Pope Francis? I Don't Trust Him!


While the title words are true of me, they were actually spoken to me a few years ago by the father of a family.

The difference is the principles we use as a guide for our actions.

At that time we had already agreed to abide by Catholic principles (see further reading section below), but his distrust of Pope Francis and by extension the SSPX leadership was too great an obstacle to overcome.  Shortly after he spoke these words he stopped seeking the Sacraments from the SSPX.

In later forum discussions, I reached the conclusion that to make obedience contingent upon trust in the leader is actually an manifestation of liberalism.

So here's an attempt at tying it all together ...

Key Principles and Definitions

  1. The Ends don't justify the means or better put as : Catholics don't sin in order to obtain an end. 
    1. No matter what we are trying to achieve, if we have to sin in order obtain something, even the salvation of the world, then it isn't worth it.
  2. Obedience
    1. I've written a few series on this one (see list at end of post)... the gist of St.Thomas's instruction in the summas is summarized in figure 1.
    2. Following St. Thomas, Obedience is based upon elements that are objective:
      1. Order of a legitimate superior,
      2. that is within the sphere of the superior's authority,
      3. that does not require sin.
    3. To disobey an order that meets the criteria for obedience is sinful.
  3.  What is a liberalism? 
    1. Liberalism is manifested in a number of ways, but at its root is the denial of authority and its ability to bind the individuals morally.
    2. Despite the condemnation of Liberalism by pontiffs (see Mirari Vos by Pope Gregory XVI 1832), modern society is steeped in it and it has manifested itself within the Catholic Church over the past 100+ years in a couple of ways (Modernism, Second Vatican Council, Ecumenism, etc).
    3. "A fundamental principle of Liberalism is the proposition: "It is contrary to the natural, innate, and inalienable right and liberty and dignity of man, to subject himself to an authority, the root, rule, measure, and sanction of which is not in himself". This principle implies the denial of all true authority; for authority necessarily presupposes a power outside and above man to bind him morally. ( Catholic Encyclopedia )"
  4. Trust is subjective
    1.  I think 'subjective' is best defined along side 'objective'.  Here's a couple definitions from the 'business dictionary' that suit:
      1. Subjective refers to personal perspectives, feelings, or opinions entering the decision making process.
      2. Objective refers to the elimination of subjective perspectives and a process that is purely based on hard facts.
    2. Trust is a personal perspective on the confidence that we can place in another person.
      1. Trust: "Reliance on someone. One has confidence in people as persons, trusts them to be faithful to their commitments, and hopes to obtain from them what they promise. ..." Catholic Culture: Trust
  5. Trust and Obedience 
    1. If an individual decides that he does not trust his superior and they hold that trust higher than the objective elements of the command, they risk disobeying a legitimate command.
    2. This makes the objective criteria of obedience subservient to the subjective confidence (trust) held in the superior.
Figure 1: Obedience Summary Matrix

Tying it all together

In summary:
  1. Liberalism effectively denies an authority's power to issue morally binding commands.
  2. Catholic teaching is that a superior has the authority to bind subjects morally when the criteria for obedience are present.
  3. Liberalism is the antithesis of Catholic Obedience.
Because trust is the subjective confidence held by a person, making their obedience to superioes subservient to this confidence is a manifestation of liberalism.

Perhaps I could phrase this more convincingly ... but it will do for now.


Further Reading:
Series - Breaking Down St. Thomas' Teaching on Obedience
Series - True Obedience
Series - Obedience
LifeSiteNews:  How Liberal Catholics are slowly destroying Catholicism in America
Catholic Encyclopedia: Liberalism

Steady Principles for Unsteady Times - Concerning interpreting Archbishop Lefebvre's Writings, Conferences, Interviews etc
Catholic Dogmas, Doctrines and Principles - What are they good for? 
Catholic Dogmas, Doctrines and Principles - Expanded


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