The conclave starts today and the 115 cardinals will be shut in to pray and discern as they choose the next Holy Father. Yesterday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote a blog about some media bloopers. Now the Church has been around for 2000 years and while I might have sympathy for some of those first century pagans who thought we were cannibals for eating our God or whatever else weird they misinterpreted, I can’t see how a qualified journalist with access to the internet could make some of the amazing mistakes shown here.
If a science journo suggested the Big Bang was a large balloon being popped they would never work again but it’s fine for religion journo’s to say Catholics think the pope is a god!
The other thing that is so much part of journalism (the BBC stink of this) is the bizarre idea that the Holy Father has the power to change the truth to fit what the culture (by that I mean western culture because we aren’t getting this rubbish from the east or south) thinks should be true.
Jesus never said to Peter or the apostles “Whatever you make up can be true.” He gave the power of binding and loosing in His Name not whoever is Pope’s name. While doctrine can develop and be taught in better and clearer ways, it certainly can’t be changed.
So, it doesn’t matter who is elected pope, whether he is a good man or a bad one as we’ve had a few times, he can’t suddenly decide that the priesthood can be separated from being a spiritual father, so that women can be ordained. He can’t suddenly decide that something intrinsically evil and against natural law can be allowed. He can’t decide there are too many persons in the Holy Trinity.
It was this limit to the authority of the pope that started me off back to the Church more properly (I was living it out on the edge).
I was a supporter of women being ordained and had bought into the empowerment argument hook line and sinker. I was not enlightened during the Anglican debate which went out via mainstream (mostly BBC) TV as they only ever interviewed men who came across as misogynist for the all male priesthood side. No one explained, or were given a chance to explain, the ontological nature of the priesthood from Adam onwards.
In my search for answers I bought a book called Women at the Altar and read it. I didn’t know enough history back then to spot some of the shocking bloopers. But she had put the encyclical on ordination by Blessed Pope JP II. I read that too and saw that the Holy Father said he didn’t have the authority to ordain women.
The limit of authority fascinated me and off I went in search of answers. When I got to grips with Jesus self claim to be The Bridegroom, I finally got to grips with why priests are men, but more importantly, what authority is and why a Pope can’t just proclaim whatever he likes. The Holy Spirit doesn’t interfere with free will, so all the Popes have been sinners, even the many saints among the list, (and there are far far more saints than bad sinners in the papal list) but He does ensure that when teaching on faith and morals the pope gets it right; that is infallibility and it’s much more limited that I realised.
So the BBC and others can demand contraception, abortion, divorce, killing off the sick and elderly, and priestesses all they like – the Church can’t change her position on these matters. She doesn’t have the authority to do so.