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Love For The Pope

by Matt Abbott

There are some well-intentioned orthodox Catholics who have been accusing the Holy See of not acting swiftly enough in cracking down on neo-modernist dissenters: priests, theologians, religious, even bishops. And, more specifically, the accusation has been made that “traditionalist” clergy and laity have been unfairly persecuted while the neo-modernists have been given a virtual free pass.

Such was the case with the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and such is the case with Fr. Nicholas Gruner, they claim.

But does a double standard truly exist in this regard, or is just a figment of the collective disaffected’s imagination?

As James Likoudis and Kenneth D. Whitehead so aptly say in their excellent book, The Pope, the Council, and the Mass:

“…We should be clear in our minds that the authorities of the Church have the responsibility for deciding when and how they will exercise the disciplinary authority they have from Christ. It is not for the laity to ‘demand’ action, but to give the legitimate Church authorities time and leeway to try to restore order in today’s truly exceptional situation…”(p. 180).

Of course, this statement doesn’t fly with the terminally disaffected, whose arrogance and cynicism abounds. (I must confess that I, too, am guilty of pride and cynicism, depending on my mood; but I am trying to keep that in check.) Such a mentality is never conducive to the virtue of obedience – a virtue that is sorely lacking in this day and age.

As Dom Hubert van Zeller says in his book, Glimpses: “…Nothing reveals the cloven hoof more clearly than bitterness, irreverence, cynicism. It is easier for the heretic to recant than for the cynic to renounce his bitterness….Heresy and schism may begin with faulty judgment but it is disobedience which gets them in the end…”

And seeing that certain “traditionalists” like to use the words of Pope St. Pius X against the actions of the current pontiff, I would like to point out the following allocution of Pope St. Pius X (which can be found on p. 147 of the aforementioned Likoudis and Whitehead book), delivered in 1912, regarding authentic love for the Pope:

“…when we love the Pope, we do not dispute whether he commands or requires a thing, or seek to know where the strict obligation of obedience lies, or in what matter we must obey; when we love the Pope we do not say that he has not yet spoken clearly – as if he were required to speak his will in every man’s ear, and to utter it not only by word of mouth but in letters and public documents as well. Nor do we cast doubt on his orders, alleging the pretext which comes easily to the man who does not want to obey, that it is not the Pope who is commanding, but some one in his entourage. We do not limit the field in which he can and ought to exercise his authority; we do not oppose to the Pope’s authority that of other persons – no matter how learned – who differ from the Pope. For whatever may be their learning, they are not holy, for where there is holiness there cannot be disagreement with the Pope.”

Need one say more?


Catholic Online  IL, US
Matt Abbott - N/A, 773 769-6416




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