Discussion in 'Church Critique' started by BrianK, Sep 1, 2017.
Emmett, do you have Peter Bannister's contact? He has good knowledge of Our Lady of Zaro.
I think that the following article by Daniel O'Connor is very good, https://dsdoconnor.com/stephen-walf...-and-the-polish-canadian-and-african-bishops/
I can't help but wonder what Daniel O'Connor thinks about Stephen Walford's meeting with Pope Francis.
Very, very interesting - a must read. Thanks for posting this!!
Agreed, Im going to post it because it is the first explaination of AL that makes any sense to me whatsoever.
On Stephen Walford’s Heretical, Fallacious, and Oblivious Attack on JPII, the Four Cardinals, and the Polish, Canadian, and African Bishops
A little background. Stephen Walford is a man I have been unfortunate enough to come across online several times. This is because, while I earnesty beseech my readers to pray for the hastening of the coming of the Era of Peace, he on the other hand is striving to distinguish himself as the Catholic world’s greatest enemy of the Era of Peace (according to him you are a Millenarianist Heretic if you aren’t totally dismissive about the Era of Peace) proclaimed by Our Lady at many apparitions (especially Fatima) and prophesied throughout the Catholic tradition as being a time that will follow the Great Catholic Monarch and the Great Pope (see page 65 of this booklet).
In my dealings with him, Walford has usually been the quintessential ideologue: very rude, unwilling to use basic reason and instead always insisting upon immediate, unthinking, and blind obedience to his own misinterpretations of authority statements, unwilling to listen to his opponents and instead simply shouting the same exact thing over and over, louder and louder, incessantly accusatory, and unfortunately the list goes on. On one particular forum I debated with him in, he was banned not once, but twice, due to his poor conduct. Forgive me if I risk being uncharitable here, but I think understanding a bit about the tree is necessary for understanding the fruit, in this case.
Now it seems he has turned his interest from attacking those who believe in the Era of Peace to attacking the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II, directly attacking the Four Cardinals who submitted the Dubia, and thereby indirectly attacking the many Bishops — especially in Canada, America (e.g. Chaput), Poland, and Africa, who have rightly insisted that A.L. does not change the Church’s teaching on who is admissible to Holy Communion.
How Mr. Walford gets such a stage for his views seems to be a mystery to everyone. He evidently has no qualifications whatsoever to teach on theological issues. One cannot help but sympathize with Dr. Edward Peters’ annoyance that “Vatican Insider” insists on telling us that Walford plays piano (perhaps to distract from the fact that Walford should never have been given this platform on Vatican Insider?). Nevertheless, “teach” Walford does indeed attempt, and his -tragically, quite large – audience is much the worse for it. This lack of qualifications is quite clear in how faulty his method is, which I will discuss presently.
Although Walford has written other articles on the topic with fallacious reasoning, I will focus on his most recent one: http://www.lastampa.it/2017/06/27/v...-cardinals-nIsyPMFIjp2M5wjLZ1CHJO/pagina.html
Let us consider some of the grave errors in this article (Screenshots are from the article written by Walford, with particularly relevant portions highlighted):
The first is that Walford exalts Francis’ opinions on his own Magisterium to themselves also being Magisterial. This is an elementary trap which, unfortunately, ensnares many like Walford. A Pope is perfectly capable of having incorrect opinions on how his own Magisterium should be understood — and to express such opinions during an interview on an airplane! If a Pope wants to give an authoritative interpretation to one of his Magisterial documents — he does so through another Magisterial document! Not through off handed comments, which do not bear the weight that Walford thinks (wishes?) they have.
I cannot stress this point enough. Pope Francis could spend the next decade making an endless array of off-the-cuff comments (or imprudent appointments) seeming to indicate that a heretical interpretation of A.L. is the correct one — and it wouldn’t change a thing.
Next, Walford proceeds to reveal the heart of his error on this matter
This is absolutely not what the Holy Father is saying. “Situation of sin” is not a synonym for “objective grave sin.” This is Walford sneaking his own heretical interpretation of A.L. in, hoping we won’t notice. “Situation of sin” is closer to referring to “the situation of one’s life wherein one is regularly placed in an occasion of sin.” Pope Francis is simply here pointing out that it is fully possible that one is in a State of Grace even if he is living with a “wife” to whom he is not validly married. How? We already know from Catholic Tradition: if he is trying to live as her brother.
Pope Francis is well within the rights of his office to loosen the degree of insistence that confessors place on having one leave an occasion of sin; this is the essence of what he is trying to do here. For leaving an occasion of sin, while very important, is not actually a constituent of the sacrament itself. That is to say, it comprises neither the form nor the matter of the sacrament. The matter of the Sacrament of Confession is simply the sorrow for sin (penitence) of the penitent (one going to confession). It is possible for him to validly receive absolution even if this penitence is weak and imperfect, and even if there is not the firm intention to leave the occasion of sin; there simply needs to be the intention to try to cease from committing the sin itself. (Analogously, even a tiny crumb of bread can be validly consecrated — but it must be bread)
Next, Walford proceeds to delineate all sorts of Catholic teachings that A.L. reaffirmed. Very nice of him to do, but irrelevant to his argument. Next.
I could be wrong about this, but I speculate that equivocation with the word “certain” may be in part at the source of Walford’s error. In this context, Pope Francis is not saying “absolutely convicted of the truth” by saying “certain,” rather, he is using the word to mean “a specific type of.” Indeed, this “[certain type of] moral security” might not be correct at all — it might be a totally false security! Or, more likely, it is a sense of security that God permits a soul to feel as a stepping stone. Indeed, in the process of conversion, souls often think that God is asking less of them than He in fact is. Consider the very (rather odd) example that Pope Benedict XVI himself used during his own Pontificate: he said that a male prostitute deciding to use a condom can be a “sign of moral progress.” Indeed it can be! For while still engaged in the intrinsic evils of prostitution and sodomy, it at least shows he wants to prevent disease spread. Now, this is NOT a blessing of condom use (as Walford is trying to twist Francis’ words to use them as a blessing of adultery, blasphemously implying it may sometimes be “the most generous response” possible – a heresy formally condemned by the Council of Trent). It is merely an acknowledgement that moving from greater evils to lesser ones may indeed be evidence of grace working in a soul. That does NOT mean that the Church can in any way, shape, or form, condone or bless these “lesser” evils. What the Church can and should do — and what Pope Francis is trying to encourage the Church to do more of — is walk with these souls, help them, love them, and gradually try to get them to the point where they are at least willing to try to not commit intrinsically evil acts, at which point they may validly receive absolution, and only after which they may licitly receive Communion.
Walford again proceeds to delineate six points of Catholic teaching that A.L. reaffirms, while erroneously and arrogantly telling the Cardinals that these six points already answered their dubia, if only they would have given it a “careful reading.” (As if these four eminent, orthodox, theologian Cardinals needed a layman with no theological training to tell them this.)
This false hypothetical is not only ridiculous (for it implies there is one and only one type of false mercy; namely, letting ALL divorced and remarried go to Communion, period; and so long as one steers clear of that, one is not preaching false mercy), but above all, it is a straw man. The good Cardinals are not accusing Pope Francis of teaching a “false mercy.” They are merely asking him for clarification.
On to the worst.
Here, Walford has utterly crossed a line. And it is baffling, even considering his own stated ends. For he is blatantly rejecting a clear teaching of an existing Magisterial Document (Familiaris Consortio paragraph 84) for the sake of his own, clearly erroneous, opinion of how A.L. should be interpreted. Talk about a smack in the face to one of the greatest canonized saints of history. How convenient for Walford’s goals, that he does not even bother to say that this requirement of JPII was Magisterial, and he does not even bother to say that the aforementioned words of Francis, seeming to imply that this requirement is abrogated, are not Magisterial.
Walford continues again with several condescending remarks, giving the Cardinals Catechesis 101. Noting, for example, the fact that culpability can be mitigated, that all Magisterium has essentially the same source, etc.
Walford then resorts to another straw man…
The correction Cardinal Burke was referring to was not a correction of the Pope on Magisterial Faith and Morals itself. Cardinal Burke was implying that he and the other cardinals might have to issue a correction on the ambiguity; on the confusion running rampant in the Church right now that Pope Francis is permitting. Cardinal Burke has already made it clear that he is not accusing A.L. itself of teaching heresy.
Walford then steps up his patronizing remarks to an extreme, listing all sorts of compassionate things that Our Blessed Lord did in the Gospels, and implying that these no doubt scandalize the good Cardinals. Walford reminds the Cardinals that we live in the real world and must “meet people where they are.” I am sure the Cardinals have never heard such profound wisdom before. (Forgive the sarcasm; I very rarely use it.)
Walford is right to want to defend the Holy Father and his Magisterium, and defend the Church against schism. But he is working towards this end by by advocating for an evil worse than schism; namely, heresy.
A.L. can be understood in a perfectly orthodox fashion so long as one realizes that it is an attempt by Pope Francis to get us to focus more on mercy, less on insisting that every occasion of sin has to be immediately fled in order to be eligible for absolution, less on doing everything we can to avoid risking possible scandal even at the expense of risking possible ostracizing of souls. For indeed, neither scandal, nor occasions of sin, are intrinsic evils (though in prudence we should avoid them as much as we can). But adultery is an intrinsic evil. And one who has no desire to try to cease committing an intrinsic evil has never been, is not, and never will be, eligible for Holy Communion. The Church already infallibly teaches that, as does Sacred Scripture itself.
End of discussion.
Now I understand that this all begs the question:
Why, then, isn’t Pope Francis answering the Dubia?
Because he feels that might risk defeating his whole purpose here. Now I do support the Dubia, and I think it would be good for Pope Francis to simply answer them, since the confusion in the wake of A.L. is proving so extreme. But his entire purpose here — as has largely been included as a purpose of most Magisterial Documents since Vatican II — is to gently evangelize the world and lead people to Confession, in hopes that the individual confessor himself will be the one to break the hard truth to them instead of an impersonal document or statement read on CNN doing so. The hard truth is that they must try to live as brother and sister, as Pope St. John Paul II already Magisterially taught.
I am certain — in the convicted sense of the word — that this is how Amoris Laetitia is to be understood.
Pray for Stephen, and pray for me. Pray for our Holy Father, the Four Dubia Cardinals, and all the Bishops throughout the world. Above all, pray for Catholics everywhere, as the Straight and Narrow Way of Our Lord becomes so razor thin that it seems that virtually everyone is falling off of it; whether to the right or to the left.
Our Lady of Fatima,
Pray for us
I have to say I am deeply impressed by Daniel O'Connor.
So much so that I have just subscribed to his blog.
More on the interview with Pope Francis......interesting while sound bites that generalize might not quite be that accurate:
Pope says marriage can only be between a man and a woman and ‘we cannot change it’
@Emmett O'Regan and @Carol55 many thanks guys for clearing up the confusion some people seem to have had on this thread concerning my online identity, I appreciate it. Both of you have conversed with me outside the context of this forum, so I'm glad that you were here to clarify this case of mistaken identity!
For the record: Stephen Walford is a married man in his (40s-50s? I'm guessing) with kids from Southampton, England, who has published books on eschatological topics and works as a piano teacher. And he's had an audience with the Holy Father.
I, on the other hand, am a 25 year old bachelor and university graduate from Scotland, with a long-standing hobby on the side that has to do with the study of Catholic theology and eschatology. I'm moving to London in January to start a career in a multi-service corporate firm. And unfortunately...I've not had an audience with the Holy Father
So other than both of us being Catholics, male, from the UK and interested outside our working lives in theology/eschatology...we don't have a whole lot else in common.
I've been sitting exams in London over the past couple of weeks, so haven't posted online for a few months. When I logged back in today, after my lengthy hiatus, I must admit - I was rather bemused (and positively amused) to discover that a "conspiracy" had apparently emerged conflating me with Stephen Walford.
It's quite hilarious because our respective views on eschatology - outwith his overall refutation of millenarianism, with which I naturally concur as an orthodox Catholic - are very different, not least due to the fact that we are both huge fans of the oeuvre of St. Hildegard but have each developed extremely different (indeed competing), understandings of her apocalyptic schema. While Stephen has emphasised her earlier work, the Scivias, I place much greater emphasis upon her more mature thoughts in the Book of Divine Works.
Quite simply, I don't agree with his chronology in Heralds, as Emmett has already noted.
As such, Stephen and I have engaged in quite vigorous debates over on Emmett's blog in the past:
A large section of the thread beneath Emmett's (characteristically excellent) post is practically taken up by a theological tussle between myself and Stephen. He goes by the name Rachmaninov while I go by the name Colin Cooper (I use the "Vouthon" pseudonym outside Emmett's blog, on other forums).
Here's a snippet, outlining our conflicting perspectives:
I'm sure Stephen would find it every bit as amusing, therefore, to know that we have (somehow) been conflated - especially in light of our past theological arguments.
Welcome back Vouthon. If you're still waiting for your exam results, I hope you pass with flying colours.
Thank you Dolours, for the kind wishes! (my results come through in early December)
Please God the results will be an early Christmas present for you.
Yes, welcome back and best wishes on your exams. I missed our conversations on Saint Hildegard and the Great Monarch & the Holy Pope in your absence.
@BrianK there was no need to apologize btw, these sorts of mistakes happen!
I actually found it quite a lark (that is, amusing), since Stephen and I have such diametrically apposite views as concerns elements of disputed eschatology (outside general agreement concerning our opposition to the millenial heresy, utopianism etc.).
In my humble estimation his book Heralds - well-written and undoubtedly a welcome contribution to the literature, though it may be - is significantly weakened by his reliance on a limited/fragmentary appraisal of St. Hildegard's oeuvre, which leads him to (in my assessment) misrepresent her "mature" schema on the "five furious epochs". His interpretation of her chronology and periodization of the future is just plain wrong from where I'm standing, because he focuses overwhelmingly upon her (as yet) undeveloped schema in the Scivias, which she had amended significantly by the end of her life.
So you can perhaps appreciate the sheer irony and humour of your mistake from my perspective, especially the idea that I'm a "sock-puppet" trying to promote the very book that contains the thesis I've been assiduously critiquing in my discussions with him. I'm sure Stephen would concur in finding it funny!
I must congratulate him, though, on being granted a 45 minute audience with the Pope. I hadn't been aware of that, golly! That's longer than Heads of State have been given, I think.
Not many heads of state accuse Cardinals of inciting satanic abuse of the Pope because they are doing their duty. The bar is quite low for getting an audience with the Pope these days: a woman who promoted abortion and boasted about having performed many abortions; an atheist journalist; a he who was a she and is now a he; and Stephen Walford.
Welcome back Vouthon and additional wishes of good luck!
I was in the camp that did not think that you two were the same person. As much as I disagree with Mr. Walford on several key issues, I will say that it is in a way a backwards compliment to be confused with him. He is very intelligent as are you.
Our forum has profited much by your very learned posts.
I thought you may have been Walford.
He has had a sock puppet account here before I think.
We don't see many that write at your level.
I have to read most of your posts 3 times to grasp
Same here Mac.
I am not a theologian or not smart enough to be one.
I am a simple man really.
I pray the daily Rosary and have a Catholic instinct.
For example, I never received a proper Catholic education, was poor catechized (like my wife) yet instinctively knew contraception
was wrong. My wife didn't understand this as all her (Catholic) friends used contraception but I persuaded her to attend natural family planning course and as a nurse she saw
the beauty in it.
Prayers!1 Bless you!! Keep up the wonderful work!! May you continue to have many days to havecertain persons grinding their wicked teeth.
Dittos. Glad you’re back Vouthon.
Separate names with a comma.