Commonsense Papism


Ego … Archiepiscopus … beato Petro apostolo, Sanctæ, Apostolicæ, Romanæ Ecclesiæ, ac tibi, Summo Pontifici, tuisque legitimis Successoribus semper fidelis ero et oboediens. Ita me Deus omnipotens adiuvet.

“I …, Archbishop of …, swear to be faithful and obedient to St. Peter the Apostle, to the Holy Roman Church, and to you, the Supreme Pontiff, and your lawful successors, so help me God Almighty.”

The new Archbishops who celebrated Mass with the Holy Father today swore their allegiance with these words.

StPeterThe Archbishops’ oath of allegiance is not something strange. It is not something foreign to American sensibilities. It is the most commonsensical statement a person could ever make.

Christians believe things–and we live according to principles–which we could never figure out by ourselves.

Therefore we rely on some source of information that possesses infallible authority. Our faith and morals are based on the testimony of God Himself, delivered to us in writing and by word of mouth.

Now, the authority to give this testimony either resides in me myself, or it resides in someone else.

Some people actually do regard themselves as their own infallible religious authority. But it takes just a little humility and maturity to realize that being your own infallible teacher is a prescription for disaster.

Therefore my infallible teacher must be someone else.

readdumWho is it? Could it be a politician? Could it be the pastor of a megachurch? Shirley MacLaine?

Of all the candidates for infallible teacher, the only really viable one is the Pope. The Pope can claim to hold such an office–the office of infallible teacher and shepherd established by the Son of God when He was on earth.

The Lord Jesus never promised that every Pope would be a saint. Rather, He guaranteed that there would be a spiritual fortress which the enemies of God could never conquer. Within this fortress, the true faith will always survive. The fortress is the Apostolic See of Rome.

Someone might say: Back off! My infallible teacher is the Bible!

Two questions, dear friend:

1. How do you know that the Bible is the Bible (i.e. the compendium of divine teachings committed to writing)? How do you know that the Koran is NOT the Bible? Or Football for Dummies? What authority certifies that your Bible is, in fact, God’s Word?

2. If there is a dispute about what the Bible means, who has the authority to settle the question?



and his successors.

Happy Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, founders of the Church of Rome!

Palliative Distractions, more Mark 6, and Father Maciel

Hoyas now a miserable 4-7 in the Big East
Hoyas now a miserable 4-7 in the Big East

Quick! Anything–anything–to distract us from the pain of Total Hoya Meltdown!

Continue reading “Palliative Distractions, more Mark 6, and Father Maciel”

Message for Catholic Schools Week 2009

st-paul-teachingThe New Testament shows us that St. Paul was a gentle, fatherly man. He was patient and broad-minded. St. Paul communicated successfully with more different kinds of people than just about anyone ever has.

At the same time, the New Testament also clearly reveals that St. Paul was relentlessly precise. He had a prodigious intellect. He put all of it at the service of the truth of God. Christian Revelation is not vague—it involves specifics, facts. Therefore, St. Paul was never vague.

Today is the feast day of two of St. Paul’s pupils, Saints Timothy and Titus.

Let us try to imagine St. Paul as a teacher. Let us imagine him training Timothy and Titus to be bishops.

Continue reading “Message for Catholic Schools Week 2009”

“You are the Christ”


The Lord Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am.”  St. Peter replied, “You are the Christ.”  With this answer, St. Peter said the most important thing that has ever been said.  Jesus being the Christ means three all-important things for us.



First, His being the Christ means that Jesus is our High Priest.  His sacrifice of His own Body and Blood pleases the Almighty Father.  Christ has restored the human race to God’s friendship.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the sacrifice of Christ’s Body and Blood.  If we did not have this sacrifice to offer, we would have no hope for glory.  With it, we look forward to eternal life.


Second, His being the Christ means that the Lord Jesus is our teacher.  Everything that He said is enlightening; His words are the words of God.  He has taught us that there is a kingdom of heaven, and He has shown us how to get there.  There are many different things for us to learn as we make our way through life, but none of them are anywhere near as important as learning the teachings of Jesus Christ.


Third, because the Lord Jesus is the Christ, He is our King.  Having conquered death and ascended to heaven, He reigns supreme.  He is in charge; we are His servants.  He does not expect us to know everything; He does not expect us to be able to see into the future.  He has a plan for all things to come to fulfillment, and the plan will unfold as He sees fit.  What He expects from us is that we report for duty every day.  If we mess up, we owe Him a humble apology in Confession.  He forgives us, and we move on and continue to try to serve Him well.


“You are the Christ.”  Let us make St. Peter’s answer our own.  The Lord Jesus is our priest, teacher, and king.  To Him be glory and honor forever.