Browsing through my Disqus backlog today, I noticed that a comment of mine on an article by William Oddie which appeared some six months ago in the Catholic Herald had been removed. After reviewing both the article and my comment, I can't quite put my finger on why it was removed - though I note that several of the comments to that article have since been banished to the digital version of Gehenna. I would perhaps word things somewhat differently today - mind you, this was just after the conclusion of the 2014 Synod, and I was apparently feeling rather spry that day - but I still stand behind the conclusion, particularly in light of David Gibson's interview with Cardinal Kasper which appeared yesterday at Crux. Therefore, I republish the comment here in full, as I think it is as appropriate now as it was six months ago.
This is a very charitable attempt to save face for the Pope, but I, for one, am not buying it anymore.
Pope Francis was, by most level-headed and well-formed accounts, squarely behind the Kasper proposal. Have we all forgotten that Pope Francis, after being warned by loyal and faithful Cardinals that Kasper's published works contain heresy, later laughed it up to Cardinal Kasper himself, saying, "This enters one ear and goes out the other"? That Kasper was personally invited by the Pope to deliver the opening address at the Extraordinary Consistory? That he praised Kasper's proposal as "doing theology on one's knees?" Is anyone still so willfully ignorant as to not see the intent behind the Pope's homilies on this "God of Surprises" with which he alone appears able to communicate? Pope Francis, himself a former professor of theology, knows full well that the proposal is heretical: according to the Canons of Trent, even voicing the opinion that a person living in sin could receive Holy Communion should result in excommunication.
If anyone considers Pope Francis' final address to the 2014 Synod Fathers as an "emphatic defense" of Church teaching, he understands neither Church teaching nor Pope Francis' address. It was based, as is becoming a hallmark of Francis' papacy, on a false dichotomy which gives the appearance of standing over and above two extremes while serving to usher in a "moderate compromise". To speak of a split in the Church between "conservatives" and "liberals" is already itself scandalous, and was denounced as such by Pope Benedict XV in 1914. The division here is not between two political or even ideological extremes; it is between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, between the Catholic Faith and heresy. Anything less than perfect, radical orthodoxy is unacceptable for the Bride of Christ.
And please, spare me the question, "Since when is it orthodox to criticize the Pope?" We have a long and colorful history of condemning error in all its shades and forms - even and especially when it hangs like a thick fog over the one occupying the Chair of St. Peter. Pick up a book on the history of the Catholic Church and browse the 9th-12th centuries, for a start.
With that being said, I have no worries regarding the future of the Catholic Church. It's God's Church, and He will do with it as He sees fit. Of course, we should redouble our prayers for the Pope and the Cardinals. But the time has come to stop pulling pious wool over our own eyes and face the fact that the arch-heresy of Modernism is more alive now than it was when Pope St. Pius X condemned it a century ago.