Ultramundane ecclesiology

November 12, 2016 § 61 Comments

My main theory of Pope Francis continues to be that he is a fairly dim narrow minded Jesuit provincial Argentinian mid level bureaucrat who was raised to the Chair of Peter.  He keeps on saying and doing things to confirm that perspective.

In the long run though I think that discrediting ultramontanism by practicing it is probably a good thing.  Put not your trust in princes, and all that.

§ 61 Responses to Ultramundane ecclesiology

  • TomD says:

    Liberalism in America leads to salvation by Presidents alone (though some argue for salvation by Supreme Courts alone).

    Liberalism in the Church argues for salvation by Popes alone.

    Both are terrified of authority, let alone fallible authority.

  • Zippy says:

    It seems to me that one of Pope Francis’ main goals is to diminish the papacy. It also seems to me that he is succeeding, though perhaps not in quite the way he intends.

    And it seems to me that this is, ultimately, probably a good thing.

    The only good reason to be Catholic is because of the Eucharist, Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.

    Treating the Church in general (let alone the Pope in particular) as a big reliable on demand answer-regurgitating machine for all of life’s questions is a fundamental mistake, and it is ultimately a good thing for that mistake to be corrected.

  • Zippy says:


    Both are terrified of authority, let alone fallible authority.

    Exactly. The entire modern political project is about replacing unreliable, fallible, messy human authority with reliable inhuman machinery as a ‘fair playing-field’ referee.

  • donnie says:

    If, on the other hand, one accepts the kind of interpretation of which I have been speaking – that, as St. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Christ emptied Himself” of His right to Godness while He was on earth – then the Church may stumble and grope toward the truth, not fully comprehending the fire of ultimate truth that burns within it. It can err in the sense of failing to achieve ultimate truth.

    The above is a quote from the fictitious Pope Francis the First, protagonist of the 1979 best-selling novel Vicar of Christ. In that novel, the fictional Pope Francis, the first American pope, was a progressive radical that turned the Church upside down. In the book, he launches a global war on world hunger, carried out by Catholic youth and funded by the sale of the Vatican’s priceless art and treasures. He intervenes repeatedly in world conflicts, even flying into Tel Aviv at one point during an Arab bombing campaign. Through the authorship of a number of “pastoral, not theological” documents, he lays plans to reverse the Church’s teachings on contraception and clerical celibacy, and banishes traditionally-minded cardinals to monastic life when they work against him. He embraces the religious pacifism of the Quakers, arguing that just-war theory is out of date in the modern age. And to top it all off, he even flirts with the Arian heresy at one point.

    Since 2013, it would seem that life has imitated art.

    The real Pope Francis is not, praise God, quite as radical as his fictitious counterpart. I pray, for both his sake and ours, that he never will be. But what he is doing now will nonetheless have long lasting consequences on the Church, the faithful, and the world at large.

    I struggle with your blasé attitude to our current Pontiff, Zippy. It admit it is a comforting attitude but in the long run I think it could be calamitous.

    The Catholic Church is the single most culturally powerful organization in the world. If the followers of Christ are not willing to use the worldly power our Lord has blessed His Church with, we know that our enemies will certainly be more than happy to.

    They’ve been dreaming of a Pope Francis since 1979, if not earlier. Now, they finally have what they’ve always wanted.

  • Todor says:

    I know some who are terrified of infallible authority.

  • Zippy says:

    Pope Francis though faces the paradox of being a liberal pope, a pope whose agenda in the exercise of his authority is to undermine papal authority. (Regulars will recognize in this the self nullification of liberalism: authority-as-invalidation-of-authority).

    It can of course do a great deal of harm by deceiving large numbers of people. But it only directly harms you if you allow it to deceive you.

  • Todor says:

    Muh Constitution! Muh infallible teachings!

    Liberal tyrant: I only have authority because you have put your trust in me, and because I am the incarnation of Love, Justice and Good Taste.

    Pope Francis: I only have authority because I have been elected by my brothers, and because I hear the voice of the Holy Ghost.

    Not sure this is undermining anything.

  • TheFirstNowell says:

    If we can’t find Truth in the Church, where can we find it? I too have trouble seeing the silver lining in this storm.

    Its true that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life”; but, it can’t be the only reason to be Catholic. The Orthodox also have the Eucharist.

  • Zippy says:

    We are tending back to positivism again: toward conflating the difference between definiteness and completeness. The Church is not your Daddy and was never intended to be your Daddy. Sure doctrines are true; but they form a very small part of the ‘truth density’ of reality.

    As for schismatics, sure, they may have a valid though illicit Eucharist. But so what? From an objective perspective, in terms of regrets from the perspective of eternity, that is probably worse than an invalid pretense. Even for someone who is invincibly ignorant it is like the realization that, objectively speaking, you’ve been committing adultery and receiving Communion your whole life. Anyone who grasps what the Eucharist is should be horrified by the prospect.

  • TheFirstNowell says:

    The Church might not be my Daddy but it is Mater et Magistra.

  • Wood says:


    “If we can’t find Truth in the Church, where can we find it?”

    No offense, but please. The Truth for the last 2000 years is salvation by Christ, through His sacraments, in His Church. Penance, sacrifice, stop sinning mortally. I get there’s a lot of scandal going on, but scandal is so horrible because it clouds the truth to the ignorant. To those who should know better there is no such thing as scandal. In fact Jesus even tells us scandal must come. The only woe involved is to those through whom it comes. Why do we get so upset when Jesus’s words come true in our own lifetime? If Pope Francis causes scandal in regard to homosexuality or adultery that’s on him and those who are scandalized.

  • Mike T says:

    Very often people worry about knowing the Truth in the sense of knowing all of the “rules of salvation” or something to that effect. It’s ironic since Paul went to great length to explain that salvation cannot be found through seeking to fully know the Law and obey it for the very purpose of the Law was to teach men that they are sinners and condemn them in their sin. It has always been the case that the Pharisee who “thanks God that I am not like those men” and knows the Law inside and out is more in danger of Hell than the penitent who is probably ignorant and won’t even enter the temple. Because at the end of the day, salvation is really not based on a complicated theology exam otherwise it would not be open to people of low intellect.

  • CJ says:


    Following up on Nowell’s comment, you said the only reason to be Catholic is the Eucharist. But other communions have the Eucharist. So what reason is there to be Catholic and not Orthodox? It seems to me that in seeking to put Francis in proper perspective, you’ve gutted any case for Catholic exceptionalism.

  • Wood says:


    I’ll admit I’ve been over commenting here lately, and I’ll defer to Zippy who the question was referred. But I *think* the corollary here is similar to the recent debate of whether Islam is referencing the same God when they pray. The answer is, yes, but that – far from being a comforting position – this is a fearful position to be in. The fact that others may “have” and receive the Eucharist while being in objective schism if not outright heresy is a very fearful – and possibly even worse – position than wrongly believing you have and receive the Eucharist.

  • Felix Moore says:

    I quite agree and would add that this Pope also has an authoritarian, Peronistic streak.

    By the way, your article is headed “Ultramundane ecclesiology”, rather than “Ultramontanism”. Perhaps you were also reflecting on how this Pope has lost the apocalyptic vision of the Catholic Church as the New Jerusalem.

  • Zippy says:

    Felix Moore:

    “Ultramundane” is indeed an intentional pun.

  • aureliusmoner says:

    Or, contrarily: if we freely choose to treat doctrine and the papal authority as tangential matters, we shouldn’t be surprised if anti-popes come, and easily make catastrophic mistakes, such as promulgating invalid rites for the Consecration of Bishops, and novel rites for “mass,” from which the Offertory (which the rubrics of the Tridentine Mass insist is necessary for validity) has been excised.

    And then, the “only good reason” for being a Catholic, disappears along with the rest of it.

    It would be one thing to say that it’s no big deal if a dim-witted pope has terrible ideas, so long as we ignored him and kept on doing as we always had, with a laugh. Certainly that has happened in the past. But we have not acted thus. No, indeed! We allowed them to foment novel doctrinal movements and rites – an unheard of thing, a thing execrated by all Church history and tradition – and went along with all of it, casting the ancient Faith and discipline aside. By ignoring the Church’s very clear doctrine on what to do with heretical claimants to the Holy See, and what to do with intrinsically evil and immoral commands, we have allowed the Latin Church to whither and desiccate in her very roots.

    And, obviously, it has. It is madness to think that Holy Mother Church can offer such poison to the faithful in all of her official documents and acts. It is also an heresy. And therefore, in the end, the casual approach to sound doctrine, sacramental theology and papal authority, has destroyed even the most precious Thing. God is sovereign, and still gives grace to the faithful as He wills; but it is no longer happening ex opere operato, apart from a very few enclaves that have preserved the episcopal succession and its wellspring of sacramental grace inviolate.

  • CJ says:

    Wood- I get that. And I think Zippy may have overstated his case for effect. Because if the Eucharist is the only thing that matters, and if heretics and schismatics have the Eucharist, schism and heresy can’t be that big a deal.

  • Zippy says:

    Wood is right: if ‘they have a valid but illicit Eucharist’ makes Orthodoxy equivalent to Roman Catholicism then ‘they worship the same God’ makes Islam equivalent to Christianity.

    But beyond that I think folks are simply missing the point of being Christian at all. I think that this is in part because of our blindness to authority and our sense of entitlement to epistemic answers.

    Francis is the juridical head of the Church, with authority to loose and bind, etc. He could declare tomorrow that mass on Sunday and holy days is optional; that Latin Rite priests may marry; that mass on Tuesdays is mandatory; that in order to marry you must be standing on your head when vows are exchanged; etc, etc. Any of these juridical commands would indeed be binding, and disobeying them would be disobeying Christ. And even if the disobedience comes from invincible ignorance it is – like objective adultery – a horror. It is something of which the disobedient ought to be terribly ashamed, a shame through which they will pass at some point (in purgatory or Hell, if not before then).

    The notion of the Pope as an answer machine to epistemic questions, as opposed to the Vicar of Christ and supreme monarch of the Church, is itself a modernist error.

  • The Special Snowflake of The Holy See
    is unlike any other who came before he.

    He is a bore and he hates- absolutely hates -Tradition which is why he denigrates it and its adherents with vitriolic vulgarity.

    As a Pope, he makes a good Lutheran; in fact, the vast majority of the Hierarchy in our nation’s capitol (you are a chosen people a new nation…) Rome seems enraptured by the lunatic, Luther.

    On Good Friday last year, the Papal Preacher, Fr. Catalamessa (sp?) praised Luther and said it was he and he alone who rescued the Gospel message – or some such crap like that.

    He is the Catholic equivalent of Obama (POUTS who obviously hates America) and he is puissantly opposed to all that came before him and lately he has taken to attacking youth who prefer the Real Mass over the Lil’ Licit Liturgy.

  • Jesus Christ established His One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church for two reasons



    and outside of it – and its Sacramental System (“The Risen Christ has passed over into the Sacraments,” Pope Leo the Great, or maybe it was Pope Gregory, the great) – one can not win Salvation or be righteously transformed into a state of sanctification.

    God because man so man could become God (St Athanasius).

  • Zippy says:

    More or less. Monarchy as a structure is no bulwark against a liberal king.

  • Zippy. Those few words convey one hell of a lot of information on at least two levels 🙂

    Are you ever going to write a pamphlet, monograph, or book?

    I doubt I am the only man who’d love to read whatever it is you are thinking about.

    The good thing about reading books is that I underline and insert comments on nearly every page of every book I read (yeah, Bible too) and I create my own index in the front several pages of a book that I can then read and reread as required.

    I love your online work and I imagine just how much more enjoyable would be a paper product of yours.

    In any event, thank you for all of your hard thinking. It was Pope Saint John Paul II who taught us all to revere that type of hard work, and not just by example but he taught that in one of his encyclicals.

    Pax tecum

  • Zippy says:


    One of Pope Francis’ most ironic features is his authoritarian liberalism, his categorical rejection of rigidity, his dogmatic insistence on no universally applicable rules, his denigration by ad hominem of anyone who doesn’t share his open minded tolerance of everyone, his insistent contention that noticing moral failure is execrable, his constant exhortation to the effect that those who are unwilling to listen to all points of view should shut up, his attacks on the moral character of anyone who notices that there is any such thing as moral character; etc. etc.

    But that is just because self negation is always inherently ironic.

  • MarcusD says:

    Speaking of Francis’ “categorical rejection of rigidity”:

    Pope Francis on the young who like Latin Mass: ‘Why so much rigidity?’

  • King Richard says:

    I cause a great deal of consternation with other Catholics, especially at my Latin Mass parish. Here is a typical scenario,
    Parishioner: “You Majesty, did you read what the pope said to a reporter on an airplane the other day?”
    King Richard: “No.”
    P: “It was very troubling to me. He seemed to say that a certain doctrine of the Church is wrong. I hate what the Pope has done to the Church. I can’t see how anyone can stand him. I am very angry and I think real Catholics should stand up to this modernism and stop giving money to the Church. You hate what he is doing, too, don’t you?”
    K: “Have you read the entire interview or statement?”
    P: “No, just what was reported.”
    K: “Has the Vatican released an official translation of formal remarks?”
    P: “It wasn’t an interview, just off-the-cuff remarks.”
    K: “Have you at least seen the quotes in the language the Pope used to make them?”
    P: “No, just the translation provided by the media.”
    K: “So you are very troubled by out of context, informal remarks translated by someone else? His Holiness has issued no official statements about the doctrine, has he?”
    P: “No.”
    K: “Then you might very well be engaged in gossip, which is scandalous and therefore sinful. Also, assuming the moral fault of another person, even silently, without true evidence is the sin of rash judgment. Repeating falsehoods in an attempt to harm the reputation of another is the sin of calumny. Repeating the truth about another person in order to harm their reputation when you have no legitimate reason to reveal those faults is the sin of detraction. Believing that you can without your tithe from your parish or you local ordinary because of the personal sins of the pastor or ordinary is condemned by both the Council of Constance and the Council of Trent and the act of refusing support because of that belief results in a latae sententiae excommunication of the believer who does so. Telling others that they can or should refuse to support their local ordinaries because of the faults of those same people is also an action that results in latae sententiae excommunication. Inciting hatred of an ordinary, even for their moral faults, and urging disobedience of their commands is *also* an action that causes latae sententiae excommunication and at the discretion of an ordinary you can be subject to full interdict.”
    “Do you really think a few soundbites from off-the-cuff remarks is worth interdict?”
    For some reason people tend not to discuss these matters with me more than once.

    Modernists and people in the grip of Americanism treat priests, ordinaries, and the Pope like movie stars or politicians,
    ‘I don’t like how he dresses.’
    ‘He doesn’t have a very good reading voice.’
    ‘I wish his homilies were about topics I agree with.’
    ‘I don’t like/understand what he said; he’s bad; I am going to stop obeying him.’
    Perhaps the worst is the Americanism concept of ‘I am going to vote with my feet and my wallet.’
    I ran into this just a few weeks ago. I was talking to a Catholic family who had a daughter getting married in the Church at her fiance’s parish in another diocese. They asked me what they needed. After giving them a fair amount I asked if they were in a personal parish; they are not. So I asked for their territorial parish, but they gave me one far from their home. I asked about it and they said,
    “Oh, we didn’t like the pastor at the parish closest to us when the kids were born, so we have always gone to a parish some distance away.”
    I explained that they would need written permission from the pastor of the parish that controlled the territory in which they lived because he had the right to require that he say the Matrimonial Mass of any Catholic woman that lived within his territory who had not taken orders or become an official member of a personal parish, or similar group.
    As you can imagine, they were flabbergasted. They had no idea of the pastor’s name and could not grasp the fact that he had true authority over them in any way because of where they lived.
    But he does.
    It was, naturally, only a 2 minute phone call and a short drive to receive written permission.

    So there it is; a strong opposition to the actual authority of the members of the Church combined with an odd “celebrity gossip view” of what those same men say and do.

  • buckyinky says:


    The disciples said unto him, “If this is the case, it is not expedient to say anything at all ever.”

  • King Richard says:

    I am not positive my inference was your implication, but let me reply;
    In the late 1930’s journalists and investigators across the United States wrote about how criminal gangs had taken a strong grip on some American cities. By using bribery and intimidation these gangs often acted beyond the law with impunity.
    At about the same time the Nazi party began also writing about the exact same topic.
    The goal of the investigators and journalists was typically to end corruption and to oppose vice; their target was to expose the vice of criminals in order to promote virtue. This is the admonishment of sinner, a work of mercy.
    The goal of the Nazi party was to impugn the character of good people in an attempt to continue vice and to oppose virtue. This is detraction.

  • buckyinky says:

    I think I’m pretty much in agreement with you KR. My comment was an acknowledgment that a good portion of my verbal interaction day to day includes rash judgment, and if I leave that out altogether, what am I supposed to talk about?

  • King Richard says:

    It is difficult at first until you realize most people do, yes, like to talk about ideas.

  • King Richard.

    There are some Cardinals who understand him exactly which is why they have sent a Dubia which he has ignored and so those Cardinals have gone public about their Dubia and his refusal to respond.


    As to local pastors and their ravings, that’s is why roaming catholicism was created

  • King Richard. I thin you have an old code but modern law can cure it 🙂


  • King Richard says:

    A cardinal has the authority to do such things, subject to prudents, reason, and the law. I never said ‘no one can criticize anyone’, I said precisely what I wrote.
    As for your link concerning going to different parishes, I have no idea what you think that has to do with what I wrote. I did *not* write ‘people must attend their territorial parish’, I *did* write ‘the pastor of your territorial parish has certain rights and prerogatives even if you go elsewhere’.
    While I appreciate your response, please be careful to read what I write, not what you think I wrote.
    Pax tecum.

  • King Richard

    You think the local pastor has control over who gets married where.

    I don’t think that is accurate. I think that power lies with the Bishop; anyways, Deacons are the witnesses to that sacrament rather than Priests in many Dioceses.

    When I lived in Maine, I desired to get married in Vermont and it was the Bishops of those Jurisdictions, not the priests in the local parish of each state, that I had to get permission from.

    I apologized for having concluded wrongly about other specifics because your general tone blinded me to those specifics and while i acknowledge that is my fault, that does not exclude the part you play in others misunderstanding you.

    Pax tecum

  • King Richard says:

    “Can. 1109 Unless the local ordinary and pastor have been excommunicated, interdicted, or suspended from office or declared such through a sentence or decree, by virtue of their office and within the confines of their territory they assist validly at the marriages not only of their subjects but also of those who are not their subjects provided that one of them is of the Latin rite.
    Can. 1110 By virtue of office, a personal ordinary and a personal pastor assist validly only at marriages where at least one of the parties is a subject within the confines of their jurisdiction.
    Can. 1111 §1. As long as they hold office validly, the local ordinary and the pastor can delegate to priests and deacons the faculty, even a general one, of assisting at marriages within the limits of their territory.
    §2. To be valid, the delegation of the faculty to assist at marriages must be given to specific persons expressly.”
    ‘The territorial pastor must be the one to assist at a marriage for it to be valid unless you express permission’
    ‘Even if you don’t go to your territorial parish unless you have taken orders, are in a personal parish, etc., you must have express permission to use a different priest or deacon’.
    What I said earlier.
    Is it common in the US for local bishops to do this for the pastors?
    Yes, after consulting with the deanery/diocesan priests.
    Does this change canon law?
    You wrote,
    “You think the local pastor has control over who gets married where.”
    Incorrect; I simply note that pastors have legitimate authority, rights, and privileges over those Catholics within their territory *whether those Catholics know/like it or not*. If you ignore these rights and privileges you can end up committing a sin.

  • Incorrect; I simply note that pastors have legitimate authority, rights, and privileges over those Catholics within their territory *whether those Catholics know/like it or not*. If you ignore these rights and privileges you can end up committing a sin.

    King Richard. Well, no you did not simply note that…

    I explained that they would need written permission from the pastor of the parish that controlled the territory in which they lived because he had the right to require that he say the Matrimonial Mass of any Catholic woman that lived within his territory who had not taken orders or become an official member of a personal parish, or similar group.

    But, in any event, this has been the least amount of fun I have had in some time, so, adios.

  • TomD says:

    The fact that the territorial bishop (or even the Pope himself) could override the need for the pastor’s permission doesn’t disprove that there is a need for the pastor’s permission.

  • Tom. Sorry, not true. One can simply get the permission of the pastor of the parish in which he wished to be married – or the Bishop


  • TomD says:

    Your link says the exact opposite of what you’re claiming ….

    “If a couple were married by the pastor of some parish other than their own, and they failed to obtain permission to do this from their pastor in advance, their wedding would technically be illicit.”

    Nobody is denying the validity – we’re talking about the licity.

  • Tom.

    What is explained there is precisely what I claimed. A man does not have to get the permission of his St. Martin Sheen Pastor to marry his gal who is a communicant at St. Helen Prejean.

    I can’t explain why that is incomprehensible to you.

    C’est la vie

  • What is explained there is precisely what I claimed. A man does not have to get the permission of his St. Martin Sheen Pastor to marry his gal who is a communicant at St. Helen Prejean.

    He does if he wants the marriage to be licit.

  • Zippy says:

    Presumably though the priest with whom the couple are working will make sure all the paperwork gets done. If not then it is he who is incompetent. You can’t expect Joe Shmoe and Jane Doe to be Canon lawyers.

  • King Richard says:

    Yes, but when people ask me, I tell them the entire list, of course.

  • Zippy says:


    It is a good example of authority – specifically of the geographical pastor – of which most people are blissfully unaware.

  • Malcolm Not if he is moving to St. Helen Prejean but that has been overlooked for some reason.

    I went through the process licitly my own self involving the Bishops of Maine and Vermont and getting the permission of the Pastor of of Saint Mary’s in Springfield Vt. who contacted, I assume, the pastor of the crummy church I was doing penance at in Portland, Maine.

  • King Richard says:

    I had a similar encounter about 2 years ago. I was speaking with a man who was protesting with signs that said something akin to ‘St. Genericus Parish supports abortion’ (it seems to pastor of St. Genericus had actually collected money – and given it! – to a charity that is claimed to pass money on to other charities that support abortion). The person is from a different parish, of course.
    He was telling me [paraphrase]
    “We were across the street from the parish parking lot, my children and I, and the parishioners were obviously upset. The pastor came over and old us we had to put those signs away but *I* told *him* we were on a public sidewalk so we could do whatever we wanted!”
    He was rather smug about the entire incident.
    I pointed out that he was well within the physical territory of the parish and it didn’t matter about ‘public sidewalk’; the pastor had the authority to order him, a Catholic, to not display those signs within the *territory* of his parish, not just the property of it. By refusing the just authority of the territorial pastor he had sinned and needed to go to confession.
    Oh, the fury!
    I often say that about 80% of what is wrong in the West is a failure to recognize and obey proper authority. Hyperbolic? Perhaps.

  • TomD says:

    KR – I think you’re off by a bit; I’d say it’s something like 120% or more.

    An earlier post by you linked to “the-declaration-of-independence-a-failed-justification-for-perfidy-treason-and-terrorism” – any chance that post is still available somewhere?

  • King Richard says:

    I did say it was hyperbolic!
    Yes – the old blog is still around;
    This has generated the third most total hate mail and second greatest volume of death threats for us, BTW.

  • I once picketed the Diocese of Portland, Maine (That includes the entire state) because the Bishop had allowed to be published a column by Fr Richard McBrien claiming that Jesus was “ignorant, in error, and had been sexually tempted.”

    I was on the public sidewalk in front of the Diocese and handed out some pamphlets I had made proving as lies the blasphemous claims of Fr McBrien.

    The Bishop did not order me to stop but he did send out his then mouthpiece, to tell me “the Bishop agrees with Fr McBrien.”

    Later, in a phone call with the Chancellor of the Diocese, I was told “The priests over here think you are insane.”

    I was not that interested in all of the specifics of Canon Law (I did know the Bishop had the obligation to see his seminary taught Latin to his priests and I also knew he and his priests had an obligation to teach the truth about contraception and fornication) but I also knew from our one meeting with him (a group of traditional lay men) that he would not adhere to Canon Law and that he refused to Teach, Rule, and Sanctify and so not one member of the group in that meeting with him were not at all surprised that he reneged on his promise to meet with us on a regular basis and this was after a very pacific and professional presentation on our part.

    It is a curiosity of modern times that the faithful catholic victims are most often the ones harangued about adhering to Canon Law most do not even know exist while the Bishops/Perps are not confronted by the putative experts in Canon Law.

    Well, we were a bit of an anomaly in Portland, Maine because we were being advised, in person a few times, by Charles M. Wilson of The Saint Joseph Foundation.

  • TomD says:

    I think people have difficulty learning that their hallowed country is the direct result of an unjust war.

    They also often don’t realize that just because the country was started by an unjust rebellion doesn’t mean it isn’t a country with authority.

  • TomD says:

    Canon 212 §3 exists, and should be used, with due attention paid to with reverence toward their pastors.

    Sadly, one of the results of fallible authority is that ti is fallible, and often the authority that can correct it fails to do so. A bishop is to be corrected by the Pope; (maybe a conference?) we do not have the authority to do so. We can point out the error but that is not the same thing.

    In many cases, we are left to pray the last prayer, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?

  • Maybe every ten or twelve years some soi disant canonical lay expert could tell the powerless about canons 212,213, and 214 etc and how to organise to try and obtain what is due them but in the course of human events, the lay expert is nearly always triumphantly castigating the victim and objectively succoring the perp.

    I don’t see this going anywhere so I will clam-up now

  • King Richard says:

    You wrote,
    “It is a curiosity of modern times that the faithful catholic victims are most often the ones harangued about adhering to Canon Law most do not even know exist while the Bishops/Perps are not confronted by the putative experts in Canon Law.”
    I wouldn’t be able to say. When I disagree with my Ordinary I follow the proper procedure and speak to him directly, by meeting or by letter, and if I am unsatisfied and feel the matter is serious I then go to his superiors, etc.
    Matthew 18: “But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.”
    Not too long ago I was writing privately to someone I believe to be actively teaching heresy. When they demanded to know why I was not confronting Archbishop so-and-so who is so very bad I replied,
    “If I am in communication with someone else in a similar manner I would no more tell you than I shall them them of this correspondence.”
    Or, more directly, the fact that someone else may be doing worse does not lessen the errors I am making for myself, does it?

    The relevant passage also includes “with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage *and the dignity of persons* [emphasis added]” which requires us to, as much as possible, avoid scandal.

    You wrote,
    “…the lay expert is nearly always triumphantly castigating the victim and objectively succoring the perp.”
    Can you support this in any way, or is it like your use of soi-disant – merely a passive-aggressive deflection?

  • Of course I can’t because all I do is to try and dissipate the psychic energy created by my constant state of cognitive dissonance.

  • Bruce Charlton says:

    (For what it’s worth) I agree with your summary, and the same applies to the current Archbishop of Canterbury – both were surprising appointments that came after prolonged delays in the procedures.

    My inference is that none of the strong (positive) candidates could command sufficiently broad support (or, they aroused too intense opposition). Eventually the electors worked down to a candidate so mediocre, so little known, that nobody could think of any compelling reason – why not?

    The BBC Vatican expert could not comment on the Papal appointment on the live broadcast until after about 20 seconds … I presume he was Googling the name.

    The consequence is that neither man is a leader – but an over-promoted middle manager. A common phenomenon nowadays.

  • Zippy says:

    Bruce Charlton:

    Leaving aside Arrow’s Theorem and possible problems with the formal selection process, the de facto job requirements are pretty contradictory. It is similar with our Supreme Court justices here in the US. You need an experienced person with no track record of doing or saying anything particularly controversial or interesting, so mediocrity is all but assured.

    In a Pope that isn’t necessarily a bad thing most of the time, because Popes aren’t really supposed to do much other than preserve what was handed on to them. His basic job is “just reiterate the truths of the Faith and otherwise don’t screw things up”.

    But the modern era is an age of pretense, among other things pretense that mediocrity is excellence; and there is nothing so simultaneously dangerous and silly as a mediocre intellect convinced that it possesses profound wisdom.

  • Wasn’t it Pope Paul VI who was the first modern Pope to leave Italy?

    That is when the show business/personality cult of the papacy began; sadly.

    Toss in World Youth Days (no fair thinking of drones here) and one sees the recipe for innovation; I’m everywhere all the time, what am I supposed to do, just teach doctrine and be the symbol of puissant unity who grows the Catholic Church?

    No, I’m a leader and I must have my own agenda and legacy and everything else a secular leader strives for. So what if Jesus established His Church for two reasons


    we have granted our own selves an annulment from the tired old gal, Theocentrism, and we have plighted our troth to Anthropocentrism -now that is one sexy broad who is forever young and exciting and ever-changing.

    Well, yeah. Here is the Catholic Encyclopedia on the Pope:

    He is to be the principle of unity, of stability, and of increase. He is the principle of unity, since what is not joined to that foundation is no part of the Church; of stability, since it is the firmness of this foundation in virtue of which the Church remains unshaken by the storms which buffet her; of increase, since, if she grows, it is because new stones are laid on this foundation.

  • PB says:

    It’s interesting that in some ways modern popes seem more worldly than pontiffs who spent a lot of time collecting statues of naked pagan gods.

  • […] main purpose of a Pope is to reiterate and defend the clear and eternal verities of Church doctrine (something any […]

  • Wood says:

    Going back to the original referent, a pope should be a rock. A rock, essentially, just sorta sits there and doesn’t move and doesn’t change shape or form. Some see that as evidence of its irrelevance. And some see it as part of what makes rocks, well, rocks. And being different in essence from nearly everything else the modern world tosses at us. As a recent post here put it, it’s a rorshach of sorts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Ultramundane ecclesiology at Zippy Catholic.