The Papal Crisis is the opposition between the conservative Catholic subculture and the Roman Pontiff: Pope Francis. This crisis is harming the Church. Many laypersons are being encouraged by conservative Catholic leaders to distrust the Vicar of Christ, and to reject or ignore his teachings. The Church is not a political body; it is the Ark of Salvation. When large groups and prominent individuals oppose the one pilot and helmsman of that ship, the journey of the passengers to happiness is put in danger.
You might imagine that Pope Francis could have taught the same truths, but in a different manner, and perhaps lessened the conflict between the two sides. But consider the conflict between conservatives and the Second Vatican Council. Still today they undermine, ignore, and denigrate that Ecumenical Council. I see nothing wrong with the Council’s documents at all. So, even if Pope Francis had been more careful, treating conservatives like infants who are not ready for solid food, they would still have rejected him.
Since Vatican II, a conservative Catholic subculture has developed with sees itself as the guardian of truth in the Church, above the Magisterium. They should have humbled themselves to accept the teachings of Vatican II, and perhaps also doing some good work supporting the correct interpretation of its documents (against certain liberal errors). But out of pride, they reject or ignore anything in Vatican II that does not agree with their own thinking.
And the same attitude, the same culture, continued during the reign of subsequent Popes, from Pope Saint Paul VI, to Pope Saint John Paul II, to Pope Benedict XVI, to Pope Francis. Always whatever was taught was filtered through the conservative Catholic subculture, to judge whether it is right or wrong. And whatever seemed the least bit suspect was rejected or radically reinterpreted. So the Papal Crisis is not just between Pope Francis and conservative critics. It is a conflict between the conservative Catholic subculture and the Papacy itself.
God’s plan to deal with these arrogant leaders, who exalt themselves above the Church itself is simple: present them with a liberal Pope to prove whether they are faithful to the Church and the Roman Pontiff, or to their own ideas. Conservatives are being put to the test by God and they don’t even realize it. They are failing the test miserably.
The Best Solution would be for conservative critics of the Pope to humble themselves before him, submit to his authority, and accept his teaching. There is some room for faithful dissent from non-infallible teachings of any Pope. So they are not in such a difficult situation. But they absolutely must stop speaking about the Pope as if he were under their authority, as if his ideas are measured by the yardstick of their understanding, and as if they could demand answers to questions and changes to behavior from him.
That won’t happen. They are filled with pride. They have a large audience and plenty of money. They will continue to oppose him.
Next Best Solution: Pope Francis will continue to teach in opposition to the conservative Catholic subculture, and they will depart from the one true Church, revealing themselves as unfaithful schismatics, not as persons who are so wise and holy they can correct Popes, Councils, and the Church Herself. The Church will become smaller and holier, while the conservative Catholic subculture drifts in the storm, like a ship without a rudder.
Pope Francis will need to use Papal Infallibility in order to complete God’s work of testing the conservative Catholic leaders. Otherwise, they could claim that his teachings are errors under the non-infallible magisterium. But once that happens, the Crisis will reach its breaking point, and we will see who is truly faithful and who is not.
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