Saturday, March 9, 2013


The hard hat the pope uses to be a bridge builder, a pontiff!

I suspect there is great anxiety about who the next pope will be. The media has its choice; progressive Catholics have their choice as do conservative Catholics. We could also call some of us traditionalists and others of us iconoclasts who have their choice. But all these labels are a bit unfair and tend to divide rather than unite although fidelity to Jesus does divide families as we read in the Gospels where Jesus says he has come to divide. But that's another homily!

In truth though, the only choice for pope that counts is God’s choice and God has already chosen the new pope although the messiness of His "incarnational" way of doing it confuses us!

The primary ministry of the Bishop of Rome as denoted in one of his titles, Pontifex or Pontiff is to be a “bridge builder.” He is to unite the people of God under his ministry as the universal pastor and as our “papa” or “pope” in English. But he does not do so only by the force of his personality, because some popes are outgoing and others more introverted; he does so by virtue of his teaching office, to hand on the Catholic Deposit of Faith in all its fullness and to call Catholics throughout the world to be obedient to the Faith, Morals (natural law) and Canon Laws of the Church.

It is in the teachings of the Church revealed by God in the areas of faith and morals that Catholics are obligated to be obedient, to give the full assent of the will; when we do so we build up the unity of the Church rather than bring division. Our unity as Catholics hinges on our foundational belief that Jesus Christ was crucified, died and was buried and on the third day, rose from the dead. He was seen by the apostles and many, many others after his death and resurrection. He continued to eat and drink,teach and heal in those 40 days and then He ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of God interceding for us and preparing an eternal dwelling for us. But He has not left us alone, He sends us His Holy Spirit to guide the Church and protect her in the tempests that toss her about, some of our own making and others that are inflicted upon us. He has not and will not abandon us, either as a Church or as individuals.

However and only in the last 50 years or so an evil spirit of “dissent” has entered or perhaps has reentered into the Church and many Catholics have become like Southern Baptists who believe that each believer has a certain infallibility in terms of interpreting the Scriptures. Some Catholics believe they can be a part of the loyal opposition against the pope and bishops, that they can dissent from defined teachings, doctrinal and moral. They are of course delusional for evil always deludes us.

Fortunately the Catholic Church only accords infallibility to one person and that is the pope and only in the strictest sense of faith and morals. He can only declare something infallible as long as there is a precedent for it in Tradition and it is believed from the earliest centuries by the Church. In other words, he can’t make it up as he goes and he can’t change something that is already considered infallible. Infallibility is also accorded to the Bishops in union with the pope when they gather in an ecumenical council and define a particular teaching to be infallible.

The hottest and most divisive issues for Catholics today seem to revolve around sexuality issues and gender roles. Those who are influenced by secular trends (which are not always bad, unless these are used to manipulate the Church into being unfaithful to deposit of faith and morals (natural law) desire the Church to be as libertine as our culture is on matters of sexuality. This means specifically giving permission to Catholics to use artificial birth control (which goes against natural law) to have abortions, to have sex outside of marriage and any type of sex one is inclined to do and to extend the Sacrament of Marriage to same sex partners.

In other words they want us to do away with the 6th Commandment and all that it implies and they want us to do away with natural law and all it implies and they want us to do away with 2000 years of Tradition and all that it implies.

Oh, on top of that (which goes in line with same sex marriage) they want women to be ordained to Holy Orders. Of course the sacramental image of the Catholic priest when he is celebrating the Mass is that he is a “sacramental” sign of Jesus Christ who is the Bridegroom of the Church and the gathered community of souls (anima in Latin which is a feminine word) is the sacramental sign of the Bride of Christ. If it doesn’t matter what gender spouses are, if the Church then allowed for the ordination of women, the Church would then allow that a woman can be a sacramental sign of a “bridegroom” who traditionally is a man. The Church cannot do such as it goes against common sense because common sense as is natural law is written in the heart of all.

Of course the Church can’t go against natural law and she never will. So don’t expect the new pope to do so, because he has absolutely no authority to do so. No Catholic has that authority. The pope’s infallibility is severely limited by Catholic teaching. He can’t contradict natural law. He cannot contradict Sacred Scripture and he cannot contradict Sacred Tradition. He is not the “Wizard of Oz” or “Oz, the Great and Powerful!” He is the pope, the bridge builder to Christ and he does so by fidelity to Sacred Scripture, Tradition and natural law.

We Catholics are united by the Petrine Ministry, the pope who is the Vicar of Christ and only in the areas of faith, morals (natural law) and canon law we Catholics owe obedience. When we are obedient in these areas, we are united in the mission that Christ as given the Church, to know, love and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him forever in heaven. We also propagate the truths of God to the world and call the world to conversion by our dialogue with the world. There is a danger in dialogue in that if we are wishy-washy in our own beliefs, we may be tempted to be converted by the world to its godless falsehoods.
Stick with the pope in the areas of faith and morals and you can’t go wrong and you won’t go to hell.

If you read this blog, you know that I am somewhat traditional and somewhat high church when it comes to the Liturgy. But I am also quite liberal in allowing for a variety of ways to celebrate the Mass. I firmly believe that what I have written above is essential for Catholics and that the Liturgy of the Church should sustain and support obedience to God and that the horizontal is important only in so far as together we are obedient to God and our worship of God in truth and love is unified.

The next pope will celebrate Mass as the Church allows. He may not do so quite as Pope Benedict modeled and he may model a more progressive way, but the new Holy Father will not be unfaithful to Vatican II or the history of the Church in any areas although he might be progressive in some areas, especially "pastoral theology" which has implications for the liturgy.

I'm sticking with the pope, no matter who he is, because I don't want to separate myself from the full communion of the Church. In this regard ecclesiology counts!


Gene said...

However, and as a former Calvinist I must ask the question: could there come a point, through progressivist influence and secularist tendencies, at which the Church is no longer the Church? Luther eventually reached that conclusion, although wrongly. However, that does not mean it could not actually happen...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In the areas of faith and morals the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit even if decisions are made that a believer might not appreciate. That has always been the genius of the Church until the Protestantizing influences after Vatican II where dissent from the papal magisterium became an art form on both the left and the right and in some peculiar traditionalists.

Pater Ignotus said...

"However and only in the last 50 years or so an evil spirit of “dissent” has entered or perhaps has reentered into the Church and many Catholics have become like Southern Baptists who believe that each believer has a certain infallibility in terms of interpreting the Scriptures."

The history of dissent stretched much farther back than 50 years, Good Father. Gnostics, Arians, Sabellians, Pelagians, Nestorians, etc., came well before the last half century.

Among the contemporary dissenters (potential heretics) are those who claim - wrongly - that an individual Catholic can reject any teaching that is not declared solemnly to be infallible or that seems, in his/her view, to be contrary to earlier teaching.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI I did write "reentered" because it is true what you write, but the precarious times we live in is that the Church is reluctant, because of a post-Vatican II enablement (that is far from infallible of not rocking the boat, keep the peace through appeasement or neglect or denial) to write a syllabus of heresies and condemn what is going on in the church today and in no uncertain terms including what you lament.

Gene said...

A decision to ordain women or homosexuals or to condone abortion or same sex marriage would be more than "a decision a believer might not appreciate." This would alter the fundamental belief structure of the Church and, therefore, raise the question as to whether the Church was still the Church.

Gnostics, Arians, Sabellians, Pelagians, Nestorians, etc. are still around, Ignotus. I suspect you may have a few Pelagian and Adoptionist tendencies yourself...LOL!

Henry said...

Fr. McDonald: God has already chosen the new pope although the messiness of His "incarnational" way of doing it confuses us!

Would that it were so! (In the positive sense that you evidently intend.) As the eminent Roman Church historian Prof. Roberto de Mattei explains in his essay with historical examples, translated at Rorate Caeli yesterday:

"Was it the Holy Ghost Who prompted the election of Alexander VI, a Pope who conducted a profoundly immoral life before and after his election? No theologian, nor any Catholic for that matter, would be able to sustain that the 23 cardinals who elected the Borgia Pope were illuminated by the Holy Ghost. And if it did not happen in that election, you can envision that it did not happen in other elections and conclaves, which saw the election of weak Popes, unworthy and inadequate to their lofty mission, all this without prejudicing in any way the greatness of the Papacy.

The Church is great precisely because She endures the smallness of men. So, an immoral and inadequate Pope can be elected. It can happen that the Cardinals in Conclave refuse the influence of the Holy Ghost and that the Holy Ghost Who assists the Pope in the accomplishment of his mission, be refused."

Let us hope and pray that our present cardinals do not refuse that influence, since as individual human beings they seem--as portrayed, at least, in Card. Dolan's recent comments describing the issues they have been discussing--a "hapless bench of bishops" with precious few even having a clue of the centrality of the liturgy in renewing the Church.

Hammer of Fascists said...

The Gene/Pater comments get to the crux of the current crisis of Catholicism. Pater is right insofar as every Catholic probably finds some doctrine or other to be a hard teaching, but that doesn't excuse a refusal to believe it. Further, it was Luther who appealed to right reason (along with Scripture) as the final judge of doctrinal truth. So someone who finds a Catholic doctrine false because it is "unreasonable" commits the Lutheran heresy, and attacking a Church teaching because (one maintains) it conflicts with a previously announced infallible teaching is a form of the appeal to reason.

But what if the pope declared ex cathedra that the Blessed Virgin Mary to be part of the Holy Quadrinity to whom propitiationary child sacrifice must be made in each parish on every December 8th? What if an ecumenical council immediately ratified this pronouncement? (And don't try to weasel out, anyone, by saying "that could never happen." This is a hypothetical question, and in a hypothetical, anything can happen.)

I would say that if that happened, only two possibilities exist: 1) The Church has erred, and so is not/has never been infallible and is not guided by the Holy Spirit; or 2) The Church is something or somewhere else. Does anyone see any other possibility? Is it still the Lutheran heresy do state that the Church is in error even in a circumstance like this?

If my analysis is right so far, the next question is how far this analysis applies to less extreme errors, such as the ones Gene mentions, and then such things as of religious liberty, subsistence, ecumenism, and collegiality as expressed in the VII documents.

And if you say that my analysis is correct regarding the Holy Quadrinity but not for less extreme cases, please give a principled explanation for your distinction.

Pater Ignotus said...

Hypothetically, anything can happen. Hypothetically, if a pope decreed Quadrinity/Child Sacrifice he would be immediately killed by a Swiss Guard. The hypothetical problem solved.

Quadrinity/Child Sacrifice are clearly outside the realm of Traditional Catholic belief. No one has a doubt about this. (And the pope who decreed them is dead.)

More realistically, the inability of one or a few Catholics to understand how a Conciliar decree fits into the Tradition of the Church does not lead to the conclusion that the hard to understand decree is wrong. Part of the issue I see here is that those who claim confusion have already decided that the decree they question is wrong.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The pope has no authority whatsoever to change dogma or teach something that wasn't taught ever before. So he can't make Mary a part of the Holy Trinity, but she could be defined in a dogmatic, infallible way as mediatrix of all graces and co-redemptrix. That is possible.

If a pope decree something outside of the Deposit of Faith, he would be sacked.

Hammer of Fascists said...

I'm afraid that both Pater and Fr. McD both commit fallacies in their responses.

Pater, your ultimate authority seems to be not the infallibility of the Church, but your claim that "No one has a doubt" that the Quadrinity is an error. (And for what it's worth, in my hypothetical, the pope and the college of bishops all doubt exactly that.) You seem to side with the Swiss Guard, but the Swiss Guard is very Lutheran in his response. Luther, too, claimed that Catholic errors had fallen (to paraphrase you) "clearly outside Christian belief.

Your statement about "hard to understand" gets closer to the issue, but it contains the implied given that the "hard to understand" issues are qualitatively different from the Quadrinity. The whole point of my hypothetical is to ask whether there is in fact such a qualitative difference as you assume, and if so, exactly what it is.

Fr. McD, you fall into exactly the problem I asked everyone to avoid by saying that "this could never happen." :-)

Of course my hypothetical is outlandish. It's designed to be. But it's only useful as an analytical tool if we see where the analysis leads. Assassinating the pope or responding that the hypothetical can't happen negates the whole point, and usefulness, of the hypothetical.

In my experience, people balk at the outlandish hypotheticals because they realize that once they give an honest answer, another, qualitatively similar, hypothetical will be posed that isn't quite so outlandish as the first. And then will come another hypothetical that's still less outlandish. And they don't like where their initial answer to the outlandish hypothetical will lenexorably lead them.

With respect,


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A-5, what I meant by "this could never happen" isn't that it might not happen that we have a lunatic pope or a pope who has a stroke or whatever ailment that would cause him to put forward an untruth and call it infallible. The acceptance of the teaching as such would have to undergo scruntiny by the bishops in union with the pope and the pope himself would have to be examined. In the old days, poison helped to avoid these pitfalls of insanity. But I know of no situation in the history of the Church in terms of faith and morals where something completely outrageous was put forth as dogma by a pope. Of course there were moral issues and discipline mistakes as will how authority is exercised and with indulgences and the like, but over time the Holy Spirit purifies things and even uses schism to do so.

Gene said...

Anon 5, In a world where unreason has increasingly become reason, there is nothing to prevent the hypothetical from becoming axiomatic. Literally, anything is fact, it seems to be the operating principle of our post-Christian/post-Modern culture that "if it is possible, then it is necessary."
I think you raise an interesting conjecture when you say that the Church may be perhaps "somewhere else" in regard to some extremity occurring. Perhaps in the SSPX or in some small groups of Catholics who form communities of faith and adhere to traditional Catholic teaching and practice..perhaps in the desert or the woods or in some other place.

You are correct that one cannot reject a Church teaching merely because it seems "unreasonable." But, we must remember what Luther said about Reason: "She is a whore and can be made to lie in any bed." So, we have reason, as in Spinoza, Kant and the other modern Western philosophers, and we have theo-logic, which is another kind of reason with an internal consistency of its own. Dogma is based upon theologic, and might well be violated in such a way as to demand rejection. Am I wrong?

Pater Ignotus said...

If anything can happen in a hypothetical then it is useless to discuss hypotheticals. If those are the ground rules, then Eleanor Roosevelt will rise from the grave and be chosen the next pope.

"Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia." If you can find "Church" elsewhere, or if you think "Church" is elsewhere, or even if "Church" CAN be elsewhere, you have no reason to be in the Church as she exists today. The whole thing collapses and the very idea that we have as Catholics regarding the nature of the Church is gone.

I don't believe that at all. In faithfulness to the Catholic Faith I cannot consider that the Church is elsewhere. It seems to me that that position is virtually, if not in fact, despair.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

when going to post the following, I deleted it by accident, so I copy it from the email and post it under my name:

Anonymous 2 has left a new comment on your post "LET ME GET VERY SERIOUS! PONTIFEX OR PONTIFF MEANS...":

Anon. 5 wrote: “In my experience, people balk at the outlandish hypotheticals because they realize that once they give an honest answer, another, qualitatively similar, hypothetical will be posed that isn't quite so outlandish as the first. And then will come another hypothetical that's still less outlandish. And they don't like where their initial answer to the outlandish hypothetical will inexorably lead them.”

That’s probably true insofar as it goes. But here I must side with Father McDonald and Pater Ignotus because it doesn’t go far enough, and they head in the right direction.

Outlandish hypotheticals can be great fun and a good test of the implications of positions and of the limits of arguments in moral philosophizing. And although they are of some analogous use in the Law, they are perhaps of less use there, as Supreme Court nomination hearings readily attest. That is because lawyers recognize that one can never really give a completely_definitive_answer to these hypotheticals unless and until they present themselves in all the complexity and messiness of an actual case. (Indeed, to some extent, this may even be true of moral reasoning, as the conditions for the commission of a sin in Catholic doctrine illustrate). So, I suspect that this is the main reason lawyers may balk at outlandish hypotheticals, and I suspect it is this “lawyerly” instinct that leads Father McDonald and Pater Ignotus to address particular facts and circumstances such as the reaction of a Swiss guard or the working of the Holy Spirit over time.

So, while it may be “weaseling” to say “that could never happen,” it is not “weaseling” but good sound practical wisdom to suggest that we cannot really know the answer to such hypothetical questions as you pose unless and until the situations actually arise, however much we might like to speculate in advance. (Of course, the very raising of such questions and the responses they engender are themselves part of the potentially surrounding facts and circumstances that could feed into such situations, were they actually to arise, or into the less extreme situations that have already arisen – gets interesting, doesn’t it?).

In conclusion, then, I would respectfully suggest that you might want to take off your philosopher’s hat and put on your lawyer’s hat (which I know you also wear very well), or perhaps more accurately, _ also_ put on your lawyer’s hat.

Gene said...

Ignotus, once again, you misunderstand. I did not suggest the Church IS elsewhere. I suggested that circumstances could arise in which the hurch masy be "elsewhere."

You also misunderstand the philosophical nature of hypotheticals and their purpose...but, never mind.

Now, fifty years ago, no one would have imagined live homosexual festivals in the streets of San Francisco with nudity and deviant sex acts in broad daylight to which people took their children. No one would have imagined an Anglican Bishop openly married to another male with church and public approval. No one would have imagined The United States government as a Socialist cabal or that a high percentage of Catholics would have voted for a man like Obama, either. It is not at all inconceivable to me that a liberal Pope or council might declare openly homosexual men as candidates for the Priesthood, or women as candidates for the Priesthood, or that homosexuals may be married in the Church. It is not at all inconceivable that the Church might weaken her stance on birth control and abortion. Maybe you folks haven't been paying attention to what is going on in our culture. The Church has already been dangerously weakened by the post-Vat II de-construction of the liturgy and the secularizing of her theology. There are plenty of Bishops and Priests who would welcome the "hypotheticals" I mentioned above. The enemy is within the gates, folks. Sharpen your swords...

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - And I am suggesting that the Church cannot, under any circumstances, be "elsewhere." Not when Peter is involved.

What is going on in our culture is one thing. What is not going on in the Church - defection from revealed Truth - is another.

I do not agree that the Church is weakened by the post-Vatican II deconstruction of the liturgy. The whole society, of which the Church is a part, has weaknesses. It always has and, on this side of the tonbstone, always will.

Our job is to evangelize the society, not to hoard weapons and prepare for Armageddon.

Gene said...

Ignotus, In one breath, you imply that the Church is separate from what is going on in our culture then, in the next, you suggest that it is not. So...which is it?

Anonymous 2 said...


Not that I understand the technological intricacies involved, but many thanks for posting my inadvertently deleted comment under your name. Perhaps the comment will benefit from the cachet of an apparent priestly imprimatur. =).

Unknown said...

Hypothetical situations are so... hypothetical. Could some future pope make an outlandish pronouncement? Of course.

But, I question why some (like the quotation Gene provided) would try to use examples like Alexander VI. Men like Alexander VI have occupied the Papal Office from time to time, but despite having the power to pronounce any heresy as truth, they never have.

Two thousand years is a long time.


Pater Ignotus,

I mostly agree with what you wrote in your last comment. The Church has not changed anything she has taught.

But. I fear that VII (with which I have no real problem) has been used to do harm. Mass is still Mass. I don't think tamborines and guitars are the problem. I don't think English is the problem. As much as I hate them, bad translations aren't the problem. The problem is lip-service to concepts like the Real Presence.

What I find disturbing is the lack of respect for the Real Presence. It's as though some, the moment when entering into the presence of Christ, feel absolutely compelled to gossip, check cell phones, etc. It's concerning when, at the moment of elevation, the person next to me is not only not kneeling, but looking at the screen of his/her Iphone; then he/she proceeds to go forward to receive the Eucharist. I find that distasteful. Very.

Somtimes, I wonder if VII gave the secularists the "evidence" they needed to prove the Church is/was as "relative" as everything else. Secularists, by very definition, disregard theology. This, naturally, leads to the failure to understand that the VII was in line with the other councils throughout history.

I think VII was premature in its appearence. Even today, in 2013, the world could use the strict discipline that went along with the pre-VII mindset. I can say (with an infallible certaintly) that life today is viewed as a giant, perpetual amusement park. And, like children, a great many refuse to leave without screaming and crying. But the park must close sometime. The world didn't need a more serious council; VII needed a more serious world.

The Church once again has the ability to be a "parent" to a world spinning out of control (just like at the height of the turmoil in the fourth and fifth centuries), but it must be willing to act like one.

Gene said...

Flavius, Ignotus would not answer the simple, direct question of whether he believed in the Real presence and the Resurrection or not. You are talking to one who is emblematic of the problem we are facing...

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - The Church is, at the same time, IN the world but not OF the world. It is part of the "Already, but not yet" paradox that you find amusing.

In our prayers we say "In Christ we are already seated at God's right hand." It is an eschatological reality, but an eschatological reality that has already begun.

The Church is IN the world, therefore we are influenced by the world. Being IN the world also means that we are called to influence(sanctify) the world.

The parable of the yeast in the dough is a biblical reference. The yeast is in one moment a separate reality from the other ingredients; at the next moment, part of the whole, but with influence on the whole.

Gene said...

You did not answer my question.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/gene - If your question was "Do you believe in the Real Presence?" then go back and read earlier posts where I have answered the question.

If the question was "Is the Church separate from or part of the culture?" then the answer I have given is "It is both."

Anonymous 2 said...


Please stop asking/demanding Pater Ignotus about this. It is one thing to ask me as you did early on in my participation on the Blog (and I did answer your question) or Steven Millies (he did not answer your question, despite my urging that he do so just to stop the constant badgering), but it is quite another thing to ask one of our priests.

I have no problem with you disagreeing with Pater or disliking what he says but I, for one, think it is inappropriate to administer an “orthodoxy” test to one of our priests publicly on this Blog. When Pater refuses to answer you, as the dignity of his position gives him every right to do (something of which neither I nor Steven could avail ourselves), you want readers to draw the negative conclusion that he must not believe in the Real Presence or the literal Resurrection of Jesus. That is, in my view, unfair and illegitimate.

If you want to know whether Pater believes in these fundamentals of the faith, I suggest that you attend Mass at Holy Spirit and make up your own mind. If you have already done that, fine, and you if you still believe he does not believe in these things, then you can ask invite others to do the same and make up their own minds too. If you haven’t attended one of Pater’s Masses, please consider doing so.

Gene said...

Anon 2,
Ignotus is theologically dishonest, hypocritical, and arrogant. Certainly, the simple and direct question of belief is not an "orthodoxy test" although, if he were hones, I doubt he could pass one. Any true believer, Priest or not, should have absolutely not problem answering it. This evasive nonsense about protocol or manners is just so much BS.
You should ask the question, as I have, why so many on this blog have no confidence in Ignotus' orthodoxy, honesty, devotion, or candor. What does it say about a Priest who sows dissension, anger, and distrust? You sound like Chris Matthews defending Obammy.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - I have answered the Real Presence question in previous conversations.

And, were I to answer again, due to your attitude toward me, it would never suffice. You consider me to be "dishonest, hypocritical, and arrogant" so, why, in my right mind, would I anticipate that answering again would make any difference whatsoever?

And, again, it's not a "simple and direct question." It's your attempt to find some other spurious reason to heap contempt in my direction.

So, no, I'm not going to answer this question. You are angry and distrustful of me because you can't bully me. Get used to it.

Anonymous 2 said...


I fail to see the analogy between Chris Matthews defending Obama, on the one hand, and a lay parishioner urging respect for the office of a priest – any priest – on the other.

If your question is not an “orthodoxy test,” then what would you call it?

Also, I will now ask you a question directly: Have you attended Mass at Holy Spirit when Pater Ignotus was celebrating? Have you even met Pater Ignotus in person? I ask this because the internet and Blogs are so impersonal, and we – our persons – are so much more than our apparent cyber-identities.

Furthermore, as I said, I have no problem with you disagreeing with Pater, or anyone else, on the merits of an issue. I also even accept ad hominem attacks and labeling from you when aimed at me, although I have countered them. I am just asking you not to do that to one of our priests. However, I am just one voice. I suppose if no-one else objects, I stand alone and you can ignore me. But I have said what I felt I had to say.

Gene said...

Ignotus, if you remember, I am not the one who asked the question. I do not ask questions to which ZI already know the answer.
Anon 2, No, I have not attended Mass at Holy Spirit. Why would I? It is not my parish. I attend other Churches when I am out of town or on vacation. Having experienced Kavanaugh on the blog, I have absolutely no desire to experience him in person. So, no, I will not be attending Mass there out of curiosity.

Gene said...

Oh, and Ignotus, I have never "bullied" you. This is your typical lib tactic of continuing to call names hoping they will stick. Why would I want you to be silenced? People need to see exactly what they are dealing with in regard to the Modernist threat to the Church. Keep talking...please.

Pater Ignotus said...

From the blog of Msgr. Charlie Pope, Washington, DC, October 2012: "One of the more common features of discussion and debate in the modern setting, often so polarized polemical, is the problem of “all or nothing thinking.”

All or nothing thinking is a kind of cognitive distortion which is forgetful that life often has subtlety, and that, between two positions, there may be middle ground which can and should be considered.

All or nothing thinking also has a strong influence the discussion of issues today. If the person articulates position, or point of view on some topic, they are often presumed by many to hold that position in an extreme sort of the way, without any distinction or qualifications."...

"But I am finding that many today, more than in the past, do divert quickly to all or nothing thinking. This then often provokes strong negativity, even hostility."...

"All or nothing thinking has a hard time negotiating the delicacies and distinctions of balanced truth, or the the complex interactions of the world of ideas. And many things in our culture fuel this unhealthy cognitive distortion."

Worth considering...

Templar said...

In my humble opinion, all Catholic Priests lost the right to be above question with their corruption of V2 Liturgical renewal and the cover up of the Homosexual Abuse scandal. Questioning their Orthodoxy is nothing they should fear if they are in fact Orthodox. They should welcome it. If the last 50 years have taught the Laity ANYTHING about Our Faith it's that we need to take possession of it and own it, not just follow along with what we're told by our Parish Priests who have led us astray time after time.

As for attending a Fr. Kavanaugh Mass, he filled in at St Joseph earlier this year, so yes I have attended one. It was very horizontal in it's nature, with all of his words, and rubrical gestures directed towards the people.

Templar said...

While I agree that "all or nothing thinking" doesn't work well when debating secular topics, it is decidedly exactly the type of thinking required for any Theological discussion. We are discussing revealed Truth, there is no room for shades of gray. That's precisely the problem with the Church in the Post-V2 era, too much acceptance of "truth from a particular point of view". It's all Heresy.

Pater Ignotus said...

Temp - Can you make reference to ANY "revealed Truth" that I have denied? Citing what I said and when I said it, if on this blog, would be helpful.

Gene said...

The Creeds are either/or. Belief is either/or. Faith is an act of will, it is not some deliberative proposition to be judged, as you said in one of your posts, "worthy of belief." Just what is that supposed to mean? Even if we are raised in the Church, at some point we must be seized by Him in such a way as to create in us a passion for His Word and Presence. Intellectual assent to Creeds and doctrines is only the beginning. Following the teachings of the Catechism is only the legalistic aspect of belief...necessary, but not sufficient. Fr. David brought this home to everyone, including myself, again at RCIA the other night. He asked everyone why they did not do certain things. To a person we all answered, "because we know it is a sin." He said, "Well, that is not why you should not do these things. You should not do these things because you love God more than these pleasures and lusts for worldly satisfaction."
So, there is no middle ground when it comes to belief. You cannot take a position half way between belief and unbelief, between Heaven and Hell. Our will must be enslaved to His; we must be captured by Him.

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, You are far too clever to openly deny revealed truth. It is what is between your lines that is the problem.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - If I am the "you" to whom you refer, then I will say there is nothing in the Creeds I deny. Nothing.

As to "worthy of belief," I think I have used that phrase only in reference to Marian apparitions that are approved by the Church.

" 'Constat de supernaturalitate'. An apparition judged supernatural (formerly called worthy of belief) has manifested signs or evidence of being an authentic or truly miraculous intervention from heaven. This judgment is possible when there is evidence of supernatural phenomena, sound doctrine, moral probity, mental health and sound piety of the seer(s) and enduring good fruits among the faithful."

That's what "worthy of belief" means. It's not someting I made up. It is part of our Church's doctrine.

These [private revelations] do not demand acceptance by Catholics. As Pope Benedict states, " is possible to refuse to accept such revelations and to turn from them, as long as one does so with proper modesty, for good reasons, and without the intention of setting himself up as a superior." [De Serv. Dei Beatif.]

Anonymous 2 said...


Your professions of faith on the blog are often very eloquent, powerful, and moving. And the notion of being “captured” by God is a powerful one. Some of us, of course, constantly seek ways to escape (I know I do). Perhaps we can help one another on the blog, and elsewhere, to try not to do that. And in trying not to do that, I assume we hope for the gifts of the Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord) and the fruits of the Spirit (charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity).

Gene said...

Anon 2, "To everything there is a time..." Many would use the gifts and fruits of the spirit as a means of silencing others who speak against the enemies of the church...namely them. Remember, in Ephesians 6, Paul speaks in warrior terms of the "sword of the Spirit, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shield of faith..." However conciliatory or patient we may choose to be, we are still to be armed for war and, presumably, capable of giving battle. These gifts and fruits of the Spirit are also primarily borne and enjoyed within the community of believers who live according to His will. We may and should certainly exercise them as a means to bring non-believers into the fold but, after a point, non-belief becomes enemy action. This is to say nothing of unbelief...heresy/apostasy masquerading as faith. St. Michael is always depicted with a sword...

Templar said...

Fr Kavanuagh, my statement that we are discusing revealed truth and all or nothing is the necessary approach was in response to your comment, however not aimed at you. My apologies if you took it as such. I will not search for evidence of you having openly denied revealed truth, I doubt there are any on this site, however since you asked I will say that you have a pattern of parsing your words very carefully. Often time you slip in key buzz words that modernists love to use and I assume you do it either because you are indeed a modernist too smart to openly attack the Faith; or more likely, you are playing the role of a troll hoping to get the dander up of those of a Traditionalist mind set. That habit may be why some folks question your stand on particular things. You are clearly no dummy, but for my tastes you represent the type of Clergy that is not representative of the Traditional Catholic Faith, and are openly sympathetic to, if not an outright supporter of, the failed "Spirit of V2" camp.

Pater Ignotus said...

Temp - And what might those "key buzz words" be that indicate to you that I am a "modernist"?

Social Justice? "Now it is of the very essence of social justice to demand for each individual all that is necessary for the common good." Pope Pius XI, March 19, 1037

Bread of Life? "Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'" John 6:35

Worthy of Belief? (See my previous entry at 11 March 2013, 5:00 p.m.)

Yes, I parse my words carefully, because in the "science" of theology, words and phrases are the equivalents of weights and measures; they have to be used carefully. Too often "traditionalist" Catholics misuse, misquote, or outright misunderstand the carefully nuanced words and phrases our Church uses.

I'll make this simple for you - Where have I EVER espoused heresy? Where have I EVER inculcated schism? Where have I EVER encouraged, promoted, or otherwise proposed that someone sin?

I adhere with firm faith to the Traditional Catholic faith. I do not adhere to traditionalism.

Pater Ignotus said...

Temp - Here's another on that gets some folks going: "Already and Not Yet"

"In many respects, this notion of themselves as sojourners may have been what gave Christians their strength. In a history that was vanishing, they knew that they were the embodiment of a history that was just beginning - a history that was already theirs. In this context we can understand the "already and not yet" as a concrete historical experience."
- "Principles of Catholic Theology. Building Stones for Fundamental Theology" page 156 Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (wait for it) . . . . . . . Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

Now isn't that the darndest thing? You just never know WHERE those "modernist" buzz words are gonna sow up,do you?

Pater Ignotus said...

Clarification - In the 1:04 p.m. post I should have written, "Too often, "traditionalist" as well as Traditional Catholics misuse..." The problem is NOT only with the traditionalist crowd.

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, your theological history is a little off...
Ratzinger did not originate the term "already and not yet." You see, it is just terms like this and others that you mention that can be used by two theologians and mean completely different things. Modernists and Progressives in the Church (read "resurrection deniers") have been using the term "already and not yet" for decades. The term probably originated with Frederich Schleiermacher or Albert Ritschl in the 19th century, but some credit it to Gerhard Vos kin the early 20th. At any rate, it has been used by as diverse a group of theologians as Tillich, Barth, Bultmann and, of course, Ratzinger.
However, its most recognized use in the theological world was by the neo-protestant/humanistic theology crowd of Ritschl, Schleiermacher and, most notably for the modern world, Paul Tillich (hey, look, Dude, I wrote a thesis on this stuff). Since this is the second page and will not be read by many, I'll make this short. I'm sure we will visit the topic again since you like the term so much. The already is the life of Jesus and his redeeming us by calling us to a true encounter with ourselves and others; the not yet is the wonderful socialist society we will create through our action based upon our renewed awareness and love of our fellow man...cue Coca Cola song...Hey, Ignotus, you are still a laugh a minute...LOL!

Anonymous 2 said...


You know far more about Saint Paul than I do, or probably ever could. I wonder, though, just what these militaristic metaphors meant to him. Specifically, I wonder if he understood them somewhat differently as Paul than he had done, or would have done, as Saul. Even more specifically, in light of his famous disquisition on agape in I Corinthians 13, I wonder whether he would have regarded the gifts and fruits of the Spirit as quite compatible with these metaphors understood in a particular way.

To take an analogy, I am trained in the Law. As such, I am trained in the use of legal rhetoric. At Mercer we introduce our students to the values/virtues of professionalism in the very first year. Those of us who are involved with the professionalism program identify the central values/virtues as competence, fidelity to the client, public service, fidelity to the law, and civility, and see their deployment in the particular circumstances of particular cases as being guided by the master virtue of practical wisdom. We recognize that sometimes – but only sometimes – it is necessary to be uncivil, depending, of course, on the circumstances. Generally speaking, however, I would say that it is much more constructive to be civil. And I don’t think anyone would accuse a well-trained, and professional, lawyer of being unable, or unwilling, to argue forcefully on behalf of his or her client. Indeed the second listed virtue requires that we do so, but again in a manner appropriate to the circumstances.

I see the argument, of course, that a certain type of rhetoric – even uncivil rhetoric – may be necessary when dealing with a certain type of antagonist/audience. However, what worries me is the well known risk that when all you have is a hammer everything becomes a nail. In my view, this is one of the main problems with our body politic today. A related – and perhaps even greater – problem, identified by one of my colleagues, is that we seem to have forgotten how to have meaningful and properly serious face-to-face conversations with people with whom we may strongly disagree. In this respect, blogs are part -- a big part -- of the problem. And when I say “body politic” I mean the entire “body politic,” including all those associations that are part of civil society (pun recognized) and therefore also including religious associations such as ours.

Gene said...

Anon 2, You raise a very good issue. I will address it as soon as I finish dinner and some business stuff.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - I never suggested that Ratzinger originated the phrase "already and not yet." You INVENT that idea as a straw man.

I am glad you wrote a thesis on this stuff, but that has nothing to do with 1) my use of the phrase or 2)Ratzinger's use of the phrase.

My use comports with Ratzinger's.

Gene said...

That's nice, Ignotus, but that wasn't really the point.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Yes, it was the point. I don't use modernist buzz words. I use the language the Church uses - popes, cardinals, and the Lord hisself.

Now, if you want to know what I mean when I use the words of popes, cardinals, and the Lord hisself, you can ask.