Thursday, October 31, 2019

Why have a Pope?

So if Catholic teachings are what matter and not so much the papacy, so much so that it doesn't matter if the see is vacant or there's an antipope, why bother having a Pope? It's about the office, not the man. Why's his office an indispensable part of the church's machinery?

Only our teachings make sense. There is nowhere else to go.

Exhibit A: the Old Catholics. A rump sect in Europe that chases secular trends. Please. THAT'S the true Roman Catholic Church? Exhibit B: the Orthodox. So Western Catholicism's a fraud but adulterous second marriages and contraception are A-OK? And WHICH Orthodox, Constantinople or Moscow, at each other's throats as Soloviev predicted, out of communion over the Ukraine? Exhibit C: the Anglicans. As in the Reformed Catholicism the Oxford Movement still believed in. "The Pope has overstepped his bounds and is unbiblical!" said the bishop as she was about to officiate at a gay wedding.

If it's not doctrine, it's on the table. If it's not doctrine, we might be wrong. So the almost/alterna-Catholicisms are worth reading and talking to. But no.

Rather, maybe the question should be, why on earth would our holy mother the church want to leave the ancient and venerable see of Rome behind?

The church probably won't know until decades afterwards if Francis was really Pope.

P.S. Think the Ford Foundation and that lesbian priest of the Anglican Church of Canada are really interested in supporting Catholic evangelism in the Amazon valley? Neither do I.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

My impressions of the Amazon Synod

Taking a deep breath and saying prayers, my impressions of the Amazon Synod. Yes, the wrong people, heretical Germans, are behind it, using Amazon natives as a cover/excuse. But it's like Pope Francis' other flirtations with apostasy, okaying adulterous second marriages (giving the couple Communion) and condemning the death penalty: they come close to the line but don't cross it. Private letters aren't magisterial and he didn't say the death penalty is a sin. His opinions probably aren't Catholic. They don't matter. Our doctrine does. Strictly speaking, the only thing wrong with the synod, as far as I know, is the proposal to have lady deacons. In Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, we've said that women's ordination is impossible. Let's look at the other proposals, again as far as I know. Ordaining the married as priests: we're already doing that with the Eastern rites and ex-Anglicans. Ordaining half-educated men just to say Mass: we've done that before. Amazonian Rite: the church has already written a new service, the Novus Ordo. Lady lectors and acolytes: not the sacrament of orders. Inculturation is fine. It's only a problem if a service really is goddess worship, for example. Prove it is. Don't forget Cardinal Müller's negative reaction to the statues of Pachamama in church, apparently for veneration. Also noteworthy: Regina Magazine has said on Facebook it doesn't recognize Francis as Pope; they claim impropriety at the conclave invalidated it. They don't have the authority to say that but I'm glad they're not making excuses for him. Somebody in authority would have to prove it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Convert buyer's remorse

From an unofficial Anglican ordinariate page: "Are there any former Anglicans who have joined the Roman Church by way of the Ordinariate wondering if they have been hoodwinked? Instead of carnivals in Anglican cathedrals in England, you have worship of pagan images in the Basilica in Rome."

I'm not in the ordinariate but was a born Anglican. I strongly felt that way when converting in the 1980s. Leaving people who at least knew how to to do liturgical worship for a bunch of weird self-haters who'd lost their nerve with the modern world, claiming that church teachings had changed, joining the enemy, and out-low-churching the low-church Anglicans. It took a long time including long spells back outside the church for me to figure out. The liberals who ran almost everything Catholic 35 years ago were wrong. Our teachings didn't change. They can't. They can't be swept away by a General Synod or General Convention vote! So the Amazon Synod, Pachamama and all that, etc. don't faze me. The church can write new services and recently has done, the Novus Ordo, but we don't have to believe the changes are ordered by the Holy Spirit or have to like them. Thanks to the Eastern rites (I am now Byzantine), Summorum Pontificum (I am much formed by the traditional Latin Mass), and the Anglican Use, now the ordinariates, we don't even have to use them!

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.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Thomists, bad liberals, and good liberals: Bishop Barron on Vatican II and its aftermath

I don't know much about Bishop Barron. 1 Peter 5 has a post criticizing this piece. It's far from the worst thing I've heard on the subject. Honors for that might go to a thin imprimatur'd paperback piece of shit written about 10 years after Vatican II and printed by the Redemptorists that my otherwise sound college freshman religious-studies teacher, an Augustinian, made us read, The Catholic Church Story: Changing and Changeless. Edward Day was biased, un-academic, cheering for the first Protestants, calling St. Pius X vs. the Modernists "overkill," and writing syrupy nonsense about the council with all the changes being from the Holy Spirit. Christian community he was ashamed of was "sentimental loyalties such as fish on Friday and ashes during Lent." "The council taught that the Mass is a family dinner" and "took away the altars and replaced them with tables." A typical self-hating Catholic of the time. Spare me the patronizing mention of the Eastern churches; by then I'd been to the Ukrainian Catholic Church and knew better. A tract that didn't belong in the university nor the parishes. Anyway, God has the last laugh: the few remaining parishioners are 35-year-olds with several kids, NOT ashamed of our Christian community, wearing lace mantillas and following the traditional Latin Mass in their hand missals. The protestantized nonsense will last for one more generation after Pope Francis and literally die off: the biological option.

The traditional church has factions with different theological speculations (me: if it's not doctrine, it's on the table) and spiritualities (me: respect my customs and I'll respect yours) that don't get along. Franciscans vs. Jesuits, for example. Or look at Catholic countries: Irish vs. Italians! Barron's explanation of three factions is pretty good but he should be clearer that he's not condemning Garrigou-Lagrange's Thomism as un-Catholic even though he doesn't like it, belonging to the Communio school of "liberals" who are still Catholic, such as Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI; I knew that about Benedict, that he's actually not that conservative. No problem. At its best the Communio school's patristic like Newman's Anglican approach. And Barron should be clearer that the Concilium chaps (note: all such are old now), Hans Küng and his associates, have really spun off into Protestantism and beyond, into agnosticism. Roman Spongs. They really should be excommunicated or leave on their own, because they're not Catholic and have harmed people's faith.