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Sunday, October 12, 2014

What Happens When the Church Goes "Wobbly?"

I read an interesting comment from Fr. Ray Blake, pastor of St. Mary Magdalene in Brighton, England. It's the last paragraph of a blog post titled Wobbly Church: What Does it Mean to be Catholic Today?
I really am beginning to think that the Papacy, which Vatican II saw as the unitative, if it becomes innovative becomes self-destructive. The very purpose of the Papacy is to conserve that which was handed on to it. In the first millennium the faith of the City of the Two Apostles stood still whilst the world revolved, its lack of innovation made it the touchstone of orthodoxy during the Arian and Iconoclastic crisis and enabled it to be the memory of the Tradition of the whole Church. If the Church of Rome becomes the source of innovation can it also be the touchstone of unity? If not where can we find that unity, which after all was promised us by Christ? Can it exist outside of unity with Rome? The answer Orthodoxy and 'ultra-Catholics' come up with is that it exists within the Tradition itself, are ordinary Catholics going to come up with the same answer?
Conserving Tradition is a duty of Church leaders.Of course, not every tradition is part of the Sacred Apotolic Tradition, but change for the sake of change is always a mistake and we've certainly seen plenty of that in the last 60 years. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the bishops after Vatican II had held to the old admonition, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Nothing in Vatican II required the destruction of the sanctuary, the elimination of Communion rails, pop tunes and guitars, the priest facing the people, the elimination of Latin, downgrading devotion to the Blessed Mother, Communion in the hand, etc., etc.

Sacred Tradition is one of the three legs of our faith along with Sacred Scripture and the teaching Magisterium. Many Protestants try to balance on a one-legged stool depending on Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura). Sadly, many Catholics don't even have that today. They've sawed off all three legs of the stool to depend on nothing more stable than illusory feelings and changeable opinions mislabeled "conscience."

Pray that Church leaders will get over the "wobblies" and give the flock the firm foundation of the rock. We need it in the storms assailing the Church and the culture!


Consolamini said...

ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia. no conditions on that. pure and simple, like it or not.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

You're absolutely right, Consolamini, but I think Fr. Blake is also correct when he writes:

"Petrine ministry belongs to the See of Peter, presumably, rather than to the individual who occupies that See. Teaching might not change but its presentation seems to be moving with revolutionary violence, that risks shaking the Church to pieces."

We have certainly had bad times in the Church with bad popes. I don't know if we are there now or not. But in those circumstances, what do you think the faithful should do to hold on? Like Fr. Blake says in the comment section, the fruit of the Borgias was the Protestant Revolution.

Consolamini said...

If Father Blake is saying that the Petrine Ministry—and its authority—can be separated from the individual to whom the Holy Spirit has entrusted it, he needs to go back to seminary and start over. Blessed Pius IX is spinning in his reliquary casket. Not all popes are good popes. Not all popes have been good men. But they have still been popes. The Borgias may have led to the Reformation but the unworthiness of Alexander VI or his most unworthy successors Julius II, Leo X et al does not justify Luther or Calvin or Henry VIII in their rejection of the Apostolic Authority which is carried, not by an office alone, but by a man who fills that office.