Recently, on Triablogue, John Bugay posted a query using Hans Küng as his primary source for challenging infallibility – as if a dissident “theologian” is a good place to start from. I guess from a Protestant perspective, a dissident Catholic is “better” than an orthodox one, but even Bugay refers to Küng as a “renegade Roman Catholic theologian.”
According to Bugay,
“Küng says he is not writing to destroy, but if ever there was a need for destruction, it is here. Wrong-headed from the start, both “papal infallibility” and “the papacy” both need to be headed toward “the ash-heap of history”. If anyone can muddy the waters right now (further than they have been muddied), it will be “Pope Francis”.”
In short, Küng is writing to destroy. The link there takes you to another Triablogue article on Papal Infallibility, also written by Bugay and while using another source, Küng wrote the introduction to that source – already opening it to the question of its orthodoxy. That article opens with a discussion of the “Johannine Comma” and goes into a discussion about later popes overturning decisions by earlier popes.
It is apparent that Bugay (and perhaps his sources) is oblivious to the fact that not EVERYTHING decreed by a pope is infallible! The fact of the matter is, VERY FEW decrees are actually considered to be infallible. Yes, such a decree is binding upon all faithful Catholics – but again, a non-infallible decree can be (and several have been) overturned.
My response to the first article I cited is quite simple and straightforward:
Something which is bound in heaven, by its very nature, is then infallible – for nothing fallible could be “bound” in heaven. If Peter, and thus his successors, has this authority, then Bugay’s point is moot. If Peter has not this authority, then Matthew 16:18-19 is a lie. You can’t have it both ways.
That response, if it is approved, was also posted to the original article on Triablogue (slightly paraphrased here because I did not copy it before I submitted it). The bottom line is, if the Bible is the true and final authority for Bugay, then his objections to infallibility are pure folly and even scandalous in opposing the Word of God.
What is Passion Sunday?
Prior to the 1970 Mass, often referred to as the Novus Ordo Missae, the liturgical year included Passion Sunday. This was the day all the statues and holy images were veiled in purple. The tradition is not prohibited today – but not nearly as widely practiced as it used to be. The readings for Mass became more focused on the discord between Jesus and the Jews and upon the Passion of our Lord.
In the Novus Ordo, or Ordinary Rite, Passion Sunday is combined with Palm Sunday. In a way, this is a bit tragic, as Palm Sunday, though the start of Passion Week, is a day of celebration and praising the Messiah’s entrance into Jerusalem.
As for me and my family, we adhere to the tradition of covering all statues and pictures of Jesus and the Saints on Passion Sunday – and they are removed after the First Mass of Easter Sunday (the removal of the veils is actually part of the Easter Vigil – which takes us into the First Mass of Easter).
Last Sunday, where we heard the Gospel message about the Transfiguration, the sermon I heard was simply wonderful. I was speaking to someone recently about the Transfiguration, and they thought I was talking about the bread and wine becoming the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ in the Eucharist. While Fr. spoke on a variety of topics, the one which stood out for me the most was very catechetical. Most who read this blog profess to be Christians, but what does that really mean? What does it entail to call yourself a Christian? Do you know the difference between transubstantiation and the Transfiguration? Is being a Christian something you “put on” on Sundays and “take off” Monday through Saturday? How much time do you spend in building your relationship with Jesus Christ? Many seem to have the attitude that while the “believe” in Jesus Christ, they don’t want that to get in the way of their life and fun. “Jesus is just alright with me,” as sung by the Doobie Brothers, seems to sum it up – Jesus is “just alright.” He doesn’t reign supreme in most of our lives. How comfortable will you be, standing in front of the Judgment Seat when how much time you spent to know Him, love Him and serve Him is exposed and judged? Get to know Him, because the more you know Him, the more you can love Him.
I am reminded of the simplicity and beauty of the Baltimore Catechism.
Q. 150. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
Q. 151. Why is it necessary to know God?
A. It is necessary to know God because without knowing Him we cannot love Him; and without loving Him we cannot be saved. We should know Him because He is infinitely true; love Him because He is infinitely beautiful; and serve Him because He is infinitely good.
I know that my children grew up with these questions and answers memorized, but now that they are grown – I am asking them (and I primarily write this article for THEM) do you love God? What do you do to get to know Him better? If you wish to be happy with Him forever in the next life, you have to get to know Him in this life, and love Him and serve Him. What does that mean to you? Can you do more? I know I can. We all must strive to continue to grow in Him, to know Him and love Him and serve Him. If you don’t have time for Him – how do you think that will fly when He’s planning an eternity for you? Giving God your time and worship shows how much you love Him. Putting God FIRST in your life will result in all your other concerns working out (Matt. 6:33). I ask myself the same questions – and I know the there is more I can do and I know there are times when I fail.
If you’re stuck in a rut, or routine – then you’re not working on your relationship with God – or at least not working hard enough. What more can you do? What more can I do?
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,” the Pope told journalists who asked his opinion on Trump’s proposals to halt illegal immigration.
Trump immediately fired back, calling Francis’ comments “disgraceful.”“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” he said in statement. Trump added that the government in Mexico, where Francis spent the past five days, has “made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope.” (qtd. from http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/18/politics/pope-francis-trump-christian-wall/index.html)
And that wall totally surrounds the Vatican City/State:
If walls make someone “not Christian” then should we be expecting the Vatican to tear down THEIR wall? OR – do we believe that “wall” provides a level of security for the pope and the “nation” which is the Vatican? Common sense points to the latter.
Now, how about what Mr. Trump said? “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.” Well, we need to remind Mr. Trump, “freedom of speech” is something he will be sworn to defend and uphold if he is elected president. The pope, or any leader, religious or otherwise, has the “right” to question whatsoever they choose to question. The leader of the largest Christian organization on Earth certainly has the “right” to offer his opinion on how Christian, or lack thereof, another is. From the Christian perspective, a man is justified (or judged) according to his faith which is shown through his works. (James 2:22-24) So, in Trump’s defense, he has not yet built a wall nor has he implemented any sort of immigration reform – when and IF he does (IF he is elected) THEN we’ll have something to judge. Back to the point of this paragraph – the pope certainly DOES have the “right” to say or question anything he chooses – especially if we base that upon the United States Constitution and Amendments.
Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi said: “the pope’s comments, which were denounced by Trump, were simply an affirmation of his longstanding belief that migrants should be helped and welcomed rather than shut off behind walls.‘This wasn’t in any way a personal attack, nor an indication of who to vote for,’ Lombardi said.‘The Pope has clearly said he didn’t want to get involved in the electoral campaign in the US, and also said that he said what he said on the basis of what he was told [about Trump], hence giving him the benefit of the doubt.’The Pope was great. He made a beautiful statement this morning,’ he told a capacity crowd at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center, ‘They had him convinced that illegal immigration is, like, a wonderful thing!’ Trump exclaimed, referring to Mexico’s government.