Wanted: A disciplinarian Pope-A A +A
Sunday, March 3, 2013
PERHAPS unknown to some, the Pope, who like Yoda is often frail and fragile-looking, is actually the most powerful person on earth.
Peter, the first Pope, ordered Tabitha who was then dead, to rise, and Tabitha resurrected (Acts 9:36-42). Peter ordered Ananias and Saphira dead, and both dropped dead (Acts 5:1-11).
I’m not saying we should have a trigger-happy Pope who’ll zap dead everyone who breaks discipline, but what mankind needs now is a Pope who will not flinch enforcing discipline in the Church: dogmatic, moral, liturgical, exterior and whatever kind of discipline there may be...
Pope John XXIII was a good man, but he was not a disciplinarian. It was during his watch that ecclesiastical discipline in the Church started to be relaxed. Worse, and again in my opinion, he encouraged its relaxation.
Pope Paul VI, in my opinion, was better, but, again, he was not a disciplinarian. He could have been a more vigorous enforcer of discipline, dealing more forcefully with the likes of Fr. Jacques Pohier, Fr. Hans Kung, Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, Fr. Charles Curran, Fr. Leonardo Buff, Fr. Anthony Kosnik, Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, Fr. Karl Rahner, and other dissenters, and decisively putting a stop into their foolishness before these had time to spread.
Pope John Paul II was greatly admired and loved by all. Alas, he was not a forceful disciplinarian as I think he should have been. In fact, towards the end of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II himself wondered whether or not he could have been a more effective disciplinarian.
Don’t get me wrong. All three Popes put their foot down on dissent. Pope John Paul II, for instance, was adamant at preserving traditional Church teaching on sexuality, and suppressed liberation theology and adventurism in the political arena and medical ethics. It’s just that, in my opinion, it was not enough.
I fully agree with St. Pope Leo I (Pope Leo the Great) who thought it was his primary duty as supreme pastor to maintain strict ecclesiastical discipline. “It is negligent rulers who nurture a plague by shrinking from austere remedies.”
To him, the bishop should be unyielding and relentless in dealing with error and vice in the Church. His “Where obedience is secure, doctrine will be sound” should, in my opinion, be carved in stone and posted in every hall in the Vatican.
Catholic apologist Jeff Mirus, in reply to the question “Why doesn’t the Holy See use discipline to restore Catholic order?” identified a number of possible reasons:
1. We live in an age in which discipline usually increases sympathy for the one disciplined.
2. The crisis of faith is so severe that effective discipline may be impossible.
3. Given these circumstance, discipline must be fairly creative.
4. The Church can afford to take a long view.
5. Recent Popes have been “academics.”
6. Recent Popes may not have been very sure about the place of discipline in the economy of salvation.
7. The Holy Spirit is not after discipline.
The new Pope, therefore, should be less given towards discussion, and more towards action; less given to gentle teaching and reason, and more towards unequivocal language, reproof and disciplinary action.
He shouldn’t allow himself to be bothered by the question: “Who would obey,” given the severe crisis of faith that has engulfed mankind. He should think less of numbers, and more of purity of the faith.
I’m assuming, of course, that it is the wish of the Holy Spirit to have a Church indistinguishable in every way from the one started by Jesus Christ through Peter. Disciplined, in other words.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 04, 2013.