So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pope? Puppet?

O Lord our God, hear our prayer. Restore dignity to the office of Peter.

Pope Francis has a certain style. Style points aside for a moment, the real concern for many Catholics is the Holy Father's comfortable way with imprecise language.

Mindful of the respect due the Petrine ministry, and mindful of the Lord's promise to Saint Peter, Francis' loose lips won't be sinking the Lord's ship any time soon. Even though his comments are frequently, it seems, replete with contradictions, the Holy Father has made clear—thanks be to God!—that the teaching of the Church cannot change.

So far, Pope Francis' comments and writings—e.g., Amoris Laetitia—can be listed in the 'take-it-or-leave-it' category. There are many beautiful passages in his published documents, and there are (too) many dopey bits that might be the subject of humour and/or mild consternation for students of theology for centuries to come.

We can and should take solace in the fact that nothing Pope Francis has said and published in his name thus far rises to the level of "Church-ending". That said, Pope Francis needs to find (much) better ghostwriters. His weak response to those who pointed out the questionable footnote attached to Amoris Laetitia suggests he has allowed himself to become as prone as a puppet dangling from the strings of wicked men. Unfortunately, said wicked men have attempted to use those strings to strangle the faithful who have rightly challenged the poorly constructed parts of Amoris Laetitia.

The Gatekeeper

Let us pray for Cardinal Müller who, as head of the the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, certainly has his hands full. We can be certain the good cardinal will use whatever tools in the fraternal correction tool box in his possession to provide appropriate counsel to the Holy Father and Holy Mother Church.

Patience People

Catholics operate with a long view of history. Pray for the grace to demonstrate patience stretching decades. If you are bothered by Pope Francis' awkward comments, hold your breath until the current administration comes to a close. There is nothing the Holy Spirit cannot purge from the Church if we accept our role in providing to our brothers and sisters an example of holiness befitting a disciple of Jesus Christ. Let our speech and actions be clear and orthodox. In all things charity.

Snakes and Adders
St. Luke 11:11
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent(?)
People look to Jesus Christ and His Church for certainty... about the afterlife and about the things in this life that are worth living for, and about the grace we mere mortals need in order to meet the challenges that life offers in this world. They desire the certainty of knowing they are loved by God.

Ask yourself the following question:
Is my pastor handing on the Apostolic teaching of the Church with confidence and does he expect us to live the Gospel without compromise, or is he taming the Gospel and greasing our ears with sentimental nonsense and encouraging exceptions to the demands of Jesus' commandments?
If the former, all is good and well. If the latter, run for a parish where the Gospel is preached without compromise.

Christians know that, as children of the Light, they must strive to live a holy life and keep Jesus' commandments. They want fish to eat, not snakes! They desire the certainty of that deep peace which only Jesus can offer. Sincere believers do not seek the gift as if it is the stopping point. We are not seeking an emotional high in some megachurch that offers vapid feel good platitudes that do nothing to prepare disciples for the realities of Christian discipleship. We seek the Giver of all that is good. We love God because He is God, our Maker, our Father. We seek to be in a state of grace so that we may enjoy the friendship of God.

The faithful fear one thing: offending God. The faithful seek to stay close to Jesus by staying close to the sacraments. They live the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The faithful know they need God and they, sustained by the Holy Spirit, do their best to serve Jesus Christ in others. In the midst of a world hostile to the Faith, true disciples do not need the additional challenge of defending the Faith from attacks by those who abuse statements of the Holy Father to serve some twisted agenda.

We need a pontiff who will restore true dignity to the papacy, a pope who is:
  • a saint who confidently proclaims the lordship of Jesus Christ.
  • a first rate theologian and historian who will call all to a higher and humbler discipleship.
  • a lover of reverent and beautiful liturgy who will bring about the true vision of Vatican II that is in continuity with the authentic Tradition of the Church.
In the meantime, we must fast and pray for the occupant of the Office of Peter.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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