About the Blog

The Radical Catholic is the work of a lay Catholic who loves the Church - not for what she once was, nor for what she might become, but for what she is and always must be: the Mystical Body of Christ. That same love motivates the writings which appear here - even and particularly those which are critical of some of her human members. Yet, even if that love were merely feigned and not genuine, it would nonetheless remain the solemn duty of your humble writer to alert the Catholic faithful to errors proliferated in the name of Mother Church. This duty is described in Canon 212 of the Code of Canon Law:
§1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church. 
§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.
§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
This teaching was underscored in §63 of the recently published document Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church (2014):
Alerted by their sensus fidei, individual believers may deny assent even to the teaching of legitimate pastors if they do not recognize in that teaching the voice of Christ, the Good Shepherd. 'The sheep follow [the Good Shepherd] because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers' (John 10:4-5). For St. Thomas, a believer, even without theological competence, can and even must resist, by virtue of the sensus fidei, his or her bishop if the latter preaches heterodoxy. In such a case, the believer does not treat himself or herself as the ultimate criterion of the truth of faith, but rather, faced with materially 'authorized' preaching which he or she finds troubling, without being able to explain exactly why, defers assent and appeals interiorly to the superior authority of the universal Church.
This, however, does not give license to criticism of any teaching or action of the prelates of the Church. In §89 of the same document, we read of the disposition required for authentic participation in the sensus fidei:
The first and most fundamental disposition is active participation in the life of the Church. Formal membership of the Church is not enough. Participation in the life of the Church means constant prayer, active participation in the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, regular reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, discernment and exercise of gifts and charisms received from the Holy Spirit, and active engagement in the Church’s mission and in her diakonia. It presumes an acceptance of the Church’s teaching on matters of faith and morals, a willingness to follow the commands of God, and courage both to correct one’s brothers and sisters, and also to accept correction oneself.
It is with precisely this intention that the words of criticism appearing here are offered to the community of Catholic faithful.

In closing, I offer the words of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica, II, II, q.33, a.4):
When there is an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Radical Catholic, I have only just stumbled on your excellent translation of Markus Guenther's article Diaspora Deutschland. I see Guenther himself has congratulated you. I lived and worked in British liaison in Germany for many years, using the German language and have also been a legal German translator, and yes your translation is outstanding. I am at present writing a dissertation about the crisis in the German Church and Guether's article has been most instructive, not least because he articulates all the reasons I noticed when I lived in Germany. However, he misses out one primary reason for the decline of faith amongst German Catholics and indeed the stepp decline of the Church as a community of faith. Church tax. It seems incredible in this day and age that German Catholics in employment are still penalized by having the 'leave the Church' if they don't agree or refuse to pay Church tax. 'Leaving the Church entails opting for excommunication. A German Catholic who leaves the Church is struck from the baptismal register. This national Catholic Church is happy to collude with the state - which collects this tax - in an arrangement which results in hundreds and thousands of excommunications each year. Bizarre beyond belief. There has only been one excommunication in England in over a century. In my 30 years in Germany, I never met one Catholic who understood that this tax is payment for access to the sacraments. All I ever got was "but you don't understand our situation"! I personally believe the German Catholic is an heretical church for leading Catholics to believe "no church tax, no sacraments, no weddings, no baptisms, no Catholic school for your child, no burials on consecrated ground". Is it any wonder thousands oof German Catholics no longer want anything to do with this wealthy institution?


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