A major part in this crisis of authority and magisterium is the language which is prevalent today. Before the ‘pastoral’ era, the Church councils and Canon Law used a juridical and definitive style, which was precise and concise...
Pastor's Corner: 2nd Sunday after Easter
Easter Vigil is traditionally the time when prospective converts are received into the Church.
This is done by making the profession of the faith, and for those who had been baptized in some Protestant sect, receiving conditional baptism and confession. At baptism, they receive a Christian name and are given also a godfather or godmother who is to insure their perseverance, as for any Catholic infant.
In our days, this process can turn into an obstacle course if the convert wants to become a traditional Catholic and be baptized in a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X. One such convert asked his friend to be his godfather, as he had been instrumental in his conversion. However, the friend let him know that his parish priest had declined the authorization because he was joining a group "not in full communion with the pope." So he went to another close friend whose parish priest judged that there was no such stigma on the SSPX.
For peace of mind, the same convert decided to inquire the status of the church in which he was going to integrate. He went to the chancery office of his diocese, and the vicar general reassured him: you may certainly attend their functions, their Masses. Their sacraments of confession and confirmation are certainly valid… He then had the idea to check with the neighboring diocesan chancery. There the vicar general gave him another sound of music: you may not go there as you would not be fulfilling your Sunday Obligation since they are not "in full communion."
And so, the faithful today who are expecting black and white answers to vital questions touching on the faith, morals and Church discipline are left in the dark.
Here we make some further brief observations on this matter:
- Yesterday (before the confusion of the crisis, that is), you were either a member of the Mystical Body of Christ or not. Today, hardly anything is clear because now, some people are somewhat in communion, (like arch-heretics and schismatics), while others (because they reject the errors of Vatican II) are deemed "not in full communion."
- In the past, wherever you went, the Church authorities were dictating the same ‘diagnosis’ to their patients and the same ‘prescription’. But today, it’s pick-and-choose, and it’s becoming like the personal temple of Pastor X as opposed to that of Pastor Y. The Church leaders are having their authority diminished because they have nothing clear to back up their decisions, and therefore there is a cacophony of speech and teaching.
- A major part in this crisis of authority and magisterium is the language which is prevalent today. Before the ‘pastoral’ era, the Church councils and Canon Law used a juridical and definitive style, which was precise and concise—going to the essence of things. This allowed one to speak clearly and objectively in apologetic terms concerning the qualities of certain persons and doctrines. Some people were called "heretics" (no matter how good was their external behavior) and others were called "Catholics" (no matter how bad they lived their lives).
- Such language allowed the affirmation of one thing and the condemnation of the other. Now, the modern language—empathetic, descriptive, novel-like—is most unfit for the magisterium. Hence, the lack of clarity and drawing-of-lines within discourse because it is no longer allowed (or, nice) to condemn anyone. If such an approach was used in the courts of justice, it would be the end of justice, judgment and of organized society.
This verbal sickness is symptomatic of the malaise which has struck at the heart of the Church today, and thus why there are contradictory tendencies struggling to lead the Roman Church.