Monday, October 28, 2019

The temptation to private judgement over bad things in the church

Wise words from an unfriendly blogger: "motivated by faith but derailed by substituting your own private judgement for the messy, sometimes frustrating hierarchy of the church." Stealth Protestantism! The demons are fallen angels, much smarter than us. The best intentions can be the biggest temptation, to what C.S. Lewis called the most beautiful and deadly vice, spiritual pride. It may have been Fr. Leonard Feeney's problem. He was on fire for the Lord and the church, unlike the lukewarm compromising Cardinal Cushing, but he overstepped by presenting an allowable opinion (which I don't share: all non-Catholics are going to hell) as doctrine. Actually he was kicked out for disobedience, not directly because of his views. He ignored a summons from Rome to explain his views and his past disobedience. Now? "I don't like Francis; he's not Pope." He might abandon the papacy by teaching heresy ex cathedra but we don't make that call. We honor the Pope's office, which is well limited, not the man or his opinions, which are meaningless. Papal infallibility can only defend church infallibility: our doctrine. He can't change it. "Goddess worship at the Amazon Synod!" You can't blame our teachings, even if the Pope falls down on the job. "The molestation scandal!" You can't blame our teachings for that and we're not Donatists: the unworthiness of the minister does not hinder the grace of the sacraments. "The Novus Ordo is invalid." The church is infallible and indefectible; for the first time, in the 1960s, it wrote new services whole cloth. Banning the old services was stupid; we don't have to pretend it wasn't or that the Holy Spirit is behind every change in rules. Rules can and do change; doctrine doesn't. The old services aren't banned anymore. "I'll become Orthodox!" You're angry that Francis is fine with adulterous second marriages, so you'll join a church that has long had them. What?! They've sold out on contraception and believe that Western Catholicism has been a fraud for a millennium. Going to throw away your missal and rosary? They have their tiny Western Rite but don't really want it; it's heavily byzantinized and, unlike my imperfect Byzantine Catholic church, not a centuries-old community. Aside from the creed, the rest of the first seven councils of our doctrine, and the traditional rite, theologically they're nothing. They're not even in communion with each other: Constantinople vs. Moscow in the Ukraine. There is no such thing as the Orthodox Church.

Keep going to Mass, read the old catechisms, and say your prayers.


  1. Your last line is an excellent exhortation.

  2. Those who call the Novus Ordo Missae invalid. Totally invalid comment itself! Read the Roman Catholicism of the Council of Trent prepared under Papal authority by St. Charles Borromeo. Focus on the chapter re: the Holy Eucharist. The N.O.M. passes muster.

    1. They mean well but are ignorant and often think they know more than they do. I was like that when I was 19.


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