Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Given our American sensibilities about democracy and the like, can an American Catholic honestly accept the Catholic Church's hierarchical model of leadership that when abused could become a form of dictatorship? Is the pope a dictator? Is your local bishop a dictator? Is your pastor or priest a dictator?

Well, there is a little dictator in all of us isn't there? Will you have to have Obamacare? Can you talk your way out of a felony? If you're a parent, are you sometimes dictator-like to disobedient children?

But a dictator takes an authority that isn't his. Stalin was a brutal dictator as was Hitler. South and Central America have had their little twerp dictators and have injured and killed many in their path and dispossessed many others.

But is the pope a dictator? When he declares a doctrine to be infallible or a part of the infallible ordinary Magisterium of the Church, such as the fact the Church has no authority, nor does the pope, to allow for the ordination of women, is that being a dictator?

When the pope orders that the English translation of the Mass be corrected using the model of a literal rather than an equivalency method of translating the original Latin, is he a dictator? And when he orders that the new, corrected translation be in place by the First Sunday of Advent, or at least the Bishops of a particular country, is that a dictatorship?

No none of that is dictatorial, but all of it is authoritative. And therein lies the fine difference between dictatorships which are authoritarian and illegitimate and leadership which in the Catholic tradition of hierarchy is authoritative and has a legitimacy that comes from God. "Authoritarianism" and "authoritativeness" are two different realities.

In the ranks of the clergy, many priests and some bishops, there is a hatred for authority, what can be called an "authority" complex. Usually it is result of childhood traumas unresolved in adulthood dealing with authority figures, like fathers or mothers, policemen or teachers or a principal, nun or brother, priest or bishop or other such sort of meany.

Some of the most unresolved authority based issues of some priests and other adults are people who are the most authoritarian, reactive and dictatorial. Don't ever cross them or you'll be sorry.

That brings us to liturgical theologians of the past 45 years. While there are and have been many good ones, unfortunately the most dictatorial have held sway in the Church for over the past 45 years. Their vision of the Church and the liturgy is one that is a total rupture with the past or the pre-Vatican II image of Church and Liturgy as well as authority.

They desire homespun, congregational approaches to liturgy where there is an egalitarianism and no distinction between ordained and laity. Of course this is a false egalitarianism and often leads to those who have no real authority taking authority to fill in for the vacuum that is created when no one actually is the leader. The danger of dictatorship looms greatly in these false egalitarian communities and usually it is the "community or committee" that becomes a multi-faced dictatorship.

Our bishops who for the most part are not liturgists or musicians have listened obediently to these liturgical theologians and have allowed them not only to dismantle the liturgy that was desired by Vatican II and turned it into a mere ghost of what could have been, but they have also allowed them to dismantle and whitewash countless cathedrals and churches throughout the world in a neo-iconoclasm that would make the Puritans blush not to mention the true iconoclast of over 1000 years ago that helped lead to schism in the Church.

There is much truth in the old question, "What is the difference between a terrorist and a liturgist?" "You can negotiate with a terrorist!" Think about the disobedient clergy in Austria and those who are following them. Who's the dictator there?

Don't mess with a liturgist or anyone who considers themselves to be the elite in the world of Church academia looking down their noses at those who are of the lower class. If you want to see dictatorships and neo-clericalism in action go to liberal Catholic Universities and speak to their Catholic faculty, clergy or lay.

Give me Rome's authority and the Hermeneutic of Continuity that Pope Benedict emphasizes so eloquently. Give me the Hermeneutic of rupture when it comes to post-Vatican II babel about authority, liturgy and what constitutes being "Church." Rupture is not always bad if it gives rebirth to what is good, beautiful and holy within our Tradition.


Templar said...

The Pope is clearly no Dictator as he "takes" nothing that was not his in the way of authority. Christ handed Peter those keys, and those keys remain Peter's.

Although I reserve the right to question the Church and her Clergy on all matters not infallible I question from the POV of Orthodoxy. I do believe the Church has squandered most of it's moral authority by succumbing to Modernism and Liberalism. I do think because of that the Laity need to closely watch the Church and Clergy, but only to insure their adherence to the Magesterium and Catholic Tradition. So it's not so much their authority which I question, honestly it's rather the opposite. I wish they would USE their God given authority to ENFORCE what the Church teaches. That would go a long way towards restoring so of the lost moral authority.

As for Americans and their love of "Democracy" would we know? We don't have one in the US (and God be praised, a Republic is bad enough, spare us from Democracy). Personally I'm a Monarchist :)

Marc said...

Father, great post.

Templar, great comment.

SouthronCatholic said...

Actually we do have a Democracy, although it hasn't always been that way. Lincoln (with strong support from Karl Marx and his 48ers) "united" these once sovereign, and voluntarily united States by force 150 years ago, and power has been centralized in the District of Corruption ever since.

We make citizens of those that have no legitimate claim, we have universal suffrage allowing the ignorant and uniformed to vote, we elect Senators by popular demand where they were once only elected by our State representatives. Referendums that Congress can't Constitutionally pass (and hide) are presented to the ignorant masses during for popular vote.

The War of Northern Aggression and the following "Reconstruction" destroyed the Constitutional Jeffersonian republic and replaced it with Hamiltonian crony capitalism (fascism).

Templar said...

Southron, I actually agree with all of your sentiments with the following exceptions. 1) Democracy is 1 man 1 vote popular elections, we have a representative election. 2) Madison should get the credit for the formation of the Republic. Jefferson would have probably preferred a straight Democracy.

I don't believe Lincoln set out to destroy the Republic, it was incidental to his goal of preserving the Union. FDR on the other hand did his damage the following exceptions. 1) Democracy is 1 man 1 vote popular elections, we have a representative election. 2) Madison should get the credit for the formation of the Republic. Jefferson would have probably preferred a straight Democracy.

I don't believe Lincoln set out to destroy the Republic, it was incidental to his goal of preserving the Union. FDR on the other hand did his damage intentionally.

pinanv525 said...

Our problem is even more fundamental. 1776 and 1789 were not that far apart chronologically or philosophically. Our Declaration and Constitution are Enlightenment documents based upon the same "Reason" that led to the French Revolution and the cries of "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite." It was a relatively short step from "all men are created equal" (a philosophical, genetic, and social absurdity) to the business of government becoming the promotion of minorities and the engineering of equal outcomes. It is a very short step from democracy to egalitarianism. We ceased being a representative democracy many moons ago; the Republic died in the War Between the States. FDR was merely the logical conclusion to the Federalist leaven in our Founding.
Now, we are an egalitarian welfare state where State's Rights are limited to mostly insignificant bones thrown by the Federal Government, and even these have been made precarious by a Federal Court system that has consistently re-interpreted the Constitution in favor of government hegemony. This brings the government into conflict with the Church because you cannot have egalitarianism with an authoritarian and powerful structure like the Catholic Church insisting upon moral and value judgements while owing fealty to a higher power than government.

Anonymous said...

Is the universe a dictatorship? We want God on our terms, as if He was one of the pagan gods that could be enslaved to human will under the right spell. Seems like the Church is a model of the universe in that regard and true to the template, we bridle at the laws and then plead for protection from our choices.


SouthronCatholic said...

Actually, Democracy is mob rule. Madison wrote the Constitution, however Jefferson was much more a proponent of a democratic-republic than Madison. Madison flopped from one side of the fence to the other often depending on the political climate.

Lincoln destroyed the Republic as soon as he illegally invaded the seceded Southern States and forced them back in at bayonet point. If you're not free to leave, you're not free.

Anyways, since this is not a political/historical site I'll simply recommend for reading any number of the Kennedy brother's books especially "The South Was Right."

And visit The League of the South at and the Southern Nationalist Network at

There is a lot of great information there and those guys are all much more knowledgeable and articulate than I.