The Marxification of the Catholic Church is likely so beyond reform that it is an academic point. But NRO has a symposium on the subject that all revolve around Michael Dougherty’s article in the October 29, 2018 issue of National Review.
The one symposium writer worth reading is Daniel J Mahoney. You can pretty much skip the rest who are either namby-pamby (Lopez, as usual) or just can’t get to the point. Doughtery’s article is available without a subscription and is pretty good although misses some vital overall points which I’ll get to.
As Dougherty brilliantly demonstrates, these men reduce the gospel to a barely attainable “objective ideal,” one that won’t get in the way of accommodating democratic relativism or a corrupt notion of mercy that never asks imperfect human beings to repent or turn to the light of God. In so doing, they make a mockery of the apostolic teaching the Church is charged to protect and sustain.
The heart of Doughtery’s article is this:
What is a pope for Catholics? The Council of Florence said that he is “the true Vicar of Christ, and the Head of the whole Church, and the Father and Teacher of all Christians; and that to him in blessed Peter was delivered by our Lord Jesus Christ the full power of pasturing, ruling, and governing the whole Church.” The first Vatican Council rejected those who claimed the pope can deliver new doctrines, saying that his responsibility was to protect and safeguard the existing truths of the Catholic faith. “To satisfy this pastoral duty, our predecessors ever made unwearied efforts that the salutary doctrine of Christ might be propagated among all the nations of the earth, and, with equal care, they watched that it might be preserved, genuine and pure, where it had been received.”
Francis’s defenders have rejected that modest duty. One of his chief apologists and attack dogs, Father Thomas Rosica, has grandly claimed that “Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments.’” He explains that the Church has entered a “new phase,” and that “with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.” By this definition, the papacy would be transferred from a guardian of truth to its living oracle. It would be easy to dismiss Rosica as a mere enthusiast but for the fact that Francis openly challenges Church teaching. Most recently, Francis revised the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that the death penalty had become inadmissible, effectively declaring that the Church had been in error until his arrival.
On Drudge today I read that Young Catholics urge Vatican to issue inclusive LGBT message. Read this in conjuction with a rare article at AT that has a point: Vestal Victims and the Cult of Left-Wing Narcissism
Mahoney also writes: “The Holy Spirit, whom they routinely ritualistically invoke, somehow always seems to be on “the right side of History.”
So what is this to you or me? Maybe nothing. But it is interesting to ponder the metaphysics of it all. The Catholic Church supposedly derives it’s authority from God, starting with Peter, binding things on earth as they are in heaven. Etc. The Holy Ghost is said to pick the popes.
But what do we say about a religion that suddenly mocks and undercuts its very founding ideals and legitimacy? We can say that perhaps, as Christopher Hitchens would remark, it was all bullshit to begin with. But if it’s not then the Catholic Church is a moral authority is lost. Only extraordinary circumstances could save it.
Much like large swaths of Protestantism, church attendance is more of a function of narcissism or entertainment. Or the job of religion is now to sanctify us as we are and turn sin, as these writers say, into half-virtues leaving actual belief (seen now as “heroic” and thus an oddity and certainly unnecessary) to a few rare individuals who really don’t count for anything.
I was usually only half-serious when I said that I was more Catholic than most Catholics. The joke is no longer that bizarre or particularly irrelevant. Stand where you are now, simply in place and not necessarily moving any closer to the saints, and the wind will blow the “believers” into a land so foreign that it’s no longer an apt truism to answer an obvious question with, “Is the pope Catholic?”