Continuing his break with tradition, Pope Francis is seeking to steer the Catholic Church into realms of theology some may consider unorthodox. The piece can be found here.
Pope Francis called on the church to adapt to ‘changing conditions of society’ yesterday following a conference that rejected changes that would have softened the church’s stance toward homosexuality and divorce.
As he beatified Pope Paul VI who implemented the Second Vatican Council’s vast changes, Pope Francis said ‘God is not afraid of new things’.
Traditionalists, the Pope said, risk a temptation of ‘hostile inflexibility’.
It is unclear whether the document issued Saturday is a set-back for the pope, but the conference did prompt the church to discuss difficult issues such as the role of gays, lesbians and divorced Catholics.
Commentators said the bishops had done what Francis had asked of them, which was to talk about the issues in an ‘open way’. But those talks, to ‘take the bishop’s pulse’ on current issues, had exposed a split reformers and conservatives.
An interim document issued last week by the bishops halfway through their synod included wording that welcomed the ‘gifts and qualities’ of gay Catholics and called on pastors to ‘avoid any language or behavior’ that could discriminate against divorced Catholics, USA Today reported. Saturday’s report did not feature the reconciliatory language.
The final paper also emphasised strongly that there was no change in the church’s attitude to gay relationships.
‘No grounds whatsoever exist for assimilating or drawing analogies, however remote, between homosexual unions and God’s design for matrimony and the family,’ it said.
Remarks that follow are premised on the article cited above being genuine and not an Onion-style fake news satire. I will hope to be informed this assumption is incorrect.
So the fundamentals of this pope’s position:
* The church offers no timeless message of Christ, but should instead merely reflect the whimsy of societal fashion.
* Traditionalists (and presumably the static bible they read) are at “risk” of “inflexibility.” One must be flexible in adhering to God’s designs.
* The most amazing statement of all: “God is not afraid of new things.” What would qualify as a “new thing” to the omniscient creator of the Earth and heavens? Is it possible that such a being had never considered the virtues of male buggery until a U.S. judge found them hiding under a penumbra? Is Francis implying that God toddles along behind the will and impulsion of man, rather than the opposite?
Though before beginning to contemplate what would logically flow from these notions, I wanted to clarify the Catholic Church’s vision of God and the contours of his existence as a singular being. From the Catholic Encyclopedia.
(1) Infinity of God
(a) When we say that God is infinite we mean that He is unlimited in every kind of perfection, or that every conceivable perfection belongs to Him in the highest conceivable way…
Now we assert that God is infinitely perfect in the sense explained, and that His infinity is deducible from His self-existence. For a self-existent being, if limited at all, could be limited only by itself; to be limited by another would imply causal dependence on that other, which the very notion of self-existence excludes. But the self-existing cannot be conceived as limiting itself, in the sense of curtailing its perfection of being, without ceasing to be self-existing. Whatever it is, it is necessarily; its own essence is the sole reason or explanation of its existence, so that its manner of existence must be as unchangeable as its essence, and to suggest the possibility of an increase or diminution of perfection would be to suggest the absurdity of a changeable essence.
From the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia
The actual infinity of God in every respect is Catholic dogma. In accordance with the Holy Bible (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 144:3; 146:5; Sirach 43:29 sqq., Luke 1:37, etc.) and unanimous tradition, the Vatican Council at its Third Session (cap. i) declared God to be almighty, eternal, immense, incomprehensible, infinite in intellect and will and every perfection, really and essentially distinct from the world, infinitely blessed in Himself and through Himself, and inexpressibly above all things that can exist and be thought of besides Him. The infinity of God can also be proved from philosophy. God is the self-existing, uncreated Being whose entire explanation must be in Himself, in Whom there can be no trace of chance; but it would be mere chance if God possessed only a finite degree of perfection, for however high that degree might be, everything in the uncreated Being — His perfections, His individuality, His personality — admit the possibility of His possessing a still higher degree of entirety. From outside Himself, God cannot be limited, because, being uncreated, He is absolutely independent of external causes and conditions. Limitation would be chance; the more so because we can maintain not only that any given finite degree of perfection may be surpassed, but also, in a positive way, that an infinite being is possible. Moreover, if God were finite, the existence of other gods, His equals or even His superiors in perfection would be possible, and it would be mere chance if they did not exist. Of such gods, no trace can be found, while on the other hand, God’s infinity is suggested by various data of experience, and in particular by our unbounded longing after knowledge and happiness. The more man a man is, and the more he follows his best thoughts and impulses, the less he is satisfied with merely finite cognitions and pleasures. That the essential cravings of our nature are not deceptive, is demonstrated at once by experience and speculation.
From the infinity of God it is easy to deduce all His perfections: His unity, simplicity, immutability, etc., though these may be proved also by other means. Many of God’s attributes are nothing else than His infinity in a particular respect, e.g. His omnipotence is but the infinity of His power; His omniscience, the infinity of His knowledge. Whatever is known to be a pure unalloyed perfection, must be an attribute of God on account of His infinity.
So according to Catholic doctrine if the sources above are valid, God is immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, and infinite in intellect.
Yet Pope Francis stated that God is not afraid of new things in context of his initiative to make the church more accommodating to homosexuals. The supreme being now apparently reconsidering his previously negative position on homosexuality as expressed by those who reputedly reduced his will to writing in the bible.
This seems to imply that God is not omniscient and actually changes his mind to accommodate whatever notions he has previously not conceived.
So God’s prior positions were premised on imperfect knowledge and subsequently found to be flawed.
That is to say God is not infallible or perfect of wisdom.
Which of course is to say he’s not actually a God as defined by the church.
Have Catholics digested that this is tantamount to a statement of disbelief?