Oh my goodness... so many responses, so little time.
First of all, the God doesn't need anyone's opinion. No one. That means, NO ONE. God doesn't even need the opinion of the Pope.
That's right! That's exactly what I just said.
We need GOD'S opinons, and the Pope's duty is to follow what has been handed down and teach clearly what that is.
Yes, we ought to respect the Pope's AUTHORITY as it is from God, handed down through the Apostles. God will often give us a Pope we deserve, and that's not always a good thing.
Some of you seem to have no idea about what Holy Mother Church teaches about Papal Infallibility. The Pope cannot tell you who to bet on the Superbowl. He is not infallible carte blanche. He is infallible when he teaches and professes publicly what has been always true, clearly and without any confusion, that which has already been handed down to him through the extrinsic traditions of the Church as passed down through the Apostles. That which is "kato licas" (entirely whole) is true for ALL places, ALL peoples, and ALL times. God doesn't change His mind. He fits the job description of being God. When all those criteria are met, AND the Pope indicates that what he is pronouncing is ALSO ex cathedra, indicating that it is 'from the Chair of Peter', which indicates that he intentionally and purposely invoking his authority where it IS infallible, then in fact, THAT which he professes to be true, which has been true always throughout all the history of the Church, is in fact, true and infallible.
This is why the Pope has no authority to declare infallibly anything that is novelty vs. dogmatic reality.
There was one Pope, I forget who it was, maybe some history buffs can remind me, who once attempted to declare something dogmatic which, infact, was not. He died before he had a chance to do this.
Gabor, your letter was awesome. One of my favorite lines,
Another thing that concerns me is the report that his diocese and seminary in Buenas Aries, Argentina is in a state of shambles. Wha...
Another thing that concerns me is the report that his diocese and seminary in Buenas Aries, Argentina is in a state of shambles. What if anything does this say for his spiritual and fiscal executive abilities? It is no secret that the whole Church is suffering from a crisis in Faith as well as finances and both subjects have to be remedied. Is his parochial track record an indication of the direction we are headed and how concerned should we be? These questions are troubling and won’t go away with wishful thinking. Optimism without serious practical analysis and doctrinal adherence within the traditions of our Holy Church is a sin against prudence and an insult to the saints.
Naomi from NZL: No offense, but your country is already one of the most, if not THE most, liberal and modernist countries in the world, if not, at least in Western EU.
Ray: The USCCB has historically been known to have a modernist bent, even to the point of disobeying the Holy Father BOLDLY when asked to do something that goes against the direction of modernism. This was the case with Holy Communion in the hand. This is a historical fact, not an opinion.
Now, just to clear the air, anyone here who thinks that the tradition has been that this ceremony was in the context of a liturgy that ALWAYS was celebrating the institution of two (2) Sacraments, first of all, pat yourselves on the back, you've passed this one test on Catholic Liturgy 101. Those who you who doubt this is the case, I suggest you learn about Maundy Thursday before saying anymore about YOUR opinion on this matter. The liturgy is not to be influenced by OPINIONS, but by sacred extrinsic tradition. (If anyone wants to learn about this, let me know and I will point you in the right direction to start reading about this.)
If you are knowledgeable of Maundy Thursday's significance having to do with the institution of two Sacraments, the institution of both Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders, and you are against fraternal charity, please speak up now and let us know, because your detractors (and that is what they are doing PRECISELY and without cause) are suggesting --- that your defense of this extrinsic tradition of the Church is against fraternal charity --- and even against corporal acts of mercy. You have been labeled as "uncharitable" by the inference of saying that you care more about legalism than the poor, even.
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
OK, now that we got that straight, allow me to reiterate why this is signficant:
First of all, let me say that this action is apparently/obviously extremely devisive. NO ONE is saying that Corporal Works of Mercy are not important. But even greater than Corporal Works of Mercy are SPIRITUAL Works of Mercy (this is taught by the Church) . Spiritual Works of Mercy are greater because the soul is eternal. But wait! There are poor people who really need their feet washed, and need to feel included in the Body of Christ. OK, we (you and I) do NOT belong to the Church of Feel Good. Nope. Sorry, but the symbol of our holy religion is *drum roll please*
THE CROSS: Our Lord, Jesus Christ, abandoned by almost all his followers, bloodied and bruised, flesh torn, nailed to a cross.
If being Catholic was really easy, then there would be a lot more Catholics. For one, we believe in the 10 Commandments, not the 10 Good Suggestions. But I digressed...
The point of the liturgy is WORSHIP of GOD, not of the good we can do for one another. Yes! Yes! It is important how we treat one another, especially even the poorest of the poor, whether in body or in spirit, but this is about WORSHIP of God, the LITURGY. The highest good IS NOT what good we can do for one another, but the HIGHEST GOOD IS GOD HIMSELF. Anyone who says otherwise has inadvertantly subscribed to the heresy of immanentism. This heresy became popular only recently (relative to the history of the Church), with modernist theologians such as Immanentists, Hans Kung, Hans Urs von Balthasar, etc. (Both, at one time, were hailed by the Church, now we see what they were really up to. For instance, Balthasar wrote a preface for a most dangerous book that was to promote tarot cards. Yep. If that shocks you, you probably didn't know his writings, but he was very popular in the seminaries for many, many years. Today we reap his bad fruits.)
Yes, it is true, God --- in grace, can live inside a person, but that which is inside us is not FILLED with God's grace. Therefore, we do not interpret knowledge of Him strictly on our own novel opinions, but as far as it is, and has always been, the teachings handed down by Christ through his Apostles. God, in His PERSON as a whole Being, is TRANSCENDENT, not immanent. Yes, it is true that God manifests Himself in the human modality (in nature and within man), afterall, we are HIS creation, but He is NOT His creation. We are not God. God doesn't even need a popular democratic vote from His creatures to give Him His thought on any subject. Truth is entirely whole whether or not we even exist.
Now, for some references on what I've written:
Just so there is no confusion, as immanists would like to confuse you to thinking that their philosophy is merely that good can manifest Himself in His creation. No, they take it further to say that He is entirely in His creation. Just look at the root word of immanent:
The meaning of Maundautum (from whence the word "Maundy" is derived) means: command or mandate. Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles only not because he only wanted priests to serve, but this was specifically because he wanted to instruct the priests of their specific duty to serve as priests. www.audiosancto.org
A suggested article: www.latinmassmagazine.com
Ray, you are saying, "This treatise doesn't address the more important issues facing the Church" and that people who are shocked by this (if it really occured) are dismayed by the Pope's actions. This isn't attacking the Pope. This is about understanding what IS important and why it is important. Precisely because we care about poverty, especially spiritual poverty, and the sacrileous and murderous effects of that spiritual poverty so rampant in today's society all over the globe, we want to protect ourselves from supernatural death and sin. Only God has the power to free us from supernatural death, and He gives the priest the authority to bring us the Sacraments which aide to this end. The moment we no longer have priests, or are confused as to Christ's authority in the priesthood as HE created it, we no longer have the Sacraments. The Sacraments are holy and sacred, and are perfect in of themselves. The imperfection and lack is not in God or His Sacraments, but in the disposition of the recipients. Therefore, all evil, including, all effects of sin besides sin itself, not only require to be each pardoned (as with the Sacrament of Penance/Confession, but they need to be remitted through restitution. Part of that restitution is Christ in his Holy Sacrafice. That is why he instituted the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass --- because this needed to be continued. He needed to continue to sacrifice himself at the altar, not once, not a hundred times, but at every single time a valid Mass would be celebrated. Likewise, the priest is another victim for Christ, in order that disorder become re-ordered to Christ.
We need to regain a sense of the transcendent, and humble ourselves as CHRIST, to see that He is the one true offering at the altar of every Mass. Anything else we offer is only to be joined to Christ's offering. But our duties are not equal to that of the priest. The priest MUST be another Christ, and see not only charity is required to all out of love of Christ, but that the highest charity is God Himself, who HIMSELF gives us the order in this life of the holy priesthood, in order to stand in the place of Christ. WE, the faithful, have to be LED by the priest, he is not to make himself in his God-given vocation as EQUAL in his STATE, but higher because he must be the leader UNDER Christ. If a priest is seen as equal, then the smallest of the small will not need to follow him, but whomever they please, even themselves. Then the lambs would be scattered, each to their own way.
We have lost a sense of the transcendent, and the idea of worship, that it is to God alone. NOTHING we can do can be greater than what HE does for us. Nothing. No feelings, no matter how high, no intentions, no matter how great, are to even be compared to God.
The liturgy matters. The old saying goes, "Lex Orandi. Lex Credendi." but the rest of it is, "Lex Vivendi."
How we pray, determines how we believe, which then determines how we live.
You may think that good intentions are enough, but if they are separated from God's Holy Will, they bring about the greatest destruction and poverty --- that of the soul. You may think that this world is greater, in some cases, has more weight that the next, but you are then blaspheming if you say so. Christ came showing himself to be of a kingdom NOT of THIS WORLD.
The liturgy is meant to remind us of this and of the order that Christ instituted for this world to do as HE wills.