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Confused Claire wrote:

Hi, guys —

I would like to know what right Pope Benedict XVI had to reform the reforms of Vatican II regarding the responses we make in the liturgy.

He did it on his own with no input from the College of Cardinals, however, both he and Pope John II appointed so many like-minded cardinals, who share their own out-dated theology, that they would probably have supported him anyway.

As far as I am concerned, we were following the dictates of Vatican II. I am just so afraid that the number of conservative cardinals that Pope Francis has to deal with will keep our Church from ever growing (which, of course, always involves change.)

I pray that he has the courage to stand up to them and allow us to become part of the suffering human race, instead of an institution that is nothing more than pomp and circumstance.

I am frightened for our Church.

Claire
Alton, Illinois

  { What right did Pope Benedict XVI have to reform the reforms and hinder the Church from growing? }

Mike replied:

Dear Claire,

Coming from a Catholic, I was very disappointed with the tone of your question.

He’s the Pope!

The Mass is our public form of worship and, being such, is a matter of faith and morals. Catholics are bound to believe what the Church official teaches on matters of faith and morals, e.g. the Catechism, as well as other teachings, even if it is done on the Pope’s own authority independently.

This is what we believe as Catholics. I would quote from the documents of Vatican II but I’m guessing that, unlike a faithful Catholic, you don’t believe in those documents because they don't follow your spirit of Vatican II. Besides, our previous liturgical language was out of step with the official Latin translation of the Mass. The responses needed to be updated.

Change can be good, very good but usually when Catholics take your view of change, they desire a change of doctrine. This will never happen in the Catholic Church and why it is important to distinguish between:

  • doctrine, both Written and Oral Teachings
  • customs, disciplines, and traditions with a small t, and
  • theological opinions.

If you are unsure where your concern lies, talk to your pastor. Only the first one is binding on Catholics

Also remember that it is not the Pope’s Church. He just there to serve, protect, and safeguard the teachings Jesus left us. Jesus through the Pope, guided by the Holy Spirit, is running the Church. Read Matthew 16:13-19 and be at peace.

From the Catechism:

The episcopal college and its head, the Pope

880 When Christ instituted the Twelve, "he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 19; cf. Luke 6:13; John 21:15-17) Just as "by the Lord's institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22; cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 330)

881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. (cf. Matthew 16:18-19; John 21:15-17) "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22 § 2) This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 23) "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22; cf. Christus Dominus 2,9)

883 "The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has "supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22; cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 336)

You said:
. . . however, both he and Pope John II appointed so many like-minded cardinals, who share their own out-dated theology, that they would probably have supported him anyway.

Neither John Paul II nor Pope Benedict's theology is out dated.

  • What nut case gave you that idea?
  • Do I have to remind you that Pope John Paul II is NOW Pope Saint John Paul II?

You said:
I am just so afraid that the number of conservative cardinals that Pope Francis has to deal with will keep our Church from ever growing (which, of course, always involves change.)

That is good! That is great! This means they wish to conserve the teachings Jesus left us.

  • Don’t you want that or are you thinking below your waist?

You said:
I pray that he has the courage to stand up to them and allow us to become part of the suffering human race, instead of an institution that is nothing more than pomp and circumstance.

Our Church is not a Church of circumstance and any view of the Church being a Church of pomp is justified as it is Jesus' Church and, as Catholics, we believe Jesus is True God and True Man.

Jesus deserves the pomp and splendor!

Mike

Paul replied:

Hi, Claire —

I second what Mike says. The pope, the successor of St. Peter, has universal jurisdiction over the whole Church, given to him by Christ.

This is not debatable, but an article of faith. You seem to be mixing up democracy with the Church. The Church is essentially a monarchy with Christ as King, the pope as His vicar or prime minister, and the bishops the rest of his parliament. The Church never was and never will be a democracy. Truth comes from above.

Thanks be to God.

Paul

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