Wednesday, May 9, 2018

"A Regal Papacy" by John Chuchman

From its deathbed,
the Roman Catholic papacy was resurrected by 
Pope Pius IX,
Pope from 1844-1876
who created a new way of being Pope.

In contrast
to his predecessors,
who maintained an outward focus,
his attention
was myopically inward,
centered on increasing his papal power
within the Church.

the Roman Pontiff
claimed full and supreme power
over the whole church,
not only in matters of faith and morals,
but also the discipline and government of the church
dispersed throughout the whole world;
He claimed the absolute fullness of supreme power,
and not by consent of members of the Church.
(Vatican I)

Since the middle ages,
and even today,
the papacy and the curia
have been profoundly afraid
of any form of theological or practical challenges
to its authority
from local churches.

So Pius IX distorted
the traditional theological balance
between the head of the Church
and it's members,
turning Catholicism
into an extraordinarily centralized institution
with no precedence in Christian history.

The uneducated pope 
repudiated the modern world
turning the Church into
an inward-looking claustrophobic institution.

It was a remarkable achievement
totally distorting the notion of church,
affecting the Roman Catholic Institution
even to this day.

After the reign of Leo XIII,
Pius X
focused power in the Church
as never before,
completely out of synchronicity
with tradition.

Under him,
Vatican I bore fruit
with the absolute fullness of supreme power 
becoming reality
with two distinct classes of Catholics,
Pastors and the docile flock,
setting up a separation
between Church and the world,
toxic for believers.

Benedict XV,
then promulgated a code of canon law
which enormously enhanced
Church over-centralization
emphasizing the juridical and legal aspects
of Church,
inflating church teaching
while identifying all errors as heresy.

He shifted emphasis
in Church practice
from ministerial
to legal.

Pope Pius XI
introduced the feast 
of Christ the King in 1925
claiming the rule of Christ
over the world
through the authority of the Church,
despite Jesus telling all
My Kingdom is Not of this world.

In response to Fascist persecution of Jews
Pius XI named anti-Semitism repulsive
saying spiritually, Catholics are Semites.

But his encyclical
confronting the evils of Nazism,
unpublished at his death,
was relegated to the secret archives
by his successor,
Eugenio Pacelli,
Pius XII,
in 1939.

Caught up
in the miasma
of institutional Roman theology
Pius XII’s blindness 
to Hitler’s atrocities
was based on a belief that his mission,
entrusted to him by God,
was the preservation of Institutional Catholic Church,
with nothing,
not even the death of millions,
standing in the way.

Pius XII
viewed Communism as the real enemy,
while finding a way to live with fascism.
He also imbibed
a long tradition of Christian 

For the last decade of his life,
Pius XII
pontificated on everything,
believing he represented God on earth.

With his death in 1958,
there was a palpable sense of relief
within Catholicism.

In the 1950’s
the Vatican devolved
into the hands of a self-serving clique
of career Cardinals
for whom immobilismo
was an art form.

Then came John XXIII in 1958,
the antithesis of Pius XII,
among others.

He performed the most important act
of any Pope
in the last 200 years,
Vatican II,
a council of the church,
ultimately controlled,
not by the Curia,
but by the Bishops of the world.

Tremendous expectations
were built up by the Council
that a renewed Church
would result.
Many people
were prepared to commit energy
to bring it about
but with Paul VI 
as John’s successor,
People became disappointed and alienated
with many Catholics and competent priests
leaving in frustration.

Everything was sacrificed
with Paul’s publication of 
Humane Vitae
banning birth control
just to preserve
Papal Power,
a sign of Papal

Upon Paul VI’s death,
a laughing, smiling, warm,
Albino Luciano,
completely unconnected to the Curia
and seen as another John XXIII,
was elected
to a reign of only 33 days
as Pope John Paul.

Some say
his plan to reverse Humane Vitae,
clean up the Vatican Bank,
and fire a crowd of Curia Cronies
did him in,
shortening his papacy
and his life.

No postmortem was ever performed.

Taking it as an omen
that Church needed
a non-italian Pope,
was elected,
a pole who would take absolute power
to its limits
in order to resurrect pre-conciliar Catholicism.

believed God had called him to be Pope
to save the Church from itself,
with him as its messiah,

John Paul II,
a shrewd politician
saw himself
as an alter-Christus
in the literal sense.

With this most-traveled Pope,
the papacy
left the curia to be run
by Cardinal Ratzinger
who was instrumental
in helping John Paul appoint numerous
weak, conformist, obedient bishops,
while doing little or nothing
about clerical sex abuse.

John Paul II
had no tolerance
for dissent of any sort,
with many brilliant theologians

This was indeed
a papacy
that had achieved
the fullness of power
to the max.

Euro-Centered scholar Ratzinger’s reign
as Benedict XVI
was characterized
by reform (undoing) of the reform (Vatican II)
a further silencing of dissidents,
a curia without control,
and his ultimate resignation.

Can/Will Francis, a Jesuit from Argentina
depose the papal monarchy,
200 years in the making?

Francis has recovered Catholicism’s
pastoral tradition,
forgotten by Pope's for centuries,
but his biggest challenge
is the mediocrity of the Bishops
appointed over the last forty years,
men with no leadership ability
or emotional intelligence.

Many Bishops
are fearful,
constantly looking over their shoulders
to Rome,
appointed basically because
they are yes men.

It will take a long time to replace them,
from a gene pool that is shallow.

And he has not yet begun to address
the absence of women
in Church leadership, ministry, and decision making,
a key to the Roman Catholic Church’s survival.

Source: Absolute Power by Paul Collins

Love, John
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