Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What is “Pope Francis” up to? He is “decentralizing” the papacy

Pope Francis is Decentralizing the Papacy
“Surprise!! I’m Decentralizing the Papacy!”
Here are portions of a Google translation of a speech that “Pope Francis” gave at the recent “Synod on the Family”, published only in Italian. This version is taken from the Italian version of the “La Chiesa” site by Sandro Magister; Magister has carried this theme in the past.

This is the “keynote speech” of “Pope Francis” that has not yet been translated into English. Why don’t they translate it and publish it for all the world to see? One can only surmise that they don’t feel as if this will be a message that will be well-received by some. But the Google Translate version here can give you some idea of the substance of this speech, and why this theme has got “traditionalist” Roman Catholics in such an uproar:

Primacy of the pope and decentralization. The theorem of Francis. This, first of all, is Magister’s introduction:
He was quickly promoted among the great keynote speeches of this pontificate. Yet, three days later, the Vatican will still circulates only the Italian version, the one read by Francesco Saturday, October 17 at a ceremony for the fiftieth anniversary of the Synod of Bishops.

Here are the main steps. The point that most intersects with the ongoing discussions in the Synod on the family is the question of "decentralization", that is, entrusting to the national Bishops Conferences "discernment of all the problems that lie ahead in their territories."

For example the German bishops, but not only, have a concept very breadth of that autonomy, which already put into practice giving communion to remarried divorce without waiting for the conclusions of the synod.

This comports with something that I’ve written about in the past: “Pope Francis” is actually seeking to “dismantle the papacy”. No actual “doctrinal change” is envisioned, but rather, “decentralization” of the papacy. Magister has written on the “decentralization” theme in the past:



[...] From the beginning of my ministry as Bishop of Rome I intended to enhance the Synod, [the concept of local bishops meeting together and discussing their own localized situations] which is one of the most precious legacy of the last session of the Council. For Blessed Paul VI, the Synod of Bishops was to revive the image of the Ecumenical Council and reflect the spirit and the method. The same Pontiff in particular that the synodal organism "over time can be improved upon." [...]

[JB note: Equivocation here. Consider what “improvements” were envisioned at that time, compared to the “improvements” that are being envisioned now?]

We must continue on this path. [...] What the Lord asks us, in a sense, everything is already contained in the word "synod". Walking together - Laity, Pastors, Bishop of Rome - is an easy concept to put into words, but not so easy to put into practice. [...]


The "sensus fidei" impossible to separate between strictly "Ecclesia docens" [Church as teacher]and "Ecclesia discens" [Church as “learning”], since even the Flock has an "instinct" to discern the new ways that the Lord reveals to the Church. It was this conviction that guided me when I hoped that God's people were consulted in the preparation of the double appointment synod on the family. [...]

The synodal process starts listening to the people, who "also participates in the prophetic office of Christ," according to a principle dear to the Church of the first millennium: "Quod omnes Tangit ab omnibus tractari debet". [“all are to be treated by all the touches”]


The path of the Synod continues listening to the pastors. Through the Synod Fathers, the bishops act as true stewards, interpreters and witnesses of the faith of the whole Church, which must be able to carefully distinguish flows often changing public opinion. [...]


Finally, the synodal process culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, called upon to pronounce as "pastor and teacher of all Christians": it starts with his personal beliefs, but as the supreme witness of "totius fides Ecclesiae", "guarantor of 'obedience and conformity to the will of the Church of God, the Gospel of Christ and the Church's Tradition ".

The fact that the Synod always act "cum Petro et sub Petro" – [With Peter and under Peter]therefore not only "cum Petro," but also "sub Petro" - not a restriction of freedom, but a guarantee of unity. [...]


Jesus founded the Church by placing at its head the Apostolic College, in which the apostle Peter is the "rock", one who is to "confirm" his brothers in faith. But in this church, as in an inverted pyramid, the summit is located below the base. For those who exercise this authority they are called "ministers" because, according to the original meaning of the word, are the least of all. [...]


In a Church Synod, the Synod of Bishops is only the most obvious manifestation of a dynamism of communion that inspires all the ecclesial decisions.

The first level of exercise of collegiality is realized in the particular Churches. [...] The Council of Priests, the College of Consultors, the Chapter of Canons and the Pastoral Council: only to the extent that these organizations are connected with the "low" and depart from the people, from everyday problems, can begin to take shape a Church Synod: these instruments, which sometimes proceed with fatigue, must be treated as an opportunity for listening and sharing.


The second level is that of Ecclesiastical Provinces and Regions, the Councils Details and especially of the Episcopal Conferences. [...] In a Church Synod, as I said, "it is not appropriate for the Pope to replace the local Episcopates in the discernment of all the problems that lie ahead in their territories. In this sense, I feel the need to proceed in a healthy decentralization ".


The last level is that of the universal Church. Here the Synod of Bishops, representing the Catholic episcopate, it becomes an expression of episcopal collegiality within a whole Church Synod. [...]

Synodality Papacy AND ecumenism

The commitment to build a Church synod - the mission to which we are called, each in the role that the Lord entrusted to him - is fraught with ecumenical implications. [...]

I am convinced that, in a Church synod, also the exercise of the Petrine primacy will receive greater light. The Pope is not, by itself, above the Church; but inside it as Christened Baptized between and within the College of Bishops as Bishop of Bishops, called at the same time - as the Successor of Peter - to lead the Church of Rome which presides in all the churches.

While I reiterate the need and urgency to think of "a conversion of the papacy," willingly repeat the words of my predecessor Pope John Paul II: "As Bishop of Rome [...] I listen to the demand made of me to find a form of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation. " [...]

The conservative (“loyal opposition”) site Rorate Caeli has commented here, and I think it’s worth considering:

If ever [note that this has not actually happened; it is a fear] a measure of doctrinal authority were to be devolved to the bishops' conferences, then Rome would be faced with a never-ending battle to regulate, limit or claim back that authority. The damage to the papacy's authority and the chaos that would spread throughout the universal Church are too terrible to contemplate. If we were talking here of local Churches deeply rooted in Tradition and jealous in guarding their ancient theological, liturgical and canonical heritage then there would be much less disquiet (even though the idea of doctrinal "devolution" would still be thoroughly unacceptable from a traditional Catholic point of view). Unfortunately, a genuine sense of Tradition has largely disappeared in our Church, and any "devolution" of "doctrinal authority" will most certainly result in numerous hierarchies hastening all the more to be guided by the spirit of the world.

As I’ve said previously, they can’t dismantle it enough for my liking.

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