A brilliant analysis of the plight of liberals in the Catholic Church

Over at the Catholic Herald, Matthew Schmitz, the literary editor for First Things, has a brilliant analysis of the plight of Catholic liberals.

Here’s the link.  Please read the whole thing.

He writes:

Vito Mancuso, a former priest and protégé of the liberal Italian lion Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, shares their fears. “Two diametrically opposed forces are intensifying within the Catholic Church,” he warns us in a recent interview in La Repubblica. Opposed to the innovators like himself are those who “want to return to the ‘sound tradition,’ something especially prevalent among young priests”.

Mancuso believes that if Francis does not act more decisively, and soon, he risks being no more than “a shooting star”. After his death or retirement, the College of Cardinals could elect a pope who would end Francis’s flexible pastoral approach and begin making straightforward affirmations and condemnations. They particularly fear the election of Cardinal Robert Sarah, a man who does not seem much interested in flattering the sensibilities of educated Westerners. He appears in their nightmares with the name Pius XIII.

And this:

Francis does not challenge the teaching of his predecessors head-on. He insists that the norm still stands even after he includes every case in the exception. What was once simply an absolute principle is now discussed in relative terms, and the terms are so relative that it is possible even to insist that the rule remains absolute. The resulting “pastoral solutions” infuriate traditional Catholics, who sense the inconsistency, and fail to satisfy liberals, who want a more thoroughgoing revolution. Écrasez l’infâme!


Liberal Catholics are left with a delicate and tedious task. The doctrine of infallibility limits even those who would call it into question. Peter can wink, nod, nudge or fall silent, but he cannot contradict himself. Francis knows this well.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A brilliant analysis of the plight of liberals in the Catholic Church

  1. Rev22:17 says:


    Sadly, both extremes of the liberal-conservative divide make the same mistake — that is, failure to distinquish clearly between doctrine and discipline, but with different effect.

    >> At the conservative extreme, traditionalists assume that all is doctrinal and thus immutable. Thus, they want everything to be as it was in their infancy — which is not necessarily as it was in apostolic times.

    >> At the liberal extreme, radicals assume that all is discipline and thus subject to change at will. Thus, they tend to throw out the doctrinal core that makes us truly Christian.

    Neither approach is Catholic. Rather, the Catholic Church is careful to distinguish between doctrine, which is immutable, and discipline (practice), which admits legitimate variation of expression of that doctrine most especially in the liturgy. Here, the ordinariates are an excellent example: they adhere doctrinally to the Catechism of the Catholic Church while celebrating the liturgy according to their own distinct use, that of Divine Worship.

    The fact that so many younger clergy are tending toward the conservative extreme is tragic, but it is the fruit of the seed that many liberals have sown — and as you sow, so you reep. By abandoning sound doctrine and commitment of faith for their “social gospel” of works devoid of real faith, they have created a situation in which successive generations have not heard the true call of faith. The Lord undoubtedly would have drawn some from their ranks into ordained ministry and religious life, if they had been attentive to his call.


  2. Bradley Laing says:

    I just left something new under “June 7.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s