My Supposed “Papolatry”: Outrageous Reactionary Lies

My Supposed “Papolatry”: Outrageous Reactionary Lies August 26, 2021
A “Doctoral student in theology” who goes by @johnamonaco tweeted:
Of course, normal Catholic sensibility would obviously take issue with the idea that the pope can create/abolish sacraments, sacramentals, & devotions at will. The idea that papal favor is the only thing protecting the Rosary & Sacred Heart devotions from abrogation is insane. (8-25-21)
Then he went on to literally attribute such an “insane” notion to me (along with two other papal defenders), as if I believe or would defend it:
For some Catholic apologists (such as Dave Armstrong, Michael Lofton, Erick Ybarra), there seems to be no limit to what a pope can do. Thus, a ban on the rosary/Sacred Heart would be seen as “unfortunate” but “binding”, because it falls within the realm of discipline/devotion. (8-25-21)
I replied there:
Really? Why don’t you document that I’ve ever stated or believed in such an asinine, ridiculous thing? I have more than 3,700 articles online and my blog is easily searchable. So, have at it, or kindly retract this nonsense.
It’s the usual canard that any papal defender must be an “ultramontanist” or “papolater” who thinks the color of socks that the pope picks out or a weather report from the Holy Father are infallible. I wrote in a second reply:
As just one example, I wrote on 9-15-03 (that’s 18 years ago): “Each Protestant can even choose to become completely a-historical, . . . Popes can’t do this. They are limited by precedent.”
Protestants rely on the fallible, late-arriving distinctives of Luther and Calvin, and in effect grant them apostolic authority. They can flat-out invent doctrines and claim they are both historical and biblical. No pope could even dream of doing that. They wouldn’t dare do it (on a few occasions when they came remotely close to that a mass uproar occurred). They are strictly dependent upon received precedent. Not so for Luther and Calvin, the Super-Popes. That’s why I say Protestantism is fundamentally man-centered at its very roots.
Just five days ago, I wrote about the pope’s recommendation of widespread reception of COVID vaccines:
It does not include those who object in good conscience, because it cannot. Catholic teaching on that is firm and clear. See, for example, the Catechism. Nor is he a science expert, as he himself admits, and this is not part of his jurisdiction. He can only give opinions. We must respect them, but we’re not bound to them. So, for example, in his encyclical Laudato si, he wrote:
There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus. Here I would state once more that the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good. [188]
I certainly did respectfully disagree with him regarding global warming and nuclear energy. Otherwise, I enthusiastically praised the wonderful document. . . .
Vaccines are a matter of science and medicine, and the pope is assuredly not infallible in those areas. Nor is the Holy Father a “scientist”. . . .
He has not, on the other hand, indicated that there has been a reversal of Church teaching on conscience. I disagree where I have a perfect right to, in non-magisterial areas where the pope cannot bind me to obedience, and it is not disobedience. Reactionaries disagree where they are wrong, and even have views contrary to de fide dogmas: such as the indefectibility of the Church and the pope. . . .
He can’t possibly disagree about conscientious objection because he okayed the Vatican document above, last December, which included that very thing. What is he: two-faced? Many of his critics think so.  . . .
Learn the difference between “agreeing” and being “obliged to agree based on the magisterium.” This thing is not the latter. You’re simply agreeing with a non-magisterial opinion of the pope, where his particular view carries no more weight than anyone else’s.
Another idiot who thinks he knows my thinking and history chimed in:
“I am not the first to observe that converts like Armstrong and Lofton reasoned themselves into Catholicism with papal authority being the main dish. So it shapes their views on everything else, which creates a distorted picture of what Catholicism really is.” (8-25-21)
Then he added:
Contrast with Newman’s conversion, which was built on his examination of the Patristic Church: His perception of papal authority ended up being more balanced. (8-25-21)
He obviously has not the slightest idea what he’s talking about, and throws in Cardinal Newman for a good laugh. Newman (my hero), was, of course, the leading cause of my conversion and I have since edited three books of his quotations (one / two / three), including one published by Sophia Institute Press.
The three main reasons why I converted have been elaborated upon in my many conversion accounts:
1. Newmanian development of doctrine.
2. Catholic moral theology.
3. A study of the Protestant Revolt from a Catholic perspective.
“Papal authority” was, — far from being supposedly “the main dish” –: a very small factor in my conversion. Thus, if one reads my story as told in the book Surprised by Truth (the most well-known one, read by over half a million people), one finds that the words “pope” or “papacy” never appear in it: not even once.
Another mindless fool chimed in, too:
Lofton had so much potential and it’s such a shame to see him turn into a papolator like Armstrong. (8-25-21)
And yet another:
Ninco Nanco
Because these guys are fake shills and grifters. (8-25-21)
This is how outrageous “discourse” has gotten today in reactionary circles. Any lie in the service of their dubious agenda goes, no matter how, well, “insane” it is. So, we’re gonna pretend that “papolater” Armstrong believes things that never ever remotely crossed his mind? It’s all for the cause, you see! Facts are irrelevant. We don’t even know what “documentation” or “research” are. It’s irrelevant, actually, whether he believes in this claptrap or not. He’s a bad guy and modernist and theological liberal, because he defends Pope Francis, so anything we can say about him is justified. The end justifies the means . . .
This ultra-stupid tweet has received 87 likes: all those people think I actually believe these ridiculous things about the pope and papal authority.
I don’t care what they think of me, in the end. I just find it so unutterably sad that they are burdened by believing in such trash.
Summary: Reactionaries take to Twitter and fantasize that I supposedly would defend the pope if he banned the Rosary or Sacred Heart devotions (as if he could or would ever do so). It’s so ultra-ridiculous as to be bizarre & surreal . . .



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