Fr Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment: “The Road from Hyperpapalism to Catholicicism”. Read Kwasniewski.

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

“we must hope, for one is obliged to hope it, that the Pope will be driven from Rome, and will not continue the Council, or that there will be another Pope”

Fr Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment: “The Road from Hyperpapalism to Catholicicism”. Read Kwasniewski.

 Such is the title of a two-volume opus by Peter Kwasniewski, published by the admirable Arouca Press

I commend it without reservation. The second volume, the larger one, contains papers and articles which Peter has published over the years, and is the sort of book that you can open at random … and read … and benefit mightily from. Or, having heard somebody’s name (either of a Goody or of a Baddy!) you dive into the index. (I’m in the index and I’m a Goody.)

Volume I, on the other hand, comes closer to systematic Theology. The structure upon which it hangs begins with subjects such as Earlier Papal lapses. And this is theologically important. 

There are different ways of ‘progressing’ Theology: there is the a priori, which means starting with basic principles and building stage by stage until you have constructed an impressive edifice as splendid as the Eiffel Tower or the Tower of Babel. 

On the other hand, there is the historical method, which means that you have to be very careful not to argue yourself into the position of asserting theological ‘principles’ which can be falsified by contradictory historical evidence from earlier in Church History. 

The First Vatican Council was initially driven by the a priori method (“The Lord said so-and-so to Peter and therefore S Peter’s successors must logically have the following prerogatives”). But this rather dangerous procedure was controlled and kept in check by the presence at the Council of some very distinguished Church historians (“If you say that a certain type of Papal pronouncement or enactment must be infallible, how are you going to get round the fact that Pope X did Y and said Z and everybody would now agree that that is rubbish?”).

This is why the Decrees defining Papal Infallibility and Primacy are so restrained … why S John Henry Newman had so little trouble with the texts of these Decrees. But he feared the continuing energy of the crazed and rabid Hyperpapalists of his own day, who aimed at “enlarging the province of Infallibility”. He was even prepared to write that “we must hope, for one is obliged to hope it, that the Pope will be driven from Rome, and will not continue the Council, or that there will be another Pope” … which, mark you, at that time meant ‘hoping’ for the death of Pius IX.

But he did not ‘hope’ in vain … and he got that red hat of martyrdom and of empire at the beginning of the next Pontificate!

I think I hear you all clamouring for him to be declared a Doctor of the Church! All power to your collective elbows!! Dottore subito!

And, if you like the sort of mind-games that proliferate at the backs of modern newspapers, here is my humble suggestion for this morning: skip the Sudoku, pass over the Times Crossword, and compose a modern equivalent (within the bounds of decency) of Newman’s lucid words which I have quoted above in red!

Difficult, isn’t it? But I beg you to persevere.

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