Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Danger of Good Popes

In all the agony over everything Our Holy Father Francis says or does, it needs to be remembered that no pope can alter the law of God, or the natural law for that matter, even if he wanted to do so. From First Things:
Much of the controversy surrounding Pope Francis’ interview has been unmerited, and I believe him to be a great pope in the line of his predecessors, most of whom are at some stage in the canonization process. In an article on the announcement of the impending canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, Fr. John McCloskey, was quoted as saying, “Speaking as a Church historian, I say with complete confidence that starting with Pope Pius XII up to our present pope we are in the greatest epoch of popes in history above all due to their Holiness.” Anthony Esolen, Professor of Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College, went further. “We have not had a bad man for pope since the Council of Trent.”

And that, ironically, can cause confusion about the papacy. Though even our most recent popes haven’t been perfect, it’s certainly the case that there has not been an egregiously bad pope in recent memory. That can make it easy to think that popes will always be this good, or that God protects the papacy from grave immorality or stupidity. But that’s not the case, as the examples already cited, and many others like them, demonstrate clearly. (Read more.)
Fr. Angelo on Pope Francis as prophet:
 What the Holy Father says specifically about religious, applies more generally to the whole Church.  As I said in my last post, the naïve utopianism of those on the left as well as the abstraction of nostalgia on the right can only offer false promises.  There is no safety in the past and no certain new dawn in the future.  But there is always the Church in the present that continues to live and breathe.  God’s providence is found here.  Everything else is a mirage.  For this reason, as helpful and necessary as all the concerned commentaries and clarifications are, we also need to allow Pope Francis to speak more loudly than all this policing.  We need to hear right now and without filters what the Spirit is saying Church in the present. (Read more.)

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