“The body of bishops failed in their confession of the Faith…. They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing, after Nicea, of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony, for nearly sixty years. There were untrustworthy Councils, unfaithful bishops; there was weakness, fear of consequences, misguidance, delusion, hallucination, endless, hopeless, extending into nearly every corner of the Catholic Church. The comparatively few who remained faithful were discredited and driven into exile; the rest were either deceivers or deceived.”
“On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine” Cardinal Newman
There is a spirit about at present which suggests that the world is at a crossroads. Examining the Church solely, one could be forgiven for thinking that those in charge of the Barque of Peter have decided that the Faith can change. The recent issuing of the Papal Document “Amoris Laetitia”, which one of its admirers describes as the most important Church document in 1000 years, gives the distinct impression that the aforementioned millennium’s teaching was a waste of time. While I don’t wish to enter into a critique of the document, this has been done by others; I do however wish to give my own take on the teaching being given by our modern spiritual Fathers in the Faith.
There is no doubt as far as I’m concerned that the Catholic Faith has not been taught in all its integrity since the end of the Second Vatican Council. The ecclesial landscape has changed utterly from that which existed prior to the Council and so many have walked away from the Church due to confusion or disgust. The abuse crisis merely rubber stamped most people’s assessment of the Church and gave more of the faithful permission to walk away from it. Confusion reigns supreme in the Church today so the ordinary plodder in the pew might need some guidance regarding how to hang on to their Faith.
Prior to his death a few years ago Fr. Nicholas Gruner published a book entitled “Crucial Truths to Save Your Soul”. I can’t recommend this book highly enough as it sets out in a very concise way the path all who wish to be saved need to travel in these times. The answer to the question ‘does the Faith change?’ is no. “But how can we know what the Catholic Faith truly is (and thus avoid falling into heresy), when today so many priests and bishops contradict each other about what we are to believe? We can be certain that our beliefs conform to the true Catholic Faith when we have for our guides the dogmatic definitions of the Church — that is, the solemn, infallible expressions of the Church’s teachings, which can never fail to show us the precise truth as revealed by God”. (1) We need to stick to what the Church has always believed and taught. But before that we need to learn what that teaching is. “God is All Knowing, so He cannot be mistaken about what is true. God is also All Holy, so it is impossible that He would deceive us when He reveals the Deposit of Faith. Therefore, when God (Who cannot be mistaken and Who cannot lie) tells us that something is true, then we know that it is true. We can have certitude about natural things, like the fact that two plus two equals four, because we can demonstrate and understand these things. But we have even more sure knowledge — in fact, the greatest possible certitude — in the supernatural matters that God has revealed for our belief. Without being able to completely understand them, we nevertheless know, with the certitude of Faith that the supernatural truths revealed by God and taught by the Catholic Church are absolutely true”.(2)
God cannot deceive us so people need to get themselves a copy of A Denzinger compendium or traditional catechism (Penny Catechism, Irish green catechism, etc) to study and arm themselves with. “We have, for instance, a definition which tells us that there are three Persons in one God. We can be more certain of that than of anything which we can know by our senses or intellect alone. We can be more certain of the defined teaching than we can be that it’s hot outside today, or that two plus two equals four. So if someone comes along — whether it be a Pope, a Cardinal, a bishop, a priest or a lay person — and tells us that there are not three Persons in one God, then we can be completely certain that he is wrong. It’s as simple as that”. (3)
The Faith cannot change because God does not change and it is a comforting fact that all Catholics can believe what the Church teaches with complete confidence as God is its guarantor.