It’s only dissent when conservatives do it.

That was the first thing I thought, reading Austen Invereigh’s claim that critics of communion-for-adulterers (or even those requesting clarification as to whether that is now official policy) have crossed the line “into dissent”.  After all, Cardinal Kasper was promoting his heresy long ago.  Popes John Paul II and Benedict VI answered quite unambiguously that unrepentant adulterers cannot receive the Eucharist.  Wasn’t Kasper obliged to accept this ruling with full sincerity, to accept its teaching as his own belief and to never raise the issue again?  What’s the difference?  Why is it that when liberals don’t get the answer they want, it just means they should keep asking, whereas conservatives have to accept any answer, or ambiguous non-answer, we don’t like?

Invereigh claims that today’s critics of Amoris Laetitia resemble past heretics and schematics, but the resemblances are peculiar.  One resemblance is supposed to be our insistence on logical deduction from accepted principles.  One notes here the anti-intellectualism Pope Francis has fostered across the Catholic world, its hostility toward clarity and precision, its interpretation of questions as attacks.  More vaguely, there is the criticism that critics are failing to move with the Church.  One suspects that for some people, the Pope is only to be obeyed when he contradicts previous teaching, because only this constitutes “movement” which is our new sign of the action of the Holy Ghost.  It is a prejudice directly opposite of the traditionalist’s.  Thus the deepest fears of the Eastern Orthodox regarding the papacy would be confirmed.  Papal authority would then be said to exist not as a weapon to preserve the immutable deposit of faith, but as an instrument to authorize unlimited novelty.

13 Responses

  1. Criticism of the document is perfectly valid. Though, the same guys who are criticising are the same guys who were arguing that the faithful are obliged to follow Papal teaching on the grounds of Papal Authority alone. i.e. authoratative teachings need to be submitted to by both the will and the intellect. As I understand it AL is authoratative.

    It’s funny to see how the “conservatives” ended up being “Cafeteria Catholics” of a different persuasion.

    I reckon the greatest legacy of the Francis pontificate will be teaching conservatives the value of conscience.

  2. It’s having the opposite effect on me, making me more and more hostile to any subjective considerations, seeing as how they seem to end up justifying anything.

  3. The Pope, unequivocally, has not said that divorced and remarried people must be given communion in his official capacity.

    So those claiming that upholding the law of the Church is “dissent” are basically just internet trolls. I see no reason to engage with such unserious persons.

  4. My sense of what Bonald has been circling around is how he ought to regard the pronouncements and behaviour of Francis – and does *this* Pope require a different attitude and set of prior assumptions than his predecessors – should what Francis says and does be regarded more dofferently and cautiously than was the case for Benedict?

    Francis is picking the wrong side, and making gratuitous interventions for the wrong side, so often and willingly that it makes sense to regard this as evidence of an underlying and systematic wrongness; more plausibly than mere errors.

    If Francis is indeed strategically subversive, then this Papacy does need a change in attitdue – and this era ought to be regarded as a challenge and clarification.

    But certainly a significant change in attitude to the Pope *will* happen, one way or another, because that is precisely what is being *compelled* by Francis.

  5. @Bonald.

    It’s having the opposite effect on me,………..

    I’d be careful, really careful since the perception of the Truth is a subjective experience. Make sure that your quest for certitude does not shut the door to to reality.

  6. Cheer up Slumlord. Subjective intentions have plenty of moral power. Subjective intentions can never make an objectively wrong action good, of course; but bad intentions have the power to make any action morally wrong.

  7. True obedience to the office requires obedience to the highest authority, God. If the office-holder is disobedient to Christ, we must do what is right.

    The clear break for the major splits has been disrespect of the office of Peter. We may recognize the Pope as a bad man, but still understand the Apostle’s seat is Holy and that God has given it to Francis for a reason (perhaps to better clarify the errors of Vatican II, or to give Francis a chance to repent and do great good, or – who knows?)

    So you have a situation where the current Pope is publicly disagreeing with the authority of tradition, but demands you obey his authority. His authority is in the office though, not personified by him – he is no God and is not free to discover new revelation, etc. – his authority is only to defend and guide the church, to clarify, beyond that he has none.

    If your local priest is a good priest, he will truly embody the will of Christ. If he gives your church to satanists and celebrates homosexually, he is clearly a bad priest. This does not undermine the priesthood, or the office of the priest, but only shows him personally to be evil and wrong.

    We must not worship the Pope as if he were a minor god.

    * Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” *

  8. I think that is the point of schism, or error. All truths seem to find a middle ground, a narrow path.

    If we begin saying that Pope Francis’ heretical beliefs show that the Papacy was a fraud, that would be a schism – or if we left the religion it would show our lack of faith in God – or if we said he is simply another democratically elected Bishop, etc.

    True loyalty to the King may also require recognizing when he is senile and destroying his Kingdom.

  9. True loyalty to the King may also require recognizing when he is senile and destroying his Kingdom.

    Yet you get to decide what is true loyalty. Nothing objective about it. Spong would approve.

  10. Francis is picking the wrong side

    Indeed, here is more evidence –

    Is this another wrong move on his part? Francis also doesn’t like nasty legalistic scholasticism, he would rather do away with it and make everything nice and simple. That sounds awfully familiar.

  11. “The dwarves are for the dwarves.”

  12. Is the latest news true? Did Pope Francis say we need banking overlords? This is getting weird…

  13. Zerohedge seems to have a lot of BS news, but this is weird to me:

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