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The Forum > Article Comments > Is the Pope catholic? > Comments

Is the Pope catholic? : Comments

By David James, published 28/9/2005

David James reviews Paul Collins' latest book - 'Godís New Man: The Election of Benedict XVI and the Legacy of John Paul II'.

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There are two things central to my treasured gift of Catholicism - the Eucharist and acceptance of Church teaching and dogma in all obedience and humility. Nothing in these two fundamental tenets of Catholic faith and practice have changed one tiny bit for the past 2000 years.

We live in a rapidly developing yet ever fragile world - a world in which scientists and modern day experts believe they have all the answers to fit with the modern world. Should trendy new ideas and great scientific discoveries change in some way my fundamental approach to Catholicism? Is the Church out of step because it resists resolutely bending to the ideas, wishes and whims of modern day liberalists? What ever happened to accepting Church teaching and dogma as it was passed down to us over these past 2000 years in all obedience and humility?

To my mind, turning an analysis of Church history and modern day popes into something of an artform in no way adds to the fundamental focus and centrality of the Eucharist to every practicing Catholic. On the question of the papacy, every pope that ever lived from St Peter down had human frailities - after all, we are all susceptable to the human condition. Obedience? Not all Catholics were obedient to Church teaching down through the ages. Some protested. Nothing has changed in that respect in today's world either.

Thank God for Wojtyla and Ratzinger in these times for standing firm in the face of their liberalist critics. Where would the Church be we might ask ourselves if it was swayed by every trendy new idea and belief that was ever touted by a commentator since the reign of Peter?

Noel John
Posted by Noel John, Thursday, 29 September 2005 1:35:31 PM
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Its called milking The Sacred Cows dry and still milking the teets again and again and again--even the cows are sick to death of it "Give us a break!", they moo in unison-"try the silly trendy goats for a change"--"or what about matadoring the papal bulls?"- Time for the prodigal son to return home though I dont guarantee A well attended home coming party!

Yours Sincerely,
Father John George,
St John Vianney Villa,
70 Market St.,
Randwick North. 2031
NSW AUSTRALIA.
02 93981117
email:johngeo@acon.com.au
Posted by Father John George, Thursday, 29 September 2005 2:32:22 PM
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Paul Collins's book seems to rely very heavily on his revision of the term 'Catholic' in generic terms:

1. is open to truth and value wherever it exists;
2. is inclusive and open to various cultures;
3. bridges generations and historical periods; and
4. recognises the Holy Spirit as creating the unity of the church.

But the Greek word itself means means universal, not in the sense of including a diversity of things, but in the sense of there being only one. There is only one church because there is only one God. It is not the universal church of mankind, it is the universal church of God. It's identity and unity comes from God and His revealed truth. The early church fathers used this term because they recognised that although there are many individual 'assemblies' (as the word church means) of Christians, they all belong to the one invisible and 'universal' gathering of God's people, which is 'the body of Christ', as the bible describes it.

To redefine the term Catholic and then condemn those who fail to live up to the revision is setting up a straw man in its deepest sense. It would be more helpful to deal with the term 'Roman Catholic' and how that has been understood historically, as the 'Catholic Church' is not a denomination, but a spiritual conception of the reality that all those around the world trusting in Jesus Christ are simultaneously members of the cosmic assembly of God's people, regardless of what denomination they belong to.
Posted by Nesgar, Thursday, 29 September 2005 4:21:00 PM
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I would be surprised if Collins disputed Naygar's comments.

Collins' term for those four characteristics is 'catholicity' and, although I dont really know what that means exactly, Collins (along with Cardinal Avery, whom Collins is quoting) specifically use this term. Semantics is vital in these kinds of discussions, as Naygar so acutely shows.

I should add that my *review* of Collins' book draws heavily on this definition of 'catholicity'. There is a lot more to the book.

David James
Posted by David E James, Friday, 30 September 2005 8:56:54 AM
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David E James is correct there is a good deal of semantics at play--part of the Collins arsenal also. However the real book of Collins has to be read between the lines. Its title is "Re-creating the Roman Catholic Church in my own Image and Likeness-Musings Revisited"
This hidden tome is a compendium of his earlier musings in books and other media where many Sacred Cows are attached to the Collins rotolacter once again!

Yours Sincerely,
Father John George,
St John Vianney Villa,
70 Market St.,
Randwick North. 2031
NSW AUSTRALIA.
02 93981117
email:johngeo@acon.com.au
Posted by Father John George, Friday, 30 September 2005 10:12:13 AM
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An interesting account of the views of Ratzinger and Collins. As someone who's neither a catholic nor a christian, I watch the antics of the catholic church with some astonishment, amusement and occasional horror. Naturally I don't find the church significant in the way you do.
I think you're right, or Collins is right, in describing Ratzinger as an apostle of certainty. Typically, such people use the word 'truth' as often as they can, presumably in the hope that church dogma will somehow transform itself into 'truth' by claiming that the two are synonymous a thousand times a day (and i've read, or tried to read, Wojtyla's papal encyclicals, where the word 'truth' is bandies about with a sickening meaninglessness). The fact is that there's nothing true about the catholic church's position on any issue, and no amount of authoritarian assertion can make it so.
On the basis of what Ive discovered so far, i would strongly contest the claim that Ratzinger is an intellectual. A facility with Latin or a number of other languages does not an intellectual make. At the very least, to be an intellectual one most explore contested truths - and I think that the truth is by its nature ever contestable. The assertion of dogma is an essentially anti-intellectual practice.
Posted by Luigi, Monday, 3 October 2005 11:59:25 AM
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