Sunday 12 March 2023

La Suprema

 This German Synodaler Weg stuff is, I suspect, the result of Paul VIs shake-up of the Roman Curia in the sixties and seventies, something earnestly desired by almost everybody in those days. The Curia was perceived by many as being responsible for most of the Church's woes (they really had no idea what woe was, did they?) and it was felt that instead of being legalistic and hidebound, it should be 'pastoral'. The particular change that worked the most mischief, I think, was the downgrading of La Suprema, the then Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Holy Office, now the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and what it is to be in the future, we must wait and see). Or rather the removal of one of its functions. It is my understanding that in the past, the Holy Office, La Suprema, would give the final stamp of approval to the appointments of new bishops. Now that job was to pass to the Secretariate for State, who would give the nihil obstat to whomever they thought sufficiently one of themselves. Diplomats, nice guys, men who wouldn't rock the boat. Think the late Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, an extraordinary charming man (as the bishop who ordained me, I knew him quite well). Ostpolitik needed such men, not pugnacious Lions of Münster or Mindszentys whose evangelical intransigence was seen as an obstacle to what diplomacy might achieve.

And so here we are. A church of charming diplomatic bishops who want to get a) on with everybody and b) ahead.

One thinks of Knox's (Ronald, that is, not John) Absolute and Abitofhell (quoted from memory; I don't have the text here):

When suave politeness, temp'ring bigot zeal

Corrected 'I believe' to 'One does feel'

So we have a Church of bishops who for the last fifty years have thought that stoutly defending the faith is not quite gentlemanly; even though they might privately believe the faith, they wouldn't want to be seen to ram it down anyone else's throat. And this has encouraged others to think the same way. Diplomats promoted, believers sidelined. Do they ever wonder what our Lord might make of this?

And so here we are. Germany again leading the Church into schism. 


Romulus said...

Thank you, Father.

IanW said...

It's good to see you post again, Father.