By David Martin
Solicitous concern over the purity of doctrine reflects the truest love of God and neighbor, since doctrine, as with any of the Ten Commandments, is not an ideal that may be watered down or dismissed to suit ones fancy, but an eternal command set in stone for man's sanctification. In the same way a healthcare expert does not tolerate poison in the diet, so a true priest will never tolerate poison in the spiritual diet. It has to be pure, which means it has to be clear, without which it is poison.
But Pope Francis has now come out and slammed conservative Catholics who earnestly maintain that purity of doctrine be preserved. Concerning such people, the pope said in his Friday morning homily: "They are fanatics about things that are not clear, such as these fanatics who go about there, sowing discord in order to divide the Christian community."
So Thomas Aquinas was a "fanatic?" And all the saints and Apostles? Were they a band of kooks engaging in their "ideologies," or were they rather the true servants of God who were richly rewarded for their strict observance and clarification about Church teaching?
While admitting that "It is a duty of the Church to clarify doctrine," the pope said it is a "problem" and "great error" when "doctrine becomes an ideology," and he concluded his homily by asking for prayers for "those who transform doctrine into ideology."
So we're not supposed to know the truth in all its beauty and clarity? Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32), so why is it now a "great error" to know the truth and live up to it?
According to this, all the saints, monks, popes, and true servants of God of the past two-thousand years were a bunch of hecklers that disrupted the community because of their fervent love of the truth over the polluted ideology of the world.
The pope errs in saying that these faithful Catholics are "sowing discord in order to divide the Christian community," for the division being sown is not among the Christian community, but among the brood of heretics and rebels that despise the truth. Did Jesus not sow discord among the Pharisees because of his pure and heavenly doctrine of which he allowed no misunderstanding? And do we not see the Pharisees of today's counter-magisterium having misfits over Christ's doctrine because they are not willing to give up their worldly ideologies and come to grips with the absolute and unadulterated truth?
It is these hiss-fit Catholics who hypocritically argue that we must show "mercy" by giving infirm or newly converted Catholics "the rational milk without guile." (1 Peter 2:2) We indeed cannot force a whole load of doctrine down the throat of a spiritually "newborn babe," no more than we can force two pounds of beef down the throat of a young child. But it has to be pure, just as a bottle of baby-food must be pure. The point is that whatever we give to God's people, whether adult or young, must come from God's kitchen and cannot come from the modernist grill.
In his mercy, God from the beginning ordained that his people be nourished with the pure waters of holy tradition so that the light of doctrine might guide their lives in such a way that there is no doubt as to what they are to think or how they are to proceed. It's like a man with his eyes: the idea is that he sees where he is going. What optometrist in his right mind would refer to 20-20 vision as a "problem?" And why is the head of the Roman Catholic Church seeing clarity of doctrine as the obsession of "ideologues?"