THE CHAIR




The Gospel from last night’s Mass illustrates the always present tension between the infallible teachings of the Holy Spirit and the fallible men to whom that teaching is instructed. In St Mark’s Gospel, Jesus warned the people: ‘The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things therefore they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works do ye not. For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them. And all their works they do for to be seen of men; for they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes. And they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues, and salutations in the marketplace, and to be called by men Rabbi.” Jesus clearly sets forth the principle that even though the man may be corrupt, the authority of the teaching given to him is not. Of course, the chair of Moses is now the Chair of St Peter, the Holy See, the Vicar of Christ–the Pope. The man who is the Pope is a fallible and weak human being who may even be corrupt. But the infallible teachings given to him and to the Magesterium (the fulfillment of the Chief Priest and the Sanhedrin) are to be observed and obeyed by the Church. Thus is the delicate balance put in place by our Lord. There have been times past when the Pope has proven to be the enemy of the Church–an anti-Pope. It is the duty of the faithful to obey the infallible teachings of the Church, to pray for the Pope and the Bishops, and to remain united with Christ in the Sacraments of the Church. Pope Benedict XVI alluded to this tension when he stated in his audience today that it is impossible to say ‘Jesus Christ, but not the Church’. That is the slogan for one particular dissident Catholic organization in America, which is advocating the ordination of women. I think the Pope’s remarks are a warning shot across the bow of the ship, so to speak, in which the dissenter are rowing. We need to be very careful when we present our concerns about the abuses we see in the Catholic hierarchy. Our allegiance to the Chair of Peter ought never to waver. God the Holy Spirit will make the necessary corrections, and the truth must always be spoken in charity and filial terms. Exhort your elders as fathers. The often contentious sparring between the Vatican and the dissidents, and the Vatican with Traditionalists, can cause scandal to the faithful, as well as cast aspersion on the Body of Christ. The Pope can indeed err in word and deed, and as such we are morally obligated to pray for him. Those of us who are yearning for the restoration of the SSPX need to keep this in mind. Sometimes the rhetoric which flows out of the SSPX appears disrespectful. On the other hand, the Lord reminds the leaders who occupy the Chair that their conduct must be above reproach. Pride and hypocrisy is strongly condemned. We must, as devout Catholics, always arm ourselves with prayer, and esteem the office of the Vicar of Christ.

About sheila0405

Moved out of theism into atheism on January 1, 2016.
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