Are some Catholic “Trads” more “Catholic” than the Pope? And does it matter?

   May I begin by emphasising that I have no problem with those who poke fun or laugh at the Church or at any of its dignitaries.  When I was a schoolboy I learnt that “if you cannot laugh at your religion, then you probably cannot take it seriously either!”    I have found that to be true of many people, INCLUDING myself.  Indeed laughter seems to be good for the soul and the body..  My own late father reminded me of that and occasionally said, even on my ordination day, “If you cannot find anything to laugh at there is always yourself!”

 In recent months some bloggers appear to be very disturbed and even distressed by the actions or words Pope Francis. Almost everything he does or says is attacked as wrong if it had not been said or done by Pope Emeritus Benedict.

Personally I have found some of what he does or says thought-provoking.  That is a good thing.  Some bloggers however seem to regard Pope Francis not only as wrong but even heretical! I could not disagree more.  Allegations of heresy especially against The Pope are damaging and injurious both to the Church, to the person who makes them and to the wider world much in need of conversion.

The sad thing about this is that the bloggers seem to be devoted to the Church and want to serve it. Even sadder is that they resort to the specious argument that the Pope is only Pope when he is teaching infallibly. That is untrue and they are wrong.      The pope is Pope even in his ordinary teaching and is due “submission of mind and will” by Catholics.. Far too many seem to want to form a church in their own image and to their own liking and preferences.

 My greatest fear in all of this is that some bloggers become so convinced of their own position vis-à-vis the Pope, and so in love with their own preferences and pet hobby horses that they will end up leaving the Church.

It happened to Martin Luther!

So the answer to the question in the caption is:  YES…it does matter. It matters to those in the Church and it can adversely affect those not yet converted..

“Let the little children come to me. Do not stop them.”

“Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam”

12 thoughts on “Are some Catholic “Trads” more “Catholic” than the Pope? And does it matter?

  1. Father, the problem I have is that there is so much uncertainty as to what the Holy Father says. We are constantly being given statements of clarification by Fr. Lombardi as to what the Holy Father actually said. Statements about what he really intended to say. Clarification that he didn’t mean X, Y or Z.

    It has got to the stage that I am ignoring pretty much everything attributed to the Holy Father unless I have heard it myself or it has been promulgated by the Holy See.

  2. Father, if I may be so bold. The ‘little ones’ are us, the lay faithful. It is, unfortunately, the little ones who feel scandalised by X.Y or Z that the Pope has said or done. The exercising of authority is done by the Pope in the name of Jesus Christ, since he is His Vicar on Earth. There is a duty incumbent upon the one exercising authority to do so with justice, with wisdom and prudence, so as not to scandalise the faith of the ‘little ones’.

  3. Protestants reject the teaching authority of the Catholic Church, of which the Papacy is the ultimate embodiment. Protestants reject the Magisterium. They don’t care who the Pope is, what he says, or does, they reject the Papacy. Catholics who feel disturbed by the words and actions of this particular Pope are not protesting against the Papacy or the teaching of the Church. They are expressing concern over the Catholicity of the particular Pope. There is a fundamental difference here, which I do not think you are willing to examine or accept. If the Office holder of the Papacy decides to undermine his teaching authority, or even seek popularity at the expense of passing on the Faith, then that is a cause for concern. If he surrounds himself with people preaching a ‘different kind of gospel’ to that which we have hitherto known, then that, too, is concerning. If he rehabilitates priests who, rightly, were in some way deemed not to be in good standing, despite their lack of reform in the views they preach to the Faithful, then that, too, is worrying. Charity is one thing, but pretending ‘there is no problem here’ is not helpful to the Church either.

    1. Laurence,
      Thank you for your view, My comment that your quotation of Scripture above was out of context and similar to Protestants of another age was not implying that you are a a Protestant…..merely that you ,may wrongly used one of their methods.

      Charity does not mean that one has to pretend that “there is no problem here”.. There certainly is a problem when people pass unjust comments on the Holy Father.. Truth and Justice, informed by Charity should prevail.

      Your judgments on the actions and words of Pope Francis seem to me to offend against all three and cause scandal.

      Where precisely is the evidence for a very grave charge that he is seeking popularity at the expense of passing on the Faith?, or that he has DECIDED to undermine teaching authority?

      The fact that you preface your statements with “IF” does not conceal your beliefs, and judgments but still does grave injury to the person and reputation of the Pope. That is a problem that you do not seem to recognise.

      I have not read or heard the Pope preaching anything that at some time or another has not been taught by one or more of his predecessors. The fact that you may not have known of it does not mean that it is the Pope who errs.

      It has been obvious to me and to some friends that you, and some others are very disturbed and concerned. I genuinely care about that though I am not certain of how to help you. It seems to me that everything the Pope is doing is fully in accord with the Faith, even when he expresses it in a refreshing or new manner. The Faith is not, and has not been for thousands of years,, cut into Mosaic tablets of stone.

      The fact that the Holy Father permitted a couple of dying priests to celebrate one mare Mass before death shows the depth of his pastoral concern and compassion. Pope Pius the Twelfth did the same – the story can be read in “Shepherds in the Mist”…or maybe it is “Shepherds in the Midst”……….memory sometimes fails me …too often!.

      It seems to me that the issue is clouded by judgments based on personal likes/favourites. We can all be liable to that.. Maybe a calm reflection on the Cardinal Virtues, Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude can help.

      Non nobis, Domnine, non nobis, sed nomini Tuo da gloriam – that is what is printed on my ordination card…Trying to live it out is a worthwhile , if difficult, matter. But it can put much into perspective.

      Congratulations and prayerful good wishes for your forthcoming marriage.



      1. Father:

        Thank you for publishing a very timely post in the first instance, and for sustaining its point in responding to comments. I share your concerns that the criticisms of Pope Francis by some traditionalist commentators fail from the point of view of truthfulness, justice and charity.

        I find it particularly difficult to accept the idea that this criticism of Pope Francis in some way represents a defence of Catholic truth – even a simple reading of Pope Francis shows that such criticism cannot be correctly understood in this way.

        Particularly in this comment, I think you have “called” this for what it really is. Thank you.

  4. It is true that there is a lot of anguish at the moment – Be patient! As I commented at the election of Pope Francis, ‘The Holy Spirit does not make mistakes’.
    Keep praying for each other, the Pope and the church.


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