Thursday, 19 September 2013

Pope Gregory XVI on False Reform

Pope Gregory XVI

A remarkable passage from Pope Gregory's encyclical Quo Graviora, in which he states that just because something in the Church is a discipline and not a doctrine does not mean that it is easily changeable:

“For many years there has been growing and spreading in this country the very false opinion, the result of the impious and absurd system of indifferentism, which holds that the Christian religion is capable of continually perfecting itself. And since the champions of this false opinion hesitate to apply this pretended perfectibility to the truths of faith, they do so to the external administration and discipline of the Church. And to give credit to their error they employ, for the most part not without inconsistency and fraud, the authority of Catholic theologians who, on occasion, establish this distinction between doctrine and discipline: that discipline is subject to change, doctrine remains always the same and is not subject to any modification. Once this is laid down, they state without any hesitation that on many points the discipline, the government, and the forms of external worship in use in the Church are no longer suitable to the character of our times, and that what is harmful to the progress and prosperity of the Catholic religion must be changed, (which is possible) without the teaching of faith and morals suffering any harm. Thus, under color of religious zeal and behind the mask of piety they introduce innovations, project reforms, devise a “regeneration” of the Church… Moreover, without realizing it, or pretending that they do not realize it, they are in direct contradiction to sound doctrine which they say they wish to reestablish and protect. For in fact, when they pretend that all the forms of the Church without distinction can be changed, are they not subjecting to this change those points of discipline which have their foundation in the divine law itself, which are joined to doctrines of faith by so close a bond that the rule of faith determines the rule of action?”

1 comment:

  1. Wow, thank you for finding this

    It helps in the "celibacy discussion" that the new Vatican Secretary of State has opened.