Posted by: frroberts | October 20, 2015

John Zmirak threatens to leave the Catholic Church

In very sad news, the hilarious Catholic writer John Zmirak is clearly unsettled by what is going on in Rome right now.  Sadly, he is not alone.  A significant minority of traditionally-minded Catholics in the English-speaking world are definitely having some trouble with the direction in which things seem to be headed in the Church.  Note that at the end of his article, Zmirak threatens to leave the Catholic Church for Eastern Orthodoxy if Pope Francis embraces communion for the divorced and remarried.

The men who are leading the Synod do not need theology lessons from me. If only because enough good men remain among them and tell the truth, these saboteurs know exactly what they are doing.

And like the Pharisees, they already have their reward — their attaboys from the New York Times and their Methodist and Unitarian golfing pals. The Synod leaders have neutralized the nastiest attacks from homosexual activists, and bought peace with the secular state for the next ten years or so. Like Henry VIII’s compliant bishops, they will be “safe.” For a decade at least, they will keep the hundreds of millions of dollars gathered in Germany from the “church tax,” and in the U.S. from federal contracts to agencies that are Catholic in name only, such as Catholic Charities and diocesan immigrant offices. Bishops will get to pretend that they preside over powerful, consequential institutions, and the world will pretend to believe them. For now. Until the hatred of Christianity ratchets up another notch, and demands an even more craven surrender.

….

If the pope permits divorced couples who now live in extramarital relationships to receive Holy Communion without repenting and promising celibacy, he will be sanctioning one of two things: adultery or polygamy. Marriage is, by Christ’s command, indissoluble. That was taught infallibly by the Council of Trent. If the pope denies that doctrine, if he re-shapes one of the seven sacraments so radically, he will be proving something that the Orthodox have been saying since 1870: That he is not infallible on matters of faith and morals.

That might not sound like such an enormous sacrifice; the Church got along quite well without that doctrine right up until Vatican I. But by flouting the Council of Trent, and proving that Vatican I was in fact mistaken, the pope would be doing much more. He would be demonstrating that such Councils themselves lacked divine authority — that they were not like Nicaea or Chalcedon, the early Councils that built up Christian doctrine. Instead Councils such as the Lateran, Trent, and Vaticans I and II, would be merely local Western synods, exactly as the Orthodox have been insisting since 1054. In other words, the pope would be proving that Roman Catholic assertions of papal authority are grossly exaggerated, and that the Eastern Orthodox have the better claim as the heirs of the twelve apostles.

There’s an irony here, since the Orthodox have permitted the quasi-polygamous “Kasper option” for more than 1,000 years. But the Orthodox make no pretense of wielding infallible authority. They accept the early Councils of the Church (which took place well before 1054) and argue among themselves over how to apply them. They could be wrong.

And on marriage, the Orthodox are wrong. But Rome has no such wiggle room. The claims of the papacy are brave, expansive — and empirically falsifiable. If Rome adopts the Orthodox practice of marriage, that will falsify them. The mouse will have died in the maze.

If this happens, it would not prove that Luther or Calvin were right. Instead it would show that papal claims are false, that God has not left the Church with a central authority for the interpretation of doctrine, and that the Orthodox model is the only viable choice for sacramental Christians.


Responses

  1. “If this happens, it would not prove that Luther or Calvin were right. Instead it would show that papal claims are false, that God has not left the Church with a central authority for the interpretation of doctrine, and that the Orthodox model is the only viable choice for sacramental Christians.”

    Or it could be that we are dealing with an antipope.

    Like

  2. If it happens, the Catholic Church will have adopted the Orthodox model, albeit by the low road, and the Orthodox will have managed the virtue of integrity better from the beginning. Still, there are too many problems with the Orthodoxy for me to leave Catholicism. The average Catholic in the pew has little idea how we stand at a hinge point of history and nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake. All that for a few gold pieces.

    Like

  3. I think that the assertion that Pope Francis is an anti-pope would be a most difficult proposition to prove. As I understand it, the majority of anti-popes resulted from a disputed papal election. Can anyone deny that Francis was validly elected? If we cannot deny the validity of his election, then claiming him to be an anti-pope would be that we do so on the basis of, what, that he has lapsed into heresy? But who would judge him to have done so? A gathering of bishops? But Conciliarism, the idea that a gathering of bishops can judge a Pope, is a heresy. I don’t endorse Zmirak’s article, but I think that he points out some of the real problems this Synod is creating for Catholics who take their faith seriously.

    Like

  4. Dear Father,

    Regarding your point about a disputed papal election.

    See Universi Dominici Gregis (1996).

    Chapter VI – paragraph 79 and especially 81. Daneels has basically admitted this in interviews.

    Like

  5. I think it is for people much higher up in the Church to judge such things. We all have our opinions. I don’t share yours.

    Like

  6. >Zmirak threatens to leave the Catholic Church for Eastern Orthodoxy if Pope Francis embraces communion for the divorced and remarried.

    Which would be silly since the Eastern Orthodox give communion to the divorced and remarried.

    Like

  7. Where are we to go……?

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: