PopeWatch: Ring Binder Catholicism

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“Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: ‘Just as many as you say, Father.’ Then again I asked him: ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.’”

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited



Father Z is troubled by the recent change in the teaching of the Church on the death penalty by Pope Francis:

When the change was made to the Latin text of CCC 2267 – concerning the death penalty (claiming that it is now always “inadmissible”) – I both said in sermons and wrote here that the change was troubling and for more than one reason.

First, when changes are made to doctrinal statements, they should make the teaching of the Church clearer, not less clear.  The change to CCC 2267 created confusion.

Second, it struck me that perhaps this was a trial-balloon, floated before attempting to change CCC 2358 on objectively disordered homosexual inclinations.

Also, I explained that something doesn’t become true by the fact of it being put into the CCC. It is put into the CCC because it can be demonstrated to be true. Look at pages in your CCC and you will find lots of footnotes with pertinent references to Scripture and the Fathers and Councils, etc. Look at CCC 2267 and you find one note, referring to a statement that Francis’ himself made in a speech a short while before.   That’s it.   It’s a bit self-referential. Of course it would be challenging to find references in Scripture or the Fathers or Councils etc. to uphold the position asserted in 2267, for, using all those, the Church has always upheld that capital punishment is admissible in some cases.

Hence, I refer you back to my first point.

Look.  You can be, personally, sincerely against any application of the death penalty in any circumstance, but you should still be really concerned about this change.   It’s puzzling… and that’s not what catechisms are for.  Catechisms might make you stop and think and scratch your head as you work it out, but they are not supposed to leave you puzzled.

People are confused by CCC 2267. It appears to be a radical change to the Church’s teaching. You have to read a lot of things into the vague word “inadmissible” to get to a place where 2267 doesn’t look like a reversal.

The other day, the US Bishops voted with only 8 NO votes – who are those guys, I wonder – to approve a change to the US edition of the Catechism to bring it into line with the Latin of CCC 2267.

Go here to read the rest.  This is ring binder Catholicism where anything about the Faith can be changed by the Pope at a moment’s notice, and all the rest of us are to pretend that the prior teaching next existed.  Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.  There are many words that could be used to describe this type of blind obedience to the man at the top, but Catholicism, as traditionally understood for the past 20 centuries, is not one of them.


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  1. How do I stop giving money to the Bishop and Diocese, when they exact a 12% tax on the parish offering…

  2. “You have to read a lot of things into the vague word “inadmissible” to get to a place where 2267 doesn’t look like a reversal.”

    Seems like we’ve had to read a lot of things in the vagueries that has come out of the Vatican in the last few years. If I argued for the DP in the past then I was morally wrong is that it? The Church taught us something that was false? Immoral? What other doctrine/teachings from our Church will be found as evil and immoral in the future? Do we no longer have an anchor by which we hold on to the Truth?

  3. David WS-What happens to your parish when all the parishioners stop making contributions? It is a very short sighted idea in my mind.

  4. No one has to obey “Pope” Francis. He is not even the Pope. Benedict still is. So what’s the fuss?

  5. Ordinary Catholic asks: Do we no longer have an anchor by which we hold on to the Truth?
    Yes, but Rome apparently prefers to drag the anchor as the tides of “what is truth” (asked Pilate) swing to and fro. It’s a game called nautical ambiguity.

  6. More and more I refer to Sacred Scripture and to the writings of the early Church Fathers. Frankly, I am coming to distrust today’s Catechism. Maybe it’s just better to go back to the Baltimore Catechism or to the Council of Trent.

  7. If the deliberately ambiguous word “inadmissible” is used by the Pope then a nation can still justly implement the DP since the Pope refuses to be clear in his teaching. He cannot call any past teaching of the Catholic Church “inherently evil” otherwise what other truth will be “inherently” evil tomorrow?. One can say the DP may no longer be necessary in our society, but still allow nations to have recourse to it if need be. If the Pope wants to be deliberately ambiguous then nations have to decide themselves what he meant and use capital punishment if they have to since he did not clearly say they can’t. Call him out and force his hand. Either past teachings are true or all are up for grabs

  8. I came to the Church from a long line of Protestant ministers. I myself am Protestant seminary trained. My wife and all my kids have converted. What I see currently from our leaders in the CC is simply the exact same mainline liberal cultural Marxism I saw in liberal Protestantism. Same words, same approach. Up till recently I said that the Deposit of Faith was preserved, at least, on paper. Now I cannot say that. Even on paper we see documentary aberrations of doctrine.

    Not one bishop will confront another bishop to the face. Not one bishop will confront the Pope to his face. The CC is currently modelling the Anglicanism of several decades ago. All beliefs are acceptable under the “Big Tent”. The best we see are occasional “statements” coming from the orthodox leaders, artfully crafted to avoid direct confrontation with any of the specific purveyors of error and heresy. Thus Masonic Anglicanism is modeled yet again; “conservative” views and progressive views and everything in between are acceptable, are tolerated. Indeed, some time back Cardinal Burke said that a position of Bergogolio’s was “intolerable”, and then went on to tolerate it. He made a promise to God and the whole world he would “correct the Pope” but today we have yet to see that by name. He even made grand statements about the sweeping effeminacy that has infected the Church, yet all we see from our bishops is…effeminacy. As far as preserving the faith is concerned, folks, we can expect nothing from our leaders. I and mine are blessed with good priests and parishes, but my heart breaks for those stuck in the wastelands where heresies thrive. God Save the Catholic Church.

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