Friday, June 13, 2008

"The Papacy is a good thing as long as we abolish it."

This is the gist of what Canadian heretic Margaret O'Gara is saying in this article. It's fine to have a papacy. We just have to make it into something that is not the papacy first.

How terrifying that whackjobs like this are (a) considered Catholic, (b) associated with Catholic universities, (c) president of ostensibly Catholic theological organizations, and (d) allowed to speak in public.

It's amazing that she could say these things with a straight face. I'll do my best to translate:

O’Gara said she has been struck by the readiness of other Christian churches to embrace the papacy, citing a statement from the Anglican/Roman Catholic dialogue that the papacy is “part of God’s design for the church” and from the Lutheran/Catholic dialogue in the United States that the pope can function as a spokesperson for the gospel at the world level.

"It's great that so many people are ok with him talking and wearing that funny hat."

At the same time, she said, John Paul’s pontificate left behind “a mixed heritage” ecumenically.
O’Gara cited eight motives for that ambivalence:

1. The Synod of Bishops remained merely advisory to the pope;
2. The authority of episcopal conferences was restricted;
3. A Vatican document on “Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion” asserted that the Petrine ministry is “interior to every fully local church”;
4. The Vatican document Dominus Iesus said that some Protestant and Anglican bodies aren’t really “churches”;
5. Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger and Walter Kasper carried out a debate over whether the local or universal church has priority;
6. The term from Vatican II that the church “subsists” in Catholicism was understood to mean that it exists fully only in Catholicism;
7. The ban on women’s ordination was declared definitive;
8. The volume of papal teaching raised questions about its authority, and what role it would play in sister churches if present divisions could be overcome.

"Other religions have a problem with Catholics believing in Catholicism."

In light of all this, O’Gara argued, the papacy must be reformed “in a more pastoral way, in a less centralized way, in a way that defends the diversity of the local churches” before it can serve the cause of Christian unity.

"The pope should be Protestant."

Second, she proposed reconsidering what she called the “classicist” language used buy the First Vatican Council in the 19th century to formulate the dogma of infallibility. Rephrasing the teaching in a more historically-minded fashion, she said, could make it less threatening to other Christians.

"Watering down dogma is preferable to teaching Truth."

"Rather than appearing as an unchanging grasp of the truth, infallibility could be reinterpreted as the process through which, over time, the church discerns core teachings of the gospel for its age and culture,” she said.

"The pope should be a Modernist Protestant, so as to fully embrace the relativism and annihilation of Truth."

In the first category, O’Gara cited a number of areas where she said ecumenical dialogue over the last half-century has reached surprising breakthroughs: mutual recognition of baptism, the real and unique presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the church as communion, the need for a universal ministry by the pope, and acceptance of different forms of devotion to Mary.

"I'm going to spend the next few minutes on exaggerations and lies."

Under new business, O’Gara cited a number of areas where the various Christian denominations seem to be growing apart, including moral questions such as homosexuality and same-sex marriage, as well as doctrinal matters such as women’s ordination.

"Think of how great it would be to be wholly unified in our beliefs in nothing."

While acknowledging the importance of such questions, O’Gara warned against exaggerating their importance. She cited a tongue-in-cheek comment from the late German Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner about occasionally sensing a “neurotic fear that we may be in agreement.”

It's Rahner. Nobody knows what he meant.

O’Gara also described her experience more than 20 years ago with her first Protestant student from China. After carefully describing the differences between medieval Catholicism and Luther on the Eucharist, O’Gara said, this student replied: “But in our church in China we hold both of those positions.”

"Orwell called it 'doublethink.' We should look into getting us some of that."

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