How Pope Francis Dialogues with Critics


So a day since the filial correction of Pope Francis was made public and the numerous criticisms of the critics on social media share one key trait: they all suggest that the authors are a minority, or conservative or similar to the example I shared in yesterday's post.
I think it is worth pointing out that the argument from authority is the weakest of arguments. One should always endeavour to debate the idea, not the person, but no one seems to have addressed the content of the criticisms levelled at the Pope. That would seem to be because they are facts and beyond reasonable dispute.

Almost more importantly regarding this argument from authority, I would say it is an error to take this "What are your credentials?" response seriously. Credentials didn't matter for the Cardinals who submitted the Dubia. Credentials also didn't matter for the Cardinals who disagreed with the Pope regarding the Relatio post disceptationem for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. 

The Relatio proposed allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics on a “case-by-case basis”, and said pastors should emphasize the “positive aspects” of lifestyles the Church considers gravely sinful, including civil remarriage after divorce and premarital cohabitation. These proposals were included in the Relatio at Pope Francis' personal insistence, despite the fact that they did not receive the two-thirds majority required by the Synod rules for a proposal to be included in the Relatio.
Meanwhile, somewhat hilariously, the Vatican has blocked access to the webpage!


This sort of unreasonable and authoritarian response is fast becoming a hallmark of the Franciscan papacy. Robert Royal has an excellent analysis on The Catholic Thing today where he states:
We’re witnessing a period in which the Church is trying to have Faith without the full benefits of Reason. This is odd, in a way, because it’s usually thought that the only Christians who forsake reason are impossible-to-reason-with fundamentalists. In the current moment, we have a progressive group in Rome and beyond that seems to think that Reason in any strong sense distorts or even blocks Faith.
They know the outcomes they want and aren’t about to let the logical contradictions theologians, philosophers, or ordinary believers notice, stop them.
It’s an old philosophical truth that that once you abandon the principle of non-contradiction, you can prove anything. And here is proof positive.
Fr Longnecker makes a similar point in his blog today: he says that if it is true that the pope’s teaching style tends toward the fuzzy wuzzy, then Pope Francis isn’t doing anybody any favors, not himself, not his papacy and not the papacy itself. This, he argues, is because what we need and what the Church has always provided, is a solid foundation:
Ordinary folks want something they can get their teeth into, and this has always been the strength of the Catholic Church. You know where you stood. Whether you liked it or not, whether you accepted it or not was beside the point. You might kick against it, but there was something to kick against. This is the value of clear and unambiguous moral and doctrinal teaching. If the theologians wanted to go all dialogical, then that was their job and more power to them, but ordinary pastors and people in the pew needed something solid. They want their church to be built on a rock, not on quicksand.
The worst problem with the pope being fuzzy in his teaching is that people will simply stop listening to him.They don’t care much about ambiguous teaching which might mean this or might mean that depending on the circumstances and intentions. 
The danger with the “new style of teaching” is that it isn’t really teaching at all, and Pope Francis may be on the way to being a lame duck pope–a smiling, genial old fellow who everyone thinks is rather nice when he hugs poor people and kisses babies, but they won’t take much notice of him otherwise.
When you really think about it, cohesive society is based on an agreed set of moral norms; behaviours we all share and agree with. What worries me the most is that Pope Francis is, knowingly or unknowingly, directly attacking the glue that binds us together as Church.


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