Skip to comments.Pope issues rare, forceful correction to dissident priests in Holy Week liturgy
Posted on 04/09/2012 6:08:04 AM PDT by NYer
VATICAN CITY, April 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) In an extremely rare move, Pope Benedict XVI today issued a forcefully worded correction of a group of Austrian priests who last year issued a public letter calling on their fellow clergy to disobey Catholic teaching in key areas.
Recently a group of priests from a European country issued a summons to disobedience, and at the same time gave concrete examples of the forms this disobedience might take, even to the point of disregarding definitive decisions of the Churchs Magisterium, such as the question of womens ordination, the pope said.
Speaking at the Holy Thursday Mass at St. Peters Basilica today, one of the most solemn occasions of the Catholic Churchs liturgical year, Pope Benedict asked, Is disobedience a path of renewal for the Church?
Although he did not name the country, it is clear the pope was referring to a public letter the priests, who called themselves the Austrian Priests Initiative, issued in June 2011 demanding reform on priestly celibacy, the reservation of the priesthood to men and the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried Catholics. Titled A Call to Disobedience, the letter accused the Catholic Church of injustice and violations of human rights, and announced that the signatories intended to continue giving Communion to members of other Christian Churches and, in certain cases, Catholics who have left the Church.
We would like to believe the pope said, that the authors of this summons are motivated by concern for the Church.
But is disobedience really a way to do this? Do we sense here anything of that configuration to Christ which is the precondition for true renewal, or do we merely sense a desperate push to do something to change the Church in accordance with ones own preferences and ideas?
Posing the rhetorical question, Surely Christ himself corrected human traditions which threatened to stifle the word and the will of God? the pope said that the authority of Christ, as the Son of God, was unique, and something that no human priest can claim.
Indeed he did [correct human traditions], so as to rekindle obedience to the true will of God, to his ever enduring word. His concern was for true obedience, as opposed to human caprice, Benedict said.
The choice of the Holy Thursday liturgy, seen in the Catholic Church as the Mass of the priesthood, to address the letter indicates the depth of Benedicts concern. Catholics believe that the priesthood and the Mass itself were inaugurated by Christ on Thursday night before his death the next day on the cross. The priesthood and the nature of the Church are the main focus of the liturgy for the day, a day that has recently also become the locus of annual protests by anti-Catholic groups agitating for womens ordination, among other changes to Catholic teaching.
Benedict continued, saying Christ lived out his task with obedience and humility all the way to the Cross, and so gave credibility to his mission. Not my will, but thine be done: these words reveal to us the Son, in his humility and his divinity, and they show us the true path.
The situation in Austria remains unresolved, with the group of 300-400 priests having issued a statement last October refusing to recant their letter, titled A Call to Disobedience. Disobeying certain valid and strict church rulings and laws has for years been part of our life and work as priests, they said.
Since the group issued its demands, local Catholic authorities have engaged in discussions with them. A spokesman for the archdiocese of Vienna said, There has been no discussion of sanctions, no ultimatum, no talk of punishment. The Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schonborn, said he wanted to discuss the needs of local Catholics with the group.
It is clear, however, that the lack of a prompt resolution to the situation is unacceptable to the Pope, who said today, All our preaching must measure itself against the saying of Jesus Christ: My teaching is not mine. We preach not private theories and opinions, but the faith of the Church, whose servants we are.
In answer to the position of the Austrian priests, Benedict highlighted the religious illiteracy that has become common in the formerly Christian western world, even within the Church.
The foundations of faith, which at one time every child knew, are now known less and less. But if we are to live and love our faith, if we are to love God and to hear him aright, we need to know what God has said to us our minds and hearts must be touched by his word, he said.
The hermeneutic of continuity the interpretation of Catholic teaching in the light of the Churchs traditional understanding of scripture has been a major theme of Benedicts papacy. He has struggled to make clear that the Second Vatican Council, cited by the Austrian group as the source of their disobedience, did not mandate any change or reversals in Catholic dogma, doctrine or discipline.
Again today, Benedict revisited this theme, answering the priests claim, saying that the texts of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, are essential tools which serve as an authentic guide to what the Church believes on the basis of Gods word.
Benedict has had his hands full with the scandal-plagued Austrian Catholic Church. In 2009, a rebellion of the nations Catholic bishops made it impossible for him to appoint his choice for the diocese of Linz, a see that has been the centre of decades of liturgical abuse as well as more recently of several high-profile sex abuse cases.
See Follow up article:
Vatican letter demands action on Austrian dissident priests group the day after Papal blast
Thank you, I see your mistake. You assumed that "commandments of men" is the same thing as Apostolic Tradition. It clearly is not. It is the Revealed Word of God every bit as much as is Sacred Scripture.
"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." - 2 Thessalonians 2:15
>> “You assumed that “commandments of men” is the same thing as Apostolic Tradition.” <<
There is no “apostolic tradition.” The apostles were godly men that obeyed their Lord, and avoided creating any tradition but for the following of the instructions that they wrote down in the Gospels.
Unfortunately, when John died, there were no more apostles to keep the people on the straight track; their mission was complete.
Paul and the Apostles are dead. I did not live in their lifetime. I cannot hear it from their mouth. So I must go by their "letter" which is conveniently located in the Bible.
"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." John 5:39
Hear I am told to look to the scriptures. That sorta makes that YOPIO cereal pic look sort of contrary to the Word of God.
Well that goes a long way toward explaining the sorry state of the Church in Europe.
That is a fascinating account, but I am not familiar with it. Since it is not Scriptural you are going to have to tell me where you learned it.
I am also curious to know how it is you believe that the Apostles taught the "Good News" between receiving their commission and the writing of the Scriptures. There were 13 Apostles(the original 11 plus St. Matthias and St. Paul). All were commanded to got forth and preach the Gospel to all nations, but we only have Scripture from five of them.
Martin Luther was a man. His doctrines are human.
Your church and adherents have a great disdain for Martin Luther. Other than the nail marks to a church door, what are your grievances against him? He tried to correct wrongs in the church. He read the Bible. He prayed. The contradictions were self evident. The sale of indulgences were the result of avarice not soul saving. He was sad that the Church he loved had strayed so far from its purpose.
Unfortunately, you have chosen a flawed translation and presented an incomplete statement. If you read the next several versus and check the Greek (39 Ἐραυνᾶτε τὰς γραφάς, ὅτι ὑμεῖς δοκεῖτε ἐν αὐταῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον ἔχειν· καὶ ἐκεῖναί εἰσιν αἱ μαρτυροῦσαι περὶ ἐμοῦ) you will see that Jesus is actually admonishing the Jews for citing Scripture rather than accepting His teachings.
1) Martin Luther was not infallible.
2) His doctrine of “the Bible alone,” as the sole rule of faith, isn’t in the Bible.
Therefore, Protestantism has no logical basis.
This is why Catholics aren’t interested in Protestantism.
We are interested in an infallible teaching Authority, “the pillar and foundation of truth,” the Church of Christ, the Catholic Church.
Wow!Do you have that wrong. The Jews prided themselves for being faithful to Moses and his writings. Jesus points out how they were in fact unfaithful to Moses and his writings because Moses foretold of Jesus coming.
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
Jesus and Scriptures were never in contradiction.
I'm afraid we are going to have to disagree. Jesus was chiding the Jews for not seeing Him in the Scriptures, yet professing an early version of Sola Scriptura. It establishes that Scripture, wrongly interpreted, is not profitable.
More circular reasoning. Sidestepped the valid points in my post. Arrogance on a scale foreign to most Christians. How can a church correct errors when they claim infallibility? They cannot.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup (Jer. 51.7) in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
"you will see that Jesus is actually admonishing the Jews for citing Scripture rather than accepting His teachings."
Jesus did not admonish the Jews for citing scripture. Only word twisting with a bias would say that is what Jesus said. There is nothing wrong with citing scripture as you would have the gullible believe. Jesus beat back the devil with a "It is written" response.
"You will tell me that infallibility is too great a prerogative to be conferred on man. I answer: has not God, in former times, clothed his Apostles with power far more exalted? They were endowed with gifts of working miracles, of prophecy, and inspiration; they were the mouthpiece communicating God's revelation, of which Popes are merely the custodian. If God could make man the organ of his revealed Word, is it impossible for Him to make man its infallible guardian and interpreter? For, surely, greater is the Apostle who gives us the inspired Word than the Pope who preserves it from error."
"Let us see, sir, whether an infallible Bible is sufficient for you. Either you are infallibly certain that your interpretation of the Bible is correct, or you are not."
"If you are infallibly certain, then you assert for yourself, and of course for every reader of Scripture, a personal infallibility which you deny the Pope, and which we claim only for him. You make every man his own Pope."
"If you are not infallibly certain that you understand the true meaning of the whole Bible..., then I ask, of what use to you is the objective infallibility of the Bible without an infallible interpreter?"
- Cardinal Gibbons "The Faith of our Fathers," 1917
That is not a grievance at all. His 90 (or whatever the number) theses were all questions worth discussing and posting a proposal for a debate on the doors of a church was accepted practice at the time.
The grievance against Luther is that he promulgated unbiblical theological fantasies of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide, tossed from the Old Testament books he found inconvenient for himself, desecrated monasteries, started a new iconoclasm, and lead millions away from Christ. Since Mohammed, there was no greater enemy of Christ than Martin Luther.
"The Catholic Cardinal Gibbons, in Faith of Our Fathers, pg. 111, said, "You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we (The Roman Catholic Church) never sanctify."
Jesus, on His life here on earth, kept the Sabbath. The Jews are the chosen ones because they are one of the few (remnant) that would still be observant in the last days. Remember what Jesus said? "IF ye love me, keep My commandments".
He is the very same James Cardinal Gibbons.
It is always very revealing and somewhat saddening when some Protestants quote Catholic Clergy and authors as though they had actually read the works themselves. The quotes are always out of context and errors are repeated from website to website and post to post. It shows a contempt, or at least a disregard, for the truth, which as the Catechism states, is God who is truth itself.
The first problem with your citation is that the quote is not on page 111, it is actually on page 97 (a dead giveaway as to the source of your material). The second is the lack of context. Below is an extended excerpt of the entire page 97 from Faith of our Fathers:
Would it not be extremely hazardous to make a long voyage in a ship in which the officers and crew are fiercely contending among themselves about the manner of explaining the compass and of steering their course? How much more dangerous is it to trust to contending captains in the journey to heaven! Nothing short of an infallible authority should satisfy you when it is a question of steering your course to eternity. On this vital point there should be no conflict of opinion among those that guide you. There should be no conjecture. But there must be always someone at the helm whose voice gives assurance amid the fiercest storms that all is well.
ThirdA rule of faith, or a competent guide to heaven, must be able to instruct in all the truths necessary for salvation. Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice. Not to mention other examples, is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify. The Catholic Church correctly teaches that our Lord and His Apostles inculcated certain important duties of religion which are not recorded by the inspired writers.150 For instance, most Christians pray to the Holy Ghost, a practice which is nowhere found in the Bible.
We must, therefore, conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of faith because they cannot, at any time, be within the reach of every inquirer; because they are not of themselves clear and intelligible even in matters of the highest importance, and because they do not contain all the truths necessary for salvation.
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