I invariably have other things to do when some new absurdity comes out of the Roman Catholic Church. The newest is that Pope Francis is being threatened by four Cardinal whistle-blowers over the issue of allowing civilly remarried divorcees to receive Communion.
In a former article, I mentioned this issue as being better dealt with as a matter of conscience in the confessional. Not all cases are the same. I have my own experience of marriage – and St Paul considered marriage as an option for those too weak for celibacy. Some people have been dealt a really raw deal in life, but that is between them and their parish priests and their local diocesan nullity tribunal. I don’t want to go into the question from the point of view of moral or sacramental theology, canon law or pastoral care of the faithful.
My attention was drawn to An FAQ for All Christians on Divorce, Pope Francis and the Bishops Questioning Him.
Q: How can the doctrine of papal infallibility survive this?
A: Fans of logic will note that it can’t. If Pope Francis continues on the course he has chosen, he will prove, empirically, that this teaching was never true in the first place.
Q: What will that mean for the First Vatican Council?
A: That council, and every other council the Catholic Church has held since the great Schism with the Orthodox in 1054, will be called into question. The Orthodox theory, that it was Rome which went off the rails back then, will start looking pretty persuasive. Last time I checked, making the case for that was not the Roman pontiff’s job.
So that is what is tickling the Jesuit Pope as he thinks about ripping off no fewer than four Cardinals’ hats, from men who have acted within the limits of canon law! It is all becoming abject nonsense.
We Anglican Catholics follow principles given in the Affirmation of St Louis. A few extracts:
We cannot decide what is truth, but rather (in obedience) ought to receive, accept, cherish, defend and teach what God has given us. The Church is created by God, and is beyond the ultimate control of man.
We repudiate all deviation of departure from the Faith, in whole or in part, and bear witness to these essential principles of evangelical Truth and apostolic Order:
The received Tradition of the Church and its teachings as set forth by “the ancient catholic bishops and doctors,” and especially as defined by the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, to the exclusion of all errors, ancient and modern.
We disclaim any right or competence to suppress, alter or amend any of the ancient Ecumenical Creeds and definitions of Faith, to set aside or depart from Holy Scripture, or to alter or deviate from the essential pre-requisites of any Sacrament.
There are many small Churches that came into being because authority and institution have been perverted and corrupted. This has always been the cause of schism and the reflex of surviving outside the system in small communities. We do this because we cannot call the whole Christian message nonsense as many have done. We try to go on. So do many good and devout Roman Catholics and people from other communities.
The internet has helped to bring about a new paradigm in politics. May the swamp be drained in Rome too!