What’s most tiresome about the attacks against the Holy Father is that they essentially make an unsubstantiated accusation of the Pope seeking to change Church teaching to embrace error. What this boils down to, however, is that the critics are claiming that they have a proper understanding of the faith while that of the Pope or, in many cases, the whole Church is in error and must be opposed. In other words, if the Pope does not behave in the way his critics want him to behave he is considered to be heretical and working to destroy the Catholic faith—though whether he does so through incompetence or malice, the critics have not come to an agreement on.
When challenged on this by defenders, these critics then misrepresent any attempt to disprove their claims as “explaining away” what was said or “claiming infallibility” for every little thing the Pope says or does. I once, not too long ago, had critics accuse me of being blind because, I always defended him and disagreed with their interpretations of the Pope’s words and actions. I find that to be rather alarming: The anti-Francis mindset has reached the point where the accusations are assumed to be true by default, and these critics refuse to consider the possibility that they misinterpreted what the Pope actually said.
Bravery is an attribute that best describes my dad, Ed Duffy; a World War II veteran awarded the Bronze Star for Bravery while serving in Germany. He was a radio operator. As the story goes (from his transcript for why he was awarded the medal), he crawled out into the line of fire to quickly repair a wire connection so that his radio would work. If anyone were to ask him about that day and to elaborate on the story, you would get… Read more…
Pope Francis seems to be beloved by many. At the same time, some accuse him of being the Anti-Christ. Those who believe that Pope Francis is the Anti-Christ believe that he will change Church teaching and lead us down the road to Perdition. I have found that most people who take this stance are arch-conservatives, steeped in Tradition, finding Pope Francis too liberal for their liking. These are people who don’t like change. They find the old ways appropriate, because that is what they know to be true. Francis’ approach to finding new ways of reaching the marginalized and oppressed has left these arch-conservatives in fear of Church teaching changing. Yet, Pope Francis has not changed one iota of Church teaching to date, and it doesn’t look like he ever will.
With that in mind, I paid close attention to Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, so that I could come to better understand the man. I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. I watched all the coverage and listened to all of his homilies/speeches.
So just exactly what did I observe? I saw… Read more…
In an earlier blog (Repentance-Why Bother?) I looked at reasons for making a fundamental decision to change your life, to ‘die to self.’ Here I will consider why, that decision having been made, you should make Jesus the focus for your new direction. It might be asked ‘why look to anyone else at all?’ If you are an intelligent adult possessed with the ability to reason should you not be able to work out your own destiny for yourself?
The difficulty here is that by accepting the need to radically transform your Self you have acknowledged that the problem is not something which is external. The thing which is broken cannot repair itself unaided. Archimedes is reputed to have said “Give me the place to stand, and I shall move the earth.” Granted that you necessarily have a share in your own rebirth you still require some kind of partner, catalyst or teacher. Christianity proposes that Jesus is the place you can stand upon in order to move the inert globe of your dead self.
There is a passage in the Gospel according to St John which, I think, is relevant here-
-I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures.
-The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.
-I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep
This contains three clear propositions.
- Jesus is the gateway through which the new self or kingdom can be entered.
- In Him we will experience life more fully than ever before
- He demonstrates a self-sacrificing love for us of a kind that cannot be exceeded.
If we were to become convinced of these three things then we would have no reason not to accept Him as the place upon which we can stand with perfect confidence and hope…..click here to read more
Does Forgiveness Elude You?
Forgiveness is difficult for many of us; yet, not so for young St. Maria Goretti. Maria died at age eleven, from mortal stab wounds caused by unwanted advances of a young man. Forgiveness for this young man was one of her last words uttered before dying. She not only forgave him, she openly prayed for him, while suffering from those stab wounds prior to her death.
How many of us would be so forgiving? How many of us pray for those who wish us harm or have hurt us physically, emotionally or spiritually? Read more…
Prayer and My Personal Journey: To mark the publication of my new website I would like to introduce you to my own personal spiritual journey, as I first learnt how to pray. I am only doing this so that you may learn from my failures more quickly that I did, and in the hope that what little I have learnt may be of some help to you on your journey. My first recollections of prayer were of kneeling at my bedside repeating the same set of petitions night after night. God bless Mummy and Daddy, my brothers, and all my aunts and uncles who were mentioned by name. It was only after my cousins were prayed for in order of age that my turn came. I was not taught to ask God to bless me as he was asked to bless everyone else, but to make me a good boy! Who wants to be a good boy? I didn’t! read on…..
I’m David Torkington, a Spiritual Theologian, Author and Speaker. I specialize in Prayer, Christian Spirituality and Mystical Theology. I write and speak predominantly about Prayer which I believe transforms us into Christ in this life, and enables us to share in something of the life and love that continually flows between Christ and his Father. I blog on http://www.davidtorkington.com where my podcasts can be found.
There’s been some Facebook and blogging debates going on about the authority of the teaching of the Church and infallibility. Unfortunately, some of this discussion is muddled because of a confusion of two issues: The issue of obedience and the issue of infallibility. Some, in attempting to argue against obedience to the Church in an issue they dislike, try to explain away binding authority this way. They begin by pointing out that the ordinary magisterium is not formally protected from error in the same way that an ex cathedra statement is protected. They point out that technically, the rest of the Church teachings are non infallible. Now that is true. The ex cathedra statement is a special magisterial action, and it has special protections, given the level of authority they invoke.
But, then the fallacy of equivocation comes into play. Because the teachings of the ordinary magisterium are non infallible, it is argued that they are in fact “fallible,” and the word is stretched into the claim that the Pope or the bishop is teaching error and must be resisted. That is a distortion of the Church teaching. Everything that was eventually defined infallibly by the Church was previously taught by the ordinary magisterium. The infallible definition essentially made the ordinary magisterium more specific. But people were still obligated to obey the ordinary magisterial teaching before it was defined ex cathedra.
The road of virtues is not necessarily a straight path. Sometimes we take two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes we take the long road, finding out that the short-cuts weren’t worth it. Together, you and I have traveled the road of virtues for the past 20 months. In that time we have reviewed and studied every virtue in the Virtues Guide – Second Edition. In series of posts, I have defined the virtues, explained why it is important to embrace the virtues and provided suggestions for how to practice the virtues.
Now it’s time to… Read more…
I’ve had a lot to say about the bloggers gone bad in the Radical Traditionalist sense. But I have become more aware of another bad trend in Catholic blogging—the abuse of one’s reputation as a Catholic blogger to promote a particular opinion on how to best obey Church teaching, treating other opinions on how to best obey Church teaching as if it was the sign of a cafeteria Catholic. I say that such Catholics abuse their reputation because people do look to them to explain the faith and defend it. So when they use their blog as a platform to attack people who disagree with them and treat this difference of opinion on ways and means as if the person who disagrees are actively choosing to disobey the Church, they alienate the faithful into thinking the Church has no place for them.
Making A Distinction
Now we have to make a distinction of course. When the Church teaches “We must do X,” or “We must not do Y,” then the Catholic who tries to undermine these teachings or tries to say that one may disobey the teaching of the Church are being faithless Catholics.
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful:and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Both David (the psalmist) and Jesus draw a contrast between the drain on resources caused by multiplicity and the peace to be derived from simplicity. David describes an internal environment and Jesus an exterior one but, of course the two are intimately linked.
Martha’s busy-ness was concerned with the tricky task of being a good hostess for an horde of visitors which meant having to juggle several balls in the air at the same time. Mary was simply concerned about sitting at the feet of our Lord and learning from Him.
Anyone who has tried meditating will recognise David’s description. Our body may be as still as Mary’s but our mind is, like Martha, bustling around like a shuttlecock from one thing to another and, very often, back again. The key difference, though, is that Martha’s activity is purposeful and useful whereas the thoughts rattling around inside our head are often neither. Both of the sisters are focussed on Jesus, just in different ways. A contrast is often made between Mary as emblematic of the contemplative life and Martha of the active one. This is true so far as it goes there is, however, what Al Gore would no doubt call ‘that little known third category‘ where action follows contemplation…to read more click here