Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pope Francis: Without me there is no Church

There is a lot said about the ecumenical accomplishments the Latin Church has made with the Orthodox Church. On many fronts, I will agree. But, on some things, there still exists a division in ecclesiology that is too far for Orthodoxy to leap. See the below from Rorate Caeli taking a selection from an address he gave to the plenary assembly of the International Union of Superiors General. We cannot affirm that, for the Church to exist, that it be subject to the Magisterium nor that the Petrine office exists solely in the Bishop of Rome. One might say, "In context, he is speaking to Catholics about their understanding of what the Church is. This doesn't mean an end to schism would require obeisance to these ideas or these people (The Magisterium)." I would disagree because little that has come out of Rome has countermanded this understanding of Church and the way the Roman Church operates today shows no such deference to conciliarity. What say you?

(VIS) - “The men and women of the Church who are careerists and social climbers, who 'use' people, the Church, their brothers and sisters—whom they should be serving—as a springboard for their own personal interests and ambitions … are doing great harm to the Church.” This is what Pope Francis asserted in his address to the participants in the plenary assembly of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) whom he received in audience this morning. ...

“Your vocation is a fundamental charism for the Church's journey and it isn't possible that a consecrated woman or man might 'feel' themselves not to be with the Church. A 'feeling' with the Church that has generated us in Baptism; a 'feeling' with the Church that finds its filial expression in fidelity to the Magisterium, in communion with the Bishops and the Successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, a visible sign of that unity,” the pontiff added, citing Paul VI: “It is an absurd dichotomy to think of living with Jesus but without the Church, of following Jesus outside of the Church, of loving Jesus without loving the Church. Feel the responsibility that you have of caring for the formation of your Institutes in sound Church doctrine, in love of the Church, and in an ecclesial spirit.”


  1. I attended a lecture by Rev. Professor Rene Camilleri recently, and he seemed most heartened by Pope Francis's humility and belief in Collegiality. Of course it all depends on how you define it as such.

    Fr. Rene's take was that in the post-conciliar world, the lay people are at the front, in a sense, leading. The progressive definition given by Mellissa Wilde in her 2005 paper How Culture Mattered at Vatican II: Collegiality Trumps Authority in the Council’s Social Movement Organizations was that Papal authority could be equated with the Bishops speaking as one. The (Catholic) Conservatives seem to disagree with this definition but then, they seem to disagree with much.

  2. The papal Catholic Church has always been a Church of the vertical and horizontal. The pope has always been the instrument of unity. The bishop has always presented the authority of the universal Church locally. The expression of these component parts of the earthly manifestation of the Body of Christ have always responded to historical pressures, just as it has been so in Orthodoxy. I would not be too quick to condemn Pope Francis if he exercises his role as unifier. We've all seen his humble deference. Let us not expect him to be less than both the serpent and the dove. We all are put into the position of choosing one or the other in life, each depending upon our station, but the principles remain. We lead or we defer depending on our capacities and the need.