“I WILL give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. And whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16,19)
It is quite clear from these words of Christ that the Pope, whoever he is, since he is the successor of Peter to whom these words were first addressed, holds the keys to heaven and can lead us to heaven himself.
In other words, we cannot enter heaven without passing through Peter and his successors, the Popes. How true then is that aspiration coined by some holy men, “Omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam!” (All with Peter to Jesus through Mary!)
We need to meditate on these words more often if only to understand them better, fathoming its depth and scope, discerning its implications and consequences. More importantly, we need to meditate on them to strengthen our belief that they have to be accepted in faith.
There is no other way. If we take them only with our reason alone, supported only by our human and worldly criteria, we have every reason not believe them. Peter, though he was the head of the apostles, also had major defects that would surely nullify the veracity of the words of Christ!
But the fact is that these words were spoken by Christ who, if we believe in him, cannot delude us nor can he be deluded. We just have to have some allowance of abandonment from the usual doubts and questioning brought about by our reason in order to accept Christ’s words at face value.
With these words, the Pope can rightly be called as the Vicar of Christ here on earth, or as St. Catherine of Siena would have it, he is the Sweet Christ on earth!
Nowadays the status of Pope Francis is somehow put to question by no less than some high ecclesiastics, because of certain pronouncements he made. Most of these questions revolve around his
“Amoris laetitia” that, they claim, contain assertions that, to these ecclesiastics, can be considered at least as dubious and even reckless, inviting danger.
This has caused some consternation, dismay and even disbelief in many sectors. The situation is actually very delicate, and I would not like to worsen things by coming up with drastic or radical . I would rather appeal to everyone to pray and offer sacrifices, and practice restraint and moderation in reacting to this particular development.
But what I can say is that Pope Francis is leading us to a new frontier, a new territory in Church teaching that is not necessarily disruptive of past and present Magisterium. It is the new territory that can be considered as an organic extension of the status quo.
This organic evolution of Church teaching brought about by Pope Francis is now more sensitive to the finer points of the spiritual and moral lives of people that can hardly be captured by legal and doctrinal categories.
It’s an evolution that is doctrinally faithful to Christ’s teaching, releasing us from a certain grip of legalism and doctrinalism. It invites us to be more discerning of the promptings of the Holy Spirit that go beyond what the doctrines so far could formulate.
To me, what he has taught in Amoris laetitia is an expression of what is known as the “law of gradualness,” as opposed to the “gradualness of the law” which is unacceptable as a moral principle.
Obviously, the distinction between these two principles can be confusing, and thus can create tension. But it’s a distinction that cannot be avoided, and we just have to face it, relying on the goodwill of people concerned and the competent supervisory attention of the appropriate Church offices.
Yes, there is a possibility of an anti-Pope and an anti-Christ. But unless these are clearly revealed, we just have to trust in Christ’s words to St. Peter: “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. And whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
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