The most insidious error, the most subtle treachery is not an error of doctrine, but of attitude. It is an error which is drawing in more good people every day, and it is an error which the individualism of Americans (and modern people in general) makes us prone. The error to which I am referring is the error of being `right,' of knowing better than a bishop or any person or document of the hierarchy.
It is gravely harmful to the Church to call into question publicly any of Her documents or anyone in the hierarchy (no matter how right or wrong). The Church is our holy Mother, and one shouldn't go parading one's Mother's underwear around in public.
At the root of the modern factioning of the Church into `right' and `left' is the conceptual separation of love and truth. The left insists on `love' (or `unity') without the truth of sound doctrine. The right insists on the truth of `sound doctrine' ignoring the need for love (respect of the person being addressed) and unity within the Church. Truth and love, in their fullest reality, cannot exist separately.
The basic reality of calling into question anyone or any document of the Church is not simply advocating an ``orthodox'' or ``heterodox'' point of view, but advocating one's own point of view, thus setting an example for others to advocate their own points of view (`opinions are like rear ends,' the saying goes, `everyone's got one') and calling into question the legitimate spiritual authorities established by Jesus Christ (cf. Hebrews 13:17).
In consequence, when one openly dissents from the hierarchy (and thus the Magisterium) even in an effort to re-establish ``orthodoxy,'' he is just as bad as the heterodox dissenters! How can one advocate obedience, without being obedient? How can one advocate docility to the Magisterium, without being docile to it oneself?
Of course, obedience and docility require patience and long-suffering, which are virtues; that's one human reason that the goodness of sound doctrine will prevail. But more importantly, Christ promised the Holy Spirit to his Church, and it is the Spirit that preserves the Church from error.
Some still labor under the delusion that the cause of the disorder in the Church is the Second Vatican Council per se. I suggest that those who think the Second Vatican Council was in any way a bad thing, would do well to inform themselves of the high regard with which the Holy Father and Cardinal Ratzinger hold the Council. A good beginning in this direction can be had by examining a short collection of their quotations about the Council. I would then recommend, as do the Holy Father and Cardinal Ratzinger themselves, reading the actual documents and seeing for oneself how sound they actually are.
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