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Why Pope Francis Will Not Change the Catholic ChurchEdgar Davie Special to Salem-News.com
Alliances of Catholic activists are attempting to convince Pope Francis that four Papal doctrines are unjust in light of new understandings, and should be changed. Vatican apologists believe that to change would require historical evidence that Papal Infallibility was an ancient error.
(NEW YORK) - The election of Pope Francis has been welcomed with excitement and hope by faithful Catholics, both liberal and conservative, who seek change in our troubled Church.
This first Pope from the Americas is from Argentina, a humble man who identifies himself with the downtrodden, he proudly says “My people are poor and I am one of them”, a different view than would be expected from the Vatican hierarchy, bringing about hope for positive change among Catholics.
Since the scandal of sexually abusive priests, committed Catholic activists associations have unsuccessfully sought reinstatement of Sacramental Matrimony for priests, and today many also seek Ordination of women to positions of leadership (priesthood) they occupied in the beginning of Christianity, and permission to practice contraception as it was permitted during the life of Jesus and the apostles.
Additionally, progressive Catholic activists associations within the Church support gay marriage and are encouraged by Pope Francis' egalitarian comments such as, "Who am I to judge a gay person?...We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods."
Unfortunately, unknown to this alliance of devout Catholic groups there can be no change in infallible papal doctrines - and they will ultimately be disappointed - to change a papal doctrine would reveal it was not originally infallible, and therefore popes are not infallible if an infallible papal doctrine can be changed. The history and origin of papal infallibility is not fully understood by Catholics or even most priests.
In early Catholic centuries confrontation often arose between bishop - all of whom were autonomous - when the Bishop of Rome had no authority over other bishops.
Today Vatican Law defines the infallible Papal Monarch as one who "Possesses full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church" with "Supernatural assistance of the Holy Ghost." Such dogmatic statements must be accepted as the "Word of God." Contested since the beginning of Christianity, in 1870 Vatican Council I imposed papal infallibility over objection of the Cardinals, defining the Pope as the only human Graced by God to speak infallibly for God on matters of faith and morals.
Ultimately, this Law of Papal Infallibility must be understood by Catholics if they are to understand why desired modern changes will not be achieved. A brief explanation of little known historical events that changed Catholicism may assist our Catholic laity and our priests.
CELIBACY: As explained in Dr. Ludwig Ott's authorative 'Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma': "The Pope is Infallible when he speaks ex cathedra" [From the infallible chair of St. Peter], thereby granting the papacy sole authority to "bind or loose" human sin, on earth and in heaven, as did St. Peter. The infallible doctrines discussed above were defined by our popes.
It is universally acknowledged by Vatican apologists that, should any infallible papal doctrine alter in any way a teaching of Christ, as transmitted by the apostles (Deposit of Faith), the concept of papal infallibility would be disproved. Unknown by Catholics this has already happened.
Today Catholic Theologians agree no law of celibacy existed in the Deposit of Faith when Jesus permitted marriage for all Christians; but today the Sacrament of Matrimony would be denied to St. Peter because he was married. The Christian world changed after 70 when Rome devastated Palestine and destroyed the Great Jewish Temple, forever ending Jewish-Christian Temple worship.
Forced into the pagan (Gentile) dominated Roman Empire, dramatic change occurred. Having separated from Judaism, the Church accepted Gentile converts who historically demeaned Judaism for accepting only one God.
Within fifty years Gentile-Christian Bishops introduced foreign beliefs condemning Judaism as anti-Christian for rejecting Christ. With these converts came their life long belief in Plato's ascetic philosophy, that priests who engaged in marital sex were incapable of mediating between God and man.
During this period, before the New Testament was known to exist, Gnostic-Christian Scripture appeared, asserting the apostles chose to abandon marital sex in order to imitate Jesus. This is known to be historically untrue, no apostle abandoned his wife and, until the fourth century most priests remained married fathers who produced children.
Change occurred again in 389 when Pope Siricius I abandoned his wife in order to become pope. Concerned with the success of competing pagan priests, all of whom were ascetic celibates believed to be semi-divine, Siricius issued an Infallible Papal Directa Decretal, ex cathedra from the Chair of Peter.
Declaring himself the heir of St. Peter's infallible authority Siricius forbade priestly sex with their wives; this new doctrine nullified Christ's teaching of marriage and forbade marriage for future priests, under threat of expulsion.
This papal doctrine was based solely on apocryphal documents composed by Gentile-Christian Bishops: 1) The Didascalia Apostolorum of 230, two centuries after Christ, and 2) The Apostolic Constitutions of 380. In later centuries Vatican apologists deny mandatory celibacy is an Infallible Papal Doctrine that changed a teaching of Christ. This denial is viewed by reformist historians as a Vatican cloak similar to the international sex abuse scandal; celibacy is described by Vatican apologists as merely a freely chosen apostolic discipline. This infallible papal doctrine is understood by historians as the cause of today's sex scandals.
WOMEN PRIESTS: The term "Priest", as it is defined by the Church today, did not exist until centuries after Christ; first alleged in the fifth century it was formally introduced during the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. Earlier, during the life of the apostles, and until the middle of the second century, women served as Church Overseers as did men. In the New Testament St. Paul identifies Church leaders as episkopoi (Termed Overseer, and later Bishop) and diakonoi (Deacon, the first Church office before becoming a presbyter, later termed priest). Women were explicitly identified among the Deacons.
In the Epistles of Timothy and Titus we find Bishops (episkopos) and women Deacons awaiting elevation to presbyter. As late as 111 in the second century women Deacons were parish Overseers who became prominent Christian leaders. But once again, ascetic beliefs of Gentile-Christian Bishops in the second and third centuries introduced a strident misogyny identifying women with Eve - the instigator of Original Sin.
In 230 Tertullian, the "Father of Latin Theology" wrote of women, "Do you not know that you are Eve? The judgment of God pronounced on your sex lives on in this age. You are the gateway to the Devil, You desecrated that fatal tree, you first betrayed the law of God...you deserved death and it was the Son of God who had to die." Women thereafter were considered a threat to priestly chastity.
In the 230 Didascalia document women were not permitted to approach the Altar or Baptize their children; in c.397 St. Ambrose of Rome wrote, "Remember, God took a rib out of Adam's body, not a part of his soul, to make her. She was not made in the image of God, like man...The Ministerial Office must be kept pure and unspoiled and must not be defiled by coitus." In response to the Anglican Church's ordination of women in 1994, Pope John Paul II sensed a challenge of papal infallibility and issued the Infallible Doctrine, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
The Pope stated: "She [Church] holds that it is not admissible to Ordain women to the priesthood...Christ chose his Apostles only from men...I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly Ordination on women and that Judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."
Today the Vatican teaches that Ordination of women is a "Grave sin comparable to child sex abuse."
BIRTH CONTROL: During the life of Jesus and His apostles both Jews and Christians married and produce children, and surprising to modern Catholics, Jews and Christians were permitted to use contraception in some cases, a permission Jesus did not change.
Rabbi Meir Baal Haneis, who lived amicably among the first Christian-Jews, composed the Jewish Mishnah, a commentary on Jewish Law. Rabbi Meir identifies at least three reasons allowing women to insert a vinegar soaked sponge as an IUD. This belief too was changed with the arrival of Gentile-Christian Bishops and their ascetic beliefs.
Knowing they could not ban Christian marriage, they declared sexual acts between husband and wife must be strictly limited to acts specifically intended to procreate. Sex during pregnancy was declared a sin. Conjugal love was a sin. Bishop St. Clement of Alexandria taught: "If a man marries to have children he ought not to have a sexual desire for his wife...he ought to produce children by a reverent, disciplined act."
St. Jerome wrote: "He who is too ardent a lover of his own wife is an adulterer." This ascetic taboo of sex prevailed in Christianity until 1930 when the Anglican church declared contraception "a matter of conscience". Reacting to the Anglican's theological challenge Pope Pius XI immediately issued an Infallible Doctrine, Casti Connubii, condemning all contraception as mortal sin. But, in 1968 when contraception became a national issue Pope Paul VI wished to permit contraception without threatening Papal Infallibility. However, Vatican advisors objected: "If it be declared that contraception is not sin in itself, then we should have to concede frankly that the Holy Spirit [Infallibility] had been on the side of the Protestant Churches in 1930."
The pope then issued another infallible papal doctrine, Humanae Vitae, condemning contraception in all cases.
GAY MARRIAGE: There is no Infallible Dogma prohibiting Gay marriage in Catholicism. There are only three Infallible Dogmas on the subject.
There is no mention of Divorce or Gays or Gay Marriage contained in Infallible Catholic Dogma. Therefore it is not impossible that Gay Marriage and Divorce could be approved.
SUMMARY: Papal Infallibility of today is the creation of an unchallengeable Medieval power and authority that controlled all Christian thought, even of sovereign kings; consequently, should the Infallible Papal Dogmas discussed above be revealed to have changed a teaching of Christ, Papal authority would cease to exist.
It is beneath intellectual discussion to suggest these papal doctrines did not alter teachings of Christ, and it is for this reason that desired changes sought by Vatican Council II failed.
The term "pope" is an ancient and venerable title for religious leaders, but until it is re-defined as a bishop equal to other bishops, and elected by other bishops, who in turn are elected by their Diocese, only then will reform come, regardless of Pope Francis' empathy for disenfranchised Catholics.
Edgar Davie graduated with Bachelor of Engineering degree Vanderbilt University 1958. He served as 2Lt, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1958-60, and studied law at Nashville School of Law 1962-63. Davie married in 1964 and is the father of seven children, all of whom graduated from Catholic schools. He attends St. Ann Catholic Church in Nashville and served as Committee Chairman for VOTF, Nashville, TN, 2002.
Edgar Davie is a Catholic layman who, since 1980, has studied comparative theology, the foundations of Christianity and Catholicism, as well as the composition, dates and sources of the New Testament. He has written one self-published book: "Before the Bible: Beliefs and Practices of the First Christians." The initial copies of his new book were presented first to his bishop and to his priest.
Mr. Davie graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.E. in Civil Engineering. He studied law and has been both a private businessman and the Director of a nationally affiliated professional trade and marketing association. He retired in 1994 to pursue his lifelong desire to become a professional portrait artist. www.portraitsbyEdgar.com http://illicitcelibacy.com Why have these ancient changes not been known about for centuries? For those interested link to "Letter to Catholic Theologians": http://tinyurl.com/l9m52ru
For more information see: "Why SAINT PETER Could Not Become a Catholic Priest Today"http://tinyurl.com/pck8hhh
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