Development, Dissent, and Infallibility, Part II

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In the first part of this two-part series on the infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium, we took an in-depth look at the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception as a “case study” of sorts. To sum things up a bit, there are three “categories of belief” in regards to Church teaching:

  1. Teachings that are divinely revealed,
  2. Teachings that are definitively proposed, and
  3. Teachings that are of the authentic ordinary Magisterium.

Recap: Infallibility and Contraception

As mentioned previously, the Church teaching on contraception falls into at least the second category if not the first. Teachings in those first two categories are recognized as infallibly taught. Jesuit Fr. John C. Ford and Germain Grisez shed more light on this in their paper “Contraception and the Infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium”:

The conditions for infallible teaching articulated by Vatican II make clear that if the Catholic teaching on contraception has been proposed infallibly, then this moral norm either is contained in divine revelation itself [the first category] or has been proposed by the teaching Church [the second category] because this was required for the magisterium to fulfil its responsibility to guard as inviolable and expound with fidelity the deposit of divine revelation.

Proof of this can be seen in the examples of papal statements over the centuries. In the last 100 years, several popes have spoken about the sinfulness of the use of artificial contraception. Pope Pius XI’s 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii (On Christian Marriage) makes the gravity of such acts very clear. Ford and Grisez summarize Pius XI’s words masterfully:

Pius XI … invokes the constancy of tradition, saying that the Christian doctrine on contraception was handed down without interruption from the very beginning. He speaks on behalf of the Catholic Church, as God’s ambassador, and thus claims to restate nothing other than the demand of God’s will, which must be accepted as a condition of salvation. (Ford & Grisez 285)

Pope Blessed Paul VI also mentions how this doctrine of the Church pertains to salvation in his encyclical Humane Vitae. Towards the end of the document, he addresses priests, reminding them that in their “sacred office” they “act as counselors and spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families …” (HV 28). Reminding priests to be compassionate towards their flock, Bl. Paul reiterates: “Now it is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ …” (HV 29). Just as Pius XI did, Bl. Paul makes clear that the teachings regarding marriage and sexuality not only pertain to our salvation but come from Christ Himself.

Unity of Christ and Church

Oftentimes, critics of the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexual morality will ask, “Where did Jesus ever prohibit and condemn contraception, homosexual acts, etc. in the Bible?” They then draw a line between Jesus and the Church. They make it seem that what the Church has pronounced throughout history is something alien to what Jesus Christ proclaimed, and therefore such teachings of the Church should be ignored.

This shows a lack of understanding regarding Christ’s relationship to the Church. What critics often forget is that the Church is Jesus’ Bride; meaning Jesus and the Church are one thing, and they cannot be separated. The reality critics must face is that the doctrine they reject is synonymous with what Jesus taught. Both forms of teaching are important, because they both come from the same divine source. The Catechism of the Catholic Church shows how intimate this relationship is between Christ and His Church:

Christ and his Church thus together make up the “whole Christ” (Christus totus). The Church is one with Christ. The saints are acutely aware of this unity:

[Pope St. Gregory the Great:] “… Our Redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.”

[St. Joan of Arc:] “About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.”

[St. Augustine:] “He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? ‘The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church.’ [cf. Ephesians 5:31-32] And the Lord Himself says in the Gospel: ‘So they are no longer two, but one flesh.’ [Matthew 19:6] They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union … as head, he calls himself the ‘bridegroom’, as body, he calls himself ‘bride.’” (CCC 795-796)

False Comparisons

Unfortunately, many people that hope for change in certain Church teachings tend to make false comparisons to changes in teachings that were never infallibly proclaimed, or to a legitimate development of doctrine. For instance, using the ordinary magisterium, St. John Paul II infallibly declared that women could never be ordained to the sacramental priesthood. Oftentimes, those in favor of women’s ordination will cite that the Church’s teaching on usury has fundamentally changed. As David J. Palm explains, however, what changed in history was the nature of financial transactions, not the teaching of the Church. The Church hasn’t changed the teaching regarding the sinfulness of usury.

The only way one can claim that a change in teaching is possible is if the Church has been wrong before on matters of faith and morals. Once it is discovered that no such change in 2,000 years has ever occurred regarding doctrine, no justification remains for changing Church teaching. Doctrine develops, as Bl. John Henry Newman points out, but the Church has never contradicted itself on matters of faith and morals. To say that intrinsically evil acts like direct abortion and contraception can be licit would not be a development at all; it would be a rupture with past teaching.

Infallibility and Intellectual Pride

As we all know though, moral codes in the Western world have drastically changed in the last 50 years or so. Therefore, many of the teachings on morality proclaimed by the Church have come into question only recently. However, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Theologian John F. Kippley expounds on this in his book Sex and the Marriage Covenant:

The teaching of the universal ordinary magisterium on morality is generally less solemn because for the most part there have been no really serious challenges. For example, up until recently no one who called himself a Catholic theologian have dared to say that Catholic teaching against sex outside of marriage was erroneous. … [Dissenting opinion] will be seen increasingly as the fruit of what appears to be an intellectual pride of the same sort that prompted [Fr. Charles Curran] in 1968 to declare the formal teaching of Humane Vitae erroneous and to lead the dissent against it. (Kippley, 116)

This “intellectual pride,” sadly, doesn’t just lead to having a problem with specific teachings, but with the Church itself. Look at Catholics for Choice (CFC) for example. They believe that the infallible teaching regarding direct abortion is wrong. They also reject the Church’s teaching on contraception. Neither of these teachings, they claim, have been declared infallible by any pope ex cathedra. What if they were though? From a 1985 article in The Christian Century:

It seems likely that the Vatican conservatives and Pope John Paul II himself are seriously out of touch with the mood of the global church on the birth-control issue, as well as on the wider question of the credibility of official church teaching authority. They do not seem to understand that a storm of dissent, and even ridicule, directed at infallibility itself would ensue from such a declaration.

Too bad for CFC that it already has been declared infallible through the ordinary Magisterium. But this selection shows that many dissenters will reject the sure teaching of the Magisterium (either ordinary or extraordinary) no matter what happens, and instead abide by their own erroneous conclusions. It should cause all of us great pain that Holy Mother Church is held in such contempt by some of her own children.

Dealing with Misgivings

So what do we do if we find ourselves (while not actively dissenting) having misgivings about a certain teaching on the Church regarding faith or morals?

We first must continue to pray. We must pray for understanding and wisdom, which are both gifts of the Holy Spirit. We can ask God to help us get past this difficulty that we are currently experiencing. We can pray along with the father of the possessed boy, “I believe [Lord]; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). We can also pray for more trust in Jesus in such a situation. If we trust in Jesus, then we must trust in His Church; we must trust that the Church will never lead us into error.

Second, we must really try to proclaim with the psalmist that we delight in and love the Lord’s commands (cf. Psalm 119:47-48). Our Lord reminds us that “They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me” (John 14:21). That extends to the Church’s commands, of which he is the Head.

Third, we must become docile to our Lord. This is something that many cannot wrap their head around. To be docile or submissive to the Church is seen as something contemptible. Instead, docility is something we Catholic Christians should strive for. A fundamental part of Christian life comes in conforming ourselves to Christ.

Epilogue: On Docility

In closing, we should reflect on the words of St. Josemaria Escrivá. It’s clear that we must accept what the Church teaches as infallible to be on par with what came from the lips of our Lord Himself. St. Josemaria helps us learn how to better receive Jesus’ teachings in our hearts and minds:

First of all docility, because it is the Holy Spirit who, with his inspirations, gives a supernatural tone to our thoughts, desires and actions. … If we are docile to the Holy Spirit, the image of Christ will be formed more and more fully in us, and we will be brought closer every day to God the Father. “For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God.”

… Our Lord has said: “Unless you become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” This is the old and well-known “way of childhood,” which is not sentimentality or lack of human maturity. It is a supernatural maturity, which makes us realize more deeply the wonders of God’s love, while leading us to acknowledge our own smallness and identify our will fully with God’s will.

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19 thoughts on “Development, Dissent, and Infallibility, Part II”

  1. Good article and effectively illustrates the prudence of our Popes in history for their sparing use of infallibility by limiting to clear basics and essentials. Had such authority be available to those in the secular sphere, it undoubtedly would have come into use many times. A side note on CFC and abortion. Since they are in opposition to the natural law of creation, they are self positioned outside moral providence, Infallibility is not a necessary citation for a condemnation of their position any more than is wanton murder. My first year theology teacher was strong supporter of Vatican I but also of its prudent use.

  2. Nicholas:

    A well thought out article. Thanks. A book written 30 years ago may be of interest to you. “The Limits of the Papacy: Authority and Autonomy in the Church” by Patrick Granfield (Crossroad, 1987).

    God bless

    1. I’m afraid you’ll have to be more specific, Captcrisis. I’ll be happy to engage more fully then. It seems different people have different meanings of “equal rights”. There are many different connotations. I can assure you, that in the fullest sense of the term, Pope Pius XI did not condemn equal rights in this encyclical; quite the contrary, actually.

      Also, keep in mind that there are three categories when declarations of the authentic Magisterium are made. Only those in the first two categories are recognized as infallibly taught.

    2. Pius condemns those who say “the rights of husband and wife are equal” (para. 74), called “the subjection of wife to husband” an eternal truth though the specifics vary with time and place (para. 26 – 28), and “there must be a certain inequality” legally (para. 76). I think we can confidently say that these teachings have been superseded.

      He also condemns mixed marriages without a special dispensation (para. 82), another teaching which has been superseded.

    3. I think context is key here. I don’t think Pius XI said anything scandalous or wrong in his document, nor was anything necessarily “superseded”, as you put it, but more on that in a minute. The language he uses to describe these things (i.e., equal rights in the sections you posted) are different from how people might talk about such things today. When you note that Pius XI condemned equal rights, what are the specific “rights” you have in mind? Voting, working, etc.?

      Regarding the quoted section of paragraph 74, he is not saying that women can’t work. What he’s talking about is the duty of the married couple. By virtue of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, couples are called to have children, and if infertile for whatever reason, to at least be open to children. Oftentimes, a successful career for women of child bearing age means putting off having children. Many Catholic women use artificial birth control to achieve this goal, and children who have already been born to this couple may be neglected if the wife pursues a career, especially if her husband is still working. This is one of the things that Pius XI warns against because it is neglecting the realization of the “noble office of a Christian woman and wife.” This thought process he condemns in paragraph 74 “debas[es]… the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood” (CC 75).

      He condemns the notion that “the woman is to be freed at her own good pleasure from the burdensome duties properly belonging to a wife as companion and mother”. He’s right on target there. In paragraph 76 he talks about how this “equality of rights” is “much exaggerated and distorted”. Of course husband and wife are equal partners, and equal in dignity. But the husband and wife, because one is male and one is female, have different roles, and thus, possess an “inequality” in certain aspects. In what sense is the wife “unequal” to the husband, or in other words, subject to him? Pius XI clarifies what he means by this in those paragraphs you mentioned, 26-28:

      “This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion…; it [this subjection] forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.” (CC 27)

      Pope St. John Paul II echoes Pius XI sentiments when he says “In creating the human race ‘male and female’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity, endowing them with the inalienable rights and responsibilities proper to the human person. . . . But clearly, all of this does not mean for women a renunciation of their femininity or an imitation of the male role.” (Familiaris Consortio)

      All that is being condemned is the notion that a woman can be equal to a man at the expense of her femininity. For example, if a woman feels she needs to sterilize herself to become equal to a man (or refrains from sexual activity altogether for an indefinite period with her husband so as to avoid motherhood and achieve her goal of “emancipation” in the work place), this is in fact a distortion of equality; it is a “great detriment” to the “body which is the family”. And of course, as you pointed out, Pius XI provides for the occasion when “social and economic conditions of the married woman [become] altered on account of the changes in social intercourse”; times obviously change, but he reminds us that despite these changes, “the essential order of the domestic society [must] remain intact” and that we “keep in view what the natural disposition and temperament of the female sex, good morality, and the welfare of the family demands.” (CC 77)

      So in my view, I don’t see anything problematic with Pius XI’s quoted words, nor do I see any contradiction with what the Church presently teaches today.

      As for paragraph 82, I’m not a canon lawyer, but I really don’t see any changes made regarding mixed marriages in the present day. First, note that not all mixed marriages are “rashly” or “heedlessly” contracted. But some are. Second, Pius XI is directly quoting Canon 1060 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Canon 1124 in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (the current edition) directly corresponds to this canon that Pius XI quoted. This canon basically says the same thing:

      “Can. 1124: Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church.”

      Canon 1125 also warns against “the danger of the falling away of the Catholic party and the perversion of the children” that the old Canon 1060 warned of, but in a more positive fashion:

      “Can. 1125 The local ordinary can grant a permission of this kind if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions have been fulfilled:

      “1/ the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;…”

      A special dispensation or “express permission” is still needed today as it was then.

    4. I read your link but I couldn’t respond to it there because the web site didn’t recognize my account.

      Pius XI says that women can’t have equal rights with men. What exactly did he mean by that? He was vague, but that’s his fault, not ours. It’s not up to us to guess. As it is, he is vague enough so that whole bunches of rights can be denied women. Remember that first century Christians were even o.k. with slavery. (Paul returning Onesimus to Philemon.)

      On the one hand, say that men and women (and slaves and owners) have “equal dignity”, etc. On the other hand, say it’s o.k. for women to be denied rights, excluded from positions of power, etc., simply because they’re women. This might not have seemed a contradiction to the ancient mind but it certainly does to the modern mind. See Slacktivist’s article from a few years ago
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/06/11/you-cant-deny-people-their-rights-and-be-nice-about-it/

      It deals with gay marriage, but it can apply to women, or to slaves.

    5. No problem.

      I still don’t see where Pope Pius XI is saying women can’t have equal rights with men. Again, context is key. Pius XI is talking about husbands and wives. I’m still not clear on what specific “bunches of rights” you’re speaking of. What “positions of power” are we speaking of here? In government? CEOs of a business? In the Church’s sacramentally ordained hierarchy? I do think that you’re missing Pius XI’s point, and I don’t think he’s vague at all. I think I thoroughly explained what he meant, and I was not guessing about it. If anything, Pius XI’s meaning is obscured because Western culture has moved in a way that makes Pius XI’s comments and viewpoint seem as if they came from another planet; the meaning is obscured by modern ideologies, not a vagueness on the part of the pope.

      I don’t see Pius XI contradicting himself at all (or contradicting the Church today, for that matter), and I also reject the idea that he (or the Church) is saying that it’s OK for women to be denied rights. Pius XI made it clear that he supports the equal rights of all humans, yet also made it clear as to what he rejects: the “false liberty and unnatural equality” which results in “the husband suffer[ing] the loss of his wife, [and] the children of their mother…” (cf. CC 75)

      THIS is the “equality of rights which is so much exaggerated and distorted” that Pius XI speaks of. I read Slacktivist’s article. I think the arguments presented in the essay are flawed, but I don’t have the time to rebut it right now. The only thing I’ll comment on is that state sanctioned same-sex marriage is not a “right”. I can’t apply that to women at this juncture because I still feel like we are not agreeing on what “rights we’re even specifically talking about right now, as I noted above pertaining to “positions of power”. But I will say this…

      If the modern mind sees something on one hand, and something else on another hand as you put forward, and that modern mind says “Hold up. There seems to be a contradiction here!”, we have to keep in mind that an APPARENT contradiction is not necessarily an ACTUAL contradiction. As I said, the “modern mind” is confused on a number of issues, i.e., state sanctioned same-sex marriages. It’s no surprise that many people have not taken the time to work through what appears to them to be a contradiction. Although St. Augustine said the following regarding Scripture, I think his words can work here as well in regards to our conversation here:

      “if any one is perplexed by the apparent contradiction, the only conclusion is that he does not understand. Accordingly it remains for me to explain how both passages, instead of being contradictory, may be harmonized by one rule of sound faith. The pious inquirer will find all perplexity removed by a careful examination.”

      Also, I do not want to get sidetracked into discussing slavery, but I want to briefly mention that a distinction between chattel slavery and other types of slavery (more like indentured servitude) needs to be made. Also, 1st century Christians like St. Paul were not endorsing or “o.k with slavery”. In Onesimus’ specific case, several scholars are of the opinion Onesimus and Philemon were half-brothers, and that, actually, St. Paul “was asking Philemon to restore Onesimus to an equal, familial status through manumission.” I’d recommend reading Chapter 22 of Trent Horn’s recent book, “Hard Sayings” for more on that specific issue.

    6. I think context is key here. I don’t think Pius XI said anything scandalous or wrong in his document, nor was anything necessarily “superseded”, as you put it, but more on that in a minute. The language he uses to describe these things (i.e., equal rights in the sections you posted) are different from how people might talk about such things today. When you note that Pius XI condemned equal rights, what are the specific “rights” you have in mind? Voting, working, etc.?

      Regarding the quoted section of paragraph 74, he is not saying that women can’t work. What he’s talking about is the duty of the married couple. By virtue of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, couples are called to have children, and if infertile for whatever reason, to at least be open to children. Oftentimes, a successful career for women of child bearing age means putting off having children. Many Catholic women use artificial birth control to achieve this goal, and children who have already been born to this couple may be neglected if the wife pursues a career, especially if her husband is still working. This is one of the things that Pius XI warns against because it is neglecting the realization of the “noble office of a Christian woman and wife.” This thought process he condemns in paragraph 74 “debas[es]… the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood” (CC 75).
      He condemns the notion that “the woman is to be freed at her own good pleasure from the burdensome duties properly belonging to a wife as companion and mother”. He’s right on target there. In paragraph 76 he talks about how this “equality of rights” is “much exaggerated and distorted”. Of course husband and wife are equal partners, and equal in dignity. But the husband and wife, because one is male and one is female, have different roles, and thus, possess an “inequality” in certain aspects. In what sense is the wife “unequal” to the husband, or in other words, subject to him? Pius XI clarifies what he means by this in those paragraphs you mentioned, 26-28:

      “This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion…; it [this subjection] forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.” (CC 27)

      Pope St. John Paul II echoes Pius XI sentiments when he says “In creating the human race ‘male and female’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity, endowing them with the inalienable rights and responsibilities proper to the human person. . . . But clearly, all of this does not mean for women a renunciation of their femininity or an imitation of the male role.” (Familiaris Consortio)

      (more to come, trying to avoid the spam filters)

    7. I think context is key here. I don’t think Pius XI said anything scandalous or wrong in his document, nor was anything necessarily “superseded”, as you put it, but more on that in a minute. The language he uses to describe these things (i.e., equal rights in the sections you posted) are different from how people might talk about such things today. When you note that Pius XI condemned equal rights, what are the specific “rights” you have in mind? Voting, working, something else?

      Regarding the quoted section of paragraph 74, he is not saying that women can’t work. What he’s talking about is the duty of the married couple. By virtue of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, couples are called to have children, and if infertile for whatever reason, to at least be open to children. Oftentimes, a successful career for women of child bearing age means putting off having children. Many Catholic women use artificial birth control to achieve this goal, and children who have already been born to this couple may be neglected if the wife pursues a career, especially if her husband is still working. This is one of the things that Pius XI warns against because it is neglecting the realization of the “noble office of a Christian woman and wife.” This thought process he condemns in paragraph 74 “debases… the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood” (paragraph 75).

      He condemns the notion that “the woman is to be freed at her own good pleasure from the burdensome duties properly belonging to a wife as companion and mother”. He’s right on target there. In paragraph 76 he talks about how this “equality of rights” is “much exaggerated and distorted”. Of course husband and wife are equal partners, and equal in dignity. But the husband and wife, because one is male and one is female, have different roles, and thus, possess an “inequality” in certain aspects. In what sense is the wife “unequal” to the husband, or in other words, subject to him? Pius XI clarifies what he means by this in those paragraphs you mentioned, 26-28:

      “This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion…; it [this subjection] forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.” (paragraph 27)

      Pope St. John Paul II echoes Pius XI sentiments when he says “In creating the human race ‘male and female’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity, endowing them with the inalienable rights and responsibilities proper to the human person. . . . But clearly, all of this does not mean for women a renunciation of their femininity or an imitation of the male role.” (Familiaris Consortio 22-23)

      more to come if this goes through the spam filter

    8. I think context is key here. I don’t think Pius XI said anything scandalous or wrong in his document, nor was anything necessarily “superseded”, as you put it, but more on that in a minute. The language he uses to describe these things (i.e., equal rights in the sections you posted) are different from how people might talk about such things today. When you note that Pius XI condemned equal rights, what are the specific “rights” you have in mind? Voting, working, something else?

      Regarding the quoted section of paragraph 74, he is not saying that women can’t work. What he’s talking about is the duty of the married couple. By virtue of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, couples are called to have children, and if infertile for whatever reason, to at least be open to children. Oftentimes, a successful career for women of child bearing age means putting off having children. Many Catholic women use artificial birth control to achieve this goal, and children who have already been born to this couple may be neglected if the wife pursues a career, especially if her husband is still working. This is one of the things that Pius XI warns against because it is neglecting the realization of the “noble office of a Christian woman and wife.” This thought process he condemns in paragraph 74 “debases… the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood” (paragraph 75).

      He condemns the notion that “the woman is to be freed at her own good pleasure from the burdensome duties properly belonging to a wife as companion and mother”. He’s right on target there. In paragraph 76 he talks about how this “equality of rights” is “much exaggerated and distorted”. Of course husband and wife are equal partners, and equal in dignity. But the husband and wife, because one is male and one is female, have different roles, and thus, possess an “inequality” in certain aspects. In what sense is the wife “unequal” to the husband, or in other words, subject to him? Pius XI clarifies what he means by this in those paragraphs you mentioned, 26-28:

      “This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; it [this subjection] forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.” (paragraph 27)

      Pope St. John Paul II echoes Pius XI sentiments when he says “In creating the human race ‘male and female’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity, endowing them with the inalienable rights and responsibilities proper to the human person. …But clearly, all of this does not mean for women a renunciation of their femininity or an imitation of the male role.” (Familiaris Consortio 22-23)

      more to come if this goes through the spam filter

  3. Many thanks, Nicholas, For one so young you demonstrate remarkable maturity. I am quite elderly but your article has been of considerable help to me as I try to manage my own frustrations with where the church seems to be headed under its current leadership. Division is everywhere. Confusion reigns. Leadership is lacking even from clerics whose duty it is to speak up for truth. Fortunately we all have access to the gospels and the catechism where truth can be found, clean and unadulterated. Sadly, it has become all too difficult to rely on the clergy. They, it seems to me, lack courage, conviction and even adherence to all aspects of the faith. A few stand out but the generality is, dare I say it, weak to the point of cowardice.

    But, as you say, we have Chist’s promise that He will never desert His Church. I cling to that but worry about how long it will be before He brings correction. The waiting is hard – but again me your excellent article has lifted my spirits. God bless.

    Robert

    1. Robert, you’re welcome. Thank you for kind words. All we can do is trust in Jesus; to whom else shall we go? It’s sad when we see so much confusion happening right now, even from the clergy, but remember that there are still a lot of great leaders among the clergy out there. Unfortunately, we tend to hear more about those that have strange opinions, and we don’t get to hear about the heroic witness of priests in everyday situations. There are a lot of such clergy and laypersons out there still.

      May you have a merry Christmas and blessed new year!

    2. Sir Nicholas1187 I’ve read some of your reply to Peter Alelio and your other comments…your such a great thinker…your Wisdom is on point and very sharp…May our Loving Father bless you more of His Light to help our Church in these darkened times mostly on the media…but the wars, violence & poverty I do think is the hardest part because no amounts of Doctrines can save our poor brethren…only a United Prayers among different faith can defeat this kind of evil…As a faithful Catholics I firmly believe the Holy Rosary is the answer for Peace…it’s a simple prayer but INTELLECTUALLY Powerful to make the Devils flee…you see demons power comes from their INTELLECT if we forced them to REMEMBER the Full Life of Jesus Christ including the Luminous Mystery they will all flee this earth…that’s why the HOLY MASS the Summit of Worship contains the Jesus WORDS “do this in REMEMBRANCE of Me” anything in form of prayer that will forced demon to remember they will flee.God bless you Sir!

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