PopeWatch: His Opinion

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Often enough the Christian view of things will itself suggest some specific solution in certain circumstances. Yet it happens rather frequently, and legitimately so, that with equal sincerity some of the faithful will disagree with others on a given matter. Even against the intentions of their proponents, however, solutions proposed on one side or another may be easily confused by many people with the Gospel message. Hence it is necessary for people to remember that no one is allowed in the aforementioned situations to appropriate the Church’s authority for his opinion. They should always try to enlighten one another through honest discussion, preserving mutual charity and caring above all for the common good.

From Paragraph 43 of Gaudium et Spes

John Henry at Lifesite News brings up a very important point as the Pope continues to enlist the authority of the Church in leftist crusade after leftist crusade:

Pope Francis’ recent message calling on Catholics to repent of “sins” against the environment seems to come with the fullness of Church authority, not in form but in content. Although issued only as a papal message, it uses forceful language of repentance, forgiveness, and the need for conversion to introduce a novel category of sin heretofore foreign to Catholic understanding. And given that the science of global warming is still under hot contention, and indeed is a matter outside of the Church’s competence, the Pope is simply not at liberty to require Catholics to adhere to it.

The Second Vatican Council taught, “It is necessary for people to remember that no one is allowed” (it did not make an exception for popes) “to appropriate the Church’s authority for his opinion” (Gaudium et Spes 43). Pope Benedict XVI reiterated the same teaching even more explicitly, saying in 2011, “No one can claim to speak ‘officially’ in the name of the entire lay faithful, or of all Catholics, in matters freely open to discussion.”

Benedict noted that it is altogether appropriate, however, to insist on what he referred to as the non-negotiable matters.

In 2004, Pope Benedict (while still Cardinal Ratzinger) explained that while there are non-negotiable moral issues such as abortion and euthanasia, there are other issues where Catholics may legitimately differ even with the Pope. “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia,” he wrote. “For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion.” Concluding the point, he said, “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

In his 2007 Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict listed the non-negotiable values as “respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children, and the promotion of the common good in all its forms.”

When Pope Francis first exhorted the faithful with forceful language to adhere to climate change theory in certain portions of his encyclical Laudato Si’, high-ranking Vatican Cardinal George Pell pointed specifically to those portions as non-binding. Speaking to the Financial Times in the wake of the encyclical, Cardinal Pell said, “The church has no particular expertise in science . . . the church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters.”

But there are varied views in the Vatican about the authority of the Pope’s views on climate change. Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, a close adviser to Pope Francis and the chancellor of both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, argued that the pope’s declarations on the gravity of global warming as expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’ are magisterial teaching equivalent to the teaching that abortion is sinful.

Father Robert Sirico, the Acton Institute’s founder and president, contested Sorondo’s remarks. It is “important to underscore the distinction between the theological dimension of Laudato Si’ and its empirical, scientific, and economic claims,” he said. “The Church does not claim to speak with the same authority on matters of economics and science … as it does when pronouncing on matters of faith and morals.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  It is shameful how few clergy and laity have the guts to stand up and state what is obvious:  the Pope is abusing his authority in attempting to place the authority of the Church at the service of his pet political causes.

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16 Comments

  1. It would seem the social gospel of late 19th/early 20th century American protestantism has infected the Vatican.

  2. The Bear had a budgie once. He had a little mirror in his cage. He used to admire himself and peck at it. The Bear thinks the Pope is doing the same thing. It’s kind of cute. We need to get him a couple of other toys. Pope Pius XII had a pet bird. Pope Francis is a pet bird. We’ve come a long way.

  3. I’ve noticed over the years that SOME Spanish and Italian clergy give “authority” an emphasis that often seems unwarranted….perhaps due to pater machismo within their family structures which they bring into the Church wthout realizing it. That’s happening here with Bishop Sorondo….and constantly with Francis.
    The death penalty was another place in which Popes replaced research with zeitgeist….and ludicrously the largest Catholic country, Brazil, has 50,000 murders a year and rampant prison murders with no death penalty and 24 times the murder rate of death penalty China…..both having large poor populations unlike Europe where non dp Austria had 40 murders in a year due to affluence being the norm.

  4. Well, Donald, since almost all bishops in the west have attempted to place the authority of the Church at the service of pet political causes for decades, it was only a matter of time that they would elect a pope that would follow suit.

  5. Then why did they elect Pope Benedict? As for Pope Francis I think they got a pig in a poke that most of them knew little about. When his eventual successor is elected we may then have a clue as to the private reaction of most cardinals to the current Pope.

  6. Interesting point. Chances are Pope Francis have more folks believing him about how to care for the physical environment than he does for the spiritual care of their own souls.

  7. Old saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”
    .
    I (was obviously wrong) thought that the pope speaking/writing ex cathedra is infallible in matters of faith and morals, not in economics and science.
    .
    MD: Correct as usual: I see no evidence that pope cares a lick about the salvation of souls. Maybe he believes all a social justice warrior’s sins, no matter how many and serious, are automatically, without repentance; without Confession; without penance; without amendment of life . . . are automatically absolved.
    .
    It’s as if in order to be saved (we cannot be saved on our own merits, but all things are possible with God) one only needs to do the corporal/temporal(?) works of mercy listed in St. Matthew’s final judgment narrative.
    .
    Bill Bannon above mentions Spain. Spain is an economic basket case eight years after the 2008 global financial crisis. One factor I believe is Spain’s having gone “all in” ( a no-limit poker term) on high-cost, inefficient green power. An aspect of the problem is that the politicians and green activists have become uber rich on green graft.
    .
    Most of the world’s population lives in misery and poverty. Putting climate change/green graft ahead of poor people and economic development doesn’t help feed, clothe, etc. poor people. “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”

  8. First of all, Bergoglio was not an unknown quantity going into the 2013 Conclave. He was the runner up in the 2005 Conclave, albeit a distant one. If we are to believe some of the “leaked” vote tallies from 2005, Bergoglio got the bulk of his votes in the very early ballots, while the voting Cardinals are still casting tribute votes, which itself seems telling.

    As to why they elected Ratzinger, for one, it was well known among the voting Cardinals that Ratzinger lacked physical stamina, compounded by advanced age. Thus, he could easily be overwhelmed by the demands of the papacy, rendering him ineffective in reigning in the run away bureaucracy in the Vatican. If I recall, Donald, you posited a similar hypothesis about a year ago or so. And run away bureaucracies usually favor leftist elements.Perhaps the Cardinals got more than what they bargained for with Bergoglio. Look, Pope Francis is not the cause of the leftward lurch of the hierarchy, he is the product of it!

  9. “First of all, Bergoglio was not an unknown quantity going into the 2013 Conclave.”

    The main things that Cardinals would have known about Bergoglio were that he was constantly fighting with the Argentinian government, specifically over gay marriage, and that he was persona non grata with the Jesuits. To most of the Cardinals that would hardly have spelled left wing radical. Only a small coterie of Cardinals probably were privy to the views that have come forth during his papacy.

    “As to why they elected Ratzinger, for one, it was well known among the voting Cardinals that Ratzinger lacked physical stamina, compounded by advanced age. Thus, he could easily be overwhelmed by the demands of the papacy, rendering him ineffective in reigning in the run away bureaucracy in the Vatican. If I recall, Donald, you posited a similar hypothesis about a year ago or so.”

    Considering he lasted eight years I would say they guessed poorly if that was their reason. I do not believe we have the truth on the resignation yet. I rather suspect that blackmail may have been involved. Who was blackmailing whom I am uncertain. Of course we also have the election of John Paul II to contend with who was relatively young and vigorous for a Pope and decidedly not left wing. In regard to Pope Benedict perhaps it was the closest that the Cardinals could come to giving John Paul II another run as Pope. Alas, Pope Benedict clearly lacked the courage and fortitude of his predecessor.

  10. I recommend ZippyCatholic.

    I am very familiar with Zippy. Let’s just say while I appreciate his best efforts, he falls pretty well short of ably refuting classical liberalism.

  11. “The main things that Cardinals would have known about Bergoglio were that he was constantly fighting with the Argentinian government, specifically over gay marriage, and that he was persona non grata with the Jesuits. To most of the Cardinals that would hardly have spelled left wing radical. Only a small coterie of Cardinals probably were privy to the views that have come forth during his papacy.”

    It was Bergoglio that suggested the civil union compromise that was overwhelmingly shot down be the rest of the Argentine bishops. That means he was clearly to the left of the other Argentine bishops. And rumors were that Cardinal Burke made a desperate attempt to spearhead an effort to block Bergoglio’s election. Given that it only took five ballots to elect him says it was doomed to failure from the very start. It also says more was probably known about him than you suggest. The fact that he was from Latin America by itself would raise suspicions of leftism.

    Ratzinger lasted eight years, yes. But the bureaucracy was running rings around him pretty much the whole time. The rumor of him saying to Bishop Fellay “My authority ends at that door.” seems to have plausibility. If true, that is clearly a sign of the pope throwing in the towel. Another thing that had to be contended with regarding the pontificate of JPII was that for about the last decade of his reign, he was gravely ill and feeble and didn’t have the strength to reign in the bureaucracy.

    In any event, the “ideology runneth over my theology” is the operative motto of practically the entire world’s Latin Rite episcopate. And that it was only a matter of time before one of them get elected pope, intentions or lack thereof notwithstanding.

  12. What I assume the average Cardinal knew about Bergoglio is well represented in this short story after the election by the New York Times.

    http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/15/bergoglio-stood-up-to-kirchner-will-he-to-the-vaticans-bureaucracy/?_r=0

    Of course if we knew anything about the conclave other than rumor, it would be easier to determine the motivation of the Cardinals, but I doubt if they were lining up behind Bergoglio in expectation of radical change. In regard to whether he supported civil unions that, as is the case with so much that went on about him in Argentina, is disputed:

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bergoglio-proposed-civil-unions-for-homosexuals-as-alternative-to-marriage

    “But the bureaucracy was running rings around him pretty much the whole time.”

    I don’t think that is an accurate assessment, even though the Pope Emeritus has stated that he was not strong in the governance of the Church. Except for his condoms comment Pope Benedict stuck to a very orthodox line on doctrine. His Anglican outreach was brilliant. I think he was forced out because he was too successful against the heterodox, although once again the Pope Emeritus denies it. I do not think we will know the behind the scenes truth until long after Pope Benedict has passed from the scene.

  13. “I am very familiar with Zippy. Let’s just say while I appreciate his best efforts, he falls pretty well short of ably refuting classical liberalism.”

    He prided himself on being quite the moral philosopher also. He prided himself on having read Anscombe and one other book on the subject. Belittled people on their “consequentialism.” Two years or so into his diatribes he discovered we were talking about double effect. I suggested he submit his strange theories to a peer reviewed journal. He passed. Good thing as his thoughts on the subject were sad.

  14. As I have said, I think the Cardinals got more than they bargained for with Pope Francis. But the fact remains that we have an extremely over-politicized episcopacy. And that it’s only a matter of time that one of them is going to get elected pope. And we can also thank some of his predecessors for helping set the table for that. For example, St. JPII, as great of a pope overall that he was, injected himself into the death penalty debate in a manner that he no business doing.

    If Benedict XVI was so effective against the heterodox, then how did he get into a position where was vulnerable to blackmail? I do not see any evidence that would lead anyone to dispute what the former pope himself gave as a reason for his abdication, advanced age and lack of physical stamina. In the interview he gave to Peter Seewald, he is quoted as saying he had doubts as to whether he should have accepted his election. But accepted out of a sense of obligation. On this note, I think a Cardinal should seriously consider going into a conclave whether or not he is up to the task and consider refusing his election if he should get elected every bit as much as he should consider accepting.

    Benedict’s condom comment was a tempest in a tea cup, and a weak tempest at that. Never ever, ever, ever, did he say or imply that the use of condoms was okay in the prevention of spreading disease. He actually explicitly said the opposite. What part of, “It’s not a real or moral solution.” don’t people understand? His more real blunders were the blanket lifting of SSPX excommunications that included the Holocaust denting Bp. Williamson and his environmentalist positions. While certainly would have never issued an encyclical like Laudato Oh No No (err, Laudato Si), posed for pictures holding up a No Al Fracking T shirt, or included enviro-wackoism as a work of mercy, his belief that man made “Climate Change” was real is pretty much identical to that of Francis.

    The outreach to the Anglicans was in the works about twenty years prior to his election as pope, due in large part to his efforts as prefect of the CDF. And on that note, when history judges him fairly, as I believe it eventually will, it will correctly state that his finest hour was as Cardinal Joseph Ratizinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, not as Pope Benedict XVI.

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