Monday, August 2, 2010

Canonist Ed Peters examines an essay by Fr. Thomas Doyle, OP

"Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.  Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings..." (Heb 13:7-9)

Canonist, Ed Peters, looks at a recent essay by Fr. Thomas Doyle, OP.  I offer this here because I have heard variations of this out of ordinary lay Catholics.  Perhaps you have too.  I'm giving you a lead in, and you'll have to go to Dr. Peters' blog to read the rest and pick up the many links he has embedded. 
Fr. Doyle and the ecclesiology of despair

Fr. Thomas Doyle, op., has an essay in The Tablet (24 July 2010) wherein he comments, mostly negatively, on some canonical procedural norms recently revised and published by Rome. My concern here, though, is with what I will call an “ecclesiology of despair” to which I think Fr. Doyle’s essay gives voice.

Concluding his criticisms of the new norms, Fr. Doyle asserts that: “They are tragic evidence that the hierarchical governing body of the Church is no longer capable of leading the People of God.” Now, for Catholics called to maintain communion with the Church in all things (c. 209), such an assertion, no matter what context occasioned it, is disturbing.

The “hierarchical governing body of the Church” is the pope and bishops in union with him (cc. 331, 336), usually operating dispersed throughout the world (cc. 375, 381), sometimes operating in an ecumenical council (c. 337). But let's be clear: the “hierarchical governing body of the Church” is not the ecclesiastical equivalent of, say, the Democratic or Republican Party (groups that can and do lose their mandate to govern in any number of ways), nor is the Church's hierarchy even the equivalent of the federal-state governmental system we know in America (a structure that need not have been adopted and that many nations do not follow). Not at all.

And...Scriptural references from "Scripture Catholic"

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