Collegiality or Papal Unilateralism? Be Consistent Reformers!

From Crux, we learn that Reformers are telling Pope Francis not to wait for the bishops, but to just let ‘er rip and “fix” the church, according to their notions, which they assume he shares: In the run-up to the Synod, the group is sending a letter to Pope Francis requesting a review of the arrangements for the summit.

One recurrent theme in the meeting was a surprising note for many Catholic liberals, who over the years have called for tighter limits on papal authority. Now, however, they want Francis to be bold.

John Buggy from Australia, one of the founders of this group, said he’d like to get a message to the pontiff.

“I’d ask him not to wait for the bishops to catch up because he’s going to be long and truly dead before that happens,” Buggy said. “You’re the pope. Be the pope and tell them what to do.”

If presented with the same opportunity, Reed would express her disappointment over the misrepresentation of the broad spectrum of Catholic opinion in the synod. According to her, the vast majority of the people disagree with the Church’s teaching on contraception, homosexuality, divorce, withholding Eucharist from the divorced, but none of those have been invited.
. . . “We want what the Church of England has, but remaining Catholic,” she said. “We’re not giving up. We believe in the creed.”

In truth, the vast majority of people really have no idea why the church teaches what it teaches or how truly what seems like a church full of “noes” is actually a church serving a God of resplendent ‘Yeses”. Most Catholics get their understanding of church teachings, church documents, encyclicals and the rest through the filter of secular media, which is why they all roll their eyes at Pope Paul’s prophetic Humanae Vitae, having never read it. Once they do, surprising lights go on.

But the horror of our recent catechesis has been well-noted, and anyway, it’s fodder for another post. What is so striking to me, here, is the inconsistency of those who seek reform, and who have spent the decades since the Second Vatican Council demanding collegiality and going into minor (sometimes major) hysterics any time they suspected either John Paul II or Benedict XVI might be acting heavy-handedly. Who can forget the social media uproar when poor old Benedict said a Mass ad orientem?? Oh noes he’s dragging us back! And “no more Vatican II!”

Collegiality was the rallying cry and the ideal. Last September some were downright gooey re Francis’ confession that he had been too “authoritative” as a young bishop. And yet now the champions of collegiality are seeking a unilateral pontiff. The sighs over his repented-of authoritativeness have given way to hopes for authoritativeness.

Come on, reformers. Be consistent in what you want. “We demand shared authority but only until we get a pope we think agrees with us” is not a strong position, or a mature one.

A final note:

Reed also has a strong opinion regarding the Humanae Vite, written by Pope Paul VI. “We’d like to see it put to rest. If the doctrine isn’t responded and lived by the people, how valid is the doctrine?”

Interestingly, Pope Paul VI will be beatified, the final step before sainthood, by Francis on Oct. 19 during the Synod’s closing Mass.

Yes, very interestingly, indeed.

Meanwhile, I like this piece by Leroy Huizenga, from 2012, but I only just read it, and thought I’d throw it in, here: Flannery on Nostalgia

Also: “I have never seen the pope irritated”. I believe it.


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