A friend has asked me to give my thoughts on the series of posts by the chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales which I had linked here https://benjaminiperegrinus.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/74/
There are now also a part 4 and 5. I have started three times and gotten stuck, it’s hard to write about such things without rambling or simply summarizing (restating) the series
There are a few points about the series which I think are great, particularly the clear distinction of the differences between ‘liberal’, ‘neo-conservative’ and ‘traditional(ist)’ Catholics.
Here’s the deal- the Pope keeps saying things which should be concerning to any serious believing Catholic. It’s not just what he says he is also using language in a strange way, I’m often left saying “what is he talking about”. Meanwhile conservative Catholic bloggers and commentators including Fr. Z perform astounding acrobatics to spin gold out of straw- here’s the thing, it shouldn’t be necessary to explain how every utterance of the Pope can be understood in an orthodox manner. Under normal circumstances we should be able to take things at face value. There are lots of examples I won’t go into them, if you want me to give some, ask in the comments section. Some of the problem may have to do with (or be made worse by) translation issues.
Stepping back and looking at the big picture of the Popes statements he seems to be saying he wants a more authentic church. Whether or not what he thinks authentic Christianity looks like, really is, is a different question. In other words, you know all those empty slogans liberals throw around. Stuff about peace, justice, love and the like, we know it’s just empty rhetoricating, but….. Pope Francis really believes it. ‘Want peace work for justice’ we know people with the bumper sticker really mean ‘get the government to level the playing field’, but Pope Francis really expects the people with the bumper sticker to actually work for justice. ‘you yourself give them to eat’- Mark 6:37
Pope Francis seems to want a less centralized, more on the ground, Church. Traditional(ist) Catholics pretty much do their own thing, not by choice necessarily, but they aren’t looking to a figurehead for marching orders, the faith is the faith is the faith and its expectations do not change. Root out sin, save your soul and others. (Neo)Conservative Catholics on the other hand look to the pope in a very direct manner to determin what they should be doing. They have a distorted non historical understanding of the papacy. For most of church history the majority of Catholics, if they were not geographically near Rome, have not even been sure who happened to be sitting on the chair of Peter at a given time. And they certainly weren’t obsessively following his every address. Anyone who posts ‘the weekly Francis’ is following too closely. The position that the bishop of Rome has merely a primacy of nominal honor is wrong, but so is the position that the pope is absolute unquestionable dictator of the Church to whom we owe absolute submission of the intellect (Ultramontanism). For those of us who have lived under heretical modernist bishops it is easy to slip into this error, but it is an over simplification of the authentic role of the pope. An authentic understanding of the role of the
Papacy is between the two extremes and is not simple. Here is a brief quiz to demonstrate, the answers are below.
- Who is head of the church?
- Is Latin the liturgical language of the entire Catholic church?
- Can popes personally hold to heresy?
- Jesus Christ
- No it is the liturgical language of the Latin church there are 22 other churches in communion with the bishop of Rome for whom Latin is completely foreign.