Since the Church’s earliest days, even in the Letters of Paul, there developed a genre of writing adversus haereses, against heresies. The reason is obvious: Christ is the Truth. With the exception of those on the ideological Left regarding elections, Christians want the TRUTH, even though it is hard. When people stray from the Truth to sow error, they and what they teach become a threat to the salvation of souls, their own and those of others who embrace their errors. Christ gave a special ministry to the Church, the Petrine Ministry with Tradition, the Rule of Faith handed down and protected through Apostolic Succession.
The very people of God has a sensus fidei, a sense of the Faith. Though the better description is sensus fidei fidelium… the faithful’s sense of the Faith: to have it, you have to be faithful.
Along comes Francis, who says and writes curious things which raise questions in the minds of the faithful. It is not the role of Popes to bring about doubts and divisions. On the contrary. But, here we are. Doubts and controversies are multiplying. There are a lot of factors, but I think in honesty we have to admit that Francis is in the mix to one degree or another.
One is led to wonder about what is going on in the heads of those who never evince the slightest puzzlement about some of the things Francis issues.
People of Faith want to know the Truth. These days, with “fake news” and competing voices and, now, cancelling and suppression of speech, getting to the Truth can be hard.
Not forgetting that Francis himself has called for parrhesia, clear, honest talk, some people of good will have raised concerns about certain recent developments. They also do it in public when their concerns haven’t been addressed in private.
One thing invariably happens, those on the Left who seem not to see anything at all odd in things right in front of their faces, shout explanations along the lines of, “SHUT UP!”
Given the growing willingness of some within the Church to embrace the cancel culture, terror tactics of the secular Left (I’m a recent target, along with a bishop), in the future it maybe become hard to find the questions, concerns, challenges, pleas for answers, respectful rebuttals, etc. online. I readily imagine a cancelling of all such things by catholic news media outlets, etc, the purging of sites that have archived them by a growing catholic Minitrue.
Until we move into the 451ºF phase, scripta manent. Concrete books are not as susceptible to widespread obliteration.
A small Catholic publishing house in Canada, Arouca Press, has put out a seriously provocative volume.
edited by John R.T. Lamont and Claudio Pierantoni, with a Foreword by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.
Long title. But you get what it’s about.
This is a compendium of things which – to be blunt – does not make Francis, Cardinals, Bishop look good. Quite the opposite. The book is provocative.
Those who tend to favor what Francis and his crew have been doing will become shrill. This is hardly to be doubted.
Some will dismiss it out of hand, saying that those who are represented in it, or who would want to read it, are crazy outliers. Pay no attention to the tilting deck, life boats and iceberg, everything is fine. “Shut up!” they explain.
This is what I draw out of the existence of such a book.
Whether you are a staunch supporter of Francis and his crew or you are a sharp critic, …
You might be able to dismiss one or two smart people who have problems with, say, certain aspects of Amoris laetitia. You might be able to brush aside as an isolated incident when Francis says something weird to a journalist.
When you start to collect all of these things, odd sayings and teachings, reactions to them, into one volume so that you can see a picture emerging, you can’t simply brush it aside.
The cumulative force of the things collected in this book may just prompt questions. Just scanning through the table of contents and the useful index makes you go, “Whoa! There’s a lot here.”
Again, the book is printed and not just in the cloud. The left might be able to make it rare, try to cancel the publisher, buy up copies, and destroy them. Some will remain. The more you all buy, … etc.
Again, the left might be able to attack and even silence sites which have the book’s content piece meal, here and there, but this is a compendium which produces a cumulative effect.
What I would say to those who are 1000% in favor of everything that’s been going on for the last few years, and who think this is a bad book, blah blah, is:
If you think this compendium is bad, then produce your own book, respond to it. Collect into one volume your supportive open letters and explanatory essays. Let people see the cumulative effect of your no-doubt-incontrovertible position, bound to persuade.
Rather than respond with “Shut up you kooks!”, put up or shut up yourselves.
Take it seriously and see what happens.