Some Days You Eat the Bar

And some days the bar eats you.

That equivocation is readily apparent in Father Dwight’s on-again-off-again regard for the papacy.

He recently warned conservatives about being too hard on Pope Francis:

Conservatives, for their part, should take a deep breath, avoid extremist language and disloyalty to the Successor of Peter. If they don’t like their pastor they should thank God that they were never supposed to put their faith in the Pope in the first place and take the opportunity to draw closer to Jesus and Mary, grow deeper in their faith and live out that faith more joyfully in the world.

But wasn’t this the same South Carolina priest who three months ago waxed a tad triumphalist?

Divisions and chaos in church result because of a plethora of questions both small and great, theological, moral, political, economic, cultural, liturgical—you name it.

The Protestants have two ways of coping with this conundrum: schism and heresy. The schism solution means when Christians disagree they simply agree to disagree, split up and form yet another new church. The heresy solution is to sacrifice the unchanging truths in some way, and increasingly that way its to dispense with dogma altogether because, “Dogma divides.”

The Catholic solution is to have an infallible authority. The catechism teaches that Christ is the infallible authority, and that he grants a measure of his infallibility to his church with the successor of St Peter at her head.

We constantly see the Catholic Church exercising this authority to preserve dogma on the one hand and adapt to changing circumstances on the other. The authority is often exercised through conflict in the church. Catholics quarrel over what can be changed and what cannot. Then they discuss further and finally the referee—in the form of the Pope—makes the final call.

Which is it? Or is this an example of “development”?


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