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"During the post-Vatican II upheavals in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, conservative Catholics developed a mental architecture that told them that even if their parish priest or local bishop was lax, immoral, or even vaguely heretical, there was practically a living saint in Rome, whose unassailable orthodoxy, personal charisma, and good works were taken as the living sign of the indefectibility of the Church." 

 


Catholics must learn to resist their popes — even Pope Francis

Too many are becoming party apparatchicks

 

by Michael Brendan Dougherty

(Founder and editor of The Slurve, a newsletter about baseball. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, ESPN Magazine, Slate and The American Conservative.)

Pope Francis has a funny way of naming and shaming certain tendencies in the Church, using insults that are inventive, apposite, and confounding. His ear is finely tuned for the way the Catholic faith can be distorted by ideology. And I'd like to imitate his example when I say this: Most Catholics are completely unprepared for a wicked pope. And they may not be prepared for Pope Francis either. They are more loyal to an imagined Catholic party than to the Catholic faith or the Church.

Between Pentecost and the launch of Vatican.va, most Catholics did not have access to the day to day musings of their pope. The Roman pontiff's theological speculations have been of almost no interest to Catholics throughout history, and never became so unless he was a great theologian already, or there was a great controversy which the authority of the Roman church might settle. To the average Catholic living hundreds of miles from Rome the Faith was the Faith, whether the pope was zealously orthodox like St. Benedict II or a sex-criminal like Pope John XII.

Pius VToday is the Traditional Feast day of St. Pius V, the pope who, in 1570, gave us the bull Quo Primum. Quo Primum established the Traditional Latin Mass as the Mass of the Roman Rite and gave all priests a right to say this Mass with no need for perission from any bishop.

In addition Quo Primum fixed the Traditional Latin Mass in perpetuity forbidding any substantive change to it. The Neo-Catholics, sadly, have attempted to minimize the importance of Quo Primum by a few stock arguments. One of those arguments begins by saying that St. Pius V cannot bind future popes in matters of Church discipline.

This much is true. Where the Neo-Catholics err, however, is believing that the Traditional Mass is a mere matter of Church discipline. By this logic the Mass becomes the personal plaything of the pope, subject to the whims of whatever pontiff happens to be in office. To take this logic to its extreme, a Neo-Catholic would be forced to admit that tomorrow Pope Francis could eliminate all Eastern Rite liturgies, replace them with Novus Ordo folk Masses and be completely within his rights to do so. If this logic sounds strange to you, it should.

In the below video Canon Gregory Hesse, (Canon lawyer, Doctor of Thomistic Theology and former Secretary to Cardinal Stickler), explains why the popular Neo-Catholic talking point on Quo Primum is wrong. St. Pius V, pray for us!

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