Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Are Catholics now too dazzled by the Pope? Can Popes be criticized?"

[Advisory & Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

Fr. Z, "Are Catholics now too dazzled by the Pope? Can Popes be criticized?" (Fr. Z's Blog, May 9, 2014):
Do you remember the scene in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited when Rex Mottram is being given his catechism lessons before he can marry Julia? The priest and Rex have this exchange:
“Yesterday I asked [Mottram] whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: ‘Just as many as you say, Father.’ Then again I asked him: ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.’”
This scene figures in a piece written by Michael Brendon Dougherty for The Week: “Catholics must learn to resist their popes — even Pope Francis Too many are becoming party apparatchiks”.

The writer makes the point – in a nutshell – that since the advent of rapid communications and a far greater familiarity and presence of Popes in our lives, many people now venerate them too much. They go beyond respect for the office, and give adulation and hero-worship to the person. On the other hand, in ages past, before this “papalotry” (my word, the writer’s) developed, people felt far freer to criticize a Pope’s actions.

Is he one to something or is he off the rails? This is clearly something that many über-trads have bandied about in the last few decades of their defiance of authority.

I suggest that you read the article and then discuss. I repeat: read the article first. Don’t just jump in without thinking or looking.

Another quote:
Catholics were reminded at the Second Vatican Council of a doctrine with a foundation in the early church fathers, in St. Vincent Lerins, that the whole body of faithful Catholics in their cultivated sense of the faith, are one of the guarantors of the church’s teaching authority. Sometimes, the duty of a faithful Catholic is not just to rebuke and correct those in authority in the church like St. Catherine of Siena, but to throw rotting cabbage at them, or make them miserable, as we once did, with the connivance of worldly authorities, during the deadlocked papal election in Viterbo.

For now the members of the Catholic Party are cultivating a kind of denial, saying that Pope Francis cannot possibly endorse the line on divorce and remarriage suggested by Cardinal Kasper when very clearly this reform is being actively debated within the highest reaches of the church, and seems to have been implemented in one phone call. If adopted, it will be time for members of the Catholic Church to reach for the rotting produce and give our prelates a taste of the sensus fidelium.
That proposed, let’s us remember that the Pope has an office with a defined role. Not everything any Pope says or does is infallible or perfect.

Rich terrain for discussion here, if people will a) think before posting and b) think before posting. I don’t want to have to step in too much to remove comments that were just tossed out with little consideration. Treat the question with respect and thought.




I seem to recall a certain priest telling us we needed to read this pope through the previous one. For that and other reasons, I don't follow his blog any longer.

Pertinacious Papist


Hi Lynne,

Yes, I think that was Fr. Z. If you did visit his site, however, you will notice that he's changed its name to, simply, "Fr. Z's Blog."

Curious evolution: 1) WDTPRS (What does this prayer really say), to 2) Reading Francis through Benedict, to 3) Fr. Z's Blog.

One wonders why.

God bless,



I think we can discern (an ugly word) the purpose of VCII. A pope canonization factory.

Ghost of Tyburn


Rendez-vous with Ramen will be the next iteration of Fr Z's blog.