Ladaria paves the way for new Papal teachings

News story: Francis replaces Cardinal Muller with deputy Ladaria as head of doctrinal congregation — “Pope Francis has decided not to renew the expiring term of Vatican doctrinal chief Cardinal Gerhard Muller, choosing instead to replace the German prelate with his deputy…. The pontiff has appointed Archbishop Luis Ladaria, 73, as the new prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He had previously served as the office’s secretary.”

Archbishop Ladaria was secretary general of the International Theological Commission when it issued the document opining that it is possible for unbaptized infants to be saved. They may die in the state of grace, despite not receiving formal baptism, by means of a baptism of desire or of blood. The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized

The appointment of Ladaria to head the CDF may signal that Pope Francis is ready to teach on the subject of salvation for unbaptized infants, or more generally on salvation for non-Christians. Previously, the holy Pontiff has given some limited indications that he thinks atheists and non-Christian believers can be in the state of grace and can be saved. See my previous posts: Pope Francis on Salvation for Atheists and Pope Francis: We are all children of God.

The appointment of Ladaria may also signal that Pope Francis is ready to teach on the subject of the ordination of women to the diaconate. The previous head of the CDF, Cardinal Muller, spoke against the ordination of women deacons in an interview in May of 2017. But Archbishop Ladaria is head of the new commission studying the question of ordained deaconesses. Elevating him to lead the CDF may indicate that Pope Francis has decided in favor of ordaining women deacons.

If either of those teachings are issued by Pope Francis, I expect the conservative Catholic subculture to cry out against the Vicar of Christ and utterly reject him. In my opinion, the conservative Catholic schism has already begun. But most of the schismatics still claim to be subjects of the current Pontiff. If Pope Francis teaches that women can be ordained as deacons or that unbaptized persons can be saved without converting, I think that many papal critics will openly accuse him of heresy and openly reject him.

The Church is about to become much smaller and much holier. The process will take several years. But I don’t see any other course for the Ark of Salvation. She cannot continue to let the conservative Catholic subculture pretend to be the Magisterium. And She cannot let so many Catholics reject the teachings of the Church, and commit objective mortal sin, and yet still receive Communion. Those who do not repent, will fall away, just as it always has been.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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4 Responses to Ladaria paves the way for new Papal teachings

  1. Mark P. says:

    I have read that, for the most part, Archbishop Ladaria is fairly conservative and orthodox; but have also seen that he is considered somewhat “universalist.” I understand baptisms of blood and desire for non-baptized persons, but some strains of universalist theology seem to present the view that people are saved even if they do not repent or express baptism by desire. Which then seems to me to diminish the importance or purpose of the church. Why would Jesus have sent out the disciples on the great commission if everybody was going to be saved anyway?

    I also must admit that I see a baptism of desire by an atheist problematic. But it depends on who the atheist is. In the Western world, most atheists are aware of the Gospel and many of them have voluntarily left the faith. It would seem that, even if they displayed love of neighbor, they have voluntarily disobeyed the first commandment. This seems a greater sin than a “conservative” Catholic who effectively schisms from the Church and still maintains love of neighbor, etc; this person obviously still loves and worships God, but has decided not to follow the Pope. It seems that the universalist application to atheists is more fitting to, say, people in North Korea who have atheism forced upon them with barely any chance of learning the true Gospel.

    Cardinal Muller had a tough job, let us pray for his transition.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Your comment is a good example of one of the most serious problems in the Church today. Each Catholic sees himself as the judge over every question of theology, based on very little study or knowledge. The teaching of Popes, Councils, and the body of Bishops and the works of theologians are given little weight, compared to the individual’s own limited understanding. Then the individual, as judge over each theological question, demands a very simple explanation that will make sense given his limited knowledge.

      Your explanation is vastly oversimplified and ignores many different magisterial teachings on the subject. If you want to understand this subject area, you should start by putting aside your own understanding, and studying the teachings of the Church. See Redemptoris Missio by JP2 as a starting point, and also the CCC on the topic.

  2. Matt Z. says:

    I hope the new head of the CDF doesnt look into woman deacons. I agree with Fr.Chad Ripperger that allowing woman deacons would be disastrous in that it will confuse the nature of ordination which is already in turmoil. Also in today’s American society people are greatly confused about the role of men and women. The media will make sure they add to the confusion.

  3. Mark P. says:

    Ron, my first paragraph seems in line with what you have written about the teachings of Bishop Robert Barron. It was just a comment, not meant to be an exhaustive treatise of a subject I have no qualification to teach. And I am not trying to make myself out as a judge on theology. Maybe my second paragraph warranted more criticism, but I should have been more clear. By saying I found the teaching “problematic,” I did not mean that I did not agree with it theologically, but difficult for me to understand without more study. I read your blog to learn and understand more, but I will be honest, you tend to snap at people whose comments need some correction. I appreciate you being straightforward, but your words sometimes come across as condemnations instead of instructions. If the Amoris Laeticia debate has taught those of us in the flock anything, it is that different bishops, men who have degrees in theology and years of service to the Church under their belts, have interpreted this document in ways that their experience has shown to be most effective. So it is not a stretch by any means of the imagination that those of us in the pews can have a difficult time grasping some of these subjects! I do not have a blog and I do not try to teach anybody these things. I try to learn for my own understanding. That all being said, I appreciate the work you do and the corrections you provide, but most of us commenting on here are not teaching anybody.

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