can you defend the crusades?  Even the pope has apologized for them!”)

Each of these claims is not only wrong but harmful.  #1 and #2 make it inevitable that the Church will continue to drift Leftward, closer and closer to heresy and immoralism, because it means that the Vatican only ever feels pressure to move in a Leftward direction.  No one is pushing the other way.  At best, the pope has defenders who will take the same positions as him, but the Holy Father can be confident that he won’t alienate these loyalists by moving to the Left; they would be sure to follow, for fear of seeming more Catholic than the pope.

#3 prevents the pope from confronting problems and corruptions in the Church frankly, because upon any admission of wrongdoing from the Vatican, the Church’s entire record is deemed indefensible and her enemies entirely vindicated.  It was not always thus.  During the Middle Ages, and even down to the early twentieth century, the papacy was a strongly critical voice in Christendom, more likely to exaggerate the sins of her clergy (either from a desire to reform or an excuse to centralize power in its own hands, depending on one’s point of view) than to ignore them.

How to fix this state of affairs?  For #1 and #2, it’s up to the laity.  We need to start loudly criticizing the pope from the Right.  We need voices demanding that sexual morals be made stricter (e.g. by returning to the Chruch’s traditional condemnation of sex during pregnancy or during Lent).  That way, the Pope can play the reasonable moderate just by maintaining the current orthodoxy.  For #3, the ball is in the Vatican’s court.  The Holy Father needs to start issuing condemnations, and–here’s the crucial part–they have to be so extreme that the Church’s enemies can’t believe that they’re literally true.  The pope must establish prophetic exaggeration as his idiom.  He should not accuse American priests of sexually abusing children at a higher rate than other men, a claim that is false but plausible.  He should rather say things like, “In America, the rectories are nothing but homosexual/pederastic brothels!  There is not one priest in that accursed land who’s sexual abominations do not cry to heaven for vengeance!”  He should not hint that European priests have an inadequate theological training.  He should say, “In Europe, the priests are practically illiterate!” or something equally unbelievable.  Somehow, in the last century, we got the idea that it’s improper for a spiritual leader to make angry denunciations.  I’d like to see the pope out on the war path every day until this idea is finally put to rest.  Besides, I think it would be much better if the pope had a reputation as someone who is unfairly harsh towards his own organization than have him in his current position of being just another face-saving PR spokesman.

7 Responses

  1. Most of this is not worth comment! But as a victim of your “pederast” rectories, I must point out that there is not a relation, as you have intimated, between that and homosexuality.

  2. Dear Mr. Evans,

    There is no connection between homosexuality and the historically dominant expression of homosexuality? (So those great men of ancient Greece weren’t gay after all? You can’t have it both ways.) Bullshit. I’m sure you can site psychologists who agree with you, but that’s only because the psychological profession has been bullied into submission by the sodomite lobby.

    And no, I have no intention of groveling, of saying how very sorry I am and how worthless my religious community is, just because you are willing to say that you are a “victim”. Maybe you are; maybe you aren’t. Unlike the rest of the world, I refuse to simply assume guilt whenever the accused is a cleric. It may be (although I hope it is not, and, if not, please forgive the mention) your intention to harm the Church while being very careful to protect the good name of sexual perversion. Even if so, I don’t judge souls–you may be a better man than I, either manipulated or with a grievance to be legitimately pursued. I often have admirable men for enemies. But you must understand that a community has the right to fight for its survival, even if that community is the Catholic Church. I must fight efforts to destroy (by slanted reporting) my community’s morale and destroy our children’s reverence with humiliation. I must fight exorbitant settlements (to which no other institution is subject) that take away our material base, our churches and schools, forcing my children to grow up like heathen. No army of “victims”–some genuine, some gold-digging liars–have the right to cultural genocide, the obvious goal of this campaign.

  3. Every time I hear this phrase it cracks me up – it is sadly true that the majority of traditional Catholics are “more Catholic than the pope,” but that’s only because it doesn’t take much to be so. His orthodoxy to Catholic doctrine isn’t very deep.

    As to your solutions, I agree! If he is as Catholic as he claims, he ought to be throwing bishops and priests out of the Church left and right…oh, but that’s not diplomatic….well, what does one expect from a pope who excuses pedophilia with the idea that it is a “mental illness” which suspends these priests from the use of their free will.

  4. I am pleased that your children may have the oportunity to grow up “heathen”, giving them ample time to develop their own spiritual life outside of your dogmatic pressure.

  5. And so you are revealed as the totalitarian communist bully that you are. It’s not enough that the rest of the world is run by your utilitarian, atheist, soulless pig morality. As long as one household anywhere in the world dissents from your nihilistic creed, you look for a way to crush us. Not enough that I’ve lost my civilization; you want to take my neighborhood and my children away from me, too–corrupting their souls, rendering them insensible Leftist boors without piety, chastity, or faith.

    You are working for our annihilation as a people. We are enemies. I pray that we will not always be so, but today that’s the plain fact of it. I see no point in continuing this conversation. I will delete any further comments by you or anyone else who rejoices over the ruin of my daughter’s soul.

  6. Hello trent13,

    I think you’re angrier at BXVI than I am. To me, it seems inevitable that, given that the papacy gets nothing but pressure to move Left, it will drift Left. It’s like how I don’t get angry at people who apostasize under torture. One doesn’t approve, but one understands. One might even say that the popes from Paul VI on have done a heroic job resisting the pressure to formally embrace heresy. But that just shows how bad the situation is. The pope shouldn’t be the one force in a billion person Church pulling for orthodoxy, and it shouldn’t take a heroic effort for him to not be a heretic. If only there were more traditional Catholics, and we had a stronger voice.

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