May the Laity be Critical of it's Pastor, Bishop, Pope, Church?

EWTN’s Fr. John Trigilio gives us some very common sense guidance on the subject:
[INDENT]…On matters of faith and morals, the official teaching of the Church as elucidated by the Magisterium requires that we ACCEPT. We are to give an ASSENT of Faith to all defined dogmas. Rejecting any dogma is DISSENT and it is a serious offense and grave sin. Revelation is the disclosure of supernatural truths by God to man and which are necessary for our salvation. Unlike Science which learns empirical truth by observation and philosophy which discovers rational truth by deductive and inductive reasoning, theology on the other hand, knows religious truth by divine revelation. “From God’s lips to our ears” so to speak.

…We can DISAGREE on non doctrinal issues, however. The prudential judgments of Popes, Bishops, Priests are not infallible. However, disagreement is not synonymous with DISOBEDIENCE. I disagreed occasionally with my dad but his authority was still valid and in force. My assent or lack thereof has no bearing on the veracity of the issue at hand. My compliance was demanded as my father had authority over me and my brothers. Likewise, as a pastor, some of my decisions and policies were not always met with unanimous agreement but my prudential judgment, though fallible, was still authoritative and I had to consider the common good of the entire parish and not just my own or a few others preferences. Bishops often make prudential judgments their priests, deacons, religious and laity disagree about but must obey and respect since he is the lawful shepherd. I do not have to agree nor like every rule I follow, but as long as it is not a sinful or immoral command, I must comply. Only pride can tempt me to make my will the only one I respect.
[/INDENT]I would suggest that, particularly in today’s environment of health care reform, immigration reform, same sex marriage, abortion, and so on, that we all bear his guidance in mind. His entire piece is well worth reading (and that’s why I put it in the Catholic News section, as many of the disputes seem to be here. Moderator: if you believe that it would be more appropriate in another section of the bulletin board, please move it vice deleting it. Thanks).

The matters of Faith and Morals that all Catholics are REQUIRED to believe is contained in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” revised in accordance with the official Latin text promulgated by Pope John Paul II, and first printed in the US in March of 2000.

Read it in its entirety, without taking anything out of context.

As Cardinal John O’Connor once said - “The Catholic Church is not a salad bar. You can not pick an choose what you want to believe”.

I agree with what has been said, though there is a huge difference between doctrinal disagreement----for example, if I were to say—which I would never do—that same-sex marraige is a good thing—that would be a gross error on my part. However much pastors should be respected for their role, if they shirk their duties (-for example, if a pastor refuses to speak out against same-sex marraige or abortion on the ground that it is wrong to say anything that might upset someone), then they are open to criticism. Further, I think such criticism might be good for them. One reason that, as a group, priests are such poor preachers (according to Archbishop Dolan in “Priests for the Third Millenium”, 90% of American Catholics rate the homilies they hear in their home parish as poor) is that no one ever lets them know how bad a job they (as a group) are doing.

In a private charitable way anyone who sees part of the Mass missing,
or some other matter of faith and morals misconstrued as defined in - the “Catechism of the CC, Second Edition” must talk to their Priest so the error can be corrected.
If it continues, talk to your Bishop.

This is the link for the approved Mass starting soon (2011). All Parishes should have copy of this DVD.
Send the USCCB link to your Parish Priest to make sure he has seen this.

Any 2011 Missals provided by your Parish will need to include the changes.

May the Pope always be right, but I will alyways support him to the fullest no matter what, he is my Pope, right or wrong!

“He is my Pope, right or wrong” is certainly true. The Pope is the Pope. But nothing in Catholic theology holds (or requires the faithful to hold) that the Pope is always right. He might name Bishop X to a post and later realize that Bishop X isn’t the man for the job after all. This wouldn’t be error in a matter of teaching faith and morals but in prudential judgment. Indeed, it would be a heresy to hold that the Pope cannot sin or cannot err in any way.

Yes, I believe that the laity should speak up. The tone of the disagreement must be watched. I believe that being mindful of tone is something that works (or should work) both ways. Some church leaders seem to have forgotten that with authority also comes responsibility.

We as a society have some huge problems to solve, the types of problems that need fact based analysis, and level headed development of solutions. Slurs and name calling are generally not considered part of the problem solver’s tool kit.

I respect the office of Bishop and I have great respect for some of the men serving as Bishops. But the church does not require that I adopt the political outlook of my Bishop therefore by definition there will be disagreement.

The above posting is absolutely correct.
Bishops need to keep their own political beliefs that have nothing to do with teachings of the Magersterium to themselves because they cause confusion amongst some Catholics as well as non-Catholics. Enemies of the Church will use confusion and differences as divide and conquer.

Father Larry Richards says that if you speak ill of a priest, you go to hell because the priest stands in the persona of Christ.

thread title does not match discussion topic
title does not address dissent on doctrine or disobedience to disciplines of the Church, or even disagreement with pastoral decisons of one’s pastor or bishop. The title implies public criticism, recrimination, accusations, character attacks and the like, and no a lay Catholic may not engage in such discussions. It is perfectly acceptable to voice disagreement with a policy or decision made by a pastor or bishop, it is not okay to criticize the person of pastor, bishop or pope.

Lets not forget Alexander VI, I think many were critical of him at the time, and justified.

May I ask you sincerely what of Priests then who commit mortal sin and one area is well documented in the public arena? Grace we must have to all who fall in sin, but I know many people speak ill of Priests out of pain and anger, surely they are not condemed for a very natural reaction to gross abuse? Second point surely noone can stand in the persona of Christ? Represent maybe. Regards to seek.

I do not know who Fr. Richards is but I do know that he does not speak infallibly on matters of faith, which such a declaration certainly is.

He is, of course, entitled to his opinion but he does not speak for the Church in this statement.

He never claimed to be infallible but I assure you that if you listen to him speak, you will walk away in tears. He came to our parish retreat a few years ago and there wasn’t a dry eye in the entire place on all three days. Each day more and more people came. By the last day, it was standing room only with people even standing outside of the doors of the Church trying to hear his sermon (it wasn’t during a mass so it rightfully can not be considered a homily).

Some of his talks are available for download or you can order them on CD, DVD, VHS, etc.; for a small fee. I would recommend “What More Could He Do For You?” … listening to it with an open mind and an open heart will change your life.

I can’t answer your questions but according to the Pieta prayer book (you can buy your own copy HERE) the following are Our Lord’s revelations to Mutter Vogel …
*]“One should NEVER attack a priest, even when he’s in error, rather one should pray and do penance that I’ll grant him My grace again. He alone fully represents Me, even when he doesn’t live after My example!” (page 29, Mutter Vogel’s Worldwide Love, St. Grignion Publishing House, Altoting, South Germany (29.6, 1929)

*]“When a Priest falls we should extend him a helping hand through prayer and not through attacks! I, Myself will be his judge, no one but I! Whoever voices judgment over a priest has voiced it over me; child, never let a Priest be attacked, take up his defense.” (Feast of Christ the King, 1937)

*]"Child, Never judge your confessor, rather pray much for him and offer every Thursday, through the hands of My Blessed Mother, Holy Communion (for him) (18.6, 1939)

*]“Never accept an out-of-the-way word about a Priest, and speak no unkind word (about them) even if it were true! Every Priest is My Vicar and My heart will be sickened and insulted because of it! If you hear a judgment (against a Priest) pray a Hail Mary.” (28.6, 1939)

*]If you see a Priest who celebrates the Holy Mass unworthily, tell it to God! He stands by Him on the altar!

Define ‘critical’.
If we use Father Pfleger in Chicago for an example, we see a very polarizing public figure. I have spoken to Catholics (in person, not on CAF) who have some words to describe him I will not repeat here.
I too have many problems with Father Pfleger, nevertheless he has recieved the Sacrament of Holy Orders and that requires my respect. Just as Paul did not speak ill of the High Priest in the Temple, we are to behave by that same requirement.
Any criticism we have must have that foundation.

Father Pfleger is one of the HARDEST examples to apply this to and yet, we have this message from Christ“Never accept an out-of-the-way word about a Priest, and speak no unkind word (about them) even if it were true! Every Priest is My Vicar and My heart will be sickened and insulted because of it!

Of course its hard. If it were easy we could all do it. :wink:

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