Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Can a Catholic Dissent?

In a word, no.

Let me explain.

I use the word "Catholic" to indicate one who is in communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope.

By the Vatican I definition of Papal Infallibility, it is impossible to be in communion with the Pope without assenting to Papal Infallibility. "So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema." Pastor Aeternus. Certainly, one cannot rationally hold that Rome does not have the right to define who and who is not in communion with her.

Papal Infallibility applies only in those cases where the Pope makes a definition regarding faith or morals.

The Ordination of Women is a perfect example of this. Pope John Paul II stated explicitely that the Church has no power to confer ordination to women.
In other words, it cannot be done.
It is not a question of justice.
It is not a question of fairness.
It is a question of what is POSSIBLE.

A woman can no more become a priest than can a man give birth.
This is the Church's teaching. And, given that it has been defined both by tradition and by a Pope, it is an irreformable teaching.

One who would dissent from this is denying Papal Infallibility, and, as such, by definition, ceases to be Catholic.
This is not a case of judgment by the Church. It is a case of simple logic.

The Church does not impose excommunication for private opinion.

The situation changes, however, in the case of a woman who attempts to be ordination, or a bishop who attempts such an ordination. Such a person is no longer holding an opinion, but has publicly declared that they are no longer in communion with the Bishop of Rome. They have publicly repudiated Papal Infallibility, and have therefore publicly excommunicated themselves.
Do you see that the Church is not punishing them for dissent? The Church imposes no judgment in this case, but, in declaring them excommunicated, the Church recognizes that they have cut themselves off.

So, a Catholic cannot dissent, because
1) In dissenting, one implicitly rejects Papal Infallibility
2) In rejecting Papal Infallibility, one is no longer in Communion with Rome, and therefore
3) In dissenting, one ceases to fall under the definition of Catholic.

In short, the term Catholic Dissent is self-contradictory and meaningless.


Chris said...

I really like this post. Can I gain your permission to re-post it onto my blog - of course with proper citation and link.



Mr. Louis Pizzuti, OP said...

Of course!

Bona said...

Interesting to know.