The Holy Spirit is not the author of the confusion in the Catholic Church – so who is?

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In his magnificent book The Devastated Vineyard (1973), Dietrich von Hildebrand warned against a false loyalty to the Church hierarchy in which Catholics uncritically accept every word and action of their bishop, while failing to acknowledge the harm that may be done to the Church by those words and actions:

A third false response, and perhaps the most dangerous one, would be to imagine that there is no destruction of the vineyard of the Lord, that it only seems so to us — our task as laymen is simply to adhere with complete loyalty to whatever our bishop says….

At the basis of this attitude is a false idea of loyalty to the hierarchy. When the pope speaks ex cathedra on faith or morals, then unconditional acceptance and submission is required of every Catholic. But it is false to extend this loyalty to encyclicals in which new theses are proposed. This is not to deny that the magisterium of the Church extends much farther than the dogmas. If an encyclical deals with a question of faith or morals and is based on the tradition of the holy Church — that is, expresses something which the Church has always taught — then we should humbly accept its teaching. This is the case with the encyclical Humanae Vitae: although we do not have here the strict infallibility of a defined dogma, the content of the encyclical nevertheless belongs to that sphere of the Church’s magisterium which we must accept as true.

But there are many encyclicals which deal with very different (e.g., sociological) questions and which express a response of the Church to certain new conditions. Thus the encyclical of the great Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, with its idea of a corporate state, differs on sociological questions with encyclicals of Paul VI. But when it is a question of practical ordinances such as concordats, or the suppression of the Jesuit order by Pope Clement XIV, or the introduction of the new missal, or the rearrangement of the Church calendar, or the new rubrics for the liturgy, then our obedience (as Vatican I declares), but by no means our agreement, is required….

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11 Comments

  1. Watch Out fot those Encyclicals, for they may not be Holy Spirit Inspired! Believe me, I Do!

  2. That the Holy Spirit does notinspire, but does permit the massive confusion and dysfunction that mark the sorry state of the Church right now, is a concept which is rapidly eroding out from under me: to the point that I now find very little solid ground left on which my faith can remain standing

    • Mark,
      Don’t be that way!
      Your Ultimate Faith, is in Our Lord!
      Never give up on him!
      I would give my life for him!
      Pretend, you are stranded on a desert island, alone,,,,and the ONLY ONE, you could cry out to was God……..He will Save you…He is Faithful in His Promises!
      Many Blessings in Christ,
      Cathy

      • Thanks for the encouragement. What I’m losing, specifically, is the ability to link the way to Salvation with the institutional Church. The latter’s catastrophic loss of credibility seriously clouds and obscures the former. And it just keeps getting worse.

      • Maybe Doug, can help us out……But Salvation is from God!
        I believe the Catechism states that Truth!
        Cathy

      • There are times when God decides to leave us to our own devices. It’s called “granting all the desires of their heart(s).” It’s really a curse – just like the obtuse “spirit” of Vatican II.

        Psalms 81:11-12 But my people heard not my voice: and Israel hearkened not to me. So I let them go according to the desires of their heart: they shall walk in their own inventions.

        Romans 1:22-25 For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts and of creeping things. Wherefore, God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness: to dishonor their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

        In response, people either straighten up and fly right – or they plunge further and further into degradation. God remains totally unaffected – since he’s God – and he knew from the beginning all that would happen – and when!

        This is one of those times in history, but it’s no time to lose faith and hope in Jesus Christ.

        The church – dysfunctional as it is today – still has the power to give grace and save souls. And that will never cease. Meanwhile, the truly faithful continue to praise God while gracefully fending off attacks from modernist Philistines and tin-horn politicians. Things weren’t appreciably better in earlier times. It was just a bit less complicated.

        That is the cross we’re called to bear, and it might just spare us from some time in Purgatory . Besides – where else are we to go – what else are we to do?

        For now, let’s just dump all our cares and concerns on Jesus and get on with things. We know what needs to be accomplished – and time is short!

        Faith, hope and charity have always been the primary earthly manifestations of God’s grace, and there’s plenty of that still going around – praise God!

        So, we have no reason to complain, and much to overcome. It’s a “target rich” environment.

        Cheers!

        Doug

      • The Romans scripture is one I always use for Humanism….worship the Creation, instead of the Creator! ….elevating things or man to the level of God!
        In my nightly Prayer, I say: I cast my Cares to Him, for He Cares for me!
        Why take it on yourself, hand it over to the Omnipotent One, who loves you…God Is Love!
        We all have our crosses to bare, but take it to the Cross of Christ, who is Our Propitiatiom (Lamb Of God) who remits sin, and through Him grants us Salvation and Eternity, in Heaven.
        The Joy of God, is my Strength….I can do All things through Christ who Strengthens me!
        Praise His Precious Name. Amen
        His Church is the Bride of Christ, which will one day have the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when we will be reunited with our King of Kings/Lord of Lords and we shall have NO Pain or Sorrow!
        In the Sermon on the Mount…Christ gave us the Blessings, and one of them was He came to set the Captives Free,so Free your mind of captive thoughts that enslave you! Try to Conform to Christ and think of His Holy nature and Goodness…..for He is Our Saviour, Pure and Undefiled!

      • Amen!

        Doug

      • Depends on which Catechism you mean…

  3. Mark,
    Are we to follow the most Current and Updated Catechism of the Catholic Church?
    Is that the Protocol ?
    Does the Roman Catholic Church agree on a Universal Catechism?
    Canon Law if for the Whole Church, but what about the Catechism….US, Europe…?
    Anyone, feel free, to chime in!

    • “Are we to follow the most Current and Updated Catechism of the Catholic Church?”

      Not this Catholic.

      I treat this book the way I treat our local diocesan rag. I avoid both—along with countless other post V-II publications—as occasions of sin (anger, rage, etc.).


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