If you want to get my blood pressure going through the roof, all you need to do is join in with the many people who feel it is their God given duty to constantly challenge the Vatican.
Although I don’t like it, I generally do not object too much if this comes from non-Catholics. There could be a number of reasons for them doing so. It could be due to a misunderstanding of our Catholic faith or maybe just plain hostility towards Catholics. The point is that one expects attacks from outside the Church.
I am significantly less understanding and patient when it comes from Catholics. Particularly if it comes from priests, bishops, religious, or Catholic theologians. Equally appalling is when the person is someone who has been entrusted with a role, which enables him or her to influence Catholics, and yet the person chooses to join the ranks of those who constantly challenge or question the Vatican.
You don’t need to look very far to find examples of Catholics challenging the Vatican.
- The Vatican must stop its oppressive attitude towards woman and ordain woman priests
- The Vatican should change its out dated and archaic stance on contraception
- When is the Vatican going to realise that celibacy is unnatural and is the cause of paedophiles
- Does the Pope know his stanch views on liturgy, contraception and pre-marital sex are not shared by many of the youth who attended World Youth Day
- The Pope had no right to claim that the matter of the ordination of woman was dogma
- When is the Vatican going to appoint woman cardinals so that woman are equal in the Church hierarchy
- Why will the Church not permit divorce instead of forcing people to stay in a marriage with an abusive spouse
- Why does the Church continue to discriminate against homosexuals and prevent them from getting married
I could go on and on giving many examples, as I am sure so could you.
I think that we need to realise that – the Vatican, the Pope, the Holy See, the Magisterium – is not like a government or the board of a company or the president. The Vatican – or whatever term you chose to use – “does not "make up," "change," or "issue" new doctrines. It inherits them, receives them, "handed on" (from the Latin word tradiitio,) by Tradition.” The Vatican may find new ways to explain them or express them, but that is all. The Vatican’s role is to preserve and pass on the teaching of the Church.
I am sure that there are many times when the Pope or the bishops have wished that they could change certain teachings of the Church by getting together and voting on it. It really cannot be easy to defend a teaching when it is clear that the majority of Catholics are finding it difficult to understand and accept or obey. I do not envy the position that the Pope or the bishops must often find themselves in. Imagine how Pope Paul VI felt when he issued Humanae Vitae and reinforced the Church’s teaching on contraception. That must have taken such courage. I doubt I could have stood my ground. Could you?
The reality is that the Vatican simply cannot change any of the Church’s teachings. It is not in their power to do so. As an example, even if every single bishop in the world voted “yes” to permit divorce, they could not change it. They cannot change what Jesus taught them! The teaching of the Church does not belong to them. It belongs to Jesus. The role of the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, is to defend what Jesus taught them and to faithfully pass it on, from generation to generation, by teaching others what Jesus taught them.
So, to those who continue to flog this dead horse, stop it. You are not building up the Church, no matter how clever you may think you are, or how popular your views may seem to make you.
I dare you to take on the same courage of Pope Paul VI and defend the true teaching of the Church. In fact, do more than just defend it. Have the courage to, instead of expressing the obvious problems and challenges, find ways to help others to better understand and accept the true teaching of the Church.
Also, pray every day that we will always have bishops and priests in the Church who have the courage to obey Jesus, not the world.