Church authorities should listen for God's voice in the statements of others.

Thursday, 4/27/17

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the high priest scolded the Apostles for speaking about Christ in the temple, after they had forbidden them to do that.  He quoted the high priest as saying, “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in his name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching.”  i

This reminds me of something Father Ives Congar wrote in his journal just before Vatican II.

He had been called in by Cardinal Ottaviani, who had been running the Church his own way since the former pope, Pius Xii, had become incapacitated. The Cardinal had considered his own decisions to be as final as the words of the Holy Scriptures.

In reprimanding  Father Congar, Cardinal Ottaviani  sounded just like the high priest reprimanding the the Apostles. Congar wrote:

“The Cardinal asked, why would I not keep in line? Why must one always point out the weaknesses of the Church? He said, by doing so one undermines confidence in the hierarchy and the Magisterium.”

Although the First Vatican Council said that under limited conditions the pope could make infallible statements, the last five popes have decided against it. Pope John XXIII called in 2500 bishops, asking them to seek light from the Holy Spirit. That high priest back then, and Cardinal Ottaviani hadn’t all the answers.

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