by Rev. Song O. Park
Do we have a Pope? ...this is the question many honest and intelligent Catholics are asking these days. Some have been asking this question for some years now. Fellow Catholics wonder what kind of people are these who would pose such embarrassing questions. What kind of people are they?
The people who ask the hard questions are not fanatics mainly because fanatics don't ask questions; they simply and blindly obey. The man who asks the questions does not qualify for the trophy of top fanatic because he is using his reason. The fanatic does not reason he emotes and emotes hard! In fact, he emotes rather madly ...like a fanatic. The people who ask the question "Do we have a Pope?" are people who are loyal and dedicated to the Catholic Church. They are people of spiritual values which go beyond the superficial pious platitudes. They are people who love the Bride of Christ so much that they will not tolerate any kind of abuse. They are unimpressed by pious theatrics... they would rather see a true Pope throw out a few Marxist bishops than kiss the ground for the benefit of the mob. These are people who have become very cautious since the swift and turbulent blitzkrieg of crafty subverters has reduced the Catholic Church to a rerun of vaudeville. They are wellbalanced individuals who have not panicked right into the waiting arms of pseudosaviors and religious carpetbaggers.
Notwithstanding the presshungry and doctrinally anemic efforts of those who rushed in to capture an audience in the name of an increasingly dubious `tradition', small pockets of intelligent individuals looked at it all with detached and meticulous logic.
These few voices were being effectively drowned out by the raucous ravings of the many whose flash and fanfare attracted not a few. The inevitable resulted: large numbers of disorientated Catholics exchanged one form of blindness for another. The leaders of this new `traditionalist' sect played upon the emotions and traditional sentiments of the people to such a point that one conditioned reflex simply substituted for another.
Unfortunately and unkindly, those who bravely approached the entire matter have been vilified as "fanatics". What astounds the reasoning Catholic or any reasoning person for that matter is that by definition "fanatic" is one who gives himself to "unreasoned enthusiasm". Now, fanaticism is the last thing that anyone can accuse a man who thinks.
In fact, when it is observed that those who are the targets of such maligning are in truth genuinely humble and pious men, devoid of the blaring and glaring ambition of those doing the maligning, one is forced not only to raise an eyebrow, but also one's voice in protest.
Although it is possible to tell a tree by its fruit, it is not always that easy to tell a man because he's not as simple as a fruit. Nevertheless, even though people are not fruits, we can generally tell what they are by the company they keep... which is very much like being a fruit... or a nut.
The power of reason is only as powerful in matters of faith as Catholic teachings which it attempts to elucidate. In his encyclical "Satis cognitum" on the unity of the Church, Pope Leo XIII says: "Agreement and union of minds is the necessary foundation of this perfect concord among men, from which concurrence of wills and similarity of action are the natural result. Therefore, in His divine wisdom, He ordained in His Church unity of faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unite man to God."
Now it is only the Catholic Church that has guarded the integrity of the faith. She has regarded as rebels and expelled from Her midst all those who did not hold the same doctrines. The heretics of the past did not reject all Catholic doctrines. They repudiated only certain parts of the faith. Nevertheless, they were declared heretics and rejected by the Church.
There is nothing more dangerous than those who accept almost all the doctrines of the Catholic Church, but as with a drop of poison destroy the purity of that doctrine taught by the Church since the time of Christ.
Most recently, such `drops of poison' have been administered to the Mystical Body of Christ in ever so careful doses. Much to the alarm of some bishops, priests and laity, the occupants of the Chair of Peter have been manifesting a brand of `ecumenism' incompatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Religious indifference has been given respectable status by being called `ecumenism'.
Leo XIII continues to say: "Hence, from the very earliest times the Fathers and Doctors of the Church have been accustomed to follow and defend this rule. Origen writes: `As often as the heretics allege the possession of the canonical Scriptures, to which all Christians give unanimous assent, they seem to say: "Behold the word of truth is in the houses". But we should not believe them and not abandon the primary and ecclesiastical tradition. We should not believe other than as has been handed down by the tradition of the Church of God.'"
The Apostle, St. James, is quoted in this same encyclical to underscore the incompatibility between the Catholic Church and all other churches: "Whoever offends in one point, has become guilty in all." (James, 2,10). Clearly, whatever is revealed by God and believed is the result of supernatural faith. It is impossible to accept only a portion of divine faith and consider oneself `Christian'.
Catholic moral theology teaches regarding relations with nonCatholics: participation in religious worship takes place when Catholics take part in nonCatholic services or permit non-Catholics to participate in Catholic services.
Active participation in nonCatholic services is entirely forbidden (Canon 1258). The natural law forbids participation in services that are heretical. Even in services which are not in themselves heretical and even when no scandal is involved, participation is forbidden by virtue of Church law. Whoever acts contrary to the prescriptions of Canon 1258 and takes part in nonCatholic services is suspected of heresy. (Canon 2316).
What does all this mean? It means that even a Pope is not permitted to violate natural law. It means that a Pope who does in fact violate the natural law forbidding participation in nonCatholic services is not only suspect of heresy, but his very claim to that office comes under a cloud of suspicion. That is to say: was this man even canonically elected? The question is not an empty one, nor is it a question which fanatics would ask. It is a serious question.
John Paul II seems prepared to "heal the sad years of division". But, are we not permitted to believe that every other pope before him had the same longing. The only difference is that the others knew very well that any unity must be on the terms of Christ's Gospel and His Church. John Paul II seems to have gone well beyond civil tolerance in religious matters and has indulged in theological tolerance which is contrary to the teachings of the Church. One can only wonder at this man's reaction when the layman Dr. Runcie compared John Paul II to Pope Gregory and himself to St. Augustine. Dr. Runcie exulted enthusiastically: "I rejoice that the successors of Gregory and Augustine stand here today in the church which is built on their partnership in the gospel." Do you suppose there is more truth to this statement than first meets the eye? Can these words mean that just as Dr. Runcie is an impostor and not a successor of St.Augustine, so too, John Paul II is not a successor of Pope Gregory? The head of the Catholic Church is Christ; the head of Dr.Runcie's church is Mrs. Elizabeth Queen.
Can a true pope partake in nonCatholic religious services centered on elements shared by the two churches? The service included a renewal of baptismal vows. The entire thing was billed as a "Celebration of Faith". In this "Celebration of Faith" the heretics prayed to their own `saints' who were styled as `Christian martyrs of the 20th century'. It is very interesting to learn that `Christian martyrs of the 20th century' are Communists! The only one with some claim to respectability was Blessed Maximilian Kolbe, a man of heroic virtue. Who were these other `Christian martyrs of the 20th century'? Among these `martyrs' honored by John Paul II's presence were Martin Luther King, Jr., Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, and Janani Luwum, the archbishop of Uganda. It is not important, I suppose, to know in what way these individuals have born witness to the Christian faith for which they were martyred. The whole affair would come closer to the truth if it were called a `Celebration of nonBelief.'
We will probably never get a clear and unambiguous version of what really happened in England that fatal day when John Paul II showed the world what he represents. Perhaps a better understanding of the event can be found in what the Protestants understood. After all, John Paul II was talking to them.
The local CourierJournal (Modernist organ for Rochester, NY) quotes Dr.McIntyre, moderator for the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, as saying that the pope had "redrawn" for many people in Scotland the whole "character and nature of the papal office." Now that's telling us something! To redraw the character and nature of the papal office seems to remake the character and nature of the papal office. Just how John Paul has redrawn and remade the character and nature of the papal office is something we are not permitted to know. Might we Catholics ask: why not? Why are we not allowed to be privy of these talks if the Scottish people are in on the secret.
We do not find that the visit of John Paul II to England and his participation
in nonCatholic services with various and
sundry heretics has enhanced his image as a Catholic pope. On the contrary, it has confirmed what many were already whispering: this man must be an impostor. And so it seems. A man who has canonically succeeded St.Peter would be a man capable of confirming his brethren in the faith. The prayer of Christ would have been efficacious. For, it is to Peter to whom was given the special grace of confirming his brethren in the faith. We are disappointed that John Paul II proves himself able to confirm no one in nothing..
Is then the contention of those whose numbers increase daily correct? Is the Apostolic See vacant? All of Catholic theology, both dogmatic and moral, answers in the affirmative. Only those who, for whatever natural motive it may be refuse to accept are motivated by some natural consideration could possibly resist the obvious.