Recently there has been some discussion about disrespect towards the Pope in other threads.
I’m seeking to clarify where us Catholics stand on the Pope. I already know about Papal infallibility and doctrine in particular, which we are obliged to believe full-stop, end-of-story.
What about when the Holy Father expresses his views, say in an interview? My understanding had been we were free to (respectfully disagree - obviously things have happened during history that were far from ideal…
If we are bound to respect the Pope and believe every word he says, where does that leave us in regards to valid dissent and growth in our faith?
I’ve been attending a catechism class taught by a rather traditional friar for the last couple of months and this came up this week. He said that if the Pope expresses an opinion (e.g. in an airplane interview) you can ignore it, you don’t even have to listen to it, and yes you can disagree with it.
You are allowed to disagree with the private opinions of the Bishop of Rome, such as might be expressed in an interview or a talk. This should be done in humility, not just because he is the Pope, but because he’s a man who has prevailed through experiences and trials - decades of dictatorships and censorship and dangers - that few people on Earth have been through.
So, you should always have the caveat of, “Is there something here that I am missing that is making me disagree.” This is something that ought to be practiced in general. Our upbringing can be both a help and an obstacle in making judgments.
Exactly. I’m always so baffled by those who scramble to assert their “right” to disagree with the pope, while never seeming to consider the possibility that they may be wrong themselves. We can get so attached to our own subjective concepts and interpretations. When the pope says something that contradicts our understanding, that should be a major red flag that there is likely something wrong with our understanding. Not the other way around.
We hear from people who minimize the teaching role of the pope. Some deny any authority, except in the Extraordinary Magisterium. Others admit the Ordinary Magisterium but say, this only applies to very narrow categories of Faith and Morals; essentially, never in their view (except if the pope happens to agree with them, in which case he’s infallible. For that day only.)
The reality is that the pope is a pastor. He has access to all the earlier papal teachings. He also has access to information, trends, within the Church and the world that are not yet common knowledge. He deserves the benefit of the doubt, even on his “opinions”. It would be imprudent to ignore him.
It helps to sort out where, exactly, we got ****our ****opinions from. People, including me, tend to think certain things are based in Catholic dogma that are not. How does your opinion stack up against the Catechism? Is your understanding of Catholic belief actually based on doctrinal formation, or is it a recollection of the opinion of someone in the Church, perhaps given years ago in response to a different pastoral situation?
I think some of the problem is, for example, how he was talking about rigidity of youth who would rather attend the Tridentine Mass. Well after reading the whole thing it was only a part of what he was saying when he was a bishop of Argentina many years ago. But some of the press and websites chose to take that out of context. I’m still puzzled by that remark though because at least the Mass we attend sometimes sure doesn’t have many teenagers attending it. I wonder though at one time the SSPX in the 70s were having Mases at homes etc. partly in retaliation to liturgical abuses in the new Mass. Perhaps that’s what he was referring to.