“Priest-bloggers who think they know better than the Magisterium…” That’s a phrase that I’ve heard recently – multiple times in fact – both as an accusation and a threat. There are many ecclesiastics in far-flung places for whom I’m not any kind of favorite. I feel a rant about to happen. My keyboard is eager to get the job done.
Firstly, let’s define our terms:
- Priest: This is a guy whose been ordained into the very priesthood of Jesus so as to recite in Persona Christi Jesus’ wedding vows to His Bride the Church: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, my blood poured out for you in sacrifice, and then to provide the sacraments which issue from this sacrifice, instructing and leading the Lord’s Little Flock to the Lamb of God. It’s all about Jesus, or should be, for any priest.
- Blogger: This is a guy who writes at least occasionally on the internet. For me, somewhere on the autism spectrum, weirdly, I think best in sorting out the details of whatever difficulty through a keyboard. For the broad picture, I think best in slumber and in prayer… and in pacing to and fro in the upper stacks, those dark caves of library of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, whether in Rome or Jerusalem, or in the lowest reaches (truly caves) of the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem (down the steps, then again, and again, where lightbulbs hanging on wires are long dead). But the details? Definitely through a keyboard for people to see and smack me down.
- Priest-bloggers: I hate the “hyphenated” priest thing, you know, priest-anthropologist, priest-psychologist, priest-marxist, priest-sociologist, priest-liturgist, priest-theologian, priest-synodologist, or even any priest-exorcist, priest-gardener, priest-dog-owner, priest-HALO-jumper, priest-gun-slinger[!], priest-whatever… A priest is a priest is a priest. Any hyphenation is an insult to Christ’s priesthood. So, this priest-blogger thing is an insult right off the bat.
- Who think they know better than: Yes, well, that would be silly, wouldn’t it, if anyone were ever to communicate if they didn’t think they could add something to the conversation? But priests have a vocation and mandate to speak and teach and instruct in such manner that what they have to offer is to get their own little selves out of the way so that the Truth of Christ Jesus might shine through. I remember in the seminary I was told that I wasn’t allowed to believe anything that the Church teaches except by having this filtered through “theologians” who know the conditions of the world. The intent of that was that I was to accept that what the Church really wants is contraception, abortion, and women priests. I, um… rejected that. So, can a priest-blogger, or whatever, “speak prophetically” as they themselves say, you know, with parrhesia? Let’s see:
- “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.” But Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:28-29). Yep.
- “When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face, because he stood to be condemned” (Galatians 2:11). Yep.
- Magisterium: This word means “Teaching Authority.”
- Infallible interventions of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church have the authority of Christ that those interventions will not fail in representing correctly in some way some article of faith already present in some way in Divine Revelation.
- The ordinary Magisterium of the Church is often up for dispute as to whether any teaching is infallible. But there are various statements, say, in Paul VI’s encyclical letter Humanae vitae which belong to the deposit of faith in such manner that we call them infallible, expressing quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est… expressing that which everywhere, always by everyone is believed, is entirely consonant with Sacred Revelation and the Natural Law, and may well be expressed explicitly in Sacred Revelation.
- “Someone-did-something”-Magisterium”: Let’s add this other term that people use interchangeably with “Magisterium”. Sorry for citing Ilhan Omar about September 11, 2001. I couldn’t resist.
- That someone who did something could be anyone from some desk jockey on his first day in some office in the Holy See who gives an impromptu interview, or the Pope himself on a plane ride or while making jokes in the Paul VI Audience Hall or while publishing some exhortation to dialog like Amoris laetitia or a motu proprio like Traditionis custodes… and then everything in-between, none of which is infallible, such as the opinion piece of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that “vaccines” are to be voluntary, you know, like, kind of, or most of the time (meaning any forced “vaccine” is fine and dandy if you can think of an excuse to impose it, regardless of science and justice, regardless of tolerating even murder of the innocent). None of this has any great authority.
We are obliged in conscience to use also our God-given conscience formed by natural law, by Sacred Revelation and the rare interventions of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church such as the canons of the Council of Trent. We are obliged in conscience, in view of that, also to consider whether some monstrous commentary contravening everything by which our consciences are to be formed is just plain wrong and likely malicious and a sin to follow. For my part, as a priest who tries his best sentire cum ecclesia, indeed, to believe wholeheartedly and with great enthusiasm and joy quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est, I pray that I would never ever contradict or obfuscate or insult religion or the Church. Let’s see:
- Canon 1369: “A person who in a public show or speech, in published writing, or in other uses of the instruments of social communication utters blasphemy, gravely injures good morals, expresses insults, or excites hatred or contempt against religion or the Church is to be punished with a just penalty.”
This legislation has been used unjustly against many a priest who, instead, is given to correcting blasphemers, reprimanding those who gravely injure good morals, responds aptly to those expressing insults (as did Jesus and John the Baptist and all the prophets and saints), and rightly tamps down hatred or contempt against religion or the Church. Sometimes a priest must correct those “officials” working in the Holy See, those whom some call the Magisterium, because they, in fact, stand condemned, are misleading the Lord’s Little Flock, scandalizing a multitude of souls, and are simply the most immoral monsters you might every meet in this sorry world. Should we multiply examples? And these people are “the Magisterium”? Those who insist that anything and everything including sin that goes on the Holy See is all good because it’s, like, the ♬ Magisterium ♬, stand rightly condemned by, ironically, Canon 1369, and they should receive a just penalty whether they be priest or (arch)bishop. I’ve always held, in jest, kind-of, that a just penalty is burning at the stake.
Perhaps this is my difficulty: I’ve been in Rome waaaay toooo looong, and know that not all in the Holy See are good angels, nor are they the best students of the Angelic Doctor. I’m not impressed that “someone did something” in the Holy See. It has to be put to the test of quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est, you know, all that which is condemned by Pope Francis under the rubric of entrenched rigidity that he says proclaims “We’ve always done it this way” as if that were also an accusation and a threat. Pope Francis, in article one of Traditionis custodes, rejects Lex orandi, Jesus’ Sacrifice in the Ancient Rite, and thus rejects that Sacrifice in any rite, and also rejects entirely the Lex credendi issuing from that Sacrifice. Yes, well, we, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church have always prayed with the Sacrifice of the Mass and we’ve always believed the same way. The Sacrifice doesn’t change, the the believing doesn’t change. Yep. That’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it is now. That’s the way it always will be. And I do know better than the magisterium of Pope Francis.
The accusation is usually: “You’re divisory!” Yes, well, exactly. I’m with Him who came with a sword of division, separating the good from the evil, the sheep from the goats, those wanting to go to hell from those in Jesus’ Little Flock who want to go to heaven and don’t need the harassment of those wanting to go to hell. Division? It’s merely confirmed by Jesus’ sword of Truth, but is put to that sword by the offenders-against-Truth themselves. In their lust to be men of consensus they are happy to smack down those who are with Jesus instead of siding with those men of consensus. “Peace! Peace! All is unity!” the false prophets say. Are we to be ministers of unity and peace? Sure, but only through the sword of division and the violence by which heaven is stormed, the mercy of proclaiming the Living Truth of the Son of God… come what may. Just try sticking to the truth with charity and you’ll immediately see how violent things can get against you. The “men of consensus” are all cowards.
- “By what authority do you do such things, Father George? You’re nothing! Nobody! We don’t have to listen to you! You’re not the Magisterium! You’re just a priest-blogger!”
The answer has been on the About page of this blog the whole time:
- “Views are my own. The motive is to discern a just mercy. This is as difficult as looking on Him whom we have all pierced through, men of race and tribe and tongue and people and nation (see Apocalypse). Any “authority” on the part of this priest is merely proportionate to the degree with which reasoning is reflective of natural law and divine revelation. Parrhesia involves speaking the truth for the common good even at risk to oneself. Be joyful. This same disclaimer applies to my priesthood and my place in the hierarchical church. Anything written on this blog has nothing to do with representing the priesthood in general, or this parish, or this diocese, or this Bishop’s Conference, or the Holy See. Get it? It’s just my personal opinion. I hope that’s clear.”
So! Great! Let’s bring up some examples with which it is clear that I think I “know better than the Magisterium.” This is too easy:
- Pope Francis blessing and adoring and causing the Abomination of Desolation to be enthroned on the Holy of Holies, the Altar of Jesus’ Sacrifice, on 27 October 2019: the pachamama demon idol to whom people are sacrificed. That’s really evil in the “magisterium” of Pope Francis. If ecclesiastics indiscriminately hold up the Magisterium, let them praise the demon-idol pachamama. I do know better than that execration. I do “know better than the magisterium” of Pope Francis. Yep.
- The motu proprio Traditionis custodes of Pope Francis is an evil law, and therefore, as the Common Doctor says, is not a law at all, and is not to be obeyed or disobeyed; it is to be ignored as it is simply nothing at all. It is evil since it has it that Jesus is to be thrown out of His own parochial churches simply because it is the Ancient Rite of Mass that is used. Traditionis custodes is evil since it says that the Ancient Rite of Mass is invalid as the Law of Praying – Lex orandi – meaning that Jesus’ Sacrifice in the Mass is not valid any longer, meaning that it is not a source of the Law of Believing – Lex credendi, that is, quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est. Pope Francis lays the ground work with this heresy and insult to Christ Jesus for free-for-all anti-doctrine and anti-morality of the everyone-is-infallible Synod on Synodality. Here’s the deal: I do “know better than the magisterium” of Pope Francis. Yep.
Examples could be multiplied ad nauseam, truly to the point of vomiting. There are web-sites which specialize in such lists, which just to scroll through the items – scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll – is so horrible that for the sake of the elect the time of this persecution of the faith by the ecclesiastical powers that be is to be shortened, thanks be to God.
Seriously, does any priest or (arch)bishop back up the ♬ Magisterium ♬ of Pope Francis, or that magisterium of opinions of office workers in the Holy See, from the guy on probation to the Pope? Really?
5 responses to ““Priest-bloggers who think they know better than the Magisterium…” (as if that were an accusation and threat)”
Thank you again, true Father , for your timely essay. I sure wish Pope Francis would read this and his plea would be “Lord that I may see”. AMDG Mildred O lord keep me firm in perseverance.
Praying for you dear Father George David Byers! (and that is not said in the same way as we southerners say “Well, bless your heart”) I pray that you continue to be a voice crying out in the wilderness without getting your head chopped off. But somehow I don’t think you’d even mind that. I pray that you are able to continue to give flowers to the Immaculate, as that is the sweetest. And am grateful that you always encourage us to “Arise, let us be going”. ok, here’s the zinger: calm down, but don’t stand down.
You are a light in the darkness, not hidden under a bushel. The truth in this plot of lies. If you were to be hyphenated, it would be “Fr. George Byers-awakener” I look forward to reading your blog everyday, old rusty Catholic that I am. Thank you, God bless you and the Fr. Altmans of the world.
Your bravery is neither unnoticed nor unappreciated, God bless and keep you, Father. PS Rant away!!
Thank you Father for what you write in your blog. You have been a great help to me and I think to many others, in clarifying some things.