PopeWatch: Magisterium

Ed Feser at Catholic World Report describes the damage being done to the magisterium by attempts to paint the statement of Pope Francis that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong as a development of doctrine:


In fact, the opposite is the case. You cannot reinforce people’s confidence in the papal Magisterium unless you first make it clear exactly what are the scope and limits of that Magisterium. When well-meaning theologians like Prof. Fastiggi tie themselves in logical knots in order to avoid having to admit that a pope might have misspoken or made a mistake when not speaking ex cathedra – despite the fact that the Church herself has always acknowledged that this can happen! – they reinforce the slander that Catholics are committed to what I have called the Crude Protestant Caricature of papal authority.

In particular, they give (however unintentionally) the false impression that popes can reinvent doctrine at will and simply stipulate, by dictatorial fiat, that the novelties they are teaching are “scriptural” and “traditional.” They thereby make a laughingstock of Catholic claims to have preserved the deposit of faith whole and undefiled. And they thereby undermine confidence in the papal Magisterium. Non-Catholics are liable to conclude that Catholic claims about the papacy are a kind of Orwellian sophistry. Some Catholics are liable to conclude this too, and to lose their faith as a result – whereas if they were reassured instead that the Church does not require them to deny the obvious, their faith will be saved.

Here is the bottom line: In order to defend the suggestion that a pope could teach that capital punishment is always and intrinsically immoral, you have to maintain that the Church has for 2000 years been teaching grave moral error. Indeed, you have to say that the Church has for all that time been defending, as a matter of moral doctrine, a species of murder. You also have to say either that Scripture teaches moral error and that the Church has for 2000 years been wrong to claim otherwise; or you have to say that Scripture does not teach moral error but that the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, all previous popes, and indeed the Church in general for 2000 years, have misunderstood Scripture.

How on earth Prof. Fastiggi could seriously think that defending those propositions is remotely conducive to upholding people’s confidence in the papal Magisterium, I have no idea.

Go here to read the rest.  All good Catholics wish to support the Pope.  However when such support involves accepting lies and erasing out of memory 2000 years of Catholic history,  such support comes at too dear a price.  May God forgive Pope Francis for recklessly forcing faithful Catholics to stand against their Pope.

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  1. “..when such support involves accepting lies and erasing out of memory 2000 years of Catholic history, such support comes at too dear a price. May God forgive Pope Francis for recklessly forcing faithful Catholics to stand against their Pope.”

    Donald. Amen to your prayer.
    “Forcing faithful Catholics to stand against their Pope”… this is exactly what he is doing, and to think that he considers traditional Catholics a type of Pharisee is heartbreaking. Rigid he might think us, but the mill stone is much more damaging to a leaders soul.
    Prayers on the way!
    Prayers for his conversion.

  2. The death penalty is the temporal punishment for homicide in the first degree. Pope Francis denies the capital one murderer the Sacrament of Penance when he tells the Church that the capital one murderer is free to go without Penance and temporal punishment. The victim is dead and denied Justice and the people are led to believe that they are really morally superior to those bad immoral people who believe in the the death penalty as a deterrent of homicide in the first degree.
    Jesus Christ suffered the death penalty for our sins. Anyone unwilling to suffer the death penalty for his sins is a moral coward.

  3. The respectful letter from Fr. Weinandy via Dale Price’s link, was also confirmed by the Holy Spirit in my opinion. The “ultimatum” he gave God was easily complied with and because of the nature of the issue was answered post haste.
    The fearlessness of reprisals was also impressive…”the good my letter might do.”

    Thanks for the link Mr. Price.

  4. When the court theologian for one of the most corrupt organizations within the Church, the USCCB namely, calls out the pope, that’s saying something. An instance of the pot calling the kettle black, perhaps. But hey, this is one instance of where the pot is correct!

  5. Q. Why did Pope Francis cease wearing the traditional papal red shoes?
    A. He detests their taste.
    – – –
    Whenever I grow dismayed by Pope Francis’s latest blurt, I tell myself,
    “Truly this Pope is a successor of Peter!”

  6. Unlike our bishops, I am concerned about the thousands of innocent men in America’s jails and prisons–the guards! Where is concern for their lives? For the pastoral care of their special needs?

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