[3] Wisdom to the simple

UPDATE: I got permission!

A brief foreword – feel free to skip!

The following is the third letter, to the editor of my diocesan newspaper, in what seems to have become a thread on the topic of the Pope’s foot-washing rule change. Presumably for this reason it cannot be published but, in the hope that my invitation of 21 February will have been – it wasn’t –, (still) I welcome all readers to my blog, to this letter/post and to reply in the comments.

Also, if here I haven’t linked to something I was referencing, either it’s in the first letter or you can ask me about it in the comments.

DEAR EDITOR: Before replying to Felix Edinborough (“Pope interprets the law”, 7 Feb.), let me clarify the present headline. God works in mysterious ways: wanting only to defend tradition saying “the law of the Lord is perfect”, only in the end did I remember – and so express it there in hopeful form – that “it revives the soul”.

Here what Jesus rightly did follows what the Pharisees rightly said or, in the author’s words, “considered” (cf. Mt. 23: 1-3). The two are not opposed, just as mercy is not opposed to justice. The author would seem to agree, except he seems willing (ironically) to just-ify reducing the latter in the name of the former a.k.a. love.

It was this I expressed immediate concern about: antinomianism – ignorance, disregard, contempt of the law. Not the papal prerogative, which can only be about establishing the law before interpreting same.

Logic aside: saying otherwise, as the author did, also suggests a confusion of tradition with Scripture (since Scripture is also ‘interpreted’). This is the view of a Protestant, who – as we know – doesn’t need anyone, far less a Pope, to tell him what the Bible says or what to do.

Even with the right view, however, it is ludicrous in concept and reality alike for a lawmaker to “break” the law…which is exactly what we would say in the civil forum, as I implied in mentioning the Code of Ethical Political Conduct.

Then we must do as much in church, though in the case of the Supreme Legislator washing female feet I had a reason to argue for legitimacy at which I hinted: “the Pope’s counter-example…could not change the law or allow exceptions”…i.e. obviously beyond himself.

So, or in any event, my opinion was optimistic – it had to be if it called for revival! Thankfully Abp Harris hinted at it to Fr Ragbir [1] whereas Augustine, via Benedict (“The Spirit of the Liturgy”), and von Balthasar, via Barron, explicated [2].

[1] “Always remember…acceptance into the priesthood is entering into the movement of the incarnation [sic] which is downward mobility” (“Walk with sinners”, back p.)

[2] I forgot about the latter in note 6 of my first letter.

In words from the first example, the Saint sees Ep. 3: 18f. “as referring to the form of the crucified Christ…whose path reaches down into the abyss of the underworld and up to the very height of God himself.”

Next to such dimension humanity is simple, yet simpler is the word of the Lord: “The rule of the Lord is to be trusted”. And again: “Harden not your hearts”.


Did I mention the comments?! (LOL)


Newspaper opinions on foot-washing change


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