Hyper-papal maximalists! Pay attention.

Check out the sobering piece at Crisis about hyper-papal maximalism.  HERE

It is of great need to shake off this near pope-worship.

The peroration:

[T]he problem in the Church is not the papacy itself, but rather the gross misunderstandings which accompany popular understandings of it. Catholics do not need to abandon the papacy in order to make peace with the current pontifical crisis. All that is required is a “conversion of the papacy,” one that turns away from idolatrous conceptions and moves toward understanding the pope as a servant of the tradition and not its creator.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pingback: Hyper-papal maximalists! Pay attention. – Via Nova Media

  2. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    Wasn’t it Pope St Stephen in the 3rd century who first said”None shall judge the Holy See.” ? And didn’t Vatican II reaffirm all of Vatican I, including all of Pastor Aeternus? And didn’t Pope St Paul VI claim that only he as Pope and Bishop of Rome had the authority to legislate the liturgy? So by what authority does this guy say a Paul VI or Francis was wrong?

  3. Perhaps you are not up to speed about the categories in which “None shall judge the Holy See” applies.

  4. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    I am not. What are those categories, when has the Holy See been judged by them, and what mechanisms, if any, exist today to do the same and carry out the judgement? Who is to judge him, and how is that judgment performed and fulfilled? How do you know when you owe him no obedience? The Crisis article is rather convoluted. And, it shouldn’t have be so complicated .

  5. JonPatrick says:

    I am no expert on theology or even cheesesteaks :) but it seems to me that papal maximalism is self contradictory. If a Benedict XVI issues Summorum Pontificum allegedly infallibally guided by the Holy Spirit, then if a Francis issues Traditionis Custodes which contradicts SP, did the Holy Spirit change its mind, or was one of the popes wrong? The maximalist says the pope can never be wrong so we have a quandry.

  6. summorumpontificum777 says:

    Mr. Monaco’s piece is well-written and on point. The current papacy, like no other in my lifetime, has indeed set itself up as a veritable oracle. Everything is seemingly up for grabs (death penalty, communion for those not in a state of grace, annulments, homosexual acts, homosexual marriage, abrogation of the Roman rite, etc.), based on the pontiff’s personal whims and diktats. The same mentality predated this papacy, but to some extent it was held in check by the popes themselves who refused to cross various lines. Pope Francis, on the other hand, is not similarly restrained. And few of his confreres in the episcopacy, other than a Burke or a Mueller here or there, are willing to point out the limits of his office. Even on issues like female ordination, when the Holy Father declares the door closed, his partisans suspect that if the mood strikes in the right way, the door could be opened.

  7. Cornelius says:

    I think this “Pope” has surfaced a grave issue in the constitution of the Church: the Church lacks a remotely effective check mechanism when a Pope goes rogue. In the U.S. we have “checks and balances” on any branch of government overreaching its authority (it’s not perfect, of course), but in an absolute monarchy such as the Church there is no effective check on an out-of-control Pope.

    We could say that God is the ultimate check on a Pope who pollutes the deposit of faith with his personal whims (as this one does), but God seems curiously quiescent of late. How much longer will this go on before God plays His trump card and takes back His Church?

  8. Geoffrey says:

    This is so problematic. I was a proud “papist” during the reigns of St John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI. I tried to be at the beginning of Pope Francis’ reign, even though something just felt “off”. But now, it is impossible. What is the difference?

    Orthodoxy. Fidelity to the teachings of the Church that are rooted in the Word of God (Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium).

    Doctrinal development? Yes. Doctrinal and or even disciplinary 180’s? No.

  9. The original Mr. X says:

    I am no expert on theology or even cheesesteaks :) but it seems to me that papal maximalism is self contradictory. If a Benedict XVI issues Summorum Pontificum allegedly infallibally guided by the Holy Spirit, then if a Francis issues Traditionis Custodes which contradicts SP, did the Holy Spirit change its mind, or was one of the popes wrong? The maximalist says the pope can never be wrong so we have a quandry.

    Or, for that matter, Pius VI’s condemnation of the Jansenist Synod of Pistoia, in particular no. 33:

    “The proposition of the synod by which it shows itself eager to remove the cause through which, in
    part, there has been induced a forget-fulness of the principles relating to the order of the liturgy, “by
    recalling it (the liturgy) to a greater simplicity of rites, by expressing it in the vernacular language, by
    uttering it in a loud voice”; as if the present order of the liturgy, received and approved by the Church,
    had emanated in some part from the forgetfulness of the principles by which it should be regulated,—
    rash, offensive to pious ears, insulting to the Church, favorable to the charges of heretics against it.” https://web.archive.org/web/20120426051714/http://strobertbellarmine.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=10742#p10742

    Now, granted these are among the lighter theological censures, but still, it seems a little… problematic, shall we say… that a Pope should promulgate a form of Mass created under principles that a previous Pope explicitly condemned.

  10. The original: You are right to bring up the wisdom of the Church as clarified by Pius VI. The problem, however, is this.

    The people who are now “in charge”, are working from the principle that all the Traditional and the history of the Church is to be reconsidered and adjusted according to the interpretive lens of the “spirit” of Vatican II. Even as they are paying lip service to Tradition and history and how important they are, they will say that the lens is the Second Vatican Council, but that’s a smoke screen. It is the nebulous “spirit” of the Council that is their lens, not the documents of the Council or even the actual debates and addresses given by the Council Fathers. For them the Church begins in 1965. At least Rahner held that the Council was like another Council of Jerusalem. For the power-grabbers of today, the new Pentecost moment doesn’t occur in the “upper room” of the Council, but after they leave the room and go out into the world.

    That, folks, is what we are up against.

    I fear that we are dealing, in the case of some, with members of a different religion.

  11. GregB says:

    I don’t see how you can validly compare Vatican II to the Council of Jerusalem. The Apostles were still alive and the public revelation of the Church was still open during the Council of Jerusalem. It is my understanding that once the last Apostle died that public revelation closed. It is also my understanding that all the books that make up the canon of the New Testament can be dated to being written very close to the Apostolic era, and that the rejected “lost gospels” were written at a later date.
    If the Church begins in 1965 then that marks the expiration date of Christ’s New and Eternal Covenant. The Holy Spirit was given to the Church in full at Pentecost and He has a 2000 year track record. The Church is founded on Christ’s Covenant. Covenants are permanent, which could be considered to have certain amount of “rigidity.”
    In a constantly shape shifting church that is chasing after the world, I don’t see how you can have an honest evangelism. Such a church would be following the gospel according to Harvey Weinstein. How can a “Spirit of Vatican II” church ever be trustworthy?

  12. Lurker 59 says:

    “I don’t see how you can validly compare Vatican II to the Council of Jerusalem”

    The contrived parallels are in how VII is seen as moving the Church out of this isolated “Catholic ghetto” into engagement with the Nations, the incorporating/baptizing of the people/wisdom/culture of the Nations into the Church, the throwing off of protective but unnecessary rules of men that prevent the conversions of the Nations, and generally the moving to being a “Spirit-led/filled peoples” (which is a complete anachronism and wholly out of Protestant ecclesiology) rather than being a doctrinal focused “museum”.

    It is hot garbage and stems from the despairing of the supernatural order of things that swept through theology in the early 20th century. (see my following reply)

  13. Lurker 59 says:

    @Fr. Z

    As belief systems systemically break down, they stratify — the degree and quantity of held positions on any given tenet increase. This can lead to the formation of different groups/spits and the rise of daughter/competing belief systems that extend to generations beyond the founders. It is not possible to look at the 20th century at Christianity or Catholicism in general and not see it as a time of systemic breakdown. The Church at VII is not in a healthy state, clearly seen in the difficulty that she has in saying what she is.

    Is there a formation of a different religion going on? This, I think depends on how broad one’s definition of religion is. Compared to Catholicism: Are Orthodox a different religion? Are Lutherans? Are Mormons? Are Muslims? In this last, pay attention to the language in “On Human Fraternity” and how the Three Abrahamic Faith Traditions is structured. What do those that write such think?

    From my reading of history, so much of this stems from the despairing of the supernatural order (the ability of man to know and interact with) that swept through Protestant theology following WWI and the incorporation/infiltration of marxist thought. This would also occur in Catholic theology but in the subsequent decades. The “Spirit of VIIers” talk a lot about the spirit, but when one starts digging the concept is not supernatural but materialistic. (Should get defined as a pneumatological heresy some future day.)

    Are we looking at the formation of a different religion? IDK but sticking demons on your altar, trying to sing a new church into being, shifting the focus from listening to the revelation of God to synodality listening to the people, trying to suppress the doxology and praxis of what came before you, etc. are the seeds for that for anyone that looks at the situation from the vantage point os sociology.

    It is also a bit of a been there done that of what has gone on in Protestantism, though of course a poor character of it (as Catholics tend to do when mimicking Prots).

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