Catholics today who say the Council of Trent gives us the only true Catholic teachings are similar to the Jews who insisted converts to Christianity needed to follow Judaic restrictions.

Thursday, 10/11/14

The First Reading has Paul asking, “O stupid Galatians, who has bewitched you?”

The answer to that question was that the Galatians were being bewitched by Jewish Christians who were telling the Galatians that to be Christian they must also keep the Law of Judaism. They could only eat Kosher. That went against the clear decision on the matter made by the Apostles at the Council of Jerusalem, as we saw it recorded in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

Those Jewish Christians who were following up after Paul, imposing Kosher, are referred to as Judaizers. They were sincere people whose upbringing had them convinced that keeping Kosher was the only way of pleasing God. To them Paul was an upstart and a traitor.

The Church’s election of a South American Pope is bringing similar turmoil for  believers whose upbringing had identified Catholicism with things European.

Similar to the way the Judaizers in Paul’s time could not separate their Catholic faith from its Judaic roots, so some Catholics today with European roots cannot separate their Catholicism from the Council of Trent.

(Let me interrupt this with a story from forty years ago. Using a Vatican II approach, I had been giving convert instructions to a German lady who was marrying a Catholic G.I. When we had completed seven of the ten lessons in our course, I was appointed to take over a parish a hundred miles down in the country, and an Irish priest I had been with in the city parish took over finishing the German lady’s instructions. So, when I ran into the German lady eighteen months later I asked her when she had been baptized. She told me, “He hasn’t finished with me yet, but I know more about the Council of Trent than anyone else in Jacksonville.”)

Two Jesuits, whom St. Ignatius Loyola assigned to that task, composed Trent’s two hundred and fifty pages of flawless Latin, logic and legalism. It was so marvelous that it can blind us to it inadequacies. Let me mention a few that are inadequate for our age.

Trent succeeded only in its one purpose of making a defense against Protestantism. That made it comparable to a football team with a great defensive unit, but no unit for gaining positive ground.

Then, since Trent was conducted with bishops from just three countries where Catholicism was mandatory, it made no attempt at being catholic.

Although Tent’s bishops were free to voice their views of the canons and decrees put before them for approval, there was rally no venue for voicing the truths the Spirit was revealing to them or to other hearts.  

Since the bishops at the Council of Trent  believed in the complete authority they shared with the Holy Father, they would not allow others to put forward contrary opinions.

Monday, at the beginning of the two-week-long synod on family matters, Pope Francis told the participants to speak freely from the heart. No instructions like that were given at Trent. 

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