19 April 2017

"In communion with the Pope"

Some bishop somewhere out there in foreigner-land has suspended a priest who criticised Pope Bergoglio in a sermon.

Personally, I think it is bad form to use a sermon to criticise directly any other Catholic cleric ... including the Pope. It is not what sermons are for.

But I take great exception to the wording which this bishop is reported to have used. And I mention it because it is a linguistic usage I have come across elsewhere during this increasingly illiberal pontificate.

Preaching should serve, said the bishop, "meditation of the readings of the day, and certainly not to give personal judgements, especially if they were not in communion with the Pope ... It is certain that priestly ministry in the Catholic Church presupposes communion with the Holy Father [sic all the syntax]".

Being in Communion with the Pope, or (since baptised non-Catholics may be said to be in partial communion) being in full Communion with the Pope is, surely, a juridical category whch implies that one has not been separated from the Communion of the Catholic Church by some formal judgement or by committing a canonical crime which, according to Canon Law, carries with it a sentence of excommunication latae sententiae.

Simply to criticise the Pope (however improperly or unwisely) surely does not incur such a sentence. Or, if it does, which Canon says so? And which Canon says that a cleric so acting incurs suspension either latae or ferendae sententiae?

If criticising the Pope automatically puts one out of communion with Christ's Body the Church, then there must be quite a lot of people who criticised Pope Benedict and who are still wandering around with an invisible but very real excommunication latae sententiae dangling round their necks and clashing at embarrassing moments with their pectoral crosses.

10 comments:

roberts said...

Yes, Father, this understanding of 'being in communion' is a symptom of our psychological and ideological age: with acts and repeated statements of fervour you are required to manifest your adhesion to the person (not the office) of the Dear Leader.

It's cult like and a genuine confusion in the minds of many Catholics (and St John Paul II must bear his part of blame in this, unfortunately) since the whole notion of a Loyal Opposition disappears and everything becomes a manichean choice (rationalised with Our Lord's "those who are not for me are against me") transposed to the personality of the leader.

You see this with new religious communities ALL the time - justified with outrageous presumption by the fact that so many founding figures or religious communities were canonised in the past (nota bene the story of the third Capuchin VG, Bernardino Ochino). Accordingly, there is a list as long as your arm of founders of new religious communities who have been censured by the Church for flagrant abuse of office. (Obviously this is then woven in to the narrative of 'being persecuted by members of the hierarchy of the Church - like, say, St Padre Pio). The most egregious example is, of course, Marcial Maciel - albeit with the complicity of the Vatican itself.

It is truly perverse and a clear Sign of the Times. All of us should have Signorelli's Fresco of the The Preaching of the Antichrist as a screen saver or somewhere visible every day: the time grows ever closer when the charismatic seductive personality par excellence leads astray vast swathes of us... And the ground will have been prepared by the Cult of Personality that even the highest office in the Church will not have been immune to.

Kyrie eleison.

Chris Jones said...

What a weird comment by the archbishop! He speaks of personal judgements, especially if they were not in communion with the Pope, where the antecedent of "they" can only be "judgements"; as if "judgements" (or thoughts, opinions, feelings, or any other mental phenomena) can be "in communion" with the Pope or anyone else. But surely Churches may be in communion with one another, and Christian persons can be in communion with one another, but thoughts, feelings, or judgements cannot be in communion with a person or a Church.

I'm reminded of the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes. The child who spoke openly of the emperor's nakedness did not thereby cease to be the emperor's subject. Similarly a priest who criticizes the Pope does not thereby cease to be in communion with the Pope nor cease to be under the Pope's jurisdiction.

At least so it seems to me. I welcome correction, and as a non-Catholic I may need some.

Kathleen1031 said...

Oh but we didn't mean about THAT pope, just this one.

Floggings will continue until morale improves.

Sixupman said...

I once resided in a parish in the Clifton Diocese where the PP criticised the Magisterium; hos three successive Permanent Deacons also; and, lo and behold, a stand-in priest from adjacent parish [CofE convert(?)] of like mind. My Confessor, at a distant parish, told me to treat it as a penance. Now in The North, my bishop is pro-Franciscus; pro-Amoris Laetitia, et al and scathing of matters even mildly Traditional. Luckily I have recourse to Oratory Fathers!

Mike Hurcum said...

Vatican 2 did say originally that on the subject of Homilies the priest could sermonize on the readings of the day or any other subject he considered needed for his flock.
In these days with the attitudes of so many priests whose free will has been eliminated, perverted even by the vow on Maundy Thursday to obey the Bishop in all things and through the lack of confessions whereby the priest knew of the prevailing winds of confused thoughts in his parish. I would maintain the priests know nothing about the views of his flock but is certainly made very aware of the views of the bishop. We should all be very aware that there seems to be no difference between the priests and scribes of today's Church and of those in Christ's time. He named them very succinctly and warned them that they make of their trainees church members that were much worst in practice than themselves. Will this be out moderated only if it is not true. Did Christ say what I have written and did not priests place their hands in the hands of the bishops and make such an sinful promise ie to put aside their free will and leave it in the hands of the bishops. Who then is the worst sinner the Bishop or the priest?

Netmilsmom said...

Good thing no one was around to tell St. Paul that when he corrected St. Peter.

John Vasc said...

These days I take comfort in the phrasing of the 'Te igitur': "cum fámulo tuo Papa nostro Francisco et Antístite nostro [nomen Episcopi] - *et ómnibus orthodóxis, atque cathólicæ et apostólicae fídei cultóribus*."

That the 'orthodox believers who also profess the Catholic faith' might possibly be an entirely separate group from those previously mentioned, is a dread possibility one must now inescapably entertain.

Edwin said...

Αυτός ο ιστότοπος χρησιμοποιεί cookie από το Google για την παροχή των υπηρεσιών του, για την εξατομίκευση διαφημίσεων και για την ανάλυση της επισκεψιμότητας. Η Google κοινοποιεί πληροφορίες σχετικά με την από μέρους σας χρήση αυτού του ιστότοπου. Με τη χρήση αυτού του ιστότοπου, αποδέχεστε τη χρήση των cookie. Just a little message from Athens for Fr Hunwicke's amusement.

Edwin said...

Αυτός ο ιστότοπος χρησιμοποιεί cookie από το Google για την παροχή των υπηρεσιών του, για την εξατομίκευση διαφημίσεων και για την ανάλυση της επισκεψιμότητας. Η Google κοινοποιεί πληροφορίες σχετικά με την από μέρους σας χρήση αυτού του ιστότοπου. Με τη χρήση αυτού του ιστότοπου, αποδέχεστε τη χρήση των cookie. Just a little message from Athens for Fr Hunwicke's amusement.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

It was inevitable that in the last days, the choice for Christian Catholics was to become an unltramontane of papal positivism or a Myrmidon of Tradition.

Myrmidon of Tradition is not only militantly euphonic, it is correct; especially in light of the truth that one must be a Myrmidon of Tradition while remaining in full communion with His Bishop and Pope.