Friday, July 9, 2010

The Holy Inquisition?

In some ways, I think this is what many of us have been hoping to have for a long time now:
Sins such as the attempted ordination of women to the priesthood and the "crimes against the faith" of heresy, schism and apostasy, that have until now been investigated by the CDF only on an extraordinary basis will fall under their official jurisdiction, thus clearing up any confusion as to where cases must be reported. In other words, it formalizes procedures that may have been followed in practice, but were never made official.
It sounds like the Vatican might finally start cracking down on heresy in the Church because the local bishops have done a terrible job, often just turning a blind eye to heretical priests. Maybe they are finally going to start cleaning house.

In theory, I suppose this is good. It would be nice to have a place to report such things as priests denying the Real Presence, etc, and to be able to have confidence that procedures are in place that guarantee that something will be done about it, that someone with authority will look into it, at least, and not merely in "extraordinary" cases (I mean, is there really such a thing as an ordinary level of tolerable heresy?!)

At the same time, I now worry that this will be used as just one more tool to crack down on "dissent" or critique of the hierarchy in general, even of the non-heretical kind...and thus become just a politicized authoritarianism rather than true shepherding to protect the flock from wolves, rather than a truly magisterial (ie, teaching) function.

So I think I'd say I'm "cautiously pessimistic."

No comments: