Daily Archives: November 16, 2011

Wolves, Sheep and Bloggers

The Archbishop of Westminster was enjoying his winter holiday

Every now and then, some good blog appears to be shut down, or at least to be frozen for some time.

This time – and believe me, this is a loss – it happens to Ttony’s Muniment Room. It is not so bad, because the blog’s author says that he is “sure he shall be back eventually”. But it is very bad, because the motives for the blog freezing pose in my eyes questions to which – if you ask me – the wrong answer is given.

Let us examine the argument, because the issue is one that impinges every Catholic blogger without exception.

Imagine a fleet of ships commanded by an Admiral who says all the ships under his authority have to tie fast to a particular rocky isle. Imagine that many do, but you gradually realise that on yours, the Captain, the senior officers, and those of the crew who deal with the officers have decided that rather than tie fast they will remain close to the rocky isle, but not tied to it. They will give all the appearance of being obedient to the Admiral except in the most fundamental of obediences.

The Admiral gave the order because he, better than anyone, is in a position to see just how rough the sea is, but the Captain, Officers and senior rates on our ship reckon that they know better, especially about the place where they are and think that their own ways of dealing with what might come will be perfectly adequate.

Most of the crew will remain oblivious about what’s going on, but a few are aware not just of the Admiral’s orders but of the senior officers’ agreement to ignore them.

What should they do? Mutiny? If not, what should they do? Acquiesce? In which case what should they answer when at some point in the future the Admiral, or his leader, asks why they disobeyed?

The author’s conclusion is that he should stop blogging because, be the officer wrong as they may, mutiny is never justified.

I allow myself to disagree.

My argument is, I believe, well presented by a poster who continues the nautical metaphor. I report his answer in its entirety:

Blogging or not blogging, you are still on the boat, the rocks are still nearby, your friends are still in danger.

St Thomas Aquinas says that truth is found in resistance to a contradiction – so here’s a contradiction for you to resist…

A Bishop knocks on your door and demands to have sex with your young daughter. Are you obliged to be ‘obedient’ to his request? No? That’s because you know he has no authority to demand such a thing. “the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head” (Lumen Gentium)

Next he knocks on your neighbours door and your neighbour thinks he has to do everything a Bishop says… do you help your neighbour by stepping in and telling him not to obey the Bishop on this point?

Would that be leading crewmen against their officers? or would it be protecting your brother against abuse of authority?

The sex example is extreme, but it makes it clear that saying no to Bishops is sometimes an option. Telling other Catholics that they are allowed, indeed sometimes compelled to say no to Bishops is sometimes an option. It is sometimes a duty.

Aquinas says… “There being an imminent danger for the Faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects.” (Summa Theologica)

Bingo, says I.

Whilst the example is extreme, it is perfectly adequate to explain the situation. Either the bishops are wrong, or they aren’t. If they aren’t, then one must recognise that they are right and act accordingly. If they are, then one must recognise that they are wrong, and act accordingly.

The day I die, I prefer to be asked why I decided a mutiny against a very bad captain, than why I decided to shut up and give a hand to send the ship to – almost – shipwreck.

God knows, seldom has the Church had so many bad bishops. In past times of corruption and licence, their failings were still private; but in these disgraceful post-V II, still Bugnini-laden times, the “bad bishop problem” is the insisted, publicly proclaimed, shamelessly pursued sabotage of everything that is sacred and soundly Catholic.

More or less willingly – I’d say: always willingly, though probably with a varying degree of malice – these bishops are enemies of the Truth, and enemies of the Church whose work they willingly and publicly sabotage. On whose side will we be, the Church’s or the Bishops’?

I do hope that Ttony will see the validity of the argument, and will soon be blogging again. One can be more or less controversial, or decide to soften his tones a bit after all; but to stop altogether, isn’t it a bit extreme? The matter as I see it is that Truth can’t be compromised for the sake of obedience to error, and to those who propagate and protect it. Where a bishop’s obedience to the Church ends, there ends my obedience to said bishop. Wolves will not have my support because they are clothed as sheep; and be their clothes so purple, or even red.

The Bishop’s good sheep; but God’s first.


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