View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Humble obedience

While reading Stephen Mansfield's brief biography of Pope Benedict (Pope Benedict XVI: His Life and Mission), I came across an interesting passage.

When studying at the University of Munich, one of the future pope's professors was Gottlieb Sohngen, who rejected the idea that Mary was taken bodily into heaven when she died - this was before the dogma was defined by the Church and thus was a topic for open discussion.

When asked what he would do if the dogma was defined, Sohngen said, "If the dogma comes, then I will remember that the Church is wiser than I and that I must trust her more than my own erudition."

I was reminded of our own first bishop here in Rochester, Bernard McQuaid. At Vatican I, he opposed the idea of papal infallibility - in fact, he left the Council rather than vote on it because it was clear it would be approved. But once it was defined, he publicly supported the teaching.

Both men provide a lesson for our day.

Blind obedience of something that is clearly wrong? No.

But acceptance of clearly defined doctrine? Yes. If I want to claim to be a Catholic.

This is something with which I struggle. I am a proud person.

Despite my ego, though, I must admit I clearly am limited in my knowledge and understanding.


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