VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis recalled the legacy of St. John Paul II Wednesday, while meeting at the Vatican with pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Kraków.
This good priest is quite correct. The faithful deserve clear and consistent moral guidance that is not peppered with contradictions, ambiguities, doubts, and loopholes, otherwise they will turn away from the Church either to a secularism that has no rules except self-gratification or a sect that has strict (but not always correct) rules. For man cannot live without some principle to live by, and he will live either by true principles such as Christ has given us through His Church, or by false principles such as self-love, political messianism, or sectarian codes. The extent to which the Vatican appears to be operating by all three—the messianic complex of the great leader, the sectarian creed of liberal Protestantism, and the self-love that places modern differentness over traditional commonality—is therefore most appalling, and presents the single greatest challenge to pastoral care, Church renewal, and evangelization that the Church has yet seen in the post-Tridentine period.
St. John Paul II “sought to ensure that the Church rose up as the guardian of the inalienable rights of man, of the family and of peoples, to be a sign of peace, justice and integral development for the entire human family,” the Pope said Oct. 10 in the Paul VI Hall.
Thank you so much for writing this article. It seems odd that this subject has received such little attention. I’ve not found anyone who thinks Pope Francis’ actions are problematic. Until now, I have always taught that despite some sinful popes and bishops, none has ever officially proclaimed an error to be truth. The teachings of the Magisterium cannot be “overturned” like an unconstitutional law. Teachings can be expanded or elaborated on to account for new developments or discoveries, but not reversed. To my knowledge, no encyclical with a declarative statement to establish, explain, and define the [new] teaching was issued. It’s simply inexplicable that an act is morally good/allowable for thousands of years, to become today an intrinsic evil. This event leads me to believe that Francis has no clue about the workings of the Magisterium or the Holy Spirit!
“At the same time, he always underlined the priority of grace and obedience to God’s will, before any human calculation.”
As for teaching error, either the Holy Spirit would prevent the pope from doing so (e.g., by bringing about his death prior to the act of teaching error), or in the moment he uttered the error, he would ipso facto cease to be pope. For this latter scenario to play out, the error would have to be manifest to all, e.g., “Jesus Christ did not actually rise physically from the dead on Easter Sunday; he only rose spiritually, inasmuch as the early Christians were inspired to follow his example in their hearts.” If a pope ever came out and said such a thing, and it was clear that he was not insane or joking, it would be time for the cardinals to book their plane tickets to Rome. (Actually, if he was insane or joking, it would also be time for them to book their tickets.)
The Polish pilgrimage is in thanksgiving for the life and papacy of St. John Paul II; the 40th anniversary of his election as bishop of Rome will take place Oct. 16.
Born Karol Józef Wojtyła, St. John Paul II served the Archdiocese of Kraków as a priest, auxiliary bishop and ordinary before becoming pope.
I return now to the issue raised by my correspondent. There is no question that the death penalty is permissible in some circumstances, and that is because the death penalty is taught by God to be, and is accepted by Catholic tradition as, a legitimate exercise of punitive and retributive justice on the part of the state, which has its authority from God, the Lord of life and death. One is allowed to argue that those circumstances no longer obtain, but one cannot say the thing in itself is evil. That, indeed, would be heresy, and one notes that Francis did not dare to say this explicitly in the new Catechism text. But he implies it, which is hardly less damaging, for all the reasons we have seen.
“St. John Paul II enriched the universal Church with a great abundance of gifts, which for the most part he had inherited from the treasury of faith and holiness of your land and of your Church,” Pope Francis told the Cracovians.
“He carried in his heart and, so to say, in his flesh, the witness of the saints of Kraków: from St. Stanislaus and St. Jadwiga, queen of Poland, to St. Albert and St. Faustina. From them he learned boundless devotion to God and great sensitivity for every man; devotion and sensitivity that were manifested in his priestly, episcopal and papal ministry.”
The saint “received from God the great gift of knowing how to read the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel, and he made this fruitful to the benefit of the path of his people, of your people, who in their various sufferings have never lost faith in God or fidelity to their own culture, rooted in the Christian spirit,” Francis said.
catholic, pastor, pope francis, priests October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the benefits of writing regularly on the internet is that I receive a fair number of notes from readers with whom something I’ve published has struck a chord. I hear disproportionately from priests, religious, and seminarians who are struggling to live a faithful Catholic life—above all, liturgically—in the midst of a hostile wasteland, with wolves on one side and hyenas on the other.
It was in being faithful to these roots that St. John Paul II led the Church in guarding inalienable rights, he stated.
The Pope said that St. John Paul II’s legacy is “a challenge to be faithful to Christ and to respond with joyful devotion to the call to holiness that the Lord addresses to each and every one of us in our specific personal, family and social situation.”
“From heaven he accompanies your path: the families, the young and grandparents, priests, women religious and all consecrated persons; the most disadvantaged, the suffering. I, too, entrust myself with you to his intercession.”
Video: Pope Francis: Prayer is work