Saturday, November 10, 2012
Fr. Fox and the recent election lead me to reflect on the relation of Church authority in the state. The Church needs to be careful not to be too intrusive. As I blogged Oct. 12, Fr. Farkasfalvy was in Rome when John XXIII said he wanted to have a Vatican Council. The reaction of the Curia was, he says 'Why do you want to do that? With the doctrine of infallibility you can do anything you want.' But that's part of the point. When the Pope was elected, he told his intimates, 'You won't find me saying anything infallible.' So maybe even the Pope was a bit of a cafeteria Catholic. One possible interpretation of Pope John XXIII making the categorical statement that 'he would not be making any infallible statements' is that he didn't fully believe a Pope could do so. That the Pope was not capable of making infallible statements was an opinion expressed by John Henry Cardinal Newman. The fact that Cardinal Newman is now declared a saint would suggest that the opinion that the Pope is infallible is not of utmost importance. The affirmative decision that he is was made in Vatican I as the cardinals were hastily departing from their place of meeting as the French or Italian armies were bearing down on them. The Holy Spirit may guide them but that is asking rather a lot. As to what the Church should say, I think, fundamentally, the leaders of the Church have made errors in protecting the innocent such that they should by all means tell the faithful what is right or wrong but that those rules, for the faithful, must be made laws for others when there are opposing prudential arguments might be excessively intrusive.