21 February 2016
Is the Magisterium safe under Pope Francis?
Fr Zed has a very important piece today (February 20) about (1)howthe media invented a plain untruth about “what B Paul VI said”; (2) how Papa Bergoglio has just repeated the error as if it were historical, and part of the Church’s Doctrine.
I am increasingly worried about the safety of the Magisterium under this Pope. Just look at the paragraphs in blue at the end of this recent (January) post of mine, and ask yourself if I am not right.
I believe that these are dangerous days.
I thank a reader who has appended a comment on my recent post … the “Have a good summer” post … quoting an American canonist. The gentleman is cited as opining that the dodgy “Vatican Document” on Christianity and Judaism must be, even if only in some small degree, magisterial.
This is actually … I think … extremely funny.
You see, the document itself is careful to say, in its own first paragraph, “The text is not a magisterial document or doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church”.
So, if the document is magisterial, then it teaches, magisterially … that it is not magisterial! We are back with something very much like the dear old whiskery joke: “X is a Cretan and X says that all Cretans are liars … is X telling the truth?”.
To put it differently: the extent to which this document is magisterial is precisely the same as the extent to which (by its own assertion) it is not magisterial!
Or, mathematically, +1-1=0.
One of the problems about such a very ‘maximalising’ papacy as the present one is that its promoters and defenders … the people who hope to piggy-back their own agenda onto the back of it … actually reduce the whole idea of a Papacy, and of a Magisterium, to a laughing stock. In their passion to inflate the Teaching Authority of Holy Mother Church, and of the Sovereign Pontiff himself, for their own private political ends, they end up having defaced that Authority so that it looks like a derisory piece of rubbish which nobody could possibly take seriously. (I do not find it easy to believe that this is what the Holy Father himself desires.)
These people are in fact depriving us of the Magisterium we have a right to possess by emptying it of all plausibility; by blunting its edges. They are trying to steal from us the Papacy which Vatican I so succinctly and so accurately defined for us. I can only think of one Power in whose interest it is to do this.
And there is another dangerous aspect to their unfortunate and sinister game. Magisterial teachings in the Catholic Church gradually acquire, and grow in, substance and precision on the basis of precedent and of claimed support in the acta of previous authorities. Is there a risk that some pope in the future might issue, with claimed authority, an edict in which his argument is propped up by a footnote …. a footnote which gives chapter-and-verse drawing upon an earlier document which had unobtrusively started its own life as a discussion paper explicitly disclaiming magisterial authority? Or drawing upon some phrase Bergoglio had used (without giving it any particularly deep thought) in one of his Santa Marta homilies? Or while talking to the Press in an airliner?
The present Roman Pontiff is the fount of endless words, all day and every day. No human being could possibly talk as much on the record as this one does without accidentally saying a certain amount of nonsense as well as, one tremulously hopes, a large amount of very good sense. Attempts among those who plot to be his controllers to dress up in garments of awesome authority his lightest obiter dictum, or to do the same to the questionable meanderings of some committee set up by some dicastery, come very close to sacrilege and strike me as being most probably a device of the Enemy.