Regional Churches, Regional Faiths, Regional 'Gods'

The Sensible Bond today has a 'calm down, dear' post concerning this, on which I blogged yesterday...

Not only would it be impossible to see how the Church is One, Holy and Universal, but it would cast great doubt whether God is One and Holy, as if God would say, "No, no, do whatever you like. I'm liberal when I'm in Munich, but much more intolerant of sin in Warsaw."

What the Synod decides, obviously, has no effect on the Reality of God. There are obviously no theological implications for Almighty God. The Church cannot change God.

I didn't consider I was saying anything controversial, but was thinking about what impacts are at stake for the Catholicity of the Church. I was saying that if doctrinal authority were devolved that would give, say, the Germans, an entirely different presentation of God to the Poles, so that in Germany God would be presented as an affable uncle who overlooks sin entirely, whereas in Poland God would be presented in a different light, because it all depends on the quality of the Bishops country to country and their personal beliefs. The teaching on and the perception of God in Warsaw would be different to that of Munich. Perhaps it already is. It would, inevitably, create different Faiths, rather than sustain the oneness of the Catholic Faith, more than simply regional 'Churches'.

'We're not a subsidiary of Rome you know!"
I would have thought that the creation of a different Faith in Germany to that of Poland was, actually, already well under way. Polish Churches are full. German Churches are empty. Just look at what their respective Bishops say at the Synod. It would only be more official if the Pope devolved 'doctrinal authority'.

Two different presentations of the One True God would, I'm afraid, make the Church's faith in the One True God look a bit silly, if it varies from country to country. It seriously undermines the credibility of the One True Church and One True Faith because somehow, despite having abandoned a vital tenet of Catholic Faith, the German Church would still maintain some kind of communion (Shall we call it a financial communion?) with the Church of Rome.

It is true that at this stage we do not know what will happen. However, it is not true that we do not know what the Germans want. Alas, we can no longer say, after the Pope's speech, in which he once again referred to a 'conversion of the papacy' and talked of a 'healthy decentralisation' that the Pope does not want to give the Germans exactly what they want. They, as we know from Cardinal Marx's statements on precisely where Rome can shove its authority, do not care if the Church's Faith is no longer One, Holy or Universal. Let's be clear about this:

The Germans say, quite clearly, 'We do not recognise your authority over us.'
The Pope, in a speech, indicates, 'Yeah, come to think of it, me neither.'

Decentralisation in terms of doctrine would be saying, "It's not schism says so!" Regional Churches and national churches mean regional 'Gods' (in terms of presentation) and national 'Gods' (in terms of the presentation of Faith). Not the Faith, but the Faiths. Of course, we'd all still sing or recite the same Creed, but like the Our Father, it would be made into something of a lie says its okay! So...

That's all I was really trying to say. Of course, all of the above might be nonsense. I'm no theologian and the future is unknown but 'structural changes' of the kind muted by Pope Francis in the Church will have some serious ramifications. The most serious, I would suggest, is the possible effect as described below...

Catholic means 'Universal'


Charlesdawson said…
I think the Holy Father ought to sit down and have a chat with Justin Welby, and if possible with Rowan Williams. It might give him some insights into the results of devolution and accommodating to the secular culture of the moment.
Nicolas Bellord said…
It seems to me that the Sensible Bond is saying that we should just trust in God and not speculate about the consequences. Personally I think we should speculate about consequences as a matter of prudence in the hope that others will not go down a particular road. Further just because God tolerated Avignon it does not mean that he necessarily approved it. Indeed, reading the life of Catherine Siena, I get the impression that he deliberately inspired her to oppose it.
viterbo said…
Indissolubility against dissolubility, faith against factions, exile against schisms, pope against heresiarch, Mass against gathering..."we're all right!"

jonty said…
Hard to believe that anyone could look at the Anglican church and consider its method governance a model worth following. Yet this is apparently what Francis wants. Deeply worrying.
Unknown said…
Yeah calm down. No need to worry that the faith of future generations may be affected. Have a chocolate.

These people are nuts.
Lynda said…
It's sad that when people like yourself speak the truth of what is being done by heretics at the top of the Church, including Francis, and the necessary implications of what the Church and Faith mean to them (complete subversion of truth of Christ's Church and the Holy Faith given by Him) that it is you the truth-speaker (of obvious truths) that is disparaged. What a demoralised state many who still have the Faith are in; how intimidated and impeded by heretics, apostates, enemies of Christ and His true Holy and Eternal Church.

It was clear what you were saying, Mr England. You don't have to spell it out tortuously for those who know and accept the Faith, for those with their rational faculties intact.

Thank you very much for remaining in the truth despite all of the ever-increasing persecution. You are a true soldier of Christ - not weighing your own suffering for refusing to submit to the enemies of the unchangeable universally true Faith but remaining steadfast.

God bless and preserve you and your wife in the Faith.

Our Pope and Our Cross is quite clear about his desire to change the nature/structure of the Catholic Church to fit his ideological agenda and in doing so he reveals he is an AntiChrist.

Jesus established His Hierarchal Church and there is not one thing any AntiChrist can do about it.

O, he can try to invert it - "upside down pyramid" - but it is an absurdity on its face and far from being calm and quiet about it, one must say to Our Pope and Our Cross - over my dead body.

And the time to shout it loudly is not, not after the plan is launched
“German Churches are empty.” A similar exaggeration is to be found in the DK Guide to Germany. I wrote to them about this and they apologised for the statement and said that they would correct it in their next edition. I would not say that German churches are full to overflowing or that you will find a large proportion of young people in their congregations but to stay that they are ‘empty’ is just wrong. And I say that on the basis of having attended Catholic churches in North Rhine Westphalia, the Rhineland-Palatinate, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Bavaria and Saxony over a period of six summers. It could be that the large withdrawals in recent years from paying the Church tax have come from people who called themselves Catholic but rarely, if ever, went to church. I would imagine that there are as many such people in Germany as there are in the UK. Apart from that, I totally agree with what you are saying.
Incidentally, it’s not only the Church of England that is in an almighty doctrinal mess. My local Church of Scotland minister says, “ truth, all truth about faith is temporary.” I kid you not. How on earth someone with that view can be allowed to remain a minster in a supposedly Christian Church beats me.
Ches said…
Hi Lawrence,

Gosh, I hope you didn't take my comments to heart. We're two sound English blokes who can afford to disagree with each other without falling out, although I can see some of your readers have taken offence on your behalf. There really is no need to be tribal, Lynda. Lawrence was not disparaged in the least.

I know what you were saying, Lawrence. What I fear is that if we try to be definitive about what the theological implications are, we risk painting ourselves into corners because we are looking for coherence. I'm too tired now to tease out what I mean in detail but maybe I'll blog about it tomorrow.

All power to your elbow anyway!
Genty said…
I couldn't agree more, Lynda. I have been saddened by the number of bloggers who have become so disheartened that they have stopped blogging. This is the very time not to pull punches. I pray to Blessed Titus Brandsma to inspire and protect all those who are fighting the good fight.
Keep right on, Bones.
Jacobi said…

Since sin might be different in different "National Churches" i.e., Scotland and Ireland, or even England, could you pop down for the day, or do you think residency would have to be established first?
ShakeTheirDust said…
In my view you are dead on. Francis and his cohort is the enemy. Don't let anyone fool you. I hail from the U.S. where all are under the sway of the devil: the holiday season begins on Halloween and babies' eyes for sale are called "orbits". "We are not a Church for the pure," Fairy Donna Wuerl. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God," Jesus Christ. Hard to get any more black and white or dead and alive than that. And yet still there are those who say, "Who am I to judge?"
Liam Ronan said…
Throughout the years I've discovered that I have benefited most in my professional life from well-placed criticisms than from reflexive compliments.
Sixupman said…
Clergy - Bishop - Pope: the line of responsibility, de facto, broken by the emergence of Collegiality and [National] Bishops' Conferences. Next logical step: National Churches, a la Anglicanism, and Faith decided by synod vote.
Liam Ronan said…
I submitted this little musical Rohrschach to Ches (who I mistakenly called 'Chas') at the Sensible Bond for the mutual entertainment of the two of you. All good intentions.

Brother Gabriel said…
"There really no need to be tribal Lynda. Lawrence was not disparaged in the least."

Let's see. Don't quite understand why Lynda's comments are being disparaged in this way? Oh, I forgot, only Ches has the freedom and right to react to and express his opinion and thoughts concerning Lawrence's post. However, Lynda is judged as being "tribal" because she chose to freely express support for Lawrence and his position. Since when is offering agreement and/or support offensive or inappropriate? Hardly. 

And, by the way, she shared her thoughts on Bones blog, directed to him personally, not on The Sensible Bond. Hummm. It all sounds a bit defensive to me. But, " who am I to judge?"
c matt said…
Sure raises a lot of interesting situations. National differences is only the beginning - we already have, to some extent, differences from diocese to diocese and even parish to parish. What's to stop a decentralized diocese from admitting divorced and remarried to communion, or, on the other hand, recognizing full faculties of the SSPX?

Interesting times.

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