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STRIKE THE HEAD!
Abbe de Nantes
St. Peter’s Square on 10 April 1973, the Abbé Georges de Nantes explains to journalists that he has come to lodge his Liber Accusationis and to appeal « from the Pope to the Pope ».
« The evil, which came from below and from the periphery, was courageously fought by the Popes, often virtually alone because they had to endure the hatred of the world and to brave unpopularity. Thus it was that liberalism, Modernism, and progressivism were contained until our time. St. Pius X, in the spirit of prophecy that God grants to the greatest Pontiffs, clearly denounced the errors and disorders of a New Reformation and a Revolution that dreamers with a great love of change were preaching for the misfortune of the world… The encyclical Pascendi and the Letter on the Sillon accuse in advance the Innovators who led the Church in the space of ten years to the state of decomposition in which we see her.
« The fact is outstanding in history: the evil has risen to the Head, and it is by means of authority that it is imposing itself today. In order to do good and fight evil, in order to reject error and maintain a firm hold on the truth of the Faith, we are led to resist the Pope out of obedience to God, as we are led to resist the spirit of this Council out of fidelity to all the others, for “we must obey God rather than men” (Ac 5:29). »
This is the formidable tragedy that the Abbé de Nantes expounded in his editorial of February 1973 entitled The Last Resort (CRC n° 65).
« To resist the Pope out of obedience to God », this is indeed a principle that our Father has often been criticised for applying: is it not precisely the principle and foundation of reform, of revolt, of anarchy in the Church? On the basis of what authority does the Abbé de Nantes not pay heed to the will of the Pope, which is, he is told, that of God? How dare he judge the Pope and write that « the evil has risen to the Head »?
These burning questions « are of great interest to our Catholic Counter-Reformation, but also to all theologians, all those who are concerned with the future of the Church, as well as to Holy Church in her hierarchy and her supreme Authority ». Our Father answered them in his June 1973 issue (CCR n° 40) and summed them up in one single question: Can proceedings be instituted against the Pope?
We will extensively quote this masterly text, not without encouraging our readers to re-read it in full, if only to remark its extraordinary topicality under the pontificate of Benedict XVI, Paul VI’s replica.
CAN A POPE FALL INTO HERESY?
Our Father first wonders whether it is sometimes lawful and holy to oppose the Pope. « The answer that comes spontaneously to the lips of good Christians, the easy answer is: No, never! No one can oppose the Pope in a lawful, holy manner: Ubi Papa, ibi Ecclesia. To oppose the Pope amounts to opposing the Church. To oppose the Church amounts to combating Christ. »
This answer is easily proven by Holy Scripture: « You are Peter, and upon this Rock I shall build My Church. » (Mt 16:18) Catholics love the Pope and always obey him. St. Pius X recalled this to certain ecclesiastical rebels: « One does not oppose to the Pope’s authority that of others, however learned they may be, who differ from him. For however great their learning, they must be lacking in holiness, for there can be no holiness in dissension from the Pope. »
« Nevertheless, the alternative and more difficult response is actually more correct: Yes, sometimesit is a lawful and a saintly thing to oppose the Pope. Obedience is the rule, but this very virtue could lead to dissidence on account of fidelity, although this is rare… » In this same chapter 16 of St. Matthew, we see Peter opposed to the plan of redemption of Christ, and Our Lord answers him: « Get behind Me, Satan: you are a scandal to Me. » (Mt 16:23)
Thus, Peter is fallible.
Nevertheless, even fallible, he remains Peter. Jesus did not depose him from his office. « The indefectibility of the Pope is a continual miracle, but conditional and limited, a miracle of grace that proves stronger than weak human nature. »
It is in no way a question of contesting the Sovereign Pontiff’s authority. If we oppose the Pope, it will always be in a very limited manner, opposition to one Pope or another whom we consider « in rupture and opposition with the sacred duty and power of Peter, the Pope in Rome “who can never die”. » Never will we challenge the Head of the Church. That would be tantamount to decapitating the Church and making it a democracy. Absit!
IS THE POPE INFALLIBLE?
The mission of the Pope and the bishops does not consist in “reforming” but in « preserving the Church ». To do this, they hold certain powers that are infallible, which Christ is committed to support in an absolute manner, and others that are not, and which are therefore… fallible.
Three powers can be distinguished: the power of order, of teaching and of governance.
The power of teaching is infallible, but only partially. Let us see in what circumstance.
The Church in her unanimous belief is infallible in « what the Church has always and everywhere held to be certain as divinely revealed ». For example, the Church has always believed in the perpetual Virginity of Mary. Thus, it is an infallible truth of Revelation, in virtue of the Church’s « Ordinary Magisterium ».
The Ordinary Magisterium, i.e., the teaching given by the Pope, a bishop, a parish priest, or a lady catechist has only a conditional infallibility, insofar as it is the faithful echo of the Church’s constant and unanimous Tradition.
The Extraordinary or solemn Magisterium is infallible. If it so happens that some dispute arises on a particular point of doctrine, such as that of the Immaculate Conception, about which St. Bernard and others who followed him entertained doubts, « then those who possess all power for preserving and defending the deposit of the Revelation will be led to resolve the question once and for all by means of a proclamation in the indisputable form of the Truth. The assistance of the Holy Spirit has been promised to them for such decisions. The term solemn or ex cathedra is applied to this infallibility of the Pope and the Council. This infallibility itself was solemnly proclaimed as… infallible dogma by the First Vatican Council.
May read the rest or all here:
WipeO my Typos and may the good God bless thee. Spiritual eyes, not the physical, buys, however hard one tries.
|Posted Nov 16, 2009, 5:20 am
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