This is greatly harmful to many Catholics who have previously been protected by the preaching of God’s law in their churches.
The silver lining (maybe, just maybe) in this is the pressure it will put on some Romans to jettison papal infallibility and/or the focus of the Roman magisterium in the pope, and then on to a further unraveling of the entire monarchical papal flummery.
Papal infallibility is dogma now. They can’t get rid of it without tearing the whole institution down. I’m not telling you what you don’t know, so what do you think the options are? Joining the SSPX? Joining some pre-First Vatican Council breakaway group?
I can’t see any option for Catholics to reject the Pope at this point without, essentially, becoming Protestant. That would be wonderful, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what you have in mind.
I read Jacob’s Vigano article, and it doesn’t really answer the question either. Perhaps there is some room for saying that the pope isn’t speaking ex cathedra, but really, active rebellion against a sitting pope’s teachings is Protestantism. Roman Catholics who want to remain faithful to historic Catholic teachings are going to have to pick and choose which of those teachings to remain faithful to.
… Roman Catholics who want to remain faithful to historic Catholic teachings are going to have to pick and choose which of those teachings to remain faithful to.
I think it’s been like that for some time, as the phrase “cafeteria Catholic” illustrates. The centre cannot hold in Rome, any more than in Geneva.
Oh, but they can, and have in the past (that is, rejected a Pope but remained Roman) though never while the rejected Pope was in office. Cf. the wilder of the Medici Popes.
What they do is NOT to reject the office, but rather the office holder. Among orthodox, traditionalist Romans, that’s what you hear - that Francis is showing himself to be an invalid (or invalidated) Pope; that the “Chair of Peter is Vacant.”
That’s exactly what I have in mind. Sorry I wasn’t more clear on that.
Admitted, when this happens it’s rare. Where I’ve seen it, it’s mostly among the cultural Romans, the ones for whom the Roman Church is all they’ve known.
Among Roman laity the ones squeezed the hardest by Francis are the converts from Protestantism. Mostly they are solidly, enthusiastically traditionalist - very “old school” Romans though they themselves entered the Roman church as adults, as refugees from Protestantism. But, voilà - the head of the Church is a Marxist modernist! What now? You end up with two very uncomfortable options: (1) diss the chief teacher of your church, or (2) throw yourself into endless rationalizations and excuse-making to argue that Francis stands in the mainstream of Roman teaching.
When you think of these converts to Rome, pray the Lord’s mercy on them. They’re truly between the Romish Scylla and the defective Protestant Charybdis from which they fled.
A few weeks ago I was having a discussion with a Roman catholic friend and I was pressing him on papal infallibility and Francis. He told me that it is possible for an unbeliever to be in the papal seat and even for him to be used by God. Yesterday I reached out to him again to lay upon him the weight of what Francis has said and his response was that it is wrong and unbiblical. And then he reiterated to me that it is possible for the office holder to be in sin and even actively be against Christ. The office is not invalidated, just the person. Even then he can still occupy the seat since he was ordained by the church.
That might give us a picture of what an intellectual and traditional Romanist would say in defending the doctrine. Still, I don’t buy that it can hold weight against an active Marxist pope who wants to transform Rome.
Others might not even argue along papal authority lines to defend him or excuse him. I think the magisterium is going to try to say that church teaching has not changed but only that Francis is speaking about civil magistrates and civil law. Basically, the explanation given after Francis opposed the death penalty. Church teaching and law didn’t necessarily change but the Church’s council to civil law in the nations changed.
I had a college roommate who was an ardent Roman Catholic, and this is pretty much what he told me about the awful medieval popes. The point he repeatedly made was that they never altered the church’s doctrine because God protected the church. Seems kind of weird, but OK. We’ll see how far Francis gets in his rearrangement of church doctrine.
Yes, what things I personally admire about Rome, Francis appears to stand four square against. I expect Eastern Orthodoxy will be the big winner, but may God use this to awaken hearts.
I also have seen sedevacantist arguments and I fail to understand how those folks can look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. How long will they hesitate between two opinions?