Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, compares current state of Catholicism to a boat on the verge of capsizing

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’re aware that the Catholic church currently has a bit of a crisis on its hands. For centuries, the church taught that members who divorced and remarried without having their first marriage annulled, were living in an open state of adultery and were barred from receiving communion. That wasn’t a big problem seventy-five-years ago when relatively few people divorced, but these days fifty-percent of Catholic marriages end in divorce just like secular society. Many remarried Catholics who were barred from communion dropped out rather than face the humiliation of being treated like second-class citizens in a church where receiving communion is of paramount importance.

Pope Francis and some other prelates of the church recognized the debilitating effect the doctrine of no communion for remarrieds was having on church membership and cleverly reinterpreted the doctrine in last year’s “Amoris Laetitia” encyclical. A footnote in chapter eight of the document “seemed” to grant pastor priests the ability to judge whether divorced and remarried individuals are able to receive communion on a case-by-case basis.

Lines were quickly drawn. Traditionalists insisted the doctrine of no communion for remarrieds was taught by all previous popes as infallible dogma and could never be reinterpreted while liberals celebrated the new teaching. Four conservative cardinals petitioned the pope for a clarification on “Amoris Laetitia” with five “dubia” or questions of concern but no answer has been forthcoming from Francis. The cardinals asked for clarification a second time and, once again, no reply.

One of the “dubia” cardinals, Joachim Meisner, died on July 5th. Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, sent a message that was read at Meisner’s funeral mass, which stated that he honored his deceased friend’s ability to “live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.” See the article below.

This thinly-veiled statement from Benedict XVI is sweet music to the ears of traditionalists, who see Francis’s relaxation of the doctrine of no communion for remarrieds as heresy. Schism is a very real possibility as a result of this controversy. Stay tuned.

For evangelicals, Catholic teaching is unbiblical on so many counts, most importantly, regarding justification. Bible Christians proclaim the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone while Catholicism teaches salvation by sacramental grace and merit. While I’m obviously not personally affected by political squabbles within Catholicism, it’s very interesting to me to see how a teaching that was always held to be unchangeable by previous infallible popes has been pragmatically sidestepped by the current pope. Catholics who boast about the infallible leadership of their church’s magisterium in all matters of faith and morals are having a difficult time trying to honestly explain this current controversy.


Pope Benedict XVI says Church is ‘on the verge of capsizing’
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-benedict-church-is-on-the-verge-of-capsizing

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8 thoughts on “Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, compares current state of Catholicism to a boat on the verge of capsizing

    1. The great irony connected to this controversy is Catholic apologists often boast about having an infallible authority to interpret Scripture and yet Francis has abrogated a doctrine of previous popes.

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  1. It’s not hard to honestly explain what’s happening. Pope Francis is not changing an infallible teaching, he is trying to open the door to changing a practice. Now this does have implications for doctrinal teaching, for sure. But notice that he is not simply changing the doctrine to suit the practice that he wants to implement. He is not changing the teaching that says “one cannot received Communion in a state of mortal sin” to “one can receive Communion in a state of mortal sin.” What he’s doing is trying to fudge it, to make the square peg fit into the round hole.

    The dubia were crafted to shine a light on the doctrinal implications of the Pope’s initiative. In response to this, the Pope could simply have said, “Fine! Then I’ll change the doctrine!” The fact that he doesn’t, indicates that he recognizes its validity and its unchangeableness. And this is why we have the standoff that we are witnessing: He wants to change a practice, but that conflicts with a doctrine, and he knows he can’t change the doctrine, yet he refuses to back down from trying to change the practice.

    I admit that the Pope is being weasely in this situation. But no one ever claimed that popes were immune from being weasels, any more than evangelical pastors are.

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    1. RE: I admit that the Pope is being weasely in this situation. But no one ever claimed that popes were immune from being weasels, any more than evangelical pastors are.

      Yeah, but please refer me to one, single evangelical pastor who claims to be infallible on all issues regarding faith and morals?

      Well, obviously practice must be in agreement with doctrine, otherwise why have the doctrine? I believe I stated in my post that Francis recognizes he can’t change an infallible doctrine, so he has stepped around it with his footnote. The four dubia cardinals and other conservatives rightly cry foul.

      What you’ve written pretty much echoes my post. What you’re not addressing honestly is how can an infallible pope reverse the infallible teaching, dealing directly with faith and morals, of previous infallible popes?

      Can you please refer me to an evangelical pastor who claims to be infallible in all matters of faith and morals?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You write, “What you’re not addressing honestly is how can an infallible pope reverse the infallible teaching, dealing directly with faith and morals, of previous infallible popes?”

    It would be nice if we could avoid the ad hominem issue of whether I’m being honest, and stick to the issue at hand, which after all concerns the Pope, not me.

    An infallible pope cannot reverse an infallible teaching. And that’s why he’s not doing so, as you admitted when you said “Francis recognizes he can’t change an infallible doctrine”.

    I cannot name an evangelical pastor who claims to be infallible. Can you name a Pope who claims to be immune from acting weasely?

    I assumed it was clear, but maybe it’s not: Weasely-ness is not a violation of infallibility. The doctrine of infallibility says that the Pope won’t formally teach false doctrine when claiming to speak ex cathedra. The doctrine of infallibility does not even arise in this situation since the Pope has not issued any ex cathedra doctrinal definitions.

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    1. You object to my observation that you’re not addressing the issue honestly and then proceed to once again use the same dishonest Catholic sophistry.

      Catholicism boasts that it’s guided by an infallible magisterium in regards to all matters of faith and morals. But Catholics are very vague about this infallibility claim. Exactly which papal declarations are infallible? Catholic theologians disagree except for the the teachings on infallibility (naturally), the immaculate conception, and the assumption. Why all the mystery? Perhaps to hedge some bets as in this “Amoris” issue? Catholics claim that the Holy Spirit will forever guard the pope from guiding the church into error on issues of faith and morals. Does this issue of communion for divorced involve the faith beliefs of the church? Obviously it does. Has Francis abrogated the teaching of previous popes on this issue? He certainly has otherwise the four dubia cardinals and the millions they represent would not be protesting. Is Francis leading the Catholic church into error as Caffarra, Burke, Brandmuller, and Meisner warn? Francis is certainly leading the church into error in comparison to the teachings of previous popes by allowing divorced remarrieds to receive communion.

      What’s to argue?

      While you try to convey an unfazed attitude of “no big deal,” the dubia cardinals and conservative Catholic sources are quite a bit more than bewildered.

      Thanks for your comments. I pray someday you forsake your religious chains and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. .

      Liked by 1 person

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